Been where you are... My project tub came from JP Offroad which is an exact copy of the Aquala tub as I see in the pics they show. The prices I got when gathering quotes had the AL tub running about $500 higher than the steel one. Easier to swallow since rust is GONE!
Installation: My tub did not have ANY holes pre-drilled meaning every bolt had to be measured, drilled and tapped. Lots of time to get it right. I hear the Matkins body is already drilled and tapped. Painting required an etching primer for the base primer to stick. It was my first time to take on that job and it went okay. A definite learning process.
Delivery: JP Offroad did a POOR job of delivery. Timing was okay BUT there was several scabbed up areas on the side where it rode on truck. The side was even pushed in a little, not much, but enough to not look flat down the length of the tub. Took a BFH to a block of wood and got the warp out it.
Still a work in progress as I just scored some YJ full doors to add to it. Check out the pics closely and you will see some slick tricks that I wanted which the aluminum tub allowed me to do, such as: TJ profiled flares, flush mounted tailights and enough room to clear the 700R4 tranny. Let me know what ya'll think....
Looks so clean..
Did you shoot the paint your self ???
And I like the stock rear bumper on it or is there more to follow back there?
The TJ Flares look really good you would never know the jeep design was 25+/- years old!!!
The only defference in the ones on the web site and the ones with the super fine shine is the elbow greese.
In fact they are pretty straight. But if you want that shine you have to work for it. I think they reccomend starting at 400 grit and then going up from there. Nice thing about aluminum is that you can fab what you want then sand and polish. They are really thick sheet metal 5/32"s. So it takes a good bit to hurt them.
Down side is tha there is a lot to keeping them polished. Lots of waxing. But they do take paint really well. just be carefull when bolting steel espicall stainless to the body. You will get galvanic corosion. A thin sheet of plastic or old inner tube will break that contact.
When running wires, use a seperate ground like you would with Fiberglass. Much more reliable then using the body.
It's good to hear something good about all the hard Jeep work. Thanks!!
Now about the shiny aluminum... FINE grit sanding and LOTS of polich time on a wheel. WAY more trouble than paint up front, however, get a scratch just buff it out.
Yes, I shot my own paint. It was my first time and I done a BUNCH of redo work until I could get a suitable finish without orange peel, pits or bug legs.
About the bulkhead... The new bulkhead I got is fiberglass and is suppossed to contour with the "factory" pillar behind the door. My tub's pillar is vertical and will require me to trim about 1" off the bottom of each side of the bulkhead. That's why you don't see the top on there yet. I been thinking hard before I saw up my new parts.
Still not sure what I wanna do with the rear bumper. I had a factory chrome bumper like Hazard's but I think I'm going to cutomize a thin length of channel or square tube on each side of the license plate. We'll see.
If you fellas decide to go aluminum and want the fenders to match, PLEASE be advised... you will be doing some modifications to get the "factory" jeep look. Those fenders came to me looking more like a flat fendered jeep of old.
You're right, Joel. That's another reason my new "8" sits up higher. That tub is LIGHT!!
The aluminum tub was easily off loaded and manipulated with just the truck driver and me. After the crate was busted off, it was easy to pick up and position in my makeshift paint booth all by my lonesome. After body painted with fenders and hood, the results showed very little compression of my leaf springs. It even rides smoother than before which surprised me and I ain't complaining..
My old burnt steel tub was hard to even budge. It took 3 grown men to pick it up in a strain and waddle load it onto the haul off trailer. A BEAR!! Check out the before and afters my old steel tub...
No Jamy... I did crank it up with the open headers just to see and WOW!! Definitely had to smother some of that sound.
You can't see them but at the end of the header there are stainless noise cones like the race boys use. They really knocked out the slap of the exhaust. Then you see the turbo catalytic and regular flow muffler. Took a little doing to get a good sound. Worst part is they are rock bait. Once I smush them a few times I'll figure out a way to tuck them in.
I just bought my aqualu. The company is great and I ordered mine through TDK and got a hell of a deal. Just a warning though, shipping was terrible. the tub was scratched and dented. I will be able to buff most of it out. Fortunately I have some of ohio's best sheetmetal workers at my disposal. On another note. I am not going to paint or leave it bear. Pretty much anything can be done with powdercoating these days. Any color, any finish, and it is only a fraction of the cost of paint. I'm sending mine to Tristate Fabricators for powdercoating. They coat heavy machinery. The only downside to the tub is the lack of factory holes, which depending on how you look at it could be good or bad.