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  #1  
Old 07-06-2008
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Safari Pacific MX2 Buildip

With the first set of mods already completed, I'm going to jump right into my second phase of modifications. The main goal of the second round is to prepare for a much larger adventure that I'm currently planning. To drive around the world.

First things first, removing the old camper shell. It served its function well, but its time to move on. I've crawled through the cab into the camper one to many times and have broken a few interior parts while climbing through. With a few big trips now under my belt I can see new ways to make things much easier as well, especially in gear storage. Attached are two photos. One is the last shot of the camper in use. The second is the rough concept for the new cage to fit on the bed. The new "cage" concept, for lack of better words, will have a low profile and will contain many storage compartments.



To solve my problem of crawling through windows I'm going to toss on an Eezi-Awn tent, but not in an ordinary fashion. The tent will be mounted on sliders level with the truck's bed inside the cage. When I'm ready to camp I can slide out the tent. Once pulled out on the passenger side, the tent will unfold as usual. My idea is to keep the tent lower to the ground while maximizing space above the tent when stashed away.

Storage areas will consist of:
- An upper rack, over the Eezi-Awn,
- Large enclosed box for tools and parts just behind the cab
- Rolling storage boxes under the "cage" accessible from the tailgait

Another idea I'm playing around with is to have a canvas cover made to hide everything inside.

More to come as I plan and start building.... All comments/critiques welcome :)


I started the most difficult part of the modifications this monday. Adding 2 feet onto the rear of the cab and building a small inner cage. I'll post photos as I start to tear into it. The extra 2 feet will contain a future closet and pantry. The exact design is not worked out yet. I'll figure that out once the cab and cage is mostly completed.

Should be fun cutting apart the cab....right? I'm a little nervous, so wish me luck...

This is what it should look like when completed........

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Old 07-06-2008
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H...e...r...e.... I go... Monday I started chopping up the bed without my body guys. They're a bit busy. Besides, how bad can I mess up.....:D First I pulled the bed of the truck with a forklift. Next came the sticker removal.




Now since I'm adding two feet onto the cab, I will be removing the front portions of the bed for filler material. Easier for keeping the body lines. Leaving 2 inches near the front allows me to keep the original curve around the backside of the bed.




These are the two sections cut from the bed fenders.




Next I drill out all the spot welds holding the boxes' backing and end caps.




Using a dead-blow and chisel I separate the two pieces.

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Old 07-06-2008
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Backing removed.



I use a laser level to determine the exact line to cut over the wheel well and other curves in the bed's box. The lines at the bottom were measured at 48 inches.




Double checking myself and making sure the cut would be accurate near the top.




Now I simply trace the laser line, then repeat on the other side.




The bed is cut to size. In the background you can see the portion removed.

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Old 07-06-2008
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I clean up the edges and start fitting the backing portion to the bed.





Not too shabby if I do say so myself. I'll start welding and bracing in the next few days.
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Old 07-06-2008
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Right, back to work.... After measuring the portions removed to add onto the cab I realize, the wheel well will be 3 inches off. I'll have to scrounge some body parts from a junk yard to complete the cab.

I needed material for welding the backside to the bed, so I used the pieces intended for the cab. I cut two 1 inch strips.



The strips are placed and tack welded inside of the bedsides. This will keep the two exterior pieces closely aligned, resulting in less body filler. Got this tip from my friend.



Strip tacked in place. When I cut the bedsides I didn't cut them completely strait. Around the wheel well there is a small ridge that I wanted to keep. You may see the slight curve near the bottom of the bedside.



After the small strips are tacked in place I start aligning the backside piece.

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Old 07-06-2008
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The seems are welded up completely.




Then ground to a semi-smooth finsh.




I refit the bed onto the chassis to start aligning new bolt holes. There will need to be a new brace build along the front as well.








The entire bed has been done by myself and its my first time doing any bodywork... Now I'm feeling confident enough to attempt the cab.... we'll see what happens...hehe :D
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Old 07-06-2008
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Time to rip into the cab. First I strip down the cabin of all extra electronics and interior parts. I kept the dash in tacked since there will be no alterations planned to that area.






Photo taken before wiring was removed.

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Old 07-06-2008
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With the cab being the most important part of the body modifications, I enlisted the assistance of my friend Marc. Although he's never done any extensive body work like so, he does have tons of experience in the auto body field.

Before the cutting started we worked out a game plan as to where the cuts should be made. We agreed on cutting in three external locations. The first being an inch behind the door jam on the b-pillar. Secondly along the edge of the roof line in the door jam. With keeping the roof curve intact we will make a final cut across the highest point of the roof's curve. The interior structures will be cut along the flattest portions to make extensions as easy as possible.









Suddenly the air pressure dropped. When we went to investigate we found the compressor had simply died. The motor had seized after 3 years of use. Thankfully the most important body pieces were cut, so a sawzall will be used until we can replace the compressor.
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Old 07-06-2008
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The big shop compressor is still out, so progress has been a little slow. On top of that my friend Marc won't be able to give me a hand for the next few weeks, so I'm back on my own. Using a home compressor I slowly finish cutting the inner structures. Cutting for 10 minutes then waiting for the pressure to rebuild. Eventually I finished all my cuts. The next thing to do is drill out the spot welds at the bottom backing and corners.




Underneath I had to use a chisel to break apart the seams connected with seam sealer. At one point I had to use an air chisel along the back panel.




With all the welds and seams dismembered I pull the lower corners back. You can see I'm leaving an overlapping portion. I'm hoping this will make building the extensions much easier.

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Old 07-06-2008
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Before I remove the back chunk I check the structures for strength. Surprising they don't flex much, so no need for braces. Next I need to create a new rear body mount. After that it's to creating a floor, cage and inner structure extensions. Then comes the body work...








Last edited by safaripacific; 07-06-2008 at 05:57 PM.
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  #11  
Old 07-06-2008
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man thats gonna be some serious work but if you do it right it will one of a kind.
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  #12  
Old 07-06-2008
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Wow, great work so far.
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  #13  
Old 07-06-2008
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yes great work . . hope it turns out the way you want it to.
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  #14  
Old 07-06-2008
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Thats sweet! What are your route plans for driving?
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  #15  
Old 07-06-2008
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Cool, do you have it all pimped out with lockers, winches and such.
You should record gas prices as you go around the world.
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  #16  
Old 07-06-2008
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man thats coming along fairly quick, can't wait to see more updates
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  #17  
Old 07-06-2008
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oooooooo
aaaaaaaa


I am digging the build so far! Great job, keep those pictures and write ups coming!!
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  #18  
Old 07-06-2008
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going to be keeping a close eye on this build... are you going to be adding a snorkel or winches etc...? i think it would set the truck off nicly plus it would be functional and more then likly be used. you building this truck to do like what they do with the Land Rover G3 disco's?
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  #19  
Old 07-06-2008
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Amazing work! What size lift and tires do you have on that thing?
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  #20  
Old 07-06-2008
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that is really cool that you are gonna tackle a project so big for your first time doing body work. Good luck.
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  #21  
Old 07-07-2008
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This build is going to be amazing def goign to keep a close eye on it. Keep up the good work.
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  #22  
Old 07-07-2008
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Awesome, I don't know what else to say, just awesome.
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  #23  
Old 07-07-2008
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simply amazing if this comes out how you plan, im going to keep my eye on this build
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  #24  
Old 07-08-2008
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very sweet! been checking your site once a week or so and saw the photoshop and the bed fitting already. looking good!
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  #25  
Old 07-08-2008
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Onto building the new floor. I started with 16 gage flat steel in a four foot square. Measured then cut to size. Since a flat floor wouldn't be to structural, and not to mention would stand out, I use a bead roller to create some creases.




Outer step down, liner grooves and a 90 degree bend to wrap it up. Closeup of the groves.




To reinforce the floor I fab up some C channels from the flat 16 gage steel.




Finished welding up all parts. The upper left junction will be where a new body mount will be.




New floor set in place. Still much more to do.... :)

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