The last 10% always seems to take a
disproportionate amount of time to complete. Going into last weekend I was
down to a few small tasks.
Mounting the hi-lift was one of the tasks. I
wanted to mount it out back like on my previous rig where it was really easy to
access but due to a slight mistake in bending the rear tubing the rig ended up a
little shorter than planned and the hi-lift wasn't going to fit. It ended
up behind the seats and unfortunately I had to remove the base to get it in
there. To make it easier to get to I plan on cutting an access hole in the body
panel so you don't have to reach over the tubing to unbolt the jack.
The spare front axles will get mounted to this
vibration dampening clamp I found while looking thru a
McMaster Carr catalog,
P/N 3252T7. They have a variety of sizes to chose from.
Next up was mounting tabs for the skins.
This is the most tedious job of the whole build. First I had to make a
cardboard template for the body panel (that part is actually kind of fun).
Once I was happy with it I marked the spots on the frame where I needed a
The hard part is getting the tabs flush with the
outside of the tubing. I accomplished this by clamping a piece of steel between
two of the tubes to simulate the body panel, then clamping a tab to the steel.
Repeat as needed.
The roof mounting tabs were installed the same
way. I also installed a pair of braces between the rear cross brace and
roof cross brace tubes. I was a little worried that due to the long span
of the roof bars they would bend easily if I took a hit in the middle of the
roof. Ideally I should extend the brace all the way out to the B pillar
but I feel this will be plenty strong. On a two seater the roof bars are about
half this length and much less of an issue.
The area under the passenger seat ended up being
dead space so I walled it in with perforated steel to form a storage
compartment. I figured I could store my recovery straps down there.
Lastly I reinforced two key areas that will see a
lot of rock hits. The outer edge of the nerf bars and the lower frame
rails both got plated with a small section of pipe, roughly .120 thick.
Finally, by the end of the day Sunday I was ready
to call the chassis done. I spent a good 3 hours cleaning up the garage
and making room so I could create a makeshift paint booth. The cleanup
continued into Monday evening and the paint booth was started. A last once
over of the chassis by my wife revealed a few missing items, most notably some
hinges for the hood and the tie down loops for the cooler racks. After
those are on it's time to paint.
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