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Second crossmember with additional doubler support. I put the bushing parallel axially to the drivetrain to support the massive weight of the 205 while allowing drivetrain rotation without binding the tailhousing of the transmission.




Here's a better view of the three crossmembers. The first is obviously supporting the transmission. The second supports the 205 tailhousing and the third will support both the anti-wrap bar and driveshaft carrier bearing. Finally, all three have sleeved and welded holes in them. As I mentioned the truck will eventually get a flat belly and there will be front-to-back support going between these sleeved holes with the rounded flanges you see bolted in place.




Here’s the x-members painted and the front one you can see notched. I used a piece of 3/8” scrap that I formed into a u-shape. Should be plenty strong.
 

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Fuel tank mods:
So, since I was going SO short with this build, this fuel tank ended up needing to be clearanced for the 14b pumpkin. I used a piece of sheet metal that I had held onto for years which ended up being the same thickness and just larger than the size I needed to notch the tank and bent this up on the finger brake at work, then welded it.


Then, marked the cutout using the notch piece as a template:


Then, filled the tank with shielding gas to try and help. Not sure if this did anything or was worth it, but piece of mind I suppose:


And welded it up! You can see the welds are much better quality on the bottom plane of the tank. This was because I was able to do a lap joint rather than a butt joint like I did on the front face. In hindsight I should have also done the butt joint on the front face.


Did a water test with no leaks overnight. Added some ridges so that the fuel tank straps don’t slip off since they’re not able to be in the factory groove any longer. Then used Red Kote to coat the inside of the tank for some added security against leaks in the future:


Then I installed the fuel pump with the adapter rings that Dueling made for me. I should have modified the float arm a bit, as it only fills to 7/8 of a tank on the gauge when actually full, but oh well.

Getting the old nylon lines off the quick connects was super easy once you make a length-wise slit. Getting the new nylon lines on them was a pain in the ass. The best method I found was to heat the end of the nylon line in boiling water, while heating the quick connect with a heat gun. Then slide the two together and basically smack the whole assembly against a hard surface many times until it seats. The harder you can grip the nylon, the better. Ended up taking 2 or 3 tries for the send fuel line since it’s at the highest pressure. The return and evap lines don’t leak and I got those done first try. No evap SES codes, so it must be good enough.

 

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This brings us to where I finished typing up last night. I will likely have some downtime tonight too so I hope to get the rest of the updates out tonight or tomorrow morning.

Still to come:
-Bed modification
-Suspension changes
-Driveshafts
-Doubler + Shifter (finalized)
-Ehxaust
 

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Discussion Starter #1,084 (Edited)
Let’s start with driveshafts since it’s pretty simple. Picked up the shortened and rebalanced 2-piece shaft along with the 14”+ travel front shaft.



Compressed/extended shots of the front shaft:




I ran the thing with a hub locked in and didn’t feel any vibes up to 50mph before I had to slow down, so that’s good enough for me. Ended up chopping down and boring out my old 1350 slip yoke and sliding it on the end of the splined section before dropping it at the driveshaft shop. They assembled everything else. It’s a beast, probably weighs 50lbs since the splines are solid and the tubing is .25” wall.
 

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Bed started like this so I could fix the drilled/cut out rivet nuts:


First cut is the deepest…


Some careful and clever cutting released the front header panel from the rest of the bed. I left about 2” of beside on it so I could then epoxy the outer bed skins to the leftover header panel and not have to do any welding on the outer skins.






Then I welded the header panel to the inner bedsides and bed floor.




And finally, epoxied the header panel to the bedsides:
 

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Shock towers turned out pretty nicely. Since I’m stuck running the bodylift, I figured I’d get them as high as possible. ALMOST overdid it as they come pretty close to touching the crossmember when the axle is at full bump.




Cable shifters for the doubler:


They ended up at a slight angle towards the driver. Not for ergonomics, but if I pointed them straight back, I’d never be able to get to the top bolt on the transfer case again. Not sure yet how I’ll cover up the old shifter but I’ve tossed a few ideas around in my head. Still need to mount the boots to the shifters.


Then a local wheeling buddy came over and helped me put the bed on after the epoxy had cured.




It was starting to look like a truck again!
 

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Needed clearance to shorten the rock sliders.




And then I was able to fit the 40s back on the thing. Love the stance at this point:


Rain was forecasted and I still had the exhaust to do. Rain never came, but the shade was welcomed on the 95 degree day doing overhead welding in a jacket.


No pictures of it installed yet… but you get the idea:


Ended up doing the cat-back after my trip down to Badlands. Needless to say it was quite loud up to this point being dumped and having a hole in the trans tunnel. I methodically smashed the tube to give clearance to the passenger rear shock using the press and arbor plates as a die (standing up). Didn’t turn out as clean as I hoped… but whatever. It works.




Video of exhaust: https://photos.app.goo.gl/E8wdBXWMc8WiM4Vz1

For fun video of first startup after fuel tank wired/plumbed. Open header on one side and cat on the other made for some serious lope sounds: https://photos.app.goo.gl/KpIJIoWtvwrc3mG23

I think that’s pretty much it. I trimmed the fender hastily because I eventually want to widen the entire thing by merging two rear flares together to make the entire wheel well a lot longer. But in reality, it will probably live like this the rest of the summer haha.


Also, still need to route the fuel filler neck since this wastes about a quart of fuel every time I fill it up haha.
 

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Discussion Starter #1,088
And finally the before/after shots:



 

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Thanks man! I'm impressed with how well it turned out, myself haha. I thought I'd hate it or it would have to grow on me, but I absolutely love it.
 

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It looks so weird at first in person, but it grows on you so quickly.

Now lets get this truck wheeling and really see the reward of all your labor.
 

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Wednesday!
 

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So yesterday morning, I stopped by Grohe's house because he picked up my driveshaft from the local driveline shop after they swapped the double cardan head - hopefully for the last time.



Then, I was worried since the rubber boot on my driveshaft showed some signs of melting that it was too close to the exhaust. I massaged it with the BFH and now there's a lot more clearance. I may also wrap it with some heat shield wrap to save the rubber boot even more in the future.


As soon as I got to Badlands i heard a funny noise...


So I spent a few minutes with the angle grinder clearancing things. And re-tested. How convenient of them to put two perfectly sized dirt mounds right at the entrance to the park!





I also checked the driveshaft at droop and compression to make sure it wasn't binding. All looks well (no pics at compression, take my word for it).




Being solo (and one of two non-ATV rigs at the park), I didn't get many pictures.


Bottom line of the day? Everything mechanical worked flawlessly. I got to test out the front dig and run lines I've never been able to run before. It understeers more than I'd like with the welded front diff so there's a selectable in my future once funds allow... but I'll also want to regear to 5.38s at that time so it's a significant investment. I can deal with the understeering in the meantime.

The only major problem was a root hidden in a wall of dirt. Body damage doesn't bother me too much when it's intentional to get over a tough obstacle. It does bother me a bit when it was simply an accident - which this was. I didn't even realize it happened until I went to air up my tires at the end of the day. Oh well, hood is mostly fine and a used matching fender should be easily sourced (I hope!).
 

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Discussion Starter #1,094 (Edited)
Since I was solo... no pics. BUUUUUT I did want to sort of watch how my truck did certain things and also share with those who helped me along this journey into a shorter wheelbase.

So I brought my camera and tripod with me to document. Sorry everything is slightly blurry. There was crap on the lens protector and I didn't notice the blurriness until I loaded them on my computer.

I'll start with the bad news. I didn't make it up this one. There are other lines I'd love to try but didn't feel comfortable doing them by myself because they're super off-camber and I'd like a spotter. I'll try it again in the future.

The rest is all good news. This one is one I've done before but never gotten up in one try. It was nearly effortless with the locked front end. I almost think the shorter wheelbase hurts here, but being locked more than made up for it.

I've also made this line before. Usually it takes some bumping to make it up. Again, I think shorter wheelbase hurts here but the locker made up for it again.

I'm not sure I've ever tried this one. I imagine with the front flexed as much as it was it would have been difficult with an open front diff.

I know for sure I haven't tried this one before, but on the weekend of my intended shakedown, Grohe tried it and got up after a few tries and some skinny pedal. It was a bit less dramatic with mine, which I was glad for since I was solo. The video doesn't really show just how steep it is, but it was steep enough my trans was starved for fluid (hence the jerkiness).

Another obstacle I've never made it up without winching or a strap.

For those familiar with the Badlands, I also did a few lines on the back "wall" of waterfalls. Over there, the shorter wheelbase definitely helps with breakover and being locked helps pull the truck up. No videos here becuase there was a jeep playing around and didn't want him thinking I was a brodozer mallcrawler only wheeling for the sweet vidz.... even though I am :flipoff2:


I leave for Colorado/Utah on Monday so I'm glad nothing serious went wrong. The service engine light has been on since the doubler swap. I hope it's O2 or MAF sensor related because the truck is down on power at low RPMs intermittently. My bluetooth reader isn't working on my truck for some reason (works on my car and my fiancee's car so not sure), so I can't scan the code myself. Going to go by Autozone tonight and see if they have better luck.

Otherwise I'm mostly doing maintenance before I depart, reattaching the e-brake, lengthening my spare front driveshaft, and moving the fuel filler neck since I'm tired of wasting nearly a gallon of gas at every fill-up.
 

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The rigs looks and seems to perform great. I'm in love with the stubby bed.

For the record, that undercut is a pretty challenging one for me as well. I never know whether I'll make it up or not on any given trip. My line of choice is to the far right - it pitches you hard driver and twists you up pretty good, but eventually it comes up.
 

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The rigs looks and seems to perform great. I'm in love with the stubby bed.

For the record, that undercut is a pretty challenging one for me as well. I never know whether I'll make it up or not on any given trip. My line of choice is to the far right - it pitches you hard driver and twists you up pretty good, but eventually it comes up.
Yep, that's one of the lines I was reluctant to try without either a spotter or a roll cage. It's VERY tippy (I know because I've spotted you up it before haha), but I think that's the key too. I just didn't want anything catastrophic to happen when nobody was around.

truck is looking great! i dig the bed setup
Thanks! I'm loving it as well. Going to have to get creative with the rear wheel wells, but I have some ideas up my sleeve.
 

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Truck looks good! That Stubby bed is so dope!

Awesome to see it out and about doing things.
Thanks man. The front driveshaft (same slip joint you're running) is so beefy and it's nice knowing it'll never ever separate. Balanced pretty good the first go-around (no vibes up to around 55mph). This second time it seems to vibrate at a lower speed (~40mph) which is a bummer, but still tolerable for winter driving.
 

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Thanks man. The front driveshaft (same slip joint you're running) is so beefy and it's nice knowing it'll never ever separate. Balanced pretty good the first go-around (no vibes up to around 55mph). This second time it seems to vibrate at a lower speed (~40mph) which is a bummer, but still tolerable for winter driving.
Nice! 40-50 is where mine's happy these days, plenty for bombing around. I do wonder if leaving less male slip in the tube would have helped or hurt me on balancing. I was pretty jealous to see your limited weights on there in your inital photos hahahaha. Either way I'm super happy with mine, I've toasted two ujoints and that knuckle, it's still as happy as the day I installed it. :D
 
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