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Old 07-24-2011, 05:37 PM   #876 (permalink)
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Hi ajsmith. Thanks for the kind words. And once I get through this year long healing process, I would enjoy going to lunch with you. I can't do much yet. Still strapped to this hospital bed most of the time. And pain rules every moment. But I am writing a book now, so I at least have something to focus all my endless energies on. I have been wanting to write this book for over 20 years, but now is that time. Call anytime. 208 863-1718. You are welcome to stop by anytime as well.
I may just take you up on that offer to call ya. If I lived closer I'd come twist a wrench for ya to, things are really slow at work. Tell you what you get that book published and I'll buy one, then come get it autographed...lol Oh, guess I should ask whats the book about?

Well, you hang in there cause better days are ahead...

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Old 07-24-2011, 09:03 PM   #877 (permalink)
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Sounds good.

The book is going to be about my life. Not quite sure if I will turn it into a fictional novel based on real events or as an autobiography. At this stage, I am just coordinating chapters on 3x5 cards and developing the plot and where I want to take the reader.

Some pretty amazing things have happened over the last 2 weeks that will definitely add some serious content to my book. I discovered that I have a completely different father than the man who I called dad. Everybody in my family knew it but me. My brother, sister, mother and "dad" all knew. Even my grand parents on both sides knew it. Aunts, uncles, cousins all knew it. And the only way I found out was because after years and years of thinking about why my mother would select me out of 3 children to abuse brutally and heinously, while never laying a hand on my siblings. It didn't make sense. So, the other day, my brother dropped by to check up on me and I asked him what he thought about my suspicions on why she did it.

My theory was that maybe she had an affair with another man and got pregnant with me. And maybe I reminded her of this man so much that she felt extremely guilty and angry at herself, but turned her aggression on me.

His reply: "I thought you knew!" He said that everybody knew and all this time he thought that I knew as well and just never talked about it. He gave me his name and I instantly remembered him being a friend of my dad's. And he happens to live only 10 minutes from my home. Even stranger than that is the fact that his last name is the same as my wife's maiden name. It's just an alternate spelling. Although, they aren't related that we know of, their ancestors are from Germany. I couldn't make something up like this.

So, I found his number and called him. He picked up the phone and I asked him if we could talk. He responded by saying that he had been waiting for this call for 44 years. I couldn't believe it. But, I went over there and we sat and talked. Then we agreed to have a DNA test done. The results came back on Friday. 99.99% that he is truly my biological father.

So, now we are starting a relationship. It is wonderful. He is in his 70's. I wish I would have known sooner. But I will cherish every minute. And now it all makes sense. I couldn't believe that my suspicions were right! My original dad who raised me passed away 5 years ago. And I just now remembered that immediately after he died; I mean within minutes, my step mom handed me a piece of paper with my real father's name on it. My dad had asked her to have me call him after he died. But even then, nobody said a word and I had no idea. I was just supposed to tell him that my "dad" had passed away and to ask if he would hand the American flag to her at his military funeral. 5 months later my mother died. So, now I can't talk with either one of them about all this. Not that I would have talked to my mother anyway. We weren't exactly pen pals.

I am very excited to finally find some answers. And even more excited that we are now starting a relationship.

Man o man... Life is sure something.

Later guys.

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Old 07-24-2011, 09:21 PM   #878 (permalink)
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Sounds good.

The book is going to be about my life. Not quite sure if I will turn it into a fictional novel based on real events or just write it as an autobiography. At this stage, I am just coordinating chapters on 3x5 cards and developing the plot and where I want to take the reader.

Some pretty amazing things have happened over the last 2 weeks that will definitely add some serious content to my book. I discovered that I have a completely different father than the man who I called dad. Everybody in my family knew it but me. My brother, sister, mother and "dad" all knew. Even my grand parents on both sides knew it. Aunts, uncles, cousins all knew it. And the only way I found out was because after years and years of thinking about why my mother would select me out of 3 children to abuse brutally and heinously, while never laying a hand on my siblings. It didn't make sense. So, the other day, my brother dropped by to check up on me and I asked him what he thought about my suspicions on why she did it.

My theory was that maybe she had an affair with another man and got pregnant with me. And maybe I reminded her of this man so much that she felt extremely guilty and angry at herself, but turned her agression on me.

His reply: "I thought you knew!" He said that everybody knew and all this time he thought that I knew too. He gave me his name and I remembered him being a friend of my dad's. And he happens to live only 10 minutes from my home. Even stranger than that is the fact that his last name is the same as my wife's maiden name. It's just an alternate spelling. Although, they aren't related that we know of, their ancestors are from Germany. I couldn't make something up like this.

So, I found his number and called him. He picked up the phone and responded by saying that he had been waiting for this call for 44 years. I couldn't believe it. But, I went over there and we sat and talked. Then we agreed to have a DNA test done. The results came back on Friday. 99.99% that he is truly my biological father.

So, now we are starting a relationship. It is wonderful. He is in his 70's. I wish I would have known sooner. But I will cherish every minute. And now it all makes sense. I couldn't believe that my suspicions were right! My original dad who raised me passed away 5 years ago. 5 months later my mother died. So, I can't talk with them about all this. I am very excited to finally find some answers. And even more excited that we are now starting a relationship.

Tell me that isn't enough content to write a book about. Man o man... Life is sure something.

Later guys.
Kevin that is something crazy to find out. I am just glad you got to find him while he is still alive and kickin.

Funny the little twists and turns life can take.
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Old 07-24-2011, 10:38 PM   #879 (permalink)
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That's is totally out there, I am sorry to hear about the abuse that you went through as a kid. My dad had experienced something similar growing up as he never knew his real father either. Only his step dads, and his crazy mom which were both abusive in their own ways. But wow thats great to hear you have made a reconnection with a missing piece of your life. Best of luck to you with your Dad and hope its full of great memories, and best of luck on the book.

I will maybe try to stop by some day when I make my drive out to Seattle and back, have a good chat and maybe help wrench some stuff for you.
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Old 07-25-2011, 12:18 AM   #880 (permalink)
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Stop by anytime. I would enjoy your company.

As for the abuse as a child. Although it was a bad thing at the time, it has made me stronger. And it has created in me a desire to help others and given me the strength to be the very best person I can.

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Old 07-26-2011, 06:14 PM   #881 (permalink)
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Wow, that's quite a story and should be a good book to read. I'll buy one for sure.

Funny how so many have so much in common. My story reads very close to yours,....and my grandfather on my abusive mothers side is half German.

We should make it over that way in Sept., but it will be a very quick trip. My wife's niece is getting married. But next spring we'll be going over to check on the rental and I'll try to stop in for a visit. Give you more time to get healthy again.

Hang in there and enjoy getting to know your father!!!
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Old 10-16-2011, 11:20 PM   #882 (permalink)
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I got a huge number of parts back today from the powdercoater. They did a fantastic job. First, they blasted all the parts to put a nice fine etch on all the surfaces. Then they sprayed the semi-gloss black powder and baked everything at 400 degrees for different lengths of time depending on the type and thickness of material. They mask off the areas that aren't to be sprayed with metal tape.

A few group shots of some of the stuff. It wouldn't all fit on the table.



My custom AV4 shackles came out beautiful. I also had them do all of my spring plates.



And my 1/2" thick polished aluminum diff covers look amazing.



All 4 Dana 60 hubs that mount on the front and rear axles will not scratch now when sliding a wheel on and off. I also had them powdercoat my front knuckles and my custom front and rear AV4 caliper brackets.



Pitman arm:


Ballistic Fab high steer arms:

Last edited by MidnightBurn; 12-27-2013 at 03:47 AM.
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Old 10-16-2011, 11:21 PM   #883 (permalink)
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I also decided to have them do the front grill light covers, headlight buckets and rings. They look sweet:






My custom AV4 motor mounts:


I even had them do my exterior door handles. They were chrome, but will look much better with the forest green and black color scheme. There will be no chrome or aluminum. It will either be black or green.



I also had them do my tie rod and drag link. I didn't snap a photo of them but they really turned out nice too.

I have now decided to have them powdercoat my exhaust with a cast iron ceramic coating. I am also going to have them do my wheels, leaf springs and a box of other small miscellaneous parts.

The engine is now mounted back in the newly painted frame. And all of this means that it's time to put everything back together for the final time.
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Old 10-16-2011, 11:22 PM   #884 (permalink)
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Well, I felt good enough today to post some photos of the painted Dana 60's. They were prepped and brushed with POR15 rust preventative coating, then sprayed with the forest green military paint. With the green housings and black powder coated diff covers, knuckles, hi-steer arms and tie rods, they will look really sharp. I really like this color combination.

POR15 first:









Then the forest green military paint:







All of the casting ridges were sanded smooth. It's just something that I've always done to make the housings look a little better. Paint can caps were used to protect the kingpin races. They fit perfectly.






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Old 10-16-2011, 11:50 PM   #885 (permalink)
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The body work:

It was stripped down, 90% of the dents were removed. Then it was sprayed with POR15's marine clean and metal ready phosphoric acid to neutralize any rust. After that it was brushed with POR15. The guys did a really nice job.





Once that was dry, the bottom was sprayed with the military paint. I am really going to love this color.





2 days later, the guys flipped the bed over and began working on the rest of it. It is now fully primed with DP90 epoxy primer and set aside while the same process begins on the cab.


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Old 10-16-2011, 11:58 PM   #886 (permalink)
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I asked the guys to come over to move some things around and clean up a little. It was time for a final mock-up and alignment of the body and suspension before doing the final welding. The only thing that needs to be adjusted is the rear axle. It needs to be moved back 1" to center the wheel in the fenderwell. Simple task.

They also rotated the Jeep so that once it's done it can be driven straight out of the garage.



And now something I was able to do in the house. I made a pretty cool and simple modification to the steering column horn button that I plan to use for the J200. It's a nice tilt column with the hi/low beam, cruise, and intermittent wiper/turn signal combo switch. But of course the horn button said Chevrolet. I like these steering wheels, so I cut out the Chevrolet emblem with an exacto blade and popped in the horn button from a 78 Cherokee. The emblem matches the badge on the original Gladiator grill. The horn still works like OEM.



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Old 10-17-2011, 12:01 AM   #887 (permalink)
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Here are a few "in progress" photos of the interior roll cage. I will post photos of the finished cage when I feel well enough to get out there with the camera. Most of this week has been hell.

There are more gussets and a center console welded in place. I designed it to go down behind behind the dash and the upper halo is above the sun visor mounts, so they still work without interference. The cage is welded in permanently as there is no way to remove it with the top welded back on. That's fine though, because there really isn't any reason to remove it anyway. The dash can still be removed easily as needed.









You can see how well the roll cage tucks up inside of the top. These shots are from before the cage was done, but you get the idea. It won't interfere with the passengers in any way.




Last edited by MidnightBurn; 10-17-2011 at 12:21 AM.
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Old 10-17-2011, 12:05 AM   #888 (permalink)
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A nice reminder of how nice this rig is going to be.



My Centech fuse panel arrived and I am very impressed with it. This is the best design I have ever seen. I have known about these for years and always wanted to buy one, but never did. Now I won't ever use anything else. It is very inexpensive too. It has a really nice removable cover and lugs on the sides just like a home fuse panel. It is low profile so all the wires can lay flush with the firewall. No more bulky, messy scenes.





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Old 10-17-2011, 12:07 AM   #889 (permalink)
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The sliding rear window with tinted glass arrived this evening.





The Dynamat pack arrived as well.



The new windshield, rubber, and carpet kit arrived as well.

Here are some photos from quite some time ago.

Here is the fuel pump and filter mount that I designed many years ago and have been using on every vehicle I have built since then. It's quick to make and it's easy to find a spot to weld it to the frame. In this photo, the rubber isolators are not in place around the pump.





Here is the new carpet I bought from BJ's Offroad. It's preformed to the shape of the floor and has rubber and insulation attached to the bottom. The insulation isn't nearly as thick and doesn't cover the entire bottom as advertised. But I have the Dynamat so it should be fine. When I talked with them, they also said that it has about 1/2" of heavy material wrapped and double stitched around all the edges. It doesn't. However, that may have been just some wrong info, because I believe this carpet is a bit larger than what is needed so it can be cut to fit. Sometimes I get hacked about this kind of thing, but the guys at BJ's have been very nice and helpful and all the products I have bought so far appear to be of high quality.



Here is the new shock crossmember. The original one wasn't in the greatest of shape. The shock mounts had been torn off at some point and rewelded by someone with their eyes closed.



The GM wiper motor mounted very nicely to the firewall and original Jeep linkage. It works great. Now this beast will have intermittent wipers. It's a clean wiring setup too. A few simple wires going directly to the column with no external modules. The delay module is contained within the wiper motor. Tested and passed.



A friend of mine sent me this brand new and very cool dome military dome light. A perfect fit for this Tribute build.



Time to lay flat again. Pain is escalating...

Last edited by MidnightBurn; 10-17-2011 at 12:36 AM.
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Old 10-19-2011, 06:10 PM   #890 (permalink)
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A minor update today:

Here is a stash of photos from my camera that show the leaf springs being painted with POR15 after they were taken apart and sandblasted. They were pretty badly rusted between the leafs surprisingly. But now they will be smooth and protected for a long time. POR15 is so tough that it will enhance the ride quality. Especially, with the teflon between each leaf.

The white Rancho RS9000 and BDS shocks were also sanded down and painted with POR15.









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Old 11-08-2011, 09:43 PM   #891 (permalink)
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I spent some time this evening picking out a few more photos from my never-ending collection to post up for y'all. These are some pics showing the completed frame, except for the front shocks, rear driveline and painted/installed fuel tank.

I like the night photos:

















A while back I found some black splined lug nuts. They are a bit long, but they are thin so they fit much better into the aluminum MT wheels. They came in a bag of 20 and even had the special socket.



And here are some shots of the paint booth setup. 6 mil plastic wrapped around 2x2's that are screwed to the ceiling trusses. Since these photos were taken, the big light has been removed and flourescent lights have been installed. I didn't want the fumes to land on a hot 300W lamp. It could have been trouble. This paint booth worked very well and it kept the fumes from getting to the furnace and hot water tank pilot lights and kept the smell from getting into the house.



I will try to go through some more tomorrow and get them posted if I feel up to it.

Last edited by MidnightBurn; 11-16-2011 at 08:01 PM.
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Old 11-15-2011, 08:04 AM   #892 (permalink)
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A friend is into restoring and this is one of his jobs.
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Old 11-15-2011, 08:15 AM   #893 (permalink)
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Looks beautiful! Very sharp.
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Old 11-16-2011, 05:07 PM   #894 (permalink)
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Wow
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Old 11-16-2011, 07:29 PM   #895 (permalink)
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Glad to see you posting Midnight, hope the holidays find your pain abating. I always enjoy your posts. Your latest project is certainly a top notch build. I'm very green with envy.

All my best Drakeslayer
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Old 11-16-2011, 08:15 PM   #896 (permalink)
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Thanks Drakeslayer.

It's been a very tough year.

I went to see my surgeon yesterday and he said the bones have grown back completely, but I have severe scar tissue, foraminal stenosis (narrowing), bone spurs and arthritis. I have permanent nerve damage and actually, nerve death due to constant nerve impingement. That's why my right leg (and sometimes my left leg) doesn't work right at times. It seems to have a mind of its own. I walk ten steps just fine then on the 11th my leg goes a different direction and down I go. Major suckage.

But, I am staying positive and I feel blessed to be able to walk at all. I have far worse pain now than before my surgery like I said before, but I can manage it pretty well if I stay warm, stay on my regimen of meds and rest a lot.

And I am dang glad I have a hobby to keep my mind occupied. 10 months in a hospital bed and still most days flat out could drive me mad if I didn't have something to focus on.

I just keep pluggin' along.

I hope all is well in your life.

Later friend.

MB

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Old 11-23-2011, 03:13 AM   #897 (permalink)
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Hey Midnight,

Sweet new rig your working on, glad to see it coming along. She will be a fine reliable machine when you're done with her.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and pray that you are pain free in the future. You certainly take things in stride and its great to see it doesn't get you down. Keep on wheelin.
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Old 11-24-2011, 10:20 AM   #898 (permalink)
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WOW awsome build and the other wagons in here cool. I have a 1963 willys wagon and it is rusty plus I have a 1978 ramcharger that is also rusty im in mn rust is everywere the ramcharger has 3/4 ton axles under it it is my plow truck i think after easter 2012 thats when the wife is out of the garage ill move my willys in to the garage and start on the body and when that is ready to be moved ill put it on my ramcharger frame. I need to learn to post pics.

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Old 11-26-2011, 01:48 AM   #899 (permalink)
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Hey Midnight,

Sweet new rig your working on, glad to see it coming along. She will be a fine reliable machine when you're done with her.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and pray that you are pain free in the future. You certainly take things in stride and its great to see it doesn't get you down. Keep on wheelin.
Thanks friend. We enjoyed our time with family and friends. We were fortunate enough to have some friends over this year that don't have any family.

What a great country this is. A blessing from my heart to all the men and women who have fought and sacrificed and even paid with their lives to make this a safe place to live. God's providence continues to amaze me and his grace is upon me. I have crawled through darkness and still found my way home to my sweet wife.

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Old 12-19-2011, 12:31 AM   #900 (permalink)
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I gathered up a few more photos from the mock-up stage. I had to cut down the drive-by-wire fuel pedal. It was just too long. So I welded a custom shorter piece on to it that matches my motor mounts and shock mounts These pics don't show the foot pad yet. Just the arm. And the springs are loose in the second pic. I may not use them. They are too stiff. I like a softer pedal, because I can't push hard enough and maintain pressure on it with my right foot now.





These DBW pedals are sweet. I am mounting the ECM, DBW module, relays and fuse panel inside the cab under the dash to help keep the engine bay clean.

The first part of today I felt well enough to spend a few minutes finishing the upper part of my custom floor shifter. I decided that I didn't want a column shifter in this Jeep truck. It just doesn't look right in a beefy rig like this.

A long time ago I started building this thing by putting a 30 degree bend in a 1" piece of tubing and cutting it to about 18" long. I used parts from one of 2 new e-brake kits that I've had sitting around for years. The e-brake cable housing was cut to the same length as the shifter tubing. Then the aluminum ends were pressed on to each end. Now the steel cable can move smoothly with just a push of the button on the shifter handle like a normal shifter that costs quite a lot.

I like little projects like this.





I took a solid rubber shift knob and drilled it out so a brass bushing could be pressed all the way through it. The ID of the bushing matches the OD of the chrome button shaft perfectly. The cable is inserted through the sheath with a spring at the top. The knob goes on and is topped off with a nice chrome bezel from one of the original J200 dash switches. It works really nice and smooth and should last for many years trouble free.

The lever on the side is a remote ratcheting throttle control. I always put them on my Jeeps so I can increase the RPM's for running an on-board York 210 air compressor for airing up tires, running air tools and many other things.

Here is the bottom section of my custom shifter. It has a slot that will connect to the cable controlled gear detent and back-up light switch.





MB

Last edited by MidnightBurn; 12-19-2011 at 12:39 AM.
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