Posts Tagged ‘Hot Rod Project’

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.

…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…

20161018_132551

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!)

[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!!!