|Tuffy Console Review for Jeep Wrangler||Short Cuts|
|by: Terry L. Howe
|The radio and part of the dash were stolen|
Our Wrangler was going through stereos so fast, sometimes it felt like we were getting a new one with every oil change. If the weather wasn't soaking the stereo's delicate electronics, some loser was ripping it off. There isn't much satisfaction knowing the thief ran off with a broken stereo when they break other things in their haste. Tuffy to the rescue!
The Tuffy Security Products manufactures a wide range of storage containers for various applications. What we wanted in particular was the one of their center consoles for the Wrangler because it not only provides security for your belongings, it moves the radio out of the dash (where the water seems to flow heaviest). I'd seen their center console used in the 1999 Colorado Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs Raffle Jeep, and I was real impressed.
The Tuffy console replaces the cheesy stock plastic console with an all metal console constructed of 16 gauge metal. The Tuffy console features a tubular key lock and a textured powder coat finish.
Prior to installing the console, wires need to be run for the stereo. I've never been a big fan of doing stereo installations, but often it seems like doing it yourself is the only way to get it done right. Also, the last thief had damaged the wiring harness for the stereo, so I needed to figure out what wires went where.
I ended up running new wires for the speakers, so I just needed to run power wires for the radio. A simple 3-foot antenna extension was enough to extend the antenna wire out to the console. All the wires were run under the carpet and out of areas where they might be stepped on.
|Installing the neoprene tape|
Once the stereo wires were ready, all I had to do was remove the old console which required a 5/16" wrench. Once the old console was out, I filled my pockets with spare change that had fallen down there over the last six years.
The Tuffy console is shipped partially disassembled, so there is some minor assembly work to do to get it prepared for installation. There is a mounting bracket and drink holder that need to be attached to the console. The drink holder can be installed on the front or back of the console. I opted to install it on the front because it seemed like it would be more convenient for the driver and it gives more room for the shifters. Small plastic plugs are supplied to fill the holes that are not used.
There is some neoprene seal for the doors that is used to dampen sound and seal out the dust and moisture. I went ahead and put on the tape while the console was on the floor.
|The console in place just behind the shift boots|
When the console has been assembled, it is just a matter of setting it in, centering it up, and marking out the holes to drill in the floor. You need to drill three 3/8" holes through the floor to be used with the three 5/16" bolts that hold the console in place. You need to check underneath the Jeep to make sure you aren't going to drill through anything, although on our Wrangler this wasn't a problem. The front holes came out above the transfer case and the rear holes above the rear drive shaft.
I used a black magic marker to mark the holes on the carpet and drilled right through the carpet. For best results, you want to get the mounting bracket centered up over the little hump in the floor behind the transmission hump.
The console comes with self-locking nuts, so my wife tightened the bolts from above while I held the nuts from below. I've noticed she is more helpful in the garage if I don't ask her to lay on her back under the Jeep with dirt falling in her face.
The console also comes with some straps on the side to hole the seat belt ends in place. It is easier to install these after the console is in place, although I didn't do it that way. The straps have been handy since they seem to reduce the number of times the passenger seat belt gets jammed in the passenger seat when you fold the seat forward and back.
The console has worked great; we haven't lost a radio yet. The color matches the "spice" color used on the interior of the Jeep perfectly. It is a bit strange getting used to the new location of the radio, but I'm hoping the hole in the dash will discourage thieves. The
|Tuffy console on the floor|
radio is now very difficult to steal since it is bolted with the strap on the back of the radio -- you need to remove the console to get at this bolt. I've been thinking of tack welding the ends of the bolts that hold down the console, this would make it impossible to remove the console (or the radio) without grinding the bolts off.