Project Money Pit

Page 14


Dash/Rear Suspension

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Finally some real progress.  I spent the last 5 days trying to get the motor to start to no avail.  What I thought was a starter problem was really a fuel problem which was really a wiring problem.  Turns out the two large wire connectors that go from the wire harness to the motor are the exact same and can be plugged in wrong.  Visually one is black and one is white, but I can't count the number of times I was reaching into the motor or under the dash and connecting stuff by feel only due to every connector being keyed so it can't be plugged in wrong.   This little mistake cost me a lot of time but thankfully nothing seems to have been damaged.  

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With a working motor the next step is getting some sort of dash constructed so I can finalize the wire routing.  My main hoop on the cage had a pretty good slope on it which pretty much ruled out a simple, flat dash since the gauges would be pointing at the floor.  I came up with a plan to angle the dash back at a 70 degree angle.  To accomplish this I would need four brackets with a 90 degree bend in them.  As luck would have it I spotted the exact thing I needed while getting some paint at Home Depot.  The angle is galvanized so make sure you grind off the coating before welding it, cost was roughly $3.00 ea.  I trimmed the long side to the required size and using a magnetic base angle finder, positioned and welded the brackets between the two cross bars on the cage.

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The top of the brackets would be the mounting point for the top of the dash.  I will eventually silicone the joint between the firewall and top plates to keep out water.  I still need to make a side plate which will bolt in where the windshield supports used to mount.

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Next I made three panels for the face of the dash.  The lower panel in the middle was an afterthought, I'll mount my ARB switches there and possibly the ignition switch.  I went with three separate pieces to make it to add additional cutouts and holes later.  As you can see I am re-using the Samurai instrument cluster for now, it was repositioned to the center of the vehicle so the overall height of the dash could remain lower..

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Here's the final dash panels drying.  The small ones on the right bolt on the ends using the existing windshield support bracket holes.

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While I was running the 2nd O2 sensor wiring I decided to get the catalytic converter mounted to finalize the wiring.  I couldn't get a wrench on the outer bolt on the exhaust manifold flange.  I ended up notching the frame.  I wish I would have known about this when the motor was out, I would have notched up to the motor mount bracket.  As it is the flange may contact the frame still, I couldn't get the sawzall in there any closer.

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Here's the air filter mounting bracket.  I had to cut out part of an existing tube to tuck the air filter up just below the level of the hood.

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The nearly completed dash.  I still have a few wiring issues but I am going to save them for later.

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It's time to get my coilovers mounted.  After a lot of debate I decided to try a 4 link suspension with both upper and lower links triangulated.  This proved harder than I thought due to the offset transfer case.  It was next to impossible to get the lower links triangulated below the transfer case output without mounting them way below the transfer case itself.  I might as well hang a boat anchor underneath while I am at it.  I settled on less triangulation on the lowers, they will be mounted close to the frame so I can squeeze the passenger side mount next to my driveshaft and not have to worry about the two colliding.

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I spent about 8 hours cutting the old rear end off.  On Saturday, my friend Erik dropped by to give me a hand.  I was able to reuse my traction bar mount on the axle housing, it now serves as a brace for the axle truss/upper link mount.

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Here's some shots of the mounting tabs for the lowers.  We welded a plate to the frame, then attached a 5" piece of 1 x 2 x 3/16 steel tubing to the plate.  The tubing is gusseted in both the front/back direction and up/down direction and finally capped off for extra strength.  Still debating whether or not the two mounts need to be tied to each other. 

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Here's a rear shot.  The links are angled upwards at about 12 degrees.   The upper links should be just under 10 degrees angle.

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I got the brackets ready for the upper links but decided to call it a night. 

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Getting the cross member in for the upper links was pretty involved.  I had to cut an access hole in the floor.

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Until I get the coilovers on I can't do too much testing, but here's the rear axle twisted up a little.  I just wanted to check my link clearances. 

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At rest. 

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