I finally got all my ducks in a row yesterday: Both back axles were in hand, I had spring perches (to make things more interesting, one axle is built with 3-inch tubing and one with 3 1/4-inch tubing, so I had to get perches that were axle-specific), the welder was available (it had been here at the house for a while, but I eventually got it to the JeepHouse), *and* I had some available time!
So I traipsed over to the JeepHouse and got to work. I started with the axles bass-ackwards from where they belong, in that the “Magic Box” was on the rearmost one, and the simple pinion was on the middle one:
Obviously, the first step was to remove both from the ‘Monster:
You can see here that the perches on the nearer axle are closer together than the ones on the farther one. That’s because the springs for these axles overlap in between them. (You might be able to see the overlap in the first photo, if you look closely.) My plan was to add a new pair of perches on each axle to fit the other springs.
Here you see both axles after I tacked on the new perches. I got lucky: When I was planning all this out, I honestly didn’t know whether there would be space on the nearer axle for the inner passenger-side perch. As it turned out, there is – barely. The inner U-bolt *just* fits around the axle without touching the third-member housing. (My hat’s off to Robert Wonsey, of R&W, who told me from the start that swapping the axles would work and everything would fit.)
Once the perches were ready, then all I had to do was put the axles back under the ‘Monster. It wasn’t as easy as getting them out, but without too much more trouble I got them back in – this time in their correct locations!
I was even smart enough to check for clearances with the center axle springs fully compressed. I had been worried all during the build that the “Magic Box” might be too tall, and that it would hit the tub at maximum stuff, or that the driveshaft might hit a frame crossmember, or some other disaster might rear its ugly head and throw everything into chaos. But they don’t! At full stuff, without any bumpstops to cushion the impact (e.g., metal frame touching metal axle), the Magic Box misses the tub, and the highest point of the input yoke is a half inch below the lowest point of the frame crossmember. *WHEW*
This photo shows the top of the driver side spring plate making contact with the bumpstop mount. The passenger side was similarly compressed, and NOTHING HIT.
So the JeepMonster is back on its own six tires, this time with all three axles in their correct locations. I’m now working on mounting the engine accessories – power steering, alternator, air conditioning, and compressed air. I have also ordered a new steering column, and when that arrives I’ll start figuring out where it’ll hang in the cab, where it goes through the firewall, and so on. I also need to start looking at clutch, gas, and brake pedal placement. Also fuel, electric, exhaust, brakes…