The day had arrived, it was time to strip the old
rig down so I could ship the parts that had been sold and clean up the rest for
use in the new buggy.
The task was pretty painless. With the help
of another BTG club member we were able to dismantle 5 years worth of work in
under 8 hours. While this is the end of the road for me and my little
yellow Suzuki, the chassis will live again in a new home thousands of miles
Now that I have crossed the point of no return
there is a renewed urgency to get my design done. I started to refine more
of the details that I had glossed over to get the chassis envelop figured out.
The biggest details were the link mounts on the axle and chassis. The rear
link mounts were pretty easy to tuck in but the fronts have proven to be quite
challenging. First I tried to get the lower links tucked in above the
belly. As you can see in the first picture I had to lengthen the links
instead of angling them upward to maintain separation between the uppers links.
With those in place I made some more measurements on my motor (it was now out of
the vehicle) and discovered a major interference between my exhaust manifold and
upper link on the drivers side (second picture). I could adjust the link angles
but this put the ends far away from a strong mounting point. I dug into
modifying some of the lower frame members but driveshaft clearance on the
passenger side thwarted all my ideas. The dual triangulated 4 link wasn't
looking so good up front.
Experiment 2 is a 3 link with panhard bar.
This configuration is possible again now that I have a double ended cylinder in
my design. the double ended cylinder eliminates my tie-rod, freeing up a
lot of space. The main problem with the single ended cylinder was how to mount
it. Since my steering arms were designed to get the tie rod and drag link
over the springs, it required my steering ram to be mounted above the axle.
Now that I need to place link mounts above the axle the only other place I could
fit the single ended ram while staying close to the tie rod was to build a large
platform out in front of the axle. With the double ended ram I still
have to build a platform out front but it can be rotated up much higher so it
should not hurt clearance. The bridge the ram mounts to will also serve as
the panhard mount.
Out back I came up with a cleaner way to get the
upper links mounted up higher for a flatter roll axis.
Back in reality I have been cleaning up the parts
I pulled from my old rig. The front axle is almost completely disassembled
and the housing will be ready to have all the old brackets torched off. I
also started fabricating new motor mount brackets, all the pieces are ready to
be welded together as soon as I have a frame to attach them to. The next
step is to bend some tube.
I was planning on re-using my Petroworks motor
mounts but upon removing them from my motor I found this. The welds have
no penetration at all.
So Friday night I went over to Mark Mason's house
to use his plasma cutter. I torched all the brackets and spring perches
off my rear axle housing, cut the ears off a front housing for use in a new
beefed up housing and then cut some new motor mount plates.
Saturday started out great, overcast skies and
slight breeze. I headed over to Pat's to borrow his trailer, from there we
picked up a rock buggy kit (some assembly required).
Our club did a group buy on tubing to try and
save some money. The tubing was bought from Southwest Steel (talk to
Dino), I was pretty amazed to find the 1 5/8" x .120 wall DOM
was almost half the price of the 1 3/4 x .120 wall DOM tubing. I saved
about $200 on the tubing so I went looking for a drill press in the afternoon.
As luck would have it, Harbor Freight had a nice drill press on sale for $184,
normally $279. I had to drive to another store to get their last one.
From there I headed down to work to pick up my bending dies. Next stop was
Jay's house out in Gilbert. he was going to let me borrow his JD2 bender
which is equipped with a custom hydraulic setup designed by Jay. It'll do
roughly 110 degrees in one shot. From Jay's house I headed over to Jacks
house to talk him into helping me unload the bender and drill press. By the time
I got Jack back to his house and dropped Pat's trailer off It was around 7pm. I
took a breather before heading out to setup the drill press.
The first order of business on Sunday morning was
to finish tearing down my front axle. That took another 3 hours (I made a
big oily mess). After that was done I started making room in the garage to
work. I must say the hydraulic bender was a dream to use, you can roll it
wherever it's convenient even in the middle of bending a tube. I used
these positioning clamps I picked up from Trick-Tools.com to hold my frame in
position. Sometime around 3pm Jack and Mark Hild showed up looking for
work, so I got them going on assembling my dual transfer cases. I am sure
glad they came over because within an hour the garage was covered with t-case
parts as if they had exploded. I am not sure I would have figured it all
out by myself.
While they worked on the t-cases, I assembled and
welded phase one of the project.
By the time the guys left I had
dual/twin-sticked t-case waiting for a home.
Spent most of the week fabricating the
parts for the motor mounts, rear suspension mounts and the winch mounts.
Most of that stuff will be installed this weekend. Tonight's goal was to
get the motor installed in the chassis. With the help of a bunch of
friends we got the motor in place and motor mounts all tacked together.
Then I pulled the mounts one at a time and welded them up.
Here's how it sits as of 8pm.
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