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Discussion Starter · #43 ·
After blowing out the seals on my 17yr old engine lift hyd ram I got a new one (thankfully HF carries them in stock) and got the engine/trans in place and got the bulk of the transmission cross member modification done. It still needs re-enforcement and finish weld but the bones of it are there. I chopped out the entire raised center section, this allowed a small drop (increase of downward angle) to 7dg; this should help both with floor clearance and with driveline angles.
I hadn't realized how far to the passenger side the engine is offset, I'm used to maybe 2" but 4.5" was a lot more than I would have guessed. I reduced the offset to 4" at the output of the transfercase, the AAM 11.5 is offset 1.5" to the passenger side so in general I'm pointing the right direction.
 

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You'll be driving it around end of next month, aye?
I was looking at your motor home accomplishment, and this is all simple compared to that, but in no way diminishing your ability nor skill here. Looks good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #46 ·
You'll be driving it around end of next month, aye?
I was looking at your motor home accomplishment, and this is all simple compared to that, but in no way diminishing your ability nor skill here. Looks good.
I'll be driving it in "a month"...that will probably be "a month" in 2018... :gr_grin:
The FMC conversion, and the "scope creep" was a beast...but it runs so good that it's worth every bit of it...being able to drive the grapevine at 65mph in a 40yr old rv is a blast!
 

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Discussion Starter · #48 ·
New driver side motor mount fab complete. Nothing fancy here, I just used Ruff Stuff Specialties leaf spring hangar set up. Toughest part was separating/removing all the old rubber from the the upper half of the motor mount that was reused. I made a temp brace that was tacked to the frame rail and bolted to the alternator mount to hold the engine in position while I got the new motor mount in place. Actually went really smooth. When I pull the motor out again I'll flush/box out the bottom of the open frame stand off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
Completed the welding on the cross member and got it reinstalled. Bottom of the transfer case is flush with the crossmember.
It may not look like it but there is a lot of new 3/16" material and a whole lot of weld in this piece...it would have been easier to start from scratch..
 

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Discussion Starter · #50 ·
Modified the factory Dodge Ram track bar to be adjustable. This turned out to be a lot more work than I planned...and I'm not sure it will be the long term fix but for now it does the job and doesn't interfere with anything else...it's made with stuff I had from old projects so I only have time in it..
 

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Discussion Starter · #51 ·
I had been thinking that it was likely that the steering box would have to be moved forward...and I was right. As soon as I installed a longer pitman arm it became clear that there was no way to make that position work.
I've still got some work to do on this but it will wait until I pull the engine back out.
Didn't complete the drag-link because I need some tube inserts for the TRE's. Should knock that out this weekend..
 

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Discussion Starter · #53 · (Edited)
Yep, I saw that. The biggest difference is that he doesn't have a duramax in there. With the smaller vortec engine you can move the track bar farther back and that opens up that clearance. But you are still stuck with a tie rod that will be directly below the draglink...if you're okay with just setting your bumpstops to keep those two from colliding during compression that's workable. Also there wasn't any detail on how long of a pitman arm he used. I matched mine to the knuckles on the AAM and that is over an inch longer than the stock pitman arm..
It also looks like his ride height is an 1" or 2" higher than mine will be.
There's a lot of ways to do this, I'm just used to building trail rigs where you don't stack links above each other. I could have built a custom shaped tie rod that allowed the drag link to come in from the backside, it would have been real close to the steering box cross-member during compression though...
Lots of things to consider. once I finish up the drag link I'm going to droop the suspension out completely to check clearances and set bump stop positions/elevations.
 

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Discussion Starter · #54 · (Edited)
I'd like some input on rear suspension. Since I'm setting up my front to be at approx 6" suspension lift I'll need to do something out back as well. I'm installing an AAM 11.5 with some heavy duty perches, so I'll get over an inch just from that. I'd rather not use blocks and I won't pay for custom springs. I am considering a shackle flip, using the same outboard brackets that I did for the front links that would result in moving the rear spring attachment down about 8", that would net 4" of lift. I'm also looking at airbags in the rear to tune for towed loads..
I also have the spring packs from the cutaway that I could pull individual leaves out to "home brew" a spring solution..
 

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Discussion Starter · #56 · (Edited)
With the steering and track bar installed it was time to cycle the front suspension. I had to remove the forward (now unused) section of the motor mount outrigger and I clearanced the body mounts to allow the links to move up (I'll reinforce them later).
I'm real happy with what I got, over 4.5" of compression before I hit anything, and the same in extension before the track bar started to lift the passenger tire. This is measured at the motor mount and would result in much more individual tire/triangulated motion at the tire. The first pic is at ride height.
You can see why it was import to move the draglink forward in the compression pic, the tie rod moves right up into the same reestate.
The track bar is working well, it pushes and pulls the axle like you'd expect but the geometry matches the steering well enough that there is no push/pull on the drag link. I still will probably change it one more time...it doesn't need to turn so far forward...I had thought it would come closer to the diff cover in compression but I can push it back another inch or so..
 

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Discussion Starter · #57 ·
Did a test fit up of my new front coil springs and got the new pads/perches tacked in place. They are going to have to be cut down, but putting them in now helped confirm that I won't have any frame rubbing during suspension cycling.
I'll have to wait until I've got it all together then trim them down to about 13.75" at ride height to be where I want. The did compress a couple inches with the engine weight on them and seem nice and soft so they should offer a decent ride.
 

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Discussion Starter · #58 ·
Dana 60 removed and AAM11.5(2500hd truck donor) in place. I'm sure the neighbors were cursing me this morning...there is just no quiet way to get those old perches off; it sure was a lot of work to just install the new ones .5" farther out...I used a Ruff Stuff axle swap kit to get the perches, ubolts, plates and new shock mounts (not on yet). I've just got it snugged down with the u-bolts now...I'll need to mess with pinion angle later. It's a good thing the housing wasn't any narrower, there is only about 5/8" between the springs and the brake calipers.
if someone is in need of a nice clean Arizona low mile dana 60 send them my way..
 

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Great work!! Following this closely as I also have plans to convert my van to 4X4.
 

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Discussion Starter · #60 ·
Great work!! Following this closely as I also have plans to convert my van to 4X4.
You really have to weigh what you want...for some IFS is a better choice, for others the ford dana60 is better because they want lockouts (and the radius arm mounts are easier to work with). The 9.25AAM worked best for me because I don't want lockouts(I want SOTF/push button 4x4), I wanted an easy solution to keep ABS and it could be used with the stock coil buckets.
I think the IFS would be the least amount of fabrication, but, if you want a lift (more than a couple inches) it gets a lot more complicated..
The ford d60 is the most plentiful and lowest cost, the pigtail spring mounts will limit spring selection unless you cut them off and go with a more conventional pad..
Just stuff to consider..
 
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