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fabricating a lift: day 1 pictures


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28 replies to this topic

#1 diluded000

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Posted 06 December 2004 - 12:30 PM

Here are some pix and a write-up of the work in progress of doing a 2/3" lift on my '85 DL pushbutton 4WD wagon. I have read nothing but good things about the lifts for sale through this forum, and still think that is a safer and practical way to go. But with that said, this is how I am doing it myself.

To quote the guy drilling a hole in his own head in the fine cinematic masterpiece Frankenhooker, "the hole is already drilled." This referring to the rims I ran on my Nissan last winter, and now have mounted up on the car. Here is a before picture with the 27" rims, which rub pretty bad - even after much fender bashing.


Posted Image

The first night working on this involved spending about an hour pulling one each of the unique bolts from each part that gets lifted with a block. Here is breakdown of the 1.25 thread pitch bolts needed:

anti-sway (4) M10 x 80 mm
rear torsion bar mount (4) M10 x 80 mm
forward torsion bar mount (4) M10 x 90 mm
forward torsion bar bushing (4) M12 x 150 mm
gearbox plate? (4) M8 x 100 mm
transmission x-member (4) M12 x 110 mm
transmission x-member bushing (2) M12 x 140 mm
engine x-member (4) 3/8" x 7" with nuts
strut top (6) 3/8" x 1" carriage bolts

The longer versions of the 12 mm bolts weren't available locally, so the four bolts that go through bushings will be replaced with 1/2" x 5 1/2" and 1/2" x 6" bolts, and the thread tapped to accomodate.

The fabrication starts with making new engine crossmember bolts. The existing bolts are pressed into a plate. After supporting the crossmember and transmission with jacks, the existing bolts are pulled and knocked out of the plate. The seven-inch replacements get dropped into the holes and welded in place, as shown here:

Posted Image

Next the first set of lift blocks are fabricated. This part was actually pretty easy. Using 2" round aluminum stock, four three-inch pieces are cut using a carbide tipped sawblade in a woodworking chopsaw. Since I suck at drilling a straight hole in long objects in the drill press, the hole is drilled with the lathe. The blocks get chucked in the lathe, and a 3/8" drill bit is chucked in a fixed Jacobs chuck. This was my first time making a hole like this, but it worked out pretty well. Just be sure the swarf doesn't clog flutes on the drill bits. Here is an action shot of this process:

Posted Image


With jacks on the engine and tranny crossmember, all of the bolts holding the crossmembers and the plate under the transmission get removed. To lift the body off the crossmembers a 2x4 was used across the front tie-downs with a jack underneath. After the body is up high enough, jack stands go directly under each tie-down. With the wheels removed, the gap between the body and the engine crossmember is accessable. The bolt-bracket gets dropped throught the body holes, and then through the blocks, and then through the cross member. Using a long pry bar helps get things aligned. Here is a photo of the lift blocks set in place:

Posted Image

So this is where I am right now. How long did all this take? I spent a couple of hours searching for bolts, and about an hour removing bolts. The welding, cutting, and drilling only took about an hour. By far I spent the most time (several hours) trying to figgure out how jack things up, and fighting rusted bolts. At this point the body is lifted up off the crossmembers, so the next part of the process will be fabricating more lift blocks, and trying to design an adjustable strut tower spacer.

- James B

#2 Sweet82

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Posted 06 December 2004 - 12:47 PM

Archive!

This is great info!
Step by step instructions with pics.

Keep us updated with details! :D

Looks Great!
Glenn
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#3 baccaruda

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Posted 06 December 2004 - 12:52 PM

that piece is usually made with 1 block for all 3 bolt holes.. i'd wonder if that would be a better way to go regarding flex issues?
i'm all for D-I-Y though. good luck.

#4 ezapar

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Posted 06 December 2004 - 12:56 PM

I'll definitely add a link to this in the FAQ up top. Thanks for the write-up and photos.

#5 diluded000

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Posted 06 December 2004 - 01:01 PM

that piece is usually made with 1 block for all 3 bolt holes.. i'd wonder if that would be a better way to go regarding flex issues?
i'm all for D-I-Y though. good luck.


Yeah, I thought about that. If I have some steel plate left over after the strut tops I might tap some holes in the round lift blocks bolt the steel across the round bars to make it act more like a single rigid body. I got about 12" of 2"x3" aluminum stock, so if I have enough left over after the other work I might try to replace this with a single piece.

- James B

#6 spanky_pete

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Posted 06 December 2004 - 01:45 PM

Looking good so far. Thanks for posting all the details, it'll be nice to see the work as it progresses. :D

#7 ezapar

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Posted 06 December 2004 - 01:45 PM

Yeah, I thought about that. If I have some steel plate left over after the strut tops I might tap some holes in the round lift blocks bolt the steel across the round bars to make it act more like a single rigid body. I got about 12" of 2"x3" aluminum stock, so if I have enough left over after the other work I might try to replace this with a single piece.

- James B


Something like this. . .

#8 Numbchux

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Posted 06 December 2004 - 04:08 PM

Wow! great write-up!

#9 chef_tim

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Posted 06 December 2004 - 04:39 PM

Must really suck to have a lathe.........:lol: . Looking good!!! Tim

#10 singletrack

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Posted 06 December 2004 - 04:42 PM

Woohooo! More lifted wagons in CO!:banana:

Dude, you NEED a d/r tranny.

#11 diluded000

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Posted 06 December 2004 - 06:06 PM

Woohooo! More lifted wagons in CO!:banana:

Dude, you NEED a d/r tranny.


Hook me up man. I really want to get a d/r, but I need to get it back where I can drive it to work before it snows again. The next projects are a new muffler, tube bumpers, roof rack, stereo, and seats. Then I will start looking at why it drips oil and putting in a d/r. But I guess if I could get a stereo in there first, the muffler wouldn't matter as much. :headbang:

- James B

#12 DrKrazy

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Posted 06 December 2004 - 07:20 PM

Wow! Nice job man! D/R Tranny..np tons of them around here in the JY's. Stereo? NP again got a few extras sitting around here too..
Problem is letting the secret out that you have the equipment and know how to do that stuff right here in state..release the hounds! Just kidding..but seriously nice work and keep it going.

#13 singletrack

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Posted 06 December 2004 - 07:48 PM

Problem is letting the secret out that you have the equipment and know how to do that stuff right here in state..release the hounds!

Yeah anyway... Yer gonna make tube bumpers, huh?:brow:

I do actaully have an extra d/r.... but I think its spoken for.

#14 Wasteland

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 12:29 AM

Hey, No touchy my tranny!:grin:

#15 diluded000

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 11:05 AM

Yeah anyway... Yer gonna make tube bumpers, huh?:brow:

I do actaully have an extra d/r.... but I think its spoken for.


Santa is bringing me a 12-ton tubing bender for Christmas. Well actually Santa couldn't lift it in her car, so I went down to Harbor Freight and bought it, but I won't unbox it until Christmas, anyway. With a forced vacation coming up the week of the holidays, and a new tubing bender, I can see new bumpers in my future. I'm just wondering how to integrate the turn signals so they stay dry, protected, and visible.

But before all that, my car is still in pieces all over the garage floor. I got blocks under both sides of the engine crossmember now, and re-tapped 1/2" holes for the tranny bushing bolts after work last night. Hopefully I can get blocks fabricated and bolted under the transmission crossmembers tonight, and pull the struts to start thinking about how to do the tops of those.

And I won't run off with anybody's d/r. That is months away.

- James B

#16 diluded000

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 11:19 AM

Wow! Nice job man! D/R Tranny..np tons of them around here in the JY's. Stereo? NP again got a few extras sitting around here too..
Problem is letting the secret out that you have the equipment and know how to do that stuff right here in state..release the hounds! Just kidding..but seriously nice work and keep it going.


I am pretty happy with my shop setup, but I would call it learning-how rather than know-how. :D Furniture making is my other hobby - this metal work is new, but I like how metal doesn't change dimensions with humidity, or split, and how you don't have to wait for a weld to dry like glue. As for a stereo, I'm really holding out for a JVC that will play MP3s right off the CD, and some decent speakers. The factory stereo still works, and I use an MP3 player with an FM transmitter, but it is really weak as I can still hear my valves knocking and the non-existent muffler connection. I'll have to get a recommendation for a JY when I go to put in a d/r.

- James B

#17 MorganM

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Posted 04 February 2005 - 11:08 AM

Soooooooooooooooo............. how did day TWO go ? :brow:

#18 Sweet82

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Posted 04 February 2005 - 12:26 PM

And how did the Harbor Freight Tube bender work?

I was looking at one of those too, when I was building the Buggy.

Inquiring minds want to know!
Glenn,
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#19 diluded000

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Posted 04 February 2005 - 01:07 PM

About day 2 and the lift.

Well day 2 turned into more like two weeks, but I did get it finished and back on the road. I took lots of pix of the process and plan to update the original message so that it covers the whole thing start-to-finish. I need to get my home network finished up, and I will get all that online. I try to write things up like an engineering document and want to do a good job with it, so I need to find an hour or two to sit down and do it right.

The tubing bender is a great value, and does what I expected. I tried to bend some exhaust pipe, and it just crushes it, though I hear filling the pipe with sand and capping the ends will fix this. It distorted the schedule-40 pipe I used for fabricating a bumper a little bit, but it is still really good to have around. The seven stiches in my thumb are pretty much healed up now, so I am going to be getting back out into the shop for a back bumper, and some oil-pan protection. Welding is indeed adictive, and I can't wait to make more stuff.

- James B

#20 Qman

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Posted 04 February 2005 - 04:31 PM

Schedule 40 pipe works real well if you heat the bends as you go. It allows the metal to stretch without buckling(for the most part). Just a little FYI.

#21 LPGsuperchargedBrumby

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Posted 08 February 2005 - 12:32 AM

Schedule 40 pipe works real well if you heat the bends as you go. It allows the metal to stretch without buckling(for the most part). Just a little FYI.


if your bender is causeing the pipe to ripple on the inside of the bend then the die your using is too tight a radiace for the tensile strength of the pipe your using, most bender dies are still set up for the 'old school' pipe that was alot softer than the modern steel

if you ever get the notion to bend aluminium tube, smear where you want to bend it with new engine oil then burn it off with a gas torch or heat gun until the oil just dissapears as this is takes the annealing out of the alloy and makes it really soft and it bends without rippling.........hows that for some useless info!!!!!!!!!!!:grin:

#22 MorganM

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Posted 08 February 2005 - 11:56 AM

if your bender is causeing the pipe to ripple on the inside of the bend then the die your using is too tight a radiace for the tensile strength of the pipe your using, most bender dies are still set up for the 'old school' pipe that was alot softer than the modern steel

if you ever get the notion to bend aluminium tube, smear where you want to bend it with new engine oil then burn it off with a gas torch or heat gun until the oil just dissapears as this is takes the annealing out of the alloy and makes it really soft and it bends without rippling.........hows that for some useless info!!!!!!!!!!!:grin:


This is some great info.

So is the aluminum alloy now permanatly weakend from that oil burning procedure?

#23 archemitis

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Posted 09 February 2005 - 01:57 PM

shouldnt those realy long bolts for the engine xmember be 7/16 instead of 3/8?
3/8s is smaller than an m12, and the 7/16 is just about the same size.

#24 gunslinger

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Posted 10 February 2005 - 10:43 PM

looks great!!! i love home fab stuff. i would think of making the engine crossmember blocks out of one piece of "C" stock or square stock though to resist flexing or whatnot.

throw a completed write up on the tech page. everyone would love to read it.

#25 diluded000

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 11:10 AM

I may have used different bolts than I listed in the original parts, but I think the engine cross-member bolts are indeed 3/8" through a couple of round spacers. Pretty much used what I had on hand at the time or could get locally after work. When I get some other projects finished, I might go back and put an aluminum block in there with three 1/2" grade-5 mounting bolts on each side, rather than two. If I was hitting deep washboard on curves every day I would worry about it more, but most of the miles are on scraped ice and snow covered pavement so these spacers don't see much action in the side-to-side axis.


- James B




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