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post #46 of 637 Old 08-01-2017, 12:36 AM Thread Starter
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Stock rail from the 58 frame on the right verses the modified 48 on the left.


Shows how much changed when this bend was pressed in for the bigger kick over the rear axle.


Time to make a template to replace the rusted out section. Made sure the straight lines from each side continued on.


A curve was added using the old piece taken out as a guide.


Dragged out my old anvil from when I was a Blacksmith/Farrier. This is the small 125lb one that I kept it the back of my truck when shoeing horses to alter the shoes to fit. I have hammered the new flange to match the curve of the rust repair piece.


Checking the flange to make sure it follows the rail correctly.


Patch piece tacked in. It wont be welded in fully until the fish plate behind this bend is installed. That way the bend wont alter and the weld penetration will go into the fish plate along the join as well making it stronger.


Just laying out the fish plate on the opposite side to which it will be installed. This is the way I do them using the Government Street Rod Manual as I guide and what I was taught working in the structural steel industry. Only thing changed is the radius on the ends to remove a possible stress riser there.
It needs to be of the same material thickness as the parent metal of the rail, 4x longer than the height of the rail over all. Half of it will be without taper with the remaining 25% each side tapering off to a radius 25% of the height of the rail. So in this case the rail is 4" high so 16" long with the taper on each side 4" long to a 1" radius. I just use a socket to draw around. The reason for the taper is so that there is a gradual increase/decrease in stiffness in and out of the bend. This stops stress risers from occurring. Same reason for rounding the ends as well, a point would cause a high stress concentration.


Using the frame rail from the 58 chassis to make my fish plates. The holes are a bonus as will use them to plug weld into the back of the rail.


Rail looking pretty sad now.

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post #47 of 637 Old 08-01-2017, 12:42 AM Thread Starter
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Area behind the fish plates and the back of the fish plates themselves was cleaned of any rust and paint. Small spots left were also blasted with garnet before plates and rail was hit with weld through zinc rich coating to give some protection between the layers. Often called a primer but that is not the case of most as you cannot paint over it with something else, so only use on the back of panels etc that wont see a top coat. Not all done yet in this photo.


Plates welded in.


Repair patch looking better too. Showing some marks from where had to hammer and dolly the now 3/8"-10mm thick section to flatten the seam where the weld for the patch was. Might be getting a bit carried away hammer finishing a chassis!
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post #48 of 637 Old 08-01-2017, 12:44 AM Thread Starter
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This is now the second rail I have been working on and thought I would show a bit that I didn't with the first.


This was where the major rust repair was and also has a stiffener plate fully welded in behind. Was straight before I started and had let it cool between welds.


A bit of gentle work in the press using 2-4 ton pressure only, and back straight again.
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post #49 of 637 Old 08-01-2017, 12:46 AM Thread Starter
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This is the way I am plugging the old holes, mainly from the frame rivets. Eastwoods sell these welder helpers with the handle holding the copper it. Comes with a few different end pieces for curves etc. You just place it under the hole and weld straight on top of the copper and it wont stick to it. I have only recently got these but just used a piece of brass for the same job the previous 30 years, but gets hot pretty quick so you have to clamp it instead. Even this handle covering started to melt after about 5 holes straight, so have to run it under a tap to cool it after that many in a row,
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post #50 of 637 Old 08-01-2017, 12:48 AM Thread Starter
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Still pottering away at it. Got one rail cleaned up on the outside with all the holes I wanted welded up. Flanges made square and filled any nicks and damage with weld from old brackets etc. The web corrected of any dips and rises with a heavy ball peen hammer and dolly, deep grind marks filled with weld and ground and sanded smooth. Still got to finish the other one yet as only done the flanges so far, so might take a few shots of before and after.
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post #51 of 637 Old 08-01-2017, 12:50 AM Thread Starter
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Finished filling all the holes!
I'll finish sanding the rails with finer grade paper later as they will get marked up anyway. Have them coated with sheep grease or lanolin to stop them from rusting until they get painted. Just spray on and wipe off so it is not sticky.
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post #52 of 637 Old 08-01-2017, 12:52 AM Thread Starter
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Wasn't going to post this as not much of an update, but might as well show which way I went about it and why. In the end I decided to take the time to remove all the rust from the inside of the rails rather than just use a rust converter. This way I could use the weld through primer coating that wont burn off like any other coating I could think of using. I had already removed all the rust from the under and around the fish plates, so why they are left.


The rust converter I had said not to use a heavy zinc coating over it which is what most weld through coating are. Not sure if the copper based ones would have worked? Just be aware that not all weld through coatings are primers as well. Only the primer ones can be painted over later if needed, so read the instructions. Wont matter in this instance as will be fully boxed.


I wanted a better way of hanging the leads and gun off the mig when not in use. So I cut a used wire spool in half and bolted one each side. No more leads getting caught up in the wheels when pushing it around.
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post #53 of 637 Old 08-01-2017, 12:54 AM Thread Starter
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Time to start on my first cross member. I must have at least two originals for it to be registered as a 48 Willys under club registration rules, in case I go that way for a 90 days a year permit. For full road registration I still require at least one.


Looking a bit worse for wear with rust, twists, bends, dents, holes and buckles!


The old PTO hole was a bit big to just fill with weld so dropped in a washer of the same thickness as the frame.


The copper spoon also works well on edges that need to be repaired.


A lot faster and less heat this way.


Well 40 odd holes filled and a lot of tacks on some rust pitting that was first cleaned out with my die grinder.


Both ends were twisted 5 degrees in the same direction. Most likely the centre section, where the tow hitch was welded on, was bent up after dropping onto a rock ledge.


Just bolted on the old rear cross member from the other frame to lever down on the ends while the press holds the centre steady.


All the twist gone.


As you can see the ends taper up to the same height as the end of the frame rails. Problem is that I am running the rear of the frame 6.5" narrower to match the width of the frame under the Grand Cherokee and all the axle bracket positions. These trucks have a 6.5" wider rear axle than the front and I will be running the same width front and rear.


After cutting to the new length, the ends no longer match the ends of the frame rails. So a wedge was cut out and the flange bent up to match it.


I will box this member as will be used to support a towbar as well.
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post #54 of 637 Old 08-01-2017, 01:28 AM Thread Starter
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First parts of the donor Grand Cherokee are getting used!
Getting everything ready that must be done before boxing the frame rails start.


This is the engine and lower front suspension cradle sitting under the frame rail for the first time to check angles. The area where it bolts in the front was 3 degrees out. The lower flange of the rail needed to be titled down at the back to sit flat on top of the cradle.



Rather than cut and bend the flange down, I bolted in a piece of heavy angle iron the same size as the area it sits on the cradle. Then supported the back end of the frame rail and then simply stood on the end of the cradle pushing it down. This bent the lower flange down giving a nice smooth transition.



I have cut out the original mounts from the Grand Cherokee so that every thing is mounted in the exact same manner as the engineers designed it. This is the mount for the front of the engine cradle.


The threaded boss has some movement to allow fine adjustment when it bolts together. The supporting plate has been cut wider than the flanges so it will protrude through a slot cut into the boxing plate when it goes over it. It will then fully welded and ground smooth. This way it is supported on both sides like it was originally.


These are the mounts for the transmission and transfercase cross member welded in. Interesting how the engineers have the actual attachment point higher up in the frame rail rather than directly on the bottom flange. I would think this would add greater torsional rigidity, so why not utilize it


The threaded nut plate has been clicked into place and the support plate again had been made wider than the flange by the thickness of the boxing plate. It will have a slot cut in it so the support plate can be welded to it.


Also cut out of the frame of the Grand Cherokee the mounts for the rear panhard rod, or track bar, which bolts into the frame. I left part of the original frame attached to the threaded boss and welded around the perimeter. The other two large holes you can see are for the shock absorber and sway bar mounts.


You can also see here extra threaded bosses welded in case I am able to mount the fuel tank in the same position as it was in the Grand Cherokee under the cab floor next to the driveshaft. Many thanks to Dr. Lee of South Dakota for getting under his Grand Cherokee and getting the measurement I needed for that. Hadn't recorded it initially as didn't think it would be possible, but now think there is a chance and better to have them in place as cant add them later once it all is boxed


These are the mounts for the rear sway bar. They pass right through the frame rail and will be supported on the other side as well once the boxing is complete.


Sway bar mount ready to have the boxing plate laid over it and then fully welded.
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post #55 of 637 Old 08-01-2017, 01:31 AM Thread Starter
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You might remember how the stock frame looked before I started altering the bends nearly 12 months ago.


I ended up only moving the rear most bend on the original configuration forward so that the rails will run parallel now starting at the firewall rather than the the forward mounts of the rear leaf springs part way down under the bed.


This is the biggest part that will be added to the frame rails from the Grand Cherokee. This is the support bracket for the upper wishbone and the coilover. Technically the upper wishbone on these is what makes it a coilover rather than a strut. A strut also plays a roll in locating the hub where as a coilover does not, but often the term now a days is used for both.


The pressing here is for extra lateral strength and to clear the coilover. It needs to be recessed into the rail to centre the load more above the rail and reduce twisting leverage. When I made the new bends in the frame I took this into account.


I find it easier to weld the plate that will line the notch on the frame rail over the actual mount so all the angles are correct.


I first clamped the mount back into place on the rail and then clamped the new plate section to the back of it inside the rail so I knew everything was in the right position. Then tacked from the inside before removing the mount so it could be welded. You can also see compared to the rail in the background, how I have extended the wider section of the flange past the notched section. I have added as much as the notch is deep so no lateral strength has been lost.


Starting to fully weld the plate in.


It was also fully welded from the back.


The section that will end up behind the mount has been coated with weld through primer to protect against rust between the two layers.


All angles and the position is double checked against what I recorded before pulling apart the Grand Cherokee. I have even have it over the same bit of concrete to keep things as accurate as possible having recorded the measurements on both paper and photos.
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post #56 of 637 Old 08-01-2017, 01:35 AM Thread Starter
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Mount sits flush against the rail now.


I found that one of the rails was nearly 3mm-1/8" lower than the other side at the end of the rail. As I don't have an oxy, I just ran an extra weld bead on the inside of the bend and then cooled the weld with the air gun to help it shrink. This caused the bend to tighten and lift the end of the rail level with the other one.


With the rails were perfectly level to each other, I could then level the two mounts against each other. I went off the upper wishbone mounting holes on both sides as their angles and height are the most important.


Welded in.




Started on making the templates for the boxing plate. To make the swaybar bush hole I just hit the top of it until it broke through.


Trimmed the outsides with a utility knife. I used craft paper or card stock. Just bought A4 packs of 10 for $2.50 from the $2 shop and taped them together.


Hoping I can make the whole boxing plate in only two sections.
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post #57 of 637 Old 08-01-2017, 01:39 AM Thread Starter
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First time with new steel used on the project. Starting with a fresh sheet of 2440x1220x4mm or 8'x4'x5/32"


First one done. You can just make out the slots where the supports for the welded in mounts will come through it.


Last one getting done with about half the sheet used plus some left overs which will be used for mounting brackets etc.


I just made the pattern for one side and will just flip half of them for the other side. Glad I took the time to make them as identical as possible.


Was surprised just how well it fitted first go! Wasn't sure how accurate my CAD, Cardboard Aided Design, would work on this. You can also see the other side plate, which is upside down, that it has be coated in weld through zinc rich primer to help against rusting inside the rails.


The templates were narrowed each side by the thickness of the flange, leaving a nice corner the fully weld closed. Fit well over the swaybar boss that had already been fully welded in. The other hole is for the rear shock mount bush that was drilled at a 8* angle the same as stock. I drilled these before putting them on the rails so no swarf would end up inside the rails.


The front half is going to be a lot harder as not perfectly flat like the rear. A total of 6 bends will have to be pressed in to follow the bends in the rail and the flange width changes.
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post #58 of 637 Old 08-01-2017, 01:42 AM Thread Starter
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To make the needed bends in the boxing plate to follow the frame shape, I just used a blunted brickies bolster and hit it between two sections of steel. Can use a piece of channel too.


The bends are following the frame shape quite well.


Can see in this shot how the edge of the cross member mount comes through the boxing plate where it will be welded and then ground smooth.
Also shows the only joint in the whole boxing plate. This shape increases the weld area and has the least amount of stress rises.


All plated up. Also seen is the front cradle mounts coming though and flush with the boxing plate, ready to be welded and then ground smooth.


This is part of the Grand Cherokee frame that has the rear shock mount in it. I was fortunate that the narrow section it sits in was similar to the width of the Willys frame. When I laid out the width of the Willys frame, I made sure it would run exactly along where this mount needed to be.


This is the hole for the shock mount in the Willys frame drilled at an 8* angle to match how it was in the Grand Cherokee.


Original shock mount was cut free with a hole saw and then welded in to the frame on both sides. Another piece of metal will be formed to support the other side of the shock eye so it will be in a double shear arrangement like the original setup.


Also finished welding in the other end of the swaybar mount.
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post #59 of 637 Old 08-01-2017, 01:50 AM Thread Starter
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To help control distortion from the welding, I placed the two frame rails back to back with some 75x50x6mm, 3"x2"x1/4", RHS in-between. Also added additional spreader pieces where the tube was not central.


The welds were around 100mm/4" long and always balanced with the same sized weld top and bottom as well as in the same spot on other rail before moving on. This way they are pulling against each other while cooling down. I would then move forward at least a foot to a cool section of the rail and repeat. I never welded a new section that was still warm from the last weld.


I did longer welds around the area where the upper suspension mounts were welded in to balance the shrinkage it has caused on the opposite side of the rail


18 metres or 59 feet of weld later, all done.




The the weld was ground smooth. First with a 9" grinder and then followed by a 40 grit 5" flap disc to sand it just like the other side of the rail was done. More will be done later.


Was careful to remove as little of the weld as possible. That is why it has a sharper radius than the pressed corners, but rather have that than weaken it.


About 2/3rds of the frame is free of bends and wanted to keep it that way. In the end after being separated from the RHS, Rectangular Hollow Section for the non Australians, and each other, the rail had a dip of just over 1/2" from the welding. I have pressed this out slowly to bring it straight again. Applying heat opposite the weld would have fixed it also.


Got a small peak inside the end of the frame and can see good penetration all the way through without being excessive. Wiped away the white powder and was pleased to see that all the weld through primer was still intact and only a few millimetres each side of the weld had burned off.
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post #60 of 637 Old 08-01-2017, 01:50 AM Thread Starter
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Spent some time getting the rails perfectly straight again in the press after the welding on the boxing plates.
I also bought myself a 7" disc sander to make it easier to do the final sanding and get it nice and flat. Started with 16 grit and worked my way up through the grades to 80. Did it now as easier without all the brackets that will go on soon.


Back working on the rear cross member which was started some pages back. Used a holesaw to get the matching radius of the Hayman Reese receiver. You will notice it in two halves also. I spent some time fixing up the rear cross member from the other frame to box this one. You would have seen the mess it was in when I was using it as a lever to straighten the frame etc in the picture below.


The original cross member was only 2" wide and that is too narrow to use as a towbar. Needs to be 3" wide in this wall thickness. So rather than making the second cross member 1" wide to add to it, I cut 1/2" off both making them both 1.5" wide to get my 3" of total width.
The reason is it means the pull when welding will be even and will stop it turning into a banana! Also gives me two perfectly straight edges to work with.


This will actually be the side of the cross member facing outwards. I have recessed it in the thickness of the cross member so it will be flush once welded. I didn't want the receiver sticking out and it will be hidden behind the licence plate.


I am showing here how I have the centre sitting up some before welding. With the welding it will shrink and hopefully pull it down level.


All tacked up ready to weld in stages. Top followed by the bottom directly underneath it. Then jump ahead to a still cool spot to do the next bit.


Fully welded and it stayed nice a straight due to keeping it in exact halves.


Backside of the receiver welded in too. The height the receiver is set so it matches the the one on my Jeep Cherokee. That way when I tow my offroad camper, it will be nice and level still.


Upside down here, but can see how I can fit the licence plate over the hole to hide it. I will attach the plate to a piece of tubing to go into the receiver and held with the hitch pin, or fit a spring type mount where it will hinge out of the way.


Pretty happy with how the pre-set came out in the end.


Made up some mounts for the safety chains. Just copied the ones that were on the 2008 Grand Cherokee towbar, which is for sale if anyone needs one.


All done and ready for the frame assembly.
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