That Time I Installed a Misting System in My Jeep

So my buddy and I had this great idea one time to install a misting system inside our Jeeps to keep us cool out in the desert on the trail. This was an awesome idea paper, fantastic in my driveway, totally awesome in every way…until we actually got on the trail.

I was pretty proud of the design too. We picked up some (empty) insecticide spray bottle kits, the ones with the pump handle on top that you use to pressurize the tank. Then we replaced that nozzle with some off the shelf fittings hooked up to an on/off valve that went out to some rubber drip irrigation lines that we zip-tied along the roll bar.

Then we just added some mist nozzles every two feet or so, and we had ourselves a great little system. The tank was strapped behind the center console within easy reach to pump up, then the line ran across the back of the seat and up the B pillar, where the on/off valve was, then the misters lined the roll bar in a halo around the front two seats. Six to seven pumps to pressurize the bottle would be good for a solid 10 minutes of misting heaven – a godsend when sitting in 90-100 plus degree heat on the trail, which is just brutal.

This was about 10 years ago now. I tried to find pictures of our set up, but they apparently haven’t lasted the test of time, which is a real shame. This poor Jeep is the same one that my buddy and I would later get stuck in a rising creek, a story you can read here.

So Where Did It All Go Wrong?

Coyote Canyon OHV Trail, Anza Borrego, California

Well, the issue came from the fact that Jeeps — like every other car I’ve ever seen or heard of — don’t have windshield wipers on the inside of the windshield. I wouldn’t say this fact was exactly news to us at the time, but I’ll be honest, it’s not something we considered. This being a sunny Saturday morning, we decided to go test these out and headed straight for a nearby trail in Ramona, Ca. As we pulled onto the trail, I decided I would enjoy some refreshing misty goodness that would have any of my fellow air condition-less Jeepers jealous to the point of tears.

I flipped the lever and basked in the cool, refreshing glory of my ingenious engineering, and set off up the trail. “Ah yes,” I thought, “the breeze from driving will cool me down even more!” To be fair, it absolutely did, and it felt great. Just as I picked up my CB receiver tell my buddy how great this was, that same breeze also whipped that lovely mist (and my ego) onto the inside of my windshield.

Hmm. Well, that’s a little annoying, not a huge deal I guess. We carried on a bit, and I noticed that even on this moderately dusty trail, dirt was beginning to accumulate on the moisture on the inside of the windshield. My instinct to hit the windshield wipers only served to rub in just how stupid of an idea this was turning out to be. I grabbed a rag from behind my seat and wiped away some of the dust and moisture, but it mostly just spread it all around.

Note to Garrett from 10 years ago: Windshield wipers only work on the outside. Thank you.

“OK,” I said to myself, “so maybe I’ll only use it only when I’m sitting still so it won’t blowback onto the windshield.” So my buddy and I stopped and of course, he was having the same issue with his. After cleaning off the inside of my windshield, I decided to give the misters another go, this time just sitting still like had worked so well in my driveway. Nope. The mild breeze of the trail immediately coated the inside of the windshield again. It only took 10-15 minutes for it to really start to build up, and not just on the windshield, dust was sticking to every surface like crazy and was evolving from being just dust to a fine layer of slick mud.

And what’s more is that things were becoming a little more uh, leaky than was forecasted in the 5-minute “design phase” of this whole operation that took place in the Home Depot aisle where we grabbed the parts. This is really one of those times where the highs are high and the lows are low. What stung though, is how little time the high point lasted here, but that’s what I get for not thinking things through, I suppose.

I was fine with taking a few drops from the lines around me, but there was a fairly steady drip above the passenger seat, and it was getting a little soaked, and I, of course, had no seat covers to protect them. There was also a nice little puddle forming behind my seat from where I had rigged and fitted the rubber drip irrigation line to the nozzle of the sprayer. It seems that I had over pressurized the tank for what it could handle. But hey, it’s a Jeep! What’s a little standing water gonna hurt? Turns it wouldn’t matter in the long run, because like I mentioned before, this same Jeep would be stuck flooded in a rising creek in a few short months anyway.

So yeah. This ended up being pretty useless unless we wanted to put the windshield down every time we hit the trail, which any Jeep owner who has tried it knows this is another idea that’s more fun in theory than in reality.

It’s OK, Not All Was Lost

AutoAnything Rigs and Coffee, 2019

After giving up on this little idea for a little while, I decided not to let this little setback ruin what was otherwise a cool little system. I went back to the drawing board and decided to repurpose it for the fold-out canopy that we would bring out camping and to the race track. I doubled the length of the lines, spaced out the misters, and attached hooks every few feet to easily hang on the easy-up.

That along with fixing a few leaks meant we had a cool little system for misting the camp or our spot in the pits and upping from a one-gallon tank to two seemed to be just about enough to last an afternoon when used in moderation. In fact, in looking around online now, it looks like you can buy kits that look just about identical to what we made ourselves, but those cost easily four to five times what our total cost was, and it was so easy to put together, that I see no reason to shell out $100-$120 for one.

So I can’t say I’ve always made the best decisions, but I usually make some pretty entertaining ones. So I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.

ed. note: This article was provided by AutoAnything, and we felt that the editorial merit was worth sharing it with you.

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About the author

Garrett Davis

Garrett has something of a sickness when it comes to cars, working on everything from Jeeps, to sports cars, to over-engineered German nightmares. Currently he is embroiled in an Audi Allroad offroad project, and is slowly losing his grasp on sanity.
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