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Old 01-05-2018, 05:39 PM
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Mr. Picker --ultra low buck woods racing build.

The title sums it up pretty well. I do a little coal mountain woods racing deal up here in northeast PA with a home-built mini buggy (runs SxS class) and circumstances fated that I finally have a ride to use to take part in the "main event" within my budget.

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Old 01-05-2018, 06:04 PM
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Hmm until I find the "edit post" function, this will have to do. lol

This a '91 that's been through a 14-year barrage of golf balls and slow-mileage driving a couple hours per week during driving range season. 4-cyl that needs a little tlc is gonna stay for now. soft top is beyond shot, seats are also trash. i put a driver's floor in it when i got it, pass floor is rust-lacy and floor seam is gone at the body side.

Teardown is already underway despite some rather cramped confines. stock roll bar and body & fenders are already off and out in the driveway, Heat/ventilation system, lighting harnesses, stereo are gutted and stored for potential resale.

Highlights of the strip down so far?
Only had to cut one body mount bolt --spun in the captive nut. Snapped three others.

Ground every roll bar torx head off after wasting my T bits even using an impact driver ... I'm sure I'm not the only one wanting to hunt down whomever in the engineering dept. had a love affair with those things! Gonna have to drill out the countersunk hinge ones.

windshield hinges were seized, so i just snapped those with a lil back n forth. Found at least 6 old lighters and one still wrapped cigar inside of the lower windshield frame ...

found i broke the coil terminal--most likely taking the body off--dang there went half the budget!

Front axle is out and awaiting fab of spring perches for the move from over to under. replacement pitman arm is on the way and I gotta drum up a half dozen hockey pucks to drop the trans crossmember.

The 2 vertical box tubes in the top picture have been cut off and will provide the stub out frames off the side for the roll cage mounts, 6 inches out up front and 5" out at the rear. cage will drop through the floor and bolt in. stub outs will also have a piece of cage tube inside going from the new box to the frame side.

So, that's to date for now til i get to chopping and welding, nothing fancy, just recip saw, angle grinder, mig and a drill press.

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Old 01-06-2018, 10:50 PM   #3
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Bit off topic, but are you restoring that A over there?
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Old 01-07-2018, 08:12 AM
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Hello 283, yes, '62 1600 MkII, was a short-term project that got back-burnered 6 years ago once i started building/racing the mini buggy in the foreground of the picture. Was a nose and tail with nothing left in between. Hand shaped trunk and rad area floors, patched both sides and lower front of the nose, handmade sills and F-braces. Frame needs a couple patches and new wood floor angle supports and have to finish F/R fender patching. engine and trans good. I tink away at it when i need to stop and think about what I'm dong with the buggy. was gonna get back on it hard this winter, but the jeep dropped in my lap.
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Old 01-07-2018, 09:26 AM
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Age related post! Nekkid jeep picture!
Exhaust is a butched in affair, leftover from my 73 firebird. That'll be chopped past the crossmember and dump ahead of the front tire without a muffler, though i might throw a resonator or something like that alongside the transfer case.
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Old 01-07-2018, 09:46 AM
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I gotta get my 15 post count so i can fix the boo boos. LOL exhaust will dump in front of the rear tire ....

Meantime, last night's fun was perches.

Before joining, I'd followed Ibuildembig's SOA thread. Been around jeeps long enough to know that there are plenty of shadetree (forgive the term) and store-bought options for gaining clearance and the SoA method suits my needs.

Had a couple minor surprises though that I didn't pick up from the thread, the main one being the fact that the front perches are cast and include the damper mount, so not a chop n swap deal. I later on may whack them to lose a little weight. So, after perusing options and pricing, said, "time to make some noise and fab some."

5-inch chunk of angle and a 2.5 hole saw.

i use angle grinder with 1/16th cut off wheel followed by sawzall to stay fairly accurate.

2.5 OD piece of exhaust pipe for weld jig.

Piece notes:
--1/2 inch trim off the 3x3 to match spring width.
--Hole saw center point is 2.5" down from perch top on the 90* piece to achieve 1.25" over axle perch height.
--2nd flat side pieces were taken from either side of a 5-inch piece of the 3x3, I'm frugal with my metal.
The 1st side piece will measure to the top of the angle and the hole saw center will be 1/4" offset to the top since it will weld to the underside.
The 2nd side piece will measure to 1/4" under the top of the angle plus the width of the cut slot, I gave 3/8ths" for the hole saw offset.





A piece of 3x3 1/4 angle steel happened to be in the scrap pile so a couple hours went into making the front perch pieces.
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Old 01-07-2018, 09:50 AM
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Man I need the edit function!
Note--kept the full 3-inch width on the sides for now. This lets them slide and lock on snugly to the exhaust pipe for when it comes time to weld. After i burn them, I'll trim an angle off to let them drop over the axle.
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Old 01-08-2018, 10:20 PM   #8
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I enjoy watching your progress. Keep the photos coming.
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Old 01-09-2018, 07:07 PM   #9
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I'll follow along with this one. A race Jeep would be cool. Isn't there a fair amount of safety stuff that will need to be addressed?
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Old 01-10-2018, 12:27 AM   #10
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Isn't "Jeep" and "safety" in the same sentence sort of contrary?
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Old 01-10-2018, 06:41 AM
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LOL, yes, I have my laundry list of things to do in that regard. Most of the budget for this falls under that category. I have 3 to 4 weekends a year that I can get away from my business and go racing. This is being built solely for that purpose, will not be road legal. The race course is an 8-mile loop on a small mountainside that has deep ruts, mud, climbs, rock gardens and some very short faster sections. Our club has it's own set of rules and requirements that will be the basis for the build.

Phase 1 is underway--gain some more ground clearance, improve articulation and take care of maintenance/repairs. So far $s outlay is going to be a drop pitman, coil, brake pads, shocks, tires and a spherical joint for the rear traction bar.

Phase 2 will be some minor body repairs, frame outriggers for the roll cage.

Phase 3 --biggest part of the budget --will be cage, seats, harnesses, fire extinguisher, kill switches, suit and helmet for co-pilot.

phase 4--go racing!
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Old 01-14-2018, 10:35 AM
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Conundrum ...those never occur in the modifying world, right? LOL

Right now I've got the front axle in, sway bar and track rod gone. No shocks installed. New 4" drop pitman installed.

At this stage suspension is in full droop and I intend to base my extended shock length off the stock mounts at this point with +1 inch of length to prevent full extension impacts.

Tie rod link in a full right turn will contact the underside of the spring, in addition, the joint at the pitman is at full bind and does not reach the correct angle to make the stock tie rod work.

At this point i think most people that do this lift version are on the ground with ride height suspension loading and don't really "see" this issue. For my purposes, I'm pretty sure I will be loading the left and dropping the right into nothingness multiple times per lap on the race course. We've had ultra 4 style rigs with 40" tires and big HP running on it for a bunch of years now and the ruts and holes throughout have become extreme.

So, for those that have gone SOA-- have you seen binding issues relating to this and how did you rectify?

My plan ---pics to follow later today --- is to make a "dropped" tie rod to take the bind off the pitman side joint and keep about 1/4" clearance under the right spring. Ideally, i'd convert to a hi misalignment heim at the pitman but that still doesn't address the full-right turn/full-right droop contact.

as a background--my mini buggy dual a-arm setup uses nothing but heims for suspension and steering points and yields nearly 20" travel off 10" air shocks, I've been down the road of ball-joint binding issues and done "design-outs" of that issue many times before.

TIA for any input, wanting to make sure there isn't some silly obvious thing i've overlooked.
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Old 01-15-2018, 07:08 AM
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little photo update to today.

pic 1
Pitman removal was about as fun as one could expect, removal tool didn't want to budge it, propane torch after 15 minutes still didnt' put enough heat into it so out came the O/A torch after an oxy refill and made it crispy enough to pop.

pic 2
Using the indicator method (TY HF lol) shown in Ibuildem's thread got the perches welded on. Yes, that's green lol--cleaned the axle up and shot some paint on it to make it cleaner to work with--whatever's on the bench .... everything under there will be black eventually ...maybe

pic 3
Tucked back under -full droop, as close as things will get with the drop pitman in.

pic 4
Where i feel tie rod should run.

pic 5
And my high tech FAD design work (Foamboard Aided Design) my PBAD system crashed so i had to resort to this .... (Pizza Box Aided Design)
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Old 01-15-2018, 11:18 AM   #14
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I remembered a mod that might help so I did a quick search.

WJ knuckle conversion/ High Steer - JeepForum.com

This might be worth a little research. It may or may not be the right answer for you.
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Old 01-15-2018, 03:32 PM
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Modded the link this morning before work, still have to test fit and finish it off later tonite. happened to have my old LTZ steering tube sitting on top of the junk pile, larger dia. but same wall thickness so chopped it got.
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Old 01-16-2018, 08:11 AM
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Metallurgical DNA of all sorts of things in that pile awaiting to be hybridized into other things! Even bits of the jeep hidden in there from abduction testing and modification of the buggy in years past.

And the end result, rather than gusseting, I just tagged another piece of the LTZ tubing onto the excess and carried it up. And yes, color change. Had some Ace item returns and came home with some cans of gloss black at $3. a pop.

Wondering if anyone has ever bothered with adding a bump stop to the shackle plates. thinking a capped piece of 2" black pipe welded to the plate would do the trick nicely. Height of that would be based on the compressed length of the shock. Thoughts???

Next bits are the brake line, left side is ok with a bit of tweaking, right side is too crusty, will have to get a piece and route it, not looking forward to all those bends ....
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Old 01-16-2018, 08:28 AM
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and BTW Daddyjeep, thank you. Looked through it and the linkin that thread, but with so many other components involved with what was in there it wasn't viable for my budget.

This little linkage bit is a 1 percent kind of thing, normally something most wouldn't worry about, but it's exactly the kind of thing that i see coming back and biting one in the tuckus out on the course. It's no fun having to do the broken vehicle repair/rescue after the race a couple miles back in the woods. Been there done that too many times with the buggy. I have seen stock setup jeeps break the rod ends and front shocks many times on course --and picked up the pieces while walking the course. Have a sneaking suspicion that some of them relate to full droop and bump "geometry conflicts"

if you see that the two original linkage tubes aren't parallel, that's intentional, that bit of upward angle of the pitman ensures there's a couple degrees of movement left in the rod end at full droop. If i'd have hooked it up in stock form with ride load on it (sitting on its tires) it would have bolted right up but had joint bind and full droop and contact at full droop/turn. I like getting rid of those tiny percentage issues.
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Old 01-18-2018, 07:06 AM
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Been letting the axle hang in place all week, staring at it and messing with shock sizing. Finally decided--actually the numbers decided for me -- that the lower mounts are going to migrate upwards. 30-31-inch extended length shocks generally provide around 12" of stroke and that amount put negative spring arch well beyond reality at full bump. Plus pricing for something that fit is out of the budget range. The final "pro" of the move is to get the lower mount out of the impact zone. There are a ton of rocks and stumps on course that just love to eat low hanging items.

So, dropped the axle out and lopped off the driver's side. Right side stays on for reference til i have the shocks. I will most likely get a set of RC's budget priced replacements at stock length. Those will give 9 inches of stroke. in messing with things, that size lands the shackle plate about an inch under the snubber, so i will likely put a 2" bump stop on the plate to help cushion full bump hits.

In other news, stopped at a couple of my low dollar yards digging for tire and metal deals and can get my hands on a 4.10 8.8 Ford rear for $175. Don't know if it's posi or not, so I think I may make that move at this stage rather than later.
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Old 01-20-2018, 07:18 PM
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Managed to give it a little time ....

Ordered up a set of stock replacement shocks, coil and intake/exhaust gasket (got a broken rear stud to deal with) and figure out lower mount's new location.

Thought about re-using the lopped off shock mounts and decided too much fiddly fab work to use and a little flimsy for my liking.
Dug up a hunk of 2x2 1/4 wall and sure enough, perfect match for the shock bushing width ... I like when that happens.

Took the hole saw collection to the tubing 2.5" for the mating surface, 2" to take the top off where the shock comes in and 1-1/8th to open up the bottom for drainage ... have used this stuff in the past -- this time i made sure the weld bead was not on the bolt hole sides ...that's annoying to clean up in there.

Set the first mount, then used the same method for the perches with the angle indicators to match the second to the first. A little hosing of black and done deal.

After some c/l and ebay digging didn't turn up anything satisfactory in my budget, local tire shop that deals in used happened to have 4 decent meats in stock, 325/60-15. same height as what was on it, but those are dry rotted/crack beyond belief so gonna be rolling a bit wider.

Budget exp to date,
$120. total for tires mounted and balanced
$107. for F/R shocks, coil and gasket
$13. Recip blades
$4 cutoff wheel

$175. 8.8 rear-- likely this coming week.
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Old 01-21-2018, 11:47 AM   #20
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Just started watching this thread.
Great work. Low budget, good fabrication with what's on hand.
I'll take skill and imagination over big bucks any day. Any sidewalk commando can buy their way into a rig. It's guys like OP that keep us going.

Not to take anything away from the imaginative fabricators with big budgets. We all wish we had big budgets to work with, but being limited in the money department increases our imagination.

"They say that necessity is the mother of invention. If that's true, then poverty is the father" (original Lucky Mac quote).

Good Luck, L.M.
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Old 01-22-2018, 02:18 PM
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Thank you Lucky

While work progresses slowly in the fun dismantling the next items mode, (lost the "flare wrench vs brake line fitting" battle at the rear and out came the mini bolt cutters) i figure a bit of back-story might be fitting.


I have one advantage over most others that build jeeps for off road use in that I know the terrain where I will be running very well. Sure, ruts get deeper, stumps "grow" taller and rocks get knocked loose and find new homes, but overall 7 seasons (and many past years spectating and helping out) of beating myself up in my mini buggy there has taught me what the minimum/maximum extremes are and I can match the modifications to it.

If i had the wherewithal, yes, i would save time and effort on certain items and add things like better shocks that aren't in the budget scope. But overall, surviving 3 weekends a season is the goal for now. My go-faster runs will be in the buggy in the morning. Of course i just measured my track with the "new" tires and it's at 72" so I am going to have to de-learn some of my lines on course that I run with the buggy cause this thing definitely ain't gonna fit thru some of the trees!

Here's a look back at year one of Line, I'm sure there are plenty of fellow club members on the forum here, tons of vids on you tube of the place, but this one is special!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FaNIOy9heMI
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Old 01-23-2018, 12:05 PM   #22
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That is a pretty cool old video.
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Old 01-24-2018, 09:05 AM
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Believe or not, one of those jeeps in the video competed in every 7-miler since the first up until 2016. Last year the owner decided not to bring it out. Was very likely one of a very few vehicles of any type worldwide with that long of a continuous competition history.

Been a dirty week so far. decided to pull the intake/exh to get at the broken stud. Was broken when we bought it in 2003 for the biz and i could never get my dad to give me the time to take it apart far enough to fix it. I tried to get at it years ago, but couldn't get a good angle on a punch to rotate it out. Dad always complained about the fumes but said no when i told him i had to pull the manifolds. Add in two loose valve cover bolts and that many years of driving a couple miles a week and it was one dirty, stinky engine!

Dodged a bullet in that with the manifolds off, i was able to use a centerpunch and tap-rotate the broken end out. that was my original plan and my drill dimple from years ago worked. No drilling and ez-out disaster!

Spent some time on the phone with an old friend who owns a driveshaft and axle shop. I have an 8.5 inch GM disc brake rear out of an '80 TA with all the brake components (3.08 gear) or I could buy the 4.10 geared Ford 8.8. Either of those moves is going to blow my budget at this stage (regearing or driveshaft costs), so I'm back to setting up the stocker for the swap. Despite the work i could have brought to his business, he convinced me to stick to my budget goal.

For that, I once again grabbed the 2x2 1/4 wall and the recip saw and made some 1-1/4 tall "spacers" and welded them to the trans crossmember. I happened to have some grade 8 bolts long enough, so for the cost of 2 more bolts the t-case drop is done. Some leftover sway bar bushing washers got drilled to size and fit the taper on the underside nicely. Still have to dig one more of those out of the bins. I spend more time searching for hardware than the jobs take!

Budget updates are:
$7.00 for 2 bolts
$27.00 drop pitman (forgot to put that in the list last time)
$12.00 black paint ...

Today's mission is to spend money ....

Got a laundry list of routine M&R items to attend to, brakes, fuel, air, oil ... So off to napa i go to round up the little bits and pieces that go between either end of this thing ...
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Old 01-29-2018, 04:50 PM
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Original plan was to build and bolt in a cage and go. Glad i put some more thought into it, and started tearing into it body off. Every step of the way i'm finding some lovely little "surprises".

No pics at the moment, but shopping trip ended up being a couple runs.

One can imagine that 2 to 3 oil changes over 15 years and a whopping 2,000 miles or so is gonna lead to some fun. put 6 to 8 hours into cleaning the crusted crud on the underside of the valve cover, including dismantling the "chimmneys", which were just about packed solid. One day I will have a parts washer!

Got a new harmonic balancer and seal -- rubber was cracking, last thing I want is to spin that thing a couple miles back in the woods.

Every brake line but left front is being replaced. Rust 6, flare wrench/fittings 0.
Took the rad and grille off for cleaning, while finishing up the engine clean up and doing the balancer, found a bolt in the pan seal lip. Its from the timing cover and goes under the timing indicator--popped in a new one from my "bins"--I have a 100 drawer hardware cabinet that came from an auto parts store that closed in the early '90s. My secret treasure trove.

As is the case with all the other body mounts, front one was completely shot. A bit of digging and discovered that core support mount rubbers from early 1970s F-bodys are a very good match for the main body mounts. The front rad mount bracket was pretty rusted around the hole, so I hit the hole with a conical stone to open/clean it up and used the F-body mount. Fit like a charm.

Every j-nut holding the rad broke, so after the fun of getting those shards off the bolts, I went up a size with all new bolts and j-nuts--once again the trove saved some $s.

Had napa match up a longer rear brake hose ... as close as we could get anyway, it's flat block so il'l be doing a little grinding on it to fit the axle.
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Old 02-01-2018, 10:26 AM
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Pictoral update time.

Finally got all the brake lines worked out and in place.

Will have to do a budget tally a little down the road, been back and forth for bits and pieces and rear wheel cylinder No. 2 (only "good one") decided it wanted to hang onto the old bleeder screw, so have to pick up a replacement.
Ironically, my gal at napa--who knows car parts better than any kid at autozone and half the time doesn't need "year, make, model" asked me if i wanted both when i picked up the first one. I said "no" and she said ...."you'll be back next week for the other." Not looking forward to .... "Yes dear, you were right dear!"
Cleaned up the rear axle for re-install.

Hit my local salvage yard and picked thru the trailer chopping area. $40 and I came home with enough pieces for the cage mounts, anti-roll x-member, rear x-member, front and rear bumpers and a repair section needed for my buggy's jackshaft and trailing arm mounts. I love having a yard that lets me stroll around with a cordless recip.


Pics in this post are of core support bushings i used. Those go for about 25 shipped for a pair with hardware, I had them leftover from my firebird from years ago. I may try and source just the rubbers themselves, have some contacts in the industry.

front brake line routing.
Yes, rustoleum brilliant blue will be the new color. I heard something about white jeeps being only for girls, so I had to change that color immediately. Heh, i just like blue. body will get shot with a couple quarts through my ol devilbiss siphon gun.

rear cross member out with 3-inch structural c-channel fitted. Fuel tank shield gonna need some TLC. had to cut every carriage bolt to drop it.

Part of that $40 trip was this grille guard. Gonna become the new front bumper I chopped it off a suburban, guy was asked me why i cut it, thought i was getting it for my Z-71.

Rear X welded in, drilled through top and bottom, long bolts will hold up tank shield and be accessible from top and bottom.
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Old 02-01-2018, 10:40 AM
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And some more up to today.

Setting up the rear for perch location.

From the looks of things. I'm gonna have to lengthen the driveshaft a bit. Not quite full droop, only have 1-1/4" engagement on the t-case splines. found the middle of the "dwell" point of the pinion angle where changing it does not change spline engagement length for a starting point. I will check both angles then be putting the U's and plates on & clamping it tight so i can put the drums and wheels on, take it off the stands and put some weight on it (rock salt bags) so i can see where it's at loaded.

Anyone else think I need another inch of shaft length/spline engagement?
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Old 02-01-2018, 11:14 AM   #27
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Napa does seem to be the only place with knowledgeable parts people. Unfortunately my local napa works the same hours I do so I don't get in there much. You may just want to get your wheel cylinder somewhere else so you don't have to face your parts girl.
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Old 02-02-2018, 11:24 AM   #28
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I've got a local Advance Auto that has a couple of very knowledgeable guys, they've already got my rig pulled up in their computer when I walk in.

I'm a bit jealous of the extra room between the fan and the radiator in the 2.5's. Could've used more space when swapping water pumps twice.

Did you find the brake line space got tight between the manifolds, steering linkage, and master cylinder position?
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Old 02-03-2018, 08:53 AM
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engine area does have a lot of room to work --probably roomiest ride i've ever had in that regard.

Thought I had dropped in an engine cleaned up picture. With the body off, I ended up pulling the master off before i folded the lines over accidentally. One of the lines also was frozen on the fitting and i had to spin the master to get it off. So far seems to be no issue for the lines room wise, I avoided some of the ups and downs of the original line routing. the front cross-over portion of the line is hanging off the grille edge to keep mud etc from building up around it.

The heating/vent system is not going back in. Nor is the dash panel/pad except for a section with the gauges. Lighting side of the wiring harness has also been removed. Heater core might get placed on the front of the firewall or bypassed, haven't made up my mind. Plan to move the battery to the back. I'm thinking about moving the ecu inside and will also have a fire extinguisher inside with a hose off its nozzle into the engine compartment.

At the rear, no tailgate, rear body corners will get chopped and fuel filler relocated and boxed. Spare will mount back there as will my port-a-power with a jackstand base and frame "U" fittings. Rear cage also has to do double duty as the piggy-back hauler for my daughter's mini-buggy. I've got 3 8' + long rigs to put on a 16-foot trailer and towed by a 78 Dodge jamboree! That's my biggest challenge of the entire project.

Meantime, i've finalized pinion angle, tacked the perches in place and made my rear shock mounts. Burning those on before work today.
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Old 02-05-2018, 11:26 AM   #30
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Why not add a second level to the trailer? I imagine that the buggies are pretty light.

The engine bay looks like it cleaned up pretty well.

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