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Discussion Starter #201
This days off I continued with hanging sheet metal,
I started buy building some mini adjustable link bars to add triangulation & support to the strait tubes that hold body work,
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Started with 1/2" x .120 wall 2024 aluminum tubing, 2024 has similar characteristics as 7075, just not quite as strong, the ID of the tube only required slight drilling to tap to 5/16"-24 thread for the rod ends,
While building the billet tube clamp fender mounts I drilled/tapped mounting holes for these supports,
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I started doing the same for the rear bed skins, but quickly found out that unless the support was bolted to a rigid mount they did not work that well, the sheet metal is not rigid enough & allowed the ball in the rod end to roll around, so there was still a fair amount of movement (kind of floppy) so I needed a clean way to build a more rigid strut,
Thinking back to when I used part of the old Peterbilt mirror bracket as a support for the dash, I though that would be a good option, but I needed a way to build custom length parts, & also be able to duplicate the parts in the event of a crash that might destroy them,

A couple pieces of 7075 aluminum were cut, & squared up, then alignment pin holed were drilled so the two blocks would mate up the same every time, After smashing a couple pieces of sacrificial tube & getting some measurements, each block received matching (mirrored) machine work to create a forming die that would consistently form tubing to create a flat at the end, since I was setup in the mill each block got machine work to fit both 1/2", & 3/8" tubing.
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This new tool goes in the press & does a real nice job forming left over pieces of stainless tubing from the steering plumbing,
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After going through the press, it was short work to grind a little radius on the corners & drill a hole where needed,
I may add a punch & receiver die in the tool, so once it is formed I guy could just used the press to punch a hole in the flat,
These supports worked much better for supporting the thin sheet metal,

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The front of the bed skin got adjustable supports so adjustments cam be made to line the skin up with the cab, but the rigid supports will be used everywhere else.
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Discussion Starter #202 (Edited)
Next was cutting the driver side bed skin so the fender opening matched the passenger side,
Using the drop from the first cut (passenger side) a template was made,
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Then laid on the driver side skin & marked for the cut,
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As you can see, the new fender line goes right through the fuel door opening, I think I will just build an aluminum plate that will rivet in place, filling the hole & matching the fender opening radius,


Only thing left to do was hang the other skin in place, & install the supports, (I built double when doing the passenger side so everything is the same)
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There will be at least two more supports added to each side, one right above the fender openings up to the shock hoop, & one from the back of the shock hoops to the front edge of that dimple died mount, to control fore/aft movement,
 

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Discussion Starter #203
To finish out this days off I decided work on a guard to protect the front of the SCS, along with the rotor & caliper, which all stick out past the front of the main belly pan,
To start a pair of gusset/flanges that the guard will bolt to were cut out & welded in place,
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With the guard removed there should be plenty of room to get the drop box out when needed,
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It was pretty challenging figuring out the compound angles so that once cut & bent the main part would have a good fit up before welding to the bolt on flange pieces,
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After test fitting & tacking the parts together, all that was left was burning some wire,
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It even bolted back into place without any issues,
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This guard will also double as the mount for one end of the drive line cage,
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Of course now that it's done, I have an idea on how it could be better, So I may redo this part at a later date,

Next week I may work on the other side of the drop box & get a short shaft & carrier bearing figured out.
 

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They're a few years out of date now but if you still want to take a look at those Monster Jam rules, I unpacked far enough to get the books. PM me your mailing address and I'll get one out media mail sometime.
 

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Thanks for posting! Love the attention to detail. Making a die to flatten tubing ends with a radius end is over the top. Most people would take the tube, mark a line and squish it in the vice :) I have to re-do some 1" diameter galvanized tubing braces on a creep feeder I borrowed from a buddy which are essentially the same thing (flattened tube with a bolt hole) and now you've got me thinking about spending some time on the mill.... Just have to figure out if I have a 1" ball end mill.
 

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Discussion Starter #207
Seems like lots of hours went into the project this week, without a lot to look at, but I got a few pics,
I continued working under the truck, this time on the back side of the case, the rear driveline will be 2 piece with a carrier bearing, rather than use a carrier setup like a lot of buggies with 2 bearings in a sleeve, with a yoke on each side, I decided to go with a standard splined midship shaft, that fits a regular rubber mounted carrier bearing, & bolt on yoke, I found a splined midship tube end that had the same splines as the SCS output shafts, & fit 3.5" .134" wall tubing, so I bought that & a 1550 series tube yoke for the end that will go on the drop box,
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I machined the bearing mount surface down about .0005" so the bearing would be a snug slip fit, rather than press on,

I did not like the thought of using a rubber mounted bearing, so I took a medium duty sized carrier bearing, (HB88509) cut the bearing itself out of the rubber mount, then run a chunk of 1.5" aluminum through the table saw to get a couple usable sized pieces,

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After squaring them up in the mill, then several hours whittling away at it, I had a 2 piece aluminum carrier bearing mount that clamps the bearing in place, similar to the main caps in an engine,
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The "lower half" bolts down through the slotted holes, these holes are slotted so the bearing mount can be adjusted side to side,
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The top side of the slotted mounting holes were recessed so the bolt heads do not interfere with the cap, this recessed area was cut .75" wide so a 1/2" bolt can drop right in & no wrench is needed when tightening, so basically the bearing can be adjusted side to side without pulling the bearing cap off.
Also the bore for the bearing is setup so the middle driveline does not have to be an "exact" length, if a new shaft is ever needed it could be built +or- .250" & still fit without issue,
The hole was bored .0005 under the OD of the bearing for a slight crush to keep it from spinning,
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Discussion Starter #208
Next up was a place to mount the new bearing setup, I figured I would have to shim under the bearing mount to get the correct height, so I just needed to get something in the chassis relatively close, The original plan was to have the bearing sit on the cross member rather than hang like a traditional setup, while figuring out bearing height I did entertain the idea of hanging the bearing from a higher cross member or tube, thinking it would never be effected by a hard hit to the belly area. In the end, hanging the bearing & having a higher cross member started cluttering things up around the bell housing & oil pan area, & I just like the thought of having the bearing sitting on the mount rather than hanging a couple heavy drivelines from it,
So after a coupe quick measurements & knowing the bottom of the carrier bearing needed to be right around 4" from the bottom of the belly pan, & also knowing the cross member needed to be pretty stout, another chunk of 4" I-beam was cut to length, & spent several hours setup in the mill, A series of 1.5" & 2" holes were bored through the web to match the cross member I had built earlier & installed under the cab floor, The top web of the I-beam was machined flat, & mounting holes for the carrier bearing were drilled, these mounting holes also line up with a pair of the 2" holes in the web, so there would be easy access to the nuts on the bottom side, again making side to side adjustment easier, I did have to mill the top side of these 2" holes, & into the upper web enough to have a flat surface for a nut/washer to tighten against,
To finish off the cross member the bottom web was cut & fit to the notch in the belly pan, making the bottom of the two parts flush when everything was welded together,
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Then to make sure I was in the ball park a line up bar was turned on the lathe with a slight press fit in both the carrier bearing ID, & the minor spline diameter of an SCS flange,
the flange was bolted to the output of the SCS, & the bearing was installed on the opposite end, then it was not to bad to figure out about how much shim I needed under the carrier bearing.
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I started building the middle driveline, but soon found out that the tube I had bought for the project was not working out very well, it was a 6 foot long piece of 3.5" .134" wall tube I bought from the Spicer distributor, but it turns out it is terribly out of round, & after measuring in several places averaged .025 interference fit to the rest of the components, I could bore the tube & make it work, but I do not have a steady rest for my lathe that will fit 3.5" diameter material, & turns out the new lathe my dad bought last year did not come with a steady rest at all, He still has his old lathe with a big enough steady rest, but it's sitting on the middle of his shop, not powered up, so not much good to me right now. I spent way to much time trying to make something work, & the whole time just felt like even if I got the driveline together it would be a half assed job.
I decided my time would be better spent else where on the project, I believe I will send the components I have to a driveline shop, buy new tube through them, then have them assembled to the length I need & shipped back,
So in preparation for that I did what machine work I could, as I mentioned earlier the spline midship stub, & weld yoke are for 3.5"x.134" tube, that should be plenty for all the drivelines in the project, problem is for the front & rear shafts I could only find splined stubs for .095" wall tube in the 3.5" size, And on the other end of the shaft will be a flange to mate to the 8.5c U-joint, I could only find these flanges to fit 4"x.188" tube, The plus side to both of these parts is the area that presses into the tube was plenty thick enough to turn down to the 3.243" diameter needed.
All 4 of those parts were run through the lathe & are ready to go, most likely send that stuff off next days off,
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