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Old 02-16-2016, 01:38 PM   #51 (permalink)
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Thanks for the kind comments folks! Skip44, on your question about the taper of the threaded bosses: It's to cut down on weight. I want the base of the boss to have a wide footprint to distribute the clamping force more widely on the rail and reinforcement plates, but then they taper towards the top to cut down on weight. The bosses that are welded to reinforcement plates are 1" at the base and have a simple taper that's easy to turn. The bosses for the fuel tank mounting bosses weld to the rail directly without a reinforcement plate - partly because I didn't think the load was as great, but also because they are spaced along the tube at greater distances so a reinforcement plate seemed awkward for single bosses. Based on that difference in mounting, these have a 1.25" diameter base so that I could put a rosette weld on each side of the base to fix them in place in the rail without screwing up the bolt hole between the welds. These reduce diameter to 1" in a step just above the base, then have a gradual taper the rest of the way- again to reduce weight.
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Old 02-16-2016, 02:13 PM   #52 (permalink)
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Are you going to do anything to make up the difference in width between the wide track front axle and original rear axle?
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Old 02-16-2016, 04:13 PM   #53 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mieser View Post
Are you going to do anything to make up the difference in width between the wide track front axle and original rear axle?
Hi Meiser,
Great question- something I've really wrestled with. I built up the rear axle several years ago and it has nice Summers Bros axles/full float kit, and an ARB and I'd like to carry that forward in the new build. I really like what you did on your full-float Rango rear - not just the full float with common parts with the front D30, but the way your spacers for the rear full float spindle mounts matched the rear axle width to the front. In my case, the inside axles are nice and to keep them means I'm stuck at the current rear track width unless I use wheel spacers (which I don't really like as far as the increased stress they cause). When weighing the decision on choosing the front axle width, I first leaned toward narrow track out of a desire to match up the front and back axle track width. But the appeal of the wide track CJ 56" WMS width providing more clearance between tires and frame for better turn radius nagged at me as being the better long term way to go - and it's not crazy wide for the reasonably compact overall concept I'm going for. I had the front housing built and gears set-up by the guys at R&P in Portland, and I'm assembling the axles and outers. In kicking around the width decision with them, they told me several of their rigs run a narrow rear / wide front combo, and they've had good luck with it - better turn radius in front, easier clearing obstacles in back. My plan has been to go with that approach for now, but I'd love to hear any ideas. The rear has the original thin 2.5" tubes, while the new front 44 housing has bigger thicker 2.75", and so the rear tubes are kind of a weak spot...

On a related topic: I haven't researched this much yet, but I'll throw it out there. I currently have 11' drums on the back, while I have the parts to assemble the front with Dana 44 Small Bearing Chevy spindles, Ford 5 on 5.5 rotors, 70's Chevy truck caliper mounting plate and calipers, which is a set-up I like. I like what you did with the Isuzu brake components at all four corners - nice to have the same parts on all four wheels. I'd like to convert to discs in back, but was wondering if you or any other pirate folks have ever seen the front GM/Ford set-up I describe being installed on the back, and / or know of a disc conversion that would fit with the Summers Brothers rear full float parts? I'm getting a little ahead of myself here, as I haven't studied it much yet, but thought I'd ask should some ideas come to mind that I could pursue.
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Old 02-16-2016, 06:00 PM   #54 (permalink)
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Frame Assembly

Time to put all the pieces together!
The bumper ends of the frame rails were cut to length and detailed to get a tight fit with the bumper tubes, with a small lip to fit tight against the bumper tube radius:



The reinforcement tabs at the stack joint ends of the rails were marked with a template, then trimmed. The tip of the tab has a small flat spot remaining untouched - to preserve it as a measurement point for positioning the rail sections to each other. The rail stack overlap needs to be accurately positioned since the spring mounting position on each rail section has already been set - i.e. the rail overlap has to be accurate to have the eye-to-eye spring mounting distance end up per plan.



Placed cap screws in fixed spring mount bosses on central rails and clamped the rails together with mounts aligned.



Did the same for the shackle mount bosses on adjoining rail sections of stack.



I clamped the rails to be stack joined to my table saw top and "lathe bed workstation". I made a base for the table saw to sit on that has adjustable feet. The "workstation" legs I made also have adjustable feet, and I made the legs so the lathe bed surface sits nominally 5" higher than the table saw top -ie the stack height of the frame rails. I adjusted the heights and level in all directions until happy that everything was lined up as best I could make it. Lots of crawling around on the floor tweaking the adjustable feet. The machinists level in the foreground was my grandpa's. It's super sensitive, which can drive you nuts, but it's really helpful. The bubble moves about one graduation mark with only an eighth of a turn of the leveling feet.

There's a bunch of clamps at the stack and beyond. The 2" x 4" tubes running lengthwise are to keep the rails straight laterally. The 2" x 4" scrap tube running cross-wise has an aluminum block under it that fit nicely to clamp the tabs to the rail, while leaving the tab tip exposed for a big tack weld to set the rail stack overlap distance. You can see this best in the second picture. Before setting the clamps I used combo squares and a ruler to check and set the top tab to underside tab tip-to-tip spacing at the reference points on the tab tips. The distance is 12" tip-to-tip. This results in a 9" overlapping area for the body of the rails at the stack joint.




The first tab tacks were made with the rails upside down so that I could measure and align the spring mounting bosses easily (as they faced up). After making these big tacks, the rails were partially unclamped, flipped over, re-clamped, double checked for alignment, and the top tabs were tacked. Keeping a 2x4 tube clamped along the length of each rail, and using a stand set level with the table saw top in place of the lathe bed workstation, the rails were then laid flat for the side stack tack welds. They were also clamped to each other to maintain vertical alignment of the rails.



Finally, tack welds were made along the stack joint.
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Old 02-16-2016, 06:40 PM   #55 (permalink)
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Frame Assembly Continued

With stack joints fully tacked, I welded the reinforcement tabs:



Then the rails were set on their sides again and clamped for stack final welds:




Made stack welds a short section at a time, flipping the rails over together to alternate sides in completing each section. The numbers scribbled on the rails show the sequence. I wanted to weld the ends first, as I thought locking these in first might help control shrinkage. Not sure if it made a difference, but it turned out well in the end, so maybe it helped.



With the stack welds complete I leveled high spots with a grinder and file. Then the rails were clamped for side plate welding (photo shot after first set of plates welded)




The side plates were tacked at their corners, then welded in an alternating sequence, letting the parts fully cool after each section completed. The sequence is shown marked with felt pen. I don't know if the sequence was ideal, but it seemed to make sense as far as alternating the direction of shrinkage and potential misalignment effects, and it turned out well with good alignment.



Here's the finished rails. It's starting to look like a frame.

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Old 02-16-2016, 06:45 PM   #56 (permalink)
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Any idea what the length difference is from the long to short side on your full float conversion. I can't remember what mine was off the top of my head. Maybe you could use the long side on the short side and only buy one longer unit. Or have the long cut down for the new short and buy one new shaft for the long side. All the other stuff should swap to a different housing.

6" in axle difference might be a little annoying. I start to notice after about 3" in difference.

I used Geo Tracker or Suzuki Sidekick brake parts. Any of the conversions should work on either end as long as it uses the 6 bolt spindle. The differences would be in the axle/bearing hub/locking hub.
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Old 02-16-2016, 09:56 PM   #57 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Mieser View Post
Any idea what the length difference is from the long to short side on your full float conversion. I can't remember what mine was off the top of my head. Maybe you could use the long side on the short side and only buy one longer unit. Or have the long cut down for the new short and buy one new shaft for the long side. All the other stuff should swap to a different housing.

6" in axle difference might be a little annoying. I start to notice after about 3" in difference.

I used Geo Tracker or Suzuki Sidekick brake parts. Any of the conversions should work on either end as long as it uses the 6 bolt spindle. The differences would be in the axle/bearing hub/locking hub.
Meiser- Oops, sorry for my goof referencing Isuzu - it should have been Suzuki. Thanks for the correction, as I wouldn't want to send someone on a wild goose chase from my incorrect recall of your work!!! It's very cool how you figured out your disc set-up with the Geo Tracker / Suzuki parts. I'll be doing some more thinking on the brakes based on your inputs.

Thanks for the thoughts on the axle width. What symptoms/anomalies did you experience when the difference was over 3"? Curious what kind of issues I might have with the current combination. That's an interesting idea to use the current long axle on the short side of a longer housing - along with all the other parts. It would save a little on the cost of changing width. I'll have to pull the shafts at some point and see if that could work. I would definitely prefer to have the rear be wider track like the front.

Last edited by CJ3BL; 02-16-2016 at 09:57 PM.
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Old 02-17-2016, 12:05 AM   #58 (permalink)
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Frame Assembly Continued

Now to connect the rails, cross-members, and bumpers...

I had some 2x3 tube that had deep surface gouges that I didn't want to use on my rig, so I used it to make some saw horse style stands. There's two tall stands and two short stands, with 5" height difference, and all with adjustable feet. They can have a top bar like a saw horse, or I can take it off and bolt the legs directly to the frame rails at the spring attachment points. Not as good as a frame table by any means, but I don't have the space for one. These can be taken apart for storage and used for other stuff.


Here's how I set up the rails, bumpers, and cross members. There are two temporary cross-member like spacers in the center. They have a tab on the top that rests on the rail so they don't fall out. The stands are bolted to the spring hanger bosses. Two of the center stands have a pipe clamp running between them to tweak the diagonal corner distance as needed. (The clamp screw handle is removed so I can use it as a spreader with a wrench on the screw shaft flats). The end stands support both the rail and bumper on the same flat top surface. The rail is bolted on, while the bumpers are clamped.



This shot shows the rear bumper clamps. The lower clamp is pulling the bumper tight against the rail (the tapered black things the clamps are pushing on at the stands are the slickrock spring hangers- I needed something tapered and sturdy to get the clamp positioned!) The rear large clamp holds the bumper down against the top of the stand. The little clamps are holding two 1" diameter round stock pieces as measurement points for measuring front-to-back diagonals. I used the round stock as a reference point because it can be used both before and after there are weld beads on the inside corners.



Spent a lot of time crawling on the floor adjusting the stand feet to level everything in all directions.



Once everything was positioned, level, and clamped, then I tacked the bumpers and cross members on top and bottom. Then I started making finish welds, starting with the bumpers. Weld heat / shrinkage solely on the inside of the bumper tends to make the bumper ends curve back. I wanted to keep it as straight as I could, so I clamped the bumper ends versus the middle to pull in the opposite direction to create some pre-load to oppose the shrink direction. I still ended up with a little curve (<0.125") but much better than other similar joints I've done in the past without any clamping for shrink control. Here's the front bumper clamps:



Here's the back bumper clamps:


I welded the bumper top joints front and back, checking the frame diagonal lengths and levels before each weld, and letting each weld cool before checking and welding the next. Then I did side beads for the bumpers the same way- check, weld, cool, then check level and diagonals again before the next weld. Here's a back bumper weld:



I then moved on to finish welding the cross members, with the same check, weld, cool, check approach. When these were done on top and sides, then I unclamped everything and flipped the frame over using an engine hoist and then reclamped, measured, and welded the remaining bottom joints. Here's the bottom rear cross member welds:



I attached the spring hangers:





Overall I'm happy with the result. The difference in diagonal corner measurements is less than 1/16" - it's very square. The bumpers and cross members are also quite level using the sensitive machinists bubble level. A lot better than my old frame.

The only concern area I noticed is that the temporary spacer cross members were tight between the center rails, indicating that the front and rear cross-member welding resulted in some shrinkage of the inside rail surface - causing the center to bow inward. I pulled the spacers out to assess how much inward bow there is. It's about 1/4' total, 1/8" per side. It would likely have been worse without the spacers in place during welding, but a concern none the less. I plan to weld a 2" DOM tube cross-member/antirock torsion bar mounting tube at the front of the rear rail taper, plus a cross member under the engine for engine mounts and oil pan skid plate if I can fit it. There will also be outriggers added for the side rock rails, plus floor supports. All of these elements provide an opportunity to further constrain the center rails to the desired position, so I think it will work out well if I pay attention.
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Old 02-17-2016, 12:57 AM   #59 (permalink)
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Grill

This post brings me up to current status...

Here's a shot of the completed basic frame:


Looking at it, I thought it really needed a grill and radiator.

In general, the drive train and body layout I've worked on works from the grill back with the intent of using the wheelbase stretch to allow things to fit reasonably vs the original 81" squeeze. So it's nice to get started on the grill and radiator as a reference point.

I'm using a Ron Davis Radiator, 24 W x 19 T x 3 D, Two Row,Double Pass Off-Road. I plan to position it about 3" back from the grill shell. This is about 1.5" closer than the original radiator position. I don't want to push it all the way forward to the grill shell as I want to keep the original headlight buckets. This spacing also works out nicely with the front cross member. The cross-member sits between the radiator and grill shell with the steering box shaft U-joint positioned so the joint axis is at the center of the cross member pass thru tunnel - which optimizes the joint clearance.

Removed the original shroud:



The original shroud and grill opening was offset. I straightened out the offset of the slot flange using some clamps so it's straight and matches the other slots:




Will now mount the grill to the rails and work out lower radiator mounts on the front cross member.
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Old 02-17-2016, 02:02 AM   #60 (permalink)
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Craftsmanship. That's what I see in these recent updates. The tools, workspace and work plan have a unique character.

I really like the cross member as it reminds me of mine. Seeing how you made the flowing radius is what I should've done instead of miter joints.

Well done and I will be following this build.
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Old 02-17-2016, 03:21 AM   #61 (permalink)
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Beautiful work! I think that may be the nicest home built frame I've ever seen. Very impressive!
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Old 02-17-2016, 07:02 AM   #62 (permalink)
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Thanks for the thoughts on the axle width. What symptoms/anomalies did you experience when the difference was over 3"?
I noticed the most issues in deeper snow. The rear end of the vehicle always wanted to 'shift' to one side or the other, basically so that one rear tire was trying to follow the track of one of the front tires. Then the other rear tire was almost fully exposed to fresh snow and was having to pack down its own path.

This was mainly from 1970s GM vs Ford trucks back in the day. We had both on the ranch. The GM was always annoying that way to me vs the Ford. The Ford was less than 1" difference, the GM was 3" if I remember right.
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Old 02-17-2016, 07:06 AM   #63 (permalink)
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Are you changing the length of the front clip at all?

With the radiator about 3" off the grill shell, and what I remember about flat fender engine compartments, I would think even a 4.3 would be a tight fit?

With the taller cowl of the CJ3B are you going to raise the engine up in the chassis for a flat smooth belly? You shouldn't have any problem doing that with the taller cowl and 5" tall frame.
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Old 02-17-2016, 09:33 AM   #64 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Juicysluice View Post
Craftsmanship. That's what I see in these recent updates. The tools, workspace and work plan have a unique character.

I really like the cross member as it reminds me of mine. Seeing how you made the flowing radius is what I should've done instead of miter joints.

Well done and I will be following this build.
Thanks so much! I checked out your build - very ambitious and amazing! Will be reading it in detail to pick up ideas!
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Old 02-17-2016, 09:34 AM   #65 (permalink)
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Beautiful work! I think that may be the nicest home built frame I've ever seen. Very impressive!
Very kind of you nofender! Much appreciated!
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Old 02-17-2016, 09:43 AM   #66 (permalink)
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I noticed the most issues in deeper snow. The rear end of the vehicle always wanted to 'shift' to one side or the other, basically so that one rear tire was trying to follow the track of one of the front tires. Then the other rear tire was almost fully exposed to fresh snow and was having to pack down its own path.

This was mainly from 1970s GM vs Ford trucks back in the day. We had both on the ranch. The GM was always annoying that way to me vs the Ford. The Ford was less than 1" difference, the GM was 3" if I remember right.
Thanks for the great insights on the effect of track width difference. I can picture how that would be unsettling, and also how the same could happen with deep mud ruts- flopping back and forth with the back potentially picking a different line than the front. I think I'll continue the build with the current one to mock things up, but will put some serious thought into a wider rear option.
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Old 02-17-2016, 11:03 AM   #67 (permalink)
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Are you changing the length of the front clip at all?

With the radiator about 3" off the grill shell, and what I remember about flat fender engine compartments, I would think even a 4.3 would be a tight fit?

With the taller cowl of the CJ3B are you going to raise the engine up in the chassis for a flat smooth belly? You shouldn't have any problem doing that with the taller cowl and 5" tall frame.
Hi Meiser,
You are right, the original compartment is tight even with a 4.3. I want things to fit like they belong there, so I plan to add 3.75" to the engine compartment length between grill shell and firewall. That could change a little once I get all the major assemblies mocked up in place and look at the fit.

I'll need to lengthen the hood and fenders. I also plan to move the fenders up, similar to what you did on Rango (fantastic write up on your build thread!). I'm weighing two options: One is to have the fender top even with the grill corner. I think this has nice proportions, and provides an inch gain in clearance. The other is to have the fender bottom even with the corner as you did on Rango, which also looks nice and gives even more clearance. I'm thinking I'll decide once I can cycle the suspension and look at the proportions. While the high hood look of 3B's has detractors, I really dig it and want to retain or improve on that general character. Using a 3A hood on the 3B grill looks odd to me, so I don't want to move the fenders up that far. With the hood length also increasing (less than the 3.75" engine compartment change given the fender mounting slope), I want to see how it all plays out.

On engine/tranny mounting height, I do plan to move it up some. The 5" rails do help with vertical real estate for more flexibility in placing mounting points, but they don't help as far as rail bottom to floor height since I'm not doing a typical body with 1" floor braces + body mounts sitting above the rail. I plan to have the floor braces be integral to the frame, flush with the top of the rail. So I have the same rail bottom to floor height as a 4" rail with a normal body with floor braces and thin body mounts. Less space than a stocker with a body lift. The engine compartment height does give me lots of vertical room for sure. I'm thinking I'll mount higher, but not all the way to flat as I'm concerned about cramped floorspace around the gas pedal. I do plan to keep the tranny cross member ends above the rail bottom by mounting it inside the rail rather than to the bottom like a stocker. I'll be weighing the trade offs as I mock up all the major assemblies.

Thanks for your insightful questions and comments! If you or other pirate folks have additional ideas , areas of concern, etc...please keep them coming! I really appreciate your experiences , ideas, comments. I've learned a ton from the pirate community! Thanks!
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Old 02-17-2016, 06:53 PM   #68 (permalink)
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With your mad fab skills, I think the Pirate community will learn a lot from you. Your work is definitely top notch. I love this 3B build. I think the high hood will grow on you as it did with me, especially when you realize all the extra real estate you're gonna have. Like Mieser says- It's all about packaging.
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Old 02-17-2016, 08:49 PM   #69 (permalink)
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With your mad fab skills, I think the Pirate community will learn a lot from you. Your work is definitely top notch. I love this 3B build. I think the high hood will grow on you as it did with me, especially when you realize all the extra real estate you're gonna have. Like Mieser says- It's all about packaging.
Thanks for your very supportive comments, thefixer! I'm already partial to 3B's - I've had this one forever. In addition to the extra room in the engine bay, I think the high hood and grill makes them look especially tuff! I followed your Kubota 3B build, reading it through many times, like many other great build threads here. It's been a big inspiration - I especially like the way you pulled off the stretch, and the diesel is really cool. You and Meiser are right about it "being all in the packaging" and you both have done superb builds. I dig your outdoor workshop setting too!
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Old 02-19-2016, 11:38 PM   #70 (permalink)
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Radiator Mounts

With the basic frame together, it's time to start hanging stuff on to it , heading toward positioning the drivetrain elements. As described, my plan includes an estimated 3.75" stretch in the engine compartment, between 3.75" to 6" in the door section, and the rest in the tub (with a 96" wheelbase). Since I plan to tweak the body at all of these areas, I figure I'll work back from the grill while trying to get the best drivetrain layout I can as far as frame, axle, driveshaft, clutch clearances etc... and adjust the body around that.

The radiator is spaced back 3" from the grill shell so it will fit between the narrow part of the stock headlight buckets. I didn't want to cut the buckets and also wanted space between the grill shell and radiator for the full 5" tall cross member. The lower mounts I came up with attach to the cross member. The vertical position of the mounts align the lower edge of the radiator open area even with the top of the cross member. This places the top of the rad open area just above the grill slot tops - nicely centered all around to the grill opening.

Here's the step by step on the lower mounts:

I cut a section from 2" x 5" x 0.120" tube for each one. The short direction of the tube section provides a gusset on the mount. I cut the shape out then formed two tabs that serve to position the radiator side-to-side and at the back (the front is positioned by the cross-member).




Here's what they look like after forming:



I was waiting for some 1/4" EPDM rubber sheet to arrive from McMaster Carr to make mounting pads, so mocked up the mounts on the radiator using some 1/4" wood bits to determine the spacing of the mounts to get a good fit of the side tabs to the radiator. You can also see here that I will need to trim the back tabs a little so that they don't interfere with the rubber flaps at the bottom of the shroud. I realized that the parts had some bow on the wide flat surface which tends to happen when using a section cut from tube. I worked out the bow with a hammer and dolly after this photo. Probably would have been easier to make them from flat sheet and make the extra couple of bends!



Once the rubber pad material arrived, I made the rubber pads and double checked the desired spacing of the mounts to attach them to the frame cross member. Here's the passenger side mount weld to the cross-member. You can also see how the grill attaches directly to the frame rail top in this shot.



I didn't weld the driver side mount yet. It sits over the steering shaft tunnel in the cross member with plenty of clearance, but I'll need access to final fit and weld the tunnel tube after the engine and steering shaft are positioned. So I'll weld the rad mount after finishing the steering tunnel. I made a cheesy temporary clamp-on mount to hold the rad for engine positioning.

Here's the rubber pad for the rad mount. I like the material, but the way I made the tab sections of the pad didn't work that well, so I may change it. I made a template and cut out the rubber parts. At the inside corners I used a leather punch to make round punched corners so It would be less likely to tear. Where there's a screw head on the bottom of the radiator, I punched a hole to clear the screw (with a handy punch I just happened to have for such odd occasions...). For the tabs, I scribed cuts about half way through on the underside - where the lines are marked on the templates. These allow the pad to fold upward at the cross member and tabs. This worked OK, but they like to spring back and are awkward to position on the mounts, so this is the part I may do differently. I may just cut separate parts and attach them to the mounts with gasket maker RTV. Details, details...




Now on to springs and the front axle...
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Old 02-20-2016, 01:37 AM   #71 (permalink)
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Springs and Front Axle

I'm using RE1432 Front (5 leaf) and RE1433 Rear (6 leaf) 2.5" lift YJ springs. I bought these quite a while ago. (I think that RE now only sells an RE1430 2.5" 5 leaf YJ spring for both front and rear).

I pulled apart the spring packs and mounted some pieces of aluminum bar that matched the removed spring leaves' height, so I can mount the single main leaf for easier suspension cycling. I've seen this done in the past and also Meiser has suggested it on some threads. It's a great idea!



I hung all the springs, then got to work on the front axle. The Dana 44 housing was built by R&P in Oregon. Really helpful folks! They do the front Dana 44 housing a little differently- they take a rear center section and mount front tubes and C's. There is no cast spring pad on the housing center section top or bottom. I like that approach. It will be a little bit of a challenge to mount the spring perch, but I think I have it figured out how I want to do it - similar the the offset perch on my old Dana 27. More on that when I get there...

This is the first Dana 44 front that I've had, and I'm not experienced with gear set-up, so I had R&P set-up the ARB diff and gears. I'm putting together the outers.

On the ratio, I went with the ratio of my current rear 44, which is 4.27. I changed to 4.27 from 5.38 when I switched to an ARB and Currie Full-Float axle in back some years ago. I am striving for all around balance in off-road and on-road performance. I'd like to get decent on-road mileage, while having capable off road crawling. Going to 4.27 and the Warn OD should work nice for the road with my current 33's. The lower 6.32 first gear of the Ford T-18 I'll be using combined with the 4.27 axle gets me a substantially lower crawl ratio than the original T-90 2.79 first and 5.38 axles. While I was not interested in running 35's when I had the front dana 27, now that I'm going to the front dana 44, the idea of moving up in tire size to 35's becomes appealing...
If I do move up to 35's in the future , then the 4.27 choice might be too steep and I may need to change again...

Back to the present. For the outers, I went with APM Chevy style flat top knuckles, although I plan to stay SUA and not set up for a high steer. Why get flat tops? I needed knuckles, i figured there was no harm in having suspension and steering options for the future, and the fresh APM castings are nice overall. I believe that the YJ springs and my steering box position will support the longer arm of the Chevy Style Knuckles (vs the shorter Dana 30 or 27). I'm planning to run the larger Chevy style TRE's in a T steer configuration.

Here's the axle housing, and APM knuckles with ball joints I installed with my new ball joint tool (something new to me having only worked on Dana 27 king pins in the past...)



Here's the knuckles installed:



At this point I painted the disc caliper mounts and hubs, and the paint needed to dry. I started to prep the spring perches. I'm using Ballistic Fab perches. I like the design:



I went with the 2.5' tube size perch. My front axle has 2.75' tubes and my back axle has 2.5". The length of the perch is shortest for the 2.5" tube part number (at 4.6" overall) and I want them short as I don't want the perch to squash the spring arch flat and reduce articulation. For the front axle I'll just change the cut to match the 2.75".

For the front axle passenger side, where the perch width needs to straddle the center casting, I have a couple of options. One is to just cut a bigger radius on the perch to match the casting radius and weld it to the casting-but I don't like the idea of welding it to the casting. The other is to make an offset perch similar to my old dana 27, and that only welds to the tube. I like this approach better, and am working out whether I modify the ballistic perch or fab it myself.
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Old 02-21-2016, 05:19 PM   #72 (permalink)
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Good stuff.

I wonder how hard it would be to have a solid steel spring pad made for the passenger side that would cantilever over like the stock one. Or maybe a multi part steel plate unit that could be welded properly during assembly so the inner part next to the diff could actually get welded. If the pad is cantilevered some it probably needs to be pretty thick.....
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Old 02-22-2016, 02:29 AM   #73 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mieser View Post
Good stuff.

I wonder how hard it would be to have a solid steel spring pad made for the passenger side that would cantilever over like the stock one. Or maybe a multi part steel plate unit that could be welded properly during assembly so the inner part next to the diff could actually get welded. If the pad is cantilevered some it probably needs to be pretty thick.....
Thanks for giving this some thought and coming up with ideas Meiser! Much appreciated! I welded up the other three perches today, while also pondering the perch design at the front diff. I think your comment that a multi-piece part could facilitate welding fully to the housing tube is right on the mark. I did a sketch in Illustrator of a multi-piece design that I think accomplishes the weld advantage idea that you pointed out.

Looking from the front, it has an upright piece that fits its right edge next to the diff casting and that would be welded to the tube on it's left edge. Then the rest of the perch parts weld to that.



All parts would be 1/4" plate. The tube cradle of the perch would consist of two pieces. The left/bottom piece would be formed in an L shape, with the upright part having the tube radius cut. The mating right upright piece (that attaches next to the diff housing) would be offset inward to clear the housing, with ends formed outward to reach full spring width at the corners of the perch. For the end cap gussets, I'd use the Ballistic Fab parts from the one perch I haven't welded yet.

The assembly sequence would be:
1) Temporarily tack the L shaped piece and right upright piece together.
2) Place on the housing to set pinion and caster when fully loaded, then tack the upright at its corners on the tube. The right upright piece would be positioned on the housing tube right next to the diff casting.
3) Take the axle out, untack the L section to allow access to weld the right upright to the housing tube along the full length of the radius cut out (the tube weld ends up "inside" the perch.
4) Weld the L section to the tube, and to the upright at its formed ends - inside the perch. The center part of the upright would not be welded , but these welds at the ends of the upright and the addition of the end cap welds would make it very strong. (or I could add a weld at the center of the upright by cutting a slot in the lower plate and adding a weld tab on the upright to fit in the slot to weld).
5) Weld the end caps to the perch ends and housing tube.

I think I'll ponder it a little more and then make one to see how it works. Thanks for the ideas. They got me unstuck and going in a good direction!
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Old 02-22-2016, 07:02 AM   #74 (permalink)
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I like it! One suggestion would be to not use a bent plate part for the L-shape. I would just weld it. That tight 90 is going to make for a weak spot and not provide a flat support surface for the spring. I would just pre-make that assembly with some of your nice tig welding with an inside and outside fillet.

If your going to be make the part anyways, I would add in another spring center hole fore-aft for a little final adjustment of the axle position. At one point, I had a spring pad designed that used a drop in 'key' that you could change out to fine tune the axle position.
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Old 02-22-2016, 09:22 AM   #75 (permalink)
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Your design makes sense to me--I'm not sure what else you could do short of actually making it weld to the cast housing. (Which I don't know--could be an option? You've got a TIG and you seem to be pretty good with it). If you don't want it to weld to the casting, you could still do a support that rests on the casting I suppose. Not sure you need it though.

Does RP4wd have an solutions? Seems like they would have something since they make these housings for early CJ's.
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