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  #21  
Old 10-30-2011, 02:21 AM
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josh hennen josh hennen is offline
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:) :

Last edited by josh hennen; 10-30-2011 at 02:25 AM.
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  #22  
Old 10-30-2011, 09:40 PM
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Hey Josh, yea, van projects are kinda different aren't they? That's part of the reason I am doing this. It's different. And you are correct about the horsepower thing. Right now the van is slated to get a 509 I have sitting in the wings, waiting to get fired up.

Well, today was another good day. We got a crap load of "little bits" done. Capping off and reinforcing the upper shock crossmember, capping off the body mount brackets and getting the support tubes made for the lower shock mounts and panhard bar mount on the rear end. I also did a LOT of welding today. The housing has some to do yet and the chassis is probably about half way there.
One of the caps... Man, these little bits take a lot of time.

You can see the some of the other pieces we made today already welded in.

The passenger side.

I will be using these areas to carry the roll cage down bars so we plated it in with a flat area for the tube to sit on and weld too.
Fitting the lower shock mount support bars.


The panhard bar support.

I tied the lower shock and panhard bar supports into a small plate welded to the housing.
It's hard to see here but the plate welds in over the lower shock tube and bottom edge of the housing and the panhard bar tube sits on it. It also very effectively spreads the load over a larger area.

One of my welds. I am getting better.

Body mount weld.

We got a ton of work done this weekend.
I will be plugging away at the finish welding this week. I have a few early welds I need to grind out and re-weld so that is what I will be working on.
Thanks for looking
Mark
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  #23  
Old 10-30-2011, 09:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by josh hennen View Post
yay! another van project! Now I don't feel so alone. I must say that's some really nice fab work. You never did answer what the final purpose was going to be but by how stout that rear end is I see a lot of horsepower in the future! Keep it coming as the OFN has been kinda dull as of late.
Do yo have a link to your project? I'd like to see it.
Mark
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  #24  
Old 10-31-2011, 05:02 PM
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CarterKraft CarterKraft is offline
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nice job on the mounts they look great.
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  #25  
Old 10-31-2011, 08:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by astroracer View Post
Do yo have a link to your project? I'd like to see it.
Mark
some is on here: http://www.offroadfabnet.com/forums/...ht=josh+hennen

and most of the same stuff is on Pirate 4x4 but I added a few more pics and videos:http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/showt...ht=death+metal
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  #26  
Old 11-14-2011, 07:30 PM
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This weekend was another milestone! WE HAVE PAINT!!! The chassis is primed in black, the upper and lower control arms and panhard bar are in dark gray hammered and the spindles and rear housing are black hammered. I think I will spray the frame with the black also... It comes in a quart can and I think it looks nice.
The chassis as we got parts primed. We started at the back and worked our way forward.
Yesterday.


Today.

Didn't wait for the paint to dry for these...


The chassis stil has some work yet, front bumper brackets and some roll cage work but at least now it can go thru the winter in one color. :)
Thanks for looking
Mark
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  #27  
Old 11-14-2011, 07:35 PM
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Can you tell we got a hell ofa lot of work done this weekend? :)
The upper and lower control arms were run thru the blasting cabinet after I deburred them.
These are the upper arms... The one on the right had just come out of the cabinet. It was the guy on lefts turn next...

As the parts came out of the cabinet I would hang them on my trusty step ladder and prime them.

I got all of the arms primed Saturday afternoon. It sure was a beautiful day for the middle of November!
Here are both lower arms in their Grey coats

Both upper arms.

At this point I am ready to start a mock build. This will probably end up with the van on the chassis so I can get tire clearances established and start building the cage...
Thanks for looking, I know this got kind of long.
Mark
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  #28  
Old 11-14-2011, 07:41 PM
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The rear end and spindles got a Rustoleum black hammertone finish. I worked on deburring the housing yesterday and ran the spindles thru the sand blaster and got them primed.
The housing after I had sprayed it with rust converter. It was ready for primer after this stuff dryed.

Another shot.

After a couple of coats of rustoleum grey primer.


I decided to go with a darker color for the housing and spindles. Just to break things up a bit.


The spindles in ALL of their modified glory. I still have to drill and tap for the Corvette brake adapter.


Let me know what you think!
Mark
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  #29  
Old 11-14-2011, 08:26 PM
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Pragmatist Pragmatist is offline
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Badastro

Over the top Mark. I only wish I could afford to have you make one for my 88 Astro. I've had it almost twenty years and it's still all I want to drive. Years agp I lowered it and dropped in a V8 but nothing compared to this.
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  #30  
Old 01-12-2012, 10:40 PM
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I haven't updated the build thread in a while. I have gotten a lot done in the last month or so. The doghouse flange is all rebuilt and right now we are working on the rear wheel wells, floor and fuel cell.
Here I am forming the blend area out of cut and bent strips and welding them together. I was planning to make a hammerform to do this work but was unable to cut the glued up MDF. The "little" wood bandsaw was not up tot he task and the big saw broke a lower blade guide...

Back to the drawing board. We basically wasted 3 hours dinking around with saws.
We made some flat paper templates and cut out the steel strips with my beverly shear. After some tacking and bending you wouldn't believe how strong this piece is. And it's not even fully welded.

Added the drop side down to the floor. The floor radius still needs bending but you can see what it will look like.

Here it is with a little more trimming and fitting. I decided to move it down a bit to smooth the transition with the original flange.

Here is a bit of development on the right hand side. This is a little simpler then the drivers side. It's all flat.

That is a "flexible" ruler in the pic. It is bendable and retains it shape. I'll use it to layout the flat stip for the flange.
Check out my shifter "console" :)

I will be doing a lot of measuring and mocking up to get a comfortable shifter location AND workable cable route.

Got a lot of stuff coming together. I hope to have most of this doghouse rebuilt this weekend.
Thanks for looking
Mark
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  #31  
Old 01-12-2012, 10:45 PM
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Making the "S" shaped piece I was developing the other night.
Made a template using the bendy ruler and cut the piece out with the beverly shear.

Cutting it out. If you haven't used one of these shears you are in for a treat. Very nice to use and so much quicker than snips...

Did a little bending and hand forming to get the flanges rolled over. I made this out of one piece rather then two like the drivers side. This piece is flat so it was a little easier to work the radii. The drivers side went uphill while transitioning into the "S" shape. Pretty tough to form off-hand.


Mel was out today and we got a lot done. I was working on the drivers side filler piece while he was cleaning up and fitting the doghouse pieces together. I got the drivers side piece trimmed and fit well enough that I could start welding it in.
This was during the fitting process.

Doing some tacking...

We added some extra length to the doghouse piece to fill the gap back to the floor brace.

We carried the floor ribs up into the doghouse piece.

These are all welded up now and I have a little grinding left to do to finish it up.

The new floor piece, as you see it, will be removable for engine and trans access. I drilled holes and installed 10-32 threaded inserts into the floor brace and the cover is bolted in right now. I will finish developing the passenger side filler pieces tomorrow....
Thanks for looking.
Mark
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  #32  
Old 01-12-2012, 10:46 PM
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The passenger side is done and I'll have the drivers side wrapped up tomorrow. This was a LOT of work!!! I still have a bit of cleanup work to do but the passenger side looks great and it all unbolts for easy engine access. Read that plugs and header bolts.

Some "during" shots.



The drivers side will have the same removable panel. I will fab up the rivnut tabs tomorrow and get that stuff welded up. Should have a complete doghouse flange by noon.

Thanks for looking.
Mark
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  #33  
Old 01-12-2012, 10:48 PM
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The doghouse removable panels are done, both sides. Everything is bolted up and fits very well so I am happy. Having these panels removable makes for easy working clearances around the plugs and headers.



I still have to finish up a short flange for the rear part of the floor but that is easy and I'll get that wrapped up this afternoon.
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  #34  
Old 01-12-2012, 10:50 PM
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I also finished up a short flange for the rear part of the floor this afternoon. It was fairly simple. A flat sheet formed around the front of a floor rib and welded to the removable half of the doghouse flange.

A little trimming and bending and it fit very well.
[img]http://images56.fotki.com/v124/photos/5/904975/10310642/MVC013F-vi.jpg/img]
The piece is welded on and bolted down with a bit of grinding left to do. Once this is finished and painted it will look great.

The floor and doghouse areas are very sturdy now.
Thanks for looking
Mark
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  #35  
Old 01-12-2012, 10:50 PM
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Did some much needed cleaning during the week. It's hard to believe how many c-clamps and vice grips we used doing the engine cover rebuild. I am back to working 56 hrs so I don't get much time in the shop during the week. I'll do a little bit of work but most of the fab time will be on the weekends.
We got the rear wheel wells trimmed and cleaned up today and we also cut out the old rear rails.
Because I am re-using the old wells we needed to square up the cuts I made when I removed them. We squared them up on the table and used my height gauge, with a marker hose clamped to it, to mark a line around them. Worked nice.

The wells all marked up and ready to trim.

After an hour or so of cutting, grinding and sanding we have some cleaned up wheel wells.

The pass. side clamped into it's approximate position. This is just a look see. You can see the original rail still occupying space under it.

Mel starting the first cut on the rear rails. These are welded into the unibody of the van.

After removing both rails there is a lot of room in there for tires.



Did a little mocking up with the rear tires. Looks sweet doesn't it.

Lots of room for tire here.

This week I am going to work on getting the tire mocked up correctly and possibly cutting some tin for the wheel well extensions.
Thanks for looking
Mark
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  #36  
Old 01-12-2012, 10:51 PM
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I'll get some pics of the Harwood 12 gal fuel cell I got off Ebay mocked up in the back. It's ugly. No room for the drag style fuel pickup and the tank just doesn't fit so I have decided to build an aluminum tank. I modeled this up in UG last night and started developing the tin work around it tonight. The tank volume is a little over 25 gals right now.

The tank will drop down into the space between the frame rails right behind the axle and wrap up over the frame and existing floor.

The tank will actually "plug the hole" in the floor you see right now and seal with a welded flange along the new tinwork right over the shock xmbr.

I am getting prices for a sheet of .090 aluminum and will try to weld this up myself.
Mark
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  #37  
Old 01-13-2012, 12:26 AM
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Txchevy18 Txchevy18 is offline
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Very cool build. I'm loving all the attention to detail. The tin work looks really good. What cad program are you using? I love that everything is modeled first.

Any reason you are not using the the drawings to create dxf's and have them cut on a cnc. The handmade parts and intricate layout is very nice.

Keep the updates coming.
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  #38  
Old 01-13-2012, 07:30 AM
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astroracer astroracer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Txchevy18 View Post
Very cool build. I'm loving all the attention to detail. The tin work looks really good. What cad program are you using? I love that everything is modeled first.

Any reason you are not using the the drawings to create dxf's and have them cut on a cnc. The handmade parts and intricate layout is very nice.

Keep the updates coming.
The program is an old version of Unigraphics. Very out of date right now but it works very well for me. I enjoy the design side of it (that's what I do for a living) and I use the CAD designs to verify the real world build. I am amazed at how well everything has fabbed up. We have done a few "on the fly" changes but 95% of the build is documented in CAD.
A great many of the suspension and control arm brackets were laser cut years ago... Due to design changes some of them weren't used and many were modified. I also enjoy making this stuff, as does Mel. Read below about the tank build. It will be laser cut and will be very cool.

I ordered a 4 x 8 sheet of .090 3003 aluminum yesterday along with another sheet of 22ga. steel. I am rebuilding the tank design in UG, making it from sheets rather than blocks. This will facilitate cutting out the panels at work with our CNC laser. ;D I will post up some screen shots of the panels after I get them designed and after cutting.
Mark
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  #39  
Old 01-15-2012, 07:50 PM
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I have a "two day" weekend thanks to MLK. Mel and I were out in the shop at 9:00am this morning. We made a game plan on the floor and tub work and got busy.
After I cut out all of the stuff that's in the way of the tire....

Here is the pile of "stuff"

And here is the tire at the correct ride height.

Inside... I made a little gage block to mark the inner fender were I needed to remove it. Sets the pen at four inches from the tire. That gives me 3 inches of jounce and some room for a taller tire if need be.

here is a shot with the old inner clamped in position. It'll look pretty good once all of the tin is replaced.

While I was dinking around with the van Mel was cleaning up and trimming the floor so we can replace the stuff we cut out. We are putting back most of what was cut. Just reorienting it and cleaning up the cross members underneath to clear the new frame.

Marking for the trim line. This will butt up to what is still in the van. The holes you see are spot welds to the original crossmember Mel cut out. The crossmember will be plug welded back in place to carry passenger seat load and give me a place to hang mufflers.
This next pic shows how the flange was welded to the old floor. This will now slide under the old floor and we will plug and stich weld it back together.... A little grinding and some seam sealer and we'll be good.



There is a lot of work to do under the floor. We need some shallow notches to clear the new K member and the ends of the original crossmember need to be plated in for strentgh. I'll get pics of that tomorrow.
Mark
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  #40  
Old 01-21-2012, 09:39 PM
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I have the final tank design and have filed it out in dxf format for laser cutting. I got the okay from our fab dept that my files are good so we are waiting on material. I did ge the call from my supplier the sheet is in but I won't get it picked up till next week.
Here are a few screen shots of the final tank design. Any comments or concerns?

The top flange will bolt in on a crossmember I will fab up from 18ga.steel. It will span between the wheel houses and carry the tank and floor loads.

A shot with the top outer panel blanked. you can see the inner panel that bridges across and supports the front panel and creates the flange that will bolt the tank to the existing floor.

I still need to come up with a sender and all of the fittings. I will have the close out plate cut at the same time as the rest of the panels.

My only real concern is getting this welded up. I will be using most of the cut-offs to practice my aluminum welding.
Thanks for looking
Mark

Last edited by astroracer; 01-21-2012 at 09:42 PM.
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