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Family Jeepster Build

So I thought my weekend would be spent getting a rolling chassis. All my suspension brackets came in from barnes.


Instead I found a guy parting out a jeepster south of Atlanta so I am driving down to pick up some sheetmetal that will make my life easier.
Ah the drive will be worth the work when you burn in those fresh cut lazer tabs on a fresh bare metal chassis. Cutting,drilling and grinding tab days are over for this guy. I'd prob pay double for those tabs to never do it again.
Ah the drive will be worth the work when you burn in those fresh cut lazer tabs on a fresh bare metal chassis. Cutting,drilling and grinding tab days are over for this guy. I'd prob pay double for those tabs to never do it again.
I payed way more than double. I even have a CNC table and it is worth it to just buy them ready to go. This just puts me one step closer to selling the plasma table to buy other tools. Not sure how much time I will get this weekend and I am debating between working on this or going to the Flats next Saturday.
I have been somewhat slack on this build. My family has been sick so I have spent a lot of time taking care of everyone. On top of that I have had a few home improvement projects that I am trying to wrap up.

Still I have had a little time at the shop. I got the motor out of the donor and it is now tacked in place. I am not sure it will stay where it is, but I am going to get everything else mocked up before I change anything. I had to cut a good bit of firewall out and then ended up offsetting the engine 1" to the passenger side to keep enough room for the pedals.


The trans and case hang out the bottom so I am debating cutting into the tub to push things up or just building a skid and not worrying about it. If I cut into the tub and push things up then I am going to destroy the seat mounts so it isn't just a little sheetmetal work.


I also pulled the front axle from the donor. Then wrestled it into place to start trying to figure out the suspension. I think the 35's are going to look really good on there and will require less body trimming that I originally thought. This is setup with 6" of up travel.


They are going to stick out about 5" on both sides so I am going to have to flare the fenders. The plan was for tube fenders anyway so I will just flare them out to about 4.5" or so and that way I don't have any tire coverage concerns. I don't want to worry about it in Moab or Colorado and I also don't want mud flying everywhere.

Looking good.

Do you remember ever seeing a blue commando in crawl years ago built by a hot rod shop on west coast with wood panel siding? Timmay from liquid iron industries bought it and is working on the rebuild now. It was probably the one that hooked me on them.

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Looking good.

Do you remember ever seeing a blue commando in crawl years ago built by a hot rod shop on west coast with wood panel siding? Timmay from liquid iron industries bought it and is working on the rebuild now. It was probably the one that hooked me on them.

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i remember having that one on our coffee table at school for years. I think I still have that issue.
That is a good looking jeepster. I don't like the CJ front end conversion, but that is just me. I like the ugly commando front end. It looks like he has quite a bit left to get ready for EJS. Hopefully I can get out there next year for the 50th anniversary ride of the Jeepster.
We have had a bug going through our house. This has slowed down my progress, but I did get a couple of hours today. I cut off the rockers. They had been "repaired" previously. Someone had welded some sheetmetal over the top of the rusted rockers. They didn't take the time to cut out the rot. I just did the initial cutting to see how far I would have to go. The back side is pretty much toast. I think I will have to cut it back to the floorboards. The outside looks pretty solid where I cut. Luckily the guy that rents the shop next to mine is currently having a 12' CNC brake installed so I should be able to bend everything out of a single piece. I won't be building it as tall as it was from the factory. Hopefully I can mock something up with my little brake next week. This week is probably a wash since we are heading to the mountains to enjoy some time with friends.


I also got started on the rear suspension. I built the front leaf spring mounts. Somehow I managed to lose the bushings for one spring so I chucked up some material and turned a new ones for that spring. I could have ordered them, but I was trying to get the rear suspension in place today and I didn't want to wait. I ended up running out of time before I could wrap up the rear suspension. I spent an hour just cleaning off old shock mounts and removing the spring perches. The axle was setup for sprung over and I am going sprung under. The springs I have are 4" YJ lift springs. That plus sprung over would put this thing up way to far for 35"s.


The mount is built off the frame by 1.375". I wanted to get the springs wider so I could get some more stability in there. I will build something similar in the back. It may sound strange, but it will be running 6" shackles. Again, it is what I have. They are pretty nice units and are very heavy duty. Next up will be to build out the rear mounts and then look into shocks and bump stops on the back. I also started machining the sleeves that will allow me to press in factory rubber bushings into my links. Sadly I forgot to get a picture of the sleeves.
As it turns out a kid really reduces your ability to get out to the shop. I don't know why this still amazes me. I did get out there yesterday for a couple hours. I finished up the front 3 Link. I still need to get the coilover mounts built but that will wait until I get coilovers. It will probably be a while. In the mean time I welded some 1x1 tube to keep it at ride height so I can finalize the motor mounts and trans mount. I even got the opportunity to let her get a little sun on her nose while I cleaned up to get ready for the next round. SHEETMETAL.

I am ready to start the tube fenders and tire carrier to see what this things is going to look like when I am done.

The brackets from Barnes worked out really well. I used 10 degree lower mounts and a plain upper mount. I was able to get the lowers all the way out to where the leafs used to mount. I can turn lock to lock without any tires rubbing. In this setup I am running three equal length links all at 30" long. I ended up with about 86% anti-dive and a very small amount of roll oversteer.
You and me both. This a complete change for me and I can't wait to get back into trail riding. Not to mention the 50 year Jeepster Anniversary ride in Moab.

So it took some work to let her tan. She is rolling on her own weight, but I still need the actual trackbar that I am going to run. This one is just in there to keep things centered while I try to find my 3/4" fine thread taps. I just can't remember where they are and my tools are currently spread between a storage unit, my house, and two shops. One thing I know for sure is that they aren't at the shop I work out of. I also haven't built the mounts for the coilovers. I am going to wait on them until I can get the shocks.

I got the steering box braced up and installed. I turned down and bored four slugs to run the bolts through. Then I capped the top two with a piece of 1x2x1/8" to beef them up a little. This is a grand wagoneer box that will be drilled and taped for hydro assist. It fits really well, but I wish I would have pushed the front bumper out about an inch so that it could go forward and let me push the axle a little further forward.


The lower link mounts are inboarded a little on the frame. They mount the links at 10° and push to the center of the frame just about an inch. Sorry for the blurry picture. My hands shake anyway and the phone just doesn't stabilize well. You can see in the picture that I had to rotobroach my body mount plug welds and move the body mounts up. I went ahead and lifted the body mounts 1" to give me a little more room for the drivetrain but to also get the frame exits to work out on the body.

I used a matching 10° link mount on the axle side and was able to get the link mounts to the same width as the leaf springs. I wanted them wider but with 10° I went as wide as possible while still being able to turn lock to lock. I bought the combined link mount/coilover mount, but I am going to outboard the coilovers even more. I will build out the top of the link mounts to be the air-bump landing pads.

With all of the work to fit it all, I did go three link with the upper link on the drivers side. I am running three equal length links, all at 30" bolt to bolt. I have run longer links in the past, but I wanted this to be a little shorter to reduce the chance of bending and to make packaging easier. Here is a shot looking back down the links.

At this geometry I have 86% anti-dive, 1° roll axis with oversteer, and 4" of uptravel, 7" down. I would have liked 6" up and down, but my rear leafs didn't turn out exactly where I want them and I am not sure it is worth all the work to try to raise it up. I am not planning on bombing down the desert in this thing. I will air bump with 2" travel bumps and only 4" of total travel at the bump can. I will then mount the coilovers to have another 1.5" of travel to account for the flex travel at each end of the axle.

Up next the permanent motor mounts and trans cross member. Then it is on to body work until I get a budget for more parts.
I was successful at building scrap metal today. I haven't bent tube in a little while and it shows. Here was my first attempt at arear fender. I am going to bend a new one. I was trying to match the body lines and I must have forgotten to zero my angle indicator.


My tires sick out about 5" duo I am going to add a four inch flare to cover everything. I went ahead and played with the sheet metal to make sure I had a good plan. I ended up tearing the sheetmetal with my stretcher. Even still I think everything it's going to work out.



The plan is to have a matching inner fender. The outer fender, body, and inner fender will then be solid riveted together. I hope that it looks the way I see it in my head.
I am on a pause with the mechanical side of things while I prep my buggy for another summer of wheeling. In the meantime I am working in the sheetmetal to repair the rot.

Today I worked on the seam where the front of the tub raises up to the back. This entire seam was rusted out and no longer connected. Since I am 6'6" tall,I took the opportunity to find some more room in the cab.


I pushed the raise back 5" to give my son some more foot room odd my seats are pushed back.


I cut 5" out of the top so the front edge would still transition correctly. Then I pushed the original corner back.


Then I cut out all the rot and bent up a new piece to full the hole.


I added a hat style brace under the new panel to stiffen things back up. You can just see it poking out.

After a great break in Conan Tx I am back at it. After a couple of hours today I wrapped up the passenger side fender and got started on the drivers side.


The outer fenders flare out 4.25". The inners replace the factor inners but are shaped to match the outers.


Luckily the driver's side matches the passengers.


The inner got a couple beads and flows pretty well.


I have another inner to make and then I will patch the rusted out corners of the floors to bring some structure back to the body. Then it is of to the front fenders. There is a lot of rust to cut out so I have a few weeks of small patches to do.
Awesome work.

What kind of bead roller do you use? Ones on my wish list until I can afford a pullmax.

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Awesome work.

What kind of bead roller do you use? Ones on my wish list until I can afford a pullmax.
Thanks. I actually just bought a harbor freight one and beefed it up. The plan is to add a motor to it soon. Bead rolling without a motor is a two man job and I am a one man shop. A pullmax would be great but I just don't have the space. If I really get into the sheet metal work I might get one though. The HF bead roller is actually a pretty good deal. Even if you only use it for the shafts, gears, and dies it is worth it. I plan on eventually building a square tube frame for it but for now it does work well. It just flexes a bit to much to roll heavier steel. I use it on aluminum and 20 gauge with no problems. Their shrinker/stretcher isn't bad either, but I am going to have to order some new stippled jaws for them. The stock jaws chew up the metal.
That looking sweet man. If your like 6'6-6'7 you really don't count as one man. 5'9 is one man. If you need a ladder to hang lights in a shop your one man.