Posts Tagged ‘FrankenJeep’

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.

Now that you have been caught up on the last few months, what are the plans for the little hot rod? Well honestly, everything hinges on… that is right, getting a truck! Yes, I realize I just told you I got one, but this one is not street legal, yet. That is something I have been working on for the past two weeks. Once I get the truck legal, I will be taking the drop Dana to a welder, and I will be getting my 12 bolt rear end home, then we can start fabbing up suspension.

Until then, hop on over and see what is going on with the J20 Build, I think you may be impressed with the progress that is going on over there.

Here I am, on my way to work, and it is just a few days after Christmas. I left home on the morning of the 26th. It is now the 28th, and I just left Dubai, I am currently in Mauritius, approximately 11,339 mi (18,249 km) away from my Jeep… but, I was able to get some new goodies for the build before I left. Check out some of this stuff!

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(Thank you Rick! You have been a great asset to the build!) Rick stopped by and dropped off a truck load of stuff for me! This is just a select few of the things he had to give me, I apologize for the MTV photos … I did not make time to properly showcase any of this, as I never meant to even post these pictures, they were only taken so that I could show Nathan and Tony the cool new toys I got. There is something about that steering wheel, that I really like! I think that it is the fact that the leather is all worn and perfectly patinaed. That big ol’ radiator fits perfectly behind my grille, and we are going to make the Hurst shifter handle longer, so that it comes up higher. In case you are wondering, I got two of the side-by-side seats. I plan on covering them in a seabag green canvas, but I will probably pay someone to do that, as I do not have a proper sewing machine in order to get these done they way they should be. If you are wondering what “seabag green” looks like, just think of any United States military member in transit. Or, you can check out this stock photo of one.

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What now? Since it is going to be some time before I get back to the garage, I will try and get my administrative duties taken care of while I am not so distracted with all of that garage business. Although, once I do get home, I may need to hold off on the Jeep build, as the Pirate Ship will be requiring my attention due to its restrictive timeline. I will be focusing time and energy to that, until I can put it to a proper stopping point. The Pirate Ship is due to set sail the first week of April, and that means I have a lot of welding to do there. It should not take me too long though, as my welding projects are short, in nature – I just need to weld up the wench’s deck and the poop deck (the aft seating). But all of that is for another blog, this one here is for the FrankenJeep build!

I have most of what I need to make the front drop axle. (Thank you Jerry!) He provided me with the cut up Dana 44 so that I did not need to go chopping up a perfectly good axle. He also hooked me up with the trailer drop axle. Now, I just need to get a hold of some 220V welding, and I can get to axle fabrication! I would show you some pictures here, but the problem is, I do not have it in a comprehensible state. What I mean is, even if I did have photos for you, they would make absolutely no sense, as I only have half a Dana 44 with outers (there is no center to it), and an eight foot trailer axle. I will ensure to get some build pictures for you though.

I do have a new idea, a more concise idea, on how to do the fuel tank/gauge system. I am still going to utilize the 30 lb gas gauge,IMAG0574_1[1] I have just refined its use. You see, I was trying to figure out how turn the flange 90°, so that the gauge faces outwards, towards the rear, instead of sideways. Instead of doing that, I will just mount it to the side of something back there, say… a Jerry can.

I will mount the fuel gauge to the Jerry can, like shown in the photo, and then hard mount the can to the bumper, so it is sturdy. Next, I will grommet the can through the tub of the Jeep, connecting it into the fuel cell. This does multiple things for me. Among them, it solves the fuel gauge dilemma. It gives me a fill point, in order to actually fill up the Jeep, without having an unsightly gas cap cover. It also provides me with a guaranteed five gallons of fuel, and that is good.

When I get home, I should be able to go and retrieve all of my tools. That is a very good thing! I am pretty stoked about that. I should have a fairly decent stock of tools that should get me started, at least I will be able to have most of the tools I need in order to make my jobs easier. I do not know if you are aware how difficult it is to even do maintenance on a vehicle, let alone build one, when you only have a 285 piece tool set (thank you Wes!) and an Estwing claw hammer. My brother hooked me up with a nice tool set a few years ago for Christmas. I have been using the crap out of it, and keeping it clean, ever since. The problem comes when I have more than one person working on the vehicle, and when I need two wrenches, or when I do anything electrical. So, I got a tool box and some tools coming to me, and they should be ready for pick up when I get back.

So, between the work on the Pirate Ship, and the (anticipated) short stay home, I fear that I will not make too much progress on the Jeep when I return, in February. I will ensure that I give you any updates on the projects that I do complete, and I hope to see you here again soon…

Much has gone on here since I last wrote. Actually, this is a milestone at Mad Mac’s! This is the first post I will have written with real followers (that is you!).

Every post prior to this, was written with the hopes that someone may stumble across my little (mis)adventures. But you here, have already done so. You have decided that my story is worthy enough to occasionally fill a slot in your inbox. I thank you for that.

If you are not yet a circus goer, but you like what you have seen here, look to the left and click the “Join the Circus” button. All you need to do is fill in your email, and vi-ola! you only get emails when a new story comes out. So, come on! Support the clowns, and join in on the debauchery!

If for some reason, this is your first time, and you have managed to land yourself here… Well, it is safe to say that you are no longer in Kansas anymore. So, hold tight onto your little dog, look to the upper left corner, click the “Start at the Beginning” button, and prepare to be launched forward, straight into the past! As the saying goes… “The best place to start, is at the beginning.”

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As I was saying, much has gone on here since I last wrote. In fact, I have gotten one Dana 44 axle and my Dana 20 transfer case traded for a hopped up TH400 automatic transmission (thank you for the hook up, Rick!). I sold the AMC 20 rear end to a guy that was a day late to buy my NP208 transfer case (sorry Jerry, your buddy Tad got there a little bit before you did, but I do appreciate the hook up with that vacuum operated D44 and the trailer drop axle*).

I went through the garage, like a tornado, and cleaned up a lot of the clutter that was congesting my work area. IMAG0474

Those bins were empty when I started cleaning.

I have a few items left over from the Transmission Shaft Swap Calamity, which I am hoping to relieve myself of very soon, (mainly the two TF727 automatic transmissions). I still have various Jeep parts, and that damn Nissan motor, lying around. I do have some guys coming over to swap and trade with me, so that will also help open up the garage a bit.

Some things I had, I was not able to swap for anything worthwhile, except cash. But that worked out really well too, because I was able to get a jump on some of these killer Christmas deals and buy Mad Mac’s some tools!

Jaiden was telling us that he did not want anymore tools, when he got presents. When we went to Sears and walked into the tool department, that was remedied quickly… “Woah! Look at this tool box, Dad!” he said, grinning. “Ooh! Can I get these?!” he asked, excited. Since then, he has been dropping me subtle hints that he wants a tool box, “Are we going to Sears to get me a tool box?” he asks as soon as we are in the car. And I have to tell him, “No, Jaiden. We are just taking you to school. It is Monday. You have class today.” That kid is hil-arious!

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Chris got me welding on the Pirate Ship… Oh, why the hell not! Here you go…

Some spy photos of the Patina Cantina:

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If you remember correctly, I mentioned something about this in June, in the Getting Started post. If you do not remember, this was Christian’s idea. He had a 1969 Chevy 1 ton flatbed pickup truck laying around the yard, and started drinking. When a thought came to him… like lightning – “What if we drank on the bed of the truck? No… What if there was a bar on the bed of the truck? Yes!” And, we went to work, like little busy bees, or carpenter ants! As I was working there, doing whatever it was I needed to do, his wife Liz came about and exclaimed, “Oh, a pirate bar! Cool!” When asked why she thought “pirate”, she simply said, “Because you look like a pirate, Jon!” and there it was: the Buccaneer’s Bowtie was born.

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Now, I have told this tale to many a man, and nary a one can wrap his brain around such a daunting feat. There are those that still wish to contribute. These Kings of their various lands give what they can, to support a just cause… Belligerence and pilfering? No, not that one! A kickass pirate ship bar! (Thank you for the pirate recruiter’s flag John!)

You see, Chris supplies the truck and the rum, he also does all of the wiring and specialized engine work (but that is secondary in importance to rum). Sean works the carpentry, and spacial engineering (spAcial, not special). I am there to provide positive pirate imagery, I also do some welding and metal work. We even got Nathan in on the pirating! He got to weld some seat brackets in the aft end (we are on a pirate ship you know, there is no back end), Nathan even came up with some new ideas for the Wench’s Deck, up forward. Hopefully, he will be around when we christen it for its maiden voyage. I think that will be the perfect time to break out my stash of 30 year old Captain Kidd rum that I got in Gran Canaria.

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I got a proper (i.e. running) 350 motor, from a 1984 GMC truck (that other one was in pieces, plus it had an electric fuel pump), and I still have that 12 bolt rear end. Now, I still have yet to put them in the garage, but that is actively in the works, and I am hoping to have them in my possession before I leave for my next hitch.

Let us see what materials we have: Motor? GM 350. Check! Transmission? TH400, with a street/strip shift kit and a kick down. Check! Axles? 12 bolt rear / Homebuilt trailer drop/Dana 44 hybrid. Check! and Whoa, not quite! Frame notched? 18 inches. Check! Air bags? Got ’em! Suspension? Same as the ‘bags – got it! Steering? Nope! Tub/body? It’s thereWiring and electronics? Not even a thought yet! 

Yeah, I think I have everything under control!

*I am sure you were curious about the little asterisk after the shout out about the axles. No? Surely you noticed it! Well I shall explain it anyhow… because I am dying to tell you!

You see, hot rod guys like to use a front axle that drops the suspension, keeping the front end low – a drop axle.

It looks something like this: yhst-92388287498660_2253_13408816_1

When it is placed on the car, it looks something like this:Screenshot_2014-12-10-20-39-00_1

My goal is to use a drop axle from a trailer, splice it and weld the spindles on from a Dana 44. That should make a Jeep-worthy drop axle! It should be pretty burley when it is finished. I must remember to get before/after (AND during) photos.

Well, that is what I have for you, as of now. I will get some more pictures once the garage is cleaned up better.

Until next time…

I recently got a comment that, at first glance, started as an honest compliment. It reads as follows:

I read a lot of interesting posts here. Probably you spend a lot of time writing, i know how to save you a lot of work, there is an online tool that creates unique, SEO friendly posts in seconds, just type in google…

Upon further inspection, I quickly found that it is actually just cut and paste spam. Here is the thing, it was only a ploy to get me to use artificial intelligence to create a new form of copyright infringement. I have deleted the name that they had referred me to search, because I believe that you, my audience, deserve better, and I refuse to further their cause.

In actuality, I do spend much time writing, and even more time thinking about what to write. I do so as therapy. Consequently, I do not need to “rewrite articles” to pass off as my own. I write to tell a story, and I do not think that you would appreciate such laziness and blatant acts of plagiarism. If you feel the need to flog yourselves with such atrocities, you can go to the local cinema and pay to see what rehashed ideas Hollywood has again come up with.

Writing helps me collect my thoughts, and it keeps me honest. Every time I write here, I create a record. Through my words, anyone can recollect that record. This means that anyone can look through here and call me out. Therefore, what I write here must be the truth. If I write that I am going to do something here, I must do so. This keeps me accountable. You keep me accountable. Otherwise I am just putting out the same rubbish and pointless drivel that you can find most anywhere else on the internet.

Of course, you might not know either way, but I would, and that is enough for me to put out the truth. Plus, what are you to me, if I cannot write the truth?

Everything you see here, is a product of this chapter of my life. I recycle Jeep parts, there is no reason for me to tell my tale from recycled words. This is my story, and I do not need word robots to rewrite somebody else’s account, just so that I may be spared a few moments of time.

You are my audience. You mean more to me than that, and you deserve better.

-Mad Mac

So, what have we been up to lately? Um, not much. It is really gnarly out there! Been in the 100s here and there, and when it wasn’t hot, it was busy monsooning, and when it wasn’t doing that… I was camping with the boy.

I know… He is making excuses so he doesn’t have to work. Well, sort of. Yes. And no.

“Really, what has been going on?” you may ask yourself.

Well, the Navy SEALs have a saying – “Proper prior preparation prevents piss-poor performance.” Suffice it to say that I have not properly prepared for this project, and therefore I have produced piss-poor product. My apologies. Really.

What am I to do about this? Well, I am starting by admitting my fault, writing down my plan of action, and turning to. Actually, I have been hung up on this 4bt turbo diesel. As much as I want one, it is just not in the cards right now.

So, what are my options? I can wait around until I get the money to buy one – as we can see, that is not working out so very well, or I could take this opportunity to use my resources and just get something done – and that is what happened.

I came to a realization after talking with my buddy, David (who has the uncanny ability to make me come to my own realizations and figure out actual conclusions about what I need done, thus putting a fire under my ass – a sort of Jiminy Cricket, if you will). We were talking about a multitude of different things, when the subject of my hot rod came up. I had mentioned that I was hung up on this turbo diesel, but when I came back from Spain, I would have the cash to buy one.

That would be great, but in doing so, it would negate the whole “budget build/rat rod” aspect if I go and spend $3500 on a drivetrain.

That brought me to thinking of other options. As it turns out, I have a perfectly capable AMC 360 sitting in the garage. A smogged, slug of a V8 that currently produces about 160hp. Not really that impressive, but, it is approximately the same weight as a 4bt. This means that I can build the rig, drive it around, have some fun (with my cheap ass rat rod). Later on, when I have the money, I can upgrade to the diesel, even if I have to drive a slug around until I can afford the new motor. Or will I?

Thanks to the internet, and the sick minded (I mean like minded), I have found that my problems have been answered, and I have been proven wrong. I won’t have to drive around a slug!

This engine has been sitting around for no less than two years, so it won’t be a drop in, plug-and-play. I will need to rebuild it. While perusing the interweb for rebuild kits, I stumbled back onto the International Full Size Jeep Association forum, and found a budget build AMC 383 Stroker, starting with a 360, for an extra $650 over rebuild cost.

Thank you Greg! He was able to build a 400+hp bruiser of a motor, for about the tune of $1200! I am definitely capable of swinging something like that. Take a look:

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So, this is my new mission. When I come back from Spain, I will be stripping down the motor and getting it ready to use this recipe. Basically, what he did was machine the motor to accept small block Chevy 400 pistons. Here is a quick rundown of how it works:

 

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For the full write up, go check it out at the IFSJA forum: http://www.ifsja.org/forums/vb/showthread.php?t=110924

So, I have a new direction and some more homework to get done. I did find out there is a disc brake conversion for that 12 bolt, so that is something that will be coming up later on. I also decided that I wanted the edges of the c-notches to be ground down. So I started that today, with good progress!

This just a quick sketch of what the whole thing will look like. I will be getting a couple of 7″ grinders to help cut through the nasty stuff before I come back over it with the 4.5″ and a flapper disc.

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I am off to Spain for work, but after I come back, I will have some new updates. That first weekend I am home, we will be having a wrenching party, and I will let you know how it all works out.

Until next time…

Oh yeah, I found some pictures of my arch nemesis, and mortal enemy: Kamikaze.

Now, he doesn’t know he is my mortal enemy, and it does not take up much of his time, but he will rue the day! No. Probably not.

But, does this not look familiar? A right hand drive, open wheeled, flat rod style vehicle with no top… And it was built in my own back yard!! Well, not literally, in my own back yard. This guy has his shop in Mesa, AZ. But that is only 20 minutes away.

Is it not funny? Life? I mean, here I am, a guy trying to “do his own thing”, and I take up an obscure project: a 1972 AM General Dispatcher Jeep – a right hand drive mail delivery vehicle, and I plan for it to become a rat rod. Why did I choose rat rod (excuse me – flat rod)? For the simple fact that I did not want to become another 4WD DJ. And, here we are, someone beat me to the punch! A RHD flat rod… of sorts.

I went to do more research on this guy, and I have seen other pictures of him. I must say, I do admire the workmanship. Not too shabby!

Kamikaze - Front Suspension (1)Kamikaze - Front Suspension (3)Kamikaze - Transmission TunnelKamikaze - Rear Frame

So, now that I have an arch nemesis, what will I do? Get some ideas, and build my rig. Just like I would have, before I found out I had a mortal enemy.

After all, I did get the original idea, sparked from Randy Ellis, in Phoenix (he made the green Army flat rod I showed you pictures of in Genesis – The Revelation). Besides, isn’t that what this whole hot rod / rat rod / custom / kustom scene is all about? Do what you like, and who cares what others think. Hopefully, your build will inspire others to come up with their own creative ideas, thus continuing the cycle, and keeping the spirit of building rods alive!

I mean, as long as you aren’t just finding old iron, and rolling it into a shop to have them do all of your work, from conception to completion as you write checks and sit back, saying “Look at what I have done!” I think, so what? Fuck ’em. Who cares what your rod looks like. Do you love it? That is all that matters. Do what makes you happy. Show what inspires you!

You want to put a V-Tech Honda motor into a ’32 Ford, do it! I don’t agree with it, but I have seen it done. I believe that it is the idea, others will interpret it differently, just ensure it brings you joy. Whether it be hot, rat, volks, flat, or traditional – build what makes you happy, and if someone else likes it, great. If not, oh well, I am sure there is a Porsche dealership nearby that they may drool all over the new Panamera Z. (Really guys? A four door Porsche? I am sure that Ferdinand Porsche is rolling in his grave right now. Or maybe not… what the hell do I know. I’m building a right hand steering, two-wheel drive, diesel powered, lowered Jeep on 33 inch tires!)

But, back to that point of, do it for you. Do not worry about what the other Joe is going to think about your build. After all, do you think he cares about your opinion?

And remember this: Just because you paint your car, truck, or van flat black… That does not make it a rat rod. When a guy spends $150k to have an old car “built”, and it happens to have a patina finish… It is not a rat rod!

In the most purest of terms, “Rat Rod” is simply “function before beauty“, meaning, take what you have, and make it work. You still need to actually put forth an effort, because life is not “Build a Car Reality Series“. You do not get paid commission, and there is no reason to put out shit, just in the name of “Rat”.

 

*Disclaimer: Kamikaze is not really my arch nemesis, I do not even know the guy, nor does he know me. I was looking for ideas on what to do with FrankenJeep, when I came across this. The fact that his rod is an open wheeled, roadster, with right hand drive is purely coincidental. The fact that it just so happens to be a Suzuki Samurai, is just mean irony. I hold no ill feelings toward this rod or its builder, and I hope to get FrankenJeep done in a fashionable time, enough to meet him in person. It would be fun to have these two vehicles side by side – mortal enemies, Jeep and Samurai.