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Thread: SynergyXJ Re-Build

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    Default Re: SynergyXJ Re-Build



    Thanks guys!

    @Paul and NativeTaco - I'm glad you guys asked about the tires - I strongly dislike them! I too have heard good things about Coopers, but that must be "good for on road longevity" or something as these tires are awful in snow and mud. No problems on rock or road. They are the Cooper Discoverer S/T MAXX (I don't see an "M/T", maybe that's what I'm missing). The 33x12.50 Hercules Trail Diggers I had before were way better and I'd go back if I could.

    I'm thinking about getting a tire groover and going to town on it. Or try the angle grinder chain saw thing, which sounds unsafe. And on the safety note:

    @dieseldoc - I like to think that I run a pretty safe shop If nothing else, I am a PPE enthusiast with my eyes, ears and lungs covered most of the time. Plus I haven't welded drunk in years! There were a few years after college that I drank a lot and welded scrap metal sculptures:



    more: http://evanbeloni.com/art/


    I'll be done pretty soon and we'll go run some trails! I'm itching to get out and somewhat regretting starting this project when I did. Whatever, I'll finish it soon and just keep it to weekday projects for the rest of the summer.

    Still to do: Remove gas tank to weld rear cage tie-ins. Weld up back area cage, spare tire mount and rear bumper (w/tail lights). Install gas tank. Wire lights. Go wheeling. I do need to attend to the front axle soon, but hopefully that will be a weekday project.
    ___________
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    2000 XJ Chop Top Sport & 1992 XJ Backup Rig

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    Default Re: SynergyXJ Re-Build



    Good work going on for sure.
    how is the welding with the thin body material?

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    @dieseldoc - The thin material hasn't been too bad on the new Miller machine, but I'm still doing a lot of pulsing in areas to minimize the burn-through.

    A Massive Roadblock


    ...has been hit and is stopping me from doing what I want. When I got this Jeep in 2003, I was big into car audio and covered the entire interior with sound dampener, an off brand version of Dynamat. This material is basically asphalt lined aluminum foil and when it gets hot, the tar melts and oozes out onto everything in the rig. It's been causing issues for years and I've tried getting it off with heat, scrapers, acetone, underbody remover, etc., I just can not get this stuff off. With it stuck on every piece of metal in the rig, my metal fab tasks are seriously restricted. I'm tired of dealing with this high school era mistake and ready to just buy a new rig and never put asphalt in it.

    Anyway, as far as this build, I'm coming to a stopping point based in frustration. I'm finishing out the chop and rear cage, but I think that's it. Getting on XJ shopping sometime this summer.


    added: Furthermore, I attribute this asphalt for weighing down my truck. The rig weighed in at 4,450 lbs which is over 1,000 lbs above stock curb weight! Summing the oversized tires, winch and additional steel, I still have several hundred pounds unaccounted for. I bet it has to do with the 1/8" layer of asphalt lining the rig plus gallons of truck bed liner and latex paint trying to cover it up. So, yeah, I should start over fresh. The sound dampener did work great for damping sound though!

    Plus, if I buy a new XJ then I'll have a backup and won't miss trail rides because my Jeep is still ripped apart again.

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    Default Re: SynergyXJ Re-Build



    Cage-to-Frame Tie-Ins

    Attempting to work around the asphalt situation, I continue work on the cage, which has been partially designed and built.


    Cage Tie-Ins: Again I'm working around this asphalt, so I'm basically bolting a 3/16" plate through the body panel and around the frame to a mating length of 3/16" angle that is welded to the sub frame. See below:


    ...attached to...




    Ya'll remember that melting tar from the asphalt that I mentioned? I thought would get nice clean welds to the un-damped sub-frame, but no. Here it is showing it's nastyness again:

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    Default Re: SynergyXJ Re-Build



    oh that looks like a nasty mess, good luck. Have you tried fire? If it is that oily it should burn, and the residue might grind off better. Watch out for dripping running fire balls though. I had wanted to chop my XJ like that originally, I really like the way they look chopped. I don't recall if I said so before but I really like the unique way you have painted suspension components. Look forward to seeing more.
    ___________
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    Default Re: SynergyXJ Re-Build



    Ive been out of town for only a week and look what you have done Evan, Nice Work I like it


    Plus, if I buy a new XJ then I'll have a backup and won't miss trail rides because my Jeep is still ripped apart again.[/QUOTE]
    I'm LMOA over this as I heard the same voice's in my head in Dec and bought another 87-XJ as a back up as not to miss the 2015 wheeling season with my current rig.

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    Default Re: SynergyXJ Re-Build



    that sucks. you could take the doors off to cut weight...
    ___________
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    "I'm the worst person I know. My merit was to control my faults." -Helio Gracie

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    Default Re: SynergyXJ Re-Build



    @xaza - Thanks, man. I haven't directly tried fire, but when I was plasma cutting it burnt big time. I bet you're right that fire would work, but I don't want to deal with a huge petrochemical fire inside my jeep.

    @EKXJ87 - Awesome! Have you started building the new rig yet?

    @Paul - haha, right...

    Tail Light Boxes and Cage Progress

    I made some new beefy light boxes with sheet steel. Way better than the plastic stock lights. LED trailer lights that will go in these. I also made a fifth wheel! Well, it's a spare tire mount but that's kind of like a fifth wheel, too.





    I found a HFT pipe bender on Craigslist and got to bending. The main surround is 2" OD, 0.120 wall that I cut and welded. All the other tubing pictured is 1.5" OD, 0.120 wall that I bent. The angle iron based spare mount is a lot of wasteful steel, but the asphalt situation got in the way again (from doing things completely differently back there). Yes, the rear cross supports are off center. That is intentional and will make sense when I'm done.





    Alright, enough forum bs, I'm going back to the garage!

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    Default Re: SynergyXJ Re-Build



    Looking good man. Leaves lots of room for gear.....
    so is your solar panel still going to fit on this thing??

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    Default Re: SynergyXJ Re-Build



    First off, I donít know if I have said this yet, but GREAT build! Love the DIY and you are making some serious progress on a project that even some professionals wonít do. My hatís off to you sir.


    So are you planning on ever having to use the rear tubing structure as a safety device, or is it just for looks and helping to secure tools, etc? If you are wanting to use it as a safety device, may I offer a couple tips? If your answer is ďnoĒ, then please skip over the rest of this.

    Please donít be offended by anything I write here. Normally I would just skip over certain threads and keep my mouth shut. Especially since I own a fab shop, and people like to take things out of context, so usually not being very vocal can be a good thing. But this forum is a tight knit community within the larger Ďwheeling and off road scene. So I thought I should take the time to try and help pass along whatever knowledge I may have. I would hate to see someone from here get hurt or damage their vehicle, just because I didnít want to take the time to speak up. You donít have to agree with it or even listen to any of it. But I feel I must say something.

    1) While I am always for finding a deal on tooling and equipment, I would shy away from the HFT pipe bender for any tube work you want to do. There are a couple issues with them that make them less than ideal. They are designed for bender pipe and not tube. It is not a mandrel bender or even offer mandrel dies. So the pipe/tube will actually kink and distort at each bend, yes even with the tube completely packed full of sand, creating a weak area instead of holding its shape and strength like a true mandrel bend. You may want to check out some lower priced mandrel tubing benders instead. Like one from Low Buck Tools, or even build your own around a popular die manufacturer die set. There are plenty of plans out there on the Ďol interwebs if you decide to go that route.

    2) I noticed that there are sections of the round tubing that are butt welded together. Are they just butt welded together? Or do they have well fitted inner sleeves in them that span between each section? When building cages and roll bars, mandrel bends are usually going to be stronger than a butt welded joint. But if a well fitted sleeve is used, that section of tubing can actually be stronger than the rest. This could be good or bad, depending on each different circumstance.

    3) The less bends, the stronger the structure. While I am all for adding a little flair to my work, straight runs of tubing will always be stronger than a preformed tube in the same spot. Unless extra gusseting and/or tube work is used in conjunction. But over building or more structure is not always a good thing. It adds more weight which will cause more stresses. And then you need to design around those as well. It also adds more heat into the metalwork, which is not a good thing either.

    4) Looks like you are welding this all directly to the body. If you havenít, you may consider adding in some bolts that connect the base plates through the body to some other shear plates. When welding directly to the body, often you are only able to weld the top layer of sheet metal to the tube work. This could lead to early fatigue in the weld joint and cause tearing when things flex. But when you bolt through the body in a couple different places, it will pinch all the different layers of sheet metal together. Creating a nice, sturdy anchor point that transfers all the stress loads out more evenly.

    I honestly hope that this helps. Not trying to step on your toes. I think you have done a good job thus far. Keep up the good work. And if you ever want to ask advice, feel free to ask on here or even PM me or call the shop. Worst I am going to say is, sorry, I am too busy at the moment to chat.


  12. The Following 2 Members Say Thanks to Brucker For This Post:

    88Toy (June 14th, 2015),SynergyXJ (June 11th, 2015)

  13. #51
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    Default Re: SynergyXJ Re-Build



    Aaron- all very good points you bring up.
    I belive Even has some pics showing plate and bolts for his cage work.
    I totaly agree with you on the bender issue. kinked tude will fail not a question of if its totaly a when. Thus why I realy want a JD2 model 2 with a 5.5x180*
    the next point about gussets....these are so important to be placed right. Most folks put them right in the high point of the tube joint, so knife edged in the center....wrong! these should be on the outer edge laying on the joint thus spreading the load vs. creating a pinch point when loaded from a roll.
    Spliced joint as well are most folks failing spot as they just but things and weld, sleeves are so important sleeve them and do weld them in place drill holes in your tubes before sleeving so they will stay put. leave a gap at the joint the sixe of your wire is a good guide. this lets your weld penitrat the sleeve and the tubes you are butting together.

    I think Even has done some good work here.

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    Nice work Evan! Glad to see your continuing on as with all builds you sometimes just have to step back drink a craftbeer/oreos and take a break if fab work was easy everyone would be doing it. I dig that you keep the rear wiper and now will have to wait for why the bars are off set.

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    To clear the wiper?? Maybe

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    @Brucker - By all means, Aaron, I'm always accepting advice from people with more or different experience(s) than myself, thank you. I have considered some of this:

    0) The cage is somewhat a structural safety device, but it is more of a practice run than anything. I've had this rig for 12 years and haven't rolled it and I don't plan on it. On second thought, when I build out a new rig and this is the backup, I may intentionally roll it for the experience and a test. This truck is now a trail technology experiment (guinea rig) and a splatter paint canvas.

    1) You're totally right about the mandrel style bender versus the pipe bender kinking. I've bent on a mandrel based machine and it worked much better than this and now that you mention it, it's pretty obvious why my tubes kinked easily. That's why those big back tubes are bent in like 5 places - because I couldn't go farther without kinking. I do know the sand trick but I didn't feel like messing with sand. And realistically, if it kinks at 10 or 15į, sand isn't going to help that much. A mandrel bender is in order, thanks for reminding me.

    2) The butt welds are not sleeved. That is a technique I have used before but did not implement for this. I'll keep that in mind for my next cage.

    3) Straight tubes are definitely better, but just doesn't work sometimes. On those back rounds, I simply could not get a straight tube to touch the top of the cage and the rear tie points. Overall though, I feel good about those tubes once they're interconnected how I have it visualized. If I rolled it right now, those big tubes would fold in and pull the main support right over resulting in more frame damage than before. On the note of visualizing, I am good at visualizing (like a mental Finite Element Analysis) stresses from loads and how they disperse (and fluid mechanics & heat transfer, too). I'll thank engineering school homework and years of CFD/FEA work for that. I do like the idea of actually running structural FEA on my next rig's cage design, that way I can really put metal only where it's needed and keep it much lighter. Play with tube positions & angles and vary OD's and thicknesses, etc... That will be an awesome cage. I'm also going to use aluminum for accessory mounts, like the spare, next time. I'm feeling pretty comfortable in the aluminum welding learning curve.

    4) The cage is tied in through the sheet metal to the frame, as dieseldoc pointed out (see post #44). In retrospect, I should have used longer sections for the lower angle irons, but whatever.


    @dieseldoc -
    -The solar panel is going back on, that's part of the reason for the off-center rear supports.
    -I totally agree with both of you guys on the bender situation. You let me know when you get that JD2
    -For the gussets, are you talking about this:

    Where the method on the right is what you recommend, right? Probably a little easier for fitment (more slop tolerance) and it allows putting one on each side, perhaps of a thinner gauge. Overall, I like that design! Easier to fab and stronger? Double win. I am planning on gusseting whenever I fab the front end of the cage. At this point, it's not roll safe anyway so gussets won't do much.


    @EKXJ87 - Thanks man! I love fab work, so I'm not stressing myself out too much. Plus I have real work I'm trying to fit in, so inherent breaks. The tubes are offset for the solar panel, nothing too exciting. The panel goes right to the centerline of the roof, so the cage beam that will cross over the roof will be offset a few inches, so the vertical supports are slightly shifted to target their added support near the off-center center tube.

    Thanks for the input guys!

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    Default Re: SynergyXJ Re-Build



    Evan- yes the guset on the right side of your drawing is what I was meaning.
    NASCAR tested the guset placement issue a few years back and has mandated that they be in that location. They found huge changes in strength. And huge damage difference.

    I will for sure let you know when I get the bender. Steve will let you use his as well.

    Now you get that thing trail ready so we can go play....

    Side note for you- after a big hike and some ?? Of clubs and other off roaders the section of hackett we have tryed is jeep trail, but none realy run it as the gountlet is set.
    I think some stretch and lift is due for me for sure!

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    @dieseldoc - That gusset design makes so much sense. What I've envisioned is rooted in what I've seen in existing cages, so I defaulted to the inner gusset. However, the outside gusset is obviously superior and I have used it in previous, unrelated designs for that reason. Look at gusset plates on bridges and other structural applications, they're all fastened to the outside of the I-beams (which also just works well with the geometry of I-beams). Thanks for the reminder. I'm absolutely going outside. Complacency kills.


    The rig is ready to go! the guinea rig...
    I'm totally not done, but I'm done with the big stuff, I think I can finish the rest as "weekday projects". The gas tank is back in, so there's that.



    See that WRX in the background? That's the dd

    So yeah, the cage is gold. The top half is lime green, the bottom is orange and I spilled a bunch of black paint in other places. I'm not sure why I make the color decisions that I do. Apparently, I am a tetrachromat, so I definitely do comprehend the colors I'm using. Here are some more colors:



    I was going to just test out the "Key Lime Green" and "Orange" scheme, then I got carried away and started throwing some paint.

    I need to make a truck box to cover the air compressor. I duck taped a trash bag over it for the moment. I have some 16ga AL treadplate I plan to shear up and rivet in.




    The interior is ripped apart and the wires are a freaking mess, as moving the rear hatch up results in a nest of stock wires. Some need to be extended, but most are way longer than they need to be. Imagine the rear wiper power that goes half way around the rear window perimeter, through a gasket to the hatch seal by the roof, off the roof and down the D pillar and over the wheel well. Now the wiper is right next to the wheel well and there's 8 feet of wire tangling with other examples of this mess. Machines with messy wiring drive me nuts, so I'll most likely rip it all out and re-organize/re-wire it.


    Summary of today's post is that I am ready to hit the trails!
    Seriously, next weekend, let's go run something. Or next week, whenever. ASAP.

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    Default Re: SynergyXJ Re-Build



    Oh by the way...

    "It's my birthday, I can weld something crazy if I want to."
    (since the Jeep is out of the garage...)

    Instagram: @evanbeloni
    (Celebrating tomorrow...)

    F that HFT pipe bender in the background...

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    Happy Birthdat to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Evan, Happy Birthday to you!!! Hope you have a great day. Therese.

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    Looks good for sure.
    glad you got it done.
    I will let you know how the week goes if we can feed the jeep to go play this weekend we should go play on some of the now open trails.

    Happy birthday man. Enjoy and have fun.

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    Thanks Therese

    "Something Crazy" completed. It's a duckbilled succulent planter, or something.

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