Posts Tagged ‘Grinding’

…literally. As it turns out, my quarter panels are made of pot metal. For those of you that may not know why this is such a big deal – pot metal is the left over non-ferrous metal that was thrown into one pot and melted down into a single molten liquid that was easier and cheaper to cast. Again, why is that such a big deal? It is most often lacking iron, meaning I cannot weld it. Okay, I cannot easily weld it with the tools that I have. Pot metal has a lower melting point than a more pure iron, therefore it just blows away when I try and heat it to glue metal together with.

So Mac, “What are you going to do now that you cannot weld your top on?”

Ah, I said my quarter panels were pot metal. The structural framing (i.e. the roof, the A-pillar, the skeletal beams and the firewall) are all steel. They are all capable of being welded. This means that I can make the chop structurally sound, I just need to figure out what to do with the quarter panels. And I think I have an idea for that. Again, I need to make sure I can do it before I say too much more, but I can say this much – it will definitely work with the look of something named FrankenJeep.

You want pictures, don’t you? As I am always one to oblige when I can… for your enjoyment.

Before – A stripped Kenworth cab at stock height.20160822_1104281

You can see here that we have marked out the 4″ we want to cut out.20160827_1555161

The backside has been lined out.20160827_1555101

And the right side A-pillar is ready to go.20160827_1555401

Tony making some cuts. You can see we carefully used a cutting wheel to chop this cab.20160828_1834001

The cutting portion is done, we have cleaned up the lines and positioned the roof.20160930_1524571

You can see the front end did not line up; there will be some fixing to do!20160930_1524411

Probably the best example of how far off it got with only a 4″ chop.20160930_1524331

But, I was able to bring it back…

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and make it look good too!

This is only structural welding, but the chop is sound. This is where it will reside.20160930_2053041

In all, I am extremely happy with the results of my very first chop. I am sure that some people out there would have found it especially painful to watch me perform this surgical magic due to my anal retentiveness, but it was just me and my welder. There was no one there to bother me, and I was able to get out all of the irksome CDO tendencies that drive other people nuts. I worked through them, and I believe the final product paid off.

(“CDO”, for those of you that do not know, is much like “OCD [obsessive compulsive disorder]” except the letters are put in their proper sequence. My obsessive compulsiveness does sometimes get the better of me, but this time I think it worked out on my behalf!)

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!!

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

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

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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.

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…

And where have I been spending my time lately? Well, to speak the truth – a lot at work, a little bit at the house, and even less in the garage. If you didn’t know, I work on an oil rig, and I am gone for nearly a month at a time. So it is not like I get paid to work on this thing all day every day. But, that does not mean I have completely shirked my duties in the build. I got something done! Well, sort of… I got something mostly done.

So, I haven’t gotten as far on the build as I wanted to. What is it that I did get accomplished, you may ask?

I got most of the frame welded up. Earlier, I showed you my monster C-notches. Well, I got them (mostly) installed, I need to weld three more plates onto it, and I will be good to start work on the suspension. Tony and I had to do a lot of framework, in order to get these things to sit properly.

See?

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These are not “before and after” pictures, they are left side/right side pictures. There was a crossmember we had to cut out, and there was a lot of boxing in of the frame that needed to be done. But after all that work, we were able to place the notches, and get them ready for final install.

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If you remember correctly, my C-notches came to me as multiple pieces of CNC cut metal – (4) “C” pieces, (4) outer strips, (4) inner strips, (2) uppers and (2) lowers.

The idea behind this is to place the “C” where you want it on the frame, and tack weld it there. Place another “C” in the exact same spot, on the other side of that frame rail, and tack it there. When the placement is good, simply weld it all up, boxing the outer part of your “C” with the strips, before cutting the frame and boxing the inner part. Vi-ola! An 18″ C-notch.

MORE PICTURES!!

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Tony got to cut the frame portions out of the notches, seeing as I had just done all of the welding. I didn’t want him to feel left out.

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Now, I have never called myself a welder, and I know that there are many a man (and woman too) that could weld better than that, but… The name of the project is “FRANKENJEEP”, and it is a rat rod! It is my first real build, and I am allowed a little bit of leeway here. As long as it is functional, and safe… I am not too worried about how it looks.

Plus, you don’t get to do things this when you are worried about pretty…

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Yup. I gave it a tramp stamp. Actually, Jaiden gave it a tramp stamp, that is his handwriting. Some time ago, when he was first learning to write, I had him write out his ABC’s with a Sharpie. I had him write them three times each, upper and lower case. I then scanned them into the computer, jumped on to Photoshop and took the ones I liked the best and created the word “FrankenJeep”. Afterwards, I took a yellow crayon and “traced” out the letters onto my bumper before following them with the MIG gun.

That is the gist of what I have accomplished since we last spoke. I know it is not the “final product” you were all waiting for, but I have also been trying to get some other things in order. For example, my neighbor Chris, has come up with an ingenious idea of a rolling bar – a 1969 Chevy flatbed pickup truck, with the back of it converted into a bar. It goes by many names, the Buccaneer’s Bowtie, and the Patina Cantina… but mostly, it goes ambiguously as – The Pirate Ship. I am to be doing the welding on it, but that is not my story to tell. *I will try and get some spy photos for you though.

We also had to repair an A/C condenser problem (on a Honda, ugh). We did a brake job on Tony’s Mazda, and I have done some minor upgrades to the little Neon. Sorry to disappoint, but the Neon is my commuter car, and I cannot afford to take it out of commission just to go all Tim Allen on it. As much as I might like to… but hey, I get a solid 35mpg out of it, there is really no reason to change any part of that. I did get some new (to me) headlights for it. I scored a pair of projector headlights for $60 at the local yard. Pretty stoked about that! Plus, they came with smoked turn signals. That is, like 5hp each… or something.

AND… the teenager just came back from Washington! That is cool, but, the last year of “I don’t know where this should go, so let’s put it in his room” went to the garage. That means I get to clean up the garage… again.

I have also been doing a lot of hunting for ideas, and trying to figure out some problems, before they give me too much grief. I have been sourcing new parts and other potential parts to see what I can get, and what I can do for this… A lot of homework, really.

An example of potential problems? I found out that my tub dimensions are 60″ outside width. My AMC 20 axle, lug to lug, is 60″. At first, I thought that would work out, but then I realized that doesn’t work at all. Not without one or two inch spacers, and a wicked backspacing, like zero. That is something I want to avoid. Stupid looking, custom wheels. [|>–o–<|] (*my poor attempt to illustrate improper backspacing on an axle)

So back to the drawing board, and I find that a Chevy full size axle is 68″. That gives me four inches on each side of the tub. Guess what? My neighbor just happens to be a Chevy guy with a line on these. Done and done. He also informed me about ensuring that my drive height does not make my driveline perfectly parallel with the differential. I never thought about it before, but I guess that the needle bearings are not meant to free float, and so you need to pitch your diff up or down just a bit to keep that from happening.

As you can see, even though I may not be in the garage working on this thing, I am always working on it. So, until next time…