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'83 K10 SB "L1TSBFIBBC" build (...Dirt Drags)

76zimmer

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lost my response too, but the OBA is way cool Heath.
 

folkenheath

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Suspension considerations

Thanks again guys.

So for the front suspension I was basically considering 3 different types of suspensions. I knew I was running crossover steering for easier street manners (no full hydraulic), so I wanted to stick with a design that uses a track bar parallel to the draglink to prevent bumpsteer, so I narrowed my choices down to a radius arm, 3 link, or 4 link.

The standard 3 link wouldn’t work because I was not willing to give up my long tube headers for my suspension (I am more into sand, snow, dirt, hills, etc, not rocks) for the upper inner link. So it was either inverted 3 link, or 4 link. The 4 link was not looking that good after a lot of measuring and “gonculating”. Because I would either have to have one arm really short on the top, or have it outside the frame where it would limit turning radius, or have the lower arm stick down further down and catch on things, since I was not willing to weld the arm points to the cast iron on the D60, I did not trust that. Also, on the inverted 3 link, I would need to have the upper outer arms outside the frame and limit turning radius as well, as well as mount the center arm lower and/or shorter to clear the trans adaptor, crossmember. The longer and lower the better, but I did not want to limit my ground clearance any more than the t-case does. I decided for my purposes the radius arms would work very well, let me keep my long tube headers, and let me mount them as to not limit my turning radius, and keep them tucked up under the frame no lower than the factory crossmember. Also, I would build them so if I did need more articulation, I could simply remove one bolt from one of the short uppers and eliminate the articulation bind inherent with radius arms. Also, radius arms give me an almost perfect pinion angle throughout the travel with a CV front driveshaft, as well as reduce the slip travel needed.
 

folkenheath

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Axle disassembly/prep

So in the middle of winter in 2009/2010 I purchased a Dana60 from my Dad, who gave me a pretty darn good deal on a SRW version. That winter we tore the whole thing apart (actually out at the same time, swapped some axles with my brother and Dad’s help) at my brother’s house 15 minutes from my parent’s house in IL. The pieces stayed there until I came back in the spring (May) for my sisters wedding.

In the meantime back in MI in early spring, I had taken a lot of measurements for pinion angle and figure out my suspension design, and had ordered some parts and bought some material locally. 14” FOA remote coilovers, 3” ballistic joints, bushing kits, DOM tubing, heim joints, tube adaptors, etc.
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I also took the time to tear out my tranny crossmember and custom fabricate a crossmember that would also hold my radius arms. I wanted the arms to be as long as logically possible, without reducing my ground clearance or steering angle any more than it already was with my 36” tires and 6” lift leaf springs. I bought material to build the crossmember from scratch, but then I came up with this design, that uses a small portion of the factory crossmember, yet boxes it in, and attaches to some strong square tubing on the ends that I cut to accept the 3” ballistic joints. Each side attaches with 3 bolts on the bottom and 4 bolts on the side of the frame, for a total of fourteen 7/16” bolts. I braced and gusseted it in several places since this is the primary piece that will hole my front axle in. The funny bolt pattern is because I tried to use as many factory frame holes as possible. So I enlarged a couple a little, but only had to actually drill 4 more holes in the frame. I made it all out of 1/4" plate, except the side pieces were 3.5x3.5x1/4 wall square tube with one side cut out, and the boxing of the factory crossmember was with 3/16" plate. I had this built and back on the truck in about a week of playing in my free time. Here is in primer, but it will be easier to understand once it's on the truck.

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folkenheath

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Axle work/prep

So back in IL in May, my father and uncles had already done some work on it by milling out the plug welds to so we could try and rotate the tubes in the center section.

So when I got there we went to my uncles drag chassis shop, after heaving on an 8 ft lever arm, and not even budging the tubes, we quickly decided the best way to do it was cut the weld and rotate the inner Cs. Which wasn’t so easy either. After breaking some 3 jawed pullers and bending some other things and messing around for an hour with only .050” movement, we decided we needed to find a “large” press so we didn’t damage the inner Cs. The drag chassis shop narrows high dollar drag rear axles all the time, but not 1 ton front ends. So my father made some calls and we found a local machine shop in a guys barn that had a 100 ton press that the whole axle would fit in! So after I gouged out the other C weld that night with my plasma, I met the owner at the shop the next morning, and we pressed the inner Cs off. It took 60 tons of force to press the Cs off the tubes, and they made a lot of loud noises when they came loose! Turns out the factory welds made it so even though there was a clean parting line after the welds were removed, the metal galled on the way on and off, so after some careful cleanup and touchup we had the proper press fit to go back on. I took it back to the chassis shop and used a digital protractor and got the knuckles pressed back on where I needed them to rotate the Cs for proper pinion angle and caster. Once I finished that, since I am a novice with a small 220V welder, my cousin at the chassis shop welded the axle tubes, and inner Cs back on properly with their big heavy duty Lincoln MIG welder that probably wouldn’t fit in my engine compartment. The welds look awesome. After that I hauled the axle to MI in pieces, with the proper caster/pinion angle set, and everything ready to continue the progress.
First step in MI was to clean out the inside of the axle and tubes and remove the pinion. I cleaned inside the tubes with a wire wheel on my drill. I used a ½” hollow tube as an extension by slitting the end 90 degrees apart and clamping it on a wire wheel with a hose clamp. Cleaned out inside the tubes. Then sandblasted the axle at a friend’s house.

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Then I primed everything with high zinc primer, and painted with flat black paint. After that I rebuild the axle with all new bearings and seals, and a Detroit locker, keeping the factory 4.10 gears since this is a dual purpose rig. I plugged the ends and that’s the way it stayed throughout most of the build/mockup phase.
 

76zimmer

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Great looking crossmember Heath, I like the conversion of the stocker.
And I guess I won't be rotating my C's anytime soon then....
Great detailed info.
 

folkenheath

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Thanks Zim :), the xmember looks funny upside down on the ground, but as you know (since you saw it) nothing sticks down any further than the stock crossmember did, everything is tucked up under the frame. I have the figure 8 pattern adaptor, and I didn't want to mess with hacking the floor board and remachining the t-case to clock it up, especially without a doubler, since it would increase my front d-shaft angle again with the short front driveshaft.

Also, I thought about the fact that I would have to unbolt that end of my control arms to remove the transmission. But the fact that I had owned the truck for 7 years at that point, and only taken the trans out twice (neither time was necessary, the first time was to swap a working 700R4 to a TH400, and second time was to swap the working TH400 to a rebuilt TH400), so it didn't bother me that I had to remove the control arms at the frame end and droop them down remove the transmission. Also, I figured since the TH400 was a fresh rebuilt it wouldn't be coming out anytime soon. I was wrong, but, I still wouldn't of changed my design.:D
 

folkenheath

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Teardown...

So it begins, here is the front end tore out with the D60 sitting under the truck. By this time it is early in the summer of 2010. I stripped all the frame bare but left the brake lines, until I realized those needed to move too. I’ll start off by saying, since I now know this, that I completely under estimated the time it would take me to fabricate this front suspension, I was guessing I would have it apart for 3 weeks working weekends and some weeknights, no big deal. Nope. Try 6 weeks of busting my butt, sometimes untilearly in the morning, 6 AM was the latest I worked all night trying to get it ready for a wheeling trip. Anyway, it was a lot more work then I anticipated, but it was worth it in the long run, let it begin…

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blazinzuk

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Shoot man everytime I have rotated knuckles its a big hammer and a solid place to put the axle.

I never take them off completely cut the welds and start beating on em.

One time I did rig up a hydraulic jack in a fixture to rotate them. Like usual though I said I can make this better took it apart and never put it back together. Need to build another one I guess.

Looks good man.
 

folkenheath

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Suspension mockup...

So I had already bought some 2” x.250” wall DOM tubing for the main radius arms. And I used 1.75” x .120 wall for the short upper arms(all they do is control axle housing twist, and they are pretty short) and for the shock hoops. I used ballistics tube adaptors for threaded ends for the ballistic joints and rod ends. On the main radius arms I used 3” ballistic joints with ¾” bolts since they are the main two connection points for the entire suspension at the frame. They are rebuildable and greasable for long life. The short upper arms I used 7/8” heim joints with 9/16” bolt adaptors so I can easily adjust caster/pinion angle, and because there will be little movement there to wear them out since they travel with the axle and lower arms. The axle ends are both poly bushings with 9/16” bolts (I used Kert’s kits at DIY4X, the best deal on HD bushing kits), which are required for radius arms since they need to deflect for articulation. For mockup I used PVC pipe to mimic the track bar and draglink until I knew what length they needed to be. The steering arm is an ORD crossover steering arm and low drop (tight to the frame for clearance) pitman arm. At first I made SEVERAL brackets with cardboard to check shock clearance, knuckle clearance, steering clearance, etc. Then all suspension brackets were made with ¼” plate hand cut with a plasma cutter and then ground smooth with an angle grinder. I bought the plasma knowing I would need to modify brackets if I bought them anyway, so I just made all my own brackets and put that money toward the plasma. At this stage most everything is tacked in place, if that, I am just doing mockup right now. The truck is sitting at approximate ride height during the entire suspension build.

I ran out of Album space so I had to start hosting pictures remotely so everyone can still see them…

Passenger side control arms and lower shock mount mocked up at ride height…

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Full droop with both control arms and lower shock mounts mocked up…(truck at ride height)

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Full bump with PVC dummy track bar (mount added) and drag link (pitman arm added)…

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mockup+full+bump+clearance.jpg
 
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sixb

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Very nice indeed:waytogo: Can't wait to build the front of mine and this thread will most definitely come in handy, Thanks.:woot:
 

blazinzuk

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I actually dislike pics like this, it makes me realize what a pain it will be to do this to Horton, who is more like a 4" lift and with high steer not just crossover.

Might just wait and do full hydro and a triangulated 4 link at the same time. Then I don't have to deal with a panhard. Only exhaust and engine :haha:

Oh well might just cut the frame off and tube frame from the firewall forward
 

folkenheath

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Thanks guys, for what it's worth, all the hard work was worth it. Of course most of you know that, look at your incredible rigs!

What are you going to be running for bumpstops?

You'll see that next, but because I was running out of room for the big poly bumps I had before, I ended up getting some 2" x 4" travel FOA air/hyd bumps. I also had to gouge out some of the area where the boss is for the leaf spring bolts to clear the bump stop, I had to move it in or it would hit the coilover spring during articulation with that pass side down.

I actually dislike pics like this, it makes me realize what a pain it will be to do this to Horton, who is more like a 4" lift and with high steer not just crossover.

Might just wait and do full hydro and a triangulated 4 link at the same time. Then I don't have to deal with a panhard. Only exhaust and engine :haha:

Oh well might just cut the frame off and tube frame from the firewall forward

I don't blame you for considering cutting off the whole front for a tube chassis! Although if I ever do that I would just start from scratch.

And high steer would definitely throw another wrench in the mix. You'd need more height and also maybe go dual triangulated with full hydraulic steering, because high steer and a track bar would be a very difficult trick. Mayeb if you moved the engine back and/or axle forward you could make it work with crossover. You'll figure it out, your rig is already more hard core than mine is.
 
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folkenheath

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Suspension pre-test and cycle…

Well, after many many long hours I got to the point where I could test and cycle the suspension as it was tacked in. I got the tie rod and drag link made out of one piece 1.25 x .250 DOM threaded on the inside from ORD per my custom order. I purchased the bent draglink for better tie rod end angles and frame clearance, and at full droop the tie rod ends are barely clearing (if I try to turn the tie rod straight it will then start to bind). I got the track bar mounts finished up but after cycling the thing and articulating it I had to move it, AGAIN. So many things had to be tested and retested. Especially at the passenger side where the pumpkin, tie rod, track bar, drag link, shock mount, and upper and lower control arms all come into the same area. Not to mention you need to fit bumpstops in there. I also have my custom engine crossmember all tacked and ready for welding. Including bracing for the engine mounts, and mounts for the air bump stops. When you combine the cycling up and down, articulating, and steering all at the same time it gets pretty crowded in there! It all looks simple now but there are many things that come very close when everything happens at the same time.

My friend Jer (dune jump)came over and helped me bend up some shock hoops and an engine crossbar, awesome, Thanks Jer!

Anyway, at this point it was countless hours of work and rework of some things for clearance. I initially planned on using a ballistic joint at the track bar axle end, but had to change to a rod end with high misalignment spacers to get more room for the draglink. Just remember to tack things in place and don’t weld it all up until EVERYTHING is done and cycled, because you will thank yourself!
My track bar is not perfect, I wanted the exact same length and angle as the draglink (you can’t count the bend, just from pivot to pivot). Anyway, I ended up with a compromise of what I wanted and what I could get to clear everything. It works great, and I don’t notice any bumpsteer. When I thought about it, it had to be better than it was before because before the leaf springs were traveling straight up/down (from a side/side standpoint), and the draglink was on a sideways arc. Now they are both on a similar arc, just not exactly the same.

In testing for articulation I didn’t have any springs on obviously, and I removed one upper arm so there was zero bind. I got 20 degrees both directions when each shock was bottomed out for 40 degrees total articulation travel. Since the tires are outboard it travels more than I expected with the 14” shocks (which is why some brackets had to be redone). Articulation testing...

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Here it is dropped until the shocks are bottomed out. I still need to add limit straps, I couldn’t order them until I knew the length I needed. You can also see how the driveshaft angle remains almost perfect (I have it angled a couple degrees up since it will want to pivot down under torque in the front). I ended up with a degree or two extra caster(at ride height I have about 9 - 10 degrees) since my estimations/measurement with the Dana 44 were off from when I actually got the Dana 60 in and located, but that's all good anyway. A little extra won't hurt anything, too little would be very bad.

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So after that I had to measure some more check everything, and then test with the tires on (holy crap did the tire stuff into the wheel well, was colliding with the piggybacks darnit).

Also, I originally moved my axle 2" forward, but because the axle pivots up and forward now (instead of up and back), the tire was crashing into the front fender when it was straight, let alone turned left/right. So I moved it back an inch (1 inch ahead of stock), and still trimmed the front fender all the way too the inner fenderwell/core support.

I also had to move the steering intermediate shaft yet since the coil spring was going to be hitting it during articulation. And I was running out of time for the trip, so junkyard runs were out of the question.

Then tear it all apart, weld it, add more bracing and tubes, and assembly everything for the final time (the best part).
Any questions about why something looks stupid or how something works fire away.
 
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76zimmer

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Heath this is where your rig was at when we went to BundyHill right?

Cept I don't remember the LOA bumps on it then?

Very cool seeing the build of the "system". It sure worked great at Bundy....man I wanna hear the 496 again too!
 

folkenheath

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Heath this is where your rig was at when we went to BundyHill right?

Cept I don't remember the LOA bumps on it then?

Very cool seeing the build of the "system". It sure worked great at Bundy....man I wanna hear the 496 again too!

Very close Zim. I added some gussets and brace tubing, finish welded it all, and paint. Also the intermediate steering shaft modifications, removed the front leaf hangers, had the shocks switched to remote rezis, etc. Darn close. The next imaging post will be like it was at bundy. I have several pictures of the truck I took after bundy to document it then I'll post up and describe. You'll be able to see the bundy dirt on it! Then I have some more gauge cluster build pictures and stuff from a couple weeks ago when I tore it apart for tranny and gauge mods, and we are all caught up, 8 years in 2 weeks. Lets hope we never age that fast!

Then in a month(real time) I will tear it apart to 4 link the rear...I'll be in the "reasearch and advice mode" before and during that.

And the next time you hear the big block I hope to have dual 3" and 70 series flows behind it! (going to need a new exhaust anyway for the 4 link). I'll probably be buying some of those bends you bought.
 

nvrenuf

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I hate to back track but if you don't mind...

Was the crank "ready to run" out of the box? Did you buy a rotating assembly or individual parts?
 
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