Well in case there is still anybody following along I have just posted Days 14 15 & 16 of my Link Build.
You can see it HERE
Or, for this one time you can read it here.
For those of you that have not been clicking on the link to the blog, here is a taste of what you are missing out on...
"Sixteen days to turn a perfectly good truck into a pile of scrap and then back into a working truck again seems like a pretty good task when you think of it that way doesn't it."
"My truck is drivable again! Granted it would be laying frame like a mini-truck, it would probably grenade the u-joint pretty quick as it's the wrong one, it would burn up the rear end since there is no oil in it, and probably wouldn't get real far with out the fuel system, but still it's drivable!"
Day 14, 15 & 16
You know, in all my months of planning this project I never dreamed that it would take this long to complete. To be fair though I never actually dreamed that it would be coming out this nice either, I mean after all I am just some guy on a tight budget in his backyard working on it on nights and weekends, I am by no means a professional fabricator nor do I claim to be.
It was business as usual Friday night. On Thursday night I had gotten the lower link mounts on the axle all lined up and tack welded into place. With this done I was able to remove the axle housing from under the truck and finish welding on the lower link mounts. Going back to my statement above of never dreaming it would take this long; welding the lower link mounts was all I got done on Friday night. It took over 2 hours just to weld these parts on. Turns out there is a lot more weld surface area than meats the eyes on these bad boys. With the mounts still warm and a heavy coat of gloss black enamel on them I called it a night.
The plan for Saturday was to wake up extra early so I could get a full day in before having to call it quits to be part of a wedding exercise for a friend of mine. Yea, that almost didn't happen. I was woken up by my good friend Brian who had shown up at 8:30, four hours before I was expecting him. But this was a good thing and with a second set of skillful hands we were able to dive right in. We began by pulling all of the links and bracketry off of the frame again so that I could weld the plating to the frame. While I was welding the plates Brian set off on assembling the rear axle. The rear axle which is a Ford 9" out of a Ranchero received a Strange Nodular 3rd member with 4.56 Sierra Gears from West Coast Differentials (www.differentials.com
) and a 35 spline Detroit Locker (www.detroitlocker.com
). To get the power to the wheels we loaded it up with 35 spline axle shafts from Currie Enterprises (www.currieenterprises.com
). And to help stop the truck a set of 11" disk brakes from a 2001 Ford Explorer were bolted to the housing.
With the axle complete and the plates welded it was almost time to start assembling it for the final time. But before we could do this there was one more gusset that I wanted to add. Brian cut me up a piece of 1 3/4" DOM tubing to fit to the front of the upper link mounts. This gusset welds to the link mount and the frame in an effort to help keep the mount from trying to rip out of the frame. Now we could begin assembly. We bolted everything together with brand new grade 8 bolts washers and 'top-lock' lock nuts all smothered in red Loctite. The upper links went in simply but before the lowers could go in we needed to weld a strap across the bushing to help it resist ripping off the arm and drill and tap it for a grease zirk because the last thing I need is another squeaky component. A couple hours later we had it all bolted up for the final time (hopefully) and cycling. We called it a night at 9 o'clock, 12 hours after we had started, and in time for me to make my other commitment.
Sunday didn't see any work on the truck as I had to work. Before you say how much that sucks that I had to work on a Sunday, don't, I was at the CORR Race shooting it for this website. When I got home I took a couple hours and cleaned. I cleaned the work area, cleaned off the truck, cleaned up the tools, cleaned up the work bench, organized some parts (and found some missing ones) and basicly just got things ready for the work ahead of me this week as I build the bedcage, shock mounts, tire mounts, wire, and plumb the truck in an effort to at least finish this part on time.
1. We applied a small amount of assembly lube to the axle spines before installing them
2. Here you see the backing plate with new parking brake shoes on it ready for assembly
3. Shot from the rear of the truck
4. Side shot of the truck
5. Here you see the driver side lower link mount and frame plating
6. Here is a view of the front of the axle
7. Here is the passenger upper link mount
8. And here is the driver upper link mount
As always, your comments are welcome!