Blender, My LX450/FZJ80 + FJ45esk + GM + Land Rover crazy concoction

Discussion in 'HardCore Corner' started by Mieser, Aug 12, 2016.

  1. Mieser

    Mieser

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    I am going to have to play a bit of catch up with this thread. I don't get over to Ih8mud much. I am not really a 'Toyota' or 'Land Cruiser' guy, but with this new project I have found myself on this board more and more searching for FJ40-45-80 information. I figured the least I could do is share the build with this community. I find it really interesting to see how different groups take to different builds.

    For a little backstory, I was luck enough to be one of the readers invited to attend the 2014 Ultimate Adventure trip hosted by 4-wheel and Off-road Magazine. That trip consisted of a crazy 3150 mile tour of the midwest. In 2015 I was invited back to Ultimate Adventure again as the Returning Reader. Once returning from that trip the gears in my head wouldn't stop grinding away at what to build next. I had another project lined up to build that was ( and still is ) a frustration. In a fit, I made the mistake of cruising Craigslist for a project. I knew generally what I was looking to build as far as the general package, but I didn't know what to start with.

    After my adventures over the last few years, my wishlist has evolved as I spend more time neck deep in this sport. My Dodge has been a great vehicle for years. It is basically just a 1 ton diesel powered 4wd truck with big dumb tires. For a lot of things it works well. It has a top, doors, windows, heater, power, and gets good mileage. My ol' Willys, on the other hand, is open, small, short, limited to about 60mph, and did I mention small. While I love the little thing to death, and it is FAR more capable than I ever through a vehicle on 35" tires and an 85" wheelbase could be, it just isn't that practical.

    What I really wanted was a blend ( ha...get it...blender ) of both those vehicles.

    This is what I came up with so far....

    [​IMG]

    -1996 LX450 ( same as FZJ80 ) chassis ( it was a super clean unit with only 110K miles that was flopped over in a ditch on a snowy road )
    -1970 FJ45-esk custom pinched cab/tub ( which started out as a mostly rust free FJ40 tub from Arizona )
    -2013 LC9 5.3 GM V8 all aluminum engine ( from a rolled truck with less than 50K miles )
    -6L80E 6-speed automatic ( from the same truck as the engine and still attached from the factory )
    -Land Rover LT230 transfer case ( from a Discovery2(?), it is the SE version with the unused center diff lock from the factory with 1.2 high range and 3.32 low range.
    -Toyota Factory 4.10 E-Locker Differentials ( that came in the LX450 from the factory )
    -40" Tires and Beadlock wheels ( because I like big dumb tires )
    -Warn 8274 winch

    In general I wanted ( no real specific order )

    -About a 110" wheelbase, the J80 chassis is 112" (close enough)
    -Modern, reliable V8 power with about 300hp, cheap, with easy to find parts.
    -Automatic transmission. I think for the technical 'wheeling I do they have an advantage.
    -BROAD gearing, not just low gearing. I like being able to run between harder section of the trail, and in the sand/desert, without having to do the low-hi range shuffle.
    -Be able to travel at modern interstate speeds of 75-80mph without needing a death grip on the wheel and focused concentration.
    -Cruise control. I seem to always go on these long adventures....
    -Flat smooth belly at about 1/2 tire diameter. I tend to build vehicles very low for stability and handling. To make that work I try and maximize the belly clearance while keeping it as smooth as practical.
    -Limited front overhang. Just enough room for the winch past the grill. It won't be a 90 degree approach angle, but close
    -Limited rear overhang. With the longer wheelbase you can more easily get the front end up on very large obstacles. If the rear end gets in the way your forward/upward progress stops
    -25-30 gallon fuel capacity that doesn't get in the way
    -Full float rear axle because semi-float shafts suck when they break, or bend, when your doing stupid stuff you shouldn't (check)
    -Serviceable wheel bearings, because I like being able to inspect/replace/repack those parts (check)
    -Big dumb tires, because I feel that allows me to do crazy things that I like to do.
    -Room for a big dump spare tire that will not get in the way of rearward visibility
    -4 wheel disc brakes, to help stop the big dumb tires.
    -Coil/link suspension, to help with approach and departure angles along with provide a more complaint 'modern' ride quality.
    -Front end weight bias, so that when it is loaded down for larger trips it is still close or better than 50/50 front to rear.
    -Smaller body. I want the body to be comfortable for 2 people, but no bigger than needed for tight trail work.
    -Almost no lift. I like running big dumb tires, but I don't like using feet of 'lift' to do it.
    -Modular lockable had top. While I enjoy an open air high visibility driving immersion in the environment, I hate getting hit in the back of the ear by tire spray on the highway.
    -Doors, that lock, with windows
    -Heater
    -Good ventilation, but no complex heavy complicated A/C systems
    -Comfy interior
    -etc
    -etc

    I have a thread in the wrong section of pirate here...

    Jumping ship... - Pirate4x4.Com : 4x4 and Off-Road Forum

    I will be taking off from the point in the above picture in this thread. If you want to ask questions from the stuff in that other thread feel free.
    I like questions. I like hearing other points of view and criticism on my dumb ideas.
    And go....
     
    GW Nugget, beno and ChristmasMud like this.
  2. Mieser

    Mieser

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    To summarize what I have done with the body so far.

    [​IMG]

    I brought this up from Arizona. It is in decent condition for a 45 year old tub, but not perfect.

    [​IMG]

    Then this happened! I swear it just fell in half like that....

    [​IMG]

    Then I removed what was left of the old toolbox under the drivers seat along with the fuel tank sump. The rear floor support had to go also.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Then I took a 6-7 degree wedge out of the floor pan starting at the door opening and stuck things back together.

    [​IMG]

    Now I am left with a tub that is only about 55.5-56" wide overall. It is just about 3" narrower than your typical CJ5-7-8/YJ/TJ tub. I can still use a stock hood, windshield, wipers, etc. I wanted something slightly less wide in the hips for this chassis. The axles only 63" wide and even with 9" wide wheels with 3.75" backspacing and a 13.5 wide tire the overall width is JUST under 80" wide. Having the body be slightly narrower will keep it out of trouble on the trail.

    This body is also 'modular' for the most part. The windshield frame comes off, the top panels bolt on, etc. This way, it if is damaged on the trail I can replace parts without having to worry about the entire tub that much.

    I went back and forth ( and honestly still am ) about building a pickup vs an SUV shape. I think both have upsides and downsides.....

    [​IMG]

    I have decided to make this one a small pickup. It will be stretched about 2.5-3" from a standard Toyota FJ45 dimensions. The back end is basically going to be a simple skin over a 1.5" square tube skeleton that will also function as the rollcage. With the smaller cabin volume I didn't want to sacrifice a lot of space by having a separate cage structure. The top panels will also be bolting to this structure, in the end I think it will actually save be a decent amount of work along with space.

    The hood will remain stock for easy replacement. I got this cool extra patina mockup hood from the guy selling the tub. It is pretty rough, it will work for mockup and test driving but I am in search for a later model seamless hood in good condition for when it goes to paint.

    [​IMG]

    While the hood can remain stock, I am going to have to do quite a bit of work to the grill to make room for the tires to turn. This is a rough 'chop of what the modded grill will look like. I am basically going to have to move the headlights in about 2" per side to give me enough room to eliminate the 'corner' on the factory grill shape. I will narrow the bezel also....which I need to find also.

    The front end will be getting some small aluminum sheet fenders to help blend with what I am going to do on the bed I am designing.

    [​IMG]

    I also have to cut a big freaking hole in the floor to make room for the transfer case. The Land Rover LT230 is NOT a mall unit. The entire powertrain is above the bottom of the frame rail to provide a completely flat belly. The body is as low as practical on the chassis. There is only about 1" of clearance over the engine to the hood ridge.

    In the end it doesn't look like the vehicle will be as low as I hoped for. While the suspension will be 'stock', the position of the body is adding about 2" of 'lift' compared to a stock FJ40 from what I can tell. The J80 frame is 6" tall in the belly section and the FJ40 hat channels are rather chunky units. The body can't really go any lower unless I swapped to a car intake on the engine, which I don't want to do. Having about 2-3" of 'lift' overall to run a 40" tire doesn't sound too bad. My math may be a bit off also compared to 'stock'. The chassis will think and drive like it doesn't have any lift other than what I get from the reduction in sprung weight. My hope is that this vehicle will just squeak in under 4000lbs when it's done. It will be close, and likely over that with a full tank of fuel, people, a 40" spare tire, etc.

    Ok.....I think that is where I am at with the body.....
     
    beno likes this.
  3. Mieser

    Mieser

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    Last night was arts and crafts!

    I started off in the computer however.

    [​IMG]

    I use solidoworks for most of my designing in the box mainly. I am lucky enough to have collected a fair number of files over the years from here and there to work with.

    Once I have a design in solidworks I like, I can print a 1:1 paper template. Then I spray glue that template to whatever material I want to cut the template out of. In this case I am just doing a trail fit of the parts in the chassis since I do not have a model of that.

    [​IMG]

    I made a foam board model of the engine mounts I designed. Foam board is cheap and easy to work with. It has enough rigidity that it retains its shape. You can make taps and slots to hold assemblies together just like you can with cnc materials. A little hot glue holds it all together. The hardest thing to do is cut holes. That takes a little time to do cleanly.

    These mounts will be using a large Johnny-Joint type joint. My hope is that these joints will allow some misalignment when installing/removing the engine, but some compliance with the urethane bushings to isolate some vibration. The mounts will also be a 'captured' design where if the bushing was to fail, the engine would still be mostly constrained.

    [​IMG]

    I decided to use the new weld-on kit from Trail Gear. There are about a dozen or more companies making this style joint now. Trail-Gears version looks just as good as any I have seen. The joint had proper preload on the bushing. The snap ring groove is nice and deep. There is a grease port not only in the shell, but also in the ball. The surface finishes are all good quality.

    They are selling for $20 shipped!

    https://www.trail-gear.com/TG/Creeper_Joint_Kit__Weld_On__18mm/i_0_0_4471/_303892-KIT.aspx

    You might have to look around for a free shipping deal.

    I elected to design the bushing into the removable part of the mount, not on the frame. This should make fabrication of the mount easier, along with repairs in the future. I am using a standard 2.63" wide bushing also. This gives me the option to rebuild the bolt on mounts with a multitude of other bushings if the vibrations are too extreme with this style of bushing.

    [​IMG]

    Drivers side test fit.

    [​IMG]

    Passenger side test fit.

    Overall everything looked pretty good. I am debating a little bit on using a common part on the engine or making an A and B side. The engine is offset in the chassis 1" to help with the front driveshaft clearance. If the part on the engine is identical the distance to the frame rail, and corresponding leverage, is different.

    I am probably going to make the passenger mount slightly longer and lower both mounting points 1/2". The lowered position will give a little more clearance to the exhaust manifold which will be a significant heat source. I should also think about adding some kind of heat shield on the mount itself to further isolate it from the exhaust heat.

    Off to make V1.1 of the engine mounts....
     
    beno likes this.
  4. Mieser

    Mieser

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    I figured I would do another summary of where I am at with the body/chassis/powertrain juggling.....

    [​IMG]

    After pulling the spring and rubber bumpstops out of the chassis, I basically stared by leveling the it the best I could on my not-level concrete garage floor. The body was then roughly positioned on the frame. The only 'known' reference point I really had was that I wanted the grill to sit JUST in front of the steering box. From a few other builds on Pirate and some pictures I found of other FJ40 on J80 chassis builds I found, that looked like a good place to start. Staring with that known reference, and that I knew I wanted the body centered side to side on the frame, this gave me a 'home' position to use. I still didn't know where the body was going to end up vertically because I didn't have the powertrain at this point. I decided to make a set of very temporary body mounts so I didn't have to spend hours measuring every time I had to remove the body from the frame.....

    [​IMG]

    This is what I came up with. It is just some 3/4 box tube and hardware scabbed together. I turned up a small bushing that fits in the old body mount hole. This is just a female receptacle for the 1/2" all thread. Nothing is jointed together. You can still lift the body off the pin. That pin is threaded so that I can adjust the height of the body vertically over the powertrain after it is in position. There is a locking nut that keeps the 'home' position set vertically one I find out where it is. There is also a welded nut on the very bottom which I use for turning the all thread. You can use an impact driver for fast adjustments, ratchet, or a end wrench.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    In order to give myself a reference plane for the powertrain, I decided to build a quick wooden table that would fit under the frame rails in the belly section and extend forward towards the front axle. One of the goals for this build was to have the belly of the chassis be flat to the frame. When setting the powertrain I HATE having things floating around in space hanging off of a hoist. With the clearances I usually built to with my typical low slung vehicles it just isn't practical to set the engine that way. This table will allow me to set the entire mess on top without having to have anything connected to the engine hoist. I can set the angle and position just like I want with cribbing under the oil pans. This also gives me a very good reference plane for how much clearance things will have to the belly pan when I am finished.

    [​IMG]

    Somewhere shortly after building the table top my new tires showed up. When your building a car with basically no lift and a 40" tire you start to doubt if they will fit sometimes. I decided to mount the tires up and install them on the chassis to see how much space they really took up. I had measured at least a dozen times to see if they 'should' fit with the body position I had basically pulled out of my rear end.

    Before I got my engine and transmission I had already started measuring the position of the body to frame and where the engine might end up. One 'wishlist' item that came up a few years back, and again on both Ultimate Adventure trips, was how nice it would be if the vehicle used the same length driveshaft front to rear. That way you only need one spare part and it would fit either end. In a worst case situation, you could pull the front driveline and install it in the rear to get you home in rear wheel drive. After lots of head scratching, graph paper, measuring, and thinking....it looked very possible in this chassis/body combination.

    Using all my rough calculations, I basically guessed that the body needed to go back 1" more than my initial guesstimate based on the pictures I had seen of builds like this. Originally I had about 1.75-1.88" of clearance between the grill face and the factory J80 steering box. I decided to move the body back that extra 1" before fitting the tires and wheels.

    [​IMG]

    I ended up making this horrible looking little jig to add a position for the temporary body mounts that was 1" further rearward. Then I simply moved the all-thread back to the new position and set the body back on the pins.

    [​IMG]

    At this point I decided to actually bolt the tires/wheels onto the axles. This raised the position of the frame/body and it was no longer level, but it did allow me to do a quick check fit for clearance with the very much larger tires with the front of the tub. All went WAY better than I could have hopped. The turned tire cleared the tub with plenty of room for articulation. The chassis is sitting metal to metal right now. There is VERY little chance that the suspension will ever get this compressed again, but a little extra space is good insurance as the suspension is will remain using all the stock rubber mounting bushings. I have been pretty impressed with the tight, but realistic, clearances that the Toyota J80 chassis was built to as far as the suspension. Everything clears lock to lock even with the stock rubber bumpstops removed completely.

    [​IMG]

    As an icing on the cake bonus, the 40" tires even clear the radius arms at full lock with a little extra to spare. This is with a 9" wide wheel that has 3.75" backspacing. The steering stops are still set at the factory length. I have a little extra clearance to play with even! I may have to play with adding a little more steering angle if the steering box and birfield joints in the axle will take it. I am VERY happy to have the full stock steering angle available with a 40" tall tire at this point!

    [​IMG]

    Next it's time to stuff a lot of engine, transmission, and transfer case in the chassis....
     
    beno likes this.
  5. Mieser

    Mieser

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    Now it is time to go over the process and the issues I had when setting the powertain position.

    [​IMG]

    This picture basically sums up 90% of the complications I had with the position of the powertrain in the chassis. This picture is looking through the hole for the front output in my mockup Land Rover LT230 case. I had previously set the engine in the chassis, but it wasn't until I received my transfer case adapter that I had a way to fully visualize this issue.

    The J80 chassis is very well designed. Both differentials are still traditionally on the passenger side of the chassis. While I was dreaming up this crazy concoction of parts I stumbled upon the idea of using a Land Rover LT230 transfer case. I didn't have any of the stock J80 powertrain parts. The gentleman I purchased the chassis from had removed them to use in a high mile FZJ80, after all they only had 110K miles on them. That is hardly broke in for a Toyota engine! With both axles being offset to the passenger side that limited my transfer case options somewhat. I didn't really see any advantage to using a Toyota transfer case really. They don't seem to be anything special, and the gearing is on the pathetic side. I would definitely have to change the gearing in the axles also for the larger spare tires. That is where the LT230 really started to shine.

    The LT230, in most versions, does not have a direct 1:1 high range. It uses a 3rd gear on the intermediate shaft to allow various under-drive ratios to be used. My version of the LT230 has a 1.21:1 high range ratio. If you combine that under-drive high range ratio with the stock 4.10 axle gears in the factory J80 axles you end up with 4.96:1 effective combined gearing. The low range ratio in the LT230 is also lower than most transfer cases you commonly see in the USA expect the Rubicon edition wranglers. All versions of the OEM LT230 have a 3.32:1 low range, while the high range can be 1.0, 1.2, 1.4, or 1.6. With the broad gearing provided by the 6L80E transmission I am using all the math worked out really well.

    [​IMG]

    While the LT230 itself is actually very easy and cheap in the USA for the most part, finding an adapter to mate the LT230 to the 6L80E transmission was another story. I looked at a few one off conversions, and contemplated building my own, before finding a source in the USA. Nicholas Markiw at Rover-Works ( info@rover-works.com ) has taken to swapping Gen 4 LS engines with 6L80E transmission in land rovers. Lucky for me, he offered the adapter I needed for sale that he developed. His adapter is a 2.36" long unit that bolts to a factory GM 4wd 6L80E tailhousing and provides a stub shaft to adapt from the 32 spline GM output to the Land Rover input shaft which rides on a large sealed bearing in a sealed 'dry' adapter.

    [​IMG]

    Once I had identified the issue with the front driveline with the mockup case, it was time to bolt in a full unit. These LT230 transfer cases are NOT small nor light units! Land Rover typically runs their powertrains very close to level with a large amount of clocking on the transfer case. Overall it fit very well in the chassis for the most part. The driveshaft is pretty close to pan. It is still light years better than what you typically see with passenger drop differentials and most of the older GM automatics with larger offset pans.

    As a small note, I also eliminated the factory drum e-brake off the back of the LT230. The J80 chassis has an e-brake provided on the axles inside the rear disc brakes.

    I also converted the transfer case over to a Toyota pattern driveshaft output flange. The LT230 just happens to have the exact same output spline size and cut as a Ford 9" pinion shaft. Trail-Gear offers a Ford 9" to Toyota flange. I was able to slightly modify that flange to fit on the LT230 transfer case. Any ford 9" pinion yoke could be modified to work I think. The seal for the new flange has been the hardest part. More on that later.

    Once I had the full transfer case installed I was also able to check and see how close the front and rear driveshafts where for length. I actually got that to work out! Both shafts are within 1/4" of each other with the suspension fully compressed! Now I should only need one spare shaft and it will fit either end. Win. I love small details like that.

    I did run into some issues with the front driveshaft however as illustrated in the 1st picture.

    [​IMG]

    Once I had everything together and setting on the engine table, I was able to grab a section of tubing ans start to better visualize how the front driveshaft might fit.

    The J80 chassis has a high pinion front differential. While this provides some protection and a reduced operation angle for the full-time driving front drive-shaft, it does make for some packaging headaches. Since 1st introduced, the GM V8 engines have had a passenger side starter. While the modern LS generation 4 starter is comically small and light compared to the 20lb beasts of years past, it does still get in the way. It isn't so much the starter itself, but the bulge on the bellhousing which provides clearance for the nose of the starter.

    [​IMG]

    Here you can see the offending 'bulge' for the starter nose, and the added kick in the goal post of an added boss on the 6L80E LS V8 bellhousing. This little bugger was right in the way. I was really stoked that the driveshafts where going to be equal length. I didn't want to have to run a reduced diameter front unit to get the clearance that I needed. I really want to be able to use a standard 2" diameter tubing driveshaft if possible.

    After playing around with the engine position a bit, I was getting close. I dropped the transfer case down about as much as I could, which wasn't more than about 1/2" because of the clocking angle. I also ended up shifting the engine over to a full 1" off centerline. That helped a bit, but didn't get me all the way there....

    [​IMG]

    I finally ended up having to break out the cut off wheel and the flap disc to remove that offending boss on the side of the bellhousing. I was able to keep the 'hoop' of the bellhousing intact. I also ended up being able to trim down the factory dirt shield and re-install it with the starter. The bellhousing is still as sealed up as it was from the factory.

    [​IMG]

    This FINALLY gave me enough room for a standard 2" diameter front driveshaft at full metal to metal suspension contact. It is close, that is for sure. I highly doubt if the front suspension will ever get this compressed again, but having a little extra clearance built in is probably a good thing.

    Now I think we are all caught up. The engine is in the final position and now I am working on building the mounting system for the engine and transfer case. I stuck the body back on again and trimmed the floor out for what seems like a HUGE transfer case. It was a big hole. The firewall ended up having to be trimmed slightly to provide transmission clearance, but I was able to retain the stock dipstick for the transmission! With the engine 1" offset from center the steering shaft looks like it will still clear with no issue. Since the engine is so high in the chassis, and with the body as low over the intake as possible, I think I am going to have to get a little creative with the brake booster and master cylinder mounting. I have a somewhat unconventional idea brewing for that. I kept the stock J80 booster and master cylinder. I would like to use those parts.

    I think we are all caught up with the summary of what I have done so far. Feel free to post questions and comments. I like them. I don't mind people being critical.

    Stay tuned.
     
  6. Mieser

    Mieser

    Messages:
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    Joined:
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    Now it is time to go over the process and the issues I had when setting the powertain position.

    [​IMG]

    This picture basically sums up 90% of the complications I had with the position of the powertrain in the chassis. This picture is looking through the hole for the front output in my mockup Land Rover LT230 case. I had previously set the engine in the chassis, but it wasn't until I received my transfer case adapter that I had a way to fully visualize this issue.

    The J80 chassis is very well designed. Both differentials are still traditionally on the passenger side of the chassis. While I was dreaming up this crazy concoction of parts I stumbled upon the idea of using a Land Rover LT230 transfer case. I didn't have any of the stock J80 powertrain parts. The gentleman I purchased the chassis from had removed them to use in a high mile FZJ80, after all they only had 110K miles on them. That is hardly broke in for a Toyota engine! With both axles being offset to the passenger side that limited my transfer case options somewhat. I didn't really see any advantage to using a Toyota transfer case really. They don't seem to be anything special, and the gearing is on the pathetic side. I would definitely have to change the gearing in the axles also for the larger spare tires. That is where the LT230 really started to shine.

    The LT230, in most versions, does not have a direct 1:1 high range. It uses a 3rd gear on the intermediate shaft to allow various under-drive ratios to be used. My version of the LT230 has a 1.21:1 high range ratio. If you combine that under-drive high range ratio with the stock 4.10 axle gears in the factory J80 axles you end up with 4.96:1 effective combined gearing. The low range ratio in the LT230 is also lower than most transfer cases you commonly see in the USA expect the Rubicon edition wranglers. All versions of the OEM LT230 have a 3.32:1 low range, while the high range can be 1.0, 1.2, 1.4, or 1.6. With the broad gearing provided by the 6L80E transmission I am using all the math worked out really well.

    [​IMG]

    While the LT230 itself is actually very easy and cheap in the USA for the most part, finding an adapter to mate the LT230 to the 6L80E transmission was another story. I looked at a few one off conversions, and contemplated building my own, before finding a source in the USA. Nicholas Markiw at Rover-Works ( info@rover-works.com ) has taken to swapping Gen 4 LS engines with 6L80E transmission in land rovers. Lucky for me, he offered the adapter I needed for sale that he developed. His adapter is a 2.36" long unit that bolts to a factory GM 4wd 6L80E tailhousing and provides a stub shaft to adapt from the 32 spline GM output to the Land Rover input shaft which rides on a large sealed bearing in a sealed 'dry' adapter.

    [​IMG]

    Once I had identified the issue with the front driveline with the mockup case, it was time to bolt in a full unit. These LT230 transfer cases are NOT small nor light units! Land Rover typically runs their powertrains very close to level with a large amount of clocking on the transfer case. Overall it fit very well in the chassis for the most part. The driveshaft is pretty close to pan. It is still light years better than what you typically see with passenger drop differentials and most of the older GM automatics with larger offset pans.

    As a small note, I also eliminated the factory drum e-brake off the back of the LT230. The J80 chassis has an e-brake provided on the axles inside the rear disc brakes.

    I also converted the transfer case over to a Toyota pattern driveshaft output flange. The LT230 just happens to have the exact same output spline size and cut as a Ford 9" pinion shaft. Trail-Gear offers a Ford 9" to Toyota flange. I was able to slightly modify that flange to fit on the LT230 transfer case. Any ford 9" pinion yoke could be modified to work I think. The seal for the new flange has been the hardest part. More on that later.

    Once I had the full transfer case installed I was also able to check and see how close the front and rear driveshafts where for length. I actually got that to work out! Both shafts are within 1/4" of each other with the suspension fully compressed! Now I should only need one spare shaft and it will fit either end. Win. I love small details like that.

    I did run into some issues with the front driveshaft however as illustrated in the 1st picture.

    [​IMG]

    Once I had everything together and setting on the engine table, I was able to grab a section of tubing ans start to better visualize how the front driveshaft might fit.

    The J80 chassis has a high pinion front differential. While this provides some protection and a reduced operation angle for the full-time driving front drive-shaft, it does make for some packaging headaches. Since 1st introduced, the GM V8 engines have had a passenger side starter. While the modern LS generation 4 starter is comically small and light compared to the 20lb beasts of years past, it does still get in the way. It isn't so much the starter itself, but the bulge on the bellhousing which provides clearance for the nose of the starter.

    [​IMG]

    Here you can see the offending 'bulge' for the starter nose, and the added kick in the goal post of an added boss on the 6L80E LS V8 bellhousing. This little bugger was right in the way. I was really stoked that the driveshafts where going to be equal length. I didn't want to have to run a reduced diameter front unit to get the clearance that I needed. I really want to be able to use a standard 2" diameter tubing driveshaft if possible.

    After playing around with the engine position a bit, I was getting close. I dropped the transfer case down about as much as I could, which wasn't more than about 1/2" because of the clocking angle. I also ended up shifting the engine over to a full 1" off centerline. That helped a bit, but didn't get me all the way there....

    [​IMG]

    I finally ended up having to break out the cut off wheel and the flap disc to remove that offending boss on the side of the bellhousing. I was able to keep the 'hoop' of the bellhousing intact. I also ended up being able to trim down the factory dirt shield and re-install it with the starter. The bellhousing is still as sealed up as it was from the factory.

    [​IMG]

    This FINALLY gave me enough room for a standard 2" diameter front driveshaft at full metal to metal suspension contact. It is close, that is for sure. I highly doubt if the front suspension will ever get this compressed again, but having a little extra clearance built in is probably a good thing.

    Now I think we are all caught up. The engine is in the final position and now I am working on building the mounting system for the engine and transfer case. I stuck the body back on again and trimmed the floor out for what seems like a HUGE transfer case. It was a big hole. The firewall ended up having to be trimmed slightly to provide transmission clearance, but I was able to retain the stock dipstick for the transmission! With the engine 1" offset from center the steering shaft looks like it will still clear with no issue. Since the engine is so high in the chassis, and with the body as low over the intake as possible, I think I am going to have to get a little creative with the brake booster and master cylinder mounting. I have a somewhat unconventional idea brewing for that. I kept the stock J80 booster and master cylinder. I would like to use those parts.

    I think we are all caught up with the summary of what I have done so far. Feel free to post questions and comments. I like them. I don't mind people being critical.

    Stay tuned.
     
  7. Mieser

    Mieser

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    Sometimes the little things take the largest amount of time. This is how I burned up my Saturday...

    [​IMG]

    More paper templates.

    I am using 1018 Cold Roll 10 gauge plate. I had the steel supplier cut the sheet in to 2x4 panels. That is a good size for me to move around. Note to self. They shear it. That leaves a very sharp edge. Sharp enough to slice your hand. From now on it's worth hitting the edges of a new panel with a flap wheel. I almost ran out of band-aids.

    [​IMG]

    After much drilling, cutting, sanding, and cleaning you end up with a pile of parts like this.

    I usually group the shapes I need to cut into a section I can cut off the main plate. Then I center punch and drill out all the holes for that group of parts. Then I rough cut the single parts out with a variable speed jigsaw with a good quality Bosch metal cutting blade. I then clean up the outside of the parts on my 12" disc sander (I love that thing, it's a beast!). The inside of curves and circles are cleaned up with a small flap wheel on a grinder.

    [​IMG]

    It is always a good idea to test fit parts before you invest too much work in them. I checked them in the model, they fit. I checked them in steel also, they fit. I am happy.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And then bingo you have motor mounts, after spending a few hours setting everything up, jigging the parts, and welding everything.

    I still need to add a gusset on the top of each mount and a strip of material to close in the bottom maybe. I also need to weld the outside of the joint sleeve. Fun stuff.

    Hopefully that will only take a few more hours tomorrow.
     
  8. Mieser

    Mieser

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    How can something as simple as motor mounts take two days to fab!?!

    [​IMG]

    I started out by adding a top gusset to the motor mounts. This was to provide front to back stability to the mount. Because of the design of the main mounting plates, I had to bend the little tongue over and fit it. It was a pain, but worth it in the end.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The engine side of the mounts are now done....I think....

    [​IMG]

    Once the engine side mounts where assembled, I started construction of the frame side. I decided to use a frame pad where the mounts on the frame will be. This allows the mating parts to be fabricated and tack welded in place to the frame pad with everything assembled. Then I can pull the frame pad out with the tacked in place mounts for final welding.

    [​IMG]

    Tip of the day. If you make these frame pads, bend a 90 flange in the top if you have room. This gives you a nice repeatable reference point for the vertical position. The inside is also hard against the frame. The only other direction it can move is fore/aft along the frame.

    If you tack weld a washer to the frame, you end up with a nice simple reference point for that direction. This means you can remove and replace the part and not lose the position on the frame. It will hold up to a light hit, or if you need to clean the frame with a scotch-bright pad or wire wheel.

    [​IMG]

    My favorite tool of the day. This is one of those 12" diameter disc sanders from Harbor Freight. For what it cost, FANTASTIC. It is so nice to be able to have a decent platen to square up parts and it also makes fast work of rounding off corners. Highly recommended.

    [​IMG]

    Once I had the engine side bolted in place and the frame pads located, it was time to start connecting the frame to the engine FINALLY!

    This was much lower tech than the computer. I took some rough measurements. Then made some quick poster board mockups to dial in the position of everything. Once I got within about 1/16" I moved over to foam board.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This is where I stopped for the night. I have one more tweak to the frame side mounting patterns that can be done when I turn them into metal. Overall I am pretty happy with how simple and symmetrical the frame side mounts turned out. I think the mounts where within 1/16-1/8" of being the same.

    Once these are in metal I will install them, tack weld in place, remove the frame side mounts, final weld them, add gussets, clean the frame where the pad will be welded, and then final weld the frame pads into place. I guess there will have to be a part 3 for motor mounts....gees....little time suckers!
     
  9. Mieser

    Mieser

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    Tonight I made the motor mounting plates that connect the engine mounts to the frame....or at least almost finished them.

    [​IMG]

    I also decided to TIG weld these parts. I think I was running a little hot, but I was rusty and the thin edges on the outside edge of the weld washers was kicking my rear end. I just need more practice.....

    Tomorrow I will ream them out to the proper bolt mounting size and fit them in the car.

    Fun stuff!
     
  10. Mieser

    Mieser

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    Just a quick evening in the shop tonight after work.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I was able to fit the frame side of the motor mounts to the frame pads. Overall that went pretty good. I left them a TOUCH high to account for some compression in the bushings with the full weight of the engine.

    For about 10 minutes I think the engine was actually resting its weight on the frame rails. I couldn't have that, so once everything was heavily tack welded in place I took things back apart and removed the frame side mounts for final welding.

    I need to make a sleeve for the mounting holes that is about .030-.060" longer than the engine side mount. That should give me a little clearance once everything is fully welded.

    I am trying to decide what to do about bracing the mounts to the pads also....
     
  11. Mieser

    Mieser

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    I thought I would post up about something other than motor mounts. Those are not that exciting to watch.

    [​IMG]

    Here is what the front end roughly looks like with a stock FJ40 style grill.

    With the 40" tires and low stance the stock grill shape just won't work. The tires turn directly into the corner below the headlight on the factory grill shape. I am lucky enough to have full lock to lock steering available in this chassis and the large tires. I want to preserve that as much as possible. With the 112" wheelbase I would like to have all the steering angle available as possible. I will be building some simple aluminum front fenders that will be raised so that the top of the fender is about the same level as the bottom of the hood. This is about a 4" fender lift from a stock FJ40. That will allow me to run the large tires without adding any lift to the J80 chassis. This should promote some decent road manors since the chassis will essentially have all stock 'geometry' other than the change to larger tires.

    [​IMG]

    Here is basically what I am proposing for the change to the grill design.

    Essentially, I will be moving the headlights inboard about 2-2.5" per side. This will let me have a simple trapezoid shape to the grill that will give me the most clearance possible for the tires when turning.

    The smooth simple slope/angle on the side of the grill will make the fabrication of the front fenders MUCH easier. The grill opening will be slightly reduced, but I think it will still work ok. The top and bottom of the grill are still the same width so it will blend into the stock hood width well.

    Now....how in the heck to make this..
    Note: I don't have the headlight/grill bezel shown. That will get narrowed also.
    In the end it should look kinda like this....

    [​IMG]

    But not as extremely small. This fiberglass version has been cut WAY down in size because the hood shape was pie cut/narrowed.

    Anyone have any ideas or thoughts?
     
  12. Mieser

    Mieser

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    Nothing amazing....

    [​IMG]

    But the motor mounts are now welded and installed on the frame with a few inches of weld. There is some weight on the frame now!

    I decided not to do any bracing on the engine mounts, yet. I played around with paper models for hours last night and couldn't come up with anything that didn't get in the way, or was so minimal that it wouldn't really do anything. I welded both sides of the mounting brackets all the way around. They are not going anywhere. I even remembered to sand the paint off the frame before welding. I just stuck a few inches of weld on the mounts to hold things in place. When I pull the car apart after mockup, or if I have to pull the engine out any time soon(?), I will weld up the rest of the engine mount pads.

    [​IMG]

    Then it was time to tear the car down a little bit again. I need to pull the body off so I can tackle the next few projects. I had to pull the windshield and hood back off to make it manageable. I need my helper to get home so she can help me lift the body up onto the welding table.

    It looks so sad again all stripped down....

    The next project is going to be the transfer case crossmember. After that is finished I will be tackling the exhaust, at least from the manifolds to just past the crossmember. That is where the y-pipe merge will be approximately.

    Looking further out, I need to rough in enough of the rear section of the body so that I can think about building body mounts which will be integrated into the rocker guards.
     
  13. Mieser

    Mieser

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    This evening I got the body stripped off the chassis again in preperation for building the transfer case crossmember along with the front half of the exhaust.

    [​IMG]

    Those engine mounts that can pivot came in handy. I needed to lift the back of the transfer case to provide enough space to pull out the cribbing. Once that was done I reset the position of the transfer case by just using some smaller squares of material under the transmission pan. Now I have just the engine table surface, which is level with the bottom of the frame.

    The transfer case crossmember/mount, will need to sit right on the engine table. That crossmember will also provide some support for the belly pan.

    [​IMG]

    This is the passenger side. You can see a little stick of 1x2 material. I will likely be using 1x3 material for that crossmember. The 3" wide tubing will make adapting to the 2.63" mounting width of the bushings/joints very easy. You can see the mounting pads on the front output housing for the mount, they use 4 12mm fasteners. There is also another 2 8mm bosses that I can grab.

    [​IMG]

    Here is the view from the drivers side. The mounting pad for the drivers side mount is on the adapter. It uses 4 12mm fasteners.

    One issue is that the pads for the drives side and passenger side are not in the same position front to back. They are in slightly different spots. I think I can make it work, but the drives side bracket will be a little more complicated than I wanted.

    [​IMG]

    Also, the factory brake lines on the frame are in a pad place. Looking at the brake lines. The load proportioning valve combines the two lines into one near the rear axle. I wonder if it is worth keeping the load proportioning valve or just replace it with an aftermarket adjustable unit? Since the rear brake lines to to a single unit I might as well pull the factory twin lines and replace them with a single line. I can likely use most of the factory mounts which would be nice.

    Overall it shouldn't be too bad. I just need to connect it all together...

    After the crossmember I will work on the exhaust. I have some neat tricks for that I have been working on that I will be sharing.

    Fun Fun.
     
  14. Mieser

    Mieser

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    Not a ton of progress this weekend, but some.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I was able to get most of the big parts cut and fitted for the transfer case crossmember. I made frame plates, cut and fitted the section of box tube, marked the frame for all the needed holes, and made the mounting plates on the transfer case. Now I just need to connect everything together. I see much poster board and foam board in my near future. I also made a set of mock up bushings for the large joints, but I forgot to take any pictures of those in the spinny round part maker.

    I'm waiting on an order from McMaster for some metric 'stuff'.

    The crossmember is going to attach to the inner surface of the frame with M10 steel rivet nuts. The belly pan is going to attach to the crossmember with M10 tube style clip nuts ( along with the rest of the belly pan attachment points). I also lucked out in that the stock transmission crossmember weld nuts are also M10 so I can use those also and have a common hardware size. My hope is that the belly pan will be 1/4-3/8" 6061 or 7075 aluminum plate. Once everything is bolted together, that should add a decent amount of structure in the middle section of the frame.
     
  15. Mieser

    Mieser

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    [​IMG]

    Just a quick hour in the shop tonight.

    I was able to finish up some aluminum mock up bushings for the joints. I am building this setup backwards from the motor mounts. I will be building the crossmember first. Then I will connect the joint housing to the mounting pads on the transfer case. Since I will need to tack weld to the housing the bushings should keep me from melting anything.

    Before I gave up for the night, I got the joint mounting tabs for the crossmember side cut out, cleaned up, drilled, etc. These tabs weld to the 1x3 tubing that will be semi hidden inside the completed crossmember. I will be adding a vertical panel from rail to rail that will laminate these mounts and tie into the frame mounting plates.

    I decided to mount the drives side joint fairly close to the centerline of the car. This should provide a little bit of flex for the mount and should help reduce vibrations slightly. The spread between the mounts is till over a foot. This should also give me enough room to run the exhaust on the drivers side over the top of the crossmember.

    [​IMG]

    This also showed up in the mail! Now that is an extension cord!

    I have the electrician come out last week and install 220 in the shop. I had them stick in two separate outlets on separate 50 amp breakers. This should give me the ability to add a 220V compressor in the future and/or a plasma cutter! :evil: I am also shopping for a 220 wire feed....
     
  16. Mieser

    Mieser

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    Not a ton tonight, but progress is progress.

    [​IMG]

    My McMaster ordered showed up, so I was able to drill the frame and install the rivet-nuts for the transfer case cross-member. These are M10 units, I am trying to keep this vehicle all metric (Ugh). I bought the install tool that McMaster offers. It made the job a breeze. I found that using a step drill to get close to the final size was WAY easier than using a straight drill bit for the entire hole. These inserts needed a 13.5mm ( or 17/32 ). I ended up having to remove and replace the transfer case to drill all the holes. That did allow me to finally get to the last connector for the wiring harness.

    [​IMG]

    So that is all free of the engine. Now I just need to send it off for some magic. Honestly, I hate wiring. I just want it to be plug and play when it is done.

    [​IMG]

    I got the basic tabs for the mounts welded to the base tube. This will be getting a lot more structure added, but this gives me something to work from.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Now to connect A to B to C. I see lots of poster board, foam board, and bracket making in my near future.
     
  17. Mieser

    Mieser

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    Just a little arts and crafts quality time with some foam core....

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    These are the mock up templates for the front and rear vertical spines I will be adding to the crossmember. They will also double up the thickness of the two transfer case mounts.

    I will likely add some go fast dimple die speed holes between the two mounts if I can find some room.

    The area between the drives side mount and the frame will need to be clearance for the exhaust system. This is the area that the v-pipe merge will be so it might get a little complicated. I will be just tacking the steel spines if I need to remove them for easy trimming.

    I should probably add a drain tube in the crossmember on each side to let water out of that inverted U-shape.

    I have one big challenge left for these parts. I would like to add a 90 degree flange to the rear spine. That flange will form the mounting 'tab' for the belly crossmember. I will be using some 10mm clip nuts on that flange. The problem is that my press brake is only about 20" wide and the part is 30.5" wide. I only need the mounting flange to be 18" wide or so for 4 fasteners. I might have to get creative with how I fit the part in the press brake.....
     
  18. Mieser

    Mieser

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    I can't believe this worked....

    I started making the rear spine for the transfer case crossmenber in metal. Once feature I really wanted was a long 90 degree tab on the back. I want to use that flange to hold some clip-but fasteners. Those fasteners will attach the belly plate to the crossmember. I wanted a fastener that was blind and easy replaceable.

    [​IMG]

    I laid out the shape I needed on a fresh sheet of material. I wanted a nice factory edge on the flange.

    The main problem was that part is about 30.63" wide and my Harbor Fright 20 ton press is only about 22" wide. I made a quick press brake for it a year or two ago. It wasn't really designed to bend this kind of material. I normally use it for 12" or less of 10-11 gauge or full width with some 14-16 gauge. That seem to fit most of my needs.

    Overall the biggest challenge was the overall width. I have about 20" available for bending, but the part is 30"+

    [​IMG]

    This is what I came up with....

    I ended up coming up with the idea to turn the brake sideways in the press. I wasn't thrilled about this. I reduced the width of the flange just over 18". This give me enough room for 4 fasteners spaced about 5" apart with a little tail on each end to keep the clip from rotating off the end of the flange.

    The press was working pretty hard!

    The die width is pretty narrow on this setup, less than 1". That makes it great for close bends and small flanges, but it does take more force to bend material.

    Yes. I did have to use that cheater bar. I could most it with one hand, but it was stiff! I needed to keep an eye on everything. I went slow and kept an eye on everything the best I could.

    [​IMG]

    I had to modify my press brake slightly by removing two of the pins that help keep the upper die aligned. In order to keep the upper die aligned during the initial setup, I had to sacrifice a few of the misses hair ties. They kept the upper die tight to the pins. They where trapped under the die, but they basically got cut in half once the pressure was up. Opps.

    [​IMG]

    Here is how the part came out. Overall I couldn't be happier with how it that worked. Now I need to carefully trim the spine to match the pattern I made with the foam core board the other night.

    [​IMG]

    Here is what the clip nut looks like installed on the flange. The holes have about .045 clearance now on the fastener. I can increase that a little bit. The nut can move around a little bit to deal with hole mis-match on the belly pan.

    [​IMG]

    90 bend turned out pretty well!

    I am so happy that actually worked.
     
  19. Mieser

    Mieser

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    Transmission mounts are done.....

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The weight of the transmission and transfer case is now on the crossmember! I started trimming the spines for that crossmember, the one with the fancy flange in the back. I am going to need to fit those parts around the exhaust pipe also. The y-pipe merge is going to be right over the crossmember. I also have to figure out a mount for that part in the same location. I think I will be building something off the extra 'pad' I had for the drivers side transfer case mount.

    I am going to be working on the exhaust system, at least to the merge, before I pull it off the table. This will give me a nice reference plane to work from. I am going to get a little fancy with designing the exhaust. I am going to have some custom parts 3D printed to help design things.

    The Y-pipe is going to be 2.25" mandrel bent stainless. The merge is going to transition into 3" before going to the muffler. I am still very much up in the air on what to do for the rear part of the exhaust. Anyone have any good muffler recommendations?

    My little garage shop also got a pretty big improvement.....

    [​IMG]

    220 MIG welder! Actually it's a neat multi-process machine....it does mig, stick, has a spool gun for aluminum, and can even do lift start DC tig.

    FREE SHIPPING — Klutch MIG/Stick 220Si 230V Multiprocess Welder with Spoolgun — 230V, 140 Amps | Multiprocess Welders| Northern Tool + Equipment
     
  20. Mieser

    Mieser

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    Making a crossmember......

    [​IMG]

    Overall I am pretty happy with how it is turning out. I have decided to eliminate the front plate/spine. It just clogs things up too much. It prevents access to the main mounting bolts on the passenger side mount. It was just too busy and cluttered. I think the main box tube and the rear spine with the folded bottom edge should be more than strong enough. The belly pan is likely going to be 1/4" 6061T6 aluminum. That should help tie everything together well without being too heavy, and protect everything on the bottom of the car. I don't think this car is going to end up too low. I think the belly will have about 20" of clearance or so. With the longer wheelbase I suspect I will turtle the car out when things get more serious.

    Tomorrow night I should be able to finish up welding the crossmember. I need to make some tabs to laminate the front mounting eyes also now that I am thinking about it....

    Hopefully next week I can start on the front half of the exhaust system!
     
    Dan_J-spec_fj62 likes this.
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