with Bob Norman, assisted by Alex Maslo
Part 4... Tin Banger's Nightmare
So, here we are again. Last month I opened up the fenders to allow for tire clearance on the body I got from Rod's Used Samurai Parts in Iowa. Little did I know what I had gotten myself into.
The bottom of the firewall needed to be cut and patched as well to match the cut in the front fenders. The "holes" created in the front of the rear wheel openings needed to get patched, and my rock sliders installed to tie it all in together.
In addition, I still needed to find a home for the displaced front body mounts. Follow below and see what I came up with.
I put the fenders back on temporarily to mark where I needed to cut the fire wall. Not a very scientific method, but rather functional.
The next step was to give the Sawz-All and the body saw some exercise. There was plenty of chopping to go around. About 2.5-3" of material was removed from the back of the front wheel opening. I "found" some very appropriate (and heavy) sheet metal, cut it to rough size, then tacked it in place. The finish cuts were actually performed while it was in place. The bottom piece that is hanging down in the picture was rolled under the rocker panel for strength. This is miserable to weld because the stock sheet metal on the Samurai is like a Juicy Fruit wrapper it's so thin. Here is the semi-finished patch panel in place. The floor was rolled upward to overlap the firewall after the corner of the firewall was pushed back for clearance, then all welded in place. Less pieces were needed this way, and less complex cutting (I learned my lesson on the driver's side...) Here is the high-tech way to roll the bottom lip of the rocker panels. If you add rock sliders or any other type of support and need to roll the lip, hammer at an angle initially, toward the center of the truck and upward. This will distort the rockers less than just pounding them upward.
This is my version of the rock slider, tacked in place. It is a 3"x4" piece of 1/4" thick angle, cut to shape. It's not as pretty as the diamond plate ones, but smooth surfaces don't stick on pointy rocks!
I thought and looked for a good place for the body mounts that got cut off, and finally I figured that it doesn't need to be mounted to the frame. I welded the mount to the firewall, attached to the strong lip where the floor meets the firewall to add strength. I mounted the body studs to the frame, using all the factory pieces, just arranged a bit differently.
This shows a little better detail on the mounting. Here is the frame mount now located on the body, and the body stud now on the frame.... ...and the whole mount put together. Looks like the picture is upside down, doesn't it?
Since so much metal was cut from the rear of the body, I needed somewhere to attach removable access panels, so I added this simple support. The body tub as well as the panels will be screwed to it. A semi-finished look at the wheel opening after completion. A little undercoating sure does wonders.
In addition to the sheet metal work this month, I also began the mounting of the RCI seats (see article by Bill Johnston) and began the early stages of paint prep.
I still am looking for somebody to fabricate me a fiberglass hood or scoop on the hood. The front suspension barely fit under the hood with the body lift, so now I need 3" more. Any ideas? Mail firstname.lastname@example.org for suggestions.