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Old 10-29-2015, 01:41 PM   #151 (permalink)
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From personal experience, the RaceTrim seats are very uncomfortable, and poorly made, compared to the PRP seats. I bought a set as a "budget option" and it was a poor choice. I would go with used PRPs over new RaceTrim seats.
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Old 10-29-2015, 01:52 PM   #152 (permalink)
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From personal experience, the RaceTrim seats are very uncomfortable, and poorly made, compared to the PRP seats. I bought a set as a "budget option" and it was a poor choice. I would go with used PRPs over new RaceTrim seats.
I'm running RaceTrim low back buckets in my flat fender, they are very comfortable for me, but I have them in a very unconventional position on the floor. I never thought they would last this long, I think I paid $180 for the pair! I have had them in the car for 4 years now and done two Ultimate Adventure trips with them.....never a comfort problem on even a 20 hour day. Mileage may vary....they are NOT a high quality seat, but the price I have more than gotten my money out of them.
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Old 11-17-2015, 06:53 PM   #153 (permalink)
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Victory!

One little step at a time. Now to get this thing up on the welding table....
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Old 11-19-2015, 11:40 AM   #154 (permalink)
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Keep the pics coming.
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Old 11-19-2015, 01:29 PM   #155 (permalink)
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Keep the pics coming.
I will, this project is moving SLOOOOOOWWWWWWW.

Once I get the tub mods 'done' things should be able to move a little faster. I have been socking away money to be able to purchase most of the big parts I don't have all at once....engine, trans, adapter, tires, wheels, etc.

Once I get the tub/body set on the chassis it will be time to go spend money like its water. I think I am just going to clamp/tack the body to the frame at first. The position of the body front to back should be pretty easy to determine. I am just going to stick the grill in about this position....



....which will keep the steering box all the way behind the grill. The front axle is approx in the same position as a stock FJ40 ( kinda ). It would be nice to get the front axle as far as possible while maintaining the entire grill face.

The big question is how the body will be positioned vertically on the frame. I want the belly to be flat and smooth to the frame if possible. Ideally the belly skidplate will be a nice big flat 1/4" 7075T6 aluminum sheet. So if I set the engine/transmission/tcase on the belly skidplate I wonder how high the body will need to be mounted to tuck the engine under the hood....and how much floor cutting I will need. The frame on the J80 chassis is 6" tall in the belly section so there is a little extra room to work with. The hat channels on the FJ40 tub are also pretty tall. The FJ40 cowl is also pretty tall compared to something like an old flat fender. I will be using a pretty tall engine however. I want to use a truck 5.3 while keeping the stock deep truck oil pan and tall intake. While I could swap those parts out....I will not be doing that if at all possible to save money.

Overall however, I want the body to be as low on the chassis as practical with the most belly clearance. That is always a pretty big packaging challenge.....
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Old 11-19-2015, 02:51 PM   #156 (permalink)
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Other things I have been thinking about....

-Belly skidplate material? I've used a little bit of everything over the years. It always seams to be a balance between additional support needed, overall weight, cost, and ease of fabrication.

-How to attach the belly skidplate to the bottom of the frame? Captured nuts always seem to spin/strip eventually. Fasteners on the bottom of the skidplate always seem to get buggered up. Ease of fabrication of said attachment system on the frame side. Ease of fabrication of the skidplate itself.

-Should I extend the skidplate back towards the rear axle? With the offset rear axle, it seems common to get large boulders caught in that 'pocket' under the body. The rock then gets hung up ahead of the rear axle.

-Fuel tank location? The two major options I keep coming back to are either ahead of the rear axle to the drivers side of the rear driveshaft or behind the rear axle. Both have upsides and downsides. I think we even discussed some of these in this thread already. I'm still on the fence about it. The major downside to having the fuel tank ahead of the axle is that restricts the space available for the exhaust system.

Just some stuff I am thinking about lately....
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Old 11-19-2015, 09:54 PM   #157 (permalink)
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I really like the idea of the full skid and the fuel tank along the frame rail. Keeps the weight forward in the chassis. Maybe put a storage compartment under the floor in the bed behind the axle.
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Old 11-19-2015, 10:23 PM   #158 (permalink)
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I really like the idea of the full skid and the fuel tank along the frame rail. Keeps the weight forward in the chassis. Maybe put a storage compartment under the floor in the bed behind the axle.
Yeah, it is an option. Having the fuel tank ahead of the axle will complicate the exhaust a lot. With the front of the frame being pretty narrow I don't know if I can snake the exhaust down the passenger side. The stock J80 chassis had the exhaust outside the frame and looping back under. The front axle is also high pinion and that will make things tighter.

I will look at it more once things get mocked up. With the frame being so wide I might be able to have a decent size fuel tank on the PASSENGER side of the rear driveshaft with the tank extending up over the driveshaft to the drivers side. Then pass the exhaust under that part of the tank on the drivers side towards the rear.....

There is a large crossmember ahead of the rear axle for the upper control arm mounts that will get in the way of stuff ahead of the axle.

Once I get the tub set with the engine/trans/tcase in place I will have a better idea of how much space I really have.

Having the fuel tank behind the axle doesn't seem to slow Chris Durham down any....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zHZiuAFheM
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Old 11-20-2015, 09:33 AM   #159 (permalink)
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Other things I have been thinking about....

-How to attach the belly skidplate to the bottom of the frame? Captured nuts always seem to spin/strip eventually. Fasteners on the bottom of the skidplate always seem to get buggered up. Ease of fabrication of said attachment system on the frame side. Ease of fabrication of the skidplate itself.

Just some stuff I am thinking about lately....
Is there any access to inside the frame rail or is it completely boxed?
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Old 11-20-2015, 09:58 AM   #160 (permalink)
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Is there any access to inside the frame rail or is it completely boxed?
All boxed.
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Old 11-20-2015, 12:46 PM   #161 (permalink)
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You could always take some flat stock and weld fasteners/threaded cylinders to the strap. Drill the bottom of the frame to clearance holes for the fasteners and then weld the perimeter of the strap to the bottom of the frame. You would only have the thickness of the flat bar added to the overall height of the frame rail.
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Old 11-20-2015, 01:07 PM   #162 (permalink)
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You could always take some flat stock and weld fasteners/threaded cylinders to the strap. Drill the bottom of the frame to clearance holes for the fasteners and then weld the perimeter of the strap to the bottom of the frame. You would only have the thickness of the flat bar added to the overall height of the frame rail.
Yeah. I have thought about something similar. Depending on where the final frame height ends up being, I would not be against dropping the belly 1-2". The one thing that would really do is help smooth out the transition to the rear control arm mounts. That 'bump' concerns me a bit.

My twist on that idea when I was thinking about it was to weld some 1x2" channel to the bottom of the frame with the so it was like a U shape. Drill holes in the bottom, then leave one end open enough you could slide in 'nuts' that where square and just fit in the bottom. Use something like 3/8" thick stock so the thread length would be ok. The square nut wouldn't spin and you wouldn't need to hold it. If you did strip one or break the bolt off it could be replaced.

The frame is already 6" tall however and theFJ tub is pretty tall to the cowl. I don't think I will 'need' to make the frame any deeper unless I end up sinking body all the way down so the floor is touching the top of the frame.

Good ideas though, keep them coming.
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Old 11-20-2015, 01:45 PM   #163 (permalink)
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I mention using threaded cylinders because you could use a thick wall cylinder and when you have a failure of the thead simply drill and tap to the next size up. It gives flexibility for fixing a failure if the threads are damaged. I have done this before even with a commonly found nut that had enough meat in the wall.
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Old 11-20-2015, 01:47 PM   #164 (permalink)
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Are you planning on the cross member mount being separate and this skid plate covers it or the skid plate is part the cross member?
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Old 11-20-2015, 02:15 PM   #165 (permalink)
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Are you planning on the cross member mount being separate and this skid plate covers it or the skid plate is part the cross member?
I very much want the skiplate to be able to be dropped WITHOUT having to support the transfer case or transmission. I want the vehicle to be fully functional without the skidplate in place if it was damaged or crushed. For finding leaks. Or for diagnosing cooling issues.

The LT230 transfer case I am planning on using seems to use mounts out near the frame, basically like engine mounts. It has one on each side.

The 6l80 transmission uses a typical GM style transmission mount under the transfer case adapter.

I wouldn't mind being able to use all of the mounts....two engine mounts, one transmission mount, and the two transfer case mounts. It would be nice if everything was well supported.

The crossmember for the transmission center mount should probably go side to side completely and provide enough support for not only the transmission and transfer case, but also be stout enough to turtle the entire vehicle on with no deflection. The belly skidplate should probably bolt to that crossmember. That crossmember should also be somewhat easy to remove if the transmission needs to be removed. It would need to clear the exhaust, front transfer case output, etc.

Then have a mount for the front off the engine mount cradle. I would need another one at the rear if I extend the skidplate towards the rear axle. There is a large crossmember for the upper rear control arm links in about the right location.

It would be nice if the belly skid plate could be replaced/replicated easily if needed. I wouldn't mind if I could stick it into CAD and just have a new one waterjet cut when I wanted in the future. If the skidplate was totally flat with no other work needed that would be best. Making one with a jig saw, some hole saws, and lots of WD40 shouldn't be too big of a deal. I will probably make a template out of some plywood or something anyways before I start cutting lots of expensive aluminum plate.

Jalbrecht47 had a neat idea. He mentioned that one side of the skidplate should fit into a tap/slot/pocket so it would be a little easier to stick up under the car, or drop, by yourself. This could be the front, back, or a side.
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Old 11-20-2015, 03:06 PM   #166 (permalink)
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We have limited seats of Autocad so I cant give you a picture. If you have a flat plate you could weld nuts to the flat plate on the four corners and then thread a SHCS into the nut until it bottoms on the plate. Now you have four "tabs" sticking up toward the frame. you would have four open ended slots made from flat bar. They would all be open on the the same end, ie toward the front or toward the back of the car. Once you lift the plate into position you just slide the plate until the slot is around the shank of the SHCS. Release the plate and the head of each SHCS hold the plate up in position with a small gap to the frame. Now you can hand thread the bolts that hold the skid plate up.
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Old 11-20-2015, 03:14 PM   #167 (permalink)
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We have limited seats of Autocad so I cant give you a picture. If you have a flat plate you could weld nuts to the flat plate on the four corners and then thread a SHCS into the nut until it bottoms on the plate. Now you have four "tabs" sticking up toward the frame. you would have four open ended slots made from flat bar. They would all be open on the the same end, ie toward the front or toward the back of the car. Once you lift the plate into position you just slide the plate until the slot is around the shank of the SHCS. Release the plate and the head of each SHCS hold the plate up in position with a small gap to the frame. Now you can hand thread the bolts that hold the skid plate up.
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Old 11-20-2015, 03:17 PM   #168 (permalink)
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We have limited seats of Autocad so I cant give you a picture. If you have a flat plate you could weld nuts to the flat plate on the four corners and then thread a SHCS into the nut until it bottoms on the plate. Now you have four "tabs" sticking up toward the frame. you would have four open ended slots made from flat bar. They would all be open on the the same end, ie toward the front or toward the back of the car. Once you lift the plate into position you just slide the plate until the slot is around the shank of the SHCS. Release the plate and the head of each SHCS hold the plate up in position with a small gap to the frame. Now you can hand thread the bolts that hold the skid plate up.
If I use something like 7075T6 aluminum I can't weld to the plate, but I can visualize what you are talking about.
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Old 11-20-2015, 03:29 PM   #169 (permalink)
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You could always use a structural adhesive as used in modern auto manufacturing or even a 2 part epoxy. The mechanism for hanging the skid plate could be designed as to not see any loads after the plate is attached to the frame with counter sunk screws. If it is aluminum how heavy would a plate be that spans the frame rails?
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Old 11-20-2015, 03:36 PM   #170 (permalink)
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You could always use a structural adhesive as used in modern auto manufacturing or even a 2 part epoxy. The mechanism for hanging the skid plate could be designed as to not see any loads after the plate is attached to the frame with counter sunk screws. If it is aluminum how heavy would a plate be that spans the frame rails?
We can't forget that area is going to get pretty warm with the exhaust, transmission, and transfer case. Adhesives and glues may be ok, but could be marginal.

A full 4x8 sheet of 1/4" plate 7075T6 aluminum is about 117lbs. If I end up using 50% of the sheet area I would be pretty surprised. So the belly skidplate would be about 50-60lbs total.
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Old 11-21-2015, 08:58 AM   #171 (permalink)
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http://www.dowautomotive.com/products/betamate/1620.htm

This is more what I am talking about.
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Old 11-21-2015, 12:28 PM   #172 (permalink)
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Here is how I did mine. The horizontal holes on the frame are sleeved with tubing and a nut is welded on the inside so you can use one tool to install the bolts. No bolt heads to counter sink or bash up and you can just slide the bolts in position to hold the weight before actually threading them all in. Seems to work great, but my aluminum sheet is all second hand scraps. Should be easier for you starting with new sheet.
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Old 11-21-2015, 01:00 PM   #173 (permalink)
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CAVE--how heavy is it?
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Old 11-21-2015, 01:23 PM   #174 (permalink)
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Here is how I did mine. The horizontal holes on the frame are sleeved with tubing and a nut is welded on the inside so you can use one tool to install the bolts. No bolt heads to counter sink or bash up and you can just slide the bolts in position to hold the weight before actually threading them all in. Seems to work great, but my aluminum sheet is all second hand scraps. Should be easier for you starting with new sheet.
and you get to carry a drip pan everywhere you go so you don't have to park in the street at a bud's house.
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Old 11-22-2015, 07:13 PM   #175 (permalink)
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Another weekend in the shop....

I've been scratching my head for a few weeks on how to 'pinch' the door openings while leaving most of the floor intact. This is what I came up with.





This is the passenger side cut being planned out. I measured the taper of the body and made a paper template. I swear the tub has a metric angle I decided to go with a 6 degree cut to start out. I think the taper is more like 7 degrees but I would rather trim a little more than have to fill a gap....

Poster board is good. Little magnets to hold the poster board are good. Big magnets to hold an aluminum ruler are handy. The pivot point is the outside corner of the door. That means I have to take about a 3/16 section out of the inside panel of the door to allow things to move right. Before I get to that.....I needed to prep the underside of the tub....



I had to identify any spot welds that where on the outside area of the hat channel. They would get in the way of the floor/door sliding as they move. I also needed to remove about 1.38" of the hat channel to allow the door to move into the new position.



Once that was finished off I could move to the prep at the bend in the door opening area.



The cut on the outside wasn't too bad. It just required a steady hand with a grinder.



This cut on the inside was a total pain in the rear. This gap will close about 3/16" an inch when everything moves. Cutting down into a 3-sided corner was REALLY difficult. I used just about everything from a grinder, to a dremel, to a hand saw, and a hammer/punch. It kicked my butt.

Now I need to move back to the other side and do it again. I found that if I drilled a 1/4" hole in the bottom of the corner that helped start things off right. Finding something to cut down into the bottom has been challenging. I tried a oscillating saw but the blade only lasted a few cuts. Maybe its time to buy a plasma torch? Maybe a roughing end mill in a high speed drill? A body saw might get down into the corner a little bit. I just don't know.

Once the 2nd inside corner is finished I should be able to stick the dang thing on the table for the actual 'pinch'

After taking MANY more measurements I have determined the body will be 55.5" wide when finished now. That will be about 1.5" narrower that the back of a flat fender tub, and 3.5" narrower than a CJ5/7/YJ/TJ tub. The dash area will be the same 55.5" wide, which is bout 4.5" wider than the dash on a flat fender so the foot well shouldn't be as cramped as an early universal jeep.

That is all I have for now, hopefully more soon.

Fun Fun
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