Late last week, Robert, my frame guy, let me know that he was finally going to be able to get some time to work on the frame over the weekend. There had been a delay in getting some of the parts he needed for the linked front suspension, and he had some other projects to get done, PLUS he has a full-time job in addition to his own company, so sometimes I wonder where he finds the time to do anything on the JeepMonster. I told him that I was busy Saturday, but if I could, I’d be out on Sunday to see the progress.
So yesterday I made the time to go see what he had done. It’s an hour from my house to his shop, so it’s not a trip I make with any regularity, but it was definitely worth it to see more pieces being added to the frame.
[Did you know there’s a difference between “car parts” and “car pieces”? There is – to me, anyway. “Parts” are those things you get at the stealership when you take it in for service, and they tell you this is broken and that’s worn out and, oh yeah, this is unsafe to drive with and so you need to give us lots of money to replace all these things so you won’t crash. Or you can get them at stores like O’Riellys, NAPA, CarQuest, PepBoys, and AutoZone and do the job yourself. On the other hand, “pieces” are the things that go together to make assemblies, or structures, or “parts.” In this post, “pieces” specifically refers to the bits and chunks of steel that Robert is fashioning into spring mounts on the frame.]
Back to the story.
When I got to Robert’s shop, he was apologetic that there wasn’t much to show for his work – only a few pieces of steel welded to the frame for the middle and back axles’ spring mounts. I told him I totally understood, as I have done the same thing – work and work and work and work and work and not too much to show for it. In this case, he has to cut lots of small pieces of steel to just the right size and shape, and then weld them all together – and to the frame – in perfect alignment so the frame stays square and the springs will flex freely. Here are a few pictures of what he’s been doing.
This photo shows the outside of the frame, looking from front to back. The structure in the center of the picture is where the springs for the middle and back axles will meet. Since there is a slight overlap of the springs, the set for the middle axle will be offset toward the center of the JeepMonster, while the set for the back axle will be offset away from the center. This means that each mounting point has to be braced and gusseted to prevent (or at least minimize) flex.
This photo shows the passenger-side common spring mount. There are at least ten unique pieces of steel in this photo, not counting either the frame rail or the square tubing that is the crossmember. Robert tells me he’s going to close in the angled opening, too, so that’s another piece to add to the count. Each piece had to be designed, cut, drilled, placed, clamped, and carefully welded so that it would combine with the others to make a solid spring mount.
This is a closeup of the driver-side mount, looking forward on the outside of the frame. There are at least five pieces in this shot that didn’t show in the previous photo, for a total of 15 or more for each common mount.
And finally, this is where it’s all happening – in Marana, Arizona. The company name is R&W custom Sliders & Offroad. The ultimate test of the product will be when I get the JeepMonster on (and off!) the road, but right now I have to say I’m quite impressed with the quality of the work Robert’s doing.