Project Hellraiser 3

Page 25


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I am so close to painting but still wrestling with the final details.

Took me 3 tries to get the dash panel cut the way I wanted.  I messed up on the first two by making one too short and spacing the holes incorrectly on another. The gauges are 2 1/16" but a 2" dimpled hole flares out enough that the gauges slide in perfectly. After finishing the gauge panel I started to pull apart the interior for the last time before paint.  As I went I trimmed stuff I had marked previously, most of the cuts were to ease assembly.

During the previous week I was able to finish the last of the body panels.

Last Saturday was tear down day. My buddy Steve brought his welder over to help final weld the chassis.  This was the big test for the interior frame and engine cage, I had never pulled either from the chassis. Both weldments (both tacked welded only) came out with no issues and we were able to pull the transfer case and transmission from the top. The motor also fit thru the opening left by the engine cage like I planned (much to my relief). As we pulled stuff out I made a pile of to-do stuff, mostly parts that needed trimming and final welding. Once the drive train was pulled Steve and I started in on welding the removable stuff.

By the end of the day we were ready to roll the chassis.  The two of us had just enough oomph to get it rolled over.  It took about 4 hours the following day to get the chassis welded up completely.

I saved a bunch of tasks to do after rolling the chassis.  One of the tasks was cutting a hole in the winch plate to allow me to connect the winch to the front axle.

Another major task was the boat sides.  Having gravity on my side made this job slightly easier although it still took nearly 12 hours to complete.  The first panels were pretty easy, both panels were made from .100" thick steel and had a single bend in them. This was Halloween weekend and I had to call it quits around 5pm to get ready for trick or treating.

I didn't get back to the buggy till the following weekend and by the end of the day Saturday I had the boat sides completely fitted and welded along with the second tab to double shear the front upper link mount bolt.  The link tab placement definitely complicated the boat sides.  The plates close in to the tabs are only .050" thick as I felt they would not see rock hits due to the links blocking them out.  All in all this should be close to the same weight as my previous boat sides which were all .125" thick but with less tube structure behind them.

Another weekend would slip by before I would finally call the chassis done, well, done enough to paint. I had a hard deadline of 3pm on Sunday because a bunch of guys were going to show up to help load the chassis on the trailer. I spent Saturday finishing up last minute things like missed welds, drainage holes, skid plate mounting tabs and dash mounting tabs. I went right up till 1pm on Sunday and called it quits.  While I waited for the loading crew to arrive I cut the old wallowed out link brackets off of my rear axle and welded on new ones.   3pm rolled around and Chad, Jack, Mark, Scott and myself man handled the chassis onto the trailer (I can foresee some lighter skid plates down the road).

Along with the chassis I had a huge pile of steel panels and mounting brackets that needed paint. Over the next few days I washed and chemical etched all the parts along with the chassis before laying down one to two coats of Rustoleum gloss black using a Harbor Freight paint gun. Other than a few operator caused drips on the side panels the gun worked flawlessly.

Chassis before paint.

The first coat took about two hours of me climbing in and around the chassis.  The second coat went on the following night and I utilized the forklift to get a better shot at the lower chassis before doing the inner/outer perimeter. I still missed a few spots where I could not fit the gun, I ended up touching those up with spray cans and even brushed some of the recessed corners. All told I used about a gallon of paint along with 2 spray cans.

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