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1965 Jeep J20 Gladiator Build

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  • #31
    Now that I have the cab located on the frame, the last thing I need to figure out before rebuilding the floor was which seats I would choose. There are a lot of good looking options out there these days - including rebuilding my original bench. But with LONG trips planned for this truck, I needed to be mindful of comfort and safety... which led me to considering the comfy seats I recalled from a 2003 Suburban my wife once had which had super cush buckets in front WITH an integrated shoulder seatbelts. This solves the issue of the early J trucks not having a shoulder belt.

    The really nice thing is that these seats are plentiful in the classifieds as they were in production from like 1999-2006 or something across the Silverado's, Tahoes, and Suburbans. This also means that the aftermarket is FULL of cushion, heating elements, and skin replacements for just about any material imaginable.

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    I will obviously need to do some work on the floor shape and the seat brackets but it's not that bad. and the height is perfect! I was a bit worried the seatbelt portion of the seat would hit my b-pillar but by the time I move the seat over to be centered with the steering wheel I'll probably have 2" or more gap.

    With that - I'm about done with the procurement portion of the big things I needed to sort out before the heavy fab work begins to make it all actually fit together and go down the road. For now, it feels REALLY good to sit in my truck again in it's "new" seat on it's "new" chassis.

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    • #32
      Had to take a couple hours to address the track bar bushings in the R2.8 Disco this afternoon. The trailer towing to pick up the jeep frame was the nail in the coffin for these 190k mile bushings.

      When your garage is small, you don’t have room for fancy presses or vices… so you spend a bit looking like a caveman working off the garage floor and soon enough everything is right as rain.

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      • #33
        Had a few hours today to play Jeep. Bolted the QuickDraw modified Cummins flywheel on and then bolted the transmission to the engine (minus to-be-purchased clutch).

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        I had to settle my curiosity of swinging the drivetrain in before cutting out the JK frame mounts. I didn't worry too much about getting it exactly where I wanted it since I knew the JK mounts would be in the way of the starter etc. I also had the suspension fully compressed without bump stops installed - I wanted to make it beyond worst case scenario for clearance. What I did like was that I had the engine about 2" off center toward the passenger side to ensure I'll have room for a bigger front diff one day. Still look to have clearance for the low-mount AC option that the engine comes standard with.

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        I also like where the rear of the trans ends up. Will need to modify my tunnel and floor for the driver's drop Atlas II but it's far enough forward and the frame is so tall that I may get lucky and be able to rotate t-case down and stay above the plane of the frame rail and below my drivers seat inside bracket real estate.

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        After snapping a few pics and taking some measurements, I pulled the driveline out and set it back on my little skid (now complete with castors so it can be rolled around among the kids toys!). I then jacked the axle up to the height simulating a 35" tire and the frame up high enough to match the stock JKU spring height to get a sense of overall stance. Still need to borrow a 35" tire and make sure that's what I want to go with. 33" would likely work well too. I believe I'm going to pull the cab forward another inch.

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        Then it was time to take a saw-zall to the JKU motor mounts. Got as close to the frame as I could and then it was grinding, hammering, chiseling, flapper wheel and repeat. Tomorrow evening I hope to get back out there and swing the driveline back in but may wait until I have my isolators and am ready to fab up the mounts.

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        So much room for activities!

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        • #34
          Originally posted by Sanders View Post
          Had a few hours today to play Jeep. Bolted the QuickDraw modified Cummins flywheel on and then bolted the transmission to the engine (minus to-be-purchased clutch).

          Click image for larger version Name:	IMG_6568.jpg Views:	0 Size:	2.22 MB ID:	2961

          I had to settle my curiosity of swinging the drivetrain in before cutting out the JK frame mounts. I didn't worry too much about getting it exactly where I wanted it since I knew the JK mounts would be in the way of the starter etc. I also had the suspension fully compressed without bump stops installed - I wanted to make it beyond worst case scenario for clearance. What I did like was that I had the engine about 2" off center toward the passenger side to ensure I'll have room for a bigger front diff one day. Still look to have clearance for the low-mount AC option that the engine comes standard with.

          Click image for larger version Name:	IMG_6569.jpg Views:	0 Size:	2.95 MB ID:	2964

          I also like where the rear of the trans ends up. Will need to modify my tunnel and floor for the driver's drop Atlas II but it's far enough forward and the frame is so tall that I may get lucky and be able to rotate t-case down and stay above the plane of the frame rail and below my drivers seat inside bracket real estate.

          Click image for larger version Name:	IMG_6576.jpg Views:	0 Size:	2.37 MB ID:	2962

          After snapping a few pics and taking some measurements, I pulled the driveline out and set it back on my little skid (now complete with castors so it can be rolled around among the kids toys!). I then jacked the axle up to the height simulating a 35" tire and the frame up high enough to match the stock JKU spring height to get a sense of overall stance. Still need to borrow a 35" tire and make sure that's what I want to go with. 33" would likely work well too. I believe I'm going to pull the cab forward another inch.

          Click image for larger version Name:	IMG_6614.jpg Views:	0 Size:	2.57 MB ID:	2963

          Then it was time to take a saw-zall to the JKU motor mounts. Got as close to the frame as I could and then it was grinding, hammering, chiseling, flapper wheel and repeat. Tomorrow evening I hope to get back out there and swing the driveline back in but may wait until I have my isolators and am ready to fab up the mounts.

          Click image for larger version Name:	IMG_6616.jpg Views:	0 Size:	2.62 MB ID:	2965

          So much room for activities!
          Only 35s?…?

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          • #35
            Originally posted by RePowerToy View Post

            Only 35s?…?
            You never know! I want to establish a good baseline stance and size, especially if I’m going to run stock jk axles forget now without “building” them.

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            • #36
              What Atlas II gear ratio are you going with?

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              • #37
                I’ve got a 3.8:1 case

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                • #38
                  I'd love to have one of the 4 speed units (2.72 and 4.3), but for my gearing I plan to order the Atlas II 5:1 and I might see if they'll ever do a 6:1, which I think is discontinued. I'm really excited about the 2L option because I do some towing and I wonder how it would be towing some of my heavier stuff around. Looks like I can do some pretty significant towing starting in 2L and moving into to 2H, if it'll shift fast enough. Off road I've pulled around our camper that weighs 6k lbs, but I was in 4L (2.72:1), which was pretty easy.

                  I've been thinking of swapping transmissions for a bit, so I'm hesitant to put in an order for an Atlas, because I don't know how difficult they are to reconfigure. I'm already at the point where a different transmission will likely run me $5k or more to get the one I prefer on paper.

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                  • #39
                    Get a hold of Steve Roberts at AA and tell him I said hello. He can help you think through your logic and tell you what's available and possible. Which transmission are you thinking?

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      I've been looking at the 6R80E, I think it's called (Quickdraw has a kit). Just running some basic numbers I think the QD adapter will move everything forward enough with a super short Atlas II (no speedometer gear) that it'll fit in the TJ.

                      However, though I want that setup, I go back and forth if it's really worth it for my needs. I do want to slightly tune the R2.8, hence I'm afraid I'm pushing the AX-15 too hard (~360 ft-lbs) and the gear ratios from the 6R80 and 6L80 just look perfect for the R2.8. However I will also drift from simplicity going that route and it's additional weight that really isn't needed nor preferred.

                      Also that price would go a long way to build the wife's Tacoma when her 4.0L bites the dust. I could go ahead and start getting the components together to put the R2.8 in place of the 4.0, which would be a perfect replacement for the 4.0L. Just gotta do research and see about integration vs standalone. 1997 Jeep Wrangler wiring vs 2014 Toyota Baja Tacoma wiring is a bit of a stretch for me, but we'll see.

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                      • #41
                        Having the 6L80E in my Rover I can tell you that the ratios are very nice in it. That being said, the transmission is HUGE and requires a lot of ATF and cooling. It was by far the most challenging part of my built. The overall length of the transmission plus the adapter to the t-case have made it very difficult to fit a good fan behind my cooling package. My rover is just over 100" wheelbase so not much room to play. It's also not the easiest to dial in and each application will take some tuning. I believe the tuning has come a long way from the factory in the past few years since we did the first 3 R2.8 6L80 installs but I wouldn't have what I have it it weren't for a buddy very proficient with HP tuners.. and it still has gremlins of bang shifting or free spinning in certain conditions. A customer sent me a new tune to try but I don't have a way to download it yet.

                        If you were stretching the Jeep and going to 3/4 ton or tons, I would say sure. However, it would be much less of a tear up and should be less cost to go the tremec TR-4050 route and get you those good broad ratios. No cooler, plenty capable, still fits, use your pedals and clutch setup with it.. The tailhousing bolt pattern and spline count are the same as the AX15 so you have that going for you too (confirm with Chad or Silversport transmissions)

                        The pro of either transmission is that they are VERY strong and our applications won't hurt them. But I am very much looking forward to rowing my own gears again, especially knowing that once I'm ready for my first shake down run, the transmission tune won't be the reason I have to cut it short

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                        • #42
                          I think that's all the reasons I will stay with the AX-15. Also I think I read somewhere that the AX-15 is capable of 360 ft-lbs in 4th gear, which might be where I'd use it when towing on the highway. I have seen some mentions of a beefier setup that can handle more torque, but in such a short wheelbase, I think it's not that useful.

                          I do plan on building a YJ 1 ton and I will stretch it for very similar dimensions as a Toyota Tacoma, but I'll run something like an Allison transmission, 1 ton axles, suspension, steering, etc.

                          I have thought about doing a manual shift in one of the 6 speed Autos for the wife's Tacoma. A guy that's doing another diesel build manually shifts his 6 speed auto and wife said she's fine with the non-clutch shifting. She doesn't mind a manual, but she doesn't like the type of gearing I prefer. She wants to get quickly from light to light, whereas I'm just hoping to make it light to light with what crazy thing I'm towing and trying to avoid the gas station and gas cans. She's also hard on clutches (she doesn't think that burning smell is a big deal) and I have to get her something she can't destroy. We really want a Hilux, but this is the US and though I think the Hilux engine is a really good one, I think I can use a R2.8 and pick my transmission and make a more capable rig, though not as reliable from the nature of custom builds.

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                          • #43
                            Engine Mounts! Finally!

                            I finally got some time last week (and parts) to go get my engine mounts knocked out. When I had parts, I didn't have time. When I had time, I was missing parts. When I had those parts, they were wrong.... you know how the story goes.

                            Totally worth the wait though on these new style mounts from QuickDraw and given my basic fab tools at home, the precut pieces saved me a ton of time and noise. They are using tab and slot cut plates, 4.0L Jeep isolators, and a "trim it yourself" tab and slot frame perch set. I'm very curious to see how they behave but from what I've seen on OE applications, inline engines like barrel style isolators so I thought I'd give it a shot. They come with all of the hardware needed as well. You can order with or without the isolators.

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                            The engine side mount is very self-explanatory. Put the two sides together with the center web, and then tab that assembly down into the engine plate. Once fully seated, tack and weld.

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                            • #44
                              Because I'm offsetting my engine toward the passenger frame rail about 1.5" from center, I needed to flip the isolator around to bring the stud in away from being on top of the frame rail. Now with that, I was robbing myself direct access to the bolt side of the mount by burying it a bit under the frame mount by reversing the isolator, I decided to make my life easier and weld a bolt through the top of the mount so I just have two nuts underneath and no wrench needed on top.

                              **One thing to note when shopping for 4.0 Jeep isolators... look for the kind that has this oblong casting in the middle rather than just a round steel sleeve. This is the superior design and in my case, the DriveTech option from Napa (discontinuing) had two different mounts.. one with the oblong and one round. The round was definitely cheaper and wouldn't even fit the bolt through the center. My guy at Napa agreed to order a hand full from one of their older warehouses until we found the better style.

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                              It's also important to remove your suspension springs and do all of this fitting with the suspension fully compressed. This will ensure that worst case scenario, your axle stays out of your oil pan and your control arms stay out of your engine mounts, air conditioner, starter etc.

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                              I know within a half inch where I want the cab on the frame so I left myself some room against the firewall. I’ve got plenty of room in front of the engine for fan/cooling package so burying it against the firewall isn’t critical for me.
                              Last edited by Sanders; 11-23-2021, 04:09 PM.

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                              • #45

                                These frame side pieces are great. There is plenty of beef here and they go together really nicely. Again, massive time saver for the DIY garage folks.

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                                Now that the engine was resting where I wanted to, I could make cardboard templates of the frame side kit pieces and mount them to the isolators to trim to fit. Then I transferred the templates back to the steel, marked, and cut. I tacked the plates together to make my cut-off wheel cuts nice and uniform. I like to keep my templates just incase my wife wants me to build her one too!

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