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Flatty Frame rebuild


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#1 Jay W

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 07:20 AM

I started this in Spring 2009 but wanted to get it documented here for future reference.


This is a project I've been putting off for a few years now. The condition of my '46 CJ2A frame has been deteriorating rapidly the last few years. Keep in mind the stock frame was designed for a 2200lb, 60 hp vehicle with 6.5x16 tires. Today it's about 3x the hp., over 4000 lbs., and 37" tires fully locked.
This started out as just a "repair the damage and get it back on the trail", but like many projects like this it snowballed as I started to tear into it. Once the front sheetmatal was pulled there was WAY more garbage that I hadn't noticed before. There were several places where the cracks were clear through the front sections of the frame rails and basically held togather with paint. :lol: Keep in mind the boxed and strapped work from the previous owner just wasn't cutting it anymore.
My first plan was to section in the front half of a Wrangler frame I picked up from Jeepscum. Realizing that too would just be a temporary fix I decided to build a new frame from scratch. After some research I decided on some 2x4x1/8wall tubing.
This will be a long project so updates will be slow to come. Let's get to some pictures.

I cut pie shaped pieces where I wanted the bends, then heated the 4th side to close the gap and welded shut.
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Both rails done, welding rear crossmember/bumper and a temporary front crossmember.
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The spring hangers I made about 8 years ago were torched off the old frame, cleaned up and tacked to the new frame.
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Still some welding and gussets needed on the spring hangers but it's a rolling chassis now.
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The next step will be getting the engine/tranny/tc mounted. Then body mounts and all the misc crap needed. There will also be a few small improvements along the way like new steering linkage and a fuel cell. Stay tuned.

#2 Jay W

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 07:21 AM

Got the engine/tranny pulled and moved to the new frame. I need to get some engine mounts fabbed next.

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Looking pretty gutted.
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I also plan on making a new crossmember, something more low profile.
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#3 Jay W

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 07:21 AM

Here's the motor mounts tacked together.
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New body mount bracket on the firewall.
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Shock mount are tacked on. Ford towers in front, stock type in rear.
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New crossmember, skid plate still to come.
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Radiator protection and steering box bracket.
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Front overview.
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There's a few more thing to do, then it all comes back apart for final welding and paint.

#4 Jay W

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 07:23 AM

I got the winch plate mounted. There are plates welded inside the frame rails with threaded holes for the bolts from the top. You can also see the front bumper notched to fit over the frame rails so it doesn't stick out so far.
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I also cut a hole in the floor to drop the fuel cell down 3 or 4". It sits in an angle iron bracket and will have straps over the top down to the angle.
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#5 Jay W

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 07:23 AM

Finally got everything in place, to the point of tearing it apart again.
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The back was sitting to high so I move the shackle hanger up into the frame a little to drop the rear.
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Then proceeded to get everything finish welded. It's ready for paint finally.
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#6 Jay W

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 07:24 AM

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I can't wait until the Jeep's no longer spread all over the shop.
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#7 Jay W

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 07:24 AM

Frame and axles are painted. Re-assembly starts tomorrow.
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#8 Jay W

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 07:25 AM

Assembly still in progress.

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Still misc stuff getting painted.
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Front shackle hanger.
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#9 Jay W

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 07:26 AM

How about some fuel tank tech. I've always had some kind of issue with fuel storage. The stock tank leaked at the filler so I welded on a sealed cap filler tube. Then I wanted more storage so I made an underseat tank that went under both seats for about 25 gallons capacity. It worked great until I went to fuel injection. Then I had trouble withe the pickups getting uncovered on side hills, which the electric fuel pump didin't like. Also the vent hose would puke fuel if the tank was full.
The latest revision includes a fuel cell that's tall and skinny, mounted all the way in the back.
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Next was to prevent any pick-up starvation issues. The cell has one pickup tube about 6" from one end. I did a lot of reading on the fuel pick-ups and apparently the Walbro pick-ups are the bees knees.
http://www.autoperfo...ml/pickups.html
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I chose to go with 2 of the single fitting units because I wanted a pick-up at each end. They have 5/16 hoes barb connections but the tank pick-up was a piece of 1/2" alumunum tube. My first thought was to tee of it with some hose out to each pick-up. The problem is that fuel hose rated for complete submersion is dificult to find and EXPENSIVE , about $20 a foot for the 5/16. However APE does sell 6" pieces for $3. I ended up buying anothe piece of the 1/2" aluminum tube from Lowes for about $7. Using it to tee of the cell pick-up with compression fittings adapted to 5/16 hose barbs to short pieces of hose.
This is the in-tank plumbing I added, all pre-assembled ready to slide in the tank. you're looking at about $85 right there so this better work.  :idea1:
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These are the in-tank-cam views from the mock-up.
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It's yet untested but I'm happy with how it tured out. The tank strapped down in a bracket welded to the frame.
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Pump and plumbing underneath.
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#10 Jay W

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 07:27 AM

Part piles are disappearing all over the shop as things get reassembled.  8-)
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The next task is to tear apart the front axle. I have a bad axle joint so both will get replaced. also the hi-steer is getting completely reworked due to a bad TRE and my arms rubbing on the tires. Stay tuned.

#11 Jay W

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 07:28 AM

More items off the checklist.

New traction bar.
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Axle joints replaced.
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New hi-steer arms and linkage 95% done, I had to order one more TRE. :(
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#12 Jay W

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 07:28 AM

Bracket welded to the rear axle connected to the traction bar with 2 leaf spring bushings.
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Crossmember behind the T Case with a shackle connected to the other end of the traction bar with a heim.
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#13 Jay W

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 07:29 AM

With only a couple small things left on the checklist it was ready for a quick shakedown run.
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#14 Jay W

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 07:29 AM

I needed some kind of skidplate so I put one together.

1/4" plate bent, bolted to tthe bottom of the tranny crossmember and to the sides of the frame rails.
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drivers side
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Passenger side
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#15 Jay W

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 07:30 AM

Going green. Lightened up the front a bit so it won't sink in the snow. :thefinger:

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#16 JeepinJunk

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 12:31 PM

I went through the same gas tank headaches many years ago. in the old, old days the hot setup, was to take a stock underseat tank, move the filler neck, turn it around and mount under passenger seat. I had that set up when I bought my jeep in about 81. Got tired of buying gas caps and bought a tank from Ray Deg, (Deg's Sheetmetal on River Rd.). He built tanks that held over 20 gal., and went all the way across, like you built. It had 2 pickups in the back corners. when you got below 1/2 tank of gas, one or the other would suck air, or they both would going downhill! I added 2 more pickups in the front, which only doubled the chances of sucking air! :wallbash: So I built a tank to go under the back. It worked fine, but was too big and heavy. My new tank is smaller, about 18 gal., and very light. all I did for a pick up, was to run a 1/4" pipe down to about 1/4" to 5/16" from the bottom, in the middle of the tank. Cheap, easy and works great. The more pickups you put in, the more chances of sucking air. Unless you go to an aircraft (very expensive I'm sure) type pickup which has some sort of hose with a weight at the end, to keep it at the low point in the tank, the best you can do, is 1 pickup in the middle. And having a tall, skinny tank like yours really helps too.

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#17 Jay W

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 04:18 PM

Yep. I think this is rev. 4 on the tank. Sounds like I took a similar path to you. This one is working great though.

#18 Streaker

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 04:30 PM

looks real nice how long did it take to do all that

#19 Jay W

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 07:22 PM

About 10 minutes.
:sorcerer: :sorcerer:










Actually it was just about a year for what you see.

#20 Lead Foot

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 07:47 PM

Very nice man. Super clean, top notch work.  I do have 1 question though.  Why not do a shackle reversal with some frenched in shackle mounts while you were at it? Im not a leaf spring guy so I can only go off of what I heard and read; is the advantage not proven?

#21 Borrowed Parts

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 05:12 AM

Wow I'm just blown away, that looks factory built.

#22 JeepinJunk

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 07:40 AM

Yes, Jay does some beautiful work! I don't have the tools or the knowledge to build such nice stuff, but it works good. The debate over reverse shackles goes on and on, what I have learned by experience , is that if you are running arched springs, a reverse shackle setup does ride better. With shackles in front, the  frontend  has to move forward, when it wants to move back on compression. This makes the ride much more harsh, than allowing it to move back on the bumps w/shackle reversed. Ford always ran the shackles in the front on their trucks, until, I want to say, the late 80's? Then they switched to a rear shackle setup for about 2 yrs., then started putting them in the front again! Who knows why? I've heard speculation, that it caused alignment problems, which wouldn't be an issue with an offroad rig. Another advantage of reverse shackles- you are able to get the front of the spring up higher and the rear of the spring lower, which gives you more caster, without moving your spring perches. A stock flattie has about 3 degrees of caster, If you put taller shackles on you can end up at 0 degrees!  A reverse shackle setup will typically yield about 5-6 degrees of caster, which makes the front tires lean more in the corners, and bite in better, like a roadgrader.
Jay, I'm curious how your frame was strapped/boxed. I broke cracked my frame almost every run, until I strapped it full length w/1 1/2" x 3/16", top and bottom, that was about 20 yrs. ago. Haven't ever had a crack since! Of course it hasn't seen the abuse that yours has! :hrhr:

#23 Jay W

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 07:30 PM

View PostJeepinJunk, on 01 October 2012 - 07:40 AM, said:

Jay, I'm curious how your frame was strapped/boxed. I broke cracked my frame almost every run, until I strapped it full length w/1 1/2" x 3/16", top and bottom, that was about 20 yrs. ago. Haven't ever had a crack since! Of course it hasn't seen the abuse that yours has! :hrhr:
The old frame was boxed from the motor mount forward and strapped here and there with probably 1 1/2 x 1/8 by the previous owner(s). Plus one rear corner from the midpoint of the vehicle back had been replaced poorly. After 60 years and who knows how many owners I figured it had paid it's dues.
If I enjoyed hi-speed driving in bar ditches as much as you I would have splurged for the 3/16" wall tube on the new frame. :thumbsup:

#24 JeepinJunk

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 03:56 PM

Hey! I don't always drive fast, but when I do, I do it in the ditch. :evil:

#25 NateW

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 04:23 PM

View PostJeepinJunk, on 02 October 2012 - 03:56 PM, said:

Hey! I don't always drive fast, but when I do, I do it in the ditch. :evil:

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