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Old 09-08-2010, 06:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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H3 Long Travel Build

We are making a few improvements over the OEM parts and making what will hopefully be even more of a well balanced trail rig than it already is. It had some pretty serious short comings but all in all, it's survived most of what I've put it through both rock crawling and desert running. We know what Rod Hall and Sam Cothrun have done for them, and I'm taking it to a little different level. Like Tech Tim can be quoted as saying "A Trail Runner".

The project is being done at Motorsports Fabrication Services in Lincoln, CA by Jeff Hayer

Nothing extreme, just, I hope, a bit more capable in both the rocks and the desert, and something that most any fabricator can do for their clients.

Lets start with the weaknesses:

Aluminum Front Housing AAM760 IFS: too small for the weight of the vehicle
Steering Rack : set a little bit outside a proper placement for correct pivot points
SuspensionTravel - stock being around 4.0"

The improvements:

Dana 44 Center section
35 spline flanges
ARB 35 spline D44 Locker
Custom Steering rack
Long travel A-Arms (upper and lower)
Custom Intermediate Shaft using GM 2500/3500 tripod inner and CV outer

Other changes:

38" BFG KM2's (365 75 R16)
5:13 gears front and rear (rear being a GM AAM860 10 bolt which will get changed to a fabricated 9" full float Ford when funds provide :-)
Fox Coil over shocks with hoops F/R (2.0 10" travel front and 12" travel rear)
Eliminating Torsion Bars
Complete sub frame for lower a-arm mounts
Keeping the Stock Cast Knuckles

I may do some pre-running in it, and some chasing, but the main focus of the project is to make it stronger where it is weak , and to give it a bit more trail worthiness, all while keeping it street-able. It's been my daily driver for over 5 years/116K miles. I am a total n00b when it comes to fabrication, I only know what has been done in the shop and what I have researched on my own. We are going to keep the geometry as stock as possible and only change what has to be changed. We are in the beginning stages so input is welcome.

Pics to follow as we progress - I am looking for a budget steering rack and pinion that we can use with the existing OEM steering set up (with limited modifications). I've seen some long travel 2500 kits here, and they are using the stock R&P, but we are moving the A-arms 2" inboard as well as 2" outboard.

Here is where we are starting from -

Current mods from stock

Rod Hall Fox Shocks - 2" piggy backs 4.5 inches travel in the front, 8 inches travel in the rear
Spring Over Conversion Rear
High Angle Rear Driveline 1350 Double Cardon
35" BFG KM2's
Hutchinson Beadlocks
Sway Away Torsion Bars (30% over stock spring rate)



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Old 09-08-2010, 06:33 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The tear down -







Half shaft comparison - the two upper axles are H3 and the lower is a 2500/3500/H2. The H3 shafts are CV inner and outer. The larger in CV outer and Tripot Inner.



The raw working space:



OEM Rack location:

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Old 09-08-2010, 06:38 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The H2/2500/3500 outer fits beautifully into the H3 spindle - the stock lower A-Arm does bind on the H2 outer joint, but we are going with custom lower a-arms, so that can be remedied easily.

Here is the general idea, again this is a mock up (just thinking it through still) with a high pinion D44 TTB.



But then after staring and measuring, the oil pan became a definite concern.



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Old 09-08-2010, 06:44 PM   #4 (permalink)
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So after more study we decided to try a low pinion D44 straight axle. Our reasoning was this way we weren't trying to tube and flange a TTB, we could just cut off the straight axle to fit and weld on axle retainers with set 20 bearings. We felt it would be much stronger than tubing and boring the TTB. Luckily a friend who was at the shop that day had a Dodge 8 lug 44 in his backyard, so we ran to his place and picked it up - free.

After some cutting and some cleaning we are where we are at today. The retainers are centered on the axle tubes and ready for welding, but the shafts are not going to be here until Tuesday now at the earliest.

More mock up brackets were cut and we welded into place, with pinion angle set.



Rear shot shows how much closer to center was achievable with the low pinion vs the high pinion.



At that point we turned down the axle retainers so they would fit on the outer axle tube, thus allowing us a stronger centering placement for the axle. Which, is where we are today.

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Old 09-08-2010, 06:48 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Here is a quick mock up with a GM AAM925 short side flange





We've since centered it on the axle tube for the retainer to be tacked on...awaiting my custom 35 spline flange from Dean

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Old 09-10-2010, 08:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
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That is awesome! Can't wait to see how this works out.
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Old 09-10-2010, 09:21 PM   #7 (permalink)
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this is cool. if this were facebook, i would "like" this.
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Old 09-10-2010, 11:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Don't normally frequent the Hummer forums but this one caught me....Subscribed
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Old 09-11-2010, 11:26 AM   #9 (permalink)
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We've got a guy in memphis that is re-working the cv shafts for his H3...


Not sure what else he is planning to do but I'll send him this way if he hasn't already seen it
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Old 09-11-2010, 08:49 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Nice work. way to make a better ifs instead of running another SAS conversion. High travel ifs has so much to offer.

Looks like the project is up and running nicely. im anticipating your long arm fabrication. how much travel is anticipated?

will this d44 offer a narrower cv flange to cv flange distance than the stock part you removed? what is the distance of your part? If the d44 doesnt work out the dutchman 9" billet ifs center with chromo 35sp flanges and double bearing is only a reasonable $1200. its 11" wide I believe

the Rack and pinion issue will also be interesting. im considering options myself to use for my build. the desert race R&P parts (proam etc) would of course be the best part but those parts are so expensive. have you considered getting a beefy (fast) pump and running a ram?
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Old 09-11-2010, 09:22 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I stumbled acrossed this searching for info on upgrading the IFS on my 2500, this could be a good alternitive to a SAS.
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Old 09-11-2010, 10:17 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Way cool project, Bebe. Subscribed!
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Old 09-13-2010, 12:09 AM   #13 (permalink)
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sub'd this is going to be interesting
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Old 09-13-2010, 05:02 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Subscribed... Interested in a straight axle hummer... Always thought that was the design flaw with these anyway.
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Old 09-13-2010, 10:21 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Militaryman4455 View Post
Subscribed... Interested in a straight axle hummer... Always thought that was the design flaw with these anyway.
This build is still IFS - we just used a straight axle and cut the tubes off to mount flanges and cv's.

Laproscopic -
Quote:
Nice work. way to make a better ifs instead of running another SAS conversion. High travel ifs has so much to offer.
At his time travel is planned to be nearly 10". We may be able to eek out a little more. We'll have to see what works during testing. (OEM is 3 1/2 )

I just keep having to find that balance between badazz and streetable.

The center section will be about 4-5 inches narrower than OEM. This will allow us to easily go 2 inches inboard (on both sides) and keep somewhat OEM pivot points.

Once we got into this I started finding SOOOO many front end options and the Dutchman (which Shannon Campbell uses) in his now WINNING IFS car and the cost was a little more reasonable than the Currie.

However, we are going to try it with the 'free' D44 because of hopefully with some forward innovation, it can also become a low cost option for all types of trail rigs, pre runners, and chase vehicles. (Depending on what Dean charges me for the 35 spline stub axles ).

Basically this set up will fit (with modifications) in any existing IFS vehicle.

The half shafts are fairly cheap and very durable. ($120.00 at Napa) with again, so many options!! The outer CV Joint is already close in size to a 934 (I've been told). RCV makes a replacement option that is supposed to be very good, but we are not going that route (not throwing them under the bus - but they are tough to get a hold of, and that isn't going to work for me personally). We will stay lowish cost for the build, and keep the options for upgrading later if it needs to be.

Full Hydro is not really an option because it will be a street rig. I keep thinking we will keep the OEM and make the mounting system better. I prefer the Rack style steering - it's much easier to use with 38's and a front locker. If I can't keep the stock rack, then we may have a custom one made - but Howe and Pro Am are probably ruled out, mostly for cost.

So far the biggest expense right now is Tires and Shocks. We are ready to start the A-Arm build - but right now we are waiting for the stub axles - should have them by Friday
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Old 09-13-2010, 10:53 AM   #16 (permalink)
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This build is still IFS - we just used a straight axle and cut the tubes off to mount flanges and cv's.
Ok... So if you had the straight axles, why not just do that? Just curious.. Not bashing IFS, I know both have their place in the offroad/DD situations.
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Old 09-13-2010, 11:17 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Ok... So if you had the straight axles, why not just do that? Just curious.. Not bashing IFS, I know both have their place in the offroad/DD situations.

Only two have been done successfully - and it involved changing the entire drive train on one of them. (225K supposedly went into it. search - bully dog H3) and the Recon H3 was well over what I'm looking to spend.

The number of computers and the way the rigs are set up (Full time 4WD) is making them not SAS friendly.

IMHO, and I've driven SA rigs on the street and the trail. I want to do something new. I believe in IFS on the trail as well. I just think it can be done a little better.

Like I said in the OP - Rod Hall Racing raced the Stock H1's - H2 and H3's and managed to keep them together in the last 6 Baja 500 and Mil, the trucks are proven in my mind. So the 'bones' of a great IFS are already there.

I spend more time on the Rubicon and Fordyce Trails in mine - so just making it stronger, and giving it more flex and gear ratio options will be adequate.
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Old 09-13-2010, 11:31 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Old 09-13-2010, 12:32 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Only two have been done successfully - and it involved changing the entire drive train on one of them. (225K supposedly went into it. search - bully dog H3) and the Recon H3 was well over what I'm looking to spend.

The number of computers and the way the rigs are set up (Full time 4WD) is making them not SAS friendly.

IMHO, and I've driven SA rigs on the street and the trail. I want to do something new. I believe in IFS on the trail as well. I just think it can be done a little better.

Like I said in the OP - Rod Hall Racing raced the Stock H1's - H2 and H3's and managed to keep them together in the last 6 Baja 500 and Mil, the trucks are proven in my mind. So the 'bones' of a great IFS are already there.

I spend more time on the Rubicon and Fordyce Trails in mine - so just making it stronger, and giving it more flex and gear ratio options will be adequate.

Makes since! Thanks for answering my noob question
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Old 09-13-2010, 01:28 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Makes since! Thanks for answering my noob question
No prob....IFS is the new SAS
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Old 09-13-2010, 02:43 PM   #21 (permalink)
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No prob....IFS is the new SAS
Try to tell my heep that

And I just read that whole thread on IFS/SAS swap and it makes me feel like a dumb ass for even asking
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Old 09-13-2010, 03:47 PM   #22 (permalink)
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agreed on the rcv customer service issue. i had to hold my tongue to get my custom shafts made. took almost a month and a zillion phone calls. if you can do this with Napa parts and some lathe work go for it.

Better IFS is the new SAS.
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Old 09-13-2010, 05:43 PM   #23 (permalink)
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The PS shaft came in today

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Old 09-13-2010, 07:54 PM   #24 (permalink)
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No prob....IFS is the new SAS
Good luck,you'll need it as those CV's will never last with that much travel and 38" tires.Heck the hub bearings will never last with those large tires,they don't last with stock size tires.
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Old 09-13-2010, 08:23 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Good luck,you'll need it as those CV's will never last with that much travel and 38" tires.Heck the hub bearings will never last with those large tires,they don't last with stock size tires.
You could have a point, but the H2's run 38's without an issue, and the travel will be bumped and limited to make sure we are not abusing the Tripod joint.

The hubs are the same spline and diameter as the H2/2500/3500 GM, I have 116K on them with 35's and I've yet to replace one.

But, this is somewhat of an experiment - since no one has done it before....it's really hard to say for certain. All the numbers and angles work on solid works, so I guess we'll see soon enough.
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