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My AEV Highline Install on a 99 Sahara

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  • My AEV Highline Install on a 99 Sahara

    Well, I have had this thing in my garage since May and decided that now would be a good time to take this on.

    Here is my Jeep with the hood permanently removed. I had to take out the stock hinge backing plates because I needed them on the hood to paint it together with the new hinges. Also, all of the hardware that will eventually go on the new hood had to come off. More disassembly to go!

    Finally cleaned the garage of dust, scuffed and washed the e-coated parts. Note to anyone handling soapy metal fenders: use leather gloves to handle. As awesome as the build quality of these parts are, the odd sharp edge will slice your fingers!

    First coat of epoxy primer. Almost out of daylight...

  • #2
    Backside of the hood:

    More to come!!


    • #3
      Some progress today... I got base coat and clear coat on the hood. I have a few runs of clear coat and some orange peel spots; nothing some wet sanding and rubbing compound can't handle.

      Look at that shine!

      Hopefully, I will get to the fenders tomorrow.


      • #4
        It has been a while since I last posted, but I have made some progress...

        First off, we have primer and basecoat on the fenders...

        The clear coat did not come out as nice. Blame it on the harbor freight cheapo gun, humidity, my sloppy technique, etc... Shooting paint is a science and so many things can go wrong. In retrospect, maybe I should have gotten someone else to do it instead of investing in the compressor, plumbing, guns, and painting supplies. Oh well, I guess I am learning. Wet sanding didn't help either. No matter how much I buffed, it lost that initial glossy finish. I ended up taking it to a professional, who fixed my goof-ups for a reasonable price (Many thanks to Mike Deguilio at ABC Auto in Pearland, TX; great guy to talk shop with and a fellow fan of American Graffiti too).

        Next came the U-POL Raptor in the wheel wells. Had to wait for a long time for good weather. This stuff is easy to shoot, but it does require lots prep work...


        • #5
          With all major painting out of the way, I was finally able to move on to the fun stuff... wrench-work!!

          Here is the left fender completely dissasembled. This was a real pain. My advice to anyone who has to remove their fender is to start with the bottom two bolts that attach to the firewall. Bag all your bolts in labeled ziplock bags and accept the fact that you will destroy a few of those stoopid plastic plugs that hold down your electricals to the interior of the fenders.

          The instructions require you to cut up your ABS and battery support brackets and attach them to shorter half bracket that comes with the kit.

          Here is a closeup of the assembled ABS tray bracket:

          I was then able to carefully install the left highline fender. It is not tightened down yet because I will need to adjust everything later to align it all.


          • #6
            Here is a front view. Note the height difference between the AEV highline and the stock fender on the left.

            Man, I love the glossy clear coat finish achieved by Mike! That guy is good!

            Here is a shot of my modified battery and ABS trays. They are awaiting some POR-15 goodness.

            Last edited by chop110; 01-01-2012, 08:49 PM.


            • #7
              Yesterday, I was able to break down the right fender...

              I then made an unfortunate discovery when I removed the shock absorber...

              In the nearly twelve years that I have had this Jeep, I can't pin one event that may have caused this. Several times, I have come down hard on the front end while on the trails. I figure the cracks in the steel hapened gradually and the shock pressure made it worse over time. Now I have to stop everything and do some steel banging welding. Fun stuff.


              • #8
                Good to see you've used raptor on the underside of the guards and also filled in the crease on top of the fender - pro

                Hi Line makes the TJ.......

                Bugger about that split in the top shock mount
                Last edited by CRDSTU; 01-02-2012, 03:06 AM.
                Murchison Products - Australian AEV Dealer
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                • #9

                  Funny thing about that Fusor seam filler stuff AEV recommends. I had no idea you needed to buy a separate dispenser tool for it. Instead of ordering it and waiting, I got impatient and tried squeezing the stuff out with some woden dowels and a C-clamp I rigged together. Needless to say, things got messy and that stuff dries fast once the catalyst mixes in with the epoxy. I paid for it later with a lot of sanding and body filler.


                  • #10
                    I was able to fix the cracks in my shock tower:

                    So on to AEV Highline install...

                    This is the completed battery tray support bracket:

                    And now the right fender is up:

                    And finally, the hood...


                    • #11
                      I still have not tightened anything down, but things look pretty centered already.

                      The hood will need some shim plates. It looks a little tight in the corners:

                      I have some 3/16" scrap plate, I will have to fab some shims out of that.

                      Also, I will need to drill a couple of new mounting holes for the windshield wiper fluid bottle; apparently, the holes are set up for 2003 and up Wranglers.

                      Unfortunately, my Christmas/New Years vacation is over and it may be a while before I get some more time to continue this. But I did get quite a bit done these last few days. Not bad for a garage hobbyist...


                      • #12

                        I just finished my higline last weekend. It took longer than I expected because I decided to repaint my grill, install a Brown Dog motor mount lift, and paint my flares (Body matching flares?!! Come on, it's still a Sahara after all).

                        Well... after looking at the rusted rock dings on my grille next to the newly painted hood and fenders, I just couldn't let it go...

                        I have gotten pretty good at clearcoating. Paying attention to the flash time and a dehumidifier in the garage help.

                        I had some exterior grille inserts that I did not want to put back in. But at the same time, I did not want a rock hit to damage the fins on my condenser (This caused an AC leak several years ago... During a 100 deg Texas summer). I decided on this...

                        I cut a sheet of perforated aluminum to fit inside the grille:

                        Primed and painted it...

                        Finished product was bolted at the two tabs on the bottom and the back tabs wrap around the "V" support in front of the condenser.

                        I am going to fit some door trim around the latch hole to make it nice and pretty.


                        • #13
                          And then it was on to the front flares. Personally, I really like the look of the body colored flares on the Saharas and I wanted to keep that style.

                          After washing the the flares, scuffing, and wiping them with plastic cleaner, I sprayed them with adhesion promoter:

                          Within 30 minutes, I then sprayed them with 2K high build primer.

                          If I had to do it over again, I would have painted the flares unmounted. It is a pain to get paint into the crevice between the flare and the fender. Plus, the adhesive promoter managed to "burn" through the plastic tarp and chemically damaged the clear coat. Took some wet sanding to fix that.
                          Last edited by chop110; 04-22-2012, 09:15 PM.


                          • #14
                            It definitely looks like something now. I still need to take care of some miscellaneous things. In particular, to put the battery back in after six months of not running. Here's to hoping it turns over.

                            A jump start later (Six months... yada, yada), and she runs!

                            Some outside shots from yesterday:


                            • #15
                              I am pretty much done with all the major work. Just a few odds and ends left: wheel well skirts, hood prop, and other small details. Thank you all for all for your encouragement and I hope you enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed installing this awesome AEV product.

                              So you might be wondering... What's the deal with no rear flares, Joe? Well, I am now looking into continuing this build and taking it in a whole new direction in the coming weeks. It is something that I have seen a few other people do with their rigs, including some of the AEV folks. I will leave you with the following image as a hint as to the direction this build will be taking...

                              Now you know why I am holding off on the rear flares?