crossmember replacement before and after

So in the past, Ive discussed the replacement of the front crossmember thats below the radiator and front bumper, and how we fabricated its replacement. While i was up working on the truck i got some pics of the original crossmember and will show the before/after effects.

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Originally this should have been an L shaped crossmember. Below is what it looked like once we got it off the truck.

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Anything but straight. So we replaced it with something much stronger.

new front crossmember 001 front axle and crossmember pics 007 IMG_20160827_183306Its 2×4 rectangular tubing that has notches for the spring bolts that are reinforced with round pipe cut in half horizontally the crossmember is fully enclosed and will not let in water, rust, or derbies. bolts in with 24 grade 8 bolts to the frame, and has a class III hitch that is welded directly into it.

Stop! No, seriously, brakes let you stop!

So even after I returned home, my dad in his typical fashion kept working away at the truck. It now has the fuel solenoid, the outlets to each tank, and a line up to the engine. The rear brake lines are ran to each of the rear wheels, upto the frame and up to about the rear cab cross member. Soon we will be able to get the auxiliary fuel tank fabricated.

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August Update

IMG_20160821_190821This August I was able to finally go up and visit my folks and spend some time working on the truck project again. The first order of business was removing the bed from the green truck to allow us to better see how fuel and brake lines were being routed, and setup for dual tanks.

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_20160827_183431We recently purchased the tail housing and output shaft for a C6 transmission that allows bolting the married transfer case directly to the transmission. It was bought sight unseen, and we were glad that the shaft is correct, and splines into the input of the transfer case.

We were able to pull out the transfer case from the orange truck as well as remove two of the cross members from it to mount things correctly in the new build. pulling out the cross members was much more time consuming than expected. Drilling out rivets is not as simple as you may imagine. They will need to be cleaned, and painted and re mounted, but for now we are going for test fittings. making sure everything lines up correctly, and mounts in the new frame right. As the truck originally had a smaller engine, a manual transmission and divorced transfer case, some drilling was required.

 

 

 

 

IMG_20160826_190414With the engine, transmission, adapter and transfer case in, you can see it goes from just behind the radiator, to back just short of the rear cab mounts, and is all connected as one piece. eventually things will need to come back out to be rebuilt but this allows us to measure for fuel tanks, run brake lines, setup steering and a ton of other things.

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_20160826_190449We had a custom built gas tank created, that will fit between the frame rails at the end of the bed. It will hold 20 gallons once done. We still need to add in the fill neck, and fuel line outputs and float. We will also be building a side tank that will hold between 20 – 22 gallons once done, and upgrading from the manual fuel tank switch to an electric solenoid switch.

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_20160827_183223While hard to see in this picture (try clicking it so its bigger) you can see the beginnings of new brake lines on the axle, and new brake and fuel lines in the left side frame rail. Its getting all new brake and fuel lines (as well as new or rebuilt more or less everything)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The newest addition to the fleet.

Because what this project needs? Is another truck! A 73 Camper Special with deluxe trim, A/C, dual tanks etc. The body panels on this truck are far straighter than on any of the others. This will be the starting point for the body of the new truck. Hmmmmn. Now how to get it back to blue?

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I guess we do need axles.

So in the tear down we posted about how we don’t need no stinking axles! Well in retrospect it should have said we don’t need them now. Time has come however to start cleaning them up and getting them back under the frame so we can sort out the new power steering linkage setup.

Dad was able to clean up the worst of the end pipes and replace the ball joints to get the wheels stabilized. We will finish the axle clean up/painting when we rebuild the axles, and add the air locker systems.  But at long last the frame cracks are fixed, the frame is straight, a new front cross member has been meticulously hand crafted, the frame has been flipped up side up, springs added, and the front axle re mounted! WOO HOO!

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The finished front crossmember

Dad put alot of hours into this cross member alone. Its built using 1/4inch rectangular tubing, that was then notched out for the spring perches, and then also notched out for the spring eye bolt hardware by taking a bit of metal tube, cut to length, then cross cut in half to provide the U shaped void. We ordered a bolt on class III hitch for it that has been center mounted and will provide an attachment point for a winch, tow ball, or recovery loop. It is far stronger than the original and looks wonderful.

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Finishing up the front crossmember

We decided to use 2×4 rectangular tubing vs the 2×6 to make sure it will clear the four core radiator and the front radiator support panel. It completely replaces the stock cross member that was less than 1/4 inch thick metal, that was also twisted and destroyed. This will be far stronger.

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This will be just below the front bumper when the truck is done, and we will weld in a class three receiver hitch into it for mounting tow balls, hooks, or a winch to the front of the truck. I’m really happy with how this turned out. It looks nice, and is much stronger than stock, and will provide an excellent mount point for attaching to the truck properly.

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Above you see the stock angle brace that has been shortened some to allow for the thicker tubing. In the background on the frame you can see some of the welding for fixing the frame crack. Soon we should be able to get the other spring installed (currently waiting on the correct bushings) then get the frame flipped over and mount the axles.

Decisions decisions.

So over Christmas break, we pulled the springs off the front axle from the 73 truck to clean up and put the new bushings into, so we could mount the front axle from the 78 truck. That was the plan anyway.

After blowing apart the first spring, and pressing out the bearings, we found out that 1. the springs had been binding, and as such they wore groves into the leaves above them. These range from a light wear, to ones that are almost a quarter inch deep. On springs that are only about a half inch thick each leaf that makes them dangerously thin.

I called a few spring shops, and the options to repair are simply adding a new leaf and re setting the correct spring arch. Nothing would be done to fix the existing wear. Obviously that will not fix the problem nor meet with my goal of functioning like new once completed. Therefore new springs will need to be purchased. For the meantime, we will simply re use the old springs until we are ready to rebuild the axles. At least that way we can get the frame into a rolling state, and start mounting the power steering pump and steering linkage etc.

The original front cross member that goes between the front springs was so bent out of shape, that it litterally bent and cracked the frame, in multiple places. We decided it was not worth re using.

Rebuilding the first crossmember

So on the truck, the first cross member that ties the frame rail ends together under the radiator support was so badly bent out of shape it was not even worth repairing. It had been used to connect cables, chains, and hooks to latch onto the truck to yank it out of being stuck someplace. It resulted in bent frame rails, and cracks that had to be fixed. We are replacing the original cross member which was only about 1/8th inch steel bent in an l shape with a piece of 2×4 steel tube that is about 3/8ths thick per wall. Once done, you would be able to lift the entire truck by it. Eventually a class III Receiver hitch will get welded to the center that will allow mounting of tow hooks, ball mounts, and a winch on a receiver hitch mount that will come out below the bumper.

Here, dad has the new cross member about half finished.

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