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Discussion Starter #1
Well Ive been threatening to start a thread here on my build. While my work is not up to the standards of some of the guys on here (Skipped Link, WGTactical) and I [email protected] sure am slow, Ive been working on this project for a long time and its starting to get interesting. So here goes.

First I should lay out the goals.

Turbo Diesel
Full hydro steering
Street legal
and yes Amphibious

When I began this build, I hadnt decided exactly what it will look like. I knew it would be either a highly modified Bronco or a completly custom aluminum body. As the build progressed, I decided to try to build it to look like a HEMTT. If you dont know what that is, Google's your friend. Its not going to be a replica, just a HEMTT flavor to it. Although this is certainly not going to be a hard core rock crawler, it must be resonably good offroad machine. (big tires, lockers and somewhat flexible) I do plan on driving this on the highway sometimes and it has to have heat and AC.

Since Ive been working on this for several years, I have to catch you guys up. It will take a few posts. I welcome comments and I have thick skin, so bring on the critasisim.
But if your part of the spelling police, please look elsewhere.

Here goes,

I got this 92’ Bronco for $1100. I had been looking for a Bronco all over and this one turned up less then two miles from my house. It has the same driveline as my DD. It runs great and is fairly rust free.





This is the same truck stripped to the frame after a lot of work with a high speed wire wheel and a few cans of rustolium.



I got a some axles from a 2007’ F250 Superduty. At least, that’s what the yard told me. I started with the front axle. I told the yard to get the radius arm mounts off the SD without ruining them. They torched the frame about 3” in front and back of the mounts. So I had to drill out the rivets. One thing I noticed was the SD frame is .270” thick. This Bronco frame is .210” thick.

I started by measuring several times and then drilling one ¼” hole. Bolted that and then measured again. LOL



With the back bolted solid (1/2” grade 8’s) you can see that the frame seems to be a little narrower. Some other guys put spacers in here. I decided to just bolt it to the frame and let the rubber bushing take the misalignment. If it gives me problems, I can space it out later.



I lowered it down to the bump stops and nothing hits the crossmember.



These are the stock springs. The perches are off the TTB. It’s funny the stock bolts were not long enough to hold the perch. But the TTB axle pivot bolts were exactly the right size. In any case, I might be changing the sprigs/perches in the future. (maybe even the buckets) But for now, it’s OK.



I had to modify the frame side trac bar mount. (off the superduty)



The ear on the left was just hitting a frame rivet. The hole next to it lined up with another frame rivet. (drilled it out and bolted with a grade 8) After that I had to elongate the right hole to make room for a bolt inside the frame rail.



Here it is installed. Note access hole in frame rail. I know it looks like I didnt have to cut off the other two bolt holes. I've seen it done, but then you have to cut the crossmember alot. The mount is alot stronger then the crossmember, so I cut it.



Continued
 

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Discussion Starter #3
This is what I ended up doing to the stock (one piece) trac bar to make it adjustable. I did some searching and found that the superduty has some problems with the axle not being centered on stock springs. They sell bars like this, but they want too much.



The bar is fordged and not eazy to work with. But I was able to drill and tap for 7/8". I chose that thred because they make rodends in that size. So I might be able to use the tools for my three link in the back. Also, I might put a rodend in that end.



On the rear I got a 10.5 Sterling. My plan is to go three link eventually. But I would like to get this thing rolling as fast as possible, so I figured i would bolt it in with the stock leaf springs.



The spring plates are from the Superduty. The U-bolts and nuts are from the Bronco. The axle is a little bigger in diameter so I had to spread the u-bolts.



I wanted 20 by 14 wheels. I got these double beadlock wheels from Stazworks. The wheels are two halves that bolt together. The beadlocks are two plastic hoops that snap together. It’s all of very good quality, but are somewhat difficult to assemble.



First you have to put the beadlocks inside the tire. This was the hard part. The tire sidewalls have to be spread. To do this I hung the tire by the sidewall. The weight of the tire only spread it about a ½”. I needed about 5” more. So I hooked ratchet straps on the bottom sidewall and secured it to my tractor. I had a scale on the chain. It took about 500 lbs. to spread it far enough. Then I had to stand on the bucket and push the two halves of the beadlock in. Since they are bigger then the opening, I had to egg shape them to get them in. They are about 3/4'” thick plastic and don’t bend easy.



Then you have to maneuver them together inside the tire. Once I got them close, I released the pressure spreading the sidewalls. They snapped together fairly easy then. Here you can see the beadlock inside the tire as I lower it on the wheel. I put some dish soap on the beads.



I don’t have any pics of bolting it together. But it required four long allthred bolts to bring the wheel halves close enough to get the regular bolts in.





I made this disc to convert the Bronco driveshaft to the Sterling flange. It is just a couple bolt patterns with a spicket on one side (for the flange on the Sterling) and a flange on the other. (to go in the driveshaft)



This would be fairly elementry for some of the guys on here, but I'm proud of it. I started with a piece of 5/8" plate about a foot square. Did it all on my lathe and mill. It fits so tight that I had to pop it off with a rubber hammer to paint it.

I did alot of research on driveshafts and u-joints. The Bronco uses 1330 u-joints. But you can have a 1350 u-joint shaft made that will fit and uses the same bolt patterns and spickets. I'm probubly going that route later. If that is not strong enough, I will use the 1410 u-joint. Then I throw this disc away and make another for the front.

Right now I'm cutting the Bronco driveshaft down. I would like to move the engine/trans/transfer back as far as possible. As it turns out, that is only about 5" at the trans mount. I'm using a C-6 and a Cummins 4BT, so they will be shorter then the stock 351/e40d. It should put the front of the engine about at the rear of the crossmember.

I wanted to move the engine/trans/t-case back as far as possible for better weight distribution. That meant shorten the driveshaft. I decided to try my hand at it. If it doesn’t work out, I will get a new shaft made professionally. If I go that route, it will be a 1350 or 1410 based shaft.

I started by dissembling the shaft. Then I cut it off with the lathe at the weld. That was a b*tch because weld doesn’t cut very well. In any case, after I got it apart, there was about ¾” stub sticking out. That was good because after cutting off most of the rest of the tube, I could push the tube back on the stub. It fit real tight.

I chucked the splines in the lathe and checked the carden stub with a dial indicator. With a few taps of a hammer, I got it to spin within a .001”. Then I took it out of the lathe and put four tack welds around it. I thought I would check it again in the lathe. Much to my dismay, it was now .080” out of round. I don’t know how much is aloud, but that seemed like too much. I cut three of the tacks and began tapping again. I got it back to about .002” and re-tack in three places.

Again I checked it in the lathe and now it was out about .015”. I didn’t like it, but I figured it was as good as I could get it. I welded it up all the way around and checked it in the lathe one more time. This time it got a little better to .008”. That would mean that it is bent .004”. I don’t know if the driveshaft places get it better than that. I certainly think it’s good enough to try. I put it back together with new u-joints. Here it is next to a standard Bronco shaft. It looks longer than it is because the stock shaft is colapsed. It's about 9" shorter.



I got this Cummins 4BT from a bread truck. It has close to 70,000 miles on it. I’m told that’s low miles. In any case, it’s all mechanical. The only electric power needed after it’s started is for a fuel valve solenoid. (That’s how you shut it down)



After reading the forums, I found the Achilles heel on this engine is KDP or “Killer Dowel Pin” There’s an easy fix. The pic is not real good, but I put a little tab off the bolt to keep the dowel pin. (Between the flange and the bolt)



All cleaned up and painted.

 

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Discussion Starter #4
I made these mounts to accept Chevy Lumina mounts. I was told they are a good match for this motor. I’m sorry for the pictures. About a month ago the viewing window quit, but I still could take pictures. Now it seems like everything is out of focus. Time to shop for a new camera.







After mounting the engine and tranny on the stock tranny mount, I had some problems. The rear shaft had a fairly extreme angle. I had a more serious problem on the front. This Bronco originally had a 351/E40D and I’m putting a C6 in. The aluminum adapter that goes between the tranny and the t-case both use the same mount, but they are not the same. The E40D is off center and is short. The C6 is centered on the rear output and is longer which pushes the front yoke back behind the cross brace. This puts the front shaft close to that brace.



I ended up lowering the cross brace 1 ½” and putting a ½” spacer under the tranny mount. I know it’s hard to see, but there’s a solid block at the top of the brace inside the frame rail. The only good point about this design is it maintains the frame bracing holding the rails straight up and down.



Even after all my work, the shaft is kind of close. I lifted the front tires off the ground by the frame rails and the slip joint rubber hits the front bolt. That works out to 5” down travel. The actual shaft won’t hit until about 11” of travel. I ground that bolt lower and smoothed the corners to save the rubber boot. I may still change this brace later.

I had to make the front driveshaft longer, so combined a shaft from a F350. This also solved the problem of the front diff yoke taking a 1350 u-joint. I didn’t take nearly as much care to make it straight as the rear shaft. I expect to have both shafts professionally remade. But they should hold for some initial testing.

I wanted to pull it out for some pictures, but my tractor will not lift the front any more. (the hook on my bucket bent straight when I tried). It’s hard to control with nothing hooked to the drag link. So this will have to do until I get a new camera and work something out on the steering.

I didnt want to cut the crossmember just to prove it could be done. (at stock height) Actually, you dont have to if you run standard steering. But I couldnt work out a mount for the full hydro ram without cutting it. If I drop it on the bump stops, this cut is right below the tracbar. Gives me access to the axle tube for the hydro mount.



This is my first stick welding in fifteen years. Not great, but I intend to build some additional bracing for the frame anyways. So I think it will hold.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Here is the mount I made for the steering cylinder. It's just a plate with a 1" block welded on. The saddles came with the cylinder. They are made of aluminum, Doesnt seem right, but I guess they work. If not, I may just copy them in steel. The hole is just for mock up. It will be bored out to 3/4".



This is what I made for the axle side. The bushing will be welded to the plate after it is bored out to size.



Here is another pic after welding and gussets. The bushing is just snug in it. It looks like it is crooked, but it is not. (opitical illusion) I welded both sides. I'm not thrilled with my stick welding. (I'm a pretty good TIG welder) But I was able to jack the truck up by that mount and it didnt bend or crack.



Here are some pics of how it will look. I just got a 1/2" bolt in it now to make sure nothing binds. I have a 3/4" drill, but the bolt I got is about .010" small. I dont want that much play. I have a mill, but I dont have a small boring bar. so I might have to farm this job out.





I did a reclock of the T-case adapter. I welded some extra metal in and machined it flat. I hope I didnt weaken it. Here are some pics.



I wished I had welded some metal for the dowel pin. Looks kind of funny. But it's tight.



I really liked this mod. I gained alot of clearence at the crossmember. If you look back in my build, I shaved the head of a bolt because I thought it was too close to my front slip joint. Now I have no worries.



Look at these before and after side shot. Before.



After.



It might not look like much. I took the second picture a little lower than the first giving an optical illusion of not much change. But notice that you cant even see the front u-joint now. Also, the T-case is higher than the bottom of the crossmember. Should be eazy to make a guard now.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I bought a three link kit from Ruff Stuff. The frame mounts they supply are u-shaped and designed to weld on the frame. I decided to bolt them on, but I felt that there needed to be more bolts than I could fit. So I welded a side plate on. Of course, right before I mounted them, I found and ran the 3 link calculater on Pirate. Did alot of reading and decided that the mounts needed to be lower. So i welded some 2x2 steel tube spacers on. Here you can see the final mount.



I had to mill some access holes for the bolts.



They fit on the frame good. I'm not so happy with the tube spacers. If I think they are colapsing, I will drill and bush them. But I couldnt crush them with the 1/2" grade eights.



After alot of experimenting ,on the rear suspensionI installed one radius arm. So this is where I'm at now with bags installed. Unless someone points out a problem I didnt see, it's going to stay this way. I think it looks alittle strange asimetrical, but it works in theroy.



I finally found some lug nuts I like. Besides fully covering the studs and having the proper flat bottom, they are massive. I like. Here is a comparison from the ones that I got at first. (anyone interested in some brand new lugs with the cone bottoms?)



Its been so long since I ran this engine on the bench, I was afraid it might be getting dry inside. I’ve never ran it very long because I didn’t have proper cooling. Also, I never ran it in the frame on the mounts I made. Since I knew It was going to be a long time till it is driving, I set my goal at getting it running. So I mounted the Bronco radiator in the back and plumbed it with some swimming pool railing I had, I had an old e-fan on it if needed. The rad is not going to be there. It was just an easy place to mount it. Basicly I just mounted it and the fuel jug so I didn’t have to drill any new holes in the frame. (can be moved)



I wired up a simple control panel. It's just power on the fuel solenoid with the key and push button start.



Since I still don’t have brakes or steering, obviously I'm not going to be driving it. But I wanted to test the tranny. So I lifted the rear axle.



I don’t have a fuel tank yet, so a five gallon jug will have to do.

In any case, it started right up with a couple seconds cranking and a puff of smoke and ran nice. Oil pressure was good and I shifted through all the gears. About the only thing I didn’t like is the vibration at idle. (its smooth when revving) The guys on the Cummins forum said that’s the way they are. I'm hopping that when I get the seats in a proper rubber mounted cab, it will be better. The engine never got hot and I never turned on the e-fan. I don’t know if you can see. But the tires are spinning here.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I really like the "forward cab" design of the HEMTT. Since I wont have room for a master cylinder and Hydro-boost in front, I designed a cable opperated pedal Quadrent. This looks simple, but took me a long time to make. The actual pedal faces are from the Bronco. I had some cables custom made for this. The throttle cable is light duty. But I figured the brake cable needed to be strong. I probably went overkill here. I ordered the biggest cable and when I got it, I thought should have went one size smaller. But it wasnt cheap, so I made it work. The cables will be behind a console when finished. The whole quadrent can be moved depending on my final body design. Of course I might have to have new cables made.





At the rear I made this throttle bracket out of a 2x2 square aluminum tube. It was eazy and works great.



Also I made this mount for the hydro-boost/Master out of a airbag mount I didnt use. Its all 1/4" steel. I had to weld some plate on, but it still saved alot of time. If you look close, you can see the "wedge washers" I had to make to angle the cable down. Of course I measured for the cable many times and it is way too long. Actually, I had planed to route it differnt, But it's not very flexible. The place that made it can shorten it for a price. (better then a whole new one.)



I got a resivoir/filter from Howe for my powersteering. I made a simple mount out of a piece of angle iron.



Got a shifter I like. Very heavy Duty.



I had to make a cable mount for the transsmission out of stainless and a steel bushing.



Bolts on to some exsisting threaded holes on the bell housing. The cable can be ordered in differnt lengths. Dont know what I need yet. But it actually works with the 4 foot one I got with it.



I thought I had all the brake parts, but of course I needed some more. I started making brake lines. I'm using all stainless. (hoses and hard lines) some people said that you cant flare stainless without a fancy tool. I tried with a simple flare tool and made a beautiful brakeline from the master to the rear Tee. I thought "this ant so hard". Then I tried one of front lines and promply broke the tool. (a die) I called the place that sold it to me (Inline tube) about warrentee and they said the part I broke is not covered. When I asked why, they told me "because that's the part that always brakes" . Cant argue with that logic. I ordered a couple more dies and will continue later.

I built a sub frame under the floor because I needed something to bolt a support for the steering box. Although the wood is temporary, the iron will be perminant if I go with this body. I dont know if the arm holding the steering box is heavy enough for the final truck. But it should be enough for some testing. I ordered most of the hydrolic fittings and hose for the steering and hydro boost.



Well I did alot of work, but not much done. I did make and install all stainless brake lines.

I bled them and got the brakes to work somewhat. ( I pushed the truck and my wife stoped it.) Its hard to push. That may because I dont have the hydroboost hooked up yet. I ordered a bunch of fittings from Fastenal and they missed a couple. So Im waiting for them. I didnt have a good spot for the powersteering cooler, so mounted it behind the seats. The wood will all come out, so this is just temporary.

 

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I'm going to subscribe to this because I've been wanting to build an amphibian vehicle for a while but with jeep axles and a Volkswagen diesel. However every time I tried to find an amphibious vehicle manual to look up to see how they accomplished all the steering and drive shafts while still sealing up the hull I hit a dead end so I'll be watching this one closely
 

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How will you keep water out of the differentials? How will the vehicle be propelled in water? Does your design take into account the weight bias so it sits level and is stable in water? What sort of undercarriage will this vehicle have or will the frame and drivetrain be exposed and allowed to hang under the waterline and the body provide floatation?

Also, I think you lost me with the lug nuts. If the lug nuts have a flat bottom, they will not work with your wheels which are most likely lug-centric.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
How will you keep water out of the differentials? How will the vehicle be propelled in water? Does your design take into account the weight bias so it sits level and is stable in water? What sort of undercarriage will this vehicle have or will the frame and drivetrain be exposed and allowed to hang under the waterline and the body provide floatation?

Also, I think you lost me with the lug nuts. If the lug nuts have a flat bottom, they will not work with your wheels which are most likely lug-centric.
I haven't caught you guys up to present yet. (I will in the next few days) all of theses questions will be answered as I get you up to date.

The wheels are hub-centric. I was told that the coned lugs would still work, but I didn't like em. I was going to shave them flat before I found the new ones.
 

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I haven't caught you guys up to present yet. (I will in the next few days) all of theses questions will be answered as I get you up to date.

The wheels are hub-centric. I was told that the coned lugs would still work, but I didn't like em. I was going to shave them flat before I found the new ones.
Ignore him. He hates anything good. Puppies, babies, sunsets, rainbows, etc. :flipoff2:
 

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Ignore him. He hates anything good. Puppies, babies, sunsets, rainbows, etc. :flipoff2:
Nah, I just know the majority of amphibious vehicles are military, and I am pretty familiar with their designs and this is a bit different from that so I am curious how it's all going to work.

But no, I don't like babies, sunsets or rainbows. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I made some spacers to mount the air bags up front. The holes on the side are for access to the bolts/nuts.





Got some bling for the tranny.





Well I finily got the fittings I needed to finish the steering/brakes. Here is some pics of the final plumbing. (What a maze.)



Here, you can just see the cooler at the front. (mounted on the wood) Its a nicely made unit. Basicly a finned aluminum tube. Of course they dont recumend mounting it horizontal. More about this later.



With all that done, on to filling and bleading the system. Thats code for spilling tons of power steering fluid all over the place. The instructions were to fill it and then "saw" the wheels lock to lock. I guess they failed to mention putting the cap on the resivor during this process.

After making a big mess......


















Wait for it............





















First drive!!

I just drove it around the yard for some early testing.

Here its parked dyagnal on a ditch. It doesnt look like much of a ditch in the pic, but its actually about foot and a half deep. I'm not building a crawler, but I want a little flex. I will have to dig the ditch deeper to really test.





Then I had my wife take a couple shots of me on my shooting range back stop.




I have gone over this hill several times with my tractor, golfcart and even my DD Bronco. But I always go perpindicular to this way. I started to do it that way, but it is too narrow for this truck. Although this pic looks neat, it doesnt give you the feeling I got. Its fine while your going up, but when it gets to the top, it feels like your going in to orbit. LOL.



The truck would have easily went over the hill, but I stopped just a little higher because the other side is almost a shear drop.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Alternator trials

So I was hearing a cherping sound when running the engine. I removed the belt and the sound is gone. Since the alternator doesnt work, I figured I would start there. I wanted a 3G and began researching them. My mounts were 8.25" apart. I took the whole alt to the parts store and we opened up a bunch of boxes and couldnt find one that matched the mounts. I went to the junk yard and looked at lots of Fords. But all the 3Gs were either 7" mounts or side mounts. Finnally I found a thread that said that a 92' Turus had a 130 amp 3G with the 8.25" mounts. They didnt have one in stock, but I got one ordered in.

It had a 6 groove pulley and I need 8. I traded the pulleys. My pulley just scraped the housing, so I took a skim on my lathe. It worked good and lined up perfect. Of note, the 8 groove pulley had a taper sleeve to clamp sercurly on the shaft. Also the 3G has a inturnal fan, so I didnt install that.



Got it mounted and went to the junk yard and found a harness with all the proper plugs and ring mounts. There were many to choose from. I just got the eaziest one. I'm not sure if it has a big enough charging cable, but it is only temporary untill I rewire with aircraft cable. The only thing it runs is one e-fan and charging the battery after startup. After installation, it tested out good. But I still had some cherping. I was woried about the waterpump, but someone on the Cummins forum said I should check the alt allainment. It looked straight, but when I put a straight edge on the pulley, it was cocked. When I loosened the mounts, I found that the pivot hole on the alternator was 7/16" and the pivot bolt was 3/8". So I ended up drilling out and tapping for 7/16. That solved the problem. Runs straight and No cherp.

(pic before harness and bolt fix)

 

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Discussion Starter #16
Some driving impressions. Ill start with brakes.

Now if you have been following this, you should know that the entire brake system is 2007 Superduty. That includes the rotors/calipers/pads and the master cylinder/hydroboost. I made all the brake lines. I did not however put any anti-lock system or front/rear proportion valve. I just hooked the master direct to the calipers. I dont even know if a Superduty has a proportional valve, but Im sure it has anti-lock brakes.

In any case, I have driven the "frame" about two hours now testing it at low and high speeds.(up to 45 MPH) Ive done numeris panic stops testing the brakes on dirt and paved roads. At this point I will say that the brakes are adiquite. When i say adiquite, I mean they are about as good as my DD Bronco. While they are safe, I was hoping for better. These are one ton brakes on a vehical that is at least 1000 lbs lighter than my Bronco. (right now,at least)

There are a couple issues that may effect these brakes. First, the front brakes are all origenal to the axle as I got it from the junkyard. (calipers, rotors and pads) The rotors were grooved. (and still are) In addition, the rear brake rotors are also origenal and were quite rusty. The calipers and pads are new back there and I hoped they would clean off the rotors. All the rotors are cleaner looking, but I cant say they are smooth. I dont know how much nice clean (and flat) rotors makes a differnce. My DD has grooved rotors also right now. So I may replace them first to see how much differnce they make. I may be able to turn them on my lathe. (might be too far gone)

Next up date, Ill talk about steering.

 

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Discussion Starter #17
Ok, full hydro steering.

Let me start by saying that the only "full hydro" steering vehicals that I have ever driven were forklifts, tractors and some heavy equiptment. The fastest I ever drove one was maybe 15 MPH. So I didnt know what to expect. I did some searching of the web. Thats kind of like asking about lockers. You get some people saying dont even think about lockers on a road vehical and others that say you wont even notice them on your truck. (I have lockers and the truth is somewhere in the middle) Full hydro is even worse because very few people actually have experince with it. (but that doesnt stop them from telling you their opinion)

I will try to give you the most honest opinion I can. I have only driven the frame about two hours and only about 30 minutes above speeds of 20 mph. The highest speed I attained was about 45. I held it above 40 for about five minutes. The problem I had with the speed was my wheels/tires were out of balance. At speeds above 40, they really started to get rough. (even on smooth pavement)

I have a steering box (they call them orbitals) that has "return to center" feature. So when you make a turn, it helps you go back to straight just like a regular steering box. This part worked very good. Also, I got a box with about the same turns "Lock to Lock" as a stock Bronco. (I think about 4) While many wont like the "slow" reaction for rock crawling, it makes it nice for driving on road.

At slow speeds the steering is FANTASTIC. Stopped dead, idling on concrete, I can hold the steering wheel with my thumb and forefinger (like a wine glass) and turn it with ease. Its strange to move it and see those big ole tires turn with almost no effort. Obviouslly, driving around at slow speed, it is easy to manuver. In fact, it is so easy that when you go over a bump off road, you can imput a little turn when you dont want to. My steering box is mounted kind of flimsy right now and this may be some of the problem.

One of the really nice things I noticed was that there was almost no pull on the wheel when driving over uneven pavement or dirt. At one point, I was driving down a dirt road about 20 MPH. A car came from the other way and I pulled two tires in to one foot deep ditch. There was no yanking on the steering wheel going in or out of that ditch. I could have done the same manuvier in my Bronco, but I would have to grip the wheel with both hands and tires are a foot shorter and less "scrub radious".

I know you all are sitting on pins and needles wondering how the high speed is. Well, differnt! LOL. First let me say, there is appsolutly no play and it is not touchy. Perfect right? Well almost. Everything is nice but one little issue. Lets say you are driving down a mile long, straight, smooth road with your car. You can put your hand on the top of the steering wheel and just "rock" it alittle bit right and left to keep it center. At the end of the straight stretch, your hand is still at the top of the steering wheel. With Full hydro, you go down that same road rocking the wheel the same way. But at the end of the stretch, your hand is at the 5 O-clock position. Its a very odd feeling. There is no center position on the steering wheel.

Now I will say that my hydro system may not be completly bled. I noticed that the leval goes down alittle every time I drive it. (it doesnt leak a drop) So it may improve some of the driving as time goes on. It may be that the center position will be a minor issue after I get use to it. I do need to test it at 60 MPH. I plan to balance the tires with a helicopter balancer. (Ive done it before with some success.) For the time being, I will say that I have guarded enthuisism for the steering.

OH, one other thing I will mention. The steering box also has a feature where if you lose hydro pressure, it will still steer. Kind of like losing your belt on a typical steering box. In my case the pump is gear driven, so loss of the belt wont kill the pressure. But I want to test the feature anyways. So I drove down a slight hill and shifted in to newtral and shut off the engine. I was able to turn right and left without much effort. It does require more turning of the steering wheel to get a change of direction. When I am completly stopped, I cant turn the tires no matter how much I turn the steering wheel. This may also be a result of incomplete bleading.

 

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Discussion Starter #18
I got the helicopter balancer and went to work on my wheels/tires. I use to balance helicopters for a living, so I understand this process. The balancer works the same as a dynamic balancer at your tire shop. Basiclly, you do a trail run and a sensor measures the vibration and another sensor gives you a clock angle. You install a trial weight at that clock angle and make another test run. Sounds simple right? It is, but its not completly cut and dry. Sometimes the machine is fooled by harmonics and doesnt give you a perfect clock angle. Still, its way better than nothing.

I started by hoisting one rear tire off the ground and blocking the other tires. Since the truck has open diffs right now, just the one tire spins. Hooked up the sensors and made a trial run. Since I didnt have a speedometer, I just reved the engine until I got the tire up to 350 RPM. The balancer gives you a tach reading. I figure that speed was aprox. 43 MPH which is where I found alot of vibration when I was driving the truck on the road. (it also vibrated the frame quite abit.)



After finding the best place to install weight, you keep adding weight till you get the best reading. (least vibration) I bolted scrap iron on to the wheel. My first trial wheel weight looked like this.



I had planed to use stick on weights after deturmining the amount. This is how much I needed to equal.



I didnt really want that much weight that could fly off, so I decided to make iron weights to bolt on the inside of the wheel. It really seemed like alot of weight. But the other rear tire was even more! A whopping 40 OZ. If that was a helicopter, I wouldnt fly it. LOL. But it smoothed out the vibs. Fortunently, the front tires didnt require as much. I did have a little setback on one of the front tires because the weight hit my brake caliper. It just scraped alittle. I thought my universal was going out. LOL.

The end result was the tires/wheels were ten to twenty times smoother. (actual numbers) I cant wait to drive it again and see if I can get it to 60 mph. I was having a problem getting the bubbes out of the full hydro steering no matter how much I tried. Theres a rather involved method of jacking the truck up and sawing the wheels lock to lock and letting it sit. (Over and over) After about two days I found a molecule sized leak in the brand new pump encloser. It wasnt leakin fluid out, it was leaking air in. I dont know how much that hurts the steering, but foam right from the pump cant be good. I called PCS and they sent me a new one right out. I got it the day before I left for work.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I had a problem with small micro bubbles in my steering resivoir. I followed the bleading instructions till I was blue in the face. I finnily figured out it was leaking air in a small hole in the pump housing. The housing is brand new. I called PSC and they sent a new one no questions asked. They didnt even ask for the old one back. (I did spend alot of money with them) The leak is right at the end of the weld.



Driving update,

So after I got the wheels/tires balanced, I wanted to try another high speed test. Before the vibration was so bad that I thought a tire was going to hop off the ground above 45 MPH. I want this truck to be capable of highway speeds. I wasnt entirely happy with the steering on my last attempt at speed. Also, I forgot to mention that my single radius arm was good for flex, but caused the pax side of the truck dive under hard braking. It wasnt terrible, but I dont want to deal with it right now. So I installed the origenal Superduty arm for my test. I had my new power steering housing installed, so I was hoping for improvment there.

On the first test, I followed my son in his pickup. I did it this way so he could tell me the speed (I had no guage) and to make it a little safer trafficwise. Maybe it would keep me from getting a ticket having an escourt if I happen to run across a cop. (this is a rarely traveled back road) In any case, this time I wanted a better speed indication. So I wired a cigerette lighter socket and taped my GPS to the steering support. The GPS has a screen called Dashboard that is perfect for my test. I still had my brother drive my truck for an escourt.





So right out of the gate, (litterely my gate) I could feel the truck was better on the dirt road on the way to pavement. I had it up to about 35 on the dirt road. It seemed to track better. After I got it out on the road I stabbed the brakes at about 40. No brake dive or any pulling. Then I excellerated to a little over 60. Vibration was way better. In fact, I cant say I even noticed. I did notice the wind. (been awhile since I rode a motorcycle) The steering was better, but I still must really concentrate on keeping it on the road. I posed the question on another forum and I believe my hydro ram is leaking across the piston. It is brand new, but I had it disassembled to machine differnt threads in the end. Maybe the shop damaged the seals and didnt tell me. (or didnt know) So I will order new seals and try again. I will report again later.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
OK, so now it moves. Can I make it float? I dont want it just to float, I want it to go in the water. I know it wont go fast, but Im hoping to move with alittle more authority than just relying the tires spinning. So I figured I would put a prop on it. If you look back at one of my early posts, youll see a conversion disc to fit a smaller u-joint to the Sterling axle. I made it with some extra bolts for a prop.

I cut out this 1/4" plate with twelve blades. Here I'm twisting each blade. The process went like this. Clamp the blade in the mill vise, heat it with the torch and twist by hand. I had a guide so I would get the blades the same pitch. I could do only three blades at a time and let it cool down.



After all blades twisted, a coat of Rustolium. If this experiment actually works, I will probably get this powder coated.



Here mounted on the pinion. This blade was on the truck during the highspeed runs and during my tire balancing. Seemed to run smooth and i could feel the breeze during the balance runs. Im not sure about it's effectiveness because it will be thrusting the water right at the diff. Also, the top of the prop maybe too close to the surface of the water causing cavatation. But it's the best I could come up with right now. I think its got to be better than tires trying to paddle



Next update, float construction.
 
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