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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've been working on this for a while now, and it's finally at a point where things are moving forward at a good pace so I figured it's time for a build thread.

I was born in 1982 so the 90s were pretty influential for me...both in music (my shop XM is almost always on Lithium) and mechanical things. After a brainstorming session about two years ago about what would make a good East Coast racer on a budget, I came up with a weird combination of parts and started to see how I could make it work.

Donor #1: '94 Taurus SHO.




Bought as-is for $450 with a running motor and blown trans. Sold the wheels & tires for $200, all the 5-speed parts for $150, some trim for $100, pulled the motor and scrapped the rest.

Donor #2: '93 Explorer Sport



Paid $650 running & driving. Sold motor & trans for $450, wheels for $100, some random crap off the body, and kept the frame & axles.

Donor #3: '94 YJ



Paid $750 (with title), no motor or trans. Just wanted the tub. Axles were freshly rebuilt 4.10's and the frame was all sandblasted and POR'd so I got most of it back just from that.

So now I had a body, frame, and motor with almost no real investment...I knew it wasn't gonna stay that way (hehe) but at least I could see if the project was worth trying.













 

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Discussion Starter #3
So where's this going?

I don't plan on it being a full-out Ultra4 racer. More like 3/4-scale, but built to Mod class specs for our local series at Rausch Creek, Line Mountain, and others depending on how competitive it ends up being.

Body: '94 YJ tub skins, narrowed ~6" (53" cowl width)
Frame: '93 Explorer from TTB crossmember to behind the seats
Front Axle: HP35 TTB center, 30-spline Detroit, TTB44 or larger knuckles, 30-spline RCV parts throughout, 4.88's, 12" x 2.5 Fox remote resi (should net ~16" usable wheel travel) and 2" bumps
Rear axle: 8.8, disc brakes, 4.88's and selectable locker, Super 88 axle kit, trussed, 4-link, 14" x 2.5 Fox remote resi & 2" bumps
Engine: '94 Ford 3.0 SHO V6
Trans: '06 Rubicon NSG370 6-speed manual
Tcase: Dana 300 w/32-spline stuff
Tires: 35" Maxxis Creepies

So now that I could crawl around it and see what fit, this whole thing was useless if I couldn't put a worthwhile transmission behind the motor. I wanted to run a manual and none of the Ford offerings seemed very interesting to me (mostly T5's), but this motor also shares the Vulcan 3.0 V6 pattern and has almost no aftermarket support in that department at all. Canfield Industries makes an adapter plate to make it compatible with a Ford smallblock pattern, which still didn't open many doors for a 4x4 stick-shift transmission besides the Mazda M5OD. After much digging, I uncovered blueprints for the Vulcan pattern and several others, and started some overlaying in Solidworks.

This is the Vulcan 3.0 pattern overlaid with the classic AMC/Jeep pattern:



The flywheel becomes slightly more problematic, but I can make it with a 2-piece adapter (haven't actually done this yet):





After deciding that I could make the AMC pattern work, I did some more digging and landed on the NSG370 6-speed manual. 4.4:1 first gear and a closer-ratio spread over the other 5 that should let me keep the SHO motor in its powerband pretty well. Plus my Dana 300 would bolt right to it with a 3/8" clocking ring:



Ordered up a big chunk of 1.25" aluminum:



Did some rough sketches:



Spent some time on a mill thanks to DozerDan:



Made a small mess:



and a bigger one:



and had an adapter plate.

 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Bolted up just fine:



so I pulled the body off to start fitting it in the chassis.



This is quite far back from the factory 4.0 V6 motor mounts...I wanted it as low and far back as possible, while keeping a reasonable rear driveshaft length (the wheelbase is only ~102").





Got tired of stepping around the YJ tub so I sectioned it into easily moveable pieces and got it out of the way.





Cut the back half of the frame off and cleaned up:



Then onto the motor mounts.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The factory motor mounts on this engine are useless for RWD applications. Took a lot of sitting and thinking but I finally started by modifying the "front" (my driver's side) mount:



Made this piece to add to it:



Which then occupied the old space of the A/C compressor. The compressor also acts as the spacer for the alternator bracket, so my new 'motor mount' bracket had to account for that.



The other side was a little more straightforward, just used the existing OEM "foot" on the motor mount bracket and built around it. The mounting heights are offset but I don't think this will be a big deal.



Cut all the OEM spring bucket crap off the frame and started mocking up engine mount placement:



Squeezed in there:



The oil filter is nearly touching the frame rail = no way to service it. These engines benefit from an oil cooler anyway so I'll just put a remote mount there instead.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Started on the trans mount; this is 1.75" x .25 DOM:



















 

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Discussion Starter #8
With the driveline placed I could start working around it to see how everything else fit.

Propped up the rocker tube and set the outside skin in place along with the seat...this motor is tall!



Tim @ Liquid Iron Industries cut me out some pieces to build the frame-side radius arm mounts:







Full bump @ around 7" of wheel uptravel:



Started mocking up the radius arms:





Those are also 1.75" x .25" DOM; 87JeepWrangler was nice enough to help me turn the ends down to .120 wall to accept the tube insert, which I'll address later.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Start filling in the blanks:













Got some 2" x .120 to sleeve over the part I had turned to fit the insert; both to brace it and get more weld area for the insert itself.







They look kind of wonky in this pic (everything on a TTB looks weird) but they are parallel to the frame rails until the bent part.

 

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Discussion Starter #10
Another overall shot...



Starting in on the 8.8. Basic truss from Artec:



Swapped in the Super 88 kit (I originally had the wheel spacers on to mimic the difference in width as well as adapt my 5 x 5.5" wheels)...also added the upper link mount from RuffStuff and the lower "Competition Series" link brackets w/cromoly weld washers from Liquid Iron Industries.



The seat mounts were a challenge as the front right bolt on the driver's side basically co-exists with the transfer case. I figured I'd have to integrate it into the lower link mounts as well.



Added a crossmember (3" x 1.5" x .188) for the lower links and to support the inside half of the seat brackets.



The 'post' under the seat bracket has a stud welded in it that sticks into a hole in the crossmember and gets a nut from underneath. So removing the seats involves 3 easily accessible 1/2" bolts from along the frame rail on the top, and one 1/2" nut through the access hole on the bottom of the crossmember. Not too difficult and sure beats fishing around the t-case.

Started adding the lower link bracket (also a RuffStuff part that I modified for mounting on rectangular tube):





Started on the rear upper links by finding a new way to use my JD2 Notchmaster:



You can see the tube coming through the frame at the bottom right here; that's what I was using the Notchmaster for. It's 1" x .188 tube for a 5/8" bolt to pass through.



 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Finished that just in time for the lower links to arrive from Wide Open Design. 2.25" 7075. Beefy!





Pretty happy with the link angles at ride height...would've maybe liked a little more vertical separation at the frame but I think it'll be OK. With the seats there it was tough to go much higher.



Axles all connected...



and time for tube.



The body lines of the YJ skin will kinda overlap a lot of the lower tube work...basically trying to keep the exterior as tube-free as possible in the spirit of the Mod class.







Kinda tough to see here but the rear will be dovetailed in a few more inches on each side.

 

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Discussion Starter #12
Goodness arrived from Fox courtesy of Tim @ Liquid Iron Industries:



So I started laying out the rear. Dovetail more easily seen here with a cardboard box fuel cell mockup.



Had to bend some 1.5" tube so I made this 'cheater' die for my bender using a piece of 1.75" x .120 sliced in half. Works great!



Gettin' naked...





Fuel cell cradle for the Jaz 22-gallon cell from Liquid Iron Industries:



Tim @ LII did the cell up with 4 Walbro pickups plumbed internally to a side exit, all hardlines inside.

 

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Discussion Starter #13
Makin' space for the airbump cans...again loving the Notchmaster.





I like how the back is coming together...everything behind the cell cradle is open space for storage. I'll be using a CJ tailgate to fill the rectangular opening and make a drop-down work surface.



Should be around 7" travel.



Annnnd....that's where I'm at for now, my welder bottle ran out of gas and it's a holiday weekend, so I'm SOL til Monday. Figured I'd make a build thread in the A/C instead. :)
 

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Will we see this race this year? Looking forward to following this.
 

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in for updates. Cool project man!
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Will we see this race this year? Looking forward to following this.
I hope so! It's been in progress for an embarrassingly long amount of time. :laughing: Just buying a house with a new badass garage so I should be able to knock stuff out a lot faster there...I have to quit early right now because of neighbors.

Realistically though it'll be moving in the Fall and I'll have most of the off season to test & tune it, and hopefully start strong next season.
 
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