Posts Tagged ‘Flat Rod’

Gather ‘round because it is story time! This is a story of a little grille in a small world.

There was once a Jeep build by the name of FrankenJeep. Many of the parts were already had, but there were still a few that needed to be gotten before we could start to see the machine take form. A big piece that was missing was the grille. Yes, there was the one from its previous life, but that would not suit the needs of this little Jeep, for he needed something with a point to it, unlike the long beginning of this story…

Get on with it, will you?!

Okay, okay… if you remember, I gave you that spoiler alert and told you there would be a plot twist; there was a mock up picture of the FrankenJeep that I put up.

20160814_153244

Actually, let us go back even further, back to the beginning. Remember when I told you my initial plans for the Jeep; the ones that abandoned making a right hand drive CJ5 clone, and instead turning it into a flat rod? I showed you some pictures of two similar, yet very different flat rod builds – the red Jeep made in Texas, and the green Jeep made in Arizona.

IMG_0603

If you remember correctly, I explained to you that this O.D. Green Army Jeep gave me a lot of ideas, and it was that very Jeep that made up my mind to go the way of the flat rod. At the time, I failed to tell you the name of the builder. It was Randy Ellis; his shop, Randy Ellis Designs (R.E.D. Inc.), in Phoenix built the Army themed flat rod you saw on these pages and many other pages around the internet. Now, I did not maliciously try to discredit Mr. Ellis, or even purposefully fail to give him credit, I was just not as diligent back then about ensuring that I shelled out the names of strangers just because they gave me an idea.

That’s nice. To the story already!

So, to the point; the grille I showed you in the mock photo? I found it on Craigslist.

20160718_2259091

That’s it. That is the story of the grille; I bought it off a guy on Craigslist.

WHAT??!!! That is your epic story?!!

 

Haha! No, that is not the entire story. Yes, I did buy it off a guy on Craigslist. In fact, I drove more than 120 miles, round trip, to get that grille. But not even that is the best part of the story.

I drove all the out to West Glendale, about 65 miles away, to get that grille from a guy named Mike Johnson. (You see Mike? I told you your time would come!) I could tell pretty quickly that Mike was a like-minded gearhead, and that he would probably have some good stories to tell me. Boy was I in for a surprise.

Mike got me talking about the Jeeps and the different ideas that I had. Then he led me on a little journey to the side of the house and he opened up his back gate to show me a Jeep he had built when he was just thirteen. He had kept it, and kept it running for over forty years! In its own right, the Jeep was a rat rod. You all know I hate the term, but it was built in the truest form of the word. Mike used whatever he could source to make it work, even using scrap steel to fabricate parts!

After I saw that, I knew we were akin of twisted minds, so I started giving him better information about the FrankenJeep build, showing him pictures and explaining what I started with, what I had already done, and what my plans were for it. I went in to detail about the build and asked him if he knew about Randy Ellis and the Army flat rod.

“Yeah, I know Randy. I was with him when he built that.”

 

keanu

It turned out that I drove 65 miles to buy a Jeep grille from a guy… to use in a build in which I got the idea from a similar Jeep… that this very guy helped build.

[Editor’s Note: I must admit that I came back and edited this post as to better convey the story. My apologies to any of you that think I should have gotten it right the first time.]

Just as it states up there, in the title, we were finally able to chop the top on the FrankenJeep!

As you can see, the chop itself went very well.

Sans Tailgate20160828_224916[1]

With Tailgate20160828_225613[1]

(And no, that tailgate was not cut crooked. Due to a mixture of MTV photo angles and the crooked blue sticker striping, it only appears like is was cut wrong.)

Got some more work done on Frank. Not as much as I had anticipated, but we made very good headway, considering we did not get started until almost 14:00.

I really wanted to chop the cab today. I got the electricity fixed and was looking forward to testing it all out. Daniel came over and helped me out with my welder regulator issue, and we went to fire it all up when we found I had no gas.

You see, we were not able to fix the regulator gauge, so we just plugged that port. That happened to be my bottle pressure gauge, so I was unaware that I had no gas in the bottle. Oh well, we did mark out the cuts to perform the 4″ chop, and as soon as I have a welder available again, we are ready to start cutting.

In other parts of the build I did, however, make some forward progress! (Opposed to backward progress? But I digress…)

20160827_191134[1]

I had to notch the wheel wells for the new fuel tank that Luke gave me. He believes it to be a 30 gallon tank; the thing is massive! (50 bonus points to the person that can correctly tell me what that fuel cell came from! [And no, “Luke’s house” is not the answer I am looking for here.]) You can see there is no room back there for the window I had planned, so I made another use of the second DJ-5 barn door I had sitting around the garage.

20160827_204453[1]

I got started on the tailgate for this thing! In order for the tailgate to be finished, I still need to shave the hole leftover from the latch on the barn door, and then cap the top. Those are more things I need a welder for, but it is otherwise coming together nicely. I am still in the process of figuring out if I want it to be a functional tailgate and drop down, or if I am just going to weld it there. Even if it is “functional”, it is still useless as I only have room for batteries and an air tank back there. Nonetheless, I think things are working out pretty well for Ol’ Frank.

The Story of How This All Came to Be

Tony and I had spent the most of the day removing the cab from Hyde and relocating it to my driveway. This was not much of a catastrophe, not enough to write about at least; but we did manage to get it to the ground without anyone, or anything, getting hurt or damaged. We spent the rest of the day looking the cab over and deciding the best route for cutting, and which pieces would fit best where. We could not find the correct angles to cut at, and I was just not happy with the way that this cab was refusing to cooperate with me.

Tony had to leave early and I was sort left by myself for awhile. That is when Bobby called and asked me what I was up to. I told him I was having a hell of a time trying to figure out the best way to cut up this cab to use for pieces, he told me to hang tight and he would be right over.

He drove over in his Cherokee and checked out where I was at in the build; he had yet to see it in real life. He came by and looked it over with me. You see, Bobby had already read my writings here on the interweb and knew my original intentions. That is when he said:

“What if we put that, over there?”

He had pointed to that cab, and motioned to put it over there onto the frame… just as it sat.

BOOM. Mind Blown.

I looked at him and he at me; we both looked at the venerable little Jeep, knowing there would be some metal destruction in order for this to work properly – the front half of the Jeep tub would need to be cut off.

“How much time do you have, Bobby?”

“Why?”

“Because it is almost 21:00 and I am crazy enough to cut this up (in a home owner’s association) right now.”

 

He asked for, and I supplied him a reciprocating saw. He got to the side of the Jeep, and looked at me once more for the green light, asking if I was positive I was ready to go through with it. You betcha! Cut away my friend!!

20160716_205950[1]

We used the sawzall to cut the verticals, and a cut-off disc to cut all the horizontal metal.

20160716_210924[1]

We cut the tub in half and separated the two piece, sliding the front half off of the frame.

20160716_211814[1]

Then the two of us dragged the cab over to the frame, dropped the frame off the jack stands and on to the ground, and then heaved the heavy cab up onto the frame. We scooted it back toward the rear portion of the tub and checked for clearances as we put the frame back onto the jack stands.

This was the mock up I made that night.

 20160814_15324420160814_165634WHOA!!! I did NOT see THAT coming!!

Remember way back in January, of two-thousand… and FOURTEEN (*gasp!*) I had mentioned that I wanted to take a Willy’s truck cab and graft it onto the little Jeep, chop the top and have a cabbed vehicle?

(Check out Genesis – The Look if you have forgotten.)

 

I take your Willy’s truck cab and raise you one Kenworth cab!

Yep. That just happened. Everyone knows that I brought home the Kenny cab, and I wanted to chop it up and use the metal for Frank…

Not for this guy!

Project #2 – Peaked / Split Windshield

Well, I happened across a guy that was selling a cab. This was not a taxi for sale, it was the “body” of a truck, the cab. But this was not just any truck cab; this was a 1947 Kenworth truck cab, thank you Jim!

We are talking semi-truck (sem-eye or seh-mee)… 18 wheeler… big rig… transport truck… a single… tractor-trailer… an articulated lorry (or just an artic)… Whatever you call it where you come from, we are talking about a very big truck! And I bought it!!

For a peaked / split windshield?? You are crazy Mac!

No silly! Not just for the peaked / split windshield. For the corners too! I wanted to use the corners for up-armour on the flat rod. You see, no offense to any one previous owner, the sawzall cut on the Jeep tub was a little short, plus I needed to do some hole shaving (that means, I get rid of the hole by welding in some metal). This made for an easier way to do that, if all I need to do is cover it with another sheet of metal, then we are good to go!

So, Jim jumped into his tractor and got the cab onto the forks, he lifted the cab into the air, we put it into the back of Hyde and to my house I went with my new cab… in my bed.

20160711_195313[1]

When I found out about the instrument cluster…

20160711_195338[1]

That just made for a bonus! You bet I am going to use that – the speedo is a jenu-wine Kenworth gauge!! How badass is that?! Plus, now I have switches to activate switches and gauges to gauge those switches!!!

Alright, so I recently wrote about getting my caveman on with all of the hunting and gathering I did for the flat rod build. I also promised you that I would tell you some of the ideas I came up with, there was a caveat that I needed to materialize each project before I spilled the beans…

What was that Jack? You got some beans for a cow?! Can I hold on to them?? OOPS!! I accidentally spilled them!

Project #1 – Buck Saw Windshield Brow

This is not a fold-down, inside the cab visor. Nope, we are going old school Cholo with this idea. I am talking about the above the windshield brow on the outside. I want one made from a buck saw!

As my pseudo-Irish luck would have it (hey, I am a Mac [technically a Mick] after all, even if that is the only Irish that I possess, it still counts! Right??)… Anyway, as it would so happen, my mom and her husband had a buck saw. AND, it happened to be the right kind too!

You see, I needed a long saw that was not tapered to one end, and the one they had was built just right. I made negotiations, and it was decided that as long as I kept it for my own use as a spring board to fame and fortune, I was allowed to have it.

20160717_005332[1]

 

For Free? You heard ‘em right, free. Now, I did not actually plan on using it as a literal spring board, (I do not really think it could hold even my weight). But, I will be using it for this windshield brow / sun visor idea… and they were okay with that.

Cool Mac! So you managed to get a buck saw that you are going to use as a windshield brow. Why is this of any consequence??

Well, for me, it is of great consequence! For one, I was going to resort to buying one from the Craigslist if I was not able to procure one from a shop, and what kind of story is that? But this one was WAY cooler! WHY??

I found out that it was her grandfather’s saw and it could very well be over 100 years old!! That is almost ten decades of hanging out in the world! Plus, do the math for me, as it is not really one of my strong points – Grandfather (1) + Dad (1) + Mom (1) + Me (1) + Mini Mac (1) = equals FIVE generations of family that it has passed through! Well, not literally passed through, but… anyway, you get the idea. Right??

That is pretty impressive! I mean, it was not like that saw thought, when it was just a little buck (Haha! Get it?): “In 100 years, I’m going to be on the windshield of a flat rod named FrankenJeep!” Probably not.

What have we done this time Mac?

Well, nothing was done directly to the little flat rod. As mentioned in the title, I did a lot of hunting and gathering. I also saw some family up in Washington State that I have not seen in awhile.

Great. But what new things have you got for US!

Technically, you are reading it. This is what you get, a story of what I did. Ta-dah!

Haha! Okay, on to some of my findings. As you may have noticed, FrankenJeep sort of has a pseudo military, very industrial vibe to the build and I have been feeding off of it quite a bit lately. While I was a work, I was given a menial and repetitive task that allowed me to think of what I was to do next with the little flat rod. Oh boy did I come up with ideas!

Now, in order to keep them from materializing in the real world before I get a chance to do them, I will only mention these ideas when I have the means to complete their fabrication. But, you will get a full inside scoop of all the projects before the rest of the world sees them, if you can just hang tight.

 

By the way, there is also a set of teasers on the FaceBox. Yep. I finally succumbed to the biddings of the devil and made a FaceBox page so I can get my twerking on!

Check it out at facebook.com/AZFrankenJeep

Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. On behalf of myself and the crew, we’d like to welcome you to flight 5504, nonstop from Phoenix to Ft Lauderdale. Normally, I blackout at around 10,000 feet or so, but I will try not to let that happen…

Haha, I am joking. My captain never said that, but there is truth to the fact that I am currently on a flight to Florida so I may get more training to properly do my job. That has nothing to do with the little flat rod, but I figured while I have some time (3 hours and 40 minutes, to be exact), I thought I would give you an update on what we did yesterday (Sunday, 29May16).

It has been quite some time that I have been talking about bringing home this small block Chevy 400. Well, you should all be pleased to know that I finally did it. YAY! I called up Ziggy and asked would he mind if I came over to get my engine. He had no objections, so Tony and I made our way to get a heart for the little flat rod.

One might think that after all of the simple-gone-catastrophic projects we have taken on over the years, we would know this not to be a quick snatch and grab. Let us just say that is a hard lesson Tony and I have to learn every time we get together. Let me tell you what…

I will start off by setting the scene:

Ziggy lives on just over an acre and a quarter of land. The place has vastly cleaned up over time, but there is still plenty of other things going on around there. The Pirate Ship, some CUCVs here and there, a few military trailers scattered about, a couple of parts trucks… and two boats.

Now these are just bass fishing/water skiing style boats (I really don’t know. I could not tell you the difference; because where I come from, there are only two kinds of boats – submarines and targets), but the whole point is that one of these boats was being used as a storage facility for my engine.

When I say I had to get my Chevy 400 out of a boat, do not get excited and think that I am getting some wham-o-dyne engine. I simply mean that, quite literally, my engine was being stored inside of a boat (that might I add, had two other motors [not including the mounted one {making four motors, for those of you keeping count} for the boat] as well) and I had to get it out of there.

When you are two not so very big guys, a feat like pulling an engine out of a motor boat is actually quite daunting, especially when all you have is a couple of pickup trucks and a cherry picker. Tony and I hauled the cherry picker into the truck, backed the truck up to the boat, and found ourselves some plywood to put between the boat side and the motor.

We commenced a heaving, and hoeing. Readjust the picker. Raise the engine. Lower the engine. Move the chains on the engine. Heave. Hoe. Heave some more. We moved the wood. Moved the engine another two inches…

After two and a half hours in the hot Arizona sun, without food and/or water (remember, this was supposed to be a simple snatch and grab), we finally got the engine out of the boat and into the truck.

Nice one man! But that is not your truck… Yep, now we have to put this engine into my truck. At least that part was not as difficult.

We were able to back the trucks up, tailgate to tailgate; and seeing as mine folds down all the way, vertically, we could just drop the engine into my truck. Well, sort of. We ended up setting the engine down in the bed of the first truck and re-booming the picker. We had it on ¼ ton (all the way out) and we boomed it in to a one ton pick (all the way in). We moved the picker out toward the engine, which was sitting on the tailgate, and then boomed back out, to ¼ ton where we commenced a pickin’. We brought the engine high enough to clear the tire we were setting it on and then swung it over and laid it down onto its temporary final resting place.

For those of you that have never had to spend two and a half hours in the Arizona sun, during an early summer after noon, battling a hot long block Chevy out of a motor boat, trying to put it into one pickup so you could turn around and move it into another…

Wow, when I put it like that, THERE HAS TO BE ANOTHER WAY!!

No forklift. No A-frame. No crane. Just two guys, a cherry picker, some trucks and more determination than brains. That was us.

We finally got it. Nothing got damaged. No one got hurt. By the time all was said and done, both of us vowed to never do that again; and originally, we had plans to go back to the house, clean up ourselves and the garage, put the 400 onto the engine stand and start stripping it down for inspection and rebuild.

Haha! Not so fast. Even though there was nothing else to do with the engine (barring the above), and we ran into no further problems, we were so wiped out from the previous experience that we did not have it in us to do anything other than wash up, get ourselves each a super tall 32oz iced tea, head back to the house with some hoagies and… do absolutely nothing. We spent the first 30 minutes in silence, just recuperating, before we did anything more.

After we each had well over 50oz of iced tea (I made some Jasmine/green tea at the house) and ate our sandwiches, we chose to spend the rest of the day inside watching movies, in the dark and comfortable 77°F that was my house. We decided to get a few movies from the Redbox and wanted one of those to be Deadpool.

Remember that “no simple task, left uncomplicated” I often speak of? I promise; it is not me! That is just the way things often work (or more precisely don’t work) out for me.

Well, we went to the nearby grocery store to get the Redbox movies, and I figured we could get it there. Nope. Not on Redbox. Okay, I know the store sells it. Nada. They just sold out yesterday. Oh well, there is another store just up the street, they should have it. Try again guys!

We ended up driving the seven miles to Walmart, braving the twelve street lights and all of the Sunday drivers (remember, two guys with more determination than brains), just in order to spend $20.00 of our hard earned money on a piece of plastic that was to give us direct entertainment only two hours at a time.

‘MURICA!!!

You may have noticed there has been quite the gap in progress on the little Jeep affectionately known as “FrankenJeep”. I am hoping to soon remedy that as my truck mechanic moonlights as a metal fabricator.

Craig, at KNI Automotive, has agreed to check out my Dana 44 drop axle conversion project and see if it is something he is willing to tackle on the weekends. I will be dropping it off to him on Monday, so we will see what he thinks.

I did get the truck on the road, not without its little problems, but that can all be read on the J20 build site. This is also my alibi to where I was on at the time of questioning.

I know you are all wondering when I will get off my computer and into the garage to build this darn thing. Well, the answer is – I now have a truck, and a guy looking into building my front end. As soon as I get my truck back from him, I will be picking up the GM 400 and the 12 bolt rear end.

I have also decided to look for a Muncie transmission. If you know a guy, send him my way. If the Muncie thing does not pan out, I still have the TH400 automatic transmission ready for install.

I will let you know what happens with the front axle project as soon as I know. I will also update progress on the little Jeep and how it is doing as soon as we have some new developments.