One of the first modifications I made to the TJ was the addition of a CB radio. I wanted to take her off road, and my Jeepin’ buddies suggested that I get one so we could all stay in contact on the trail.
One of the trickiest parts about adding equipment to a Jeep is finding a place to mount it. Dashboard real estate is at a premium in most Wranglers, especially in the TJ. When factoring in that I’d rather not bang my hand into anything while shifting the transmission – space got tighter.
I searched JeepForum.com and endless other websites for prime CB mounting locations. A lot of folks will drill holes in the lower plastic console and mount the CB next to the shifter on the right (above the transmission tunnel) – I didn’t like this idea too much as it would prevent the passenger seat from tumbling forward. Not to mention that passenger leg room was tight enough as it is, without adding a CB radio into the mix. I looked into overhead racks, but who wants a CB lingering over their head, blocking the summer sun when the top’s down? Others mount their radios behind the center console, above the air vents on the dash, or even under their seats… none of these were too appealing to me.
I disconnected the wires from the radio, and decided to just see where it would fit… what could I modify to make it easily accessible, yet, out of the way? After some serious guesstimating, and expert eye-balling… I marked and drilled two holes in the center bezel (after removing it from the dash) and secured the CB mounting bracket through it using some spare bolts I had rolling around in the back of the Jeep.
pure luck expert measurement skills – the CB sits just above the lower coin tray, does not interfere with shifting of the AX-15, and allows the passenger seat to tumble forward as it always has (with a few swear words and some shoulder action.) I used the CB’s mounting bracket to route the mic cable away from the shifter – to further ensure comfortable gear selection. Note that this placement may will interfere with later TJs equipped with the passenger air bag shutoff switch.
[As you can see in the photo – I added a mount for my iPhone as well (in its oh-so-sweet yellow and black OtterBox defender case.) The OtterBox and ProClip iPhone Mount are the two best Jeep/iPhone combination products on the market today. I’ll be sure to give them the proper PocketScale review soon enough.]
Now that the CB itself was mounted; it was time to run the coax for the antenna as well as wires for power. I often tell people that the first time you drill holes into your Jeep is the hardest – but after that you barely give it a second thought.
I routed the coax up under the dash behind the glove box, up the A pillar and along the roll bars to the rear thanks to a few dozen zip ties. Since I was eying a spare tire carrier that bolted through the body on the passenger side; I drilled a few holes and mounted the antenna on the drive’s side above the tail light.
After a few attempts of snaking the power wires through existing passages through the fire wall; I drilled a small hole to feed them into the engine bay right by the battery.
This setup has worked very well for the last two years – but with new ideas and plans for additional gear; I will need to take a page from the CJ modification book and rework the whole dash… we’ll see how that goes.