Well, here it is: January 8, 2015, and I *finally* feel like I’m at the point where I can start building my Jeep instead of just thinking about building the Jeep. By way of background, here are links to two posts I wrote in The Peripatetic Traveler:
Back in October, I ordered the rest of the parts for my three axles from Currie Enterprises. The parts finally arrived in early December, and I took everything to a local company, Tucson Differential, for assembly. They were busy at the time but said the axles would be their “after Christmas” project. For once, a company actually met its deadline! They called me this past Monday (1/5) and told me all three axles were ready.
So Monday afternoon I got the axles. Here’s the front one, all nice and shiny. I still need the tie rod and drag link assemblies, but I’ll wait to get those until I have a frame to mount the axle to.
I was hoping I’d be able to use leaf springs for the front axle, because that type of suspension is much simpler than coil springs. But the center section, which is offset to the passenger side, is too big to fit completely inside the frame. If I were to use leaf springs, they would have to be mounted outside the frame instead of directly under it, which would make things much more complicated with respect to steering and such. So I’ll be using coil springs, or more likely a coilover setup, for the front. [For those of you not familiar with the term “coilover,” it refers to a setup where a coil spring is physically *around* the shock absorber and the whole thing is basically a single unit.]
Here’s the back axle, also all nice and shiny:
It lacks its brake rotors at the moment, so what you see at the end of the axle are the small brake shoes for the parking brake.
I don’t have the middle axle right now. I got it on Monday with the other two, but the Tucson Differential guy pointed out to me that the output yoke on the back of the “magic gearbox” might have interference problems with part of the axle’s center section, especially when the middle axle was compressed up toward the frame and the back axle was extended away from the frame. The more I thought about it (both on Monday and Tuesday), the more “might” started sounding like “would,” so I took it back to Tucson Differential Tuesday afternoon and asked them to notch the center section and weld in a piece of steel tubing that would give everything enough clearance.
So while I’m waiting for the middle axle to be modified, I’ll be making lots of measurements of the front of my current frame. I’ll use the location of the front axle as my “zero-point” and figure out how far in front of, or in back of, that zero-point I’ll be putting other things, like the radiator, the engine mounts, the power-steering box, and so on. It’ll be a multi-step process. The first actual step for the frame will be to get a steel rectangle built and to locate the front axle under it. Stay tuned.