With the lower part of
the chassis done it is on to stage 2 of the plans which gets into
the middle of the chassis.
First up were the
4 uprights at the corners of the passenger compartment. These
were straightforward cut and notch. The front two uprights sit
on the nerf radius so you may want to turn the notch 10 degrees on
To locate the uprights
I measured off the required distance from the front tube and then
tack welded a piece of 1.25 square steel tubing to the chassis to
serve as a locator. Make sure both sides measure the same
which ensures the locator is square in relation to the front of the
chassis. One trick I learned after I did this was to clamp a piece
of u-channel onto tubes to make a straight reference edge. Measuring
based on the center or edges of tubes leads to errors.
Next I measured and
marked the location for the rear uprights using the flat face of the
locator bar as the start point.
I tack welded the
front upright in after making sure it was vertical in both
directions using a level. This is where the tube clamps I
picked up from Van Sant come in real handy.
Next up is the front
shock hoops. These need to go from the front upright and tie
into the front bumper tube on the chassis. Here is where I
deviated from the plans a bit. First I added a few inches to
the initial cut length since this was going to be a tricky fit. I
also only cut one tube in case I messed up. Also, I 'd advise
you to keep notes of what you do, it'll help for the second tube for
the other side. In this case I wrote down the new cut length
and the initial bend which I purposefully came up short.
Next I notched the
upright end of the tube (writing down the notch angle) and fitted
the tube in place (picture on left). I could see I
needed another 10 degrees of bend to get the tube to line up with
the front bumper tube. I crept up on the bend by bending, then
checking, etc. Once it was close I cut the un-notched end in
the chop saw to the angle required to let tube the sit on top of the
front bumper leaving about .25" extra. Now I set fit up the
shock hoop and marked with a sharpie where I need to grind it to
allow it to set down on the bumper tube. It doesn't take much
grinding to get it sitting nicely on the tube (picture on right).
check shows this piece will work on the other side with the same
angle and length (but different notching) so it is ok to cut the
passenger side shock hoop and follow the directions I wrote down to
get it nearly identical to the drivers side. Once both shock hoops
are done I just have to get them setting at the same angle. To
accomplish this I took a sheet of steel and held it against the
upper part of the hoop. I then stuck the angle finder on the
steel and dialed in the desired angle. Repeat for the other
Here is the really
nice thing about my little chassis jig, at the end of the day I can
roll the chassis out of the way, clean the garage, then park the
chassis in the corner. This is so much nicer than having it
stuck in one place on jack stands. What is shown above is roughly 4
hours of work and I am about halfway done with stage 2.
I picked up where I
left off on stage 2 and started in on the tubing that would form the
perimeter of the buggy at the beltline. I did these in 4
pieces - you could technically do this in two pieces but if you
messed up on the multi-plane bend you end up wasting a whole stick
of tubing. I chose to go the safer route which requires sleeving
some tubing but it allows you to simplify the bends and make
adjusting the angles easier.
I started with the
rear pieces which basically make a large "U" shaped piece of tubing
that ends about 10 inches from the front "A" pillar. To keep
the tubes lined up with the "A" pillar I temporarily sleeved a
straight piece of tubing to the rear tubing.
I made another sleeve
where the two rear pieces of tubing meet in the rear. For now
I just drilled and plug welded one side, when I am ready to final
weld I will add plug welds to the passenger side.
Once the rear pieces
were done I could make the final two pieces that tie the rear tubing
into the front hoops. This is where it can be tough to get
both sides to line up perfectly, I ended up partially notching the
tubing with a hole saw, then crept up on the final cut with the
grinder. I did have to cut the tack welds on the front hoops
to get the short piece of tube over the sleeve and into position.
A quick comparison
with my 3 seater shows this chassis is pretty much the same length
nose to tail. The engine bay in this chassis is also a touch bigger
than on my 4 seater, I did this to allow a bit more room for
Today's bit of work
took about 6 hours, most of it involved measuring and notching to
get everything symmetrical.