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E-Locker or Bust!
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Discussion Starter #1,561 (Edited)
Update on the diff: I pulled it apart and removed one of the screws... it took so much torque to remove it, I thought for sure I was going to break the hex socket. Put that one back in with proper torque and red loctite, but I didn't bother with the others.

While it was out, I marked each bolt and the case with a centerpunch so I could see if things were shifting the next time I pull the cover.

 

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Discussion Starter #1,563
Well I forgot to take the diff cover off before I installed the axle under the truck. But it'll be off in 500 miles to drain the break in lube, so... I'll nab dimensions then.

Good news is I got the axle under the truck though! I completely filled the reservoir with the hydro ram extended and when I turned the wheel to start bleeding... well, you get the picture.


I also got the pilot bearing replaced on the 14b and slammed it back together. Little by little, things are coming together.


 

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"Little by little."

Exactly. I make myself do something on the truck every day. Eventually it will be done!
 

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Discussion Starter #1,565
"Little by little."

Exactly. I make myself do something on the truck every day. Eventually it will be done!
For sure. With the lockdown, I'm taking even more time to do things properly, like refinishing the leaf springs while the front end was apart, for example.

It takes extra time now, but should save me a lot more time and headaches down the road. I just need to be carefully not to let the scope creep TOO much.

Fortunately, now that things are going back together that's less of a concern.
 

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The more you do to your truck, the more I really like it, and would consider doing to mine! I just wish mine was a crew cab..... Kids arent getting any smaller.
 

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Discussion Starter #1,567
Thanks man, I appreciate the kind words. Not sure what I'll do when we have kids... Probably a 3rd seat centered between the two front seats when the time comes to go suspension seats.
 

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Discussion Starter #1,568
AAAAAAANNNNNNDDDDD I'm done! Got the axles stabbed under it yesterday and spent this morning filling the diffs and putting the tires on. Took it for it's first 20 minute break-in drive and all seemed well. Hard to tell the difference with the new gears while taking it easy, but it sure does seem to accelerate a bit easier so that's a win.









I've got a few more small things to square away this week and then I'll get started on the belly skids. :grinpimp: :D :grinpimp: :D
 

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E-Locker or Bust!
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Discussion Starter #1,569
Not really much to show, but I've been reworking my fuel filler neck after the hose got a cut in it (probably from a branch or something) and I'm making a guard for it. Will post pictures when it's done.

In the meantime, here's a good comparison between a lip-shaved 14b and a 13b cover shave.


And check out this sexiness...




Waiting on a new filler neck hose because the replacement one sent was wrong, so that'll get done over the weekend. Tomorrow looks rainy but if I get a patch of dry I may start mocking up the belly skids.

Been trying to get miles on the new gears in the rear but with lockdown in place, it's tough. I am around 220 miles though now. I just know once I start the belly skids I probably won't be driving it much (since the crossmembers all have to come out for modifications).
 

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Discussion Starter #1,571
I have been slacking on the skids. I have been chasing a driveline vibration that I want to get squared away before I lock down the design on the crossmembers. New carrier bearing is coming Wed/Thurs and if that doesn't help/fix it, I'll drop the shaft at the driveline shop to get balanced.
 

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Discussion Starter #1,574
Yessir, I sure am. Already applied :D Bummed that it got pushed back to September, but who knows - maybe it will allow for a different climate than normal?
 

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Discussion Starter #1,575 (Edited)
I guess it's time for some updates. Hopefully they work with the new format.

Here's the new filler routing and protective shield for the 2" fuel filler neck:




I also finally mounted the spare tire better. It can be configured in the middle or off to the side for when I've got my wheeling and camping gear with me.




Then I got really interested in the flat belly skids. I've had them for a couple months now and it's time to get them bolted in. I'd say I'm about 75% finished with them.

Let me start by explaining - they're 1/4" thick Duracorr 300 material. This material is harder than typical mild steel, but less hard than AR400. However, it is highly corrosion resistant so even once the paint is scraped off of it by rocks, it shouldn't rust like mild steel would. I considered going to 3/16" material to save weight, but this material wasn't available to me in that thickness. Overall with the added crossmember supports, it should clock in around 170lbs. It's around 220 total lbs if you include the transmission crossmember, 205 crossmember, and carrier bearing/anti-wrap crossmembers - none of which are factory (though the transmission crossmember is a beefed up version of the factory one).

Here's what the skids look like by themselves:


Crossmembers in-place for mock-up and marking the holes for drilling:


I took the opportunity to replace the transmission/transfer case adapter as it had a keensert pull out of it. Nothing like having 200lbs of transfer case teetering above your head :ROFLMAO:


 

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Discussion Starter #1,576
Here's kind of a rough idea of what it will look like (minus the rear crossmember) under the truck.




I mocked everything up with c-clamps and floor jacks and used a centerpunch to mark each hole to make sure things lined up perfectly.




And finally, just to make sure everything lined up before I welded everything in place... I welded two nuts in place for each skid and used those screws to hold them in-place while I pilot drilled the remaining holes (to ensure they still were centered). All other nuts will be welded in place based off of those two screws so that none of the countersinks are misaligned.



Next steps are:
  • Drill holes bigger on truck frame (done, it didn't suck as bad as I thought using a step bit)
  • Drill holes bigger on crossmembers (done, brought them to work and used the drill press)
  • Add angle-iron supports to center crossmember and centerpunch/drill holes (not done)
  • Press-in nuts to crossmembers and weld flush (not done)
  • Mock up nuts on inside of truck frame and weld in-place (not done)
I should be able to get this finished this weekend since the weather looks good. A lot of the test fitting and removal steps are complete. I believe only one more test fit and remove step for the middle crossmember nuts, but we'll see! If I don't finish it this weekend, it'll be damn close.
 

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Discussion Starter #1,577
Made some serious progress this weekend. I'd say I'm like 90% done with these things. I need to redo the NP205 support bushing to clear the new crossmember and that will be the last task before paint on these crossmembers and skid plates.

Some notes after first drive:
1) The skids definitely creak when I pulled into an angled parking lot entrance so I expect them to be creaky offroad. Not a big deal, just something to note since it's metal on metal that's shifting as the frame flexes. Didn't notice it much during driving over potholes though, which is good.

2) There's a weird harmonic/drone at 35-45 that sounds like the tire drone being amplified, which I never experienced without the skids. I haven't been above 60mph with them yet, so if that's the only speed I can live with it. If it happens at highway speeds, I will go crazy on long trips, though. I'll try this out tonight and see.

On to pictures!

I drilled a hole small enough to press-fit in a 1/2" nut flush with the crossmember and welded them in place. Then ground the welds smooth.






And here is all of the crossmembers removed for mock up and modification, laid out on top of the skids as they'll be installed in the truck:


I warped the middle crossmember when I hastily welded on the angle iron tabs to it, so I got to play around with some sketchy press set-ups:




While the crossmembers were out, I welded the nuts in place inside of the frame. What a nightmare this was. To ensure everything lined up with the flat head/countersunk screws, I did this step-by-step until everything was tacked in place. Even with the crossmembers removed it was a pain in the ass to weld because of lack of sight lines and squeezing the gun in between tight clearances. I eventually got it done, but boy am I sore :ROFLMAO:

Finally, here's everything right before skid "final" install.





And final skid install (minus needing to come back out for paint).


 

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Discussion Starter #1,578
I'm an idiot. The droning was coming from the front diff. I took a quick drive on the highway near my house and unlocked the hubs. Apparently, my new (used) gearset makes more noise than I thought on the coast side OR the front driveshaft is noisy when spinning unloaded because when I unlocked the hubs, the drone went away from 35-45 and I didn't hear any drone up to 85 on the highway. So that's good!

Also, I think the bodylift is helping vent the heat from the catalytic converters because the floor didn't feel warm at all when I got back. Granted, it was only an ~8 mile loop, so we'll see after a long highway stint AND putting around at the badlands at a snails pace while giving the beans trying to climb rocks lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #1,579 (Edited)
No major updates here, except that the skids are DONE and painted. I sprayed all the contact points with Moly Spray to try and quiet down the creaking. I also torqued the screws properly upon install and got them much tighter than my 3/8" impact could. Not sure which of those (if either or both) helped, but the creaking is nonexistent on the road now.

We'll see if it's any more creaky than before when fully flexed out on the trails - heading to Badlands July 3. I drove around to work and stopped at the grocery store, leaving the truck idling while I went inside for 5 minutes. The floor under the passenger seat is warm, but not too hot to touch (even at the exposed metal areas). The carpet is barely warmer than the carpet elsewhere on the floor. We'll see if I need any more heat shields for the cats - supposed to be 95ish for the Badlands trip.

The ONLY thing left is to cut and drill some angle iron pieces to bolt into the 3 per side unused holes at the back of the skids for extra support between the frame rails. I likely won't get to this before Badlands, but I also don't expect that area to be in contact with much (famous last words).







Also slapped a heat shield on the trans line going to the ecobox since it's a few inches away from the exhaust.


I also added a notch for the driveshaft... JUST in case I ever fully droop the suspension. Likely wouldn't have even contacted if it was fully drooped, but I figured now was the time to address this since I hadn't installed them after paint yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #1,580
This weekend was productive enough. Last trip out, I noticed one of my welds on my sliders busted, but the gusset was still holding on. Mind you, these sliders were built in a driveway on a buddy's 110v welder FCAW, with a circuit breaker that kept tripping. I'm frankly surprised they lasted this long.

I added a weld-on gusset that should be easy enough to remove next summer when I cut the rockers out and make mini-boatsides (no door modifications). The sliders/boatside structure will be all new, so this is entirely a bandaid. Should work just fine, though.



The rest of the weekend, I spent cleaning the garage. It was a disaster as it always seems to be after completing a big project.

Headed to Badlands on Friday if anyone else is interested in coming along.
 
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