Help, please…

It’s been really interesting to watch the view numbers climb in 2017, despite the dearth of new information. At this writing, the blog is now at 12,549 views and still going. So apparently there are some people out there in the real world who are interested in this project, to whom I say, first, Thank you!, and second, I regret not being able to work on it for a while yet.

But y’all can still help me: I expect to be able to (re)start work on the ‘Monster sometime in 2018. To that end, I’m ready to get my first-ever welder. The last time I welded *anything* was back in college, which is *way* too long ago to be of any use. I’ll be doing some sheet-metal work on the tub, as well as tack-welding things where needed on my roll cage and maybe the frame. I’ll make sure anything structural or safety-related is finish-welded by a professional (i.e., Robert Wonsey of R&W custom Sliders and Offroad, the man who built it).

I’m looking for a machine that’s relatively (?!?) easy to work with, and that can handle sheet up to maybe 1/4″ thick. I know I have a *lot* of practice ahead of me, too.

I know *of*, but not *about*, Miller and Lincoln welders. Pros, cons, suggestions, stay-away-froms, anything at all that might be relevant will be welcomed. Please reply either by comment on this post, or by direct email to

Thank you, and I hope to have this thing out of the garage and street-worthy this year. Trailworthy, too, but at least streetable.

Categories: Uncategorized, Welding | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Other Monsters


It’s been more than a year since I brought the JeepMonster home from the builder’s shop. In that time, the only thing I’ve managed to do is buy a (partial) set of gauges:


I wrote about these earlier this year, along with the other gauges I want to have. But I thought I’d repeat myself a little bit, if only for some continuity.

In the meantime, I thought you’d like to see some of the other 6×6 rigs that I’ve used for inspiration. Enjoy.×6-jeep-jk-built-by-kenny-at-2017-easter-jeep-safari-in-moab/#photo-01


3 axle TJ.JPG

CJ 6x6




This isn’t an exhaustive photo set, by any means. If I don’t get back to work on the ‘Monster itself relatively soon, I may post another photo compilation for your enjoyment.

But at least you know that I haven’t disappeared. šŸ™‚



Categories: 6wd, 6x6, Gauges, Jeep, JeepMonster, Uncategorized | Tags: | 3 Comments

Fame – or Infamy, I’m not sure which

I regret to report that I have no actual progress to report today – in fact, except for buying a bunch of gauges back in January, I haven’t done *anything* on the JeepMonster since I brought it home from the builder last August.

I *have*, however, gained a tiny bit of notoriety.

My fiancee and I were invited to the wedding of one of her relatives in June, in Ireland. Because neither of us had been there before, we decided to accept the invitation. We had a great two weeks there, learning all about Guinness, and Lugnaquilla, and Blessington, and Wicklow, and the Russborough House, and Guinness, and “Riverdance” and “Once” and Irish music, and Guinness, and lots of other things, too, including some well-built Land Rovers (and one really clapped-out, rusted, tired Rover).

The after-wedding reception was held at the Tulfarris resort, and one of the diversions (and icebreakers) for the guests was to complete a “Wedding Guest Bingo” card, where people were supposed to ask around to find someone who

  • Travelled [Irish spelling] to the wedding from Australia
  • Is terrified of baby corn
  • Lived in a hotel as a child
  • Managed a band in Tunisia

and so on. The father of the bride (I think) had sent out an email earlier this year to all the guests, asking for a tidbit about themselves that wouldn’t be widely known. Imagine my surprise when I looked in the lower right corner:


Yup, that’s me – “Currently building a six wheel Jeep”. I don’t remember ever seeing the original email asking for things like this, so I’m assuming my lovely fiancee sent it in.

Some of the bride’s family created a shared online photo album for everyone to contribute photos to, so when I got home I added this one, just to prove it really exists:


I’m still hard at work (or, some days, hardly working) on the house I bought almost a year ago. There’s still lots to do, so don’t expect any real progress on the ‘Monster for a while. I appreciate everyone hanging in there with me, and hope to get it finished – eventually.

Categories: JeepMonster, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gauging the Results

Happy New Year (observed)! Yes, I have some actual *progress* to report on the JeepMonster! It’s not a lot, but at this point I’ll take anything.

AutoMeterĀ sent me an email back in November, saying they were having a sale through the end of December on everything they offered. That’s right, *everything*. Depending on how much you bought, you could end up getting as much as $250 back!

Well, time passed way too quickly (I was busy with other projects, and family, and birthdays, and other holidays), and all of a sudden it was December 30. I knew I wasn’t going to have time on New Year’s Eve to order anything, so I hunkered down over my keyboard, stared at the screen, pondered some notes I wrote a long time ago about what I want (and need; they’re not necessarily the same thing), and placed an order. It didn’t quite garner me the full $250 rebate, but it will be enough for $150, so I’m happy with that. I didn’t see the point of trying to figure out another $200 in spending to get another $100 back.

So here’s what I ordered. These all come from AutoMeter’s Jeep(R)-licensed line. Naturally, that adds to the cost of each item, but I *am* building a Jeep, after all, and I don’t want any confusion on that point. šŸ˜‰

  • Speedometer
  • Tachometer
  • Voltmeter
  • Fuel
  • Water Temperature
  • Oil Pressure
  • Engine Oil Temperature
  • Transmission Temperature
  • Transfer-Case Temperature (2 – one for the Spicer 18 case and one for the SCS “Magic Box”)
  • Axle Temperature (3 – one for each axle)

I’m also going to get the following gauges. AutoMeter doesn’t make them in the Jeep line, so I’m getting compatible-looking units from other companies.

  • Engine Hours (Teltek; has a non-resettable display to show total hours and a resettable one for time since last [oil change, overhaul, repair, whatever])
  • Air Pressure (Viair; will let me monitor my onboard air supply from the dash)
  • Outside Air Temperature (Teltek? Not sure yet)
  • Compass (?) (There might be a built-in compass in the GPS I will have)
  • Clock (?) (There will probably be a built-in clock in the sound system head unit I will have)

And then there’s all the other stuff that I want / need on, in, or near the dashboard:

  • Headlight switch (includes cabin light rheostat)
  • Three ARB switches
  • Turn signal, cruise control, and high-beam indicators
  • Sound System head unit & two speakers
  • Four A/C vents
  • Dual-battery management system master switch (?)
  • 12-volt power port(s); USB charging and (maybe) data port(s)
  • HVAC controls
  • Auxiliary light switches (rock lights; work lights; driving lights, etc.) and associated indicators
  • On/off/auto switch for electric engine fan
  • Seat heater switches
  • Onboard air switch
  • GPS unit

With all this stuff, I think it might look more like an airplane cockpit than a Jeep, but hey, it’s my project so I can do what I want, right? šŸ™‚

I regret there aren’t any fancy photos this time, but it’s hard to take pictures of something that doesn’t exist. Maybe next time.

Categories: Gauges, JeepMonster, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments


Have you ever looked forward to an event (with either anticipation or trepidation) and thought it would *NEVER* arrive, only to have it sneak up on you before you were really ready for it? That happened to me during the past week, and today I’m proud (and relieved) to announce that the JeepMonster was successfully installed in my garage yesterday afternoon.

The process started Friday evening, when I arrived at R&W about 6:30 PM. Robert had invited me the previous week to come at 6, and then early Friday afternoon he said I could come sooner, but I was trying to do too many things at once and ended up being late, even for the original appointed time. Robert was quite gracious, though, and didn’t chew me out *too* badly. šŸ™‚

I had thought there was going to be more to do, but all that happened was I loaded the tow bars into the truck and Robert winched the JeepMonster onto his trailer for transport the next morning.


We were supposed to meet at 4Wheel Parts Saturday morning at 7, but I was askedĀ to stop somewhere and pick up some burritos for breakfast, so I got there a little late. By the time I arrived, Robert had already offloaded the JeepMonster and his buggy and moved the truck-and-trailer out of the way.

I apparently wasn’t paying attention, because when I looked around at some point, the local classic-rock radio station, KLPX (96.1 FM), had set up for an on-site broadcast. [Robert had arranged with the 4Wheel Parts people to display the ‘Monster from 8 to noon, and the store was running a one-day sale, so it made sense to have the radio station there – I just didn’t notice when they arrived.]


There was good attendance at the event, as evidenced by all the 4x4sĀ clogging up – er, parked in – the parking lot.


After the party at 4Wheel Parts, Robert reloaded both his buggy and the ‘Monster. Then he delivered the ‘Monster to my house. He, a friend of his, and I (well, he and his friend) got it off the trailer, and they helped me get it turned so I could winch it into the garage. They were (rightly) skeptical of my plan to use a 2000-lb boat winch, but I had successfully pulled my truck up the driveway and into the garage on Friday using it, so I pressed on. This picture shows a point where I had to re-rig the winch line and straps for the second phase. The boat winch doesn’t have a very long cable, so I couldn’t simply unreel enough to get from the ‘Monster to the anchor point in the house. The Jeep’s weight also taxed the winch to the point where it overheated and quit a couple of times, but it always recovered sufficiently to get over the next obstacle.


One thing I had always been concerned about was the Jeep’s height, especially when Robert told me he had to remove the top bow to get it out of his garage with the 7′ door (his shop has a taller door, so that wasn’t an issue there). But he had reassured me several times that the Jeep would be under 7 feet tall, and by golly he was right! The next photo shows the highest part of the Jeep *just* missing the weather strip at the top of the door opening. It’s a good thing, too – otherwise, I was likely going to have to put the top down every time I went in or out of the garage. At least I don’t have to worry about that! [Plus, when it’s all done, it’ll be heavier and will presumably sit lower as a result.]


So it’s now in my garage, more-or-less (I hope more than less!) protected from rust-producing rain and humidity while I work on it for the next however-many-months it’ll be. It doesn’t *quite* fit under my storage racks, so I’ll have to take that into consideration when I plan heavy-duty stuff like pulling the engine. But it *does* fit inside my garage! See?


Here’s a parting shot of me sitting proudly in the JeepMonster at 4Wheel Parts on Saturday, August 13, 2016. It sure is big!


Categories: 6wd, 6x6, CJ-6, Custom Frame, Custom Jeep Body, Jeep, JeepMonster, tandem axle, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

It Went Outside!

…Granted, it was on a very short leash and it didn’t go *far*, but it’s no longer in the R&W shop! (It’s in Robert’s other garage, both to keep it clean [ish] for the August 13 party and also to free up space for other feats of fabrication magic.)

First, though, a few final construction photos, from my visits on July 6, July 12, and July 15, and a couple that Robert sent me.

From July 6, this shows the front fender in progress, and the slider (aka rocker panel protection and footrest) mocked up in almost its final location.


From July 12, this shows the front fender all completed. Not only is the curved panel installed, but the filler panel between the fender and the hood is welded in, too. The slider hasn’t yet been permanently mounted.


This picture, of the passenger-side fender, shows the artistry and effort that went into its construction. There are at least 3 separate pieces of bent tube and more than 8 pieces of plate in each fender! The top curved pieceĀ had to be bent to match the curve of the hood; the tie-in to the grille (not shown here) had to be custom-formed; the multiple pieces of tube had to be sleeved, welded, and ground smooth; the various other pieces of plate needed welding and smoothing, and so on. I don’t know, and I don’t think I *want* to know, how many manhours went into each fender – but I’m sure it was a lot!


Also from July 12, here is a shot of the cargo area. The spare tire carrier is welded to the framework that also supports the gas tank (which is hiding behind the angled plate beneath/behind the tire). The box in the foreground had to be narrowed by about a half inch (I don’t know the exact amount of narrowing required) to fit it between the fender wells, but now I have secure space for tools and parts and other stuff!


And from July 15, here it is, ready to go outside for the VERY FIRST TIME! The tow bar is in its permanent location, but will either be replaced or modified so that it sitsĀ level when the ‘Monster is actually being towed. I hope that doesn’t happen very often!DSC03613

From the front it looks a little like The Flying Nun. The fenders only look weird from straight in front of it – if you move even just a little to one side, they come into perspective really well.


At the “Coming-Out Party,” Robert wants to show some of his handiwork that’ll be hidden when it’s all put together, so he unbolted the tool/parts box, the gas tank, and the spare, and I brought them all home with me. The cargo bed looks HUGE without them!


This is one of the photos Robert sent me – it’s the passenger-side fender, totally unbolted and sitting/lying on the floor. LOTS of work in this!


Here’s a shot of the gas tank cover / spare tire carrier.


Last, but NOT least, here is the JeepMonster outside! You can see the terrible angle that the tow bar makes; I have a 10″-rise hitch, and Robert found someone with a drop end on a tow bar, so between the two we should be able to make a solid towing connection (that I hope will never be used!).

0716 First Daylight

Some of the proportions look slightly “off” in this photo, but I think that’s because of the particular camera angle and the tree in the background. When it was in the shop, NOTHING seemed the least bit out of its proper proportion!

As noted before, the JeepMonster will be at the Tucson, AZ, 4Wheel Parts store (on Speedway) from 8 AM to noon on Saturday, August 13. If you’re anywhere nearby, please come see it in person!

Categories: 6wd, 6x6, CJ-6, Custom Frame, Custom Jeep Body, Jeep, JeepMonster, tandem axle, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

The “Coming Out” Party

It’s official! Robert has declared that his work on the JeepMonster will be done by August 13, and it will actually COME OUT OF HIS SHOP (on a trailer, but still…)!

Our plan is to show it off for a few hours (8 AM to noon) at the local 4Wheel Parts store (4001 E. Speedway Blvd., Tucson, AZ, USA) before bringing it to my house for the next phase of construction – you know, the part where I get to cut holes in his masterpiece for lights, steering, brakes/clutch, etc., etc., etc., and figure out where all the lines, wires, tubes, linkages, pipes, hoses, and so on willĀ go.

If you’re in Tucson on August 13, and want to see the JeepMonster in person, this is the time to do it!

This will also be a chance for you to test your rig’s articulation, as Robert has said he’ll bring his RTI (Ramp Travel Index) ramp.

Categories: 6wd, 6x6, CJ-6, Custom Frame, Custom Jeep Body, Jeep, Jeep Frame, JeepMonster, suspension, tandem axle, Uncategorized | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Light at the End of the Tunnel

It’s getting closer…and I don’t *think* it’s an oncoming train!

More and more details are getting wrapped up. The front fenders are shaping up nicely (pun intended), the middle-axle and transmission-area skid plates are done; the toolbox/parts bin has been narrowed and now fits; the metalwork around the gas tank is almost done; the remaining suspension tidbits (spring perches and final welding of the front links) are almost done; and the JeepMonster is off its rocker – I mean, rollers – and is SITTING ON ITS TIRES!

Front fenders: The inner fenders are done, with the possible exception of a brace to help hold the extra weight (compared to the originals). The outer fenders are about 40% done – the front, horizontal plate is on, but the curve to match the rear fenders still has to be cut and bent, and the reinforcing tube has to be welded on. The gap between the fenders and the hood will be filled with a strip attached to the fenders.DSC03587


Skid plates: There’s a nice, burly flat plate under the transmission and transfer case. It’s attached to the transfer-case crossmember with two bungs that are identical to the ones with which the roll bar / cage are attached to the tub. This allows me to unscrew four cap screws and it’ll just sit there until I lift it off. It also makes remounting it super-easy!


There’s also a nice, thick, strong skidplate under the “Magic Box.” Robert says it’s made of the same kind of steel that’s used in heavy-equipment blades and buckets, so it should be strong enough to protect the Box.


Toolbox / parts bin: Because I’m planning some extended traveling, and want to be as self-sufficient as possible, I ordered a three-drawer toolbox for the cargo bed so that I could securely carry large parts like spare driveshafts and tie rods. It was advertised as being 36″ wide, and since the Jeep’s cargo area is also 36″ wide, I figured it would (just barely) fit. Nope. The Jeep is something like 35 7/8″ wide, while the box was 36 1/8″ or so. So I had the box narrowed, and now it fits perfectly!


Gas tank metalwork: When I decided that I wanted the fuel tank in the cargo bed, I didn’t have a good idea of what it would look like when the project was finished, but I *did* think it would probably be exposed. However, Robert has designed an excellent cover for it which makes the whole project look more professionally done. The top plate is welded to the tank’s mounting frame, and a second plate will angle down from the top one to rest on the top of the toolbox (which will also help hold the toolbox in place!). [The spare tire and the jerry can are currently just sitting there.]


I didn’t take any pictures of the work on the springs, because it consisted mostly of welding the perches on the middle and back axles, and finish-welding the front links (none of which is all that photogenic). But seeing it on its own tires, without the roller trays it’s been on, was a major boost!


It’s down to the final few weeks before it ventures outside for the very first time! Stay tuned.

Categories: 6x6, CJ-6, JeepMonster, Uncategorized | Tags: | 2 Comments

Hot Stuff!

Things are heating up! Literally, in the sense that Arizona is bracing for record heat this weekend (and is under an “excessive heat warning” until Wednesday, 6/22), and figuratively, in that a lot of the final details in the initial build are being taken care of. It’s the latter, naturally, that I’m writing about. (I say “initial build” because it’ll be going back to R&W for final welding and any required fixes – probably to stuff I bugger up – after I’m done cutting holes for lights, wires, steering, fuel, and so on; building the tailgate; and doing whatever else I feel even slightly competent in tackling before giving up in frustration.)

First, the easy one: The transfer case shift levers have been built and installed. To the best of my knowledge, they actually *work*, too! Imagine that…


The left (longer) lever controls 2wd / 4wd (actually 4wd / 6wd, but who’s counting?), while the right (shorter) lever controls high range / neutral / low range. Because it’s a Spicer Model 18 transfer case, I can shift to low range without having to engage the front axle. It’s not recommended (and was actually prevented until I removed the shift interlock pin), but if I have to move really slowly for some reason, that makes it a bit simpler.

[Speaking of 2-, 4-, and 6-wheel-drive, Robert suggested I take a look at something called a driveshaft couplingĀ for the ‘shaft connecting the tandem rear axles. I didn’t even know such an item existed, but it does. It’s a sleeve/collar arrangement that will uncouple a vehicle’s rear axle from the driveshaft so that it can be towed long distances – behind a motorhome, for example – without ruining the transmission. You can find an example of this product here. I don’t know if it’ll work on the ‘Monster because of the side-to-side angle my driveshaft will have, but it’s something to look into. If it *will* work, it would save wear and tear on a lot of parts!]

Second, the detailed one – the radiator and a/c condenser. This photo shows the support behind the radiator that gets attached to the frame, and to which is attached a bracket that fits into the top channel on the radiator. This allows the radiator to flex without being rigidly bolted to anything. At the top, Robert created a partial shroud to help improve the airflow through the a/c condenser. When I put everything in for reals, I might add some weatherstripping (or something similar) between the radiator and the condenser around the sides and bottom to force almost all the cooling air to come through the condenser, rather than around it.


Finally, the hardest one – the fenders. The R&W wizard (that would be Robert again) figured out how to build them so there’s space behind the wheel well and under the floorboard for a battery on each side. While the battery I’ve had since forever will sit flat on the bottom panel, I think I’m going to mount the battery boxes on the back panel of the wheel well so the battery doesn’t sit wedged in. Since the Optima battery line can be mounted in any position, an angled mount won’t cause any problems. Here are a couple of photos showing approximately where the battery will go on the passenger side.










(I placed it with the posts forward so they wouldn’t hit the sheetmetal. When the battery box is installed, the battery’ll be rotated 180 degrees so the posts are toward the back.)

Here are a couple of photos showing how the lower part of the passenger-side fender fits against the grilleĀ and against the body. You can also see the temporarily-placed footwell air vent that fits in the rectangular hole in the side of the tub.








Last, but not least, are a couple of pictures of the plywood mockup of the fender itself. Where the plywood jogs in to follow the body line, the steel will curve down to form the back of the flare, similar to the rear fender flares. These suckers are gonna be really REALLY stout!



Categories: 6x6, CJ-6, Driveshaft Disconnect, JeepMonster, Spicer 18 Transfer Case, tandem axle, Uncategorized | Tags: | 2 Comments

It’s Close…

… but there’s enough room for all the pieces.

I bet you thought I was talking about the JeepMonster being almost ready to move out of “drydock” (at R&W), didn’t you? Well, it’s close that way, too – the latest guesstimate is the first week of August – but I’m actually referring to how close together some of the pieces are, while still being far enough apart to do their respective jobs.

Take the cooling systems (yes, plural – one for the engine and one for the passengers), for example. There isn’t a lot of space between the grille and the water pump, even with the original radiator support / mount removed from the grille. [We’re talking, after all, about an early CJ, which was designed around a small four-popper instead of a 350-cubic-inch V8.] Robert spent a lot of time straightening the grille [which was the straightest I could find, and was the third try after the one from my CJ-5 (bent in the rollover in 2005) and the one from the CJ-6 tub & frame (bent from age, I think)] and then reinforcing it so it would support the air-conditioning condenser. The grille is now clamped in place on the ‘Monster so that he can work on fitting more stuff into the engine bay.


Behind the grille, and under the hood, he’s fitting a new aluminum radiator and electric fan. This picture shows how the headlight buckets were trimmedĀ to provide clearance for the radiator, and how it all has to fit below the hood stiffener. The angled tube is a test-fit of a possible way to mount the radiator to the frame so it can move freely relative to the grille. [In the CJ-5, the radiator sat in a channel on the frame and was held in place by a bracket that attached to the grille. Because everything was old and flexy, that caused the radiator’s bottom tank to crack twice, and when I took it out as I was dismantling the CJ-5 I discovered that the whole radiator had been twisted so that the top was no longer parallel to the bottom. I don’t want that to happen again!]


This picture is a closeup of the tops of everything. You can see the hood stiffener at the top, the bent tube for the radiator mount mockup, and the tops of the radiator and the fan. The red things are body-mount pucks that have been pressed (no pun intended) into temporary service as spacers between the radiator and the condenser. The black radiator-like object behind the red pucks is the condenser, which is attached to the grille.


Because of the cluttered background (I should have put something plain on the other side of the engine), it’s hard to see here, but the water pump juts toward the radiator just left and below the center of the picture, and the red body puck is pushing against the back of the fan motor (it’s wedged between the motor and the power-steering fan belt). So there’s a fore-and-aft overlap between the water pump and the electric fan motor, but luckily they’re offset far enough up-and-down that they aren’t trying to occupy the same space.


In other news, the gas tank is now fully-mounted to the ‘Monster, and it’s a close fit, too. It’s suspended from a sub-frame that gets bolted to the tops of the wheel wells, and is held to the sub-frame by standard gas tank straps. This picture shows the passenger side. The tank is lifted up by the straps so that it rides somewhere between a quarter and a half of an inch (more or less) off the bottom of the cargo bed at its lowest point. The tank flanges are captured between the straps and the vertical bar, providing a solid but flexible connection between the tank and the rest of the ‘Monster. It’s not going anywhere, yet it’s also relatively easy to remove if necessary.


The sub-frame will also ultimately carry the spare tire and a couple of jerry cans (one for fuel; one for water), as well as (possibly) some ammo cans for parts and tools. I have a big, three-drawer flat box being prepped for the cargo bed, and that’ll hold most of my tools, parts and gear, but it never hurts to allow for more storage space.

Categories: 6x6, CJ-6, Cooling System, JeepMonster, Uncategorized | Tags: | Leave a comment

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