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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 January 30th, 2007, 14:39
FiFo FiFo is offline
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50/50, 50% XJ and 50% Tube

After a season of brutally beating on my XJ I have decided to install a cage. Or more accurately after scaring my wife half to death she has decided to let me spend the money. Since I have no idea how to bend tube, just how to draw pretty pictures of a cage design, Tom Baker and KarlVP said they would give me a hand. The actual build is taking place in Toms shop in Sultan Wa. Here is the basic design I drew up using my mad MS Paint skills.



Basically I’m not really a fan of external cages, and an internal cage wouldn’t protect my body, which if you have seen my rig you know it is fairly beat up after only one year. So I decided to chop most of the body off and replace it with tube. However new door are going to be fabricated using tube and sheet metal, and a new flat windshield is going on. My wife wants to keep the back seat, so that is staying and I’m currently looking for a Jeep Comanche tailgate to use on the rear. Anyways there are a number of other design elements that are going into this thing, but you can see them as the build goes.

So we start out with one perfectly good 1996 Jeep Cherokee (XJ)


Which some people say is a little beat up.


Tom gets to work “removing the doors” while I start striping the interior


We got the doors off and interior was mostly out when Toms roommate Chad stopped by to lend a hand.


Interior gutted


As you can see the “Unirail” has taken some damage just behind the cross member. To fix this KarlVP came up with an idea for plating the “Unirail” so the undercoating had to be scraped off.


I had a “wardrobe malfunction” with my front grill the other day and used 10 bolts to put it back on. Tom got so frustrated trying to find them all he resorted to the handyman’s favorite tool, a grinder with a cutting wheel.
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  #2  
Old January 30th, 2007, 14:40
FiFo FiFo is offline
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Re: 50/50, 50% XJ and 50% Tube

Now the real fun begins



My turn


What ever this seam is called, it’s coming off and will be replaced with 2” DOM tube on the bottom and 1.5” DOM on the top.


And so ends Saturday night


Sunday we started by finished the cutting on the passenger side and finalizing where the first major piece of tube was going to go. Then after Tom patiently taught a quick class of tube bending 101 we got started on bending the tube.


Finished bending the first tube, as you can see it spans the entire length of the vehicle and will tie in with the front and rear bumpers.


We finished the matching passenger side tube and roughed out a plan for the rear bumper. Since I had a Midterm the next day we cut out early so I could get some studying done.
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  #3  
Old January 30th, 2007, 14:55
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rehab rehab is offline
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Re: 50/50, 50% XJ and 50% Tube

man that is looking good! might want to add a little more triangulation around the doors and gusset all the joints.
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  #4  
Old January 30th, 2007, 15:09
FiFo FiFo is offline
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Re: 50/50, 50% XJ and 50% Tube

Quote:
Originally Posted by rehab
man that is looking good! might want to add a little more triangulation around the doors and gusset all the joints.
There will definitely be gusseting at all the joints, it's just my MS paint skills only go so far.

As for the doors, I'm still trying to figure out how I want to do them, any ideas on how to add more triangulation and yet leave the ability to run tube doors?
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  #5  
Old January 30th, 2007, 15:20
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KarlVP KarlVP is offline
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Re: 50/50, 50% XJ and 50% Tube

When I tried to do that to my XJ, the wife said she would remove my manhood. So this build will be fun.

Can't wait to get it done so we can take it to the alderwood mall and do some urban wheeling. Or mall crawlin. Or whatever it's called now.
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  #6  
Old January 30th, 2007, 15:23
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GNARLY1 GNARLY1 is offline
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Re: 50/50, 50% XJ and 50% Tube

LOOKIN GOOD! Im waiting till I roll it and make it virutally useless.... will the cage strengthen the unibody enough
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  #7  
Old January 30th, 2007, 16:19
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KarlVP KarlVP is offline
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Re: 50/50, 50% XJ and 50% Tube

Quote:
Originally Posted by GNARLY1
LOOKIN GOOD! Im waiting till I roll it and make it virutally useless.... will the cage strengthen the unibody enough

We are going to plate or "box" the unibody "frame" rails. I'm picking up the steel for that tomorrow.
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  #8  
Old January 30th, 2007, 18:16
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aparke4 aparke4 is offline
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Re: 50/50, 50% XJ and 50% Tube

sweet... whats up with all this cutting these days? i feel like i am missing out... or maybe i have just begun? i am cutting but not that much... cool cant wait to see the progress
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  #9  
Old January 30th, 2007, 21:29
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WheelinJR WheelinJR is offline
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Re: 50/50, 50% XJ and 50% Tube

awesome, gonna post in here and get in on the thread reply notifications
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  #10  
Old January 30th, 2007, 22:58
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vetteboy vetteboy is offline
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Re: 50/50, 50% XJ and 50% Tube

Quote:
Originally Posted by FiFo
Basically I’m not really a fan of external cages, and an internal cage wouldn’t protect my body, which if you have seen my rig you know it is fairly beat up after only one year. So I decided to chop most of the body off and replace it with tube. However new door are going to be fabricated using tube and sheet metal, and a new flat windshield is going on. My wife wants to keep the back seat, so that is staying and I’m currently looking for a Jeep Comanche tailgate to use on the rear. Anyways there are a number of other design elements that are going into this thing, but you can see them as the build goes.
Have you lined up the commanche tailgate yet?

I'm going to do the same on mine, and it is almost the perfect height to mate up with what you've got left of the rear.

I just cut the rear quarter stuff, like the tailgate, rear windows, wheelwells, etc...but I dig what you've got going on there.

Here is an OLD picture of mine before the work really got started, here you can see where the tailgate sits compared to the rest of the body lines.



and a more current one just for reference



Are you planning on changing up the suspension/axles/tires at all?
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  #11  
Old January 31st, 2007, 08:45
FiFo FiFo is offline
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Re: 50/50, 50% XJ and 50% Tube

Quote:
Originally Posted by vetteboy
Are you planning on changing up the suspension/axles/tires at all?
Thanks for the pic! That is exactly what I am planning on doing; I'm picking up the tailgate this week so I will take some pics this weekend of what it will look like in place.

No the suspension/axles/tires are all staying as it. I would like to upgrade the axles and tires someday, but one thing at a time. We’re designing this however so I can easily clear larger tires down the road. We measured and I can easily clear the 36" IROKs I would like to run someday.
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  #12  
Old January 31st, 2007, 13:13
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iluv83vettes iluv83vettes is offline
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Re: 50/50, 50% XJ and 50% Tube

Quote:
Originally Posted by vetteboy



is that an old vette in the back?
possibly a 58-62 model?
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  #13  
Old January 31st, 2007, 13:52
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vetteboy vetteboy is offline
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Re: 50/50, 50% XJ and 50% Tube

Quote:
Originally Posted by iluv83vettes
is that an old vette in the back?
possibly a 58-62 model?
Good eye! 1960 to be precise.

And those '83 vettes are every bit as cool as the '96 Wranglers.
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  #14  
Old January 31st, 2007, 15:38
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iluv83vettes iluv83vettes is offline
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Re: 50/50, 50% XJ and 50% Tube

Quote:
Originally Posted by vetteboy
Good eye! 1960 to be precise.

And those '83 vettes are every bit as cool as the '96 Wranglers.
ya but there are more than one 96 wranglers...as long as you drive on the wrong side of the rode
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  #15  
Old February 5th, 2007, 12:41
FiFo FiFo is offline
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Re: 50/50, 50% XJ and 50% Tube

Weekend Two

Went to Tom’s shop on Sunday to get some more work done on the XJ, I was pleasantly surprised to see Tom had a little extra time this week and started the rear bumper in between his other projects. This is the top piece of the rear bumper, it wraps around the sides before coming up to meet the section of cage we built last week. 1.5” tube is going to be used to form a second piece that will protect the stock body and allow us to tie into the stock bumper mounts. Where designing it so that if the 2 shackles that are going to be mounted to it get pulled on most of the force will be distributed to the new cage structure.



After some basic planning we got to work cutting more stuff off the XJ. A small notch had to be made so that the tube bent last weekend could run closer to the body and with in the original front fenders. We then got to work building the driver side hoop that will run from the windshield all the way back to the rear quarter. Instead of bending it strait down like most cage designs, I had the brilliant, and I use that term loosely, idea of continuing it strait so that it would meet with the front flare, then run a separate piece of 2” down to form a triangle. The idea is that with out the extra bend the cage will be stronger.

For the record, the engineers who designed the XJ apparently had the mentality of “When in dought, add another layer of metal, if all you need are welds, add bolt too, and every now and then, add glue, just for good measure”. We found no less then 3 layers of metal between the outer fender and the inner wall of the Cherokee. Most of this metal was welded on, but we encountered 2 bolts that appeared to hold nothing up, but where designed with laser like accuracy to get in our way. We even found two sheets that where further glued together for good measure!

Anyways here is the partially finished cutting job.



Once metal was cut away the real planning got under way. Tom and I threw around possible heights for a good while all with in 3 inches of each other. 3 inches doesn’t seem like that big a deal, But Tom is something of a perfectionist when it comes to his work so wanted to get it just right, and as it is we hit the stock XJ height to with in ½ an inch, which after cooping and bending struck me as fairly impressive.

So after all the measuring was finished we finally got around to making the first bend. This was better then any excitement any “bowl” game being played at the time could have provided since I finally was starting to see how my design was taking shape.

I drew in the vertical support that is going to be added later.



Next up was the rear, the tube goes to the end of what is going to be the new roof, and then angles down in the back to end at the rear quarter, where that new rear bumper I mentioned earlier now resides. Part of the way down the lower tube that was fabbed last week had to be cut off and cooped so that it ended into this new tube. Over all I think it came out fairly well.

The rear here is going to be boxed in more and a Comanche (MJ) tailgate will be installed. Where still not sure if we will be able to make the tailgate open and close, or if we will just weld it in, but as long as it has the “J E E P” logo my wife will be happy, which will keep me alive when she sees how much money I’m spending.



Finally some of the sharper eyes might have noticed in the above picture there is a 10% bend inward at the height of the stock firewall. This was one of Tom’s improvements to my original design, which I think is going to greatly improve it. You can see here how it compares to the stock window pillar on the Passenger side.



We got started on the other side but I had to go since I had yet another Mid-term to study for. However I couldn't help but play with some pics in MS Paint to get an idea what it would look like once more tube is up in place.



Kind of Cool if you ask me!

Last edited by FiFo; February 5th, 2007 at 12:51.
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