This update has two weekend worth of progress on
it. I have been working towards the goal of painting the
frame but keep coming up with lists of stuff that needs to be attached to the
frame or completed before the painting process. I needed to finalize the
welds on the front link mounts but to do that the boatsides need to be in and
the lower frame rails need to be reinforced (adding a strip of .120 wall tubing
to the bottom edge). So I started on the task of finalizing the welds only to
get sidetracked shaving the front axle.
Since it had to be moved out from under the rig
anyway I figured I'd finish it up. I made a fairly aggressive cut
along the front of the diff, I wanted the new plate to be angled front to back
to maximize ground clearance.
Before and after.
shaving I had 12.5" of clearance from the floor to the bottom of the diff,
afterwards there was 13.25" of clearance.
The rear storage rack/seat mount also had to be
finalized. I started by making some templates for the rear floor.
While I was cutting cardboard I also made some templates for the dash panels.
Not sure what these will be made out of yet, I am thinking plastic.
Since I won't need a rear seat for a year or so I
made a storage rack that bolts down in the place of the rear seat. When
the time comes I may just attach the rear seat to the storage rack since the top
of it sits right where I want the bottom of the seat to be. Most of the
rack is made from 1.00 x .095 wall HREW with the center bars made from 1/5"
conduit that I picked up from Home Depot. The conduit is cheap, light and
easily bent with a hand bender, just remember to grind off the galvanized
coating before welding it.
Shop supplies have really started to make the
budget bulge at the seams. I had figured a hundred or so dollars but I am
on my 3rd spool of wire for the welder and the third tank of C02. This
last trip to the welding store cost roughly $90. I did pick up a pair of
these meaty looking flap disks for my angle grinder. They were kind of
expensive at $11 but I was curious if they would last longer than the $3 Harbor
Freight flap disks I had been using. So far I am impressed, I used one all
last weekend grinding the welds on the boatsides and other cleanup work and it
hardly looks used.
Update 11-12-04 - After two weeks of use with the
Norton Charger flap disks I can say I am very impressed. The Harbor
freight disks would last a day or so but I have been using the same Norton flap
disk for two weeks now and it still has quite a bit of material left towards the
center. I haven't been easy on this one either, it has been used for all
my cleanup grinding in preparation for painting and I also ground down all the
weld seams on the boatsides. Definitely worth the extra money.
The above pictures cover what I got done on
Friday/Saturday of the previous weekend. I went out to the Truckin
Nationals on Sunday so the project was put on hold till the next week.
Next up on the task list was to finish the
interior. Using the template Jack made a while ago, my friend Scott at A-1
Fabrication made the final transmission tunnel.
To mate it up to the firewall I needed an
intermediate plate that would bolt to the firewall. While I was looking at
the mounting of this new plate I noticed I needed to cut the transmission hole
in the firewall bigger if I wanted to be able to pull the transmission without
removing the firewall. Once the hole was enlarged I made cut the
intermediate plate shown in the second picture above. I used the tape to
keep the jigsaw from scratching the part I was going to keep.
Next I reinstalled the firewall and bolted up the
intermediate plate. A small angled bracket was fabricated and bolted to the
The transmission tunnel was next lowered onto the
angle bracket and some clearance holes were drilled for the 1/4" thumbscrews.
I spaced 4 tabs evenly amongst both sides. Since the material used to
fabricate the tunnel was fairly thin I made some small nut plates that bolted to
the inside of the tunnel (the two bolts shown in the second picture above the
thumbscrew), the thumbscrew then threaded into a 1/4-20 tapped hole on the
bottom of the nut plate. Some sheet metal (PEM) insert would have been
nice but I didn't have any on hand.
The rear of the tunnel gets attach to this
u-shaped bracket that I welded to the seat cross member. When I had the
seats installed and the tunnel in place I noticed there was no place to bolt the
harness to for the drivers side. The drive train isn't quite symmetrical
since there is room on the passenger side for a tab to be welded on outside of
the transmission tunnel. The funny looking post was my solution to the
seat belt mounting problem. I put a 1" hole in the transmission tunnel and
tacked the post in place, removed the tunnel and finish welded the tab in place.
This part of the project is pretty time consuming due to needed to have
everything in place to check clearances but needing it all out so you can finish
weld (you don't want your wife to find out you set her seat on fire, ask me how I
Scott also fabricated a button box which I plan
on mounting between the seats on top of the transmission tunnel. It will
hold 8 switches and places them within easy reach of the driver. The 5
point harnesses really limit the drivers reach so I want the switches closer
than my previous rig.
The drivers side boatside was also installed.
The front and rear plates have clearances in them for the exhaust tubing.
The last part needed for the front axle housing
was a steering ram guard, I just made a small hoop out of 1" tubing.
My original plan was to not install a
stinger on the front bumper but after seeing how vulnerable the winch was to any
front impact I decided to make some sort of small bumper. I also
fabricated some small brackets to bolt the roller fairlead to the front.
Out back I added a winch point. The
clevis block came free with my winch, it was originally designed to slide into a
receiver hitch but I decided to cut it down and weld it to the frame. I
was going to weld a receiver hitch onto the buggy but that seemed like a lot of
useless weight. The rear brake light was a last minute addition. On
one of my trips to Harbor Freight for some supplies I ran across the brake lamp,
it was the right size and only $3! I cut some tiny brackets and tapped
them for a #4-40 screw before tacking them to the frame.
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