Metal project: Jeep Frame build

bobs409

 
Administrator
#1
Starting an ambitious project. My 87 Jeep YJ like most Jeeps is a rust bucket! :D Some brainiac at Jeep decided to NOT put any drain holes in the lower frame rails so all kinds or moisture and rust problems occured. (the metal for '87 was probably crap too!) I would have liked to find an older Jeep but the prices are way too high so I've decided to stick it out with this one.

The previous owner had welded plates over certain parts of the frame and while it's strong, my inspection guy wasn't real thrilled about them. He said they don't like to see any frame patches in general. He's been real lenient with me and has been passing it for a few years now but I get real nervous around inspection time and want to do something about that.

Every year I've been doing more and more frame repairs either to make the existing ones look better or to fix NEW rust! But... it's been bugging me! I'm nowhere near a perfectionist but I'd like to do this right since I'm keeping it.

I decided to make a whole new rear frame assembly! In just a few days, I've gotten as far as shown. It's been really fun too! I've been Tig welding it all the way so I'm getting tons of practice in. (welding little scraps was driving me crazy) I'm getting real comfortable with the Tig process.

Today I should have this one fully welded up if I don't run out of argon. I've already started cutting some of the other frame rail (identical) pieces out. I'm lucky that my steel supplier just added a bunch of cut off pieces so I'm only paying .65 cents a pound for all the material. (so far) In case you were wondering, the reason some of the rails are pieced together is due to using "drops" instead of buying a full sheet. I'm not worried about strength so much as this will be FAR more stronger than what's on there now.

I will be making new body mounts & gas tank cross member as well as a new rear bumper. (the bumper is really just a rear cross member) I will wait until I cut the old frame off in the spring before attempting those so I get the dimensions correct.

I will be putting many drain holes in but none on the sides like original frame would have. I see no reason to give rust anymore opportunities than it already has.

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1964SuperStocker

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 2
#12
Starting an ambitious project. My 87 Jeep YJ like most Jeeps is a rust bucket! :D Some brainiac at Jeep decided to NOT put any drain holes in the lower frame rails so all kinds or moisture and rust problems occured. (the metal for '87 was probably crap too!) I would have liked to find an older Jeep but the prices are way too high so I've decided to stick it out with this one.

The previous owner had welded plates over certain parts of the frame and while it's strong, my inspection guy wasn't real thrilled about them. He said they don't like to see any frame patches in general. He's been real lenient with me and has been passing it for a few years now but I get real nervous around inspection time and want to do something about that.

Every year I've been doing more and more frame repairs either to make the existing ones look better or to fix NEW rust! But... it's been bugging me! I'm nowhere near a perfectionist but I'd like to do this right since I'm keeping it.

I decided to make a whole new rear frame assembly! In just a few days, I've gotten as far as shown. It's been really fun too! I've been Tig welding it all the way so I'm getting tons of practice in. (welding little scraps was driving me crazy) I'm getting real comfortable with the Tig process.

Today I should have this one fully welded up if I don't run out of argon. I've already started cutting some of the other frame rail (identical) pieces out. I'm lucky that my steel supplier just added a bunch of cut off pieces so I'm only paying .65 cents a pound for all the material. (so far) In case you were wondering, the reason some of the rails are pieced together is due to using "drops" instead of buying a full sheet. I'm not worried about strength so much as this will be FAR more stronger than what's on there now.

I will be making new body mounts & gas tank cross member as well as a new rear bumper. (the bumper is really just a rear cross member) I will wait until I cut the old frame off in the spring before attempting those so I get the dimensions correct.

I will be putting many drain holes in but none on the sides like original frame would have. I see no reason to give rust anymore opportunities than it already has.

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Jeep just wanted to make sure the frames rusted out to ensure the fabrication guys have something to do. :D My parents have 50 jeeps. I have built 2 for wheeling so far, working towards another CJ2A flat fender project now.
 

bobs409

 
Administrator
#13
I tried to find a tank of helium the other day from Praxair and they said it's unobtainium right now!:dunno
Do you know any clowns? (other than those on here) They have to be getting some for their balloons somewhere. :lol:

Jeep just wanted to make sure the frames rusted out to ensure the fabrication guys have something to do. :D My parents have 50 jeeps. I have built 2 for wheeling so far, working towards another CJ2A flat fender project now.
Jeep should be replacing frames the way Toyota did/is doing. :waiting1:
 

1964SuperStocker

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 2
#17
That same suit would apply to every car car company but maybe Delorean. Every object made has a life span of something. If you want them to build you a stainless steel frame then just pay them the extra cost it would take to make them last longer. Had a "#1 car guy" tell me his Duesenberg didn't have any rust on his extensive restoration. I looked at the car up close and showed him where his car was rusting. He was pissed. His expectations were such that his money had bought him perfection ever lasting. I simply pointed out that every particle on this planet will break down no matter how much money anyone throws at it. Whether its a jeep or a Toyota frame they have a life cycle and depending on what climate you live in will determine whether that life cycle is longer or shorter that normal. My parents have a "rust free" (way above average solid body and chassis) 1991 YJ jeep Wrangler Sierra that has spend its entire life in Iowa but has been setting in storage for the last 20+ years. Jeep has been in court countless times because of how dangerous a tall vehicle is when taking a corner at 60mph. Jeeps are certainly my favorite SUV.
 

1964SuperStocker

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 2
#18
If I could weld as well as the pictures above I would be doing away with my X frame. I have to put a roll bar and additional supports under the car for side impact. Don't want my boys getting hurt in a T-bone situation and there just isn't anything to stop a low speed impact.
 

bobs409

 
Administrator
#19
Ugh! Not that I want to bring back this project right now but the place that I used to get this Jeep inspected has now permanently closed! (just found out today)

Let's just say, the guy "didn't see so well" and helped me out for a few years on this. The problem I think I mentioned at the start of this thread is that a previous owner put patches on the frame and while they are very strong and holding up just fine, supposedly the inspection Gods don't like this method!

I'm not even going to try and find another garage that would be willing to help this poor slob out so it's time to do what I've been putting off. Time to cut the Jeep up and build a new rear frame!

The frame rails are still sitting on the floor where they've been for about a year now. :D The plan is to cut the rear frame off and use it as a guide to build a whole new one. New cross rails, body mounts, gas tank mount, rear cross member/bumper. Once it's all done, then just "graft" it into the remaining frame.

Sounds easy enough doesn't it? :p Sure, just drop the tank, the driveshaft, the shocks, drop the rear w/leafs down, remove body bolts (probably gonna snap off from rust causing more problems!) remove any brake/fuel lines and anything else in the vacinity and then cut the frame and pluck it out.

Building the frame from there will be fun since I love fabrication/welding and having the old unit to use as reference will make it easy.

I just have to get myself to do all this! This has been a bad year for me "energy" wise, starting to feel my age or something. :p

I'll just have to take it step by step, one bite at a time. I already decided to make this a "no pressure" project meaning that when it gets done, that's when it gets done. I renewed the registration and will do the same for insurance and WHEN it's done, I'll take it to any garage for the inspection. This time, it should pass with no problems. Everything else is good on it.

So, who wants to help? :unsure: :waiting2:
 
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