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  #41  
Old 01-21-2012, 08:40 PM
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astroracer astroracer is offline
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I did a quick design for a tank crossmember. I will have to make this out of two pieces as my brake only goes to 30 inches and this piece is 39. No biggie, lets me get creative with the shape. :)

I'll put some 1/4-20 AVK's in the top of the rail to attach the floor and upper tank flange.

Mark
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  #42  
Old 01-21-2012, 08:41 PM
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I have been chomping at the bit all week to get out to the shop. We got about 3 inches of snow last night so I blew off drining 65 miles into work today. Stayed home and worked on the van. (After shoveling walks and driveways of course...)
TechRod, by all means get a thread going! Some of the computer and electrical stuff you are doing is crazy!

Mel came out after I called him. He worked on the floor patches, notching the old xmbr so it will fit over the K braces and making plug weld flanges. he layed out the notches and cut them out with the sawzall and plasme cutter.

He cut a piece of 2" DOM down the middle and fit the halfs into the notches he made.

All welded up and grinding down the high spots.


While Mel was working on all of that I was building this contraption to set the height for the top of the new inner wheel houses. This gives me a hard reference point for height AND a place to clamp too.

It will stay in place while I build both sides.

I used posterboard to make the RH pattern. This is the difficult side because I have to work around the bottom of the slider door track. It is directly behind the inner sheet metal and protrudes into the wheel well about an inch and a half.

This pic is from underneath so you can see the track and how I had to jog the panel around it.
This is the fit I am looking for. It won't be welded to the outer. The inner panel will get welded and this gap will get filled with seam sealer.


Once the pattern was made I could start cutting steel. I cut a hunk of 18ga with the old Pexto. That machine handles the heavier gage a bit easier than the 3 in 1 does...
Laid out the pattern, cut out the shape, put a bit of a bend on it to conform to the old inner well and set it in place for a look see...

After a couple more ins-n-outs I had the shape real close.

This is the fit-up underneath. I wanted to keep the new steel away from the outer by about an 1/8th inch. It's real close to that and it will seal up nice.

There is a little more finagaling to do but I think it's real close right now. I put in a few Cleco's and called it a day.

The Cleco's are half an inch from the edge of the inner. The new panel will get trimmed to this edge and welded in once I have all of the fabricating on both tubs complete.

Thanks for looking
Mark
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  #43  
Old 01-22-2012, 11:15 AM
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jmastersinc jmastersinc is offline
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Great work! I'm enjoying following this build!
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  #44  
Old 01-22-2012, 01:29 PM
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Nice, subscribed!
great attention to detail in design and build, very nice work.
Out of curiosity, what did you use or do to create the part of the frame that is arched over the differential housing? (the round section of the square tubing). Loving the amount of detail you are putting into the build.
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  #45  
Old 01-28-2012, 06:48 AM
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astroracer astroracer is offline
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Thanks guys! i amglad you are liking the build as much as I am. Things are coming to gether well. not as quickly as I would like but any progress is good...
Mat,
The rear ails are from Chassis Works. I used two of their 6" dropped crossmembers. I was quoted over 400 bucks to have them custom bent and got these for $75 apiece... A no brainer, right? They are 2 x 3 x 1/8th wall and worked very well other than a few "twist" issues which we worked out during set-up.

Mel worked his ASS off on the floor patch this weekend. We had an issue where the two pieces we are welding together were mis-matched.

One section had floor ribs and the other didn't. Mel made a die from some 1/4" plate and made a couple of ribs that we welded into the floor to "terminate" the other set... Incredible. Here is the die and the 1st test "stamping".

The lessons learned from that were applied to the die block. A little bigger radius at the back and some blending on the corners gave him the 2nd test stamping.

That's a winner!

He cut and fit them to the patch panel. Once these are weleded in you will never know.

Tacked in and looking good. Thanks Mel!


While MEl was finagaling with the floor stuff I was making patterns for the front of the Pass side wheel tub. Yesterday I got the back half done.
Pattern and wheel tub.

After a bit of rolling and hand bending I had it fitting well enough I could put a couple of cleco's into it.

Had to do a bit of trimming at the lower right front corner. Three pieces of steel came together here and the outer jamb for the slider protruded inside as well so there was some work to do....

Both halfs are fitting fairly well right now. I still have abit of forming to do but I will take care of that when I start welding them together.

I also made the rear inner piece that wraps around to the side. This piece will get welded to the old tub and I will build a flange to recreate the floor that was cut out.


Still have a lot to do to wrap up the passenger side. I hope to get this done next weekend and have a good start on the drivers side.
Thanks for looking!
Mark
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  #46  
Old 01-28-2012, 02:19 PM
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PRConnection PRConnection is offline
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Very cool
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  #47  
Old 01-28-2012, 04:38 PM
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PDANKracing PDANKracing is offline
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Excellent work so far.

On the green template for the wheel tub, you have some #'ed marks, what are they for?
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  #48  
Old 01-29-2012, 05:42 PM
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Captainfab Captainfab is offline
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Coming along nicely
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  #49  
Old 01-31-2012, 07:56 AM
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astroracer astroracer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PDANKracing View Post
Excellent work so far.

On the green template for the wheel tub, you have some #'ed marks, what are they for?
Thanks for the kudo's guys, much appreciated!
The #'d lines are for keeping the template aligned to the tub while I was developing the cut pattern around the door track and wheel well. One or two would have sufficed but I ended up with the four when I layed out the tangent points for the bend.
You will notice the template was simply flipped over 180 for the forward portion. That will work the same way for the LH side I started last weekend.

This past weekend I worked all day Saturday at the real job so we didn't get out in the shop until Sunday morning. Mel worked on the floor sections, doing a lot of grinding and cleaning up (read that making LOTS of noise and dust...)


He pulled out all of the engine cover panels and cleaned those up, finished some grinding and welding and got all of them primed. They look pretty good with some paint on them.



I made the template for the RH front filler panel


and got that cut out and fit in. Put a roll in it for the corner and put a little dink in it to finish a rib that was in the old panel.

Got it tack welded in and did a little cleanup grinding. I need to pull the tub out to finish the "dink" but this is well on it's way.




Getting the LH side set up for fabricating.

After the set up I got the rest of the old tin removed off the inner wall. To mark the outline I ran a straightedge across the gap and marked out the cut line with a marker.
I made another template out of the greenboard.

Fitting it to the outer sheetmetal.

This is where we knocked off for the day. We went in the house, had some cake and Mel headed home. Thanks Mel!
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  #50  
Old 02-04-2012, 11:03 PM
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nonhog nonhog is offline
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I mostly lurk here, but had to let you know how much I admire your build!
Fun to watch!
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  #51  
Old 09-28-2013, 04:56 PM
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Captainfab Captainfab is offline
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I know this is an old thread but hoping for an update?
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  #52  
Old 10-03-2013, 08:31 PM
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astroracer astroracer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captainfab View Post
I know this is an old thread but hoping for an update?
Wow! Forgot all about this site... A lot has gotten done in the last year and seven months... Along with losing my father in January and a job change in March I have gotten some stuff done.
Along with getting all of the tin work done, the engine rebuilt/upgraded and the fuel tank built, I have gotten a good start on the wiring and will be pulling the body off the frame next month to get the chassis finished up and painted.

This is my latest update post from a few other sites...

I have been getting some excellent shop time so far this week. I have most of the 4ga cables made and cleaned and painted the alternator with hammered silver.
Here is the alternator in a b4 and after series. I pulled it apart to re-clock it from a 9:00 a o'clock to a 12:00 o'clock because the connector was hitting the block.

I pulled the fan and pulley off to do this, besides I had a chromed set-up to put on it anyway. While it was apart I threw some grease into the rear needle bearing.

I had the alternator bench tested before I pulled it apart and it was putting out over 15 volts. It's a 108 amp 12SI that I got with the engine when I bought it. Should do the job to power the van. :)
After some paint and a chrome fan and pulley.


One issue with the new pulley is alignment to the engine pulleys. It is a bit thicker so I will end up facing about an 1/8th inch off the block spacers to get it back into alignment.
Here are some pics of the cables I have been building. These are 4 ga and are for battery charging and power distribution off the front junction block I hung a couple of weeks ago.


All of this will be covered with loom at final install.
These cables from the alternator will run up to the junction block for the red one and to the frame for the black one (5/16-18 drilled and tapped hole).

The power box in the rear gets fed from the Master Disconnect under the battery. It feeds the front junction block and is also the battery charge wire.

The wire feeding out the bottom bolts to the cable pass-though mounted in the rear tray. I drilled a one inch hole for that and bolted it in with #10 button heads.

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  #53  
Old 10-08-2013, 08:05 PM
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RogueFab RogueFab is offline
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Nice fabrication work. Any reason why you chose the project? I was expecting some story that led you to an 88 astro van...

Great sheetmetal work with what appears to be minimal tooling. Very impressive.
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  #54  
Old 10-14-2013, 03:42 PM
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Captainfab Captainfab is offline
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Thanks for the update.

What other forums do you post this on?
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  #55  
Old 10-20-2013, 03:26 PM
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astroracer astroracer is offline
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Thanks guys, I have a good selection of fab tools in the shop. Nothing exotic but I have the requisite Shrinker/Stretcher, 3 in 1, stomp shear, tubing bender, bead roller, etc.

As a bit of an update, I attacked the left front fender yesterday. I want to get both front fenders modified for tire clearance before we pull the body back off the chassis. We got the left front clecoed in place today. In order to get the width I need at full left lock we ended up trimming out the original wheel well lip back to the new inner fender line. The front inner fenders were heavily modified to accommodate the big drop so they are about 4" above the old fender line.
Doing some sketching and thinking. We had the tire in place with the suspension in full jounce and marked full lock left steer and full lock right steer on the wheel well lip.

Yea, this is kinda ugly... Just the initial cut. We will end up removing all of the lip and most of the flare by the time we are done.

Tire in place and positioned at full left lock

My plans are to make this a "sorta" wide body mod. Clamming an additional fender right over the existing to get the tire covered by the flare at full jounce/left lock. Left lock is worst case by about a quarter inch over right lock.
Here is the "new" fender, Mel is cleaning it up with the grinder after we trimmed off all of the extra stuff and removed the inner bracing so we could set it on top of the original with no interference.

Set in place with a couple of clecoes holding it on at the front. We let the tire hold it out in the middle and worked on the rear of the flare to get it to suck back in at the bottom.

This ended up being a lot easier then we thought it would be. A couple of passes through the shrinker dies brought it right back to the original flare.

This angle gives you a good look at the mostly final shape. There is still a lot to do. I plan to fill the gap with screen so all of the flanges will have to be modified and shortened up to inset the screen about an inch or so into the fender opening.

The top will get closed in with a long pie shaped piece that will blend out to nothing at the front of the fender.

The new piece will have a bit of an angle on it. Blending it down from that little reveal to the new outer skin. I plan to keep the same sharp corners as the rest of the body lines.

Well, that's what I did. Thanks for looking.
Mark
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  #56  
Old 11-21-2013, 06:12 PM
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astroracer astroracer is offline
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Anyone interested in an update?
We have the right front fender ready for fitting and finishing. Did some trimming with the plasma cutter on the original fender for tire clearance.
This is pretty much the same as the drivers side.

While Mel was working on that I gutted the donor fender and got it trimmed down to fit over the original.

Once it was clecoed in place I had to do a little shrinking to get the bottom to follow the shape of the original fender.

After some shrinking it flowed nicely down to the bottom of the original. Doing some trimming on the flange let it snuggle right up to the original.

This gets the van to a point where we can pull the body back off to start finishing things.
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  #57  
Old 11-21-2013, 06:15 PM
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astroracer astroracer is offline
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I was planning to post this stuff last Sunday afternoon but that big storm changed my plans... Power went out at 5:00 or so Sunday afternoon and finally came back on at 10:00 last night. Which is great because we were hearing Friday or Saturday would be the soonest. Thanks Consumers!

The plan to get the fenders clearanced was so we could get the van moved over to the hoist side. With the Passenger side fender cut up we could do the move. We pulled the front suspension to lighten the load and started raising the van so we could slip the trundle cart in place.
From the work height we raised it about a foot so the cart could slide under the trans crossmember.

I get kind of nervous taking a vehicle to the top of the jack stands...

It went well though and we had the van on the cart in just a few minutes.

Just as we are setting the van on the cart a nice little downpour comes thru to get the grass and leaves nice and soaked.... Sitting a spinning. The Cubby couldn't drag the weight up that little incline to the driveway because of the wet grass and leaves...

We ended up hooking Mels '79 Parisienne to the cart and hauling it up to the driveway with that. Worked well and he didn't spin a tire... We pushed the van into place on the hoist side and called it a day.


I did a bit of cleaning on the work side after Mel left but it was starting to get nasty, weather-wise, so I locked up the shop and went into the house.
Almost exactly two years since this space has been empty!

I got the fender work posted Sunday but, by that time, the wind was really starting to kick up so I shut down the computer right before the power failed...
My plans to get the body off the chassis Monday were shot in the foot by the power outage so i'll get to that later this week...
Mark
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  #58  
Old 11-22-2013, 09:12 AM
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Graham08 Graham08 is offline
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Nice work! A wide body kit on an Astro is just sick and wrong. I learned to drive in one of these things and just can't picture one that's fast.
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  #59  
Old 11-23-2013, 08:39 PM
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astroracer astroracer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham08 View Post
Nice work! A wide body kit on an Astro is just sick and wrong. I learned to drive in one of these things and just can't picture one that's fast.
Yes Sir! That's what I'm going for! Sick and Wrong!!! (And Fast!)

I got the body off the frame today. It was a two step process but it went smoothly. First lift was to get the van off the trundle cart. Raised it just enough so I could roll out the cart. Once the cart was out of the way I set up four jack stands to lower the frame onto. Once the I had the van on the stands I repositioned the arms to the body rails and hoisted her up, off the frame.



It'll be easy to set the frame back on the cart so I can roll it over to the working side. Need to finish up the cleaning first...
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  #60  
Old 12-17-2013, 05:55 PM
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More sick and wrong! Please!
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