Posts Tagged ‘Welding’

…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!)

[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.)

Legend has it that in the late 1700’s, the Queen of France, Marie Antoinette, said this when she found out the peasants were starving (and another version is said she spoke these words as a last reprieve before losing her head).

Did she really say that? Do we really care? Why are we even talking about 18th century France, I thought this was a Jeep build?!?

The reason I bring it up is due to the slight similarities between this supposed saying and my current circumstances. You see, the significance of this saying is that the Queen was so disconnected from her people that she did not realize it was not simply that one food was absent and could be replaced with another, but the fact that there was a shortage of supplies in general. There was no food!

I do not think of myself as your queen, nor you as my subjects. Please do not start a revolution against me and expect my head. But I must point out that you are my audience and I do owe you something as your entertainer.

Now, it has been five months since we were last here, and believe me, a lot has gone on! So much in fact, that I have neglected to place a timeline of happenings here for you to keep up with. I do not expect you to be merely satisfied with cake, you deserve more than just that!

But where do we start? A wise man once said “…at the beginning. And when you get to the end, STOP.” Okay, so that was Tweedledee and Tweedledum that may have said that, nonetheless…

Last we spoke, I was talking to Craig about my front end build. Spoiler alert! He declined. I am still trying to figure out what to do about that front end. I do not know enough about castor and camber to be able to just start welding up a front end. Plus, I only have a little Lincoln 110, and my electricity is fickle.

You see, the way my house is laid out, the junction box is on the opposite side of the house that the garage is on. To make matters worse, when they built these houses, they never expected anyone to do anything except park a car in them, so there are only two outlets – one on the ceiling, for the garage door opener, and one on the far wall, which already has a power strip attached to it.

All of this means the welder has to be plugged into a 50′ extension cord. Now, for those who may not know, electricity does not like to travel very far. Especially through a small 14ga cord. That means breakers pop. That means you get terrible welds. Now I get to gouge most of the welds I already made and weld them up again, with proper electricity.

The good news is, we figured out how to mitigate the problem. I will be running 6ga wire from its own breaker at the j-box to a small outlet box inside the garage. I will have a heavy duty, super industrial extension cord that I can use to bring clean electricity to the work space. As far as the welder is concerned, it is plugged into the wall receiving electricity straight from the source. It does not realize it is being extended, and that is okay with me. As long as I get to weld without popping breakers, as long as the welding machine is happy enough to let me do my job, I do not care what it thinks.

I would prefer to rewire the garage for more outlets, but that is not in the cards as the landlord has made it clear that everything I do, has to be able to be undone when I leave. Hence the super cord.

Where does that leave the little monster? Right where it has been – in many pieces, mostly on its side in the garage. I am, however, cleaning out the garage to better accommodate a workspace… not to mention the other truck I bought. What? I did not say anything about another truck!

 

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.

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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…