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 Post subject: The 4500 MJ Build
PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2013 8:36 pm 
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you guessed it, web wheeler

Joined: Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:41 am
Posts: 24
Location: Battle Ground, WA
What do you think of when you hear the terms "King of the Hammers" or "Ultra4 Racing?"

Probably something along the lines of big rocks, fast desert, horsepower, and flat gettin' it. :cool:

A few friends of mine took the trip down to King of the Hammers this year (2013) to see what this race was really all about, and to help lend a hand for POR Wheeler's Racing. Well upon returning it was apparent they had all been bitten by the Ultra4 bug, and wanted to race.

This year was the first year for the EMC event which features the "stock" 35" tire class, and "modified" 37" tire class. There's a ton of other rules for each class, but I won't get into that right now. These classes are designed for your "every man" average weekend wheeler. The modified "4500" class had spiked our interest, and we were pretty confident we could build a competitive car for this race series.

The question then came up of, "what do we build?" Well it just so happened Winton had a near pristine 1987 Jeep Comanche sitting next to his shop that he purchased new off the showroom floor. Enter The 4500 Class MJ!

This truck will not only be used for King of the Hammers, but also other races including the Vegas to Reno desert race. Our goal is to have a competitive race rig for these events. We have a good group working on this, and a lot of out of the box ideas being thrown around. In the end it should be a pretty unique 4500 car.

Bone stock 87 Comanche, 4cyl, 4 speed, two wheel drive, short bed.
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While racing on a bench seat might be standard in the South, we had different plans for the interior.
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A few of us began the tear down over the summer.
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There was literally zero discussion about reusing the 4cyl/4spd combo.
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After a days worth of work we had the MJ pretty well gutted.
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A lot of work was then put into further dismantling the truck over the summer. In our case it was decided to take it all the way down to the "frame." In case you were wondering, yes, Comanche's are a unibody construction just like the Cherokee. Pretty much the entire frame (minus the ends) was then plated with 3/16" plate, with 1/4" for the bottom.
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Temporary unibody delete mod, check.
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We removed the windshield, cut out the door flanges creating a smooth transition, welded up all the seams, covered most of the factory firewall holes.
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After the plating was complete we flipped the fame over, and set our mock up engine into place. As you can see there's quite a bit of space between the front of the engine and factory crossmember.
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Transmission and transfer case were installed with a custom transmission mount made by Winton.
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The cab was put back on to check for clearances.
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Currie housings were set under to start thinking about the four links.
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Boatsides were fabricated. 2" DOM was cut in half and then welded onto the rectangular tubing creating a nice radius.
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It's amazing how many small details go into a build like this. Joey machined a piece on the lathe to be able to reuse the stock pedal assembly.
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Winton then TIG'd it up.
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With the cab in place for the night, we were curious to check seat height. With the passenger seat basically riding on the Atlas, we'll be reworking some brackets to get it to sit a bit lower.
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Life's pretty rough in the shop sometimes.
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 Post subject: Re: The 4500 MJ Build
PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2013 8:39 pm 
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you guessed it, web wheeler

Joined: Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:41 am
Posts: 24
Location: Battle Ground, WA
Pulled the cab off to continue on prepping it for paint.
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When in doubt, burn it out.
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Joey had the patience to weld up all of the seams and gaps in the cab's sheet metal.
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Meanwhile back in the shop, Winton went began machining the Solid C's for the Currie housing.
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After the end of the day Joey and I had the cab pretty much all buttoned up.
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Commitment.
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Using a some all thread the C's were then pulled into place. From there the castor and pinion angle were dialed in.
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With the C's tacked into place, the housing was set back into place where more brainstorming and planning took place.
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Joey and Don kept plugging away on the cab getting it ready for paint.
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Door flanges should be nice and smooth.
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Ted got some work done on the dash.
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 Post subject: Re: The 4500 MJ Build
PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2013 8:43 pm 
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you guessed it, web wheeler

Joined: Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:41 am
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Location: Battle Ground, WA
Winton finished up the welding for the C's.
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Ted and I began working on creating the new rear frame section. First step was creating a smooth radius bend inward by making some relief cuts.
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Repeat for opposite bend, just make sure you cut he right side...
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As we worked on the frame, Winton and Don arrived later that evening with our new engine, 09' 6.0L LS2.
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Set it in place to check for clearance with all the accessories bolted on.
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With the cab set back on it really put it into perspective how far back we positioned the engine.
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We decided to use the empty cowl space for a storage bin. Some quarter turn fasteners will hold it in place.
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Joey began priming the cab.
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The firewall and inside were then sprayed with a dark sliver hammerite.
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Then the color was applied.
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:smokin:
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 Post subject: Re: The 4500 MJ Build
PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2013 8:45 pm 
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you guessed it, web wheeler

Joined: Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:41 am
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Location: Battle Ground, WA
We started another day with Don and Ted hacking into the frame rails to install the new rear frame section.
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The new rear frame rails were then positioned and tacked into place along with some temporary cross bracing.
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Winton then set off by doing the finish TIG welding work.
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New rear frame section.
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Side profile.
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Fish plates were added to strengthen the bends.
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With the rear frame section place, Ted moved forward with rear four link by getting the upper control arm brackets in position.
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While others worked on other projects, Winton worked on finishing the front axle. Alignment bar was installed to make sure the housing stayed true while welding the truss on.
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Truss was burned on, and speed holes were added.
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Checking clearances. The axle is still 2" from the planned bump height.
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Atec Hi-steer Arm and Solid knuckle installed.
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Which will then get these brakes.
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 Post subject: Re: The 4500 MJ Build
PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2013 8:47 pm 
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you guessed it, web wheeler

Joined: Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:41 am
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Location: Battle Ground, WA
Joey plugged away at narrowing the front clip for the new front end.
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Turned our trick! One of our goals for this build is to keep the factory look as much as possible.
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Before moving forward with the front frame section we all agreed we should take the time to check the frame is still square-ish. Start by making sure both rails are level.
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Ted and I then marked the center of the chassis, and ran two parallel lines on either side. We then cross measured to the corners, and if the chassis is square those measurements will be the same.
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In our case we discovered the rear to be within 1/16", and the front was about a 1/2" out. We decided to take the time to try and square it up. However when we cut out the front crossmember the entire chassis sprung out. Lots of force in that steel!

Our best option to getting everything squared up was placing the entire chassis on the ground and working off a solid surface. We then worked from one side to the other using a few key measurements. After a bit of head scratching, we got the frame back within an 1/8".
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While Ted and I played with the frame alignment, Don was busy making the truss for the rear axle.
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With the frame square we then were able to plug away and get the new front frame section burned in. The lengths are still wild.
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Where the frame starts to bend upward is the shallowest part of the whole frame. To help strengthen this area Ted and Winton fabricated an inner tube brace system. The upper link mounts for the front four link will also tie into these.
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 Post subject: Re: The 4500 MJ Build
PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2013 8:51 pm 
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Never go full Rich-ard
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I've been following this on the "N", was wondering if it would make it here. :roflmao:

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 Post subject: Re: The 4500 MJ Build
PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2013 9:29 pm 
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I'm really Rebecca Black
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Awesome write up. :rock:

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 Post subject: Re: The 4500 MJ Build
PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2013 9:31 pm 
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Needy Fucker
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Oh my! :eek2:

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 Post subject: Re: The 4500 MJ Build
PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2013 9:36 pm 
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Pimp
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Bad to the bone. Looking forward to following along with this build. Good luck.

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 Post subject: Re: The 4500 MJ Build
PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:43 pm 
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I'm secret-spot HOT
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That's awesome!

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 Post subject: Re: The 4500 MJ Build
PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 6:00 am 
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Pimp
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:rock:

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 Post subject: Re: The 4500 MJ Build
PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 7:32 am 
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I like the cloven hoof
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:thumbsup: Nice write up. You have my full attention, subscribed!

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 Post subject: Re: The 4500 MJ Build
PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 7:35 am 
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Pimp

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Nice!

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 Post subject: Re: The 4500 MJ Build
PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 7:38 am 
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Awesome Dustin! :smokin:

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 Post subject: Re: The 4500 MJ Build
PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 7:40 am 
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Avanteone wrote:
I've been following this on the "N", was wondering if it would make it here. :roflmao:


I cringed when I logged on there for the first time in almost 3 years. :lol:

Nice build Dustin!

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 Post subject: Re: The 4500 MJ Build
PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 9:00 am 
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***SOULDOZER***
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:eek2: :rock:

Happy to say that I didn't know this build was going on until now. F the N!

Awesome work, and it looks like lots of it! I'll be following along. :smokin:

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 Post subject: Re: The 4500 MJ Build
PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 9:05 am 
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whew, finally

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Bad ass rig man. I can't wait to see the finished product. :thumbsup:

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 Post subject: Re: The 4500 MJ Build
PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 9:20 am 
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Soy una gran cosa
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So much baddasserry going on here! Nice work guys. Absolutely love your vision for this build.

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 Post subject: Re: The 4500 MJ Build
PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 1:04 pm 
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whew, finally

Joined: Wed Jun 26, 2013 8:07 pm
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Glad to see this cross-posted :drool:

Dustin, what is your KOH itinerary.. Depart/return etc

;)


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 Post subject: Re: The 4500 MJ Build
PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 4:22 pm 
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whew, finally
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'Bout damn time Dustin!!! Glad to have you!

Oh, the build is pretty neat too. :cheers:

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 Post subject: Re: The 4500 MJ Build
PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 6:41 am 
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Turns out, firewood DOES grow on trees!
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Oh, this thing is gonna be awesome!

Nervous? Or are you guys farther along than the pictures show?

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 Post subject: Re: The 4500 MJ Build
PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 7:10 am 
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whew, finally

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This thing brings unibody strengthening to a whole to level :smokin:


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 Post subject: Re: The 4500 MJ Build
PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:00 am 
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Any more progress, Dustin? :lurker

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 Post subject: Re: The 4500 MJ Build
PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 9:43 am 
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Im not a player, I just post alot.
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This build looks is going to be awesome, but I can't get over how clean that Comanche looked... :p

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 Post subject: Re: The 4500 MJ Build
PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 7:56 pm 
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you guessed it, web wheeler

Joined: Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:41 am
Posts: 24
Location: Battle Ground, WA
Time for an update. As I'm sure most of you know, pictures sometimes don't do things justice. We've been plugging away at the MJ steadily for the past few weeks. Here's what has been going on.

Winton got the front inner frame bracing all burned in. Even with .188 plating you could feel the front give when you picked it up. After the inner tube work was added, there was a noticeable difference. It definitely helped stiffen the frame in a critical area.
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Ted meanwhile kept plugging away on the rear four link.
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We'd also like to thank Yukon Gear & Axle for their support on this build. We chose to run their nodular iron third members with load bolts. Each third member is stuffed with 4.88 gears, spool for the rear, and Grizzly for the front.
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One evening while enjoying a tasty dinner in the shop, Maureen asked us if we considered running a "body lift." We had considered it for clearance purposes, but always found a way around it. We decided to actually put the cab back on and mock up a 1" "body lift" just to see what all it would take. Truth be told, the pro's definitely out weighed the con's. We'd gain an extra inch of head room and more clearance for the motor/dash.

It hurt to take a small step backward, but we all agreed it was for the best. Ted hacked off the boatside tubes, and raised the sliders 1", which now means 1" more clearance under the sliders.
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A few hours later, new boatside tubes were made. It's funny how much quicker things go the second time.
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More plating was added to the new front frame section.
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Frame rails were sealed up. The "shelf" off the top will be where the front of the cab sits since we raised it 1". After the cab is welded on, we'll trim it flush.
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More parts arrived.
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It came time to set the brackets in place for the front four link. One final check of the numbers.
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With the brackets tacked into place, we cycled the suspension from full bump to full droop to check for clearance.
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Things were a bit crowded on the passenger side, but everything cleared.
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While Ted and I worked on the rear four link cross-member, Joey and Don cobbled together a makeshift shock bracket. This way they could start brainstorming on where to locate the steering box. We'll be running ADS 2.5" coilovers, in addition to some ADS bypass shocks as well. This little pickup should scoot along nicely.
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The making of the much anticipated, Jeep Comanche Body Lift.
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This will be our 1" spacer for the rear of the cab. It will bolt into the factory holes on the frame, as well as tie into the rear four link cross-member.
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Our lower links in the front were contacting the frame at almost full bump, so Ted fired up the grinder.
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Two cutoff wheels later you could see our sheet-metal sandwich frame. We'll use some DOM sliced in half to fill the notch.
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Winton burned together the lower link brackets. Artec Industries offers a wide assortment of DIY brackets, modular trusses, fuel cell mounts, and quart crates. They're definitely worth looking into for any upcoming projects.
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Rear four link cross-member pretty much complete.
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The lower square tube is just a temporary cross-member.
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Front four link brackets tacked into place. We'll be adding some gussets to ensure these things never budge.
Image


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 Post subject: Re: The 4500 MJ Build
PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 8:09 pm 
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I'm secret-spot HOT
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Vehicle: Snow camo'd 2000 XJ
Awesome. :thumbsup:

Cant wait to see it finished.

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 Post subject: Re: The 4500 MJ Build
PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 8:10 pm 
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you guessed it, web wheeler

Joined: Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:41 am
Posts: 24
Location: Battle Ground, WA
Shortly after the new year, we all agreed that KOH this year probably wasn't feasible. It just wasn't worth it to us to cut corners, and make a mad dash to finish this thing. There are plenty of other races throughout the year we'll be able to run this little pickup truck at, and work on tuning it for next year. I know EJS and V2R are on our radar.

After the weight was lifted from our shoulders, the 4500 crew switched gears and has been working with the POR Wheelers in prepping their Ultra4 car for KOH this year.
Image

We knocked out a lot of work in a little over a weeks time. A lot of familiar faces swung by the shop during that time, and helped lend a hand too. Thanks everyone! I think we're all pretty confident the prep work will pay off on the lake bed come race day.

With that being said, I think we're all itching to get back to work on the 4500 MJ. I'll keep you guys posted on the progress.


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 Post subject: Re: The 4500 MJ Build
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 9:19 am 
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whew, finally
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Wow dustin im impressed!

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 Post subject: Re: The 4500 MJ Build
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 11:09 am 
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98cherokeesport wrote:
Wow dustin im impressed!



Hey, stop looking at other builds and get your shit finished!!! :f2:

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 Post subject: Re: The 4500 MJ Build
PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 10:57 am 
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you guessed it, web wheeler

Joined: Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:41 am
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Location: Battle Ground, WA
Sorry for the lack of updates, folks. Here's an update to get this thread back on track.

At the beginning of the year we chose to put the 4500 build on the back burner while we turned our focus to prepping the POR Wheeler's Racing #689 car for King of the Hammers this year. A lot of prep work went into it, but in the end we were all confident we had a reliable car heading into the race.

Here's a few pictures from my time down at KOH this year. Good times with the POR and Stag Camp crew. You can read the full trip report here, http://www.naxja.org/forum/showthread.php?t=1109571.

Image

Image

Image

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After returning from KOH we took a few weeks to get back into the groove. However, most of the 4500 crew had plans to head down to Easter Jeep Safari this year in April. That meant taking some time to finish some projects on their own rigs. Winton added hydro assist to the LJ, and Ted started his 5.3L swap in his YJ. Needless to say work on the 4500 MJ was slow during this time.
Image

One of the big changes during this time was changing from a double triangulated front suspension to a three link with track-bar. Our main reason for doing so was because we'll be running mechanical steering on this car (per 4500 rules). With mechanical steering and no track-bar we'd likely see a lot of bump steer in the go fast sections. We feel a three link and track-bar will fit our needs better. Ted crunched some numbers and we had our new single upper link mounts tacked into place. We'll be running 1.25" heim joints on both the lowers and the upper.
Image

Moving forward with our front axle, we needed to figure out a stout solution for mounting our coilovers and bypass shocks. We decided to combine two Artec lower mounts into one, which would then create a flat surface for our shock mount.
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For the shock mount we again combined two brackets to suit our application, and mounted it on top of our lower mount.
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This allows us to tie pretty much all the brackets together into one solid mount, and finishes the axle off nicely.
Image

For our brake setup we chose to machine down our caliper brackets to work with some off the shelf axle mounts.
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This centered up pads on the rotor. The calipers are ~07 Dodge 1500 units, and are a pretty slick design allowing pad changes without completely removing the caliper. Not to mention they are huge.
Image

Next task was dialing in our steering. We'll be mounting our tie-rod in double shear so some spacers were machined on the lathe.
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Combined with Artec Hi-steer arms and Solid Knuckles the steering is pure beef.
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We pulled the cab off to finalize the suspension mount, and to take our motor in for some dyno action.
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Motor mounts are in their early stages.
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Winton gluing our rear axle shock mounts together.
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Shock mounts and lower link mounts in place.
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With the mounts figured out we measured for link length, and mocked up our rear four link. 2x.250" DOM on the lowers, and 1.5x.250" DOM on the uppers. We'll run these links while we dial in the car, but eventually will switch to 7075 solid aluminum.
Image

Image

Driveshaft clearance was a concern with the rear lower frame side mount, so we adjusted our cross-member height for clearance. We found that the cardon joint actually doesn't move a whole lot throughout our range of travel.
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Moving back to the front axle, we began to brainstorm just how we were going to tackle our track-bar situation. Suddenly space was hard to come by at full bump. Don't judge our mock up flat pitman arm.
Image

With our Scout box mounted outside the frame rail, we have a draglink length of 39". This means we need to somehow get our track-bar as close to this length as possible to ensure it swings in the same arc preventing bump-steer.
Image

At full bump (7.5" of uptravel) we had ~1.25" between the frame and truss. We could have worked with this, but jack stand clearance and racing clearance are often two different things. We decided to notch the front frame to gain an inch of clearance for the track-bar and steering.
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Burned it out.
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We capped the bottom with the same ends of the same 4x2 material creating a smooth radius around the notch. All cleaned up. We might be able to squeeze a full 8" of uptravel out of the front.
Image

We're back to cranking away on the build now, and progress seems to be moving along steadily. I'll try and keep this updated as we move forward. We're staring to discuss cage design... :smokin:


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