HOME
Jeeps
Jeep XJ

My Jeep
A/C Cupholders

Air-Conditioned Cupholders


That's right - I said Air-Conditioned Cupholders. No, it's not some fruu-fruu piece of junk from Steel Horse, these are a variation on an idea I first saw in an Aussie Cherokee, about 2/3 the way down GoJeep's page.

I have no place to work metal, but do have plenty of woodworking tools in the garage I use. Since I had plywood on-hand from various projects including the storage box it was a no-brainer to use that with the cupholder too. The biggest stalling point on this project was actually the holders. GoJeep used what looks like a plastic drawer in his project, but I didn't want to buy a soft-sided drink-holder thermal bag just to get the plastic insert. Then another Jeeper pointed out the wire-mesh pencil holders from Target that he was planning to use for front cupholders. That's when I realized they would do the job perfectly. Once I seal up the box, the wire mesh will allow cold air to flow through and keep most drink bottles cold. The holders are large enough to fit a 20oz bottle or most drive-thru drinks.

One of my Production Assistants checking the initial framework to make sure it is easily reachable
One of my Production Assistants checking the initial framework to make sure it is easily reachable

As you can see from the picture below, I made extensions for the lower sides to sit between the front seat and center console. The bottom of the box is contoured to fit the driveshaft tunnel, and the back fits up against the front of the rear seat.

After making sure the box fit, I had to figure some way to channel the cold air from the vents at the bottom of the center console up to the pencil holders...errr...cup holders. My first attempt used tin foil wrapped around an inflated bicycle inner tube. The idea was that once the foam had expanded, I could collapse the inner tube and pull it out. I found out the hard way that foam will crush the inner tube. The next step was to use something more rigid. I bought some PVC pipe and elbows but using my overkill engineering I even wrapped THAT in tin foil before final positioning - hopefully it will keep the PVC insulated better..

There are four PVC 'channels' in the box; the outer pair both travel back along the outer edge of the box before bending upward to the front of the cupholder. The inner pairs met at the back of the box and bend upward to vent at the rear of the cupholders. Once those were in place and securely duct-taped, it was time to use the ol' expanding foam again. One thing I learned the first tim around is to take your time. I sprayed too much foam, too thick, and too fast and learned that while the surface cured, the insides were still trying to expand and cure, making the whole thing an intolerable mess.

Note: Expanding foam will stick to EVERYTHING it touches -
Don't get it on the floor, walls, dog or anything else that should not be insulated.
Remove it immediately with a damp paper towel.

The almost finished product. I will need to carve some foam out of the front so that the box will clear the back of the armrest while it is installed. You can clearly see the driver's side PVC channel inlets The almost finished product.  I will need to carve some foam out of the front so that the box will clear the back of the armrest while it is installed.  You can clearly see the driver's side PVC channel inlets

Now all I have left is to carpet the top and sides to match the rest of the Jeep and we're in business for this summer...errr...winter!!

e-mail Jim
created: March 22, 2004
Revised Sept 19, 2005