Sunday, November 18, 2018

Well after several attempts at getting good brakes on this build we finally hit on the right combination of parts. Originally we had a 1 1/16" bore Corvette style master cylinder for disc/disc brakes combined with a YJ bellcrank and a 8" single diaphragm booster that resulted in weak brakes. Oh it stopped, but they were soft that rolled to a stop and couldn't lock up the tires. At first we blamed it on bad bleeding, low vacuum or the use of silicone brake fluid. Bought a pressure gauge that showed we were only getting around 700 psi. Definitely not enough for discs. We then switched to a 15/16" bore master cylinder from Classic Performance Products part #M-C1516-L that got us more pressure (1000
psi) but increased the pedal travel and foot pressure to the point of just off the floor. Scary to say the least and you could still not lock up the tires. A switch to a 9" dual diaphragm booster from Speedway Motors part #910-33054 netted us the results that we were after. Short pedal throw, reduced foot pressure and you could actually drag the tires. This thing now stops with authority and confidence with no bias lock up. A proportion valve may not be needed. Some modifications had to be made to the booster rod which was too long to be used with the YJ bellcrank. It was shortened and re-threaded to allow the use of a heim joint which got fastened to the bellcrank. It was still too long but could
not be shortened anymore, so 15/16' x 1" aluminum spacer blocks were milled up to space the booster away from the bracket. Luckily the 4 threaded studs were plenty long to make this work. In retrospect a complete CJ bellcrank/booster/master cylinder is available but none with a dual diaphragm booster or a 15/16" bore master cylinder. Considering the fact that we have a Frankenstein braking setup and are not using stock CJ brakes but rather larger J10 disc brakes up front and equally larger Isuzu Rodeo disc brakes in the rear we still might of had problems.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Back in October of 2012 we installed a D.U.I. distributor to the bare engine without any of the accessories such as power steering pump and alternator, not realizing that the power steering pump and bracket would be a problem occupying the same space as the distributor. Well if your an AMC V8 fan with one of these distributors installed you will know what I mean. There just isn't a happy solution. Either the vacuum advance is under the pump or the electrical connectors interfere with the pump to the point that the connectors can not be removed and that pump belt adjustment is compromised. Removal of the distributor cap is necessary. It has been a thorn in our side ever since. So since a new fuel pump was ordered from RobbMc Performance (which we will cover in another post) removal of the distributor made sense at this time because eliminating the fuel return filter and associated hoses would be done. We started out by orienting the engine to tdc on the number 1 cylinder, noted the position of the rotor and also the position of the star wheel and star ring so that we could semi accurately reproduce timing without starting from scratch. A
gauge of 1/8" was required to position the star wheel. We then pulled the distributor and tried different positions with nothing that was satisfactory. Again the power steering pump was the problem along with the bypass hose for the water pump. After close examination it would work if we could rotate the cap 180 degs. on the housing putting the vacuum advance directly front and center and the electrical connector at the 11:00 position clearing the upper radiator hose. Only problem is that the cap can only go on one way which is dictated by a notch in the housing and a corresponding tab on the cap. Another notch 180 degs. from the other would work. So we figured what the hell, lets make
another notch. It had to be precise. The diameter of the housing is 5.16 x 3.14 = 16.202 circumference / 2 = 8.101. That is the distance half way around to a point 180 degs. from the original notch. A piece of masking tape 1/4" wide was cut to that length and starting at the right edge of the notch was applied clockwise to the housing to the opposite side. It was then repeated from the the left end of the notch and applied counterclockwise. Scribe lines were marked and a new notch was cut into the housing. The cap could now be installed 180 degs. to original. Just a side note rotating the cap can only be done in 90 deg. increments to allow the 4 hold down pins to engage in the notches on
the bottom of the housing to hold down the cap. Also the 3 wires were lengthen 6" to reach the new cap connector position. The plug wires would naturally change location on the cap but stay in the same position eliminating the need to modify the wire length. Now everything is accessible, and the power steering pump can actually be moved for belt adjustment. When the distributor was reinstalled the housing was moved to the position by using the 1/8" gauge to line up the star ring and star wheel. We were rewarded with the engine firing right up and to double check with a timing light we were within 2 degs. of what the timing was before we started. To prevent the cap from being position back to
its original location a 2-56 socket head cap screw was threaded into the housing blocking off the notch.


Sunday, June 03, 2018

We always hated prop rods for various reasons, hands were full, rod is in the way to do engine maintenance and so on. Jeffrey had eliminated that problem on his 1995 Subaru Impreza by adding rear hatch gas shocks to the hood with great results, so he wanted to do something similar for the CJ. Mainly because he didn't like laying the hood back against the windshield and didn't want to mess with a prop rod. Now we were told by several sources that gas shocks are not recommended for fiberglass hoods for the simple reason that since no mounting supports were glassed in during construction that if done later they would eventually crack and break out. Rough Country makes a nice setup for the
McMaster Carr part number 9512K98. The collar would temporarily allow us to move the location of the stud on the grille rod for optimum position. Now came the hard part. selecting a gas shock with the right length and pressure to lift the hood. I found several gas shock sights that gave formulas to calculate pressure, but the answers greatly varied due to the fact that we were also angling towards the center of the hood. So I devised a method to determine how much force was needed to keep the hood open. I took a length of 1" pipe and welded on an eye hook to fasten to the grille rod, and put several springs inside of it. Then a length of round stock that slid into the pipe with another eye hook welded to
fasten to the hood on a temporary bracket. I kept changing out springs until I got the hood to stay open at the desired position. I then scribed a line around the round stock against the shoulder of the pipe. This also gave me a length that was needed. Taking the assembly off the one end was placed on a bathroom scale and compressed until the mark lined up with the shoulder. The poundage was then read off the scale, which was 41lbs. Formulas say to add 10% bringing it up to 45lbs. I also added some weight to compensate for the weight of Line-X to the underside of the hood. Now using the marks on the hood and grille rod I was able to get a compressed length by partially closing the hood and measure
between the marks. So I ordered a gas shock from Bansbach with a 22" open length, a 10" stoke and a pressure of 58lbs. Whats nice is that you can specify the pressure that you need. I added pressure figuring I could deal with too much pressure rather than not enough. Temporarily mounting everything to the makeshift brackets to see if it all worked, adjustments were made to end link locations to finalize positions and clearances. Once done an aluminum bracket was made and mounted to the sheet metal with 1/4 - 20 flathead screws from behind. for the mount on the grille rod a 1/2" piece of round stock was pressed into the rod after milling a 1/2" counterbore then brazed.
 Then a hole was drilled into it and tapped for the 10mm. ball stud. Lifting the hood now takes very little effort and opens to a convenient position for engine maintenance and most importantly there is no stress on any of the fiberglass.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Some time ago (November 2013 to be exact) we salvaged a pair of Recaro bucket seats from our local u-pull from a mid 90's Chevrolet Lumina police car. Although these are very comfortable seats and are highly sought after, the amount of cash and time to throw at them was deemed unfeasible. Especially considering the fact that we wanted seat heaters and a total reupholstering and spring repair. These at the time were mounted along with the accompanying sliders by  using the seat of the pants method of adapting them to the stock Jeep scissor mounts by eyeballing up with the steering column by sitting in them. Looking back that was probably not a good method, because they always seemed like you were sitting on an angle. The only benefit for this build taking so long is that now cash flow is better. So the hunt was on for another pair of seats. Jeffrey settled on a pair of  Corbeau's. Item number 44901W with diamond stitched inserts and of course the mandatory
seat heaters. These seats were first spotted at York Jeep Show in 2016 installed in the Jeep Trailhawk concept. The Jeep rep said they were working with a manufacturer to possibly recreate them for production. Guess they succeeded. The Corbeau sliders were not ordered since we had the ball bearing double locking sliders of the Recaros. We started out this time by dropping a plumb bob from the center of the steering column to the floor and marked it. A measurement was taken from the inside wall to that mark and duplicated it further back then marked a straight line between them. This gave us a center line that we could use as a reference point to locate the front and back of the seats.
The seat cavity where you sit was also marked with a center line. The slider was narrowed by simply cutting and removing the required amount from the front adjusting handle and welding it back together. Two holes were drilled in the slider to match the mounting points on the bottom of the new seat. Bolted to the seat it was then set on top of the stock driver side Jeep scissor mount. A plumb bob was again used, starting from the seat mark then dropping to the floor, front and back for a perfect alignment. Holes from the sliders were then transferred to the scissor mounts, drilled and bolted in place. All this was duplicated for the passenger side with the slider eliminated. The same
measurement was marked from the inside wall as the driver side and a center line marked. Eliminating the slider had to be done because that scissor mount is higher than the drivers side and using the slider would have positioned that seat much higher than the driver side. The toggle switches that were originally mounted in the center console were replaced with the ones supplied with the seats by just opening up the holes and filing a locator notch to keep them properly clocked. The finished install is far superior than the previous and are absolutely comfortable. Jeffrey finished up the wiring by running a feed from the fuse block and tied it all together. Oh and he did say the heaters work.
Now comes the responsibility of protecting them from back pocket tools and my belt mounted measuring tape. That is gonna be a hard one for me as I don't leave home without it.











Sunday, December 17, 2017

Got all the wiring done, at least everything that was absolutely needed, I'm sure there will be some additional accessories added like heated seats, dome lights and a usb port and charger in the console, but there definitely wont be any stereo system or speakers to deal with. The only two malfunctions we had with the wiring were with the wiper motor and heater blower motor. Wiper didn't work at all and was due to the fact we forgot to ground the metal windshield frame mounted to the fiberglass body, and two of the blower motor speeds were reversed. Just a matter of swapping two wires at the resistor plug. So two easy fixes and nothing burned up. So now when we go for a drive around the neighborhood the turn signals can be used. Still have to get an exhaust system on this thing. Nobody has complained yet but it's only a matter of time. Next up was a steering wheel. The one that was being used was an Oldsmobile sport wheel on loan from dear old dad. I finally bought myself a 1967 Olds 442 and put the wheel on that so a Nardi 14" Classic polished black leather was chosen. Purchased thru Ebay from Crowders Customizing. The hub adapter was also an Ebay purchase from Big Dog Interior Parts. We also had to get a horn cancel cam from Steering Column Services.

This had the required bayonet socket for the horn wire assembly. Ours did not have this. Everything went together fairly well until it came time to install the horn ring. The wheel is fastened to the hub with six 5mm. hex head bolts. The horn assembly is placed in the center of the wheel and is supposed to be held in place by the aluminum horn ring which has six spot faces on the backside two of which receive two rubber inserts that then get pressed onto the heads of two of the hex head bolts. The only problem with that is that the horn assembly pushes on

the ring and eventually works it loose. That ring is expected to stay on with just those two rubber inserts gripping the bolt heads. One would think for the quality and craftsmanship that has gone into the Nardi wheel a better way of holding the horn assembly in place would be in order. Different things were tried using washers under three of the bolts to hold the horn assembly but failed. The solution was to drill and counter bore six holes in the ring matching the pattern of the wheel and use stainless 5mm socket head cap screws.

You give up the clean look originally designed into the ring for something that at least isn't going to fall off in your lap. We are going to play around with button heads for possibly a cleaner look. A steering hub puller was fabricated using three 1/4 - 28 screws and a 1/2 - 13 nut welded into a ring that was laying around the shop for future removal of the aluminum adapter hub. All in all nice quality parts that have a nice comfortable feel when driving.







Sunday, April 02, 2017

Bulkheads, pass throughs or whatever you want to call them, eventually those wires are going to have to pass through the firewall. A few criterias were in order. Weather proof, hidden and quick disconnect. The battery was kept 1 1/2" away from the fire wall to allow the wires to exit the firewall directly behind it, that takes care of the hidden part. The weather proof part wasn't really a problem, but with only having 1 1/2" to play with was. A very nice weather pack bulkhead is available utilizing 22 circuits, but is pretty bulky and comes straight out from the firewall. We needed one that turned down 90 degrees. and had a disconnect plug. An internet search turned up some nice billet ones but not with a disconnect.
It never seems to fail we often come to a situation in this build that either parts are not available or we want to do it a different way. So off to the drawing board. Using a 6 conductor weather pack connector as our starting point a holder was made from some aluminum stock laying around the shop. An extruded angle and some 1/2" square aluminum was used. A 3/16" radius was milled into the 1/2" pieces to match the radius on the connector with a 1/8" hole drilled into the radius to utilize the existing pins already on the connector to hold in place. The connector was sandwiched in between the 2 pieces and attached to the angle with 8-32 stainless socket head cap screws. The assembly
was milled square for future polishing. The wires will exit the top of the connector, turn 90 degrees, go through the firewall into another aluminum piece with 6 hole drilled through in the exact spacing as the weather pack connector. This piece will be mounted on the inside of the firewall and use the weather pack o-rings. 2 8-32 screws will pass through the outside piece into the inside piece sandwiching the firewall in between making for a good seal. 3 of these assemblies will be used to give us a total of 18 circuits and mounted just enough above the battery to be visible. No sense in making them totally hidden since they will be polished. Any unused ports will be filled with the weather pack
rubber plugs. The wiring can now be run behind the battery to underneath it where the starter solenoid, relays, mega fuse and terminal strips are mounted.



Saturday, April 01, 2017

Finished up the tail light wiring by wiring up the new LED units, only to find out they were not working properly. I had originally grounded them to the frame. Jeffrey suggested running a ground test lead right from the battery and sure enough that fixed it. With our temporary wiring we had run the ground cable directly to the engine block but not to the frame. So it was trying to ground through the engine mounts. A braided ground strap from the engine to the frame cured it. Ironically the American Wire kit did not have provisions for a reverse light circuit. A feed was run to the shifter switch then to the rear. That would mean 4 wires would be passing through the body for lighting (tail, r. turn, l. turn
and rev.) along with fuel gauge for a total of 5. A 5 conductor weather pack connector was sourced for Custom Connector Kits and using their terminal crimpers, a plug was assembled where the floor kicks up for the rear floor behind the console. Continuing on to the lights a 3 conductor plug was added to each light along with an additional 4 conductor plug feeding them which in the event that a trailer harness is installed can be pulled apart and a T connector plugged in to go to the trailer plug. This way the body can be lifted off just by pulling these plugs apart. The T connector is a Hopkins #41125 for a 1988 to 1998 full size Chevy truck.
that can be purchased through Advance Auto or Amazon. These weather pack connectors are great and crimping on the terminals and seals is pleasurable with the correct tools. Next we'll show you how the wiring will be hidden behind and under the battery box and the bulkhead connectors that were fabricated to come through the firewall.