Tonight I worked on the gas tank mount. I reinforced the rear crossmember by the hatch to accept support straps for the gas tank.
I still haven't permanataly mounted the skid yet, because it's so much easier to finish touch-ups everywhere with a big hole in the floor.
That thin crossmember must have warped, because the hatch wasn't latching very well afterwards. The catch was too low, so I made a shim to raise it. Now it works smooth again, but I can't adjust the catch forward enough to keep the hatch from vibrating a little when latched. Hmm.
I've been wanting to start on the front of the Jeep for a while, but wanted everything complete in the back first. I still have to finish a few things back there, but the rear axle was done and I couldn't wait anymore, so I decided to install it so I can get going on the front.
Here we go:
The gas tank isn't in yet, so I had to tow the Jeep. I whipped up this wooden tow bar just to move it around the yard. It actually worked pretty well.
It seems higher than I expected; I think I'll want to use less backspacing for wheeling- looks too top heavy.
Like I said, there's still work to do in the back, but it's mostly cosmetic and still accessible.
After all that, I put it away again and started removing the front axle.
If anyone is interested in a HP Dana 30 with good brakes and recent ball joints for local pick-up, let me know!
I had RE shackles on to begin with, but with the longer springs, there's very little room before they would contact the back of the shackle box. I don't have that problem with these boomerangs, which I used to avoid a shackle relocation. I think the long term solution would be the relocation.
Then again, the front as pictured is 5" lower than the rear (measuring to the bottom of the rocker). The coil brackets add about 1 1/2" or 2", and the tire will add 3". So, it will probably be level with these shackles. I guess I'll wait and see after it's done.
Today I started working on the front axle truss to carry a link mount above the diff. I've decided to go 3 link. I'm still using the coil springs which is kinda tricky since my Dana 60 is a mid 80s vintage, and there's very little tube to work with on the drivers side. Anyway, I think I can make it work and still have the coil springs mounted close to stock width (within about 3/4").
First, I bent up the top out of some 3/8". I'm really glad I made that press brake a while back; it's so quick and easy to use and turns out great bends! I just had to check to make sure everything was square and fit level on the axle.
After that was all set, I used a 3" hole saw to make it fit on the tube.
The truss sits right against the side of the housing, so I had to grind off this piece of the casting next to the existing leaf spring perch.
Then I set it up on the axle and started tacking on some reinforcement (all 1/4") and checked to make sure everything would fit. You can see there's a piece that extends down on the right side of the coil seat. That's gonna be used to help support the right side of the link mount.
Then I welded it all, inside and out.
After that, I test fit it again.
I still need to finalize the drivers side link mount, and also make a flange for the top to bolt onto the diff cover flange, but I think it's a good start.