Early in the week I managed to get some seat mounts fabricated so the rear seat
could be bolted in (instead of balanced on some spacer blocks). This was a
milestone because I could put a live person in and check roof clearance, foot
clearance, etc. Getting in and out is pretty easy and foot room looked
really good but the headroom was a little tight for my tastes. I had about
2.5" between my head and the roof bar just in front and above my head.
Here's the first set of seat mounting tabs. To gain some more headroom I
would later cut these off and make some new, lower mounting tabs.
With the rear seat installed in the first couple of pictures I could figure out
the side bars that would protect the rear passenger and seat. I came to
the conclusion that the seat would have to be loaded from the front compartment
so I could get a bar right next to the seat. This means my cross bar at
the B pillar will have to be removable. The brace that runs next to the seat
will also serve as the node where my coilover mount ties into the cage.
Shot of the roof bracing.
Interior shot with the rear seat out.
Round two of the live subject testing. I ended up dropping the seat 2 inches and
the headroom is much better for an adult sized passenger. I originally
just wanted the back seat to be big enough for kids but having my wife fit back
there seemed like a good goal since the boy feels more comfortable sitting next
to you when wheeling (as opposed to sitting alone).
Out came the seat again and I started in on finishing up the rear suspension.
A pair of plates were fabricated for both sides to tie the coilover mount into
several of the tubes on the cage. I also plan on welding some small round
washer to thicken up the mounting point where the coilover bolt pierces the
plates. It took most of the day Saturday to get the coilovers mounted and when I
was done I noticed my axle was shifted to the drivers side by about 1.5:.
This made the coilover sit at different angles.
I am not sure where the error comes from, most likely the chassis is tweaked or
a measuring mistake from the initial build. It is very hard to get a solid
reference point on a used chassis so at this point you just have to make things
"look" correct and ignore some of the hard measurements. I ended up
cutting the tack welds on the axle bridge and modified it so I could shift it to
the drivers side 1.25". Then I shifted the axle over with the help of my
Dad and re-attached the links. The coilovers now have a slight 2.5 degree
angle inward on both sides and look symmetrical and the axle looks more centered
on the chassis.
With the axle and coilover mounts squared away I turned to the air bump mounts.
It made the most sense placing them inboard of the frame so I would not have to
hang them down from the frame very far. These cans will see enormous
amounts of force when the rig bottoms out so their mounting needs to be beefy.
Overkill here is a good thing. I ended up cutting a notch in the chassis
frame and nested the can about halfway into the tubing.
Next I made a tubular gusset that runs along the spine of the can and ties into
the chassis frame rail. Next, my Dad and I fabricated two side braces from
1" tubing and finally we added a 1.50" brace running from the top of the can to
the coilover mounting node.
By the end of the day on Sunday we had tacked in some braces my Dad made that
would form the floor for the rear passengers and we had mocked up my old fuel
cell. I was going to have a custom fuel cell made but the old one fits in the
chassis very well so I am just going to re-use it. A custom fuel cell
would be easier to fill since I could have an offset fuel fill port but it's not
worth a couple hundred dollars at this point for that convenience.