Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Ruth's Resurrection

I lost track of how long ago it was that I made some modifications to the Jeep that I wished I hadn't made.  Ol' Ruth ended up with fenderwell headers and flowmasters but that required moving the engine and some other stuff that was counterproductive.

A couple of weekends ago, business being slow, I decided it was time to right the many wrongs I had perpetrated and I started putting things together as they should have been put together.

First up was engine mounts.  She had a set of aftermarket engine swap mounts that looked good in the catalog but didn't account for little details things like the steering box being in the way.  I took some 2 1/2 " wide, 9/16" thick steel bar stock and made a pair of replacement brackets that moved the engine forward more than 2" and also placed it 2" higher in the engine compartment.

Next was the rear crossmember.  The original was a big stamped contraption that was ill-suited for the engine & transmission that's in there now.  On my recent trip to Cedar Key I ran into Ruth's long-lost, slightly uglier sister and her cross member helped me decide on the design for Ruth's new one.

That's the slightly uglier sister.

That's the sister's crossmember.  Ruth's new one is made from the same steel stock as the new engine mounts.  I don't have a picture yet because I was working and didn't want to cover my camera in grease the last time I was up under there.

A good thing about a Jeep is that they will usually find a way to help you fix them if you are creative.  I was doing all this without a lift and needed a way to support the transmission without getting in the way of building or installing the new crossmember.  It needed to be safe and sturdy but also needed to allow movement because I was repositioning the engine and transmission as well as removing and reinstalling the transfer case.  Ultimately I just let Ruth hold the transmission herself.  A come-along from the roll bar to a loop of old seatbelt material made a sturdy and adjustable temporary mount.

Next was the transfer case.  I had put a clock in the transfer case because I wanted to rotate it up toward the floor boards for more ground clearance.  Its a Dana 300 and I imagine that if you are reading this, you know what I'm talking about.  They hang down pretty low.  Anyway, because its bolted to a TH 350 transmission instead of the original little 4 speed, that didn't work out either.  It rotated it enough to make the transmission pan block the front driveshaft from reaching the front differential.  Hard to use 4 wheel drive that way.  Out came the clock and back to the stock position went the transfer case.  The lovely bride was most helpful keeping a foot against one side of the case while I "coaxed" it into alignment.  ("Coaxed" = much profanity etc).  I had the driveshaft shortened and put it back in this weekend.   The rear driveshaft is at the shop right now.

Since I had bent the original shifter trying to adapt it to  fit the clocked transfer case, I tossed it and replaced it with the double shifter mentioned before.  That is now in place too.  Any excuse is good if you want a new Jeep part.  Its almost as easy as finding excuses for buying guns.

If I was seventeen and lived in Hog Valley, I'd still want the fenderwell headers.   I'm not and I don't get to Hog Valley often enough to make it worth living with them any longer.  The headers hit the junk pile with a satisfying clank.  In their place, a pair of ram's horn manifolds from a 1965 Chevy 283 will quiet things down a bunch.  I never saw any increase in fuel economy from the headers anyway so what's the point?  If I'm going to finish going deaf I'd rather do it with good music or lots more shooting.

The manifolds came from a salvage yard that puts stuff on Ebay.  They didn't have the flanges for the downpipes with them.  Exhaust system fabricators tell me that's the hardest part to replace.  Kind of a let down but I checked  a couple of places to see if anyone makes a set of reproduction pipes and they sho-nuff do.

These are stainless steel and already on the way.

Somehow or other I managed to lose the hardware for the front driveshaft's universal joints and had to use the rear driveshaft's hardware.  NAPA lists the wrong part for my particular Jeep so I ordered a new set from Quadratech to use for the rear one.  I couldn't see ordering just $15 worth of stuff so I added a new seatbelt too.

Its kind of a part seatbelt, part harness rig.  The ad copy says it bolts to the existing hardware.  Can't see that happening since the existing hardware only has two bolts but I have a welder so hardware will exist where necessary before its all done.  The seatbelt's also on the way.

Looks like I am ready for a productive weekend of Jeep fixing.  About the only thing missing is someone to show me how to get into the fancy new seatbelt.

 Free North Carolina     posted this picture today:

Maybe she'll drop by this weekend in time to help out.  The Lovely Bride needs to go visit her sister anyway.


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