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Unread 04-01-2005, 08:23 PM   #1
sentinal02
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Frame Repair Underway

Finally getting to do something constructive to fix my frame rot near the back shackle. So far I've spent most of my time laborously grinding/cutting out a pair of these (a plasma cutter! a plasma cutter! my kingdom for a plasma cutter! ) :



Basically i made a cardboard cutout to match the side of the frame rail and went to town with the grinder. it's pretty close and a hair too big. this way i have some extra to play with once i start cutting into the frame and find out just where the rust stops and the good metal begins. today i picked up some 3" flat stock (since i couldn't find any 2.5") and started piecing things together:



getting the flat stock to conform to the side panels was tricky, but nothing a whole bunch of different clamps couldn't handle (it pays to be amatuer furniture maker )

this is my first major welding project (nothing like starting off big right! i have been practicing on scrap though) and so far i don't think i'm doing too bad



the tack welds seem to be holding pretty well (i dropped it moving it around in the vice, lol) so i must be doing something right. and anything has to be stronger than this :



the cool thing though, is that i measured the distance between the arms of the shackle and found that it's actually 3" by the time you add in the width the bushings add. so i won't have to grind off the extra 1/2" of flat stock like i though. I'll just take about 1/8" of either side to allow for some twist in the shackles as the springs flex and i should be good. i love it when a project comes together

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RIP: '88 YJ 2.5L Ax-5 NP231
Posi-Loked. Herculined. Optima yellow top. 1" Shackle, 2" BDS. Cragar 397's Aussie front.

92 YJ 4.0L Ax-15 231
5" springs, 1" shackle 31's or 35's depending on my mood
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Unread 04-02-2005, 05:16 AM   #2
OlllllllO Jeep1
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Please keep us posted on your advancements or results.
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Unread 04-02-2005, 10:38 AM   #3
Megatron
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What thickness steel did you use? had to do mine a while back it rotted in the same area, went with 3/16 its a little thick for the rails, but nice and solid for top and bottom straps.
use heat to help bend the top/bottom straps much easier to make it cooperate.
are you going to replace the rear crossmember and the shackle bushing tubes?
if you really want to see scary you should see my toyota frame, kinda looks like a quilt with all the patches. gotta replace that frame this spring
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Unread 04-02-2005, 12:04 PM   #4
sentinal02
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Megatron
What thickness steel did you use? had to do mine a while back it rotted in the same area, went with 3/16 its a little thick for the rails, but nice and solid for top and bottom straps.
use heat to help bend the top/bottom straps much easier to make it cooperate.
are you going to replace the rear crossmember and the shackle bushing tubes?
if you really want to see scary you should see my toyota frame, kinda looks like a quilt with all the patches. gotta replace that frame this spring
i thought about going with 3/16", but that would be pushing the limit with my little 120 welder and i wanted to be sure i got good penetration so i left it at 1/8". the crossmember i'm up in the air on, it's still solid as far as i can tell, although i might get some angle and beef it up so i can tie into it with my bumper that i'm going to start building once i'm done with this project. the bushing tube i will either replace entirely, or if the old one is still solid, i'll cut it out and reuse it. anyone know what size that it? i need to get a hole saw to cut the side panels. as for bending the bottom to fit, it really wasn't that bad. i have a small mapp/oxy torch that i could have used but i didn't feel that it was giving me enough trouble to bother. for the top, i plan on reusing the only frame and just cutting out the bottom U of it. the top seems to still be solid. that may change when i get in there, but for now that's the plan.
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RIP: '88 YJ 2.5L Ax-5 NP231
Posi-Loked. Herculined. Optima yellow top. 1" Shackle, 2" BDS. Cragar 397's Aussie front.

92 YJ 4.0L Ax-15 231
5" springs, 1" shackle 31's or 35's depending on my mood
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Unread 04-02-2005, 12:08 PM   #5
cueball
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if you need a rear crossmember, let me know.. i have a good one... gonna cut the rest of the frame up for scrap
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Unread 04-02-2005, 12:13 PM   #6
sentinal02
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cueball
if you need a rear crossmember, let me know.. i have a good one... gonna cut the rest of the frame up for scrap
thanks, but if i need to replace it i'll just end up going with some angle or channel that is thicker. it's just a straight piece so it would be easy to replace. this way it will be stronger and i can put more tie-ins on the recovery bumper.
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RIP: '88 YJ 2.5L Ax-5 NP231
Posi-Loked. Herculined. Optima yellow top. 1" Shackle, 2" BDS. Cragar 397's Aussie front.

92 YJ 4.0L Ax-15 231
5" springs, 1" shackle 31's or 35's depending on my mood
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Unread 04-11-2005, 08:57 PM   #7
sentinal02
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damn, this thing was worse than i thought. kinda makes you wonder what is lurking under your jeep doesn't it:



and the other side



i made these holes in the frame with only a screwdriver. tap tap tap. no hammer involved definitely not good for peace of mind. the good news is that the gas tank is out (will be doing a write up on that part of the project later so those who need to get to the pump will have some referrence) along with the bumper and there's a big gaping hole where the shackle used to mount up. no turning back now i've started cutting out the bad and so far it looks like my assumption that the top panel of the original frame rail was still in good condition. the closer i get to the top, the thicker the base metal becomes and i stop cutting through it like it was saw dust. lol. this all bodes well for my repair since i can now weld with confidence on that top rail like i had planned.

the other good news is that the bushing sleeve is still usable so i won't need to find a new one. the hole for it is cut on the new piece, along with a piece of 1/2" flat that i tapped for 3/8-24 in two spots on the bottom of the rail so i have some place to tie in with the bumper. i tacked the piece in like a nutsert and while i'm sure i didn't penetrate the 1/2 stock very far, i made the tab longer than the frame is wide. this way, even if the welds fail at some point and the tab comes loose, it still can't spin 360 without hitting the rails so i'll still be able to remove the bolts, unlike the body mounting bolts. so far so good it seems. i'll be welding in the bushing sleeve tomorrow and cutting the old and new pieces to fit tomorrow. i should have everything mocked up and ready to weld when the day is done. then thursday i'll weld it (if not sooner) and cut out the fish plates and get them ready to weld. should be back together by the weekend.

also, i need ideas for beefing up the cross member. i thought about some small gussets above the shackle to tie in to the frame a bit better, but i don't know. anyone got some good ideas that can be done with adding to the stock parts, instead of totally replacing them? i know i could add some rect tubing but from the looks of things that would be best done with the tub totally removed. and if i'm going to do that then i might as well wait for a replacement frame so i can do it right.
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RIP: '88 YJ 2.5L Ax-5 NP231
Posi-Loked. Herculined. Optima yellow top. 1" Shackle, 2" BDS. Cragar 397's Aussie front.

92 YJ 4.0L Ax-15 231
5" springs, 1" shackle 31's or 35's depending on my mood
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Unread 04-11-2005, 10:13 PM   #8
ErikJordan
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damn! that is a mess.
it is amazing that it stays on there.
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What is all of this talk of Savvily designed products?
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Unread 04-12-2005, 07:38 AM   #9
rrclimber
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Sent, Great write up so far! I know that this is a problem that lots of people are trying to figure out how to deal with. My last jeep had the same rust issue but I sold it before I had to tackle the problem. I had bought a whole new cross member form 4wd see it here in preperation for the job since my cross member was rotted as well. Anyway, good luck! keep us updated!
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Unread 04-12-2005, 12:52 PM   #10
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Wow sentinal02 this is awesome... i have to do the same thing soon so please keep posting the work your doing... bottom line this is the route that i was planning to do myself and i am a novice welder my self... its nice to see it done first before i tackle it myself... helps me see it in my minds eye that much more... thanks again

also i took your advice when i posted this problem a little while back http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f12/d-m-rust-146652/
and went elsewhere for my inspection.... and sure as Sh@t the totally didnt even look at the frame and passed me.... what a relief.....

thanks again
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[U][B][FONT=Arial Narrow]Tex Montana[/FONT][/B][/U]

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Unread 04-12-2005, 12:57 PM   #11
TexMontana
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Wow sentinal02 this is awesome... i have to do the same thing soon so please keep posting the work your doing... bottom line this is the route that i was planning to do myself and i am a novice welder my self... its nice to see it done first before i tackle it myself... helps me see it in my minds eye that much more... thanks again

also i took your advice when i posted this problem a little while back http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=146652
and went elsewhere for my inspection.... and sure as Sh@t the totally didnt even look at the frame and passed me.... what a relief.....

thanks again
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Unread 04-12-2005, 02:11 PM   #12
sauce90yj
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I undertook the "restructuring" of my frame last fall before i put my lift on. But mine was by the steering box, so everytime we took something off we found another place that needed to be redone.

My frame had a "mouth" that opened everytime I turned the steering wheel, and that made for some really sloppy steering. I wish I could find the pics we took when we were doing it.

I did the cutting and grinding and my buddy did the welding... it worked best that way!

Good luck! It is definately not fun.


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Unread 04-12-2005, 08:59 PM   #13
sentinal02
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yeah, definitely not what i would like to be doing to my rig, but so far it hasn't been too bad.

tex, glad ya got it inspected

got more accomplished today.

welded in the bushing sleeve on the new frame:



once that was in i checked the width at the upper edge where it will mate to the old frame. i found that when i welded the second side panel on i either tweaked it during welding or ended up with some heat deformation (more likely) and that the top was slightly pinched to 2.25" outside to outside near the center. not good since the old frame is 2.5" outside to outside. if it had gone the other way i could deal with with some clamps, but there'll be no pulling it back out once i get one side welded on. so what i did was cut some wood blocks down to 2.25 and worked them between the panels from the end where it was still 2.5" wide. then, while they were in place i cut a couple of pieces of scrap down to the same width and tacked them in the center where they keep the sides at the right width. here's the finished product:



I'm not too concerned about the center pieces since they're just there to keep the frame apart long enough to weld the whole thing in place.

Once i had the new piece completed, it was time to attack the frame with the grinder. Let me stress this right now. safety glasses are a MUST!!!!!! i had a close call today with a hot spark landing on my lower eyelid, missing the eye by about a 1/16". and that was with safety glasses on! grinding in the closed area of the frame lets the sparks bounce in unexpected directions so make sure you wear them!

anyway, i spent most of the day cutting out all the old, rusty metal and finding the good stuff further away from the problem area. once i had solid metal all around i took a manila folder i had lying around (the folder is easier to work with compared to cardboard, and stiffer than normal paper) and traced out the curvature of the new side panel. this is because it should match the curvature of the old frame, which it did. Hey, i did something right!. i cut out the curves and marked where the bottom edge of the cutout fell on new panel. then, i placed the cutout along the inside of the old frame, where it would fall if i didn't have anything left on the side panel to weld to. i then traced out the cuts i had made on the old frame and cut them out of the folder. now i had the template i needed to transfer to the new piece so i could get it close to fitting. lining up the bottom of the cutout with the line i had made before, i traced the new pattern along the top edge of the new piece. i now knew where i had to cut for a close fit. in the end i was left with something like this:





and the inside:



as you can see i have some more grinding to do before i get a good fit, but it's pretty close. another hour or two and i'll be ready to weld the piece in and start on fishplating the whole thing.

for the crossmember i decided that i'm going to get some 1x1x1/8" angle and place it in the verticle, inside corners where it welds to the frame. i ended up cutting and bending the lower lip out to make it easier to fit the new piece, as you can see in the 4th pic here. so what i'm thinking is to take some of the plate i still have left over and forming a T to cover the 4 holes for the bumperettes (which my current, majorly rusty steel horse bumper used to mount to) and wrap the verticle leg of the T under the bottom of the cross member and weld it to the new frame piece. those two things combined should add quite a bit of strength to the member, at least on that side. the other side i'll probably tackle when i fab the new rear bumper, or maybe sooner if i get bored before then

so far so good. i should have everything at least tacked in place, though i hope to get it fully welded and possibly plated tomorrow. then thursday i'll be finishing up and putting everything back together and will be waiting for the Por15 to get here.
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RIP: '88 YJ 2.5L Ax-5 NP231
Posi-Loked. Herculined. Optima yellow top. 1" Shackle, 2" BDS. Cragar 397's Aussie front.

92 YJ 4.0L Ax-15 231
5" springs, 1" shackle 31's or 35's depending on my mood

Last edited by sentinal02; 04-13-2005 at 07:18 PM..
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Unread 04-13-2005, 07:04 PM   #14
sentinal02
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Well, the new frame piece is in place and welded up.





Came out pretty good if I do say so myself. Lol. The welds arenít pretty, but Iím not looking for aesthetics here. Hereís a close up of my fishplates:



For those of you who arenít familiar with frame repair, this is done for two reasons. First it makes the new piece stronger by adding additional material and longer welds to help spread the load. The second reason has to do with the shape of the plate. The cuts on the ends are made at angle like that (which people say looks like a fishís mouth, hence the name of the plates) so that the welds arenít straight up and down. This helps the frame resist cracking along the weld lines. Since for the most part the stresses in the frame are oriented vertically you want to run your welds closer to horizontal, which is why my forward cuts in the old frame are also angled. Like so:





i know it looks like there is still a crack along the top in that first pic, but it's just a shadow from the flash along a bead that i ground down a bit. Por 15 probably wonít be here til the weekend so Iím going to go ahead and put the jeep back together tomorrow. Was hoping to Por the top of the tank before putting it back up, but I guess Iíll have to settle for the rubberized undercoating I have left over from another job. Itís really not rusted, but I figure I might as well since itís out. I also need to fab up the plating for the cross member and modify the one piece on the bumper so it will match up to the new holes on the bottom of the frame. Guess Iíll see how well I built tomorrow! (not that Iím too worried. This thing is definitely stronger than what was there, lol.)
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RIP: '88 YJ 2.5L Ax-5 NP231
Posi-Loked. Herculined. Optima yellow top. 1" Shackle, 2" BDS. Cragar 397's Aussie front.

92 YJ 4.0L Ax-15 231
5" springs, 1" shackle 31's or 35's depending on my mood
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Unread 04-14-2005, 07:10 AM   #15
rrclimber
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Wow, that is quite a project. Thanks again for the write up. Looks great. Now that I see it done I have realized two things:

1. I am glad I got rid of the jeep that I needed to do that on.
2. I will definately por-15 my frame this summer so I never have to do that
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