@LILWB, these are in no way a complete pros/cons list but they do come to mind fairly quick.
- Pros: easy, already there, don't have to remove the spare from inside the vehicle.
- Cons: still have to lift the spare - higher, in fact, to get it mounted. If you're parallel parked and have curbside cargo to load, guess what's in the way? If you parked on a hill facing any direction, guess what is being acted upon by gravity?
- Pros: no gravitational forces trying to swing it open or closed, no obstruction to curbside loading, spare only needs to be lifted to the height of the gate, extended bed area w/o concern for a gate swinging in the breeze, flat surface for work/recreational/extended bed purposes, less worry of tagging the car behind you when opening while parallel parked, no spare to cave in the gate - potentially tweaking the tub - when rear-ended by soccer mom...I'm sure there are more.
- Cons: have to install, extra $ investment, question of fab-bers skill in engineering...I'm sure there are more.
To the rest...
A harness system has yet to be researched. My current concerns given I want aftermarket, heated seats; what issues do I incur with the factory nanny-state systems? I'm not too keen on the factory seatbelt system. It seems mounting the latch point to the seat is another stupid idea; what if a seat mount gives way? I believe the harness is desirably superior. Finding the right seat and overcoming/working with the factory "brains" is an issue to be resolved. Currently, other priorities are on the block. See below.
Hydraulic steering assist? Another system I have only vague familiarity, tho'.
I'm legally, from a technical standpoint, allowed full hydraulic steering. Some of those systems appears promising despite potential highway driving issues...more research.
In cab/radio comms.? You mean like driver/passenger headsets, or spotter/driver comms? My CB has a PA function and I plan to carry a pair of FRS radios.
I have no interest in OnStar type systems for my safety/security. If I'm gonna Darwin myself in the boonies, I'll be dead before they find me anyway.
The spare will be bolted down to the slant back of a custom, locking, bolt-down/removable, storage box. This will be the most in-depth fabricated component. There are many "incorporations" in the idea phase. It won't be cheap, so its use better be as all-encompassing as possible. If it works well enough, maybe someone will wanna buy one.
Do I know when/if my project will begin?
Ha. I wish. It prolly comes as no surprise to you vets of serious offroad builds, there's always that guy who asks all the dream build questions with no reasonable chance of ever fulfilling his end. I don't want to be that guy.
And, as y'all know, priorities and ideas change...back to the drawing board.
I've since reconsidered my lift/axle/steering wants...total game-changer. From upgrading stock axle housings to Dynatracs, and from 2.5" to 3.5-4.5", money is beginning to make this one hell of a project. I have it, the question is, will I be allowed to spend it? I don't want to end up with a stock JK that's piece-mealed over the course of ownership. I want it from the git-go to enjoy over the course of ownership. If it's gonna happen, it'll be decided by the end of the year.
It's a very delicate, ongoing negotiation. We're talking about a $50K+ Wrangler. My wife has heretofore been receptive. That, however, is not a go-ahead.
I'd say, wish me luck, but it's gonna take a lot more than that.