k, Onto some building..
I put the axle on some dollies I had to make it easier to move the axle around
while trying to get things lined up. so I started with finding the caster and
welding the coilbuckets on level. Thought I had a pic of setting caster but apparently I didn't take one. Since I had to replace the upper and lower balljoints on this axle, figured it'd be a great time to measure the caster. I basically took the knuckle off, and used some tapered nuts and some allthread to make a caster tool and used my digital angle finder. I'm not too familiar with rangers but I have always been successful setting caster to 7* + or - 1 on Jeeps. So after some reading I determined to start with 4.5* and can adjust the caster with the adjustable upper control arm later.
Once I had those welded in, it was time to weld in the Lower control arm mounts.
I wanted to keep them fairly high so they to give better clearance under them..
Then I slid the axle back under the truck for test fitting and get an Idea what
the pinion angle was going to look like.. Bad pic here as the angle looks worse
then what it actually is.
With the axle in place, I put a link together to see where to mount the LCA
frame mount. The Ideal place I wanted to put it was outboard on the frame. but
unfortunatly, I couldn't mount them there without loosing too much turning
radius with the tires rubbing on the arms.. that won't pass inspection. IF it
was just a little I would of gone for it and adjusted the bump stops accordingly
to stop the link from rubbing bit it was too much. WOuld of been nice tho,
tucked away and clean. IF it would of been a wider axle I would of done it.
Once I determined the location, I fabbed up a couple frame mounts.
I didn't take a pic, but the stock cross member is still there.. I basically cut
the section that was on the frame and tied these mounts into them. so the mounts
do have lateral support from the inside. there was no real need to fab a new
cross member as the factory one is strong enough and besides, I am going to be
putting in a 302 later and will need a new x-member then(no need to build
something for nothing)..
While I was trying to make up my mind on what to do for an upper mount, I
decided to do the steering. I had done a 1Ton steering upgrade on a XJ JUST
before the Ranger came into the garage and as well as doing quite a few before I
Know it's no easy task tapping about 5" deep in the tube by hand. Basically I
had welded 2 5/8's wrenches together to use as a tap tool.. it actually works
pretty good but gets hard on the hands after a while.. especially after the
taps get a bit dull..
so I opted to upgrade from using that, to getting a bit more grunt! (top is the
before tool.. middle is the starter tool to get the tap straight and the bottom
is the grunt! lol.. as you can see on the taps, I welded 1 1/8" nuts onto them
and now use my 3/4" wrachet drive.. makes life SO much easier.. no more
fighting to keep the tap straight either.
Now, with that done, I mounted the tie rod and draglink to the axle.
Time to get workin on that upper control arm axle mount. So after some hummin
and hawin I wanted to mount the Upper control arm on the passenger side, but the
Rangers have this Gawd aweful exhaust collector Jam goin on over there and it
would be nearly impossible to do so without completly redoing the exhaust.
Thats just too much work and time so I opted to stay away. Maybe after Chris
gets the 302 in, I'll get the truck back for a day to redo the mount on the
passenger side(this would be optimal as it would balance the suspension out a
bit better, but it's not necessary).
Drivers side it is!! Lets build an axle truss..
Drew up a little template from cardboard