fact that the Project Cross Trainer is only a few years old (1998),
it is already showing the signs of wear of an older Jeep. The
front bumper, grill, tip of the hood, and the tip of the front
fenders have all been pelted with rock chips from highway use,
which has started to turn the front of our nice black Jeep gray.
Prepared for Rhino Lining
to Maxair for their great work.
tub is stripped and ready to go.
harnesses pulled in preparation.
full of parts to be lined.
photo of our powder-coated rockers.
photo of our Sahara's fender flares.
rockers and flares have taken a serious beating from the rocks
on the trail, as well. The constant use of the bumpers and rockers
as steps has dulled the finish with little scratches. While
this may seem like pointless complaining to some, many others
have put lots of time and money in our rigs and wish to keep
them in good shape. We want to play hard, but keep our rigs
maintained so that we can play with them harder another day.
Since the Cross Trainer plays double duty as trail rig and daily
driver, I have also discovered, like generations of military
personnel and farmers before me, its usefulness as an all-around
utility vehicle. For example, I have used the bed of the Jeep
just like a truck bed for camping gear and general hauling.
with the Rhino?
Several years ago I researched bed liners to put in my old YJ.
At the time, the only thing I was after was creating a surface
with better traction for my dog. I was tired of him slipping
and falling in the back of the Jeep while we were on the trail.
I called several companies and asked them to ship me samples,
which sat on my desk for months. Whenever I was bored I would
torture the samples by tearing at them with pliers, lighting
them on fire, etc. Some of the brands failed horribly by peeling
or cracking, while some of them did extremely well.
lining did awesome, surviving all of the tests. While this was
not exactly the scientific approach, it did convince me that
there was a significant difference from one bed liner to the
next. It did not teach me my lesson, though. I decided that
I could not afford a sprayed-in bed liner and chose to go with
a generic brand that I found in a hardware store, which was
a weekend putting in my cheap liner in my Jeep and it covered
fine. Two weeks later we were in Moab, UT when I realized that
the plain black bed liner was just too hot and would cook my
poor dog. This forced me to keep the carpet in my Jeep all the
time, which was just as well since the liner offered very little
protection from scratching the bed, no sound damping and really
did not look all that good, which was partially my fault for
doing a poor application.
right then and there that if I ever had another Jeep I would
not compromise on this again. While at the SEMA Show (Specialty
Equipment Marketing Association) in Las Vegas, Nevada this year
I picked up another sample of the Rhino sprayed-on polyurethane
lining. It reminded me exactly how tough this stuff is. When
it is sprayed on it is applied between 1/8" and 1/4"
in thickness, which is much thicker than the paint-on stuff
I had used before. I was also intrigued by the ability to color-match
to any color. This could be the perfect solution for Project
Cross Trainer. Why settle for a black bed liner that would make
my Jeep look like a truck bed when I could make it any color
our project with Rhino Linings USA, Inc., we decided we could
use the product to restore the good looks of Project Cross Trainer
and gain a high level of protection against further wear, so
we went all out with our application.
The Jeep is a Wrangler Sahara with tan and green interior. We
wanted to retain the factory look of the interior and enhance
the usefulness of it at the same time. We trimmed a small piece
of carpet from the Jeep so that Rhino Linings USA, Inc. could
match the color exactly. It took about a week to match the color
and get the product to my local Rhino Linings shop.
I was busy taking everything out of the interior of the Jeep.
I stripped the inside of the Jeep down to the absolute minimum
I needed to drive it back to the shop. When I was done, the
only things left were the driver seat and factory cage. When
I took the Jeep to Maxair, my local Rhino Linings dealer, they
had all kinds of questions for me.
I met with
Rob Bouwens, the technician, to discuss exactly how I would
like the Jeep to look when it was done. I originally wanted
the Rhino lining to cover the bed rails for added protection,
but Rob pointed out that since the Rhino lining is at least
1/8" thick that my hardtop may not fit right if we Rhino
lined the bed rails. He also convinced me that it would look
better with the tan color only on the inside of the tub. He
suggested that we bring the tan Rhino lining up into the door
sill of the Jeep to protect the entrance of the Jeep, which
was a great idea that I had not thought of. We both agreed to
apply the Rhino lining as far up under the dash as possible,
which would offer the best looks and sound deadening.