Last Friday I posted on my Facebook page that I had finally gotten my middle (front back? first back?) axle from Tucson Differential (TD), and that I would have a blog entry “tomorrow” – meaning Saturday. Oops… If you follow my Peripatetic Traveler blog, you know that I was busy traveling to Toyland all weekend, and I just… simply… didn’t write anything.
So, in atonement, I offer this photo of my Jeep, sitting on its own 35-inch front tires and a pair of borrowed, wimpy, wouldn’t-be-caught-dead-on-the-trail back tires:
To be fair, it wouldn’t be caught dead on the trail anyway, because it’s already dead. *sigh*
But now to the middle axle. I originally took it to TD late last fall to have it (and the back axle) assembled. The “magic box” had arrived from Ohio, and the housing, axleshafts, third member, and all associated parts had arrived from California. TD told me both axles would be assembled during the week after Christmas and that I could pick them up in early January. They were, and I did.
There was just one minor problem, which TD pointed out to me when I got the axles. The “magic box’s” rear output might have interference issues with the axlehousing. They suggested a fix, which I decided to think about.
It didn’t take much thinking to change “might have” to “would definitely have” interference issues. I didn’t even take the axle out of the truck when I got home. The very next day (still the first full week of January, if I remember correctly) I took it back to TD and asked that the fix be taken care of. They said sure, they’d get it done, and it would be a couple of weeks.
It turned out to be a couple of months, but the job finally got done. TD was even kind enough to give me a price reduction for having to wait so long. So last Friday I collected it, and tomorrow I take it over to Robert’s shop (R&W custom Sliders and Offroad) so he can get to work on the frame. In the meantime, here are the pictures I promised.
SCS is the company that built the “magic box.” They have done work for drag racers, truck-pull competitors, and other high-horsepower, high-torque racing machines, so I don’t have any qualms about putting it behind my puny, 200 hp (more or less), stock GM 350 small block. This is the front of the axle; at the upper left is where the driveshaft from the transfer case connects to the whole assembly. The box itself is essentially a 1:1 transfer case. An intermediate gear transfers power down to the axle’s pinion shaft, while another yoke on the back of the box carries power to the back axle.
This photo shows the axle from the back; the yoke to the upper right of the center section is where the driveshaft to the third axle will connect.
The next photo is a closeup of the notch that was cut into the housing so that the third driveshaft would clear the center section:
This photo shows the driver’s side of the “box”. Surprisingly, the whole box only adds about three inches to the forward length of the axle, compared with where a standard pinion yoke would be. Because of other modifications I’m making to the Jeep as I build it, I’ll actually have a driveshaft from the transfer case to this axle that’s about three inches longer than the old driveshaft was. (Longer is better here!)
And finally, a view looking down at the top of the axle. Here again, you can see the notch that TD cut into the center section housing. If I had all the drivetrain pieces here at home, I’d line them up and give you a view of how they’ll all fit together, but everything else is over at R&W. As soon as I get the frame and drivetrain back, I’ll let y’all know.
In the meantime, I can empty my bank account buying the necessary body panels and other stuff I need/want. I’ll also take advantage of the space in the garage to clean it up some and (I hope!) get it all painted. Oh, and posting blog entries any time Robert sends me pics of his progress on the frame.