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Thread: Family Jeepster Build

  1. #1
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    Family Jeepster Build

    The time has come to finally start a new build. I thought that my single seat buggy was next on the list since it was already on the chassis table, but having a son changed my priorities. I picked up a farm fresh 1969 Commando for a pretty good price, or so I thought. It turns out that it is a little more rotten than I expected after my initial inspection.



    This is a two owner 1969 Jeepster Commando built by the Kaiser company. It has the original 231 V6, automatic transmission, and dana 20 transfer case. I was told the motor got a knock in it back in 91 right as the owner was getting ready to leave for college. He parked it out in the field and bought something more reliable. 24 years later it was drug out of the field and to my shop. Apparently he thought he was a pretty good mechanic because this thing is pretty much butchered. There was an additional heater box installed and ducked to the back. I am sure that it helped, but it was cobbled in and plumbed with PVC. The hardtop clearly became friends with a tree at some point. The hardtop seems pretty roached so it might not make it back.

    The original plan was to pop out the drivetrain and upgrade it to a 4.0L, ax15, NP231 and dana 44s. Toss some 33's on it and a cage. Once I realized what shape it was in and how much work I was looking at I turned this ship onto a new course.

    The current plan is a full custom box tubing frame. Four link and coilover the front, leaf springs in the rear. 4.0l, ax15, and a dana 300. Then custom tube fenders front and rear, a full family friendly cage, soft top, fix the roached metal, and armor the crap out of it. Toss on a set of 35" km2s and go wheel it.

  2. #2

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    It's just that easy

  3. #3
    SUPPORTER 97TJGUZZY's Avatar
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    Bada bing bada boom
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  4. #4
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    It shouldn't be to hard.... Just lots of hours.

    I got the hard top pulled off and out of the way. There are a bunch of little bolts holding this thing on. Most of them snapped or got cut out.



    The interior came right out. Well what was left of it. Then I started to split the body and drivetrain. It was the easiest separation I have ever done. 12 body mounts on the tub and not a single seized or stripped bolt in there. Not even a spun nut!


    Split with some 4x4s to separate things.

    Now I have a chassis for my 2a body.

  5. #5
    Twilliamson's Avatar
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    Wow, That is amazing. You planning to media blast the body and frame?
    Look at the Word Differently - In a World of Talkers, be a thinker and a doer.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twilliamson View Post
    Wow, That is amazing. You planning to media blast the body and frame?
    It is getting a new frame. I might get it powder coated once it is finished. If not I will wipe it down and cover it in chassis black. I am still debating on blasting, dipping, or just sanding the body. Blasting and dipping add a lot of $$ to the budget that I wasn't planning on. Sanding just adds time and the rust is all getting cut out anyway. My biggest concern on the sheet metal is that the few seams that exist have some rust in them. I am not sure I am up to cutting the factory seams apart and cleaning it all up. That might just be a little over my head.

  7. #7

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    I say leave the body as is , its a trail rig not a show car.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whiten View Post
    I say leave the body as is , its a trail rig not a show car.
    I would but a big push for this is to get my wife on the trail. That means some creature comforts and a drastically reduced chance of tetanus. The body won't be perfect. I am no body man and I am not going to pay a premium for one. A lot of the rust will disappear to be replaced with armor, but there is some that needs to be repaired to bring some structure back to the body. I am really using a lot of the body work on this to learn sheetmetal work for future projects.

    The new frame is going to be built out of 2x4x3/16 box tubing. The front and rear bumpers will be the main crossmembers. I am planning on only one additional crossmember that should be located between the transfer case output and the rear axle input. I just don't know exactly where that will end up. Rather than miter cutting the frame rails to get the step ups for the axles I am carving out metal and then bending the tube to get the appropriate angle. These "notches" will get internal hidden fish plates to strengthen the joint but to keep the frame super clean.

    I made a sheet metal template that allows me to cut a repeatable notch with the plasma. There will be 8 of these on each side so I have a lot of notching and welding to do.



    This notch puts my step up at 18.5 degrees. I shouldn't have to do anything but clean the slag off and grind a bevel for a stronger weld.



    My first notch was close, but I am going to have to tweak the template a little to get a slightly better fit. Hopefully I can knock out the frame pretty quickly. All of the suspension parts should be at the house before Christmas so the goal is a rolling chassis before I have to go back to work.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by RClippa View Post
    I would but a big push for this is to get my wife on the trail. That means some creature comforts and a drastically reduced chance of tetanus. The body won't be perfect. I am no body man and I am not going to pay a premium for one. A lot of the rust will disappear to be replaced with armor, but there is some that needs to be repaired to bring some structure back to the body. I am really using a lot of the body work on this to learn sheetmetal work for future projects.

    The new frame is going to be built out of 2x4x3/16 box tubing. The front and rear bumpers will be the main crossmembers. I am planning on only one additional crossmember that should be located between the transfer case output and the rear axle input. I just don't know exactly where that will end up. Rather than miter cutting the frame rails to get the step ups for the axles I am carving out metal and then bending the tube to get the appropriate angle. These "notches" will get internal hidden fish plates to strengthen the joint but to keep the frame super clean.

    I made a sheet metal template that allows me to cut a repeatable notch with the plasma. There will be 8 of these on each side so I have a lot of notching and welding to do.



    This notch puts my step up at 18.5 degrees. I shouldn't have to do anything but clean the slag off and grind a bevel for a stronger weld.



    My first notch was close, but I am going to have to tweak the template a little to get a slightly better fit. Hopefully I can knock out the frame pretty quickly. All of the suspension parts should be at the house before Christmas so the goal is a rolling chassis before I have to go back to work.
    Do you think that just the bumpers and one additional crossmember will give adequate torsional rigidity? I have visions of a rusty tub twisting into a misshapen lump and body filler popping out each time things get in a twist!

  10. #10

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    We gone have some cool family old school rigs. Gah if time wasn't such a premium.

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