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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello KL Family! I have read through a few different threads and gotten some great ideas for modifications for my 2015 Latitude. I decided I would put my progress down on the forum for anyone who is interested!

I guess i'll start with the back story. If you don't care for the back stories, skip to the next paragraph! I bought my Cherokee in February 2015. I had really researched SUVs and cars, and started out as a hater of the front grille on the Cherokee. In fact, I wouldn't even look at them when I first started searching. However, it grows on you! Eventually, I had fully decided on getting a Cherokee Latitude and decided I would build one if I couldn't find what I wanted on a lot. While searching I found a 3.2L Granite-painted Latitude with ADII and the cold weather package... It was everything i was looking for! Unfortunately a bad experience with the dealer left me driving off the lot empty handed and sent me to another local Jeep dealer. At this next dealership, I found the Jeep Cherokee i now call my own-- a Brilliant Black painted 2015 3.2L Latitude with "Frost Beige" interior. Unfortunately, this one did not have ADII, or the cold weather package and the dealer couldn't locate the one I liked at the other dealership. So after some dealing, I ordered new Charcoal grey leather heated seats, signed the paperwork, and drove home in my new Cherokee. I'll admit I had some buyer's remorse at first, thinking about what I thought I should have got, but eventually began to enjoy it and learn the joys of modifications!

After getting the beige fabric seats taken out and the leather installed, I thought I would be perfectly happy... Well, enough is never enough, so I began the process of performing a "black-out" on my Jeep. I used to work for a local graphics company that has just gotten started into Plasti-Dip. I allowed the Latitude to be one of the first test subjects! I removed my chrome grille inserts and the silver roof rails and had them sprayed matte black. Once installed, they looked AWESOME! I decided then that I had to keep going... For the next step, I removed all of the chrome badging and emblems and replaced them with the grey emblems that are on the Trailhawk models. In addition to replacing the chrome emblems, I am putting matte black vinyl over the chrome window trim. I also put in an order for the Anthracite Grey plastidip and am currently waiting on getting my wheels back. BTW, if anyone is interested in getting their wheels dipped and wants to match the Trailhawk badge color, the Anthracite is almost a perfect match!

I figured that just modifying the overall look of my Cherokee was good, but what could I do to make it even better? After reading up on some of the threads here, I decided to purchase the Xenon Depot LED kit to install. I only read the first few posts on the thread and figured it would be easy.... Newsflash!!! Its not plug and play! SO i ordered resistors and broke out my soldering iron to fabricate a new wiring harness to make the LEDs work. (I haven't had the chance to install yet, so this is still a work in progress).

I have a few other projects in the works, and some ideas for upcoming jobs. After I get the LED headlamps installed, I am working on adding lighting in the undercarriage to mimic approach lighting found in some vehicles. I purchased LED strips which will be mounted to the frame near the doors. I have also been watching a thread on adding Puddle lamps to the mirrors, so I may attempt to do that as well.

As far as upcoming ideas, I would like to add heated mirrors. (I have them in some other vehicles, and truly miss them in my KL). I have also been looking at purchasing and installing the RRO slide rails...

I'll have more pics coming as things get completed. The first pic attached here is my KL before any exterior modifications.
 

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Nice! Looking forward to some pics. We have similar beasts/mods. I also have a black Latitude. I swapped out some emblems and the grille for the TH grey (like the way it looks against the black body) and used Anthracite for the others - a perfect match. I ended up buying the gloss black altitude roof rails which look great, and purchased the TH wheels and tires....which I might dip gloss black, haven't decided yet. I also bought the black vynil for the window surrounds, but haven't done it yet.
Awesome that you got leather seats installed! What was the $$ on that if you dont mind me asking? Was it the Katzkin leather seats done through mopar?
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
@Dunx
I looked briefly at the gloss black rails, but having them sprayed seemed so much cheaper; I got the grille and rails dipped for $100 total. We will see how it holds up. My leather interior is the Katskinz Charcoal and I'm not exactly certain of the price. I got it done at the time of purchase so the cost was merged into my financing.

I was looking for the Trailhawk wheels, 'cause I really liked the look of them. I probably would have gotten the silver/black ones, but that was before I started the blackout process. However, the anthracite on the latitude rims looks awesome! I'm looking forward to seeing it on the Jeep.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Here are some pics with the roof rails and grille dipped. Also, gotta love the black with a fresh polish. Its amazing how much depth it has!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Got the Cherokee in to a garage to get the wheels done. While I had it in, I figured I would install my XenonDepot LEDs and the vinyl on the chrome. The back section of the chrome trim was a PAIN, and I actually had to cut a sheet of vinyl to fit as the tape wouldn't go around that curve.

As for the headlights, installing them while the wheels and plastic wheel well covers are gone made life SO MUCH EASIER!!! I'm hoping my wiring holds up, but everything seems to be working fine so far!
@Wisconsin Mike, did you ever measure the temp of the aluminum heat ribbon on those LEDs while they are running? I was able to cram all of that into my light assembly with some of the wiring, but I don't want my rubber grommets or anything else to start melting or burning some night...
 

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@Dunx
I looked briefly at the gloss black rails, but having them sprayed seemed so much cheaper; I got the grille and rails dipped for $100 total. We will see how it holds up. My leather interior is the Katskinz Charcoal and I'm not exactly certain of the price. I got it done at the time of purchase so the cost was merged into my financing.

I was looking for the Trailhawk wheels, 'cause I really liked the look of them. I probably would have gotten the silver/black ones, but that was before I started the blackout process. However, the anthracite on the latitude rims looks awesome! I'm looking forward to seeing it on the Jeep.
looks great - looking forward to seeing those wheels on your jeep.
I originally dipped my rails with anthracite, but the first time I used a ratchet strap to attach something it shredded the dip right off in some spots, so unfortunately it's not durable if you plan on actually using the rails to fasten stuff to, so I bit the bullet and bought the black ones.
 

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@Wisconsin Mike, did you ever measure the temp of the aluminum heat ribbon on those LEDs while they are running? I was able to cram all of that into my light assembly with some of the wiring, but I don't want my rubber grommets or anything else to start melting or burning some night...
I never actually measured the temperature of the heatsink ribbons because I didn't think it was necessary. They stay very cool. I have ran these LEDs for fairly lengthy stretches while tinkering with them and the ribbons just get slightly warm to the touch.

From your attached picture, it *looks* like you did not swap power resistors.

You mentioned fitting some of the wiring in the headlight housing and I just want to make sure that you didn't put the original 6-Ohm power resistors that came with the LED kit inside the headlight housings. Those resistors get VERY hot and could pretty easily melt plastic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
@Wisconsin Mike, did you ever measure the temp of the aluminum heat ribbon on those LEDs while they are running? I was able to cram all of that into my light assembly with some of the wiring, but I don't want my rubber grommets or anything else to start melting or burning some night...
I never actually measured the temperature of the heatsink ribbons because I didn't think it was necessary. They stay very cool. I have ran these LEDs for fairly lengthy stretches while tinkering with them and the ribbons just get slightly warm to the touch.

From your attached picture, it *looks* like you did not swap power resistors.

You mentioned fitting some of the wiring in the headlight housing and I just want to make sure that you didn't put the original 6-Ohm power resistors that came with the LED kit inside the headlight housings. Those resistors get VERY hot and could pretty easily melt plastic.
Thanks for the info on the ribbons.

As for the resistors, I used the 6ohm ones from XenonDepot, but I mounted them to a metal post outside the assembly. I put most of the bulb connections inside, drilled the plastic cap and attached a rubber grommet to seal it. Then I ran the cables for the capacitor/diode/resistor part of the harness and it is all outside the headlamp assembly.

I hope it isn't too water sensitive casue I didn't have any good way to seal my solder points. They are just covered with electrical tape.

I'll see if I can get a pic later on... The wheels have been put back on so I may not be able to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hopefully this video uploaded right... Most recent addition to my KL, LED approach lights under the body.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Lighting upgrades... The video wouldn't attach.
 

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whoa. grill lights as well?
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·

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Yep... Saw the concept on another post (can't remember the name) but I liked how his looked. Next step is to add the RRO steprails.

Here is the link to his blog page. http://www.kylekesterson.com/blog/2014/9/29/jeep-grill-mod
yup that's forum member @Bean with his awesome looking latitude. did you do roughly the same design as him or something different? curious about some details - I don't know enough about automotive led light tinkering to be able to visualize or brainstorm a mod like that. it looks amazing though, our grille is just begging for something like that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
It was actually really simple... I couldn't find those little led squares @Bean had mentioned in his post so i used some of the excess LED strip from my undercarriage. It is flexible and has an adhesive on the back, plus it can be cut to size... I also didn't use anything to diffuse the light like the plastic he used... I just put the strip up where the grille inserts are solid so it shows under.

It is wired in with the same power as the interior lamps so when the door opens or unlocks the grille and lower lights come on. I liked the concept of having the grille lit up along with the headlamps, but in NC it borders on illegal... especially with how close they are to a blue tinge.

I will try to post some pics of the install later on... (I'm at work so i cant do that now!!!)
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
I will try to post some pics of the install later on... (I'm at work so i cant do that now!!!)
I used an all-weather adhesive to secure the strips down on the undercarriage, then a clear weatherproof silicone on the edges and solder points to seal and secure them. I didn't use any adhesive or silicone on the grille strip so it should be easily removable if needed. Unfortunately the adhesive on the LED strip is kinda weak and it keeps coming loose, so I may have to put some silicone down anyways.

It may not look the best when you get under the hood or look under the sidewalls, but it's the best I know how to do at the moment, and IMHO, the finished product (from the outside) looks just fine.
 

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Here's a second about learning where you tapped power... I really like the look of the 'glow' on the grill; I may tap into the headlights and just run that look all the time - it's not really throwing a beam and as long as I keep the color mostly white, shouldn't be any legal issues. Wheels look good too since your bottom pic is first I've seen them mounted.
 
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