This projects stems from a camping trip I went to Colorado for, back when I was living near Seattle. At the time I had the choice of driving my Nissan Titan and getting 12mpg, or my 330Ci which gets 30mpg. Of course my cheap *** drove the car, and dragged the bottom all over the rocks on the dirt road/campsite.
So I decided I needed a vehicle that could get me down the road economically, and still get me around if I needed to do some driving off road as well. Initially I was thinking lifted Audi TT (may still happen), but one day I was reading about a guy who put a MB Diesel out of a Sprinter into his Tacoma, and it got me to considering possibilities.
I settled on the OM617 partially due to having previous experience with these engines, but primarily due to cost. I drove the donor home for $700, and I’m going to get all of that back parting it out. I chose the TJ for the coil springs, then figured out I wanted ORI’s after I had bought one. At least I like the round headlights better.
I chose WJ quadradrive axles as I felt they give me the most bang for the buck. Quality LSD, upgraded brakes front and rear, and 3.73 gears which will put me about 1800rpm @ 70mph running 33" tires. I'm in them for $350 total.
The rear will be 4-linked, the front 3-linked.
The front will be stretched 5-6" to accommodate the OM617's oil pan. Assistance will come from an Astro van steering box.
The rear may be stretched up to 2" to help lengthen the driveshaft.
ORI's are cheaper than Springs/Shocks/bumpstops/brackets/Anti-Rocks.
I intend to keep the jeep low to minimize how much brick is punching a hole in the air, but I need the engine to clear the axle, and I want a flat belly as well. The way to do this is massage/cut the firewall/trans tunnel as necessary.
Your question and the fact that my buddy at work was looking at rat rod jeeps on the chive got me thinking. A person could probably build a 2wd rat rod version in the neighborhood of 2500lbs. I wonder what kind of mpg that could get. I may have to try that some day. There are quite a few vehicles ahead of that in line though.
I never match mark anything, or make any other reference points on anything before I just dive into a project. It's something I'm working on.
So now I'm trying to figure out about where my axles were originally, and how far forward from the front axle the panhard frame mount was. Based on looking at some pictures I've come up with the following locations, which put me at about a 94.5" wheelbase with the center of the panhard mount ~3 foward of the center of the front axle. Anyone want to way in on my guesses? The lines on the vertical portion of the frame are where I think the axle centerlines were.
I got to spend a nice big chunk of time out in the garage today welding. Unfortunately I spent two hours of it fixing a screw up. I initially welded the rear upper link so high that it wasn't going to clear the tub. (I refuse to get a body lift) The good news was that I managed to figure out how to fix it without new parts. I was actually on hold with Ballistic ready to order brackets when I figured out where I could cut and reweld the brackets I had without changing any dimension other than the height. I'm glad they had a long wait, it probably saved me $100.
Here's my pile of brackets all welded up: (as well as a set of spacers I picked up off of craigslist for $100, and an HF angle finder. That angle finder is exactly the same as the one Lowes sells for double the price)
Some slag standing up on it's own:
The Monstaliner box suggested I take a picture with the box "on the hood of your rig". I figured it was worth hauling the hood out for: