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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Just posted about this in my motorhome build-thread, so thought it would be a good time to start a build thread for this project. Started designing this chassis back in 2007 and kinda stopped working on it when I decided to build the motorhome. Now things are coming around full circle and I'm picking up where I left off. Have always leaned more towards utilitarian vehicles, like my Tacoma, which is probably one of the most practical and useful vehicles I've ever built. But after that project, I swore I'd never build another full-bodied production-based vehicle. Working around all that sheetmetal was a nightmare. So I've decide that I'm going to build a little tube-chassis pickup truck. This is not going to be any kind of gnarly offroad truck. Maybe 10" of travel up front and 14" in the rear? It's going to be low-slung and want to set-up the chassis and suspension so it'll handle like a straight-axle AWD autocrosser. With a fire-breathing 60hp turbo-diesel. haha. But it'll have a full 6ft bed and a license plate. Should get fantastic gas mileage and can share fuel with the motorhome.

I've got a bunch of parts that I was collecting to build a CJ5 that I'm probably going to use to build this instead. Just picked up a little 4-cylinder diesel Kubota V2203 engine, wide-ratio Muncie with a vertical-gate Hurst Competition shifter and a D18 with a Warn 25% overdrive that's mated to the transmission with an adapter from AA, and a pair of Wagoneer axles. Parts are all subject to change, depending on what I can scrounge-up before I dive into this project. It's going to be a little while before I am able to get started on it, but I'll post updates as I continue to work on the CAD models. These screen-shots are still very rough, and I'm not really asking for critical feedback at this point. Just wanted to share what I've come up with so far. Would love to talk more about building tube-chassis trucks in general though. Trailers are for boats!





 

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Discussion Starter #3
The spare. Yeah. Those are 35x12.5's and I'll probably run 33x10.5's or 255/85R16's, which are obviously a bit skinnier. Really like having the spare tire under the bed on the Tacoma, but I raised the bed above the framerails and the first version of this chassis had a really cool slide-in/out spare tire carrier, but had to change that to make the bed more useful on this version. Maybe a swingaway spare tire carrier, but would rather not. Any ideas?

 

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cool........axe the spare and i cant wrap my head around the front end.......just seems to drop off.....doesnt gel with the rear.....jmo.
 

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Will there be any provisions for sealing up the cab from the elements? I like the idea, but as a snow dweller I can't imagine not beading able to seal it up. Maybe you live in a nicer environment though...
 

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X2, the nice thing about working around all that sheetmetal with a stock body, is the fact that its all there and is protecting the occupants from the elements. It would kinda suck to get drenched everytime you ran into town to get groceries.

How are you going to plate it?

I'd just like to know how you afford all this stuff? Between quitting your job and moving out of your home, the insanely cool and complex motorhome build, the audi, I believe there was a motorcycle in there somewhere, a van, and I'm sure I'm missing something, could you have any more projects? For a guy who is trying to cut down on stuff in his life, you seem to have a lot of stuff. Not knocking it, its cool you can do all this!

Kevo
 

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Discussion Starter #7
cool........axe the spare and i cant wrap my head around the front end.......just seems to drop off.....doesnt gel with the rear.....jmo.
Yeah, the frontend is super minimalistic and the shape of the backend is dictated by the dimensions of the bed. Agree that it looks kinda disproportional. Was just wrapping tubes around that little Kubota engine to figure out what kind of space I had to allow for. That's pretty much the minimum, and it's tight. Will probably scale it up to accommodate something like a Cummins 3.3 and need to make provisions for a front-mounted radiator, so can't really say what it might end up looking like.

Will there be any provisions for sealing up the cab from the elements? I like the idea, but as a snow dweller I can't imagine not beading able to seal it up. Maybe you live in a nicer environment though...
Nope. This is going to be an open-top vehicle. Drove Jeeps for years and years and these days I mostly ride motorcycles. Don't mind the elements, and the weather isn't too harsh out here on the west coast. Will have a floorpan, firewall, minimal sheetmetal around the cab, windshield and wipers, roof and a heater - and think that's about all I need? Picked up some industrial walking foot sewing machines and have been learning how to sew. Wouldn't be very difficult to make a soft-top.
X2, the nice thing about working around all that sheetmetal with a stock body, is the fact that its all there and is protecting the occupants from the elements. It would kinda suck to get drenched everytime you ran into town to get groceries.
Guess it's all relative. No worse than riding a motorcycle in the rain. That's how I'm getting around right now, and picking up a lot more than groceries. Working around the stock floorpan and firewall on the FJ80 that I designed/built at PacFab wasn't too bad. Took longer than it would have to build a custom chassis from scratch, but it turned out pretty cool and has got a lot of amenities left over from the stock vehicle. Considered building something similar on a Toyota pickup chassis, kind of like an F-Toy or something, but decided that I'd rather just design/build from scratch and end up with exactly what I want.

How are you going to plate it?
License plate or sheetmetal?

1) Probably as a custom-built vehicle.

2) Leaning towards something kinda like what I've done in that CAD model. Individual light-gage sheetmetal panels that would be welded into the chassis, probably on the centerline of the tubes. Would be the easiest way to seal the cab, would help to cut down on vibrations and noise, and would help protect the sheetmetal from damage. Have always preferred the look of purposeful things and like the lines of tube chassis racer a lot more than anything dressed-up to look like something else.

I'd just like to know how you afford all this stuff? Between quitting your job and moving out of your home, the insanely cool and complex motorhome build, the audi, I believe there was a motorcycle in there somewhere, a van, and I'm sure I'm missing something, could you have any more projects?
Oh I didn't quit my job, this is what I do for a living and that hasn't changed. Being self-employed is what allowed me to move up to Bend, OR and now affords me the kind of freedom to do the whole motorhome thing. As to all these different projects, here's how it breaks down:

The motorhome has been a huge investment, but that taken the place of my home and office and all related expenses.

Have owned the Tacoma for a long-long time and built it up slowly over a number of years. Can't really haul my four big dogs around in it with the way the bed is configured though. Considered selling it to finance other projects, but it's done and paid for so decided to keep it and my brother Robo-Boogie's been rallying that up in Chico.

Purchased the astrosafari van at auction, but that's gone now. Decided it didn't really meet my needs. Never really sunk much in the way of time or money into that project anyway. Was kind of a wash in the end.

Picked up the allroad (dirt-cheap) to replace the van. Need something to haul my dogs and bikes around and take camping until the motorhome is done. Might end up taking it with me and the motorhome, but that's unlikely. Too maintenance-intensive. Will probably leave it with my parents instead. Momma Gatos needs a new go-go-mobile and she likes driving the Audi.

Purchased that CJ5 10yrs ago for $300 and have only spent about $1000 total on all parts I've collected to build it.

This tube-chassis pickup truck project isn't going to cost much in the way of money (planning on using most of the parts I had collected to build the CJ5) and I'm not going to start building it until I can spare the time.

All the motorcycle projects are related to a little business that I recently started with my brothers (GatosBros) and that's one of the reasons why progress on the motorhome has slowed down a little bit. We've been spending all our money filing patents and developing new products. We can only do so much. Spent 10yrs running a graphic design and marketing studio and our website sucks because I can't even afford to be my own client right now. Robo-Boogie just raced King of the Motos on used tires that he got off craigslist!

For a guy who is trying to cut down on stuff in his life, you seem to have a lot of stuff. Not knocking it, its cool you can do all this!
Don't hate me because I'm beautiful. haha. Working on fun projects is just the nature of my work. Seriously though, realize that I'm super fortunate to be able to spend my time like this. But I also work reallyfuckinghard to make it all happen.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Question: What would you guys think about something like an Ibex chassis with a pickup bed? Love what Drew's done with that chassis, and seems like it would make a pretty good starting point for a project like this. With as much as I have going on, it sure would be nice to save all the time it would take to design/build something completely custom. Sent Drew a PM last night after I started this thread and he's open to the idea. Would anybody else be interested in something like that?
 

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Why?

A old Chevy Luv cab and frame will easily handle your drivetrain.. and you will have..
(Wait for it)..

































A title..
 

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Oh I didn't quit my job, this is what I do for a living and that hasn't changed. Being self-employed is what allowed me to move up to Bend, OR and now affords me the kind of freedom to do the whole motorhome thing.
My bad, I thought you had a normal day job in bend.

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful. haha. Working on fun projects is just the nature of my work. Seriously though, realize that I'm super fortunate to be able to spend my time like this. But I also work reallyfuckinghard to make it all happen.
Good for you! I think the hard work is a key thing a lot of people forget about.

Kevo
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Why? A old Chevy Luv...
Seriously? You ask why... and then follow that up with, 'an old Chevy Luv'. haha.

1) Don't want to drive a Chevy Luv and that could be the end of this list.

2) Definitely don't want to drive any kind of mini-truck without a rollcage. Even on the street. Think it's crazy that racecar drivers are able to walk away from some spectacular crashes and people are dying in traffic accidents. Not trying to go out like a sucker. Ride motorcycles and yeah, that's a much bigger risk, but take measures to protect myself where I can.

3) Like I've already explained, don't want to have to work around the limitations imposed by any of the production-based vehicles that I would choose to start with (probably a late-80's extracab Toyota). Put the B-pillar outside the cab and ran super low-profile hard-shell Sparco seats and still don't as room in my Tacoma as I'd like.

4) Title is not an non-issue.
 

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A title..
Been down this road and that Government title sure makes the insurance company happy, which reduces your cost! You really only need the section of frame with the VIN stamp & matching paper for the DMV. It is getting that insurance to get the plate/tags that can turn into steaming excrement with custom.

How much of that old RDC concept will get to play?

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter #14
That design isn't pretty.
Guess that's a matter of taste. There's a lot of work left to be done, but I kinda dig it. Nothing more than it needs to be.
Been down this road and that Government title sure makes the insurance company happy, which reduces your cost! You really only need the section of frame with the VIN stamp & matching paper for the DMV. It is getting that insurance to get the plate/tags that can turn into steaming excrement with custom.
Me too. Honestly, would prefer not to spend to much time discussing that part of this project. There are so many different ways to go about it and what you can/not do varies so much from State to State. All I'm going to say is that I'm not concerned about it.

How much of that old RDC concept will get to play?
Not much. This is more of a utilitarian build than a full-on recreation project and I'm going to use a straight-axle up front to keep things simple and affordable.
 

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With your fab skills i'd love to see you turn that CJ5 into a half cab pickup, stretch it a bit and fab up a simple flatbed or military trailer style bed on the back.
 

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With your fab skills i'd love to see you turn that CJ5 into a half cab pickup, stretch it a bit and fab up a simple flatbed or military trailer style bed on the back.
I think you would be able to pull this off in killer fashion. However, I understand the original build tube truck.

Could you post a rendering with the dimensions? I think that would make it easier to understand what you're going for.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Love the idea, hate the render. That has to be the ugliest tube chassis ever.
Hah. That seems to be a theme with a lot of my projects. Don't tend to design things to 'look' any particular way. This is just another game of connect-the-dots and what you see is what the chassis came out looking like. Like I've said, it's nowhere near finished. The frontend is just a quick mock-up and the whole back half of the chassis is subject to change as I continue to refine things, but the cab is pretty close to what I'd want to build. Not saying it couldn't be improved, but I like it. A lot. It's okay if you don't like it, and I'm not trying to defend it, but here's some insight into how I arrived at this layout if you'd like to talk about why it looks the way it looks:

Wanted to build as much strength into the A-pillars and front part of the cab as possible, because I didn't want to have to rely on triangulating the B-pillars and back part of the top of the cab to the rear to strengthen the top of the cab. Even those two short diagonal braces from the top of the cab ad the B-pillars to the bed-rails might have to be eliminated so I can carry a small slide-in camper if there are any clearance issues.

The tubework around the windshield supports five separate flat pieces of glass that wrap around the front of the cab. This design should help deflect wind around the cab. It's functional and I happen to really like how it looks. Like a space shuttle cockpit.






Also wanted to keep the number of bends to a minimum. That's just a preference (those bent tubes in the doors were only to help me visualize how I might want to shape that opening). Back to the purposeful design thing. Not going to add bends to something like this if they don't need to be there. Even if it would make it look better.

Cross-braced the doors in my Tacoma in a similar fashion and liked the way that turned out. Get a lot of the structural integrity that you would have with horizontal tubes that people typically run at that height (dash-to-bedrail), with a much bigger opening that makes it a lot more convenient to get in/out. Obviously a compromise, but think it makes sense for a vehicle like this.

The bottom of the cab tucks-in toward the rear, under the seats, and is cut much further forward than the top half of the B-pillar tubing. The idea is to keep the make the cab area as small as possible, while maintaining geometry that makes it comfortable to sit in and drive. All that space saved where it's no needed makes for better clearance and more room for fuel and whatever else I might want to package below/behind the cab.

What else?
 

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With your fab skills i'd love to see you turn that CJ5 into a half cab pickup, stretch it a bit and fab up a simple flatbed or military trailer style bed on the back.
This would be awesome.

What about doing the "tube truck" like you plan but skinning it to look better but also probably be less of a hassle for the cops on road...?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
With your fab skills i'd love to see you turn that CJ5 into a half cab pickup, stretch it a bit and fab up a simple flatbed or military trailer style bed on the back.
Believe me, I've thought about it. Was tempted to buy a Scrambler chassis and do exactly what you're proposing, but if I were to put an equal amount of work into one project or the other - I'd rather build this one. The CJ will get built one way or the other. Someday.

Could you post a rendering with the dimensions? I think that would make it easier to understand what you're going for.
Sure. Will work on creating some screen captures that include some critical dimensions. Would like to get some feedback on the proportions anyway.
 
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