Project Hellraiser

Page 4


Chugging Along

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Progress has been slow this past week.  As some of you know I play Mr. Mom every other weekend so I canít get a whole lot done with the boy wandering around in the garage.  He likes to pick up small objects and randomly deposits them in various places throughout the garage.

I did manage to get my deep sump transmission pan installed.  I picked this one up from Summit Racing for around $40.  It came with a new filter, gasket and spacer to space the pickup down into the pan.  I had originally bid on a pan from E-bay but like many auctions there the price was bid up to within dollars of a new pan kit yet the auctioned pan was missing the pickup spacer and filter. 

Here is a shot of the new filter and pickup spacer.

Getting the old pan off was easy but once the spacer and filter were installed there was not enough room to get the new pan in between the valve body and cross member.  I ended up having to remove the transfer case so I could jack up the back of the transmission to make more room.

The installed pan.

The next chore I tackled was the disassembly of my Dana 300.  It went fairly smooth until it came time to remove the shift rails.  I was working off of a few different sets of assembly directions I had found on the internet and none of them mentioned the rear shift rail needed to come out first.  Once that was done I ground the required notch to allow the 4:1 gears to be installed and then cleaned and painted the case.

After work the next day I dropped by Dennisís shop to pull/press the new bearings and parts onto the input and output shafts.  This process took a while due to my needing to blend installation instructions for the 32 spline input shaft, output shaft and 4:1 kit into one plan of action. 

Another big task was finding a place to re-program the PCM to eliminate the code relating to emissions, transmission and stock fuel tank sensor.  I tried contacting Digital Horsepower Inc. but after a few weeks of no response I continued my search.  After a brief e-mail exchange on the Pirate 4x4 forum, Tony K from Rock Equipment  pointed me in the direction of Jimís Performance .  I made a call and was relieved to discover Jim had done these before and knew exactly what to do to setup the PCM for a stripped down rock buggy.  The price for the reprogramming was a reasonable $200.  I also inquired about the wiring harness and Jim said they can clean those up as well.  In exchange for $300 they will thin the harness, label the wires and send it back with a 4 circuit fuse panel ready for installation.  Since my last two wiring attempts each took at least two weeks I jumped at this offer.   

Next up on my list was the exhaust.  The plan was to mount the muffler under the passenger seat then dump the exhaust out behind the buggy like my last setup.  First I had to make some room for the muffler by notching some of the boat side supports and then making a plate to fill in the notched portion.

My friend Dennis had used header bends to piece together his exhaust so I did the same. The nice thing about these is you can cut them anywhere along the bend and still have a nice round piece that you can weld to another bend or straight. This is a  2.50 inch diameter header bend. 

Starting at the motor I attached a stock exhaust manifold flange.  This flange has an integrated flexible joint that can move in all directions and will take up any movement between the engine and the hard mounted exhaust system.   I cut up one header bend into two pieces to get the correct curve to get the exhaust from the manifold to the muffler.

I tried a bunch of different auto parts stores and muffler shops but no one had any 2.50" diameter exhaust flanges.  I did manage to find a gasket at Pep Boys so I used it as a template and made my own flanges.

Another header bend was cut up to get this jog. 

I'll add a downturn later.

The next big task was getting all of the controls mounted.  I also wanted to integrate a steering quikener into my steering system. The quikener is basically a gearbox where 1 turn on one end of the shaft is translated into 1.5 turns on the other side via a planetary gear set.  The reason for this is due to my choice of steering valve.  Originally I had 4.5" stroke ram used on my previous Toyota axles.  When I installed the Dana 60's I needed an 8" of stroke ram.  The old valve works but it now had to displace more fluid to actuate the ram which translates into me having to turn the steering wheel more to go from lock to lock (about 7 turns to be exact). My old setup with the shorter stroke was a hair over 4 turns lock to lock so the steering quikener should alleviate some of this extra wheel turning..

As luck would have it the quikener fit nicely on the steering column bracket I had used previously. This unit came from Summit Racing and is made by Howe.  I also ordered a splined coupler to connect the quikener to the steering shaft.

With half the steering gear mocked up I wanted to get the pedals positioned to avoid any interferences. Here is how I made the first bracket to hold the brake pedal. I started with a paper template and then transferred the dimensions to some 16 gauge steel. Once I had the shape cut out with the plasma cutter I used a cut off wheel to remove a little material along the folding lines.  From there I used my hands and a hammer to get the bracket bent.

After all that work I discovered my first bracket would not work.  I forgot to account for the master cylinders and the first bracket had them sticking above the hood line. I was able to salvage most of my work by making two new mounting tabs that would move the brake pedal bracket down.

I picked up the gas pedal from Summit, I suspect it is a re-badges Lokar throttle pedal.  I took a few stabs at mounting it before settling on the position shown.  basically I was trying to get it close to the brake pedal but far enough away so I would not accidentally hit both pedals.  You can also see the steering valve which has been moved up and about 12 inches forward from where it used to sit to make room for the coilover shocks.

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