It’s getting closer…and I don’t *think* it’s an oncoming train!
More and more details are getting wrapped up. The front fenders are shaping up nicely (pun intended), the middle-axle and transmission-area skid plates are done; the toolbox/parts bin has been narrowed and now fits; the metalwork around the gas tank is almost done; the remaining suspension tidbits (spring perches and final welding of the front links) are almost done; and the JeepMonster is off its rocker – I mean, rollers – and is SITTING ON ITS TIRES!
Front fenders: The inner fenders are done, with the possible exception of a brace to help hold the extra weight (compared to the originals). The outer fenders are about 40% done – the front, horizontal plate is on, but the curve to match the rear fenders still has to be cut and bent, and the reinforcing tube has to be welded on. The gap between the fenders and the hood will be filled with a strip attached to the fenders.
Skid plates: There’s a nice, burly flat plate under the transmission and transfer case. It’s attached to the transfer-case crossmember with two bungs that are identical to the ones with which the roll bar / cage are attached to the tub. This allows me to unscrew four cap screws and it’ll just sit there until I lift it off. It also makes remounting it super-easy!
There’s also a nice, thick, strong skidplate under the “Magic Box.” Robert says it’s made of the same kind of steel that’s used in heavy-equipment blades and buckets, so it should be strong enough to protect the Box.
Toolbox / parts bin: Because I’m planning some extended traveling, and want to be as self-sufficient as possible, I ordered a three-drawer toolbox for the cargo bed so that I could securely carry large parts like spare driveshafts and tie rods. It was advertised as being 36″ wide, and since the Jeep’s cargo area is also 36″ wide, I figured it would (just barely) fit. Nope. The Jeep is something like 35 7/8″ wide, while the box was 36 1/8″ or so. So I had the box narrowed, and now it fits perfectly!
Gas tank metalwork: When I decided that I wanted the fuel tank in the cargo bed, I didn’t have a good idea of what it would look like when the project was finished, but I *did* think it would probably be exposed. However, Robert has designed an excellent cover for it which makes the whole project look more professionally done. The top plate is welded to the tank’s mounting frame, and a second plate will angle down from the top one to rest on the top of the toolbox (which will also help hold the toolbox in place!). [The spare tire and the jerry can are currently just sitting there.]
I didn’t take any pictures of the work on the springs, because it consisted mostly of welding the perches on the middle and back axles, and finish-welding the front links (none of which is all that photogenic). But seeing it on its own tires, without the roller trays it’s been on, was a major boost!
It’s down to the final few weeks before it ventures outside for the very first time! Stay tuned.