I haven’t had a chance to visit Robert (R&W Custom Sliders & Offroad) this week, but he sent me some pictures of the progress he’s made on the front axle’s suspension. As far as I’m concerned, the man is a wizard. While it’s true that he has access to some awesome machines, he has to know how to use them to produce what he wants. I could probably learn to cut flat pieces, but his ability to work in three dimensions, and to know how all the flat pieces will go together to make a 3D assembly, are amazing.
First up, we have a photo of two coil-spring perches. While this is upside down (the curves you see at the top will fit around, and be welded to, the axle tube), you can see how a basic 3D shape can be made from flat pieces.
Next we have the truss on the front axle. This is where the top two links (of four) will attach to the axle. You can see the curve on the right side where the new truss meets the axle tube, and on the left you can see that the top plate has a little tab on the near left corner to fit the differential housing accurately.
This photo, from the back of the axle, shows how the plate had to be cut to fit around the differential housing.
The next photo shows a lot of progress after the previous one. The spring perches, which also hold the lower links (and, eventually, the shock absorbers), have been added. The bracket to hold the upper links has been placed, but isn’t yet welded to the truss. The frame ends of the links are held in place so Robert can start designing and fabricating the brackets.
Here’s a view of the axle end of the upper links. A lot of times the two upper links will be mounted to the axle independently, but sometimes (as is done here) they’re combined into one connection at the axle. I don’t know whether one way is inherently better than the other or not, but in this case it made life simpler at the axle end.
The final view for tonight is a shot from the side. All this stuff, when it’s finished, will locate the front axle under the JeepMonster. Springs and shocks, of course, provide the cushy ride <wink wink>, and a GM 350 provides the go power.
In other news, I learned that the right springs will be available from ADS on the 16th. I also finally found some acceptable U-bolts for the back axles; those have been ordered and are on their way. The clutch slave cylinder (that actually pushes the clutch lever when you push the pedal down) also arrived, so that can be bolted in to test for clearance issues.
I’m still looking for a new transmission mount. I’ve had my transmission / transfer case combination for 20 years, and the existing mount has reached its expiration date. However, that exact mount is apparently no longer made – I guess it was an early version of what they use today, but what they use today doesn’t fit. Nothing fits. There are three possibilities that might be usable; I’ll order them to see what Robert can do with them. The ones that aren’t used will be returned.
I’m also still looking for a new radiator. I think my old one was custom-made, but I don’t want to go that route again if I can help it, because even radiators in *standard* sizes are hideously expensive. But I have to make a decision soon, and order something, so that Robert can add that to the frame.
I also need to get the air tanks for the onboard air system. They aren’t a critical fitment issue, but if I get them now, Robert can add the mounting brackets to the frame before we start working on the body. It’ll be one more thing done at the (relatively) easy stage of construction.