MiniBuild #14 ~ Project Baja Racer

Discussion in 'D and C Extreme' started by Damian Grihalva, Jan 9, 2008.


  1. Architectdave

    Architectdave High Wheeler

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    Okay great stuff whats next?
     
  2. Tom Mandera

    Tom Mandera Dreams of Cub Cadets

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    I think it's "Damian running himself silly trying to finish things up a week before he thought RMIHR was going to be".. which was supposed to culminate in Robert picking up the chassis yesterday, but I don't know if that happened yet or not (seems he's having Travelette problems).
     
  3. Tom Mandera

    Tom Mandera Dreams of Cub Cadets

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    Should add that once it gets back to Montana, I need to meet with the sheetmetal-interior guy about the aluminum tunnel and dash work and a few other things before it makes it the rest of the way to my house for even more work.. ;)
     
  4. Gary Billings

    Gary Billings Dreams of Cub Cadets

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    Yeah, Robert is having Travelette problems. Radiator & intermediate shaft are broken. He stayed the night with us and today he took one of my Scouts down to Denver to pick up parts and then back down to Salida to fix his truck.

    -Gary
     
  5. Damian Grihalva

    Damian Grihalva High Wheeler

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    Run myself is right. Everything on this racer is fighting me! What else is new:clover:.

    I heard Rob was having problems, which in a way is good since the racer doesn't want to leave. I kid you not ~ EVERYTHING is fighting. No hardware for this, no hardware for that (thanks tom:tt2::nono:) Next I need to seriously trim down the track bar bracket to allow it to clear the hysteer. Still, the hysteer needs some massaging to get to work...then the freakin' NEW 9/16 studs chunk in NEW threaded holes, then after getting the new draglink and tie-rod made for the thing, the TR hits the track bar bolt at full turn. No prob, nothing custom arms won't fix.

    Then I get a track-bar weld-in bung made and the machinist used the wrong thread pitch....18tpi instead of 14tpi, so I got to go get that taken care of today. Then the small bearing spindles end up being LARGE bearing spindles ~ called in and got those machined.

    One thing after another things are finally getting checked off, but man, has the last 4 days been crazy.

    The good news is that the racer is on its weight ~ or was. Seats mounted, dash bars installed, and I'm about to build the center consule bars now, then I need to make a run to Napa and get some more hardware (thanks tom:tt2:) for the spindles.

    Now I just need to drive down to Chris's and pick up some roller rims/tires for the trip home. I've got tons of pictures, but since things still aren't 100%, I figure I'll save the updates till the racer is safe on Rob's trailer and on its way back to MT.

    Sincerely, a very tired...
    D
     
  6. Tom Mandera

    Tom Mandera Dreams of Cub Cadets

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    So do the F150 hub/rotors fit on there now?

    Background story is I bought "small bearing" spindles off Ebay months ago and had 'em shipped directly to D&C, then sent down the F150 hub/rotors a month or two ago (after the spindles had been sent) so I never had a chance to test-fit the parts or confirm that the spindles I bought were the spindles I thought I was buying. ;)

    Should have been spindle nuts in the box I sent. I sent down some used nuts I had so you'd be able to put it all together well 'nuff.

    Again, more background, is that I didn't send down tons of "good stuff" (new wheel seals, new bearings, calipers, etc) since the housing doesn't have any axle shafts (I think there are some Alloy USA shafts going in) and I knew I would have to tear down the front end again anyhow - at least to get the shafts in, plus it will still need the 5.86 gears installed.
     
  7. Damian Grihalva

    Damian Grihalva High Wheeler

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    Yes. They fit now. Took quite a bit of machining...but Warner was able to crank them out.

    A likely story! You just wanted to see me sweat....


    Proof you wanted to see me sweat! DANA60 locknuts! They didn't fit...and I even tried welding them on.

    BTW ~ need new spindles now.:tt2::eek:

    JK.

    I understand that! No need to throw everything in now when its got to be taken apart anyway.
    Still no news from Rob.:eek:
     
  8. Gary Billings

    Gary Billings Dreams of Cub Cadets

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    Rob got his Travelette fixed yesterday and dropped my Scout off at our house last night. His truck was running hot while trailering my 800 up from Salida.

    -Gary
     
  9. Damian Grihalva

    Damian Grihalva High Wheeler

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    Thanks Gary ~ I'm puzzled at the lack of communication from Rob, but it sure is nice to know that he's up and running. I assume he's going to be showing up here sometime, but... I donno. I heard from him last week before he left saying he was going to leave...but nothing since. When I didn't hear from him, I figured he didn't make it. Sure wouldn't have been nice to know one way or another:confused: ~ anyway, a big thanks to Gary for bringing it up on the RMB email list. I still wouldn't have known without his 'I lent one of my Scouts to a guy named Rob from MT that was having trouble with his T-ette' mention from the 'we're back from RMIHR threads'.

    I'm going to head to the junkyard to pick up a pitman arm to get the Racer steering. Should make it easier to load onto the trailer. I've also got to pickup a new tire chuck to fill the tires I got from Chris so it'll roll easier. Then I'll work on manuvering it out of the garage. As soon as that's done, I can start moving to the shop.:gunsmilie:
     
  10. Damian Grihalva

    Damian Grihalva High Wheeler

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    Well its time to upload the last week of work to the racer. I've got 150+ pictures to sort through so lets see how many actually make it to the build.

    As noted before, RMIHR snuck up on me pretty quick. I figured I had another week then....what-do-ya know RMIHR is only two days away.:eek:

    After a call to Tom, I hear Rob is coming down to pick the racer up...and I put everything else on hold and start doing nothing but the racer. Which is good since everything on the to-do list fought me to the end. :censored: But lets pick up this thread where it left off.

    The engine was in...mounts in place and the trans was put on a jack stand to hold it till I got the crossmember made. Once a spare D20 t-case was located, we installed that to give us a good representation of where the crossmember needed to be.

    Then a rachet strap held the trans/t-case up so we could get a good look from below.
    [​IMG]

    Please don't fall on me mister trans/t-case!
    [​IMG]

    With the jackstand out of the way, I find its most productive just to get underneath it all and take a look.
    [​IMG]
    Looking up at everything and being able to see where things actually are, takes alot of the guess work out of placement and such.

    Luckily everything worked out so that a nice straight crossmember! First thing I bolted the RPT mount to the trans...
    [​IMG]

    Then used the plastic block Mike@IHO has made with his mounts as a guide to cut the holes in the crossmember.
    [​IMG]
    As you can see, I'm simply using some 2x3 box tube (3/16" wall) to make the crossmember.

    [​IMG]
    The holes at the ends are sleeved with DOM w/ a 1/2" ID to keep them from crushing if tom uses an impact on them while tightening. The ends were also capped to keep dirt/debris out of the tube. The section in the middle was simply cut out and capped at each end to give support/strength. We also left the stock bends for rigidity immediately around the trans mount area.

    Urethane bushings in place w/ steel sleeves that came with the mounts.
    [​IMG]

    Mocked up. Bottom side.
    [​IMG]

    Top side.
    [​IMG]

    Installing the mount was pretty quick. Just inserted the bolts and tightened them
    [​IMG]
     
  11. Damian Grihalva

    Damian Grihalva High Wheeler

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    Installed it looked like this.
    [​IMG]

    But really, I needed to jack it up just a touch ~ to get the right pitch in the drivetrain...so it ended up like this.
    [​IMG]

    Then I realized that I had lowered it too much, so I swapped the trans-mount-mounts to the top, and welded them in.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    All done and sitting pretty.
    [​IMG]

    I also took the time to install the steering. Tom sent me the brackets for the wheel w/ brake pedal so lets cover that now shall we? After a quick run to Lowes for some hardware ~ tom hates sending hardware ~ the steering wheel was in.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Damian Grihalva

    Damian Grihalva High Wheeler

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    Then for kicks we put back on the stock trans cover to see where it'd have to end up to fit.
    [​IMG]
    Thats quite aways back fromt stock!

    Looking at the pedals
    [​IMG]
    As you can see, the brake pedal is right where the gas should be. As Tom mentioned before, we'll have to move that later...or, he will. (snicker snicker)

    At first I thought I could simply weld in some extentions to the trans cover, but in reality...this is how far back it really was.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    That would make for a hard weld. Besides, Rob is supposed to be turning this racer over to a buddy for some aluminum interior work... I'm sure he'll come up with something far superior than what sheet metal would look like.

    Next we got the front axle back in place. For reference, here you can see that the entire motor and drive pulleys is completely behind the axle. This will yeild one NICE balance to the rig!
    [​IMG]

    Then it was time to set pinion and caster. So with the pinion pointed at the t-case front output. We added caster.
    [​IMG]

    Then welded the beasty out of it.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Then we treated the racer to some BTF bling! A bit on the expensive side, but it got the coil-overs up and out of the way ~ in a blingy-kinda way.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  13. Damian Grihalva

    Damian Grihalva High Wheeler

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    Now that the lower coilover mounts are made, it was time to make the top ones. For this I used 3/8" x 3" plate. With the Plasma and the use of a bench grinder, I roughed out the shape.
    [​IMG]

    I guess I should say I started with a cardboard template ~ then went back and forth from the rig to the benchgrinder till the mounts were perfect.
    [​IMG]
    What a pain. :sweatdrop:

    At last, they fit nice and snug.
    [​IMG]

    After making sure they were in-line with the mounts on the axle, I burned them in.
    [​IMG]

    Then the lower mounts got burned in. ~ or at least the driver side.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Mounts with fake shock in place.
    [​IMG]
     
  14. Damian Grihalva

    Damian Grihalva High Wheeler

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    The passenger side was not so easy. Why? Because it needed the track bar mount. Normally I would have done this the same way I did Rusty, Evo, MB11, or any of the other XLC kits ~ but since this is a racer build ~ a racer build that will spend a GOOD amount of time in the air ~ I wanted to make the draglink and panhard/track bar as even in length and down angle as possible. This way bump steer is minimalized.

    To make the track bar as long as possible. I bought one of these mounts from PolyPerformance. Its an expensive little bugger but it'll allow me to put the trackbar as far out on the axle tube as possible.
    [​IMG]

    However having the track bar out this far, brings up some obvious problems. First and foremost, interference with the steering. So to make sure we got it right, the Hysteer knuckles needed to be installed ~ along with the arms and everything we're going to use with the steering.

    We got these knuckles sandblasted and painted. Got some dust on them....
    [​IMG]

    And new ball joints. These are NOT standard Dana/Spicer ball joints. I get these instead of the Dana/Spicer units becuase they seem like they are much tighter/higher tolerance ball joints. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten a Dana/Spicer joint only to have it waggin' around with little friction. Not to say that's bad ~ they were new afterall ~ but I like new parts feeling like they're new, not sloppy. Know what I mean?
    [​IMG]

    To fit the new bracket around the coil-over tab, some trimming with the cut-off wheel needed to take place.
    [​IMG]

    Then we tacked it back onto the housing using the 'shock bar' method above.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Once things were trimmed a bit, we put the lower trackbar mount in place.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Sure enough it was too high and stuck to far forward for the steering NOT to hit.

    So the trimming began. After a quick look, I decided an inch off it would do the trick. It wasn't easy cutting down that bracket, but after the cut we were MUCH closer to where we needed to be.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Damian Grihalva

    Damian Grihalva High Wheeler

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    Going through all these pictures and writing up the dialog, I have to say, this sure looks a ton easier when I'm posting the pictures than it the PIA it was when I was actually doing it!

    Alright, alright...back to it.

    Holding the chopped bracket up to the axle.
    [​IMG]

    Nice & clean. I was looking for little-to-no gaps ~ just even slits to fill with weld.
    [​IMG]
    Good stuff.

    The back side needed numerous trims here and there to get the track bar mount as vertical as possible.
    [​IMG]

    Finally I could weld it in.
    [​IMG]
    Couldn't get all the way up that outer inside weld, but got enough.
    [​IMG]
    (This is the 300th picture on this post):happybday:

    Along the bottom seam.
    [​IMG]

    Now for those of you who want to know how close the steering is to the axle-side trackbar mount.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Pretty freakin' close. That releif PolyPerformance puts in their bracket was JUST enough.:hammer: I'm actually having my machinist make a new set of arms that will put the tie-rod below the hysteer arm, so we can run the draglink AND tierod off the arms. Putting the Tierod above the arm will cause it to hit the track-bar bolt
     
  16. Damian Grihalva

    Damian Grihalva High Wheeler

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    Are we done yet? Not even close. :(

    Next I'll mount the steering box. As with Snoopy, I needed to make sure that the steering box will be able to handle the bumps and jars of racing, jumping, crashing, and all that other stuff. To make the frame mount as BEEF as I could, I knew I'd have to do a couple things. ONE, plate the frame. This will spread out the load from the steering over a greater area. Second, connect the two frame sides together (to be covered later).

    Onto step one. Like the Snoopy build, I plated the frame. Unlike the snoopy build, I took the opertunity to move the steering box forward and away from the frame (or off teh frame) 5"ish and 1" respectively. How did I do this? With some 1" x 4" cold-rolled bar steel!

    First I made a mounting bolt template and drilled huge 5/8" holes into the bar stock. Then I enlarged the holes in the box to 9/16" and bolted it to the billet bar with some Grade8 FINE thread bolts and some U-bolt nuts (which are longer than normal nuts for more contact area/strength).
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Once tight, I welded the nuts to the billet bar stock.
    [​IMG]
    This insures that the nuts don't shift a bit when they're welded.

    Then I welded the plate to the frame (cutting the frame out where needed)
    [​IMG]

    Box bolted back on.
    [​IMG]
    For those of you with good eyes, you'll notice that the bar is welded in numerouse passes. This allows a bigger weld area ~ considering we're welding 1" thick to 1/8" thick, its hard to get good penetration into BOTH peices of steel. Thats one reason I weld dissimallar thick peices in multiple passes. Love it, hate it... there ya go.

    Moving right along. Upper track bar mount. The reason for mounting the box to the frame first was to get an adequate position of where the pitman arm would be and where they trackbar mount would need to be. Once that's done, here's what I normally use as an axle-side track bar mount ~ but we're going to use it on the frame side.
    [​IMG]

    After some measuring, I determined what height I'd need to match the pitman arm and drew some cut lines.
    [​IMG]

    Once cut, we checked its placement. AS you can see, I mounted the upper trackbar mount to at least two sides of the frame (the bottom and outside in this case). This puts more weld surface on the mount which makes it stronger. If I were to weld just to the bottom of the frame, it 'could' be strong enough to hold under extreme conditions, but why take the chance?
    [​IMG]

    Here's a shot showing how the track bar mount is going to be the same 'height' as the pitman arm.
    [​IMG]

    Capped
    [​IMG]
    Notice that I also made the track bar mount weld right up to the steering box mount. This allowed me to weld the two together with will further spread the trackbar 'forces' across the frame.
     
  17. Damian Grihalva

    Damian Grihalva High Wheeler

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    Another 50+ pictures to go through....stay 'posted'
     
  18. Damian Grihalva

    Damian Grihalva High Wheeler

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    Back on the steering eh?

    Tieing the driver frame rail to the passenger frame rail is an old trick that come companys sell kits for ~ they're called 'straight steer' braces. Normally I do not subcribe to their use, but in some cases, I believe they're nessesary. The reason for using one is if you plan on turning big tires in an off-road or high-torque setting ~ aka if you're going very slow or stopped.

    What happens is that as you turn your wheel, the steering box forces the tires one way or another, turning them. And when you do this repeatedly, you could fatiage your frame quite a bit ~ causing the steering box itself to twist on the frame (which translates into sloppy steering) and when combined with other factors, could make your scout wander a little bit more than it already is.

    On the racer, Tom will be repeatingly beating the piss out of the chassis. It'll get hammered often (ever seen Tom's current racer ~ its hammered). That's why we decided to tie the steering box mounts to the opposite side from the get-go. Now normally this isn't needed having mounted the box to a big freakin' thick plate ~ but because its for a race application, better safe than sorry.

    As you guys probably noticed, the steering box is was mounted further forward than normal. This caused one of the bolt holes to pop out of the top of the frame. Normally this would be bad, but in this case, its good. Why? Because we're going to use some roll-bar tube to mount the box plate, and frame together to the opposite side. To do this we took some 2" tube, and started grinding on it.
    [​IMG]

    We basically cut off half of the tube so that it'll sit half on top of the frame, half on the inner frame wall. The cool thing is that a 3rd edge will be mounted directly to the mounting plate like so.
    [​IMG]

    Another view.
    [​IMG]
    A slight bend near the passenger frame rail was needed to hit the bar directly on the inner face of the frame. There, nice and gusseted!

    While Paul was doing that, I was off the the hot-rod shop to get some Borgeson joints. Normally we stock these but having sold out earlier in the week, we didn't have any ~ and since Rob was just around the corner to pick this beast up...well it had to be done. I hate paying retail.

    The first joint as slid on the steering column.
    [​IMG]

    Then the steering box joint was put in its place. I then held the two joints so that they pointed at each other so that I could get an accurate measurement for the Double-D shaft that goes between them.
    [​IMG]

    Once the measurement was made, I cut the Double-D shaft down and test fitted it.
    [​IMG]

    After a good fit was acheived, I made it permanent.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    You may notice that the Double-D shaft was welded on the steering column side. Truth be told, the shop I got the joints from didn't have the correct joints in stock, and since I didn't have the time to wait for them, I just got them and presto, they're there.

    Next, I made a quick run to the junkyard again and got a pitman arm. Didn't have one of those...so...you do whatcha gotta do. Put it on and installed the X-duty Draglink.
    [​IMG]

    You can see how close the steering is to the trackbar mounts in this next picture.
    [​IMG]
     
  19. Damian Grihalva

    Damian Grihalva High Wheeler

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    Here's a few more shots of the steering.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    uh....ah.....ohhhhh....

    Okay, lets keep rolling along.

    Next we started getting on the comfortable part of the build. I talked Tom into going with a set of Corbeau Ultra SS suspension seats.
    [​IMG]
    These are the seats I used in Rusty, as well as what I used in Snoopy for a back seats for my son. I got these from a local guy for a screamin' deal. I got the seats, with bases, and sliders for $300. Sold them to tom minus the bases and one slider for $250. Normally sold for $229 each + sliders. Needless to say, well worth the money.

    Now Tom initially wondered why I wanted to use the Ultras. They are technically for a 36+" waist and such. But I'm a 34" waist and I know I'm much more comfortable in the Ultras than in a standard Baja. They're snug, but not too snug. The thing that hooked Tom (besides the price) is that the Ultras are a few inches taller than the normal Baja SS ~ this means that the headrest and harness holes are higher on the back and will support your head and not compress your spine in even of an accident.

    Another nice thing about them is the zippered pocket in the back of the seat ~ gotta love some smooth storage.
    [​IMG]

    Mounting them isn't hard, they come with 4 tabs that point forward/back. under the steel tube inner frame. The 'suspension' part of the 'suspension seat' lies in those nylon cords you see zig-zagging across the bottom of the seat. These cords are actually military grade and suspend the occupant between the padded metal frame. So even though the seats will be rigidly bolted to the cage/chassis ~ the riders have some 'air' ride comfort. These type of seats are standard issue for most off-road racing circuits. I like them so much, I'm a Corbeau Dealer! Not just the suspension seats, but all their products from seats to bases to sliders to harnesses...to...well, you get the picture. Check Corbeau out at www.corbeau.com .

    Anyway, lets get them mounted shall we?

    After several years of doing this different ways, I've decided that my favorite way to integrate seats into the cage is by putting one bar across the back (to pick up the rear mounts) and then a forward bar with one bend to pick up the front mounts. Its time consuming, but it works and its strong.
    [​IMG]

    Here's another shot. These bars were put abnormally low to keep Tom and any passenger's wieght as low as possible.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    To pick up the tabs on the passenger seat, I simply welded two 3/16" x 2" plate across the two bars. I actually drilled and bolted these plates to the seats and then set them on the bars to get right spacing. Tack weldeded them in. Removed the seat, and then welded them up.
    [​IMG]

    Mounting the seats back in after everything is cool.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Damian Grihalva

    Damian Grihalva High Wheeler

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    Onto the driver side. The driver side was mounted on a slider to make it easy for Tom to get close to the wheel, then slide back for exiting. He's planning on a removeable steering wheel, but still. Every little bit helps.

    The sliders, however require different mounts. They mount flat, which means instead of putting two bars verticle like the passenger side, we mounted them horizontal.
    [​IMG]

    Since they aren't as strong in this position, we used angle iron on the inner side, and then welded a verticle piece on the outer side.
    [​IMG]

    PLENTY strong. Oh, for tube, we used 1.5" HREW up front, and 1.75" DOM in back. Got beef?

    Here's the slider handle stickin' out the front.
    [​IMG]

    Both seats in place.
    [​IMG]

    Now to finish up the odds-n-ends stuff. TEEDIOUS junk that keeps you busy for hours and hours. Does it ever end? Nope.

    First thing to wrap up is the front coil-over towers mount to the frame. I wanted to keep the theme of mounting important structures to two sides of the frame rail to make sure they're sturdy. Well, in the front, to help clearance the Borgeson Steering Conversion with the coil-over towers, I possitioned the towers about 3/4" off the inside of the frame.
    [​IMG]

    To fill that gap, for lack of a better term ~ and to give an extremely sturdy mount, I grabbed 3 cage kit feet plate per side and cut them like so.
    [​IMG]

    The first one was 100% stock, a box plate and I used the bolt holes to rosette weld it to the inside of the frame.
    [​IMG]

    The other two plates, cut smaller than the inside one, then got stacked in place.
    [​IMG]

    Then the whole structure was welded together. This gave a adequate base to weld the coil-over tower too.
    [​IMG]

    Other side matched.
    [​IMG]
     

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