I’m Ba-a-a-ack!

…and I have PROGRESS! – Well, actually, *Robert* had progress to show me today.

As y’all know, it’s been several weeks since I last posted here. In that time I rode my motorcycle 7500 miles, followed Historic Route 66 from Holbrook, AZ, to Chicago, attended the EAA AirVenture Fly-In in Oshkosh, WI, and the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, SD (duh), and visited one of my beautiful daughters and her husband. (If you’re interested, you can catch up on my travels here.)

Today I visited Robert. There wasn’t a lot of progress, both because I’ve been away and because he’s had other projects to finish, but more details on the frame are done.

The power steering box mount is now permanent.

The power steering box mount is now permanent.

The transmission mount / crossmember has been fabricated.

The transmission mount / crossmember has been fabricated.

The rearmost crossmember / rear winch mount / receiver has been fabricated and welded to the frame.

The rearmost crossmember / rear winch mount / receiver has been fabricated and welded to the frame.

And, wonder of wonders, I think we’ve actually come up with a way to get the “Magic Box” (as I call it – it’s the 1:1 power-transfer gearbox on the center axle) higher off the ground! Here’s the best shot of it that I could find in all the pictures I’ve taken (or found) so far. It’s not *my* Magic Box, but you can see that it hangs below the bottom of the differential by a good inch to inch-and-a-half. It’s by far the lowest point on the whole JeepMonster, and because it’s both aluminum and big, it presented a serious protection challenge.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Robert’s suggestion is to swap my two back-axle ring-and-pinion assemblies so the Magic Box will be bolted to the high-pinion assembly, and the low-pinion assembly it’s currently bolted to will go on the third axle. This accomplishes several things:

  1. It moves the Magic Box about 4 inches higher than it is now, putting the bottom of the Box well above the bottom of the differential housing. This will make it much easier to build a skidplate for the whole assembly.
  2. It moves the output U-joint 4 inches higher above the axle tube, giving gobs (that’s a technical term for lots) of clearance between the “interaxle” driveshaft and the axle tube on the middle axle.

It does two other things, too, which are not so good:

  1. It raises the front end of the “interaxle” driveshaft 4 inches and drops the back end 4 inches, so the operating angle on this driveshaft will be more than originally thought.
  2. In raising the whole Magic Box 4 inches, there might be clearance issues with one of the frame’s crossmembers that we’ll have to deal with.

On the whole, though, the two improvements vastly outweigh the two downgrades. I’d much rather have the whole Magic Box sit higher off the ground than it does right now, and figure out how to mitigate the two downgrades, than leave it the way it is.

There’s also the possibility, which I have to confirm with the Box’s builder (who is in Ohio), that I could rotate the Box so it’s more horizontal than it is right now. It currently sits at about a 45-degree angle up and to the passenger side; if I can rotate it so that it’s closer to horizontal, the downgrade issues won’t be as severe. We’ll have to see about that.

So right now, Robert is going to measure and tack-weld the back-axle shock mounts to the frame, and then pull the two back axles off for me to take to Tucson Differential for reassembly. After that, I’ll take the CJ-6 tub to him so he can start working on the new body.

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Categories: 6x6, CJ-6, Custom Frame, drivetrain, Jeep Frame, JeepMonster | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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