… but there’s enough room for all the pieces.
I bet you thought I was talking about the JeepMonster being almost ready to move out of “drydock” (at R&W), didn’t you? Well, it’s close that way, too – the latest guesstimate is the first week of August – but I’m actually referring to how close together some of the pieces are, while still being far enough apart to do their respective jobs.
Take the cooling systems (yes, plural – one for the engine and one for the passengers), for example. There isn’t a lot of space between the grille and the water pump, even with the original radiator support / mount removed from the grille. [We’re talking, after all, about an early CJ, which was designed around a small four-popper instead of a 350-cubic-inch V8.] Robert spent a lot of time straightening the grille [which was the straightest I could find, and was the third try after the one from my CJ-5 (bent in the rollover in 2005) and the one from the CJ-6 tub & frame (bent from age, I think)] and then reinforcing it so it would support the air-conditioning condenser. The grille is now clamped in place on the ‘Monster so that he can work on fitting more stuff into the engine bay.
Behind the grille, and under the hood, he’s fitting a new aluminum radiator and electric fan. This picture shows how the headlight buckets were trimmed to provide clearance for the radiator, and how it all has to fit below the hood stiffener. The angled tube is a test-fit of a possible way to mount the radiator to the frame so it can move freely relative to the grille. [In the CJ-5, the radiator sat in a channel on the frame and was held in place by a bracket that attached to the grille. Because everything was old and flexy, that caused the radiator’s bottom tank to crack twice, and when I took it out as I was dismantling the CJ-5 I discovered that the whole radiator had been twisted so that the top was no longer parallel to the bottom. I don’t want that to happen again!]
This picture is a closeup of the tops of everything. You can see the hood stiffener at the top, the bent tube for the radiator mount mockup, and the tops of the radiator and the fan. The red things are body-mount pucks that have been pressed (no pun intended) into temporary service as spacers between the radiator and the condenser. The black radiator-like object behind the red pucks is the condenser, which is attached to the grille.
Because of the cluttered background (I should have put something plain on the other side of the engine), it’s hard to see here, but the water pump juts toward the radiator just left and below the center of the picture, and the red body puck is pushing against the back of the fan motor (it’s wedged between the motor and the power-steering fan belt). So there’s a fore-and-aft overlap between the water pump and the electric fan motor, but luckily they’re offset far enough up-and-down that they aren’t trying to occupy the same space.
In other news, the gas tank is now fully-mounted to the ‘Monster, and it’s a close fit, too. It’s suspended from a sub-frame that gets bolted to the tops of the wheel wells, and is held to the sub-frame by standard gas tank straps. This picture shows the passenger side. The tank is lifted up by the straps so that it rides somewhere between a quarter and a half of an inch (more or less) off the bottom of the cargo bed at its lowest point. The tank flanges are captured between the straps and the vertical bar, providing a solid but flexible connection between the tank and the rest of the ‘Monster. It’s not going anywhere, yet it’s also relatively easy to remove if necessary.
The sub-frame will also ultimately carry the spare tire and a couple of jerry cans (one for fuel; one for water), as well as (possibly) some ammo cans for parts and tools. I have a big, three-drawer flat box being prepped for the cargo bed, and that’ll hold most of my tools, parts and gear, but it never hurts to allow for more storage space.