At some point all
the firewall panels had to come back out so I could install weld
nuts (McMaster Carr). These threaded nuts provide almost 1/2"
of thread and I used them any place I wanted to bolt a panel to a
piece of thin walled tubing such as the dash bars. The bolt
actually threads thru the opposite side but I drilled clean thru the
square steel tubing and installed the weld nut from the bottom so
the panel would sit flush on the opposite side.
I also utilized the
weld nuts where I wanted to bolt panels to other panels. In this
instance I just welded the flange to the backside of the panel so
the mating panel will sit flush on the other side. I am a big
fan of making panels easily removed for service in the field.
My struts finally showed up and I got to
work on the front brackets. The brackets were cut via water
jet with my intention of having a second hoop tie into the cutout on
the inside of the bracket. Once I started positioning everything I
changed my plan and had the brackets sandwich a tube that ties the
shock hoop into the lower frame rails.
This is the current front runner for the
battery box position. I'd like to be able to use a non-gel
cell in a pinch and have better access to the battery for jumping
and charging. My last buggy had the battery buried into the
floor which was good for weight distribution but a pain for anything
Back to the strut brackets. To get
the bracing tubes uniform I clamped some spacers to the back edge of
the winch plate. I have found using spacers in this manner
works much better than trying to measure off of round tubes with a
Once the strut brackets were in place I
added the final brace to the engine cage. A cross bar on the
center portion of the engine cage will be added later tying the two
front shock hoops together.
That pretty much
completes the front strut mounting and allowed me to position the
Still not 100% happy with the steering
valve mount and I expect it to change down the road to allow me to
clock the valve without messing with the mounting plate. As it
is the lines will have to come out toward the engine and I know
clearance will be an issue as the hydraulic lines don't bend nicely.
The gas pedal mount shown in the second picture above is also a work
in progress. Trying to make it all un-bolt to make engine removal
easier down the road. I need to tie the pate into the floor and make
a hard stop for the pedal.
With the steering
valve position tied down I could finalize the steering column by
cutting a clearance hole thru the electronic shelf behind the
dash. I initially thought one u-joint was going to work but
the alignment turned out to be much to critical and I could not get
a smooth operation out of the system so I broke down and added the
It was finally time to get the steering
ram mounted which showed up with the steering u-joints. The
ram was originally purchased from Performance Off-road back on 04
and I had sent it back to get new seals installed. After
talking with Sean at POS I also had grooves cut in the body of the
ram to allow me to use his newer keyed style mounting clamps.
Again, I utilized my Solidworks skills
to design my front truss and brackets which were then water jet cut.
To keep the brackets from becoming dirt catchers I welded thin
pieces of steel to the inside of cutouts.
The brackets form two towers which tie the upper
bridge, axle tube and ram mounting tube together. I'd bet I used half
the steel on this design as my original home brewed setup done on my
Not wanting to get into the steering links I
spent the last part of my holiday weekend putting in some more chassis
bracing starting with some gussets at the B pillar and the cross brace
behind the 3rd seat. The major cross bracing for the passenger cabin
will take place behind the 3rd seat making one large open cabin.
The rear lower boat side bracing took up a good
chunk of the day due to having to clearance for the exhaust and water lines.
The large flat piece of steel seen in the second picture was used as a
reference plane to try and keep the rear braces inline with the two existing