Project XK: Underway

The proper build-up of any Jeep begins, of course, with the simple things. For most of us, the first step is always to transfer portable goodies from the old rig to the new one.

Unfortunately for me, many of those goodies happen to be in Colorado still, like my ViAir portable air unit and my beloved first aid kit. (So here’s hoping nobody gets bitten by a poisonous snake on our drive to Colorado in a few days!) I have been able to move over a few things in preparation for the trip, though: the fire extinguisher, a few tools, and some other items of standard equipment. The rest will come soon enough.

Not to worry, though: I’ve done a bit of trip-related work worth reporting about.

Rola Pursuit Cargo Carrier

First up, the Rola Pursuit cargo carrier that I purchased for Stage 3 of the LJ build-up.  I’d left it here since I didn’t need it on the one-way trip I took driving the LJ out there, and I thought I’d see what it looked like on the new XK. Turns out, it doesn’t look bad at all.  One of the advantages to the Pursuit, I think, is not only how well-built the carrier is (especially for the price), but how conveniently it packs down.  Here it is on the XK, tucked into its handy cover:

Rola cargo carrier down.

Rola cargo carrier down.

Perhaps a minute later (I had to set the camera down), the carrier was folded up and prepared for some weather-proof, aerodynamic cargo carrying. The color scheme probably isn’t quite as perfect as it was for my silver-and-black LJ, but it still looks darn good:

Rola carrier ready for cargo.

Rola carrier ready for cargo.

GoGroove Flex Pod for iPhone

Last summer, we at last foresook the massive “book of CDs” that for years had accompanied us back and forth across the country.  Instead, we took even more music (basically the entire contents of our listening library, in fact) on the tiny, reliable, oh-so-wonderful iPod Touch.  To play our fruity beauty in a clean and efficient way, I replaced the stock stereo in our then-new Kia Rondo.

This summer, we faced a harder decision. We still have that iPod Touch, but now we also have the glorious iPhone 3GS.  I’ve tried not to post too much about it, but it is awesome. These things must be played in the Commander, yet our used XK isn’t new enough to feature the necessary auxiliary inputs for an iPod connection — the very same problem we faced with the Rondo. Making things more difficult, though, the stereo in the XK doesn’t suck. It is, in fact, a 6-CD changer GPS-navigation headunit that also controls the in-flight entertainment system (i.e., the rear DVD player).

Since we decided we wouldn’t replace the stereo (if nothing else, it would cost a grand to get something comparable), our options were limited. There are some accessory plugs that wire into the back of the unit and would take control of a regular iPod, but reports on their ability to handle the iPhone were spotty.  Plus, we’d prefer to use the controls on the iPhone/iPod itself (rather than a hacked-off version on the stereo.  Aside from all that, I wanted something that would charge the iPhone.

Enter the GoGroove Flex Pod from Accessory Power:

GoGroove Flex Pod

GoGroove Flex Pod

Bought on Amazon for a lot less than a new stereo (cost: $35), this sure looks like the solution to our problems. It’s a one-piece FM transmitter and iPod charger that also works with the iPhone 3GS.  Here’s what it looks like plugged in:

Ready for iPhone!

Ready for iPhone!

Note the little LED light on the cigarette-lighter plugin portion at the bottom. My only complaint so far is the fact that getting that light to turn off (to get the Flexpod to cease drawing power off the battery, in other words), one must pull the whole unit out.  I’d prefer if it had an on/off switch of some kind so I could just leave it plugged in all the time.  That said, the device seems very solidly built.

It works!

It works!

As you can see, it has no problem holding up the weight of the iPhone, and it has lots of tight adjustability for getting things angled just right.  You can’t hear it, of course, but I assure you that as I took this picture I could hear the iPhone loud and clear.  As an added bonus, this set-up also allows hands-free calling (using the new iPhone’s voice calling feature).  Very nice.

Up Next

I know.  Nothing too exciting. Don’t worry, though: the real fun begins soon enough.  If all goes well, shortly after arrival in Colorado I’ll be installing a number of skidplates from 4xGuard as well as a 4″ lift-kit courtesy of the good folks at BDS Suspension. Oh, and bigger tires.  And some other things, too.

The game, one might say, is well underway.


  1. Pingback: Project XK: Underway | Adobe Tutorials

  2. Just as a quick heads-up for folks, I’ve subsequently realized that of the two cigarette-lighter ports on the dash, it is only the right-hand one that is “live” all the time. I’ve now moved my iPhone dock/charger device to the left-hand one, which is only powered with the ignition. As a result, I can leave it plugged in all the time! (Added bonus, it’s also closer to me.)

  3. GoGroove Flex Pod… amazing choice! 🙂 Also- thanks so much for the update about the cigarette lighter ports, when I was showing this post to my husband he mentioned that some cars now have that feature, how funny that you let us know! Thanks for the great post!

  4. You’re welcome, Corky. My Flex Pod finally kicked the bucket about a month ago, and I’ve had to replace it with an updated version, which I’ve also been quite pleased with.

  5. It is a wise decision not to replace the stereo!

  6. A full system replacement is the best thing to do, Michael! 🙂 I love the GoGroove Flex Pod. Nice choice!

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