We are very slow at work right now, slow enough that most of
the engineers are working part time till things pick up so I find I have a lot
of spare time but no money. It seems like a good time to work on some of
my wish list projects, pretty much a bunch of projects with small end results
that require a lot of work to complete. My first project on the list is angling
the rear shocks inward to keep the springs from contacting the tires. The
present mounts worked fine with my old D60 axle which was a touch wider than the
14bolt I installed late last year. With the eventual goal of moving back
to a 42" tire I figured I would have to make more shock/tire clearance at some
point and this seems to be as good a time as any.
This task required a lot of disassembly which is the big reason I didn't attempt
it sooner. Once all the body panels were out of the way I also unbolted
the rear seat to slide it forward to make more room to work. The next step
was to carefully cut off the existing upper shock mounts. Somewhere along the
way I determined I could also slide the lower mounts outboard another inch or so
and still clear the tire/brakes so I went ahead and cut those mounts off as
well. The extra angle should provide some more up travel and can only make
the rig more stable.
You'll notice the new tabs put a rotational force on the tube, something that
will eventually tear chunk out of the tube so I added a gusset that ties the
mount into the node just behind the passenger seat. With the shocks out I also
decided to install some new grade 8 hardware, I ended up running to the local
ACE Hardware to find the correct length bolts that would allow the brackets to
engage the shoulder and not the threads. I then cut off the extra length
of thread to save some weight. While I was at it I trimmed the other link
mounts bolts down which resulted in about a pound of unused threads when I was
The last step was to modify the rear panels to clear the shock body, then the
whole car was put back together. The new upper shock mounts are higher
than the old ones so the rig sits a bit lower, approximately level with the
Still working with the back end I went ahead and installed the new sway bar arms
I ordered a while back to replace my old ones which had seen better days.
One of the old arms was bent after getting caught on a rock and the other had
some stripped splines. The new arms are also a bit lighter due to the
pocket that was milled into them. I just had to cut them down in length to
match my old ones, drill a new hole for the linkage and then shorten the linkage
bars to tuck the sway bar further up into the chassis. Hopefully
shortening the linkages will keep the arms out of the rocks this time.
While I had the shocks out I went ahead and put some speed holes into my brake
caliper brackets. Thick plates like the caliper brackets are great places
to cut weight as a small speed hole still removes quite a bit of material.
I plan on doing the same thing to the front caliper brackets where I think I can
cut more than a pound of unneeded material.
Moving to the front of the rig I needed to move the coolant temperature sender
to a more different position for a more accurate temperature reading.
After some extended desert driving a few weeks back I discovered the old heater
core loop is not a good spot for the coolant sensor after my water pump relay
died and the engine started to overheat despite the gauge showing 150 degrees.
Luckily the PCM put the motor in limp mode, cutting several cylinders to keep
the engine from blowing a gasket. Since I don't see any more ports on the engine
that I can plug into I figure I could add a bung to the upper thermostat neck
and plug in there.