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Shortening a long bed?


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My searches for a cheap, clean short bed shell that is close enough for me to pickup up for less than $500 in gas has been constantly coming up short.

 

So, why not cut a long bed frame down? Has anyone tried this?

 

I'm allowed to cut it as short as I want, as long as it still "appears" stock. So I figured I should be able to get the wheelbase down to around 110", and I'll probably end up just using the skin from the bed anyway, so shaving that down shouldn't be an issue. I'm in the idea phase right now, researching it trying to figure out the pros and cons, and trying to see if anyone has had success with it.

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Hacking off the end of the bed will shorten it a bit, but will do nothing for the wheelbase. You will need extensive frame fabrication, and bed fabrication, and some really good welds. The short and long wheelbase frames are not the same - with the exception of the longbed being longer. They're designed differently. You will be much better off finding a shortbed than hacking up your longbed, unless it's already in rough shape and you'd really like a long term project.

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I'm racing on a limited budget, so anywhere I can replace cash with time, I'm all about it. The finished product doesn't have to be pretty, just work. I could even go so far as cut the entire back end off and tube frame it, according to the rules. The only thing stopping that is the cost of the materials.

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I'm looking for it to be more nimble between the trees and around the hairpins. I can't currently drive around the hairpins, which isn't a big deal if I can slide around them like I'm supposed to. Except that I suck at it right now, and manage to botch up about 50% of the time. Leading me to have to do a 3 point turn sometimes.

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The steering is already 18 turns lock-to-lock. I don't need more turn in, I need a smaller turn radius. Just about every single vehicle I compete against is less than 110" wheelbase, with 98" being very, very common. I have 21" more than that, not to mention that part that hangs off after the axle. I've messed around with different ideas, but after talking with a guy that has rallied both LWB and SWB pickups in the past, he says that shorter is always better. With his level of success, I'm going to believe him.

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There's some small stuff you could do to an MJ to get a tighter turning radius:

 

 

Narrowing the rear track width helps with turning radius.

There's not much room for tires as it is, with the wide frame rails,

but if your type of racing doesn't require wide tires, running factory 15x6's reduces track width 1" under what you'd get with the factory 15x7's.

Beyond that, you could go with a narrower axle, but you'll run out of tire room fast.

 

 

 

 

Re-drill the spring perches on your axle to move the axle forward & reduce wheelbase.

Doesn't require major work to move your axle an inch, or two either way,

just move the pin hole in the perch, and be sure to drill the corresponding hole in the U-bolt plate for the back side of the spring pin to come through.

 

 

 

 

You could swap in shorter leaf springs + the above to take 4-5", or more out of the wheelbase.

 

XJ leafs should be good for an inch, or two less wheelbase (I put XJ leafs on an MJ I was junking, it looked like a 1-2" shorter WB).

Swapping XJ leafs means you could cut wheelbase, without moving the ft spring eye brackets,

tho you would have to relocate the shackle brackets.

As a side effect, you could cut off more of the overhang with XJ leafs, than if you kept the MJ leafs.

 

 

You'd need to shorten you driveshaft if you moved your wheelbase much.

 

Modify your knuckles for more steering angle at the wheel, like dasbulliwagen already said.

 

You'd probably have to modify the LCA's to use all the steering angle (or use modified WJ LCA's)

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More power? :brows: :fool:

 

I know, I know, youre doing all you can with the 2.5 and have a possible 2.8 in the works. Without going to a Cherokee 2 door type wheelbase or a full tube rear put where you want it, I don't think theres much else you can do. Not sure what your fab skills are, but a full tube rear half is probably the only way youll get the wheelbase you want. Good luck, and we'll be keeping an eye out for updates!

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how does your competition do it? If they are sliding through the turns, then you just need more practice. :thumbsup: what gears/locker are you running? an open diff and crappy gears will lessen your ability to break traction on command.

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Narrowing the rear track width helps with turning radius.

Not going to happen. I'm worried enough about a roll over, I don't need to tempt fate at all.

 

Re-drill the spring perches on your axle to move the axle forward & reduce wheelbase.

Seems like a lot of work for little payoff. I need more than an inch or two to make a difference

 

You could swap in shorter leaf springs + the above to take 4-5", or more out of the wheelbase.

If I do this, then my tires will hit the front of the wheel wells. This is an interesting idea, but then I'd have to cut the bed to make it work, and I'm pretty much back at just cutting the whole thing shorter.

 

Modify your knuckles for more steering angle at the wheel, like dasbulliwagen already said.

I have enough steering angle to cord the front tires. More isn't going to help any.

 

And as for how my competition does it - simple, more power and smaller cars. I still have the crappy 2.5L. And a Ford 8.8 with trac lock. In order for me to get the whole thing to rotate, I have to come into the turn super hot, and then I lose all the momentum in the slide, and then I don't have the power to take off. It's very painful all around.

 

The moral of the story is that I need a shorter wheelbase. It's something I had suspected, but after talking to those with far more experience than me in my type of racing (remember, this isn't SCORE, desert racing, rock crawling, or mudding), I feel that the wheelbase will always hurt me. Especially when event organizers are warning me that I might have a hard time maneuvering between some of the trees on a particular section. I am very, very tempted to pick up an S10, which already has a 108" wheelbase, which has been suggested to me on more than one occasion...

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Jim.......give me a call tomorrow, I should be over to the shop........I have a couple SWB you can look at and compare what you have now, and what you'll need. Plus........I just might want to get rid of that one blue SWB MJ, the one with the wooden flat bed.......with the 2.5 in it :roll:

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