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Advanced Fabrication and Engineering For when your build is going off the charts. Wildly modified vehicles and straight up buggies welcome.

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  #1  
Old July 26th, 2010, 07:39
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Project Geosynchronous Orbit

Those who know me know I tend to think Jeeps were made to fly into space…



And also, those of you at this year's NACfest know the end result shown in this thread

Disclaimers

First off, my camera sucks. I'll try to bug Anthony (asp) to get over my house sometime to take some real pictures .

I also do not claim to be any kind of expert fabricator. If at first you miss a chance to point out my stupidity in something I build, relax and grab a cold one, because I’m sure another dumb move is right around the corner .

And one more thing: I work full-time on top of working towards my masters in Systems Engineering a.k.a. I basically only have weekends and the occasionally hour or two on a weeknight to build this thing, so this isn’t going to be the fastest moving build.

Onto the new

So after having owned 2 XJs in the past 5 years, I decided I wanted my next build to begin with a SWB MJ for a few reasons:

- less sheetmetal/glass
- half frame, unibody has more reinforcements
- bed for carrying camping gear, etc.
- cool factor

I didn't have a solid goal at this point, though I knew I wanted to run "big boy" axles and a tire size somewhere around 38x12.50. I figured I would keep it coil sprung up front and leaf spring out back for simplicity at first and to get it wheeling in a reasonable timeframe.

I happened to score an '80s DRW Ford HP60 front close to a year ago for $200 while leisurely perusing craigslist. Not the most fun axle to be shifting around fully assembled so I stripped it down immediately. I guess you could say this started the build.
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  #2  
Old July 26th, 2010, 07:40
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Re: Project Geosynchronous Orbit

I started looking for a SWB MJ back in February while still wheeling my XJ and my buddy Sam (ktm racer 419) decided to sell me his for $600.

It was a 2.5/AX4/D35 2WD. Basically the most craptastic setup you could get, but the sheetmetal was all there (tough to find up here).



I also scored a free "running" 4.0 from Travis (5spd_XJ) around this time so my plan was to convert the MJ to a 4.0 HO, but instead of running his 4.0 I'll be using the 4.0 from my old XJ (new gaskets, 99+ intake, APN header, etc.). I hadn’t planned on my XJ being parted out this quickly, but **** happens.

I didn’t waste too much time yanking the “junk” out of there…



Ross also stopped by to offer his idea for a revolutionary drivetrain:

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  #3  
Old July 26th, 2010, 07:42
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Re: Project Geosynchronous Orbit

In the following weeks, Carmelo (cmelo) had decided to part out/junk his DD '93 XJ. I asked him to let me pull the harness and he agreed so I trailered the carcass to my house.

NOT my favorite job...I think the pics speak for themselves. Took me two 10 hour days.

Working through the engine bay



Dash wiring



The final engine bay harness and interior harnesses respectively:





I then started trimming the fat out of the wiring the following weekend so I could keep everything fresh in my mind.

I don't know WHAT AMC/Chrysler was thinking when they did these harnesses...but + feeds tapping off other + feeds on the warning lights connector?

Anyway, here's the end result. The amount of wire trimmed off filled two trash bags:

Engine bay:



Interior:



All power option wiring was removed as well as anything I didn't plan on using (keyless entry wiring, vanity lights, DRL module, etc.).

Big thanks to Adam (Dundy) for the help with this. We even went as far as breaking down the connectors and pulling individual terminals out and I'm very pleased with the results (assuming it runs :shocked

When it actually goes in the engine bay, I plan on upgrading the PDC positive feed, all grounds, as well as the starter positive feed. I plan on skipping the PDC inline MAXI fuses, and using this single 175A ANL fuse Ken (kastein) pulled for me from I think a mid-90s F250? Maybe he can clarify:



MY XJ's 4.0 had a 136A alternator from a Durango so with this setup I'll actually be able to utilize the full output from the alternator.
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  #4  
Old July 26th, 2010, 07:42
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Re: Project Geosynchronous Orbit

Now came time for the drivetrain. I've always wheeled an AW4, however having picked up an '01 Dodge 2500 CTD NV4500, I thought I'd try wheeling a stick. Travis let me wheel his "new" XJ for half a day, and I had a blast. His is a ’98 4.0/AX15/NP231 (at the time, now Atlas) on D60/D60 with 5.38s, 3 link/panhard front, double triangulated 4 link rear.

So I was sold. But why go with an AX-15 if I’m doing this when there are plenty of other stronger, deeper geared manual transmissions out there?

An NP435 / Dana 20 setup appeared on a local forum with a custom machined adapter for $500. I realized I wouldn't need an OD (and NV4500s are not cheap) so I swung over to check it out after doing some research.

Brought it home that night :



The NP435 is out of a '77 F150 2WD, which means it has the correct 10-spline, 9.125" length input shaft as well as a 6.68:1 first gear . The bellhousing is off a T-176, which matches the AMC engine boltpattern as well as the NP435 boltpattern. The person I bought the setup off of had opened a hole for the CPS and developed a bracket for it as well. This saved me a lot of time.

The Dana 20 is out of an early '70s Bronco. Both outputs can be controlled independently once the interlock pins are removed (Hey Bill...can you say front digs? ), and has a 2.46 or 2.34 low range as well as driver's side front output. I haven't determined which low range it has yet…but I believe it is the “J-Shift” version.
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  #5  
Old July 26th, 2010, 07:42
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Re: Project Geosynchronous Orbit

Now considering I already had the front HP60 and the driver's drop D20, I needed something in the rear to match the width of the front. A Ford HP60 is ~69" WMS-WMS, so something around 67" WMS-WMS out back would work.

After having seen 14Bolts compared in person to Dana 60/70s, I realized it wasn't for me. I don't think I'll need the gear strength, and those differentials are ENORMOUS (aka loss of ground clearance).

Sure I could shave it, but why bother when you can run one of these:



It's a Dana 60 - ISU out of a '92 E350. Standard LP60 center section, D70 tubes/spindles/hubs, and 67.375" WMS-WMS. That means 3.5" tubes, the spindles are ready for 35-spline shafts, and the width is perfect. Scored this for $200 as well.

I did some research on disc brake swaps and realized it would be just as expensive to buy all the parts as it would be to buy a newer version of this axle that already had disc brakes, not to mention the newer version has an internal e-brake setup.

I ended up scoring one for $500 which is a bit more than I would have liked to pay, but I have it nonetheless. It looks essentially the same as the one previously posted, except with disc brakes and a flange instead of a yoke. I’ll probably keep the flange.

The previous D60-ISU was sold to Rob (rob95zxj) for the same price I bought it for.
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  #6  
Old July 26th, 2010, 07:43
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Re: Project Geosynchronous Orbit

I realized that most of my build would revolve around the tires, and I needed them for mockup. I didn't want to be too wide, but after working with Bill I realized the spacing constraints of running H1s. I’ve seen H2s for cheap and provide 1.75" less backspacing, as well as open up tire options as it is a 17" wheel. Billy (billyjp2) found a set of 4 on craigslist for $200. One of them is currently at Ross's (foxwar71) house awaiting some possible router work to get rid of the lip around the hub opening so they fit over the Ford hubs.

And then by some magic, a set of 40x13.5x17 BRAND NEW old style MT/Rs appeared on the same local forum I purchased the NP435/D20 setup from. I thought about it for a few hours, and decided I would do the work to fit the tires. I happened to know the guy I bought them from, and brought them home for $1000. I wasn't planning on 40s, but it was too good of a deal to pass up.

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  #7  
Old July 26th, 2010, 07:44
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Re: Project Geosynchronous Orbit

Now that I had the drivetrain figured out, I started going through everything. I was told the Dana 20 was rebuilt a few years ago but never ran, and from my inspection it seems to shift fine, and all the bearings feel tight. The NP435 on the otherhand...a whole different story.

Shift forks were missing pads, surface rust on the gears and forks…well you get the idea. A quick call to Novak and I ordered up their full rebuild kit for ~$215. While talking to them, I mentioned what they recommended for a slave cylinder since I had read others using an early '80s CJ slave.

What they explained to me made sense, though I spoke to others to confirm it. Basically you want to match the volume from the clutch master cylinder to the slave cylinder with ideally a 1:1 ratio. Any pedal effort and leverage should come strictly from the length of the clutch pedal, and the length of the throwout bearing fork.

After some thinking and consulting of others I ordered their 3/4" bore, in-house machined, billet aluminum slave cylinder

All in all, I have to recommend them. They've answered all my questions, been extremely polite, and overall excellent to deal with.

The whole order arrived fairly quickly:



- NP435 rebuild kit including input/output bearings, seals, input shaft roller bearings, top cover rebuild kit
- Full gasket and shim kit
- Updated 3-4 gear synchro assembly (right, in brown bag/box)
- 3/4" slave cylinder (middle)
- AMC crank - NP435 input shaft pilot bearing (lower center, in bag)

Next was determining the clutch/pressure plate setup that I wanted to run. The person I purchased the NP435/D20 setup off of said he was going to run a stock AX-15 clutch/pressure plate as it drove around his yard fine with it. The problem with this is that while the spline counts are both 10, the input shaft diameter of an AX-15 is 1.125" while the NP435 has a diameter of 1.066". You can imagine what would happen here.

I took some measurements, did some research, and came up with what I needed for a clutch:

CLUTCH
- Organic, sprung hub, full face
- 10.4" diameter
- Designed for 10 spline, 1.066" input shaft

I chose an organic, sprung hub, full face clutch as well as a diaphragm style pressure plate for a couple reasons identified by this quote I found on a different forum:

Quote:
Every company are going to have good and bad stores about them. You shouldn't buy a clutch based on the company but rather on the type of clutch and its specs. A lot of them get their parts from the same manufactor. You need to find out why type of material the disk is made of and if its a sprung hub or non sprung hub and if you want a full face or puck style. Next you need to find out the clamping force of the PP. Typically all diaphram clutches have about the same unless you go with an adjustable one like a the ones mcleod offer. I always tell people this and give them a list of disk types to make the decision easier and help them avoid buying a clutch they don't like.

Disks

Organic- OEM material. Engages like a stocker. Many factory clutches come with this.
Kevlar- More agressive than stock. May have slight chatter. Will hold more than organic
Semi-metallic- More agressive than Kevlar. More resistant to heat. Higher chance of chatter.
Carbon- More aggressive than semi-metallic. Abrupt engagement. Will chatter if you try and slip it. Should hold a lot of power
Sintered Iron- Way more aggressive than carbon. As it heats up it grips harder. On/off type of engagement. Likes to eat flywheels. lol. Very rough of drivetrain. This is basically a race only disk.

So those are the basic material types of disks. Some companies now mix and match the flywheel side with say a kevlar disk and a organic material on the PP side. This thinking was to get an agressive hold on the FW side but smooth engagement on the PP side. I'm not a fan of this. As you increase your chances of the PP slipping on the disk.

Then you have the shape of the disk. They have 2 options. Full face and puck style. Full face allows a smoother engagement and disapates the heat over the whole face of the FW. A puck style is geared more towards racing. More of an abrupt engagement (more lbs per sq inch theory). With an agressive disk material a puck disk has been known to twist or snap input shafts on hard launches.

Also there are disk that come with a sprung hub (springs in the center of the disk) and a non sprung hub. Sprung hubs allow a smoother engagement of the clutch. Non sprung hubs are more for race type setups. Again not really fun on the street. Non sprung hubs are also more stressful on parts.

Pressure Plate
Lastly, you have the pp. There are basically 2 designs as well. Diaphram or individual arms (Borg&Beck or Long). Diagrams are typically used in street cars and the individual arms are used in race cars (oval track, drag, auto xing). The B&B or long are adjustable so the faster it spins the more clamping force it gives. The B&B/Long are also much more expensive than a diagphram clutch. I gotta hand it to McCleod. Their website is very detailed and explains the differences between pp and disks. Very informative site.

So there you have it. A crash course in clutches. I wont get into the twin disk clutches as many people don't want to fork over 1200$ for one or 2000$ for a softlok type clutch. I did my research on clutches after I my stocker went. What I have found out is that the harder you are on a clutch the shorter the life span (duh, obviously). But the ratings some companies state are not true. There is no one clutch you can put in and forget about it. They won't last as long as you want them to.
I ended up using SummitRacing for these, as I was able to narrow down clutches by my parameters. I got a Centerforce clutch, and Centerforce II pressure plate. I haven't known anyone to have terrible luck with them so I figured I should be ok.
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  #8  
Old July 26th, 2010, 07:44
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Re: Project Geosynchronous Orbit

Throughout all of this there was one issue that kept racking my brain: How do the NP435 and D20 not share fluid with this setup since there was nothing sealing them off? I was mostly worried about a slight decline emptying the D20 of fluid.

I took measurements of the ID of the custom adapter and the OD of the output shaft of the NP435 and bothered my local parts store multiple times, as well as calling various places. I even went as far as to pricing out an adapter from Novak since I did NOT want to burn up my drivetrain. Novak doesn't carry an adapter for a Bronco D20, so they suggested Advance Adapters.

I called them up and asked several questions about the mounting provisions, intermediate shaft quality, spline counts, etc. on their adapter. Finally, I asked them about sealing.

The response? The factory adapter has a seal in it.... I ripped apart the adapter with Anthony (asp) and found where the seal should lie. The person I bought this setup off of hadn't replaced it, so a quick call to Wild Horses (Early Bronco supplier) and a double lip seal was on it's way.

We also found the roller bearings fused together inside the input shaft. In short, they were NOT coming out even with oxy/acy. Another call to Novak and a new input shaft was shipped out for $80.

About a week later I got the transmission fully disassembled:



I ran into more issues at this point. Whatever NP engineer designed the input shaft bearing retainer and countershaft rear bearing retainer wasn’t thinking about maintenance as I could NOT get these out to save my life. I’m sure there is an easier method, but for another $70 I had a new input shaft bearing retainer and used countershaft rear bearing retainer on their way from Novak. Not worth half a day’s work for me with my limited free time.
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Old July 26th, 2010, 07:45
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Re: Project Geosynchronous Orbit

As far as suspension goes, I'm jumping on the bandwagon with a 3-link / panhard front however I'm keeping the leaves out back but adding a traction bar for now. I'll spring over the rear with the stock 2.5L/2WD leaves, and start with my RE 5.5" springs up front. From there I'll make adjustments as necessary to level out ride height. I was hoping to salvage my 12" 255/70 5150s for the front again, however they are far too gone to use. At this stage, I don't think I'm ready to decide on shocks.

Based on this and the stage I'm at currently, I called up Dan @ Ruffstuff and ordered (3) sets of his 1.25" heat and cryo treated chromoly heim joints with stainless misalignments and 5/8" bores (2.625" mounting width) for the front control arms. I'll need this for my mockup of brackets and arms.

They arrived in TWO DAYS! Dan is the man





After speaking with Bill(RCman) on the subject, and based on reviews over on Pirate, I'll be running 2" OD x .250" wall Heretic Fab 4130 heat treated links for my lower control arms. Considering how I drove my previous XJ (others can attest to this) I think I'll have the need for them. The upper will probably be used out of leftover 1.75" OD x .120" wall.
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Old July 26th, 2010, 07:46
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Re: Project Geosynchronous Orbit

The past two weekends I got some actual work done. Bill stopped by the first weekend along with Adam and lent me some help getting the front stiffeners trimmed/mocked up as well as start trimming the LCA mounts off the frame. Thanks again for your help guys!

Just this weekend I got started on the front crossmember. I pretty much ripped Bill’s idea off, and we even exchanged some measurements…so sue me . Again, I don’t claim to be an expert fabricator, I just want to get out there and wheel.

Winch set in place:



Mocked up:





Sight holes:




So this is where I’m at currently. This coming weekend will involve finishing off the front crossmember with .250” plate mounts along the outside of the rails, and plating the inner rails with .125” and tying into the back of the front crossmember.

The rest of my NP435 parts will arrive on Friday, so with any leftover time (doubtful) I’ll start reassembling that and get it attached to the 4.0 and ready to drop in the following weekend.
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Old July 26th, 2010, 08:00
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Re: Project Geosynchronous Orbit

Takes forever to type doesn't it?

This had better be drivable for Sept 10-12, but I'm not getting my hopes up!
My shotgun seat is already spoken for...

Last edited by RCman; July 26th, 2010 at 08:08.
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Old July 26th, 2010, 08:18
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Re: Project Geosynchronous Orbit

Quote:
Originally Posted by RCman View Post
Takes forever to type doesn't it?

This had better be drivable for Sept 10-12, but I'm not getting my hopes up!
My shotgun seat is already spoken for...
You're telling me. I think it took me close to 2 hours to set it all up

I doubt it's going to happen. I have about 4 weekends left and still have so much to do.

No problem, there will be plenty of people there and I don't mind walking.
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Old July 26th, 2010, 08:24
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Re: Project Geosynchronous Orbit

Awsome!
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  #14  
Old July 26th, 2010, 11:17
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Re: Project Geosynchronous Orbit

Quote:
Originally Posted by RCman View Post
This had better be drivable for Sept 10-12, but I'm not getting my hopes up!
My shotgun seat is already spoken for...
correct ^

Quote:
Originally Posted by MoparManiac View Post
I doubt it's going to happen. I have about 4 weekends left and still have so much to do.

No problem, there will be plenty of people there and I don't mind walking.
incorrect ^


I know you don't have alot of time to be working on it, so be sure to let me know when you'll be doing what, and I'll come help as often as I can. Just to get an idea of what's ahead/left to do by September, how about you show us a to-buy and a to-do list? It's gonna be one badass MJ, that's for sure
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Old July 26th, 2010, 11:45
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Re: Project Geosynchronous Orbit

Quote:
Originally Posted by 5spd_xj View Post
I know you don't have alot of time to be working on it, so be sure to let me know when you'll be doing what, and I'll come help as often as I can.
Thanks dude, I'll let you know if I need some help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 5spd_xj View Post
Just to get an idea of what's ahead/left to do by September, how about you show us a to-buy and a to-do list? It's gonna be one badass MJ, that's for sure
I don't even want to think about "whats left", I've barely even begun.

I guess you could say the major projects, in no particular order, are:

- Finish front crossmember
- Plate rails (inner front, outer middle and overlap the transition to the frame)
- Build crossmember and front 3-link
- Rocker replacements on both sides and tie into plated rails
- Caged cab, possibly top of bedsides
- Bob bed (have to measure how much I want to take out)
- Truss front axle and build associated bracketry
- Truss rear axle, slap on perches/shock mounts
- Rear traction bar
- Assemble and install drivetrain
- Install new wiring harness
- Fuel system (aftermarket cell mounted in bed)

That's all I can think of real quick off the top of my head. There are plenty of other smaller projects that need to get done along the way as well.
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