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Project Cross Trainer Gets
Rhino Lining

By Cole Ford

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Getting Prepared for Rhino Lining

Rhino Linings
Thanks to Maxair for their great work.

Rhino Linings
The tub is stripped and ready to go.

Rhino Linings
Wire harnesses pulled in preparation.

Rhino Linings
Jeep full of parts to be lined.

Rhino Linings
Before photo of our powder-coated rockers.

Rhino Linings
Before photo of our Sahara's fender flares.

Despite the 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.

The bumpers, 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.

Why play 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.

The Rhino 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 very cheap.

I spent 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.

I decided 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 I want?

After discussing 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.

Meanwhile, 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.





Rhino Linings USA, Inc.
Info: www.rhinolinings.com
Brochure: www.rhinolinings.com/realrhino/brochure_request.html
9151 Rehco Road
San Diego, CA 92121
Phone: (800) 447-1471

8484 S. Valley Highway
Englewood, CO 90112
Phone: (303) 706-0000


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