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Discussion Starter · #61 ·
The welding cart is done, except for the final provisions to hold the second cylinder of pure Argon gas that I will use for TIG welding. I just picked up the cylinder last week but haven't modified the cart for it yet.






I picked up a 2012 Ram 3500 steering box (middle, black) that I'm going to try mocking up today. The output shaft is just as thick as the Super Duty's (bottom), but the casting, bearings, bolts holding everything together, and everything else seem larger and heavier on the Super Duty box. With that said, the Ram box is a step up from the Suburban box (top), everything seems a tiny bit larger compared to the Suburban box. The Ram box is setup for a rear-facing pitman arm.



I'm just about finished gusseting the radius arm mounts on the frame, I had to find something else to work on while I was waiting for the Ram steering gear.



 

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Discussion Starter · #63 ·
I built the drag link using the stock F-450 tie rod end on the knuckle side and an ES2234L TRE from Parts Mike at the Pitman arm. I used 1.5" .250 wall DOM with a tube insert at the pitman arm (7/8-18 threads) and used a stock adjusting sleeve at the knuckle end. I also cut and flipped the Pitman arm (stock 2012 Ram 3500) so the TRE would connect from the bottom. I beveled everything, welded with multiple passes to build up the metal, ground it smooth, then overlapped the weld joint with a 1/4" strap of steel welded to each side. Now that I have the length and angle of the drag link, I can build the track bar.







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Discussion Starter · #64 · (Edited)
I built the track bar out of a leftover ballistic joint on one end and a Johnny Joint on the other end. The axle side track bar bracket is mostly done, I also built 2 heavy duty coil buckets and got them in position. They still need some gussets. My track bar is currently 40" long just like the drag link but I may end up having to shorten it. Either that or the frame end is just going to stick way out. If I had put it lower I could have moved it more to the passenger side, but I wanted the high roll center because I prefer less body lean around corners.

 

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Looks good to me. I'd make sure your frame side track bar mount is beef. I had trouble with mine wanting to rip off the frame.....lots of reinforcement needed. I also went through a shit ton of heims till switching to fk's, wish I would've went with 1.25" rather than 7/8". You shouldn't have this issue, but I cut a piece of 3/8 rubber hose and zip tied it into the mount around the joint, keeping the heims from rolling.... they would roll to one side and ride on the misalignment spacer wearing out the heims teflon in short order. Don't want to discourage you, but I wish I would've went with coil overs up front.... by the time you get setup with good shocks, which is absolutely necessary if you want flex and a decent ride, cost isn't that far off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #66 · (Edited)
Coilovers would have made packaging easier. I had to space the coil buckets 7/8" up from the top of the axle tube so I could get them to sit as rearward as possible. The way I did the radius arm mounts didn't leave much spare room for the coil springs. I also noticed that the 23" free length Deaver coil springs I have sitting in the garage are going to be too tall unless I want to redo my A/C hard lines (not happening). So I'm either going to get shorter coils, or just cut a coil or two off of the Deavers. The rate jumps to about 350 lbs/in if I cut off two coils, which would take the free length down to 19.7". That rate is still lower than any other readily available OEM coils, so that's probably what I'll do. I'm assuming they'll compress 4-5" with the vehicle weight on them. Wes, if you wouldn't mind, can you measure your coil spring length with all the weight on it? I want to get the frame-side coil buckets fairly close to ideal without having to cut more coils or add spacers to fine-tune the height.
 

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Discussion Starter · #68 · (Edited)
I gusseted one of the lower coil buckets this morning and then integrated the drop down hidden winch as the new frame front crossmember. I gained 4.75" of ground clearance compared to where it used to sit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #69 ·
Doing some initial cycle testing, the tie-rod contacts the Pitman arm TRE after 3" of up-travel. Ideally I'd relocate the steering box forward an inch or two. I think I might just put the Pitman arm TRE top down for now, put a corresponding hole in the frame-side track bar mount, and move on.


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Discussion Starter · #70 ·
More progress this weekend. I started on the coil buckets and shock mounts. I also ordered some Fox 12” IFP smoothie shocks (PN 985-24-010) and custom-length 1550 chromoly axles.






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This is impressive work! I must say, as minor as it seems, I really liked the fender cutting you did way back of the beginning of the thread. It was interesting to see something more involved than the usual relief cut and hammer method.
 

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Discussion Starter · #73 ·
It's finally sitting on it's own weight. There is still a lot to do before it's finished though. The biggest things left are moving the steering box forward, building a steering shaft, hooking up the steering hoses, building another crossmember for the frame, and clearancing the frame for more up travel.


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Discussion Starter · #74 · (Edited)
I'm working on relocating the steering box now and building a steering shaft, so I'm trying to order some Borgeson parts. I can't for the life of me figure out what the steering gear input shaft specs are. Did Ram do something weird with it? It measures .555" across the flats and .690" the other direction. It's kind of shaped like a double D, except one end is flatter. Borgeson 17mm double D is .570 across the flats, which would work, but it's only .670 the other direction, so it wouldn't fit over the shaft. I've been searching for the last hour without any luck as to finding the exact specs, other than most websites list the input shaft as either ".71" or ".72", which isn't too helpful. Anybody have additional details about these input shafts or know where to get a high-quality aftermarket piece that will match it? It doesn't seem to be one of the standard ends. Dorman 425-280 is some kind of intermediate shaft but it's expensive, lower quality than the Borgeson stuff, and I don't need or want an extra 7" sticking off the input shaft before the u-joint.

Edit: I spoke to Borgeson, it's called a "Dodge Double D" where it connects to the steering box. The .720 measurement is the diameter of the circle that the Double D can be scribed in, so measured "corner to corner". They do offer something for it. The Suburban uses a male 20mm Double D where it connects to the steering column, and it is a 2-part shaft, where the lower portion can be unbolted. I may just build a custom lower portion and keep everything else stock. Time to pull the shaft, measure everything, and put my order in.
 

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Man, I can't believe I missed this thread! Looks like I've been spending too much time on "Pirate without the P".

This build is awesome and I love your attention to detail. I can't wait to hear how it rides once you get some road miles on it. I want to link mine in the very near future, but coilovers are pricey and this would allow me to rework the front suspension how I need to fit 42s and gain more uptravel without as much cost.
 
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Discussion Starter · #76 ·
Thanks. I've been following your build for quite a while as well and love how it turned out.
 

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Thanks man, I appreciate it! I need to update my thread apparently lol. Not that there's any major changes, but I've been using the crap out of it.
 

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This seriously has me contemplating a SAS on the 08 denali I have out back...K5s are awesome but I don't really wheel per say and the space would be awesome for hunting and camping. Great work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #79 ·
It's a ton of work, my only regret so far is that this was my daily driver and that has pressured me to work on it more frequently than I would have liked. I prefer to take my time and do it when I feel like it versus hurrying because my wife is complaining about having to drive the small Comanche to work. Some things I would have done differently:

  • I would have mounted the steering box farther forward than I thought necessary and tested full compression before I burned it in.
  • I would have mounted the radius arms further back from the axle centerline to make more space for the coil springs and buckets to sit farther back, directly in front of the bushings on top of the axle tube. This would have made more space for the track bar in front of the coil springs, possibly negating the need for the body side of the track bar to stick so far outside the frame rail.

I got the steering u-joint from Borgeson yesterday, but it doesn't fit. I have to take pictures and measurements again tonight and email them everything to figure out what's up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #80 ·
I built a new intermediate shaft using the Borgeson part and some 1" Double D shaft I had, along with the end connector from the stock shaft. The Borgeson part does work, I initially had to hammer it on to get it to slip over. Once I hammered it back off, I was able to remove the paint off the input shaft, it now goes on with just a little tapping from a hammer. I boxed and gusseted the track bar mount and moved the steering gear forward 1 inch on the frame.
 
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