I accomplished a lot of stuff this last week, mostly towards
the end when my coil springs and suspension links arrived which were holding up
The one thing I did manage to get done early in the week was the floors for the
rear passenger compartment. As always I started with a cardboard template
that fit well, then traced the template to a piece of .050 5052 aluminum.
Next I used a hole saw and put a hole at every inside corner so the corners
would be radiuses. From there I started to whittle away at the sheet with
my plasma cutter.
The finished sheet then required some minor grinding to drop right in, mostly
notching to clear welds. Since this piece has to support some weight I have .75
x .75 steel tubing supports under the areas that will get stepped on.
A few shots showing the small wing panels to the left and right of the rear
seat. I'll most likely mount some sort of storage box here, maybe an ammo can.
Since my links and springs arrived on late Thursday I didn't get them mounted
until Friday night. For reference I am using 7075 aluminum links made by
Summit Machine for
all of the links. The front lowers (1.75" dia), rear lowers (2.00" dia)
and rear uppers (1.75" dia) are all the same length. The front uppers are 1.50"
diameter. I have two 1.50" da links left over for sale, check out the for
sale page for more info. For springs out back I went with a 14" x 250 lb. coil
on the bottom and a 12" x 150lb coil on top. I basically upped the
lower spring from 200 lbs/in to 250 lbs/in to accommodate the added weight out
Once I had the final links in place I noticed a few problems. The first
problem was I didn't order enough of the smaller misalignment washers so I would
have to re-do one tab on each of the lower link mounts on the front of the
chassis. Luckily I was exactly .25" off, the width of one of my tabs so I just
cut the existing tab back to clear the rod end and then welded a new one to it
using the original tab as a guide. One trick I have started to do is to place a
.004" and .005" feeler gauges between the misalignment spacer and tab before
bolting the assembly together then welding. This makes it so you can
easily slip the rod end in and out of the tab without too much fighting.
Problem number 2 was a set of egged out holes on the lower link mounting
brackets. These were .313" thick so I was a little surprised. The
fix was to weld a pair of .25" thick spacers with .625" holes to the outside of
the original brackets.
problem number 3 involved the rear swaybar. I had the makings of an interference
when the passenger side tire was stuffed into the frame but I could not move the
swaybar mounting point over anymore due to the exhaust routing.
The fix was to reconfigure the exhaust and flip the swaybar link to the inside
of the swaybar. I now have 1" of clearance between the link and rod end
mounting stud, hopefully the swaybars don't deflect sideways.
An overhead shot of the new exhaust routing which jogs around the swaybar mount.
Once the exhaust was re-routed I also had to adjust the upper link mounts on the
axle bridge, they were off by about an inch off center to the drivers side. By
carefully cutting them with a cutoff wheel I was able to just re-position them
and re-weld without having to make any new pieces. As you can see there is
a lot going on back here so I am anxious to see if it passes the trail test with
no unexpected interferences.
By Saturday evening I had all the seats in so I could figure out some more
panels and the upper seatbelt mounting points. I picked it up on Sunday morning
and decided to get the buggy started before proceeding so I could verify the new
wiring. After installing the battery and transfer case shifters it started
on the first try. Things were going good until the motor blew off the lower
radiator hose, pretty sure I forgot to tighten it. I also discovered the
water pump power wire had come loose, I am thinking about putting an indicator
light in the dash that will show when the pump is getting power, it is so quiet
there is no way to tell if it is on or not.
The front seat belts will mount to a removable cross member behind the front
seats which is made from one of my spare aluminum suspension links. The
rear seat belt mounting points were made from some 1.00 x .120 wall tubing with
some 3/8-16 standoffs welded inside of the tubing. I had the rear seat
made with two extra seatbelts slots cut into the back positioned about 6" lower
to accommodate a smaller person. I plan on having the small harness
mounted on the passenger side.
With the seat belt mounting out of the way I proceeded to work on the rear
panels some more. I am aiming to have this rear seating area on this go
around more sealed off to the elements than the last one which was pretty much
The fancy panel behind the gas tank is a splash guard, something I discovered I
needed when I tried filling the fuel cell. It is designed so any spilled
gas will hit the panel and then run down the panel. For reference the rear
seat actually rests on the bend in the panel.