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2019 Trailhawk
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, the ink's barely dry on the purchase paperwork, and I'm already starting a build log. A quick bit about me first. I'm a lifelong Jeep fan. I had a CJ-5 in high school and a TJ for almost 20 years shortly after. We've currently got 2007 and 2010 WK Grand Cherokee's, and a JKU and JLU Rubicon. The 2019 Trailhawk is the newest addition to the family. Of all my current Jeep's, the 2010 WK has seen the most modifications. It's got 7" of lift on 35's and has a ton of custom one-off work that is completely original. Design and fab work has been solely on me, and its uniqueness has been a source of pride. I know very well that it's not cheap to modify a vehicle with an extremely limited aftermarket. I would get asked all the time why I just didn't drop that time and money into a Wrangler. Truth be told, what fun would that be? So I can look just like any of another 1,000 currently driving around? Nah, I'd rather be original. I don't care about any cost vs. benefit analysis. If I come up with an idea I want to implement, I simply push forward with making it happen to the best of my ability. I have every intention of doing the same thing with my new KL. The difference is that I'd like to keep it a little more streetable than the GC's. It will mainly be a daily driver, but a weekend ready warrior should the need arise. Where that balance lies I've not yet determined.

So, as this build progresses, you may see me sprinkle in pics of the 2010 WK. I'll do that to show examples of my design inspiration, and the subsequent KL based solution. I've already got some (IMHO) killer ideas that should carry over nicely. One of my biggest new obstacles will simply be lack of space. The KL has a much 'cozier' interior and I'll have to do my best to keep things well organized when it comes to layout and implementation there. Anything external, well, it seems there is some very solid groundwork that's already been done by quite a few others. I'll still see if I come up with a few unique ideas just the same.

Anyone that wants to catch up the full WK build can do so below.



With all of that out of the way, here is the Trailhawk. It's a 2019 in Granite Crystal with really low mileage. Driving it over the past few days has only solidified my decision to make the purchase. Let's see where this goes!

 

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2019 Trailhawk
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
That's what I'm talking about, a man with motivation and a pocket full of money!!! You sound like me with my Can Am Maverick X3's. My Trailhawk is just the Can Am tow and support vehicle...LOL!!!😉😎
One might argue about the lack of money I have currently due to the Jeeps! I'm always thinking and planning. I have a few other interests, but these 4 wheeled endeavors seem to take the most of my time.

Nice looking rigs! I bet they are a lot of fun on the trails.
 

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2019 Trailhawk
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Although I still have lots of planning to do, I am narrowing down what I want to focus on first. I've decided to start by moving over most of the stereo system currently installed in the WK. As of now, it consists of Kenwood DMX1057XR head unit, Dynaudio 362 3 way components, MiniDSP 8x12DL, a quartet of Sundown Audio amps, and a pair of 10" Adire Audio Brahma subwoofers in a through-floor custom ported box. Most everything will make the swap over with the exception of the Sundown amps. I've been extremely happy with them, but with space at a premium, it might be wise to move to something with smaller dimensions.

I'll come right out and say that I'm not really a fan of the floating screen look for head units. I prefer something that looks a little more integrated. In the WK, I heavily modified the center bezel to fit the 1057XR screen as flush as possible. Not as much as I'd wanted, but considering the amount of surgery required to go deeper, it was a good compromise. I've done some measuring, and there's simply not enough space to go flush in the KL either, but I think I can come close. As such, I've ordered a late model KL bezel that I can modify to fit the Kenwood screen. One thing I've learned over the years is to be wise when it comes to modifying parts. I prefer to hack up replacements and keep the originals intact.

For reference, below is the WK implementation. Everything has been shifted down several inches and the bezel rebuilt. It should be noted that the head unit chassis was modified to fit as I needed. We'll see how good I can make a KL install look.




While I'm waiting on parts to arrive, I spend a little time cleaning up a design for a custom roof rack. Well, partially custom anyway. This was something I also had planned for the WK, but haven't yet had a chance to implement. It requires the installation of RRO roof rails. Then custom brackets are to be welded to those rails, and 1x3 T-slot extrusions can be bolted in place. It's much cheaper than a full Prinsu style rack, but still retains the benefits.




More to come!
 

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2019 Trailhawk
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Let's go back to earlier last year for a moment. At the time, I was fully invested in the old Grand Cherokee build. As such, I had some pretty specific ideas of what I wanted it to look like. 11 or 12 years ago I had a TJ that I'd wrapped in a pretty cool camo vinyl. I wanted to do something similar for the WK as well. I ended up purchasing 75' of vinyl from Metro Restyling as a result. With all the other priorities I had, I just didn't get around to installing it. In hindsight, that was probably a good thing now that I've changed directions on the WK. The Trailhawk will now inherit the wrap. This will likely be a spring project, but as you'll soon discover, I tend to tease upcoming ideas and then make you all wait to see the results. Why change now, haha!

The design is called Pasted Snow, and of course I think the end result will be awesome. I realize it may not be to everyone's taste, but I do tend to go above and beyond in an effort to be unique. No one has ever accused me of blending in. In a sea of Wranglers, it's always nice to see a doubletake with an unexpected build.


 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The replacement stereo bezel arrived yesterday. I was originally hoping to modify it while keeping the OEM finished surfaces intact. It turns out that there a few more scratches on the bezel than I'd hoped. That simply means I have to try and find OEM paint matches for the bezel once completed. The flat black and silver portions shouldn't be an issue, as SEM should have equivalents. The somewhat metallic metal flake area around the screen itself might be a little trickier. I'll have to do some research and see if I can find something close.

As far as my plans for modification go, well, I need to get the screen as flush as possible without compromising the bezel clip mounting points. I'll definitely need to build/rebuild the underlying structure to make this happen. I do have both FDM and resin 3D printers, so I'll likely print the structure as needed then epoxy in place.

Here we have the Kenwood screen sitting on the bezel itself, both as a whole and with the rear panel removed. While the angle of the photo might be a little deceiving, I think I can make this look pretty good.





Here you can see just how much of a gap the rear curvature of the screen panel leaves compared to the bezel. Tonight I'll look at how much support I'll need to keep those clips to the immediate left and right of the screen intact. If I don't feel I can get the screen inset quite enough, I may remove them outright. There would still be enough clips on the perimeter to make it a non-issue. We'll see how this all works out.


 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I made a little more progress this weekend on the Trailhawk's modified stereo bezel. I modeled and 3D printed supports for the back side out of ABS and epoxied them into place. This was necessary to keep the side retaining clips in place. It was also needed to reinforce the sides in general. I'm removing a significant amount of material and want to retain some rigidity.






Here you can see how much material I've already removed from the front. I still have more to go, but it's slow work. Although I can rebuild in any areas where too much has been removed, I'd prefer not to do so if not necessary. I'm of the belief that the original material is always the strongest option.




In other news, I'm actively pursuing adjustable coilovers ideas for the front. I designed a custom solution for my WK, and I'm pretty sure I've got a couple of potentially solid ideas already. I'll need to get a hold of some junk components for modeling and measurement as I don't really want to tear apart my own Cherokee just for that purpose. That's still a ways off however.

One last thing. I know that spacers can be the source of quite a bit of debate in general, and proper offset wheels are always the best option. That said, I did place an order for .75" BORA adapters that will allow me to run JK wheels. Aftermarket 5x110 options are extremely limited, but there are a ton of 5x127 options. I'll find something with a high positive offset to keep added driveline stresses somewhat minimized. Heck, even OEM JK wheels are a solid choice and dirt cheap to boot.
 

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2018 Latitude+. 2.4 AD1
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I have the same Kenwood in my Cherokee. I agree, not a fan of floating screen either. Mounted it as far in as I could and still have room for a screwdriver to mount the screen to the unit. Looks ok, love the Kenwood head for sure!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I have the same Kenwood in my Cherokee. I agree, not a fan of floating screen either. Mounted it as far in as I could and still have room for a screwdriver to mount the screen to the unit. Looks ok, love the Kenwood head for sure!
I've only seen a handful of vehicles where the floating screen actually looks like it might belong. My previous Grand Cherokee and the new KL aren't either of them in my opinion. I really love to modify things, so I enjoy this type of challenge. Although sometimes I do wish I had the ability to just leave things alone. My time and budget always take a hit, haha.

I had an Alpine Halo 9 in the WK before the DMX1057XR, and it was fine. I will say that the Alpine's graphic interface feels a little more modern. The biggest difference to me was actually the improvement in sound quality when moving to the Kenwood. With no other changes and apples to apples, the SQ was noticeably superior. All external amplifiers being used, so that couldn't even be a factor. I'm really anxious to get my full system moved over. It's going to sound fantastic in a much quieter environment.

Sent from my SM-S908U1 using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well, after spending the last few days researching, I'm seriously considering not using RRO roof rails. I had the WK version on my last 2 Grand Cherokee's and was very happy. However, it seems there are some potential fitment issues on KL's due to not accounting for the roof curvature. I'm not really interested in a solution that seems poorly implemented. That said, I'm also open to modifying the RRO rails to fit correctly. I guess I'm not entirely sure which way I'll go and am researching other options, including fabrication of my own custom steel crossbars that will fit the factory rails.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I spent most of this last weekend prepping our old JK for sale, so I didn't get a lot of time to work on much for the KL. I did make a little progress on the bezel however. I removed about as much material as I dare on the sides and top. Even with reinforcement plastic in place, there's still only so much you can take without compromising structural integrity.

Here you can see how much I've ground away. That material with the exposed hatch is all the support material I've added. Next up is to fill the gaps with epoxy. To do so and allow perfect fitment, I wrapped the back panel of the Kenwood's screen in plastic. I then applied epoxy to all the mating surfaces and pressed the panel in place. I'll cover that in my next post.





While I didn't get much physically done, I did make a decision on which way I'm going with the lift. I placed an order for the 2" Gleaming Alloy Stiletto complete lift. It looks like it's just about the best option at this point. It's currently backordered, but that's fine. I won't have time to install it for a bit anyway.
 

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2019 Trailhawk Elite 2.0T Olive Green Metallic Pearlcoat
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I placed an order for the 2" Gleaming Alloy Stiletto complete lift. It looks like it's just about the best option at this point.
Those are nice for sure for the rear, but what do they do for the front end??? I don't see anything on their website about lifting the front...😎
 

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2019 Cherokee Trailhawk. 2021 Cherokee latitude Freedom edition.
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Those are nice for sure for the rear, but what do they do for the front end??? I don't see anything on their website about lifting the front...😎
It's what they call a (Hyper hero 1 or 2 inch lift). FYI I had to Google it. It's not easy to find on their website but they have a 1 or 2 inch front lift plus the stilleto's in a package you can get.
 

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It's what they call a (Hyper hero 1 or 2 inch lift). FYI I had to Google it. It's not easy to find on their website but they have a 1 or 2 inch front lift plus the stilleto's in a package you can get.
So does it just use lower strut clamps, just like the rest, or something different??? I just watched @Moots KL's full installation video, and he just did the rears, and apparently kept his HS front strut clamps...😎
 

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2019 Trailhawk
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
You can buy the Stiletto's with the HyperHero front lift from Gleaming Alloy or HyperHero through a partnership that they have together. Nothing terribly special about the HyperHero lift other than not needing to buy a complete lift somewhere else and then only using half.
 

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I'm digging this skidplate for the RDM, and I think it's one of the best investments you can make if you do any serious offroading. I'm sitting here contemplating pulling the trigger right now, but that's a lot of money, and I don't push my Trailhawk to the limits, as I have dedicated offroad toys for those situations. Definitely a nice armor setup though for sure...😎
Rear XO Sub-Frame Skid Plate for the 2014-2023 Cherokee KL
 

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2019 Cherokee Trailhawk. 2021 Cherokee latitude Freedom edition.
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I'm digging this skidplate for the RDM, and I think it's one of the best investments you can make if you do any serious offroading. I'm sitting here contemplating pulling the trigger right now, but that's a lot of money, and I don't push my Trailhawk to the limits, as I have dedicated offroad toys for those situations. Definitely a nice armor setup though for sure...😎
Rear XO Sub-Frame Skid Plate for the 2014-2023 Cherokee KL
I'm hoping after I get my taxes back I can get the stilletos and hopefully the skid plate. That's if my wife doesn't spend the money first. 🙄🙄
 
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