Posts Tagged ‘Jeep Project’

Yes, you heard right… ANOTHER ENGINE REVISION! As it turns out, there are a lot more logistics to building a hot rod than just “Slap it together and let her rip!!”

As I mentioned last time, there is a shop in town that specialized in AMC, and that is true. But after doing more research, I found out that it was going to cost me anywhere from $3-10k to get where I wanted with the AMC 360. If you remember correctly, that brought me right back to the problem with the 4BT, I didn’t want to spend $3000 on an engine for this build. I have other builds in store for a 4BT, but this one was supposed to be more along the lines of a “budget build/rat rod”, and dropping $3 gees into a motor just does not make a lot of sense.

So, I will be going the way of General Motors. Yep, the tried and true Chevy 350 / TH400 is what will make my little rod go VROOM! I know, I did say I had an AMC 360 and I also have a TF727 (an AMC automatic transmission). The problem came when I went to the parts stores looking for… Parts. I could not find any off the shelf, anywhere! So I asked around to see what I could get delivered. An example follows:

[Me to the guy behind the parts counter at the auto parts store]: “Do you guys have a gasket rebuild kit for an AMC Torqueflite 727?”

[Parts guy taps away at his computer]: “… Nope. We can order one. It is $120.”

[Me]: “Man, $120! For $150, I can order a shift kit from Summit, and have a hop-up kit delivered to my house!”

[PG]: “Yeah, I know. We just don’t carry anything for that. I am sorry.”

[Me]: “No worries, I get it. What about parts for an AMC 360?”

[PG]: “Um… Spark plugs, wires, Oh! An alternator…”

[Me]: “Never mind, I get it. Thank you anyhow.”

——–

That was the beginning. In case you didn’t know, my TF727 came out of my 1984 Wagoneer. The same Jeep I got my AMC 360 from. That Jeep was 4WD, and I need a 2WD transmission, so I started looking for a 2WD Torqueflite. None were to be found, at least none under $300. Then I find one on the Craigslist: “TF727 – $150” and I go check it out.

Of course, the first thing I notice is that his is a Chrysler, and I need an AMC. The starters are opposite. But after some calling around (which we won’t even get into the incompetence I encountered with that call) we finally found out that yes, TF727 is TF727, whether it be a Chrysler or an AMC. All you have to do is switch out the shaft. Sounds easy enough!

IMAG0379 Same lengthIMAG0376 Same tail bolt patternIMAG0378[1] Same shaft

It was about the same time that I got as far as taking off the tailshaft housing on the 2WD Chrysler, when I found this on the interweb, from allpar.com:

parts_1[1]

Do you see all those little itty bitty parts and pieces? Now multiply it by two, and try to figure out which goes where! I am not saying that it is impossible, but… Why? And, Really??? Is it really worth it to go through all of this, just to make my transmission work? NOPE. Why not? Because after all the trouble I put into making this transmission work, I still need to order parts from a catalog, or get them second hand. Neither of which I want for a flogging machine.

“Well, you are still going to spend money on a Chevy 350!” You are right, but… I got a Chevy 350. For free!! Yep. That beautiful backwards luck of mine, hard at work again. And, I got a 2WD TH400 for $100. And, I sold my AMC 360 for enough to cover the cost of a transmission. AND, he didn’t even want the whole engine, so I ended up with more parts to sell in the end. Thanks Larry!

Since I have converted to a complete GM system (with the exception of my front end), I can go to the grocery store and buy parts for my engine and transmission. Okay, maybe not the grocery store, but those of you here in The States understand what I mean… For those of you abroad – GM, Holden, and Opel are basically the same company. I hope that helps you understand that a bit more. Parts are cheap and plentiful, but still quality. That is why I will be going with the Chevy 350/TH400 set up.

Now, my good friend, Nathan, brought up a good point: “A slap-stick auto, huh? Wouldn’t you rather have a 3 or 4-speed, with overdrive?” Well, Yeah! But, I have a right hand drive, and that makes manual transmission linkages difficult. Yes, I could get a hydraulic conversion kit, but there I am again, spending money where it need not be spent. I will, however, be hanging three pedals, and all of that will come at a later time. Right now I need to get back into the garage and start grinding!

You are probably wondering why I have yet to finish the grinding. Well, mid-frame, I got the idea to start working on the transmission. I stopped grinding and… Well, you got some of the story up there. I ended up with an open engine and three open transmissions. Not really a good place to be sending thousands of red hot little tiny pieces of metal. So that put me in pause mode, then there was the Mazda 6/Neon fiasco.

—— Explanation of Time Lost (a.k.a. The Great Stereo Debacle) ——

Tony is not allowed to drive his car any more. It (the car) is scary. It has 300+,xxx miles on it, the wheel fell off, and it makes too many moans and groans when moving. Basically, he needs the whole subframe of his Mazda 6 replaced. So, he is now driving the Neon, and since I have started work in the Canary Islands, it sits more than anything.

Anyhow, his Mazda 6 did come with a Bose stereo system. We thought it would be cool to have that in the Neon. “This shouldn’t be hard at all… a couple of speakers, some wire, a head unit, stock amplifier…

Uh, no. Not at all. After 20 hours of stripping out the two vehicles, the only thing we got accomplished was a good vacuuming of the Neon. Chris came over and asked what we were doing. We told him, and he laughed at us. Later on, he needed speaker wire, and I asked what gauge he needed. “I am wiring my sub” he said. I took him to the Mazda and showed him the speaker wire we retrieved from that system. He decided it would work and asked what the speakers laying on the floorboards were. “Those are the Bose speakers? Mind if I…” Have at it dude. We are literally going to throw them in the dumpster.

Very long story short(er), Chris ended up with a kick ass sound system in his K5. We learned that it worked for him, because he had an aftermarket amp and was powering the speakers with it, where we were trying to swap the whole system into a vehicle nearly ten years older and failed to realize the Mazda stereo was wired through the car’s computer.

Now, we could have powered the speakers with the aftermarket head unit, but that was not the only issue we ran into. His Bose speakers were too deep to fit into the front doors, and it kept the windows from rolling down. Until we converted it over to electric windows, we couldn’t make the rings come out enough to compensate for it, without hitting the window crank. Then, the rear speakers, for the Bose unit, are 5″x7″. (Actually, they are not. But they are close enough to stay out of an argument over semantics.) The rear speakers for the Neon are 6″x9″. And then we found out that you cannot run the subwoofer, unless you have the stock amp, which does not run without the stock head unit, which you cannot run without the Mazda 6 computer…

Between the Great Stereo Debacle and the Transmission Shaft Swap Calamity, I learned that if you are not going to swap same for same, and use the whole system… Well, stand by, because it will be a bumpy ride!

——

So, now that I have buttoned up all of the transmissions, and sold the engine, I can now continue on with my grinding. I have one more weekend before I go back to Spain. I will let you know how far I got, with pictures for proof, before I leave.

Until we meet again…

——

[Edit: I ended up having to pack up earlier than I thought. We did not get done with everything for the frame fabrication, but we did get a great start! I do have a few pictures of the boy doing what he likes to do best – GRINDING!!]

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I finally got back from work, and it has just started to cool off here. It was in the high 90’s today.

My plans for this month:

1) Prepare the frame for suspension – This means that I will be grinding smooth all of the welds on the frame, in order to make it presentable to the public.

2) Get my 12 bolt axle home so I can mock up the suspension – Pretty self explanatory here. The axle currently resides at a friend’s house, it will serve better purpose in my garage.

3) Prepare my engine to go to the shop for upgrades – I have found a shop that is close (enough) to me and is willing to do my engine work. Actually, this shop has greater plans in store for my engine! I was going for a 383 stroker, but he talked me into a 409, I am not complaining. Of course, this here, is the guy that was talked into supercharging his Impala! All that took, was my neighbor buying me a 3800 Series III top end with supercharger using the money I gave to him to buy me some new heads. Eh, who am I to turn down a supercharger? Also, who am I to turn down a better engine build?

As you might have guessed, more horsepower is not a difficult sell to me.

Anything new? But of course!

I got a new (to me) gas gauge! Nothing in this world is truly free, and my “free” gas gauge was no exception. We could look at it like… I spent 336 hours working it off – not including the 30 hours, and 11,050 miles of flight time! Or, we could look at it like… I went on a working vacation and made new friends, obtaining a gas gauge in the process!

IMAG0137[1]

My plans are to strip off all of the paint, and then mount this to the rear of the tub, facing outward, and plumb it directly to the fuel cell. I will need a lot of reinforcement for this gauge, as it still weighs over 30lbs!

On our maiden voyage, I will just fill the cell until it is topped off, and then I will drive the hot rod until I run out of gas. After I figure out how many miles I got out of the tank, I will subtract 25-50 miles, and just drive by my odometer.

When you have owned as much crap as I have (of the 30 something vehicles I have owned, maybe ten of them had 100% completely functional gauges), you find it very easy to work around not being able to use things that many people take for granted. Things like fuel gauges, and air conditioning, and steering wheels.

Okay, well I suppose I never had many issues with my steering wheels. Nope, I lied! I had a ’72 Ford pick up truck that had steering wheel problems – the retaining nut came off and so did the steering wheel. So there you are, crap!

Anyhow, I must give a shout out to Elvis Ramirez Torres, and Luis Yavé Ortega Hernández from Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. For if it were not for Elvis, I would have not been able to get this top cap welded on, and if it were not for Luis, I would not have been able to tell Elvis that I needed to get this top cap welded on!

You see, while I was at work, I was removing an oil tank. I saw this level gauge, and thought it would make a kick ass fuel gauge. What I didn’t take into immediate consideration is the fact that the gauge weighed about 90lbs!

True story.

Well, I talked with the welder and his interpreter (Elvis & Luis), and we figured out how to cut it up and re-weld the cap to it. I got all the cutting and grinding done, so that Elvis just had to come in and weld it all up. He told me that I need to be careful with it, because it was delicate. He said he tried a different electrode, and the cap just fell off! So he got this one working, but was afraid it might still be too fragile. I tried to explain that it was just a vent cap, and that it would not see any pressure or stress, but he insisted on warning me to be careful with it.

Hell, what do I know? When someone is that adamant about their work, and they are explaining the precautions to you in a different language (than what you are used to speaking), I find that you generally go along with it.

Don’t worry Elvis, I will be careful with it. I would hate to have to go through the airport with that gauge again if I broke it! (Luis, would you please translate that for me? ¡Hola, Por Favor Señior!)

So, I suppose it is time for me to get off the computer, and into the garage. We have a hot rod to build! I will keep you posted on my progress soon.

Until then…

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:

Screenshot_2014-08-23-19-48-43_1[1]

Screenshot_2014-08-23-19-48-56_1[1]

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:

 

Screenshot_2014-08-24-22-11-18_1[1] Screenshot_2014-08-24-22-11-28_1[1]Screenshot_2014-08-24-22-11-39_1[1] Screenshot_2014-08-24-22-11-39_2[1]Screenshot_2014-08-24-22-19-49_1[1]Screenshot_2014-08-24-22-16-36_1[1]

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.

IMAG0113[1]IMAG0114[1]IMAG0115[1]

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?

IMG_1041[1]IMG_1040[1]IMG_1039[1]IMG_1038[1]

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.

1402292039147[1]1402292038560[1]

 

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.

IMG_1043[1]

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…

1402292037434[1]

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…

 

 

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THE IDEA
——————————–
So, I bought this little DJ-5B for a Jeep project in 2012.
 DSCN1326 DSCN1327

Originally, I was going to turn it into a 4×4. Although I have only seen a few guys actually convert these little DJs over to four wheel drive, most of the time very little is left of them for wheeling (maybe the grille, and the fact that they are right hand drive). [To the credit of the guys at Petersen’s 4Wheel & Off Road, they built a very capable 4×4 DJ-5, but it was more of a work horse than an off road machine.] And then there was the fact that there are three other DJs in Arizona that have been converted over to 4WD.

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THE REVELATION
——————————–

After I thought about the technicalities of a (cheap) four wheel drive, manual steering setup for this right hand drive Jeep, I figured that maybe I was about to start another project doomed for the chop shop. [After all, after owning it for two years, the only thing I had done to it thus far, was have it moved from Glendale to Queen Creek, from Queen Creek to San Tan Valley, and from my old house to my new house (next door). Although, I suppose if you look at the distances, and take that into account, you can see that I actually did make progress with each move, but I only brought it closer. Now it was time to really work on it.] And then I decided to go the way of the flat rod, except I know it can be done with much more… well, much more my style.

I caught wind of this thing called a Flat Rod, and I had to look more into it. I had seen a couple of them done and loved the idea. A flat fender Jeep, a hot rod… a flat rod. It is a Jeep… a hot rod… a custom build… What else could I do with this? My mind started racing, and the idea floodgates were opened wide.

I started looking on the web for ideas from pictures of built flat rods, so I could see how others had done it before me. As I have seen a few of these done, I have only found two done that were built with any style. These are some pictures of the two Jeeps that helped give me the idea.

A shop in Texas built this:

 

And a shop in Phoenix built this one, the one that got my attention:

 

——————————–

THE BEGINNING
——————————–
The little Jeep started life as a DJ-5B, a postal Jeep.
IMG_0628
Of course, life was simpler back then, going house to house, on its little postal route. Then, funny as life is, it ends up in my garage, destined to become something… well, all I can say is it won’t be the same little postal Jeep it once was.
——————————–
THE LOOK
——————————–
This is an idea of what I will be going for; except, I believe that it can be executed much better.
IMG_0614
I want to combine this idea here, of the postal hot rod, with the idea of the flat rod, and build something a little different. I want to use a Willys pick up cab roof, grille and (possibly) hood, instead of the DJ-5 metal.
IMG_0612 IMG_0613
The cowl is the same shape and size, so they should carry over quite easily. I will be chopping the roof of the cab, before grafting it onto the DJ.  As far as the hood goes, if it needs to be cut in order to fit the engine, it will just be skipped, but I have ideas for either with or without it.
——————————–
THE POWER
——————————–
Speaking of the engine, I have located a line on a group of 4BT diesel engines, here in Phoenix, and the idea is to make this into a diesel rod. The 4BT is practically cast from the same block as what was found in the first generation Dodge/Cummins, 6BT diesel trucks (1989-1998), less two cylinders.
Engines-Cummins-4BT-101673
——————————–
THE MUSE
——————————–
The diesel rat idea came from this beast.
8fd5455d03f14c19cbbbdadd77a9c4cf

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMevqNjVV3M

Might I suggest you watch the whole two minutes, the ending is pretty good!

In case you were wondering, that is a 1928 Dodge Brothers Sedan with a 6BT, Cummins twin-turbo diesel. It puts out 1270 lbs-ft of torque, 693 rwhp, and weighs in at 3800 lbs. He runs 11.69 at 118 mph in the quarter mile, and it also consistently gets 23-25 mpg.

——————————–
THE REALITY
——————————–
Now, I know, I am notorious for talking about projects and not following through. I am turning over a new leaf here, and have decided that if I can’t get something, anything, done to the project while I am home on my off time, then it is time to reassess the situation, and maybe I should not have a project right now.
——————————–
THE PROOF
——————————–
My last time in, my son Jaiden helped me and my buddy, Tony, take off the tub and strip it all down to frame. Jaiden got to remove the dashboard and the pedals, all by himself.
This is what we got done that day.
IMG_0753
My goal this time in, was to clean the frame and prepare it for the drop channel to be welded. Tony came back over, and we re-rearranged the garage (again) and stripped the frame, then set it at ride height… 6″ above ground.
*EDIT: After I talked it over with multiple people, I found that my ride height will be more along the lines of 1-2″ above ground. It will still park frame.
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THE NEXT STEP
——————————–
Now that we have established ride height, it is necessary to fabricate a front end suspension for the chassis and to C-notch the rear end for axle clearance. I will be using the AMC 20 axle that came from my ’84 Wagoneer as a rear axle, and will be driving 33″ tires, front and rear.
. . .
Ultimately, I would like this to park and lay frame, but I find me going Jiminy Cricket on myself, and I have been trying to keep the scope creep to a minimum. This means that I have an original idea, and I need to stick to it. I need to keep from adding to it, and complicating it more than I already have. So, I may find that ride height, and park height are the same. We will see how that all pans out.
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THE VERDICT
——————————–
I had to check the frame true.
 IMG_0989 IMG_0990
Looks like the bubble is happy!