Dirt-Fab Tube Chassis 48 Flatfender Build - Pirate4x4.Com : 4x4 and Off-Road Forum
 
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Old 03-19-2012, 11:44 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Dirt-Fab Tube Chassis 48 Flatfender Build

OK, 1st off this build is a VERY slow build. You will have to be patient on this one for updates....

I started this Jeep about 6-7 years ago and it keeps falling to the back of the list of projects. The bottom line is that customer builds and shipping product will always take priority. After that, it is racing- then my own custom build projects. In fact, in 2007 I built a Jeepspeed for the Baja 1000 that took up several years of spare time building, modifying, & prepping for races. The build thread can be seen here... https://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/showt...highlight=1749

That being said, I am really trying to at least spend 2 nights per month on this Jeep. A tube here or there is still progress!

Build Goal: Keep the stock CJ2A look and as much of the body as possible. Max 35" tires and NO comp cutting. I plan to use this Jeep as a daily driver as well, so it needs to drive good and be reliable as well as run the Rubicon.

Build Parts List:
1998 Chevy 4.3 V6 - Stock
NV4500 5-Speed Manual Trans
Dana 300 T-case w/4:1 Gears
Dana 44 Front - ARB
Ford 9" Rear- Currie HP 8.8 Center Section & ARB
Fox 2.0" Remote Reservoir Coil-overs
Fox 2.0" Air Bumps
Triangulated 4-Link Rear
3-Link Front w/Track Bar
Lot's of Tube!
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Old 03-19-2012, 11:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Long before I started Dirt-Fab.com, I was building Jeeps in my garage. Shortly after cutting up the cracked up factory frame, this build started on the garage floor- I'm pretty spoiled now with a 5'x10' chassis table!

The main frame rails as well as the majority of the tube in the Jeep is 1-3/4" x .120 DOM.
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Old 03-20-2012, 12:08 AM   #3 (permalink)
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The tube will "pass through" the body via several plates such as this one on the fire wall.

The front engine bay and grill hoop starting to come together....still in my old garage...
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Old 03-20-2012, 12:20 AM   #4 (permalink)
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This was really the project that I started to learn how to TIG weld on. One of the 1st things I made was these motor mounts...

I really want to pay attention to the small details. One such detail is the pads that I made for the grill out of short bump stops. They can be adjusted/shimmed to get the grill as square as possible...
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Old 03-20-2012, 12:26 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Here is one of the last pictures of the Flatty in my garage before it was moved to the shop...radiator mocked up with body setting on the tube frame.
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Old 03-20-2012, 12:31 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Once it got moved into the shop, I started in on the cage. I went for the maximum amount of headroom, yet you can still get an off-the-shelf Bestop Tiger top on.
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Old 03-20-2012, 12:36 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Front engine cage along with upper radiator mount that ties into the shock mount....close up of the shock mount.
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Old 03-20-2012, 01:04 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I plan to run a rear fuel tank under the bed. For this reason and I needed clearance for the rear suspension, I cut the fenderwell and raised the rear floor/bed by 4". One of my original hopes was to have a rear seat, but the more I looked into what I needed for fuel & suspension room as well as how much the front seats needed to be leaned back for comfort (I'm 6'-1") it just isn't going to happen. The reality is too that two people and camping gear fills the Jeep anyway.
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Old 03-20-2012, 01:14 AM   #9 (permalink)
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A subframe was built that would create a "flat-belly", and also be the lower link mount attachment points. I used these link brackets for 1-3/4" tube and standard 2-5/8" width suspension joints.... http://www.dirt-fab.com/Radius-Link-...ube_p_348.html

I also fabricated a transmission mount. The low point of the subframe was determined by the NV4500, which hangs quite a bit.
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Old 03-20-2012, 01:28 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I made a template for the wheel well- basically a mock 35" tire that I traced out. Then a curved pie shape was cut out carefully leaving the lip to weld back in place. I didn't want the sharp edge of a simple cut. I have one side almost finished welded and smoothed- need to take a good pic. So far, I'm really happy with how it is turned out.
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Old 03-20-2012, 06:20 AM   #11 (permalink)
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This is eerily similar to what I have planned. You are a lot farther along then I am though. I'm really interested how you are going to get that 4500 in there and still have a rear driveshaft. I really want a daily driver too but the sm420 that I'm currently planning is the only hangup.
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Old 03-20-2012, 07:29 AM   #12 (permalink)
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The idea of rising the floor is interesting. I definetely need to work on something to be able have a rear seat for the kids.
With that radiator, I think your 4.3 will be very happy
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Old 03-20-2012, 10:14 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I like the rear floor idea.
With those wheelwells cut out, are your going to stretch the firewall area to get more leg room?
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Old 03-20-2012, 10:24 AM   #14 (permalink)
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This is eerily similar to what I have planned. You are a lot farther along then I am though. I'm really interested how you are going to get that 4500 in there and still have a rear driveshaft. I really want a daily driver too but the sm420 that I'm currently planning is the only hangup.
Rear driveshaft is 14" in length at ride height. Obviously kinda short- but it will work. As I get caught up with pictures and the build- I hope to get a shot with the rear axle in it over the next couple days.
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Old 03-20-2012, 10:26 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I like the rear floor idea.
With those wheelwells cut out, are your going to stretch the firewall area to get more leg room?
Yes, still not exactly sure how much, but at least I am going to move the foot well bend down the firewall about 2" if that makes sense. I need more room for swing pedals.
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Old 03-20-2012, 03:16 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Is your cage going to be hard mounted to the frame or are you isolating it with bushings? Your build has me thinking more about building a buggy and then skinning it as a stock bodied 2a.
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Old 03-20-2012, 03:28 PM   #17 (permalink)
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This is basically a tube chassis that has a tub sandwiched inside of it. So, for the most part it will all be one triangulated chassis and rigid mounted. I used bushings to help support the grill and some of the stock body mounts were incorporated mostly to support the floor and help locate the tub within the chassis.

This is way more of a PITA than building a tube chassis and skinning it. I wanted something different than what I have seen out there. This is probably the one and only time I will ever do this....did I mention this is a total PITA- LOL My advice would be to build a tube chassis and skin it.
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Old 03-21-2012, 10:49 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Here is a picture of the D-side rear fender-well that I started to weld the lip back in place....
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Old 03-21-2012, 10:56 AM   #19 (permalink)
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OK, a little bit on the rear axle. I started with a Lincoln Mark 5 rear 9" housing. I've heard these are a heavier/thicker housing vs. the F150 truck housings. I've had this one laying around for quite a while that I grabbed from the Pick-N-Pull for the rear disc brakes a long time ago.

Anyway, I started out by narrowing it. Basically it will be 1" narrower than and Early Bronco. I bought off the shelf Early Bronco 31 spline shafts and cut and inch of one side to get the pinion as close to being centered as possible- still offset by about 1/2".

I threw the alignment jig in and weld on some Set 20 large bearing ends.
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Old 03-21-2012, 11:12 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Then I added a rear truss/back-bone. I used this one here..... (Insert Link Here )

Not bad, still took some grinding to get it to fit tight enough to TIG. Once that was on I fabbed up the upper link mounts. Lower link mounts were off the shelf. Pads for the bump stops were also welded on.
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Old 03-21-2012, 11:23 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Started with these air bump cans.. http://www.dirt-fab.com/20-Air-Bump-Can_p_41.html and then made some cool dimpled mounts.
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Old 03-21-2012, 06:42 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Here is a good shot of some of the tube work and how complicated it gets when you try to keep the body. There is also a close up shot of the tube flange/connection point at the B-pillar diagonals that pass through bed floor.
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Old 03-21-2012, 06:56 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Looks good.
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Old 03-21-2012, 07:20 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Looks good.
Thanks Frank- been spending some late nights in the shop lately. I hope to get the build thread all caught up to its current state in the next couple days. Progress will be slow after that.
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Old 03-21-2012, 07:22 PM   #25 (permalink)
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I chose this point in the chassis to mount the upper link mount. The upper link mount ties into 3 different tubes that converge here including one from the subframe. This way it will also act as a gusset.
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