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About drcomanche

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    Comanche Aficionado

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    Lusby, MD

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  1. I hadn't really thought about the fact that it will center with the balljoints automatically, which makes perfect sense(I just overlooked it). I'm thinking that the outer is the issue at large, so I ordered some new chromoly ones to, hopefully, amend the problem.
  2. Since there's no real suggestions here, I'll throw something up and see what the collective techs think. I've been steadily prepping parts to go back on and while prepping the axle shafts, I noticed 2 things. One is that one of the inner shafts has experienced a u joint failure before as I can see some metal deformation where it pushed against the outer edges. The shaft itself seems straight and the yoke looks aligned visually, but I don't have the tools to check fine measurements. I'm not sure how or if some incorrect angles could effect the play in the axle shaft, but I figure there could be a chance. The second is a far more noticeable problem. My axle shaft outers are 2 different pieces. The measurements are close but off by about a quarter to a half an inch, including extra metal at the bottom of the yoke. This seems like a surefire reason, since it's slightly longer putting it closer, but it still brings questions about why it took so long for symptoms to appear, why it only does it after about 5 minutes in 4x4, and how it achieves such force against the spindle to grind that much out of it. I'm not sure what this spindle came from(probably a non transferable later year bronco) but it does have an extra snap ring space as well.
  3. I went to diagnose the noises I had been hearing in 4x4 and also do basic maintenance, so I disassembled the hubs and pulled the shafts. The noise that led me to this point was a very loud metal on metal groaning that got worse the more it moved. When I took the hub apart on the side the noise was coming from(had to put it up in the air and let the wheels turn to figure it out) I pulled the spindle and it was eaten into by the axle shaft. It managed to chew straight through the seal and took a good 1/8 inch out of the spindle. I'm not sure if the spindle itself is salvageable, considering the damage to the area where the seal is supposed to seat. Because I was doing u joints and general maintenance, I also took apart the other side to see that the axle shaft on that side, while not hitting the spindle, had completely eliminated the seal, no metal left, just the rubber ring stuck around the shaft. So, I'm all ears to what might cause this drastic of axle shaft movement. The axle shaft snap rings were firmly in place when removed, so there shouldn't be movement from that. The axle is a D44 Front axle from a 70s Bronco. Also, when messing with the axle shafts while everything was together, there seemed to be no noticeable back and forth movement, at least by hand.
  4. They are hosted on imgur. Even with ccs own server, it ended up being too large when I last attempted. Although I may not be doing it correctly. Outside of that, it is still an extremely long page.
  5. Hey, on my build page I post enormous amounts of pictures. It makes it take forever to load and scroll and each update I keep giving is just tacking on to page 5 without rolling over. Is there a way to manually start a new page so everyone reading and I don't have to scroll for a mile to get to the new stuff?
  6. Another big update since I've been nonstop working on it. Ok, to start, I didn't have time or money to finish out the exhaust system, so for the time, I made a temp solution so it's able to be removed freely. This involved cutting it off at a point so I could weld a sleeve on one half and cut a notch in it to make a tensioning pipe. It worked perfectly. No exhaust gas appears to be leaking through, and it's nice and easy to remove later for a new exhaust. Just when I think I'm done with the bed, I find more problems. So while prepping it up for bedlining, I found a bit of rust near the back of the tailgate and I took the wire wheel to it. It punched right through the bed. I then realized that where the rust was trapped between the two pieces of metal it was bulging up. And that just happened to be at every single spot. I made another quick solution by holesaw drilling a 1.5 inch hole between each of the ridges. This allowed me to pry apart the metal portions, scrape out the rust, and really get in there with a rust reformer. Then, I went to bedlining. Unfortunately, I underestimated how much I would need(in addition to forgetting about the tailgate and wheel wells) so it ended up with only two coat. They sure are tough coats though. I'll have to buy another kit of Raptor and hit the last parts. After that, I mounted it up on the frame. From here, I mounted the fuel cell first and then set to putting together the handbrake. I had all the parts and a relative idea of what I wanted but it still took some work to get it together. The e brake cable(a random 20 dollar buy that had no fitment specs for my vehicle) fit perfect with just enough room to move. I bought some springs to pull it back and give it rebound and used some rubber coated cable clips to mount them to the one of the bump stop bolts. The cables themselves came with a metal sleeve that I put inside the clips to allow it to slide in a controlled direction through it. So, in short, it won't ever contact the tires. The only obstacle I still had was to fab up a bracket to hold the cable sleeve from the interim cable(handbrake to the splitter). I started to make it and while letting it cool off from drilling, I was putting together interior stuff. In the process, I found a bracket that had previously held the vent tube for the rear diff. Lo and behold, it was exactly the bracket I needed. It seems someone used it for that and it never dawned on me that that's what it really was for. Saved me the trouble of finishing the fab. In the end, the e brake works... kind of. I've upped the tension about 5 times and am still having an issue with getting a good hold. However, the fact that it is together and functions almost as intended is pretty damned good. I finished up the wheel wells in a couple days, but upon fitting, I realized that the light bar was mounted at the very edge of the old, meaning it needed to be mounted at a weird four measurement angle. So I started cutting up my fresh metal to make a spot for them. I did many rounds of measurements and rough ins and am pretty damn proud that it turned out so perfectly. I doubled the welds on all the parts of the wells, which gave it more strength and a better look, and then painted them quickly(2 days from deadline). I mounted them with 7 screws each and then the bed was mostly together. The fuel cell was always my biggest concern for the endgame of this seasons buildup. I, having not done fuel lines, was concerned from what I heard about PTFE tubing. I pretty much fully expected it to leak, especially on the sending line since I had 2 5/16 quick connects to hook up, but they only had outputs for 6an and my line was 8an. That meant I had to have the quick connect to a 6an to 8an step up to the 8an line in 2 different places. I also worried about the initial startup with the new external pump, as it says not to run it dry, but I had to pull some fuel into the line. I spent 15 minutes trying to start it with no turnover. I was worried about running the pump to death or killing my starter/battery. I disconnected it at the fuel pump and a bit of fuel poured out before it was even fully taken off. Good news for the pump. I workshopped it a bit longer before getting to the quick connects on the fuel rail and popping the return line off. Then I found my mistake. Accidentally mixed them up at some point. Blew fuel everywhere from the built up pressure, but hey, at least the line was pressure tested with no leaks. After that, it started right up fine. I had to create a spot for my vent line to connect to the canister(which, surprisingly, it never was). I put some rubber bushing between the cell holder and the bed, which were actually just extra large soft rubber furniture pads. I pulled the metal washer out and it worked great. Then some stickers for the finishing touches on the cell. I finished putting the tailgate back together and installed it too. Then applied some decal stickers from Jeepsticker.com that he made for me. I finished mounting the bumpers, which was incredibly hard in the rear with the extra 1/4 inch of metal on each side. I mounted and wired in my winch and offroad lights after running completely new lines for it. I finished installing the skid plate(with the new trans mount which knocked out all of my shifter vibration) before all of this and had the hardest time installing the new straight connection tcase linkage. In the process, I managed to smash 2 of my fingers really good between the trans and driveshaft, enough so that they were purple and green all over up to the first joint. May have broken something, but it's mostly healed now. Connected all of the front end stuff and repainted my steering linkage and tie rod. Installed the newly rebuilt driveshaft. I finished up the interior. Then came making the custom aluminium plates for the fuel gauge and the switches. The fuel gauge I had to get creative with for the wire out to the cell. I ended up just patching it in to the old fuel gauge wire and then running that out at the pump to the cell. I used the other 2 wire for a direct plug to the fuel pump. I did some troubleshooting with the jumble of crap wiring to find good power sources for everything. I'm not sure if I mentioned it before, but I switched all of my lights out for led replacements. All of them work perfectly without the extra inline regulator, too. I originally switched over because I tinted my tails and turns so I wanted something brighter for safety. Last but not least, I finished the trail door interior panels and washed the truck. The exhaust cut with the repair an exhaust shop did a while ago(poorly) and the sleeve piece welded on. The bed "mod" for the rust All bedlined On with the fuel cell mounted up. testing the wheel wells The start The modification for the light bar Looks good. Cell vent line mounted back there The underside with pipe foam to keep rubbing on the bolts and edges to a minimum. It doesn't look pretty, but it's solid. I mounted the fuel pump and filter here too. My rubber shock mounts for the cell holder Last minute stickers All hooked up. All grade 8 bolts Mounted and wired The bracket I had just laying around The fit before the metal sleeves were mounting up Doors Tailgate. The uneven lines bother me, but I'll have to fix them later. Interior Gauges Painted up Now I've been pushing really hard on this for the past 2 months. I've been working on it every day, blistering heat or rain, into the night, etc. all for a show in my area that I missed last year. The Budds Creek 4x4 Expo is a big event where they open up trails, have a show and shine, a car crush, rti ramps, raffles, vendors, and all kinds of stuff. I knew back in December I wanted to attend. This build has drug on and on for ages because I keep finding things wrong and don't want to just slap it together and call it a day. It took literal blood, sweat, and tears working to get this done. And a day before the show, it finally was. It fought me every step, too. I drove it all that day and then to the show as well with no issues. I showed up there and turned the truck off to fill out the necessary papers. Took about 15 minutes. Went to start it back up and nothing. No turnover on the starter. Get a jump start and get it into the grass where it belongs and it dies again. Seems like the alternator. An event staff person offers to take the battery and recharge it for my while I troubleshoot. I call a nearby Advanced to see if they have an alternator. They have one. Another Jeeper there helps me get the old out and gives me a ride to the store. Get a new one and install it. Finally starts perfectly. Finish the intro stuff and they open the trails. Decide to put it through the paces but when I start it and try to move, there's no pressure at the clutch pedal. I check the fluid and it looks fine. No leaks on the lines. I'm pretty much grasping at straws checking the entire system over. Then I find it. My clutch pedal chose this time of all times to crack at the sleeve over the bolt and the pedal is just flexing out on the clutch side. Noone at the show has a welder so I'm giving up hope for it and trying to plan a tow. Then another guy asks about it and I fill him in on the issue. He makes some calls and reaches a buddy 5 minutes away who has an old buzzbox. I wrenched the pedal off and we put some touches on it. Finally, a driving vehicle. I'm pretty down at this point and don't even want to take it anywhere for fear that it'll break again. Eventually, I decide to baby it on some easy trails. Get it moving in 4wd and get about 100 yard and hear a noise from the front that sounds like a dying dog. I turn around and go back to the field to try to replicate the sound. Couldn't make it happen. Did an inspection on the front and couldn't see anything wrong. All the front end parts have less than 40 miles on them. I debate for about an hour on what to do. Eventually, I decide to take it out anyway, since it only happens when it's in 4wd. Fun side note, on my way to the trails a guy runs full sprint to ask if he can ride with on it since he's a big fan of Comanches. It whines like a beat dog, but it flies through every obstacle. The noise is definitely something to do with the axle shafts since it whines in rotation with the wheels. I ran it through a couple of times, just enjoying myself and getting Frankenstein a little muddy for once. Then I enjoy the rest of the show looking at Jeeps and watching some monsters run over the cars. I swear I talked to every person there answer questions about the trail doors and the frame, the fuel cell, etc. And at the end of the day, Frankenstein won best in class. In the end, I had a good bit of fun there, despite the trouble. As a final thought before the pictures, I know it's my own build, so I'm biased, but it is everything I had in my head that I wanted to come out of it. It is the exact look I was going for. While the build itself will be slowing a bit for some time, it certainly isn't done. So now, enjoy some pics of a finally finished truck and some cool show stuff. The rescue vehicle for a section called "milkshake" that killed about 20 vehicles that day Some crushed cars
  7. Big post coming up, so prepare for a read. I see that I've been upgraded to the Epic Tech forum, which is awesome. I'm not really sure this build is deserving of it(no motor swaps, truggy builds, or crew cabs here), but glad to be a part of it. To start with, the idea of using the old brackets from the hood springs didn't work out. They weren't stable enough to stay straight, so I ended up having to fabricate a solution to the issue. I uses some leftover angle iron I had and made a 3 sided piece with a slot at the top and a welded screw on the forward side. The other flat would tuck against the inner fender to keep it from rotating. I wanted to build it so I didn't have to remove the tension pin in the bottom every time, so instead of having a sealed slot, I cut it to one side and added in catches for the spring to keep everything in place. That, aside from some adjusting, finished the hood pins. I had to cut the fuel cell holder back apart to figure out why it wasn't fitting and adjust the measurements. This made the end product look slightly less professional, but it's hard to even tell. Turns out the fuel cell isn't square, so it threw everything out of wack. I gave it plenty of room to move this time while still being relatively tight, painted it up, finished the top plates off, and bolted it all together. All finished. I sized it up in the bed and drilled my mounting holes while I was at it. I finally cut into my hood to place the vents. I put them further back than they would generally be, which had the bolts going through the back support of the hood. Nothing a few longer ones from the hardware store couldn't fix. I made the holes a little larger than they should be so I can do fine adjustments(it always bothered me to see vents that were slightly off from each other). Another easy job done. Then it was time to tackle some of the harder stuff. I painted my frame and floors up with a POR 15 tie coat primer to aid in adhesion of the next coat which was a chore(every painting session with the frame and cab is). I used it to fill in some of the imperfections as well, which were enough to peak my OCD. Now, I eventually prepped up to do the rock rails with bedliner and had seen someones post on here showing a frame they bedlined. This got my mind jogging about if I should do the frame as well or not. I hadn't planned for that amount of bedliner, so I had to order more. After some research and an extended amount of sanding the tie coat, I decided to do a coat of POR15 and let it tack up for an hour and then do the bedliner on everything. And it turned out awesome. The bonus is, it covers imperfections better than the tie coat, and it acts as sound and heat insulation on the floor. Win win. I then moved on to the next set of bedlining which was the front bumper, the cab rail plates, and all the lower quarters(except for the bed, which is going to be it's own step). I spent hours sanding every little corner of the bumper. Since it hadn't been properly done before, there was a good amount of rust in all the corners and edges. Eventually, I did manage to finish it, but it was tedious. I took all the parts, laid them out on a tarp and taped them up, then sanded the finish. It ended up being too hot to shoot immediately, so I waited it out till it was in shade and hit it. The turnout was great. Raptor Liner seems to be a really good product so far. I had finished sizing up the seat brackets for the rail plates. I ended up getting a loose measurement of height to start and then cut the steel from there. Then I welded bolts into them and bolted them to the seats and laid it back on the plate to tack it in. I used some leftover 3/16 square tube and cut them essentially in half then did a two pass weld to the plates for rigidity. At this point, I think the stock bolts will break before these do. After the bedliner was dry, I put a rubber seal on the bottom of them to keep water in the cab out of the rails and bolted them into their new home. I've got to say, I think it looks pretty cool with that setup. I really wanted to paint the edges of the tailgate so I started working on the bolts for the latches. And what a PITA they were. Every one was stuck solid and they just stripped out. I ended up cutting one down into a hex standard, but even that was hard to remove. A lot of time and some very choice words later, I decided to roll out the big guns and welded a nut on top of the remaining bolt. I had no intention of reusing them anyway. Outside of that, I still had some rust in the bottom so I ended up drilling out 1 1/4 inch holes on each side of the gate edges. This way, I have clean access and can just plug them later. Now I can clean inside of the gate easily. Now, the real problem child came up. The bed was rough to start with and an incomplete job dealing with it last winter meant I had a lot to look forward to. There was still plenty of rust under the support rails on the bottom, in the edges at the back, and all up and down the inside around the wheel well. The wheel well seems were very poor all the way around which led me to my decision. I cut the wheel wells out. I did it as clean as possible and planned to make some new one that just bolt on(since I'll be changing up suspension back there eventually) while leaving some lower portions to weld to the outer shell for support. It got rid of a lot of bad parts but added a ton of time and effort. After that I began working on the bottom of the bed. I'd say about half of the contact points between the bed support rails and the bed itself were a quarter inch larger from the rust in between. I broke it down as best as I could and did POR15 on the rest to, hopefully, convert what was left. I used Eastwood frame coat on the inside of the support rails. There are still concern spots, but I'll just have to deal the best I can. I really want this bed to last with all the effort and money in it. Since the inside of the bed edges were so narrow, I had to hand sand the entirety of the inner shroud parts. It took a while but really shook off and cleaned up a ton of rust. Then I hit what I could reach with POR and the rest got eastwood. I began making my new wheel wells and at current, have one of them pieced together. It isn't fully welded yet, and I don't have a picture on here, but I think it looks cool. A lot of sizing and adjusting for the curve in the bed edges. I also have to customize the tops a bit to fit the roll bar foot, with meant cutting 3/4 of a square and angling it. Later on, I'll fill the empty space with metal. While I was doing the Eastwood coats, I went to the interior of my frame rails. I had done this last year, but I already knew the coat didn't hold up plus the welding of the stiffeners had burned off some as well. This time, I made another, heavier, tool to get in there and really break it up. I used the cable from before but bolted 10 links of a chain on this time. Attached it to the drill, and let her rip in there. It knocked a ton out. Many rounds of vacuuming, air blasting, and washing later, and it finally got the Eastwood coat. At this point in time, I'm actually getting closer to the end of my list so it was time to start reassembling things. I put the fenders and front end back together with the addition of led corners, bottoms, and headlights. I replaced all the fender bolts with flanged hex heads to make it easier on myself. I need to buy new fog lights and I'll probably bedline the grill and light shrouds, but that'll be another day. I also put most of my interior back together too. I still need to install my boostwerks t case shifter upgrade, so I can't put the console or seats in yet. For a while, I've had this idea in my head for a pillar handle to get in and out of the truck, and decided I was going to customize a way to work it in. I purchased some smittybilt ones a while ago. I ended up shaving out a slot 1 inch below the screw hole in the a pillar trim(I'm a sucker for perfection, so I wanted to make it look stock). I used that to slide to hole in the handle strap to where the mounting screw would go. Then I screwed the trim in with a heavier duty screw for a sturdy hold. The other end of the handles is bolted through the drop support for my shelfit. I put the bolt hole as close to one of the mounting holes as possible to prevent the bracket from bending and warping. Then I put 3 heavy duty screws in that one too. The result is a nice, clean, natural look and a sturdy as hell handle. Lastly, I finished the hardware on the trail doors and mounted them up. I like it. The brackets. You can see the little spring retainer on the main piece And they work Good to go Mounted it in to size it up again a few extra welds and parts Bolted up and finished Scary step. Didn't want to mess it up Painting the edges to prevent rust Tada The Tie coat. This stuff went on really thick Prepped for bedlining first coat Third coat finish Various parts, ready for bedlining Done I put the doors and fenders on while they dried. I'm lacking space for all this in the garage bought some grommets from the store. They fit perfect and go right around the bolt. Should help prevent chipping and rubbing Floor plates all done Tailgate hell More rust just from turning it sideways POR coat Goodbye rusty wheel wells Also removed the fuel tank bracket that were harboring rust The beginning I talked about my diff breather thing from arb. Here it is with the tcase breather so far. It can mount up to 4 Getting close All set.... Mostly Grab handles Trail doors The starts of my fuel line work
  8. So now both doors have solid paint coats on them. I still need to touch on the back sections, but that will have to wait for a bit. I painted the back of the one door I finished the front of but, despite having sat for about 4 days with the front coat, still wasn't completely dry and the fabric I set it on to prevent scratching ended up leaving imprints all over it. I had to sand it back down again and had a few more tries at painting it before I finally got a good product. I did finish the primer coat on the other and did the paint on that one too. Now all the doors, tailgate, vents, and door latch are finished with full coats. I finished up the latch rod for the other trail door and then went on to fabbing up the door hinges. I couldn't find any aftermarket door pins, so I grabbed some grade 5 bolts from the hardware store that had a long smooth edge. I tacked them on and cut them accordingly for what was needed and then rounded out the ends. Then I sanded and painted them with the rustoleum bedliner. While I was at it, I also eventually painted up the headlight surrounds and the hinge plates. I put a coat of POR15 on the tailgate holder brackets and I just need to finish them up. I got underneath of it, finally, and did a solid coat of POR on the cab underside and the frame a few days later. I still need to do a second coat, but before that, I'm going to use the tie coat primer to even out some patches, then hit it with 2 more coats of POR, then the topcoat. In the meantime, I installed my new clutch master cylinder and bled it out. I also did most of the install on the Bleepinjeep push button hood pins. I put them relatively close to the stock bolt location because it lined up well on the top for appearance. Originally, I intended to simply cut off the excess bits of the old latch system with the built in springs and use what was left of the bracket as a way to provide spring tension to the hood. I sanded off the metal clip edged on the top for a smooth hit and I will install hood bumpers to contact them. It wasn't until I went to place them that I noticed the brackets were slightly off center and that they used the same part in its entirety rather than create one for the opposite side. So now I'm probably going to create a square plate for it to sit on and fasten the spring portion to that. I finally finished out the prep on the interior and did 3 sprayed coats of Raptor liner. I did a couple of coats of acid etch for the exposed metal and one coat of adhesion promoter, just in case. The product turned out looking really good, but I'll have to wait for a few days to really see. My 20 gallon air compressor was way more than enough to complete the job with ease. Seeing the finished product makes me kind of want to spray it on the frame. It just has a nice look to it. I started prepping out the bed while I was waiting for the flash time on it and I think I'm going to cut out my wheel wells and create boltable angular metal wells to go in their place. The ones there are very bent up with a decent bit of rust and holes through them and I don't want to have to redo my bedlining later. After dealing a bit with the hood pins, I decided it was time to take off the front bumper and start prepping that for bedlining too. So now I need to bedline the front bumper, rock rails and door sills, bed, rollbar(maybe), the floor plates for the interior, and then the lower quarters of all the body metal. I also started researching and planning the circuitry for my offroad lights and other electronics. It took a bit to draw out a diagram, but I'm pretty sure I will need to put in another fuse box with relay space. A couple small things I did were cut the corners of my leaf spring plates(they were denting my new shocks) and used seam sealer on the back of the cab. I've also decided to go full PTFE fuel line, so I have some more parts coming. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to find the plastic brackets that fit everything, so I finally decided to just build brackets. I bought some small and large steel tube that I will cut in half and tack together to hold all the lines on the frame. The fuel cell holder didn't fit up quite right so I had to dismantle it a bit to get some space in it, so I have time to plan. I also, while looking for a solution to my differential breather issues, found a cool kit from ARB that connects all the breathers into one location, so I bought it. I'll be hooking that up, too. Doors relatively done Hinges all done and some other parts. I'll probably take the hinges off of the current doors at some point and replace the pins. Clutch in and the hood pin install so far. You can see where I want to place the springs. Frame all sanded and painted Underside of cab all set. While I was under there, I cut some of the old LCA plate off. Acid etch Getting ready First coat Final coats how to keep your wires out of the way 101 Bumper prep Clipped plate Sealed cab Bed getting ready Pipe for the brackets My corroded radiator.(It's on a list)
  9. I'm going to try to keep it relatively quick for the update here. As usual, work is commencing pretty steadily and I think I'll be ontime for my deadline. I finished welding all of the stiffeners on. I did a quick spray to protect it until I make it to paint(which is the very next thing on my agenda) but I still have to do a bit of grinding around the structural ridges to make it look at least decent. Then a bit of wire wheel to scrape off the burned up POR and then paint. I'll also be redoing the interior of it too, since the old coating is undoubtedly burned. I finished welding on the bolt strips for the boat side plates which officially wraps up all the metal work on the truck body and frame(for the next few seasons). Once I had them all sized up, I welded on the nuts. I'll probably be recessing the bolts into the plate a little to protect them. I started and finished construction of my fuel cell holder. I decided to just fabricate it myself rather than getting a friend with a cnc machine to do it. The fuel cell I have is a relatively new product, so there aren't any premade ones out there either. I used 16 gauge for the attaching bits and 1/8 for the L braces and bolt tabs. I broke down all my hinges to prep them up for welding the new posts and paint. I tried painting my tailgate a while ago and ended up with a very poor product(fisheyes everywhere) so I ended up sanding and repriming it again to prep for paint. I did the finish sand on it, the hood vents, and the two trail doors as well as shaping up the repair in the drivers side door latch. It was a decent day today and I managed to get a good solid paint coat on the tailgate, the vents, one of the doors(the other had a significant scratch in the primer coat that needed to be dealt with) and the striker area. All of them are finished painting with the exception of the bedliner on the bottoms. I still have to do the back of all of them, but that is a far easier task. More to come soon. All done and rough painted Boat side strips all welded in The fuel cell holder build Made it this far and then had to sand it back down a bit All prepped for paint Paint. I also did the striker area, but didn't get a pic.
  10. Ok, progress seems slow right now if only because I'm spending a good 8 to 12 hours welding these stiffeners. Now, for anyone who is considering frame stiffeners, I have a few pointers... Don't. Just don't. Sure, it makes the frame more sturdy, but they didn't fit hardly at all. Tons of time in trimming and grinding to get all the edges right and holes accounted for. Then the welding... Oh god, the welding. The frame is a fickle mistress, and sometimes the weld will be great, but for seemingly no reason, it will not hold, or won't adhere, or sometimes, just blow holes in the welds. I thought that these rear ones couldn't possibly be more difficult than the cab ones, and while they did, indeed, take less trimming, they are still a nightmare. So that said, I have just about finished one side of the rear. It's all welded up, it just needs some touch up weld to get the kinks smoothed out. Unfortunately, the ridge section just didn't cooperate, so it definitely doesn't look its best. I'll have to take some time trimming it up to make it look better. I'm almost done with the passenger side as well, which went much easier(to some degree). I will still have to grind and touch it up. I also finished up the bottom of the cab. All the seams are sealed and it's ready for paint, which will be POR15. I also finished up the door panels for the interior. All I have to do is drill the holes for the panel tabs on the metal. I have finished sanding and priming the outside bits of one door. And I started grinding out the tailgate, since the old paint just couldn't be smoothed over. I finished out putting the vibration mat in the cab as well. I may add more in a couple places though. The rail getting welded. And the almost finish on the other side. The sound and heat mat Door panel before sticking it together The panels being stuck together. And a little shot of the bolt strips I'll be welding on to each side for the bolt on boatside plates. Again, there has been a lot more work than it seems, but once I finish the welding, it should wrap up faster.
  11. I managed to get a little bit more done and the truck is fighting me every step of the way. I have a good three page list going that I'm trying to finish in 2 months so I can take the truck out to a big offroad show around here, so I'm really pushing to get things done. I removed the fenders and fabbed up some brace plates for the hinges and got those welded on. The welds to the hinges themselves were perfect, but the welds to the metal just didn't want to cooperate. Whether it was blowing through, not welding to it, or just spitting air out from behind the plate through the molten metal, it really didn't want those plates to go on. But persistence won out in the end and they are all on and primed. I also wire wheeled the drivers side rear rail and started welding that on. And that, too, is also fighting me. Some welds are fine but any welds around the support ridge in the side just won't stick. I fiddle with the numbers on the welder and then I'm melting it through. One way or another, it will get finished, though. I had to trim the stiffeners quite a bit for something that was supposed to be created for the truck. I also had to do some trimming for the fish plate and rock rail support. Eventually I'll get to sanding and painting it up with POR 15, but I'll have to regrind the inside of the rails since most of the paint will be burned off from the welds. The rocker panels now have 1.5" holes I cut for access to paint and check up on it, and I added drain holes in the floor. I pulled a plastic plug out from under my dash area for prep and noticed it said CAPLUGS on it, so I looked them up in the hope of finding some more in different sizes, and I did, so I bought a ton for all the little holes all around. The inside is all taped up for the liner, but I'm still waiting for a day to do it(it's pretty rainy here). I finished out the cuts on the other door and fabbed the support plate for the handle, so now it's on to customizing the door panels. I finished up all the sealing under the cab, so it is also ready for paint and while I was at it, I scraped the oil dirt from the underside of the trans tunnel so I can get that painted up too. The cuts to piece it around my supports Fenders off The hinge plates. I will also have to customize some hinge pins, since I can't find any anywhere, but I made sure it was grade 5 hardware Holes cut Taped up Welding in progress And the other side all ground off. I am a little sad I was grinding off a perfectly good POR 15 job, but it's all for the better. And all scraped off and ground as far up as I could get it. I removed the fuel lines and the exhaust for some added room. The exhaust was a pita and I'm honestly surprised I didn't strip the bolts. And handle in. And another little gift I got for myself. It is't mounted up yet since once I get to the front, the bumper is coming off to be bedlined. Started sanding. (I had a lot of downtime between weld periods)
  12. And back with another update. I will be doing this very often for the next few months as I push to get the truck ready for show and trail season. This is a smaller update to cover the daily progress I've managed. Today, my goals were twofold. I wanted to finish the welding under the cab so that I could finally finish sealing it up and painting. As I said before, it's one of the more difficult bits. But today, I finally managed to pull myself into doing it. The main problem was that I needed to weld some new bridge pieces where I cut out for the rock rails so there weren't gaping holes in my rockers. The fit was difficult, to say the least, and I put it off because I knew it would be a job without a lot of progress to show. But finally, it is done. No more welding under the cab(for now). All that's left is to seam seal and paint it up. In addition, I also managed to test fit one of the trail doors, and I'm really excited for when those will be done. It fits up well, I just need to get hinges that work for me. I have a handful that I was cutting and dismantling to put on the doors, but some were simply impossible to work the pin loose. Otherwise, all that remains is to cut the hole for the other door to have a handle and then its finish work. I'll have to sand and prime the doors as well as spray the inside, just to be sure it doesn't rust. Then it goes to paint with the tailgate and hood vents. After that, I'll work the door panels I have and cut them to fit and look like a stock addition. With all that out of the way, I'll probably start prepping the frame rear for stiffeners. Did a full prime of the tailgate too. There's a lot of high and low spots from the old paint I'll have to sand out. The finished bits, ready for seam seal and paint. Took out the headlights and started pulling the fenders off. I'll be custom making a 3/16 plate to stabilize the hinges soon, so it all comes off. I'll also be replacing the headlights. And finally, the trail door in position for a final check
  13. I was in that exact spot not that long ago(my leaf spring hanger was actually not attached anymore when it went to repair). The thing that got me about it was the stigma associated with it. Everyone always said if there are holes in the frame, it's over. Scrap. I said almost word for word what you said when I found it and everyone I asked said nothing could be done, and yet, here I am. My truck has had half a frame spliced onto the back of it. Even after that, it's been patched in a few spots and had stiffeners welded on to strengthen it. It's still strong. The point is, no matter how bad it looks, there is always a way to fix it, despite what the purists say. For yours, it looks like some well placed and welded panels will pull it back together again, and it will be way easier than you think it is. Keep up the cool build and keep a positive outlook on it, and you'll have it back on the road in no time. On a side note, though, definitely do some light taps with a hammer along the low points and see if there isn't more damage. Better to know about it ahead of time so you can repair it in one fell swoop.
  14. Thanks, been trying to bring it back for the Spring season, and here I am again with my nose to the grindstone. I figured since I'm already reinforcing the frame, might as well go all out and make the inside accessible. That's one of the worst spots and if I can make it so I can consistently care for it, I will. As for the inner rockers, for me it was just the easier option than patching. I actually like the look and added bulk too, though, so it worked out. Anyways, here is my big update now that the outage is over and I have time to work on it again. During the outage, I've had a slew of parts arrive for me which include: fuel cell, external fuel pump, fuel lines, hood pins, hood vents, more army green paint, raptor liner, an upgraded t case linkage, brake lines, a new D44 cover gasket, various body plugs, LED headlights, sound mat, a front to back 92 wiring harness, a couple of truck covers, a pillar grab handles(at least that's what they're going to be), a master clutch cylinder, and a new downpipe (to start making my side exhaust). There's probably a few things I forgot, but I'll get to them as I work with them. I started by disconnecting my gas peddle to remove it and unbolting my clutch master. Since I haven't bench bled the new one yet, so I didn't fully disconnect it. I also managed to get the interior all seam sealed and sanded down, then hit it with a coat of primer. I'll do one more sanding and then prep it up for bedliner, but I'll need a good couple day stretch of nice weather for that. I also started to finish up the underside of the cab, which was it's own complex nightmare of small spaces, weld seams, old rust, and poor positioning. This has bee one of the bigger projects on my plate, since wrapping my head around the project at large, was difficult. There are so many spots where rust could lurk and so many things in the way of getting a good proper prep and paint. Little by little, though, I am tackling it. In the future, in the off chance that I ever have to work on the floors again, I will probably just go with the pre made floor pans to simplify the assembly and finish. For the underside of the cab, I haven't decided if I want to bedline it or not, since I probably won't be able to do all of it. I really want to get the trans tunnel, but the clearance just isn't going to make it possible. I pulled the bed back off again to access my rock rail edges for bedlining and to stiffen the rear frame. This will, hopefully, be the last time I ever have to drop that gas tank, and I will gain a decent amount of space under the bed in its place. The rock rails are sanded and primed awaiting the aforementioned few nice days(not a common thing here in this season). After pulling the bed, I noticed the back of the cab at the edge seems had a tiny bit of bubbling, so I wire wheeled them out. I'm not sure how moisture made its way in there, but I suppose I'll just have to do a better job this time. I managed to get lucky with the brake lines for my console emergency brake. I found a few on summit that were on sale for 10 a piece and figured why not give it a try. I hadn't ordered any yet because finding the proper size of the sheath and cable plus the type of ends was practically impossible unless I knew the measurements for a specific car model. I waded through so many listings trying to find the right size, but never did. I bought these on a whim because they looked about right and the measurements were roughly there. I received them and, amazingly, they actually fit with a little modification. I did have to cut the boxed end(not sure what kind of ebrake design it was for, but it didn't fit the gm large), and remove the spring, so it was just a little cylindrical end to fit in the bracket on my calipers that used the already supplied springs. The cables seem strong, so I have high hopes that this will finally solve my issues. With the nice weather this passed weekend, I also did the bondo work on the tailgate and cab corners. I'm not really going for perfection since it will all be bedlined in the end, but I do want some decently smooth lines. The tailgate got sanded and primed on the bottom today, just to see where the bumps and pits were. Overall, it isn't bad enough to need another run of bondo, which is nice. With that, the rest of the tailgate is ready to prep for paint. Today also allowed me to do some fab work for my trail doors, as I want those for Spring and Summer, too. I finally cut the holes for the half door handles and fit them up with a bit of adjustment. Originally, I wanted to weld a little piece of metal on the end to act as a holder to keep it in the door. When I went to weld, it stuck but didn't feel right. Turns out it was aluminum. Didn't feel light enough to be that, but so be it. I didn't do anything more than superficial damage to it, so I devised another bracket to go behind the handle and screw through the center to hold it in. After getting that to work, I started measuring and fabricating some pull rods to go to the latch. It took some trial and error before I got one that worked perfectly. While I was at it, I also cut all the new hinges to make them removable. Now all that's left is to test fit them, paint them, and adjust the upholstery on the door panels inside. I do have some ideas for a step plate and arm rest cushion, but that will come later. A pile of goodies(some not shown) Getting ready to work Bed removed, some priming done. I'll have to modify the stiffener a bit before tacking it on. The dismantled t case shifter and trans plates I sanded down for paint. I eventually got a few coats on them as well as some on the hood vents. Sizing up some stiffeners Sanded some ready for a full prime Full prime. I'll be taking the bedliner up to where the primer is all around the cab More primed. Also sanded the patch panels for bondo. Bondo More Bondo Some seam sealed underside. It didn't react well with the primer even though it said to use it, so I may have to sand it out a little and do some again. Front drivers side of the cab. Just illustrates the difficulty I'm having pulling it all together. Tailgate all sanded down. And primed. By the way, this primer is terrible. I do not recommend it. The "modified" brake cable. The bracket prototype with the screw hole drilled. Simple but effective. In the door The custom latch rods, the top one ended up being the winner. It is a bit more flexible, but also has the tiniest bit more range of movement that allowed fully engaged and disengaged function. And lastly, all the pieces
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