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For home brew they look good.

Appears to be a great time to address the frame rust a little. Why let it get away?
Because I don't have time before Easter Jeep Safari to properly deal with it. It'll get a coat of paint over the rust so it doesn't look as bad :flipoff2:

It's all just surface rust anyway.
 

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You have to remove the loose rust first and then the application process is far more complicated and time consuming than spending 30 minutes spray bombing it.

Come on over if you'd like to do it for me :flipoff2:
 

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Then why bother at all?
Like I said... to look good in pictures. :rolleyes: :laughing:

It's possible that it ends up in magazine photos, like many rigs did on coverage in previous years of FSI.
 

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I’ve been soaking my stuff in fluid film a couple times a year to avoid the rust. It seems to help and there isn’t any prep really other than a pressure washer and a day to dry out.


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I might start doing that once I spend the time removing the flakes of rust and coating it more properly. I also just need to be more diligent about recoating the scraped off paint after each wheeling trip before the next rain. That's where the majority of the rust begins from is the bare metal and it just propagates.
 

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The cage is now COMPLETE!


Cage is now fully welded, painted, and all frame supports are installed. Below are some pics of the various frame supports. The really crazy looking ones are for the rear most mounts since they have to span the gap below the sheet metal "channel" where the rear body mounts are.



I designed the bushing mounts to be centered on the frame to minimize cage movement when the rock sliders flex the frame (by rotating it), which will postpone the pinch plates tearing through the floor from repeated stress. The rear most ones (crazy looking ones) only mount on top of the frame but there are two cross members on either side of the body mount, so I hope this area rotates the least.

I also had to offset the b-pillar mounts due to the rock slider supports being in the way. I used 1-3/4"x.250" wall tubing for all the mounts so I'm not too terribly worried that they're at a 30° angle. Probably overkill, but whatever - the additional ~10lbs is down low.



Here's what the bushing supports look like. Frame plate behind the tabs should spread the load out and eliminate the vertical frame welds that many people dislike - again maybe was overkill.



Terrible picture of the B-pillar support installed. The jizz-looking stuff is white lithium. Or maybe I got excited - who knows :laughing:


And finally, the A-pillar support. Much simpler, straighter, stronger. This was the last tube that needed to be notched and welded, so I commemorated it with a picture :grinpimp:


My short list of things left to do before departing for Moab is:
  • Fix parking brake cable routing (new brackets)
  • Run amp + inverter power cable through firewall before carpet goes back in
  • Install rear wall carpet + cab vent covers (for sound)
  • Trim and install floor carpet
  • Routine maintenance (Oil change, new fuel filter, t-case fluid change, trans fluid check, check brakes)
  • Make in-cab MTB mount (probably jerry rigged for now) so I can mountain bike in Moab
I also was staring at the rock slider mounts and while they've held up to tons of punishment for 8 or 9 years... I do want to redo them. They were my very first fabrication project though, so they could certainly have been worse :flipoff2:. I plan on trimming the rockers up and plating them, then redoing the rock sliders with some shallow boatsides to continue the flat underbelly skids outward more. This will be a project for later this year and probably bleed into next year.
 

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No pictures, but for the sake of keeping the thread updated, I got the parking brake cable rerouted yesterday. Fought that the whole way through after I nicked the cable with the grinder and tested it and it snapped. Glad it happened in the garage and not on a steep hill on the trails.
 

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Got everything pretty much squared away. Interior is in, truck is packed. I leave for Moab at 430 tomorrow morning.

And then we got hammered with 6" of snow (which is now mostly melted anyway). Not sure if I would rather have driven through it or packed in it (like I did today). I'm still soaked :laughing:

 

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I just got back last night. Truck isn't even unpacked (save for the cooler and my clothes), and drove it to work today... what's another 10 miles on top of 3000? :flipoff2:



There's definitely some stories to be told. I'm going to try and hammer a bunch out tonight.
 

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First thing’s first… here’s the remainder of the cage updates. Carpet in:


I messed up the hole locations for the tubing, but I’m just going to run it for now. Maybe someday I’ll find a decent carpet in the junkyard to replace this with.

I also wanted to bring my mountain bike to Moab with me, but didn’t want it getting damaged on any trails or worry about it getting stolen. Since I don’t have a rear seat, I tossed it back there and it barely fits without the front wheel, pretty stoked about that.


And the mount is removable.


With the seats in, you can see the handlebars hover over the passenger’s head - only a problem if they’re over 6’ tall. I also slammed the dash back together with some rough cuts.




This is temporary, but it was more than sufficient to keep the bike from rocking back and forth on even the bounciest trails in Moab. Even without it, the bike was extremely stable - but I didn't want the rear tire bouncing up and down on rough roads with all the other stuff I piled in the back.


Packed and ready to head out.


 

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So on Sunday I spent the day packing the truck and doing maintenance (oil change, topping off fluids, putting the 40s on), but it was miserable because of the 6" of slushy nasty snow we got. I was soaking wet and freezing all day, had dinner with the fiancee, and took a hot shower before bed.

I left for Denver at around 5am. Mostly, it was an uneventful 1005 mile / 15h trip. When I arrived in Omaha, it had warmed up enough to roll the windows down. As I stopped in town for lunch, bathroom break, and gas, I smelled brakes. I hoped it was the semi next to me, but as I pulled into a parking lot, I could tell it was me. The driver's rear caliper was seized and the brake was just cooking.

I was lucky enough to find a caliper at the first store I called, so I headed there and they let me swap it in the parking lot, Roadkill style. I even bled the damn thing myself, first letting it gravity bleed and then using a long stick to press the pedal while I modulated the bleeder screw. All in all it took about an hour, and while I was annoyed it was seized, I was pretty pleased with myself.


The rest of the trip was uneventful, riddled with fuel stops (11mpg overall, going 80mph). I never get tired of looking at the gas nozzle shoved into the taillight housing. :laughing:


Driving up into the mountains on I-70 was stunningly beautiful, as usual.










A few hours later, I could see the La Sals in the distance:


Between Denver and Moab is one of the most beautiful drives I’ve ever made - save for the 2 hours surrounding Grand Junction.

If you are coming from the east, it’s TOTALLY worth the extra 10 minutes it takes to go on 128, twisting along the CO River.
 

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Arrived in Moab!!!


One thing I forgot to mention is that while doing the caliper swap, the parking brake cable snapped right at the weld. I was camping with Johnny Wood and he had an on-board welder on his truck. He fixed my parking brake cable up in a jiffy - I threw everything at it I could, there’s no way it’s coming apart this time. I hope. :flipoff2:

I didn’t have or know where any of the other wheelers were yet, so I figured this was a good opportunity to get my mountain biking in. I did the Slickrock trail which snakes in and out of Hell’s Revenge. It kicked my ass, but it was a blast.






Now, onto the wheeling! Day 1, driver’s meeting. I got to meet all kinds of magazine guys throughout the trip, too. I shamelessly plugged my desire to go on UA in 2020 :grinpimp:


First trail day was on Behind the Rocks. Over 40 rigs made for slow progress at the various tough obstacles.



First up was Gatekeeper. After watching numerous trucks fail on either their first try or having to pull cable to get up, I was concerned. But the truck went up it first try with very little drama - so I was feeling pretty good after that.

VIDEO!!! Let’s see if this link works: https://photos.app.goo.gl/HYRtpfYW32fuPHDT6

I’m waiting on some more videos to be uploaded from the guys who were near me. I did the High Dive obstacle and while it’s steeper in person than any video makes it appear (as usual), it actually wasn’t TOO bad to go down. Again, no videos from me, since I was in my truck… but there were many pros taking photos and videos around me so there will be some in the future I can share.

The view after all the obstacles was simply epic:


On the way out of the trail, one of the guys rolled his truck turning in too sharply in the dunes. We spent a LONG time getting the fuel and ATF out of the sand and getting his truck safe to drive again, so that pretty much killed this day. I spent some time in-town and grabbed dinner with one of the FSI eventgoers.

Day 2 to come soon.
 

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Oh, here's an action shot by Jerrod Jones after High Dive on Upchuck (I believe it's called).

 

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Such an awesome trip. I drove a lot of that stretch a couple summers ago on a camping vacation. I’d love to do the full-size invasion when my truck is road worthy


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It's a blast and a great way to do some of the harder trails with extremely experienced spotters. I am 100% sure I would have taken the bypass for High Dive if I hadn't had a good spotter. In our case, it was Stephen Watson of ORD :D
 

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Another, from the top of the Gatekeeper obstacle.

 

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Jealous! That looks like an awesome trip!





And the cage looks great as well, nice work
 
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