We recently came across a great deal on a TJ that had definitely seen better days. The Jeep had been modified with some quality parts, but sadly, the years and previous owners hadn’t treated it well. There were multiple items inside and out that needed serious attention from a broken axleshaft to a busted windshield, as well as a few other repairs. We knew those repairs wouldn’t change much about the way this Wrangler looked. What this Jeep needed right away was an interior makeover.
The main areas we wanted to focus on to bring the interior of this TJ back to life were the carpet, center console, and the seats. The first two components simply needed to be replaced since they were in such rough shape. The integrity of the seats was still intact, but we wanted to make them look better than new while also making them better suited to withstand year-round conditions.
We could have simply torn what was left of the factory carpet out and left the interior bare, but that wouldn’t have been any more of an improvement than if we had just replaced it with another factory kit. We intended to transform this interior into what we felt it should have shipped with from the assembly line. The goal wasn’t to make it like it new—our goal was to make the interior better than new and ready to handle all four seasons, whether we had the top on or off.
For the floor, we chose to go with a BedRug, which is designed to handle the elements of all seasons, and as an added bonus, helps insulate much better than a standard carpet while also working as a sound deadener. The install was fairly easy. A good cleaning and prepping of the tub was needed before attaching the hook and loop fasteners, then attaching each piece of the BedRug as we went.
Even though the BedRug is capable of handling much of the wear and tear a Jeep that’s not a mall crawler would endure, we added a Rugged Ridge front and rear floor-liner kit. This four-piece Rugged Ridge floor liner set makes clean up much easier after a day of four-wheeling or from any accidental spills. After removing the tan pads from the roll bar, it appeared a little bare, so we added a set of soft grab handles from Rugged Ridge.
When it came to replacing the center console, we knew the Jeep would spend plenty of time topless. We wanted some sense of security and place to lock up our belongings should we decide to go for a hike. Tuffy is a name synonymous with security, so we chose one of its Wrangler units that allowed for one more 8-inch speaker to be added to the current stereo system. After all, more is better right? The new console came ready with everything needed to fit either a manual or automatic transmission to give it a clean, finished look. It bolted down securely and gave us the confidence that our belongings will be secure when we are away from the Jeep.
The seats are probably the most visible part of the interior, and although the originals were intact, they were stained and looked horrible. We wanted to have something that looked as good as it performs, so the obvious choice was Wet Okole. With a wide variety of color and design options we had a tough time deciding which to go with. Because we were planning to upgrade with something of this magnitude and quality, why not take it a step further and add the same comfort to our TJ that a new JK could have. With a simple plug-and-play design, we added seat heaters and a lumber support to this TJ. All we had to do was insert the heating element in the covers and allow enough room for the power cord to plug into the lighter when we want to use it.
As the project progressed we realized the dash and door panels looked tired and didn’t match up well with the colors of the new interior parts. We pulled as much of the dash out and apart as possible and removed the door panels to ensure complete coverage. Our local auto parts store had some Dupli-Color Vinyl & Fabric Paint. After all of the parts were out of the vehicle, they were thoroughly washed with soap and water first and then with Mineral Spirits. Everything was masked off to avoid overspray, and multiple light coats were applied until full and complete coverage. After allowing the parts to properly dry overnight I reassembled them and began putting the dash back together.
With a little patience, it’s easy to find some great deals on older Wranglers. If you’re willing to put in a little time and effort and incorporate some good products, you can also easily give almost any older Wrangler, whether it’s a Jeep YJ or TJ, a brand-new look.