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1965 Jeep J20 Gladiator Build

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  • DieselJeep
    replied
    I haven't towed with the TR-4050, but have towed a fair amount with the AX-15 even with 33s and 3.07s, towing ~3,500 lbs taking off in first on a steep hill isn't great, but it's doable. I simply don't like towing that much, because my TJ brakes are lacking. I have had to drag my big truck a quarter mile and when I went over the scales the truck is 8,500 lbs. I did it backward because the reverse gear ratio is a bit higher and I have a metal bumper in the front that I could have helped to slow it down if the truck went too fast downhill and if not the spare tire would have been hit if the brakes would have been a problem on the truck. I did that in 4 lo with the 2.72:1 and that was a little too fast, but ok.

    Part of me loves the idea of the 4050, but at this point if I was gonna do a transmission swap I would go with a 6speed auto. The 4050 would be high on my list though to replace the AX-15, but the AX-15 is so lightweight and though it couldn't handle the torque of one of these R2.8s turned up, it's still very light, pretty sturdy and relatively cheap ie it's got a lot of value, though it's not, possibly the ideal transmission for the the R2.8, but it's probably the best bang for the buck, especially since in my case would need to either lengthen my wheelbase or get a shortened transfer case to fit it under there.

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  • Sanders
    replied
    Originally posted by fiddlemahn View Post
    I have a question regarding your transmission choice though. How do think the TR-4050 and the AX15 compare to each other? I know that first gear is much lower on the TR-4050, do you think it is too low to be useful with the R2.8?

    Also with your AC, where will you put the vents in your dash? This company in California called Icon did a Wagnoneer a few years ago and they replaced the ashtrays and the left-side heater controls these cool machined grilles.
    Thank you for the kind words! I've very excited for this and have been planning it for some time. The JKU frame will definitely be a game changer for this truck.

    I've had the pleasure of driving a few R2.8's with the TR-4050 which is a very nice transmission. That first gear is deep enough that depending on your RAR and tire size, you may end up driving it as a 4 speed with the diesel. I was originally planning to go that direction for me it came down to budget at the end of the day. I love the AX-15's and for how I'm going to use this truck, it should be perfect. I've driven a handful of R2.8's in different rigs with the AX-15 or an NV3550 and the ratios are great for this engine. If the time ever comes, I'll be able to upgrade this one one day to the 4050 if I start using the truck to tow more or find myself with consistently heavy payloads.

    Regarding the AC vents, I'm also deleting the original heater controls and plan to fit a round vent there and on the passenger side in same location. For centers, I may just do underdash on either side of the original 4wd indicator lamps. TBD. I think that I am going to move the wiper switch and headlamp switch up on the left side of the dash in the old location of the vent pulls. I could then use their original spots (and the one where the choke cable was) to put the Vintage Air knobs in a row. Plans subject to change

    Jonathan Ward and the Icon team did a great job on that one. I saw Winslow Bent and the guys at Legacy Classic Truck finished an R2.8 Honcho last month that looked great. I couldn't find many pics of it to see the engine install.



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  • fiddlemahn
    replied
    Whoa, that build is turning out to be sick! I love the idea of using a JK frame, suspension, and axles, as the aftermarket potential for the JK is endless. The ride would also be much better without the old post-mounted leaf springs. I also think the R2.8 is an excellent choice of engine, as it would provide just the right amount of torque for some moderate off-roading, and the lack of power compared to a V8 can be compensated by the OD transmission for highway cruising. I have wanted to build a j series truck for years, and this basically the same configuration that I keep coming back to.

    I have a question regarding your transmission choice though. How do think the TR-4050 and the AX15 compare to each other? I know that first gear is much lower on the TR-4050, do you think it is too low to be useful with the R2.8?

    Also with your AC, where will you put the vents in your dash? This company in California called Icon did a Wagnoneer a few years ago and they replaced the ashtrays and the left-side heater controls these cool machined grilles.
    Last edited by fiddlemahn; 04-09-2022, 11:22 PM.

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  • Sanders
    replied
    The 3.0L diesel JL Wrangler cooling parts on order from my local Jeep dealer are starting to arrive - beginning with the big @ss fan! This PWM fan will likely be controlled by the Derale box available on the market with a trinary switch override from the AC compressor and Cummins fan command.

    The old Kaiser grill has around 215 in/sq of open air with the slots.

    Hopefully the charge cooler, AC condenser, and radiator are not far behind!
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  • Sanders
    replied
    The last major piece of finishing up the firewall fab now that the pedals are done will be mounting the VintageAir Magnum IV Heater/AC to really help bring this truck into the climate controlled era. I've been waiting a few weeks for this to arrive and it just did on Sunday which was perfect timing. I have a plan and hope to get to work on it this week but here's a preview as I couldn't resist a quick test fit.
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    Next steps will be reinstalling the dash temporarily to determine permanent location of this unit and then building my mounts from there. I've got some ideas but so far thrilled with the fitment and prospect of AC! After I get this mount done, I can mark and start deleting all of the unused firewall holes. The cab is that much closer for disassembly and sheet metal work!

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  • Sanders
    replied
    Now for the brake and clutch pedals... (apologies - was in a hurry and didn't get as many progress pics)

    After test fitting a TJ pedal assembly and realizing it would be more trouble than using the stock, I needed to figure out how to adapt a power brake booster and newer clutch master for the AX15 to the firewall and J200 pedals. I had a dual diaphragm booster in my attic from my CJ7 build that I converted to hydroboost when I did the 4BT swap. I bought a booster bracket from eBay for a YJ and a clutch master setup from an AX15 YJ. The YJ clutch master bolt pattern is vertical and not diagonal which was going to keep me within the boundaries of the J200's angled mounting plate on the firewall.

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    More cardboard (this time a cereal box) and I traced a pattern that would capture the J200 pedal bolt holes and I could trace my YJ bracket holes and new clutch master holes onto. I used a hole saw to match the dust boot diameter of the YJ bracket so that it would seat onto the plate and seal and then used a stepper bit to get to the 1 1/4" hole needed for the clutch master. Once I had the new component holes drilled onto the plate, I mounted the plate to the firewall and drilled the new holes through the existing mounting plate on the firewall, including needing to open up the circle to clear the new brake booster bracket dust boot.

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    The Off-Again Navajo brake booster has an adjustable coupling nut on the pedal side and once adjusted to the correct length to align with the J200 pedal, I slightly over-drilled the mounting hole to make it fit on the stock mounting point of the original jeep's master cylinder.

    For the clutch master, I wasn't able to modify the plastic push rod/plunger and it was about a 1/2" too long and the wrong diameter for the J200 clutch pedal. For this, I cut off the original mounting pin in the pedal arm and ground out a groove on the face of it. I used a 3/8 shoulder bolt cut down to length and set it in the grove and welded it in place to align with the plunger eye of the new AX15 clutch master.

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    And just like that, I have power brakes and a modern clutch master/external slave! Three functional pedals all in a row! When it goes together for the final time, I'll paint and seal the new adapter plate. I would also like to modify my Cummins pedal to support the original "Jeep" branded pedal.

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  • Sanders
    replied
    I've made progress on the pedal assemblies which are now nearly complete! First up was to make a bracket for the Cummins provided throttle pedal. When I chose the WM530 pedal for our kit, it was because I felt it had versatility/durability for these 4x4 applications. You can remove and modify the mounting bracket or even modify the pedal pad rod. I went out to my Disco II to measure my spacing from the brake pedal and floor where I had mounted it for that swap so I could match those ergonomics on the Jeep. I temporarily installed the Jeep's brake pedal assembly and I set the throttle pedal up to have 2" gap from brake pedal and 3" off the floorboard. The throttle pedal should also be set forward (toward firewall) of the brake pedal for safety.

    Back to arts and crafts, I used some cardboard from a box of donuts to trace the shape/contour/holes of the right side of the steering shaft mounting plate on the firewall. I then cut my metal using that template, bent it, bolted it up, and held the pedal in place to measure how much I needed to cut off of the pedal's bracket. Once I had that, I tacked it, took it off, and finish welded it.

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    Tip: One thing to make sure of is that you leave yourself enough clearance that the throttle sensor can get to 100% without hitting the floorboard or firewall. This is critical for the MAF auto calibration. Factor in floor mat thickness as well.

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  • Digger
    replied
    My hat's off to you. I've haven't got brave enough yet to dig that far into the body work. That's a whole other discipline.

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  • Sanders
    replied
    I did have to trim the bottom of the grill support a bit for the JK frame horns. This is the only visible body modification for the JK frame swap on the outside of the truck. Most of this will be behind the factory bumper but I am thinking I still want to integrate the JK factory tow hooks here in this spot that so will help hide whatever is still visible. (I'm also protecting for a hidden winch down the road that will be integrated into the factory bumper.).

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  • Sanders
    replied
    My cooling package idea is to keep it simple. Use as many OEM parts as I can in an engineered solution by people smarter than I! So, I ran down to the Jeep dealership and worked through some parts schematics and PN's with the parts counter (big thanks for them taking the time!) and then out to the lot with a measuring tape to pop the hood of a brand new JL with a 3.0L EcoDiesel.

    The plan is to order a JL radiator (same for all engine options), JL 3.0 charge cooler, JL AC condenser, and the JL cooling fan. They all bolt together and the mounting plane on the JL's radiator support is conveniently flat. I was thinking I would order a JL radiator support and adapt it but I don't think that's necessary if I can get my radiator support flat. Knowing I needed to move the body mounts on the radiator support anyway to adapt it to the JK frame, I could confidently remove the ol' Jeeps radiator support mounts to give me that flat surface.

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    This also allowed me to open the stock '65 offset opening for the old Tornado engine radiator to make the radiator opening as big as possible and symmetrical so that air can get access every inch of the radiator core.

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  • Sanders
    replied
    Radiator support mounts are supposed to arrive today so I wanted to be ready. I got the dog house torn down (thanks to my wife for helping me remove the hood!) and did a quick fit check of the radiator support to see how much room I am working with for a cooling package/fan before I hit the engine. On my Land Rover, it's 6" from face of radiator core to the fan hub. Tight like a tiger. On the J truck, it's going to be between 10-12" which is awesome!

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  • Sanders
    replied
    Originally posted by Nick Ball OZ View Post
    Looking Good Steve. I like the fact you have used RHS to upgrade the floor not just replace the tin.
    Thank you! Definitely feels sturdy to have seats not reliant on sheet metal for mounting! Hoping to tackle the shifters and or dog house this weekend. Need to mount accelerator pedal and adapt my brake booster and clutch master linkages to original pedals.

    Waiting on my two front body mounts to arrive to finish the fab work on the radiator support. Once I have that all located, I can measure to see if another idea for a cooling package I have will work.

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  • Nick Ball OZ
    replied
    Looking Good Steve. I like the fact you have used RHS to upgrade the floor not just replace the tin.

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  • Sanders
    replied
    With the cab back on the frame and bolted down, next step in finishing the floor of the cab is to build the sub framework for the GM seats. Given the seatbelts are integrated into the seats, I wanted to make sure they were secured into more than just floor pans.

    I loosely installed the dash and steering column so that I could center the driver's seat. Using 1x2" tubing, I built a frame and welded it to the 2x3 floor channels. I arched over the rear driveshaft to connect the driver and passenger seat structure and will potentially add another cross channel behind that of 2x3 aligned with the B pillar.

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    I'll upload pics once I have the seats out again but to secure the seats to the substructure, I drilled holes and dropped in 7/16" flange nuts welding them in place.

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    This is a very exciting milestone recharging me a bit. I can sit in my truck and pretend I'm driving! While i have the interior bits in place, I'm going to go ahead and modify the transmission shifter and ATLAS twin-sticks.
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  • Sanders
    replied
    Oh hey there! Sorry it's been a while. Crazy times with end of year and holidays but been been getting a few hours in here and there when I can. The floor structure of the cab was definitely the most daunting for a one man show in tight quarters given the amount of times I was going to have to remove the cab and set it on it's back and then back on the chassis etc. My cherry picker has paid itself off several times on this job (and it was only about $50 from Craigslist 10 years ago!).

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    Once I had the 2x3" tubing channels welded in and the center section of the inner rockers repaired, it was time to weld in a temporary cross piece for stability and cut the rest of the flooring out that I wouldn't be reusing. I needed to reshape the tunnel to clear the new bucket seats and the new driveline is driver's side drop so the tunnel could be slimmed down to give the passenger more floor space. I left a small section of the original floor channel on the firewall since it wasn't going to be in the way and could keep some stability. I had to collapse the bottom of it to clear the JK frame where the frame starts to go upward for front axle clearance.

    Now that I have floor channels that align with the JK body mounts, I positioned the cab on the JK frame and measured about 50 times from 6 key points to make sure it was exactly where I wanted it to end up. I marked through the JK body mounts onto the new channels, removed the cab and set it on it's back AGAIN and drilled the 4 body mount holes all the way through the channels. I opened up the holes on the interior side of the channel with a stepper bit large enough to drop a 1/2" thread coupling nut into the tubing. I set the cab back on the frame and threaded bolts through the JK mounts to locate and secure the coupling nuts while I welded them from the top. Now to remove the cab, I was able to remove the body mount bolts and screw in 1/2" thread eye bolts into the top of the coupling nuts for MUCH easier lifting.

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    Cab back on it's back so I could finish weld the coupling nuts on the bottom and then cab back onto the chassis and bolted into place - firmly!! I know it'll come back off several times but feels good to have it secured to the frame. I'm very happy with the end result of going this route. Will always be easy to thread the eye bolts into the floor if I need to remove cab with cherry picker or if I have a 2-post lift one day I can now lift the cab from the channels underneath.

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