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Unread 01-24-2014, 02:08 AM   #1
SouthernGypsy
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Rear Frame Crossbrace Question; Accessing Spring Mount Nuts

I had an earlier thread about a twisted spring mount on my rear spring caused by a loose bolt and the tabs on my rear bumper not allowing the spring mounts to sit flush and we're unable to get the bolts out to remove the mount to straighten it, put in a leveler plate, and put in new bolts because the nuts inside of the the boxed frame have broken loose and we see no way of accessing them.

Down to the last option here unless someone else knows of another idea...

Would it hurt the integrity of the frame if I drilled a centered hole in the rear frame cross-member piece, honestly not certain what people call that section but the flat part that goes across the back end from side to side that you can see when standing behind the Jeep. Centering a hole so it's centered side/side and up/down with relation to the frame channel behind it and just large enough to stick a long box end wrench thru to get on those nuts on each side? I figure after I'm done I can file the edges nice and smooth, paint it, and pop a rubber body plug into the hole. Could even get one of those black stainless rear frame covers they sell to cover it someday if I really wanted to dress it up.


I'm just not sure what else to do, I could easily cut off the bolts to get the bracket down but would still be left with the cut off part of the bolt and the nut rattling around up inside the frame with no way to get them out and no way to get a new nut in there and hold it in place while I started a new bolt because there are no holes in the frame near this location that are anywhere near large enough to put a wrench through or even to extract the old bolt/nut out of or put a new one in through.

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Unread 01-24-2014, 03:54 AM   #2
John Strenk
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Do you have a welder?

I've seen people cut a hole out in the frame, weld in new nuts and then weld a cover back over the hole.

But cutting a hole in the cross member is an interesting idea.
Hopefully the nuts just broke the welds and the frame is in good shape and it's not that the frame is cracked around the nut and you have nothing left to put a new nut in.

Isn't the rear cross member replaceable anyway?
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Unread 01-24-2014, 04:13 AM   #3
SouthernGypsy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Strenk View Post
Do you have a welder?

I've seen people cut a hole out in the frame, weld in new nuts and then weld a cover back over the hole.

But cutting a hole in the cross member is an interesting idea.
Hopefully the nuts just broke the welds and the frame is in good shape and it's not that the frame is cracked around the nut and you have nothing left to put a new nut in.

Isn't the rear cross member replaceable anyway?

Frame is solid, it just broke the nuts loose I believe because of the odd way the bumpers forward tab fit under the springs mount putting it in a strain.

When I mentioned this idea to my dad he said he seems to remember some of the old Jeeps came with a vertical oval shaped hole in the rear cross member right at the ends of the frame and came that way from the factory. But he is no doubt remembering Military models from the Army. I wonder if they did that for maintenance reasons, or so the inside of the frame would dry out faster if it got water inside of it, or if it was something different. And he was in the service for over 40 years as a mechanic and worked on all those generations of Army Jeeps so who knows what generation of Army Jeep he is remembering. He said it wasn't just a oval shaped hole simply in the cross member though, it was lipped inward slightly all the way around the opening so it didn't have a rough edge or possibly that increased the strength (reduced the chance of stress cracking maybe?).


Even if I was planning on welding a cover back over it I'd defiantly be more comfortable cutting a hole in the cross member than the actual frame rails.

As for if that part of the frame is replaceable, that's somewhat of a trick question because technically if you have a replacement frame section, the right kind of welder, and the skill not only to weld but to keep it true then any part of a frame can be replaced
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Unread 01-24-2014, 07:13 AM   #4
John Strenk
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I think up through, the CJ's had unboxed frames in the rear section of the frame. it was easy to get to the bolts but they didn't rot out there either.
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Unread 01-24-2014, 09:14 AM   #5
CSP
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You're not going to hurt the integrity of the crossmember at all by cutting a hole in it. A round hole doesn't introduce any stress risers in the steel.

That crossmember doesn't do much as far as structure anyhow.
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Unread 01-24-2014, 11:46 AM   #6
hasselback
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I had to get in there recently too. I just cut a hole through the cross member as you can see. Chances are, the inside of yours is as bad, if not worse than mine. Probably no way you'd ever get a wrench on those nuts inside the frame! I ended up just replacing the crossmember after all that anyway. If you wanted to keep yours, you could just weld the piece back in that you cut out!
image-264734882.jpg

image-440439835.jpg

image-4292991357.jpg

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Unread 01-24-2014, 07:05 PM   #7
SouthernGypsy
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Well, problem solved... Determined that the box-end head of the needed wrench would need a 1" hole to go thru so I measured carefully from the sides and from top/bottom to determine where the hole would need to go to be perfectly centered within the frame. Marked it with a Sharpie marker and then tapped with a center punch, drilled a small pilot hole with a small bit and then stepped up 2 more times to get up to the full 1" bit going back and fourth doing both driver and passenger sides at the same time so they would match perfectly. Once it was drilled I used first a round file to further smooth the edges of the hole and and round them all the way around both inside and out. Then used a smaller finer file that was curved on one side and flat on the other using the flat side to smooth and round the lips of the holes even further.

After that was done I jacked the Jeep up using the jack under the bumper so it took the pressure off the springs until the shackles was vertical (tires still touching the ground) slipped my box end wrench in and took the bolts out and extracted the nuts. The inside of the frame was clean and even still painted black once I used an air chuck to blow away some dust built up inside, simple case of the weld on the factory but breaking loose. Not that the outside of the Jeep is very clean right now either, weather can't decide if it's gonna rain or blow big winds and in below freezing weather I haven't washed it in two weeks. I took the stock mount that was twisted and put it in our press and a couple of back and fourths between our press and our large bench vice and had the mount perfectly straight again. Then used brand new stainless hardware (bolts, nuts, thick washers) and remounted both mounts this time with a square plate the same thickness as the bumpers tab and put under the front of the mount so the mount is now level. After I was all done I used some sand paper to smooth a couple of scratches I put in the area when my drill bit didn't want to stay centered despite my pilot hole and then used Krylon BBQ stove paint which is a perfect match for frame black and touched up the area, including spraying some up inside the hole. I didn't have to do a hack job on my frame and anyone who did not know would never know that they wasn't two of the factory holes. I still have the option of snapping a flush rubber plug into the holes.

Here is some pics of the only tools used and of the holes in the bumper. These were taken after drilling the holes but prior to doing the rest of the work so you can still see the bare metal around the edges of the holes and the small scratches I put in the black paint of the frame when one of my larger drill bits slipped twice despite having a pilot hole, which is when I decided to first use another intermediate size bit.

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img_1541.jpg   img_1543.jpg   img_1551.jpg   img_1547.jpg  
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Unread 01-24-2014, 07:29 PM   #8
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I cut a round hole in mine.
Just haven't gotten around to welding it back.

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Unread 01-24-2014, 07:37 PM   #9
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Nice! Now you have a way to hose out the interior of the frame rails too.
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Unread 01-24-2014, 07:43 PM   #10
SouthernGypsy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fourbtgait View Post
I cut a round hole in mine.
Just haven't gotten around to welding it back.
I'm thinking about not closing the holes on mine up which is why I went to so much trouble to make sure they were perfectly centered, perfectly round, and the lips rounded inside and out with a file so they would look factory. Rounding the lips around the hole is also important because a lip that has been rounded is actually less prone to crack than one drilled straight through, the chances here are actually extremely slim anyway but better to be overly safe than sorry when it only takes five minutes to round the edges with a rounded file, plus it looks nicer. The frame box on the backside is welded all the way around so there should be no stress in the center area, especially with a perfectly centered nice round hole with beveled edges inside and out. I figure eventually I will need in there again as I do still plan on upgrading my shackles and mounts plus I noticed a lot of built up dust inside of the frame back there and having holes with removable rubber plugs will allow me to flush it out occasionally and can leave the plugs out until it dries out inside so help prevent rust.
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Unread 01-24-2014, 07:53 PM   #11
SouthernGypsy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CSP View Post
Nice! Now you have a way to hose out the interior of the frame rails too.
Thanks, I was just telling Fourbtgait that I was thinking of leaving them for just that reason, as well as future access. The passenger side had a good layer of dust inside but the drivers side actually had dirt built up about 1/3rd of an inch thick inside and I think I see how it happens... The exhaust pipe is just on the other side and there is a small hole in the side of the frame just ahead of where the pipe bends to go outward and I think that even though this Jeep has never been "mudded" that over the years driving on the gravel roads around here, sometimes in the rain, that the tire throws mud up onto the tailpipe which then splashes it right into that side hole and over time it built up to be that thick. This will allow me to occasionally wash it out inside of there.

Look how much dirt was slung out of the drivers side hole by the bit, you can see some of it even slung out onto the top of the bumper brackets.
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img_1546.jpg  
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Unread 01-24-2014, 09:42 PM   #12
Matt1981CJ7
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The holes are cool, but I'd like to see pics of the repaired shackle hangers.

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Unread 01-24-2014, 10:22 PM   #13
SouthernGypsy
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Originally Posted by Matt1981CJ7 View Post
The holes are cool, but I'd like to see pics of the repaired shackle hangers.

Matt

Well they just look normal now, all I did to "repair" them was to put the bent one in a press and press it back straight like it was from the factory.

I am thinking when the weather is warm I will take them back off some morning (now that it's only a 10 min job) and drive them over to a friends race car frame shop and let him add side braces to them like these by Warrior, he can do the same thing for $5 for the pair that Warrior wants $65 for and that will be worth taking a picture of...

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warrior-spring-brackets.jpg

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Unread 01-25-2014, 12:14 AM   #14
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I had a spun nut and tons of crap in one frame. Drilled two access holes and lifted the front of the frame. Hit with a hammer and used compressed air to flush out debris. Check out all the crap that came out of each side.





Here's the holes I left after I welded in a new nut.



Afterward you can weld them up with a fender washer (smaller inner hole welds up easy).

If no welder. leave the hole open and know what is involved removing that bolt in the future. Some will say that a quick spin with an impact gun will work as well with a locking shoulder nut, but in the future IF any exposed threads are even slightly rusted, a tool will still need to be fished in to hold it.
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Unread 01-25-2014, 08:21 PM   #15
fourbtgait
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My frame was also packed with mud and small rocks that took awhile to clean out.
I should cut a hole in the other frame rail and clean it...

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