Amphibious HEMTT

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    Amphibious HEMTT

    Ok guys, everybody hates me on Pirate, but they don't hate my build. (Well maybe they don't) Anyways I figured I bring it over here. I think mine is the longest active build thread ever. This first post is from 2011.

    Well I’m finally starting my build thread. Of course, the name is indicative of the speed of my work. In any case I started over a year ago, so it thread will move a little faster until I catch up. After that, no guarantees. I expect this to take me at least two years to finish. When I was younger, I had lots of time and no money. Now money is not the problem, but finding time is.

    This is going to be a major build with one ton SAS and a diesel engine. Not even sure what the final truck will look like, but it started out like this. I got this 92’ for $1100. I had been looking for a Bronco all over and this one turned up less then two miles from my house. It has the same driveline as my DD. It runs great and is fairly rust free.

    This is the same truck stripped to the frame after a lot of work with a high speed wire wheel and a few cans of rustolium. I also removed the body mounts because if I install the stock body it will be moved back. I have several ideas concerning the body, but for now I concentrating on the driveline.

    The obglatory photo. I wish this was from my DD. (Maybe later)

    I got a some axles from a 2007’ F250 Superduty. At least, that’s what the yard told me. I started with the front axle. I told the yard to get the radius arm mounts off the SD without ruining them. They torched the frame about 3” in front and back of the mounts. So I had to drill out the rivets. One thing I noticed was the SD frame is .270” thick. This Bronco frame is .210” thick.

    I started by measuring several times and then drilling one ¼” hole. Bolted that and then measured again. LOL

    Note the angle on top of the frame. I didnt weld this on. The rest of the truck was stock except exhaust. I dont know why this is there. I couldnt see any damage anywhere.

    With the back bolted solid (1/2” grade 8’s) you can see that the frame seems to be a little narrower. Some other guys put spacers in here. I decided to just bolt it to the frame and let the rubber bushing take the misalignment. If it gives me problems, I can space it out later.

    I lowered it down to the bump stops and nothing hits the crossmember.

    These are the stock springs. The perches are off the TTB. It’s funny the stock bolts were not long enough to hold the perch. But the TTB axle pivot bolts were exactly the right size. In any case, I might be changing the sprigs/perches in the future. (maybe even the buckets) But for now, it’s OK.

    I had to modify the frame side trac bar mount. (off the superduty)

    The ear on the left was just hitting a frame rivet. The hole next to it lined up with another frame rivet. (drilled it out and bolted with a grade 8) After that I had to elongate the right hole to make room for a bolt inside the frame rail.

    Here it is installed. Note access hole in frame rail. I know it looks like I didnt have to cut off the other two bolt holes. I've seen it done, but then you have to cut the crossmember alot. The mount is alot stronger then the crossmember, so I cut it.

    Another angle.

    I made this dolly to roll the frame around. Even though the wheels are rated for the weight, It's hard as h*ll to roll it around. I may have to buy some 8 lug take off's just to make it eazy to work on the frame.

    Note the grade 8's in the rad-arm mounts.

    This is what I ended up doing to the stock (one piece) trac bar to make it adjustable. I did some searching and found that the superduty has some problems with the axle not being centered on stock springs. They sell bars like this, but they want too much.

    The bar is fordged and not eazy to work with. But I was able to drill and tap for 7/8". I chose that thred because they make rodends in that size. So I might be able to use the tools for my three link in the back. Also, I might put a rodend in that end.

    The stock trac bar goes to a balljoint on the axle. The ball joint is installed down with the bar on the bottom. This creates quite an angle which is not paralell to the draglink. Even the simpleminded people on this site understand that the tracbar and steering draglink shopuld be paralell and close to the same length. I wish someone would tell the Ford engineers.

    I'm probubly going "full hydro" on the steering, so paralell doesnt matter. But also it is advisable to make the tracbar as horizontal as possible. So I installed the ball joint up. Of course this ment I had to buy a reamer to ream the trac bar. It also gives me the dreaded "hourglass" hole. I have the same thing in my DD tierod ends. It hasnt caused a problem yet. (Of course the reamer for the tierods was not big enough for the tracbar)

    On the rear I got a 10.5 Sterling. My plan is to go three link eventually. But I would like to get this thing rolling as fast as possible, so I figured i would bolt it in with the stock leaf springs.

    The spring plates are from the Superduty. The U-bolts and nuts are from the Bronco. The axle is a little bigger in diameter so I had to spread the u-bolts.


    Last edited by WaterH; 05-20-2020, 04:46 PM.
    Check out my project

    What's up, dude?!!1!

    Glad you're transferring your build over here.
    μολὼν λαβέ
    '94 Ford Bronco XL / Sky's ORD 6"lift / Sterling 10.25 dually / HMMWV tires / Bilstein shocks


      Originally posted by CDA 455 II View Post
      What's up, dude?!!1!

      Glad you're transferring your build over here.
      I can see it's going to take me awhile.
      Check out my project



        Back to the build.

        I wanted 20 by 14 wheels. I got these double beadlock wheels from Starzworks. The wheels are two halves that bolt together. The beadlocks are two plastic hoops that snap together. It’s all of very good quality, but are somewhat difficult to assemble.

        First you have to put the beadlocks inside the tire. This was the hard part. The tire sidewalls have to be spread. To do this I hung the tire by the sidewall. The weight of the tire only spread it about a ½”. I needed about 5” more. So I hooked ratchet straps on the bottom sidewall and secured it to my tractor. I had a scale on the chain. It took about 500 lbs. to spread it far enough. Then I had to stand on the bucket and push the two halves of the beadlock in. Since they are bigger then the opening, I had to egg shape them to get them in. They are about 3/4'” thick plastic and don’t bend easy.

        Then you have to maneuver them together inside the tire. Once I got them close, I released the pressure spreading the sidewalls. They snapped together fairly easy then. Here you can see the beadlock inside the tire as I lower it on the wheel. I put some dish soap on the beads.

        I don’t have any pics of bolting it together. But it required four long allthred bolts to bring the wheel halves close enough to get the regular bolts in.

        Now that’s what I’m talking about. LOL. I only got two done. So I’ll have to wait a couple weeks (at work) to put them on the frame.

        Back to the build, again. LOL

        I made this disc to convert the Bronco driveshaft to the Sterling flange. It is just a couple bolt patterns with a spicket on one side (for the flange on the Sterling) and a flange on the other. (to go in the driveshaft)

        This would be fairly elementry for some of the guys on here, but I'm proud of it. I started with a piece of 5/8" plate about a foot square. Did it all on my lathe and mill. It fits so tight that I had to pop it off with a rubber hammer to paint it.


        I did alot of research on driveshafts and u-joints. The Bronco uses 1330 u-joints. But you can have a 1350 u-joint shaft made that will fit and uses the same bolt patterns and spickets. I'm probubly going that route later. If that is not strong enough, I will use the 1410 u-joint. Then I throw this disc away and make another for the front.

        Right now I'm cutting the Bronco driveshaft down. I would like to move the engine/trans/transfer back as far as possible. As it turns out, that is only about 5" at the trans mount. I'm using a C-6 and a Cummins 4BT, so they will be shorter then the stock 351/e40d. It should put the front of the engine about at the rear of the crossmember.


        I wanted to move the engine/trans/t-case back as far as possible for better weight distribution. That meant shorten the driveshaft. I decided to try my hand at it. If it doesn’t work out, I will get a new shaft made professionally. If I go that route, it will be a 1350 or 1410 based shaft.

        I started by dissembling the shaft. Then I cut it off with the lathe at the weld. That was a b*tch because weld doesn’t cut very well. In any case, after I got it apart, there was about ¾” stub sticking out. That was good because after cutting off most of the rest of the tube, I could push the tube back on the stub. It fit real tight.

        I chucked the splines in the lathe and checked the carden stub with a dial indicator. With a few taps of a hammer, I got it to spin within a .001”. Then I took it out of the lathe and put four tack welds around it. I thought I would check it again in the lathe. Much to my dismay, it was now .080” out of round. I don’t know how much is aloud, but that seemed like too much. I cut three of the tacks and began tapping again. I got it back to about .002” and re-tack in three places.

        Again I checked it in the lathe and now it was out about .015”. I didn’t like it, but I figured it was as good as I could get it. I welded it up all the way around and checked it in the lathe one more time. This time it got a little better to .008”. That would mean that it is bent .004”. I don’t know if the driveshaft places get it better than that. I certainly think it’s good enough to try. I put it back together with new u-joints. Here it is next to a standard Bronco shaft. It looks longer than it is because the stock shaft is colapsed. It's about 9" shorter.

        I have to make the front shaft longer. Does any one know if there’s a truck with a longer front driveshaft that I could shorten?

        Heres a shot with the tires. It looks more impressive in person. 16" under the diff. Got some more pics to upload when I get a chance.

        I got this Cummins 4BT from a bread truck. It has close to 70,000 miles on it. I’m told that’s low miles. In any case, it’s all mechanical. The only electric power needed after it’s started is for a fuel valve solenoid. (That’s how you shut it down)

        After reading the forums, I found the Achilles heel on this engine is KDP or “Killer Dowel Pin” There’s an easy fix. The pic is not real good, but I put a little tab off the bolt to keep the dowel pin. (Between the flange and the bolt)

        All cleaned up and painted. This work was done awhile ago. Just catching you guys up.


        I made these mounts to accept Chevy Lumina mounts. I was told they are a good match for this motor. I’m sorry for the pictures. About a month ago the viewing window quit, but I still could take pictures. Now it seems like everything is out of focus. Time to shop for a new camera.

        After mounting the engine and tranny on the stock tranny mount, I had some problems. As Shadowfox predicted, The rear shaft had a fairly extreme angle. I had a more serious problem on the front. This Bronco originally had a 351/E40D and I’m putting a C6 in. The aluminum adapter that goes between the tranny and the t-case both use the same mount, but they are not the same. The E40D is off center and is short. The C6 is centered on the rear output and is longer which pushes the front yoke back behind the cross brace. This puts the front shaft close to that brace.

        If I had seen the tranny mount thread, I would have copied Shadowfox’s. It would have solved the problem better than what I did. I ended up lowering the cross brace 1 ½” and putting a ½” spacer under the tranny mount. I know it’s hard to see, but there’s a solid block at the top of the brace inside the frame rail. The only good point about my design is it maintains the frame bracing holding the rails straight up and down. Shadowfox has not had any problem for many years, so I was worried about nothing.

        Even after all my work, the shaft is kind of close. I lifted the front tires off the ground by the frame rails and the slip joint rubber hits the front bolt. That works out to 5” down travel. The actual shaft won’t hit until about 11” of travel. I ground that bolt lower and smoothed the corners to save the rubber boot. I may still change this brace later.

        I had to make the front driveshaft longer, so combined a shaft from a F350. This also solved the problem of the front diff yoke taking a 1350 u-joint. I didn’t take nearly as much care to make it straight as the rear shaft. I expect to have both shafts professionally remade. But they should hold for some initial testing.

        I wanted to pull it out for some pictures, but my tractor will not lift the front any more. (the hook on my bucket bent straight when I tried). It’s hard to control with nothing hooked to the drag link. So this will have to do until I get a new camera and work something out on the steering.

        It's been a long time since I updated this. I ashamed to say, I havent got much done. I didnt want to cut the crossmember just to prove it could be done. (at stock height) Actually, you dont have to if you run standard steering. But I couldnt work out a mount for the full hydro ram without cutting it. If I drop it on the bump stops, this cut is right below the tracbar. Gives me access to the axle tube for the hydro mount.

        This is my first stick welding in fifteen years. Not great, but I intend to build some additional bracing for the frame anyways. So I think it will hold.

        Last edited by WaterH; 05-20-2020, 05:20 PM.
        Check out my project



          Here is the mount I made for the steering cylinder. It's just a plate with a 1" block welded on. The saddles came with the cylinder. They are made of aluminum, Doesnt seem right, but I guess they work. If not, I may just copy them in steel. The hole is just for mock up. It will be bored out to 3/4".

          This is what I made for the axle side. The bushing will be welded to the plate after it is bored out to size.

          Here is another pic after welding and gussets. The bushing is just snug in it. It looks like it is crooked, but it is not. (opitical illusion) I welded both sides. I'm not thrilled with my stick welding. (I'm a pretty good TIG welder) But I was able to jack the truck up by that mount and it didnt bend or crack.

          Here are some pics of how it will look. I just got a 1/2" bolt in it now to make sure nothing binds. I have a 3/4" drill, but the bolt I got is about .010" small. I dont want that much play. I have a mill, but I dont have a small boring bar. so I might have to farm this job out.

          Here is a pic of my wife saying quit working on the truck. LOL

          I did a reclock of the T-case adapter. I welded some extra metal in and machined it flat. I hope I didnt weaken it. Here are some pics.

          I wished I had welded some metal for the dowel pin. Looks kind of funny. But it's tight.

          I really liked this mod. Anybody that is considering this should look in the tech write-ups. A guy did a nice write up there and some others joined in with their ideas. I gained alot of clearence at the crossmember. If you look back in my build, I shaved the head of a bolt because I thought it was too close to my front slip joint. Now I have no worries.

          Look at these before and after side shot. Before.

          After. It might not look like much. I took the second picture a little lower than the first giving an optical illusion of not much change. But notice that you cant even see the front u-joint now. Also, the T-case is higher than the bottom of the crossmember. Should be eazy to make a guard now.

          While I was doing the T-case reclock, I decide to install the torque converter. (I didnt install it while making the motor mounts) The first problem is the oil pan. It is very close to the opening for the T/C bolts.

          The Cummins oil pan can be installed front or back. So I spun it around. I found a guy to trade the oil pick-up. (it's differnt)

          That was better. But I didnt like that thin slot to try to get the stud show. (it's not eazy to spin this engine) So I cut the adapter. This was a little scary because this is an expensive piece.

          I also didnt like the opening that can catch dirt and stuff coming off the wheels. So I made a piece of stainless to cover it. It bolts right to the tranny. It looked better before I welded some spacers on the back, but it turned out OK.

          I got a three link kit from Ruffstuff for the rear axle. So thats my next project. But it's back to work now. I hate the way making a living gets in the way of my toys. LOL

          Well, after spending almost every spare minute in the last six months building this,

          I began working on the project. I decided to three link the rear axle. The stock leafs would probubly work fine, but I wanted to make this air ride.

          I bought a three link kit from Ruff Stuff. The frame mounts they supply are u-shaped and designed to weld on the frame. I decided to bolt them on, but I felt that there needed to be more bolts than I could fit. So I welded a side plate on. Of course, right before I mounted them, I found and ran the 3 link calculater on Pirate. Did alot of reading and decided that the mounts needed to be lower. So i welded some 2x2 steel tube spacers on. Here you can see the final mount.

          I had to mill some access holes for the bolts.

          They fit on the frame good. I'm not so happy with the tube spacers. If I think they are colapsing, I will drill and bush them. But I couldnt crush them with the 1/2" grade eights.

          The links are not done yet. But I had to go back to work. Hope to get on it in two weeks.

          Ok finnaly an update. I'm going to call this one "two steps forward, one step back".

          I'm still working on rear suspension. I had origenally mounted the Sterling on the Bronco leafs. But I want to have the option to chop off the rear of the frame. Also, Ive heard you get a much better ride with coils or air bags. I like the simplicity of radius arms and decided to go that route in the rear. I did extensive searching on the subject here and on Pirate and couldnt find much info on radius arms in the rear.

          I really liked TDmayfield's (build section) radius arms for his front and decided to make something similar. I ordered a three link kit from Rough stuff which gave me most everything I needed. It's funny, what they call a three link has four links. (two lowers, one upper and a panhard) The way I see it, a radius arm setup is a three link. (two radius arms and a panhard)

          In any case, here is what I built. By the time I got this far, I had decided to go airbags. I like the idea to vari ride height. Theres a guy on Pirate that says they are way better ride than coils.

          So it looks pretty good right? Wrong. Total Fail! Even though I dont care about major flex, I decided to do a flex test. Heres the proof.

          This picture might need some translating. First I lifted tire on the left 20". That didnt seem like much and the tire on the right was solid on the ground. But I noticed that the frame was doing all the flexing. It was twisted so bad that I was scared to raise it any more. I couldnt understand why frame was twisting instead of the axle. I thought maybe the frame was doing that because of no weight on it. (I dont know why) Anyways, I decided to jack up the frame on the right side to keep the frame from twisting any more. Well, when I did that, the right tire came off the ground. (its off about 2" in this pic) This really blew me away. I couldnt see what was holding up that 250 lb. tire. The airbag is not bolted on the bottom. So I put it back in the garage and did some thinking.

          This is what I came up with. A solid axle radius arm suspension appsolutly needs a flexible joint at the AXLE end. I know what your thinking. A 78-79 Bronco doesnt have any flex there. Not true. The rubber "C's" are the flex. Ive always wondered why they had those C's. I never liked that design. When I asked on this forum and Pirate, the response was they are needed for caster adjustment and to isolate the road vibrations. Obviously, thats not the case. Of course the front D60 on Superdutys dont have C's, but they have two rubber bushings on the axle end. Obviouslly my axle in the pic can go up and down, but it must stay paralel to the frame.

          As I said, I dont care about major flex, but it has to flex some or the frame is going to crack. Back to the drawing board. I figured I could make it a standard 3 link pretty eazy. I replaced the arms with straight pipe. I installed the third link here. I wasnt sure if this cross member is strong enough, but it is good enough for some tests.

          Here is before and after pics of the same 20" lift. Notice the frame on the 3 lnk is not paralell to the axle.

          Then I raised the tire 30". The right tire is still firmly on the ground. I could have raised it more because there was no binding. I didnt raise it more because this is as high as the air bag will allow. Its not bolted in the pic, but it will extend to this height.I have to say that this was more impressive in person. These pictures dont really show the size of the tires.

          This is not the end of this story. More to come in a couple days.

          Last edited by WaterH; 05-20-2020, 05:30 PM.
          Check out my project



            As Paul Harvey would "here's the rest of the story". Well at least the rear suspension story. LOL

            In any case, I was fairly happy with the setup in my last post. Untill I did some more testing. The flex was fine and will get better when I install bags in front. But there is another issue. Since I will be able to raise the truck 8-10" at will, I thought I would test a straight lift. A problem developed on the driveshaft. This is raised just 7".(it is bound tight)

            I did some math and moved the front link mount forward like this for testing. It improved some. I was able to raise 8" and not bind. But obviously, it would not like turning like that.

            Finnaly, I removed the third link and installed one radius arm. Here it is raised 8". I retested the flex and its the same as the 3 link setup. So this is where I'm at now with bags installed. Unless someone points out a problem I didnt see, it's going to stay this way. I think it looks alittle strange asimetrical, but it works in theroy.

            I'm not sure if I will cut off the axle end of the third link. It is not welded on good. (but it wont fall off either) I was playing with the shock mount in this pic to get some measurments.

            A little more work. I made some spacers to mount the air bags up front. The holes on the side are for access to the bolts/nuts.

            Not much work done, Got a shifter I like. Very heavy Duty.

            I had to make a cable mount for the transsmission out of stainless and a steel bushing.

            Bolts on to some exsisting threaded holes on the bell housing. The cable can be ordered in differnt lengths. Dont know what I need yet. But it actually works with the 4 foot one I got with it.

            Got some tranny additions.

            OK, I got a little further.

            First, anybody that followed this from the beginning knows that I had the wrong lug nuts. I finally found the ones I like. Besides fully covering the studs and having the proper flat bottom, they are massive. I like. Here is a comparison from the ones that I got at first. (anyone interested in some brand new lugs with the taper bottoms?)

            Second, its been so long since I ran this engine on the bench, I was afraid it might be getting dry inside. I’ve never ran it very long because I didn’t have proper cooling. Also, I never ran it in the frame on the mounts I made. Since I knew It was going to be a long time till it is driving, I set my goal at getting it running. I don’t have a fuel tank yet, so a five gallon jug will have to do. I mounted the Bronco radiator in the back and plumbed it with some swimming pool railing I had, I had an old e-fan on it if needed. The rad is not going to be there. It was just an easy place to mount it. Basicly I just mounted it,battery and the fuel jug so I didn’t have to drill any new holes in the frame. (can be moved)

            Note: there will be no wood in my finished truck. (just for testing purposes)

            I wired up a simple control panel. It's just power on the fuel solenoid with the key and push button start.

            Since I still don’t have brakes or steering, obviously I'm not going to be driving it. But I wanted to test the tranny. So I lifted the rear axle.

            In any case, it started right up with a couple seconds cranking and a puff of smoke and ran nice. Oil pressure was good and I shifted through all the gears. About the only thing I didn’t like is the vibration at idle. (its smooth when revving) The guys on the Cummins forum said that’s the way they are. I'm hopping that when I get the seats in a proper rubber mounted cab, it will be better. The engine never got hot and I never turned on the e-fan. I don’t know if you can see. But the tires are spinning here.

            You guys might be wondering what I have planed for a body. I still haven’t decided what the final body will look like. But it will be a custom body of my own design out of aluminum. I have several ideas. The one I'm leaning to is a HEMTT replica cab with a short bed in back. If you don’t know what that is, you can Google it. The guys in our photoshop thread did this for me to give you an idea. (D@m fine job, I might add)

            A little more progress. Although I havent frozen the body design, I really like the "forward cab" idea. Since I wont have room for a master cylinder and Hydro-boost in front, I designed a cable opperated pedal Quadrent. This looks simple, but took me a long time to make. The actual pedal faces are from the Bronco. I had some cables custom made for this. The throttle cable is light duty. But I figured the brake cable needed to be strong. I probably went overkill here. I ordered the biggest cable and when I got it, I thought should have went one size smaller. But it wasnt cheap, so I made it work. The cables will be behind a console when finished. The whole quadrent can be moved depending on my final body design. Of course I might have to have new cables made.

            At the rear I made this throttle bracket out of a 2x2 square aluminum tube. It was eazy and works great. IT also has provision for another cable to make a manual shut off. I prefur this to the selinoid shut off that comes on the engine. I dont like it because it fails in the "off" position. So if you loose electrical power, the engine quits, nullifying one of the good points on this engine.

            Also I made this mount for the hydro-boost/Master out of a airbag mount I didnt use. Its all 1/4" steel. I had to weld some plate on, but it still saved alot of time. The arm is the top of the Bronco brake pedal.

            If you look close, you can see the "wedge washers" I had to make to angle the cable down. Of course I measured for the cable many times and it is way too long. Actually, I had planed to route it differnt, But it's not very flexible. The place that made it can shorten it for a price. (better then a whole new one.)

            I got most of the stuff to plumb the brakes. Thats the next job when I get back off work in a couple weeks.

            A little more progress.

            I got a resivoir/filter from Howe for my powersteering. I made a simple mount out of a piece of angle iron.

            I thought I had all the brake parts, but of course I needed some more. I started making brake lines. I'm using all stainless. (hoses and hard lines) some people said that you cant flare stainless without a fancy tool. I tried with a simple flare tool and made a beautiful brakeline from the master to the rear Tee. I thought "this ant so hard". Then I tried one of front lines and promply broke the tool. (a die) I called the place that sold it to me (Inline tube) about warrentee and they said the part I broke is not covered. When I asked why, they told me "because that's the part that always brakes" . Cant argue with that logic. I ordered a couple more dies and will continue later.

            Last edited by WaterH; 05-20-2020, 05:39 PM.
            Check out my project



              I built a sub frame under the floor because I needed something to bolt a support for the steering box. Although the wood is temporary, the iron will be perminnant if I go with this body. I dont know if the arm holding the steering box is heavy enough for the final truck. But it should be enough for some testing.

              I ordered most of the hydrolic fittings and hose for the steering and hydro boost. When i get back from work next week, I might actually get to drive this around the yard! Woohoo!

              Well I did alot of work, but not much done. I did make and install all stainless brake lines. I didnt take much for pics. This was the most complicated part. (Tee for the front brakes)

              I bled them and got the brakes to work somewhat. ( I pushed the truck and my wife stoped it.) Its hard to push the pedal. That may because I dont have the hydroboost hooked up yet. I ordered a bunch of fittings from Fastenal and they missed a couple. So Im waiting for them. I didnt have a good spot for the powersteering cooler, so mounted it behind the seats. The wood will all come out, so this is just temporary.

              I did fab up a new pax side radius arm link. Its not really a radius arm as it is only a single link. I made it differnt than most people.

              First I split the tube and slid a 1/4" plate in and welded it up.

              I had to buy a metric drill for the custom missalianment bushings. I think the one plate is strong enough, but I wanted to capture the bushing.

              I think this design will be stronger that alot of others. But the single link may be a mistake. Testing will tell. I'm back at work, so it will be another two weeks till I get back on it.

              Well I finily got the fittings I needed to finish the steering/brakes. I had to move my steering resivor to the rear of the engine because the main return hose is so hard to bend. Here is some pics of the final plumbing. (What a maze.)

              Here, you can just see the cooler at the front. (mounted on the wood) Its a nicely made unit. Basicly a finned aluminum tube. Of course they dont recumend mounting it horizontal. More about this later.

              With all that done, on to filling and bleading the system. Thats code for spilling tons of power steering fluid all over the place. The instructions were to fill it and then "saw" the wheels lock to lock. I guess they failed to mention putting the cap on the resivor during this process.

              After making a big mess......

              Wait for it............

              First drive!!

              I just drove it around the yard for some early testing.

              Here its parked dyagnal on a ditch. It doesnt look like much of a ditch in the pic, but its actually about foot and a half deep. I'm not building a crawler, but I want a little flex. I will have to dig the ditch deeper to really test.

              Then i had my wife take a couple shots of me on my shooting range back stop.

              I have gone over this hill several times with my tractor, golfcart and even my DD Bronco. But I always go perpindicular to this way. I started to do it that way, but it is too narrow for this truck. Although this pic looks neat, it doesnt give you the feeling I got. Its fine while your going up, but when it gets to the top, it feels like your going in to orbit. LOL.

              The truck would have easily went over the hill, but I stopped just a little higher because the other side is almost a shear drop.

              I have to go right now, But I will post soon on driving impressions.

              Alternator trials

              So I was hearing a cherping sound when running the engine. I removed the belt and the sound is gone. Since the alternator doesnt work, I figured I would start there. I wanted a 3G and began researching them. My mounts were 8.25" apart. I took the whole alt to the parts store and we opened up a bunch of boxes and couldnt find one that matched the mounts. I went to the junk yard and looked at lots of Fords. But all the 3Gs were either 7" mounts or side mounts. Finnally I found a thread that said that a 92' Turus had a 130 amp 3G with the 8.25" mounts. They didnt have one in stock, but I got one ordered in.

              It had a 6 groove pulley and I need 8. I traded the pulleys. My pulley just scraped the housing, so I took a skim on my lathe. It worked good and lined up perfect. Of note, the 8 groove pulley had a taper sleeve to clamp sercurly on the shaft. Also the 3G has a inturnal fan, so I didnt install that.

              Got it mounted and went to the junk yard and found a harness with all the proper plugs and ring mounts. There were many to choose from. I just got the eaziest one. I'm not sure if it has a big enough charging cable, but it is only temporary untill I rewire with aircraft cable. The only thing it runs is one e-fan and charging the battery after startup. After installation, it tested out good. But I still had some cherping. I was woried about the waterpump, but someone on the Cummins forum said I should check the alt allainment. It looked straight, but when I put a straight edge on the pulley, it was cocked. When I loosened the mounts, I found that the pivot hole on the alternator was 7/16" and the pivot bolt was 3/8". So I ended up drilling out and tapping for 7/16. That solved the problem. Runs straight and No cherp.

              (pic before harness and bolt fix)

              Check out my project



                I promised some driving impressions, so let me start with brakes.

                Now if you have been following this, you should know that the entire brake system is 2007 Superduty. That includes the rotors/calipers/pads and the master cylinder/hydroboost. I made all the brake lines. I did not however put any anti-lock system or front/rear proportion valve. I just hooked the master direct to the calipers. I dont even know if a Superduty has a proportional valve, but Im sure it has anti-lock brakes.

                In any case, I have driven the "frame" about two hours now testing it at low and high speeds.(up to 45 MPH) Ive done numeris panic stops testing the brakes on dirt and paved roads. At this point I will say that the brakes are adiquite. When i say adiquite, I mean they are about as good as my DD Bronco. While they are safe, I was hoping for better. These are one ton brakes on a vehical that is at least 1000 lbs lighter than my Bronco. (right now,at least)

                There are a couple issues that may effect these brakes. First, the front brakes are all origenal to the axle as I got it from the junkyard. (calipers, rotors and pads) The rotors were grooved. (and still are) In addition, the rear brake rotors are also origenal and were quite rusty. The calipers and pads are new back there and I hoped they would clean off the rotors. All the rotors are cleaner looking, but I cant say they are smooth. I dont know how much nice clean (and flat) rotors makes a differnce. My DD has grooved rotors also right now. So I may replace them first to see how much differnce they make. I may be able to turn them on my lathe. (might be too far gone)

                Next up date, Ill talk about steering.

                Ok, full hydro steering.

                Let me start by saying that the only "full hydro" steering vehicals that I have ever driven were forklifts, tractors and some heavy equiptment. The fastest I ever drove one was maybe 15 MPH. So I didnt know what to expect. I did some searching of the web. Thats kind of like asking about lockers. You get some people saying dont even think about lockers on a road vehical and others that say you wont even notice them on your truck. (I have lockers and the truth is somewhere in the middle) Full hydro is even worse because very few people actually have experince with it. (but that doesnt stop them from telling you their opinion)

                I will try to give you the most honest opinion I can. I have only driven the frame about two hours and only about 30 minutes above speeds of 20 mph. The highest speed I attained was about 45. I held it above 40 for about five minutes. The problem I had with the speed was my wheels/tires were out of balance. At speeds above 40, they really started to get rough. (even on smooth pavement)

                I have a steering box (they call them orbitals) that has "return to center" feature. So when you make a turn, it helps you go back to straight just like a regular steering box. This part worked very good. Also, I got a box with about the same turns "Lock to Lock" as a stock Bronco. (I think about 4) While many wont like the "slow" reaction for rock crawling, it makes it nice for driving on road.

                At slow speeds the steering is FANTASTIC. Stopped dead, idling on concrete, I can hold the steering wheel with my thumb and forefinger (like a wine glass) and turn it with ease. Its strange to move it and see those big ole tires turn with almost no effort. Obviouslly, driving around at slow speed, it is easy to manuver. In fact, it is so easy that when you go over a bump off road, you can imput a little turn when you dont want to. My steering box is mounted kind of flimsy right now and this may be some of the problem.

                One of the really nice things I noticed was that there was almost no pull on the wheel when driving over uneven pavement or dirt. At one point, I was driving down a dirt road about 20 MPH. A car came from the other way and I pulled two tires in to one foot deep ditch. There was no yanking on the steering wheel going in or out of that ditch. I could have done the same manuvier in my Bronco, but I would have to grip the wheel with both hands and tires are a foot shorter and less "scrub radious".

                I know you all are sitting on pins and needles wondering how the high speed is. Well, differnt! LOL. First let me say, there is appsolutly no play and it is not touchy. Perfect right? Well almost. Everything is nice but one little issue. Lets say you are driving down a mile long, straight, smooth road with your car. You can put your hand on the top of the steering wheel and just "rock" it alittle bit right and left to keep it center. At the end of the straight stretch, your hand is still at the top of the steering wheel. With Full hydro, you go down that same road rocking the wheel the same way. But at the end of the stretch, your hand is at the 5 O-clock position. Its a very odd feeling. There is no center position on the steering wheel.

                Now I will say that my hydro system may not be completly bled. I noticed that the leval goes down alittle every time I drive it. (it doesnt leak a drop) So it may improve some of the driving as time goes on. It may be that the center position will be a minor issue after I get use to it. I do need to test it at 60 MPH. I plan to balance the tires with a helicopter balancer. (Ive done it before with some success.) For the time being, I will say that I have guarded enthuisism for the steering.

                OH, one other thing I will mention. The steering box also has a feature where if you lose hydro pressure, it will still steer. Kind of like losing your belt on a typical steering box. In my case te pump is gear driven, so loss of the belt wont kill the pressure. But I want to test the feature anyways. So I drove down a slight hill and shifted in to newtral and shut off the engine. I was able to turn right and left without much effort. It does require more turning of the steering wheel to get a change of direction. When I am completly stopped, I cant turn the tires no matter how much I turn the steering wheel. This may also be a result of incomplete bleading.

                I'm at work now, so all testing will have to wait for a few weeks. Cheers.

                I guess its time for another up date.

                I worked alot and didnt get much done. I got the helicopter balancer and went to work on my wheels/tires. I use to balance helicopters for a living, so I understand this process. The balancer works the same as a dynamic balancer at your tire shop. Basiclly, you do a trail run and a sensor measures the vibration and another sensor gives you a clock angle. You install a trial weight at that clock angle and make another test run. Sounds simple right? It is, but its not completly cut and dry. Sometimes the machine is fooled by harmonics and doesnt give you a perfect clock angle. Still, its way better than nothing.

                I started by hoisting one rear tire off the ground and blocking the other tires. Since the truck has open diffs right now, just the one tire spins. Hooked up the sensors and made a trial run. Since I didnt have a speedometer, I just reved the engine until I got the tire up to 350 RPM. The balancer gives you a tach reading. I figure that speed was aprox. 43 MPH which is where I found alot of vibration when I was driving the truck on the road. (it also vibrated the frame quite abit.)

                After finding the best place to install weight, you keep adding weight till you get the best reading. (least vibration) I bolted scrap iron on to the wheel. My first trial wheel weight looked like this.

                I had planed to use stick on weights after deturmining the amount. This is how much I needed to equal.

                I didnt really want that much weight that could fly off, so I decided to make iron weights to bolt on the inside of the wheel. It really seemed like alot of weight. But the other rear tire was even more! A whopping 40 OZ. If that was a helicopter, I wouldnt fly it. LOL. But it smoothed out the vibs. Fortunently, the front tires didnt require as much. I did have a little setback on one of the front tires because the weight hit my brake caliper. It just scraped alittle. I thought my universal was going out. LOL.

                The end result was the tires/wheels were ten to twenty times smoother. (actual numbers) I cant wait to drive it again and see if I can get it to 60 mph. I was having a problem getting the bubbes out of the full hydro steering no matter how much I tried. Theres a rather involved method of jacking the truck up and sawing the wheels lock to lock and letting it sit. (Over and over) After about two days I found a molecule sized leak in the brand new pump encloser. It wasnt leakin fluid out, it was leaking air in. I dont know how much that hurts the steering, but foam right from the pump cant be good. I called PCS and they sent me a new one right out. I got it the day before I left for work. To much to do then, so it will have to wait till I get back in two weeks.

                Last edited by WaterH; 05-20-2020, 05:55 PM.
                Check out my project



                  Small update,

                  I had a problem with small micro bubbles in my steering resivoir. I followed the bleading instructions till I was blue in the face. I finnily figured out it was leaking air in a small hole in the pump housing. The housing is brand new. I called PSC and they sent a new one no questions asked. They didnt even ask for the old one back. (I did spend alot of money with them) The leak is right at the end of the weld.

                  The other thing I did was to swap the oil pan back to the rear. If you have been following this, you know that I swaped it awhile ago. I didnt like it that way because the engine is tilted back in the frame and on a steep up slop, it really gets slanted. I thought it might lose oil pressure if the oil uncovers the pickup. This turned out to be an expensive goof because I traded my rear pickup tube for the front style. I couldnt find anyone to trade me. So I had to buy one for about $80.

                  I was able to find a Stainless fuel tank on CL for $80. The guy said he had it custom made for $600. I think it was for a boat. Its very well made and he said it was 50 gallons. I dont know if I can use it, but I couldnt pass it up.

                  I got some more updates I will get to in a couple days as Im back at work now.

                  Driving update,

                  So after I got the wheels/tires balanced, I wanted to try another high speed test. Before the vibration was so bad that I thought a tire was going to hop off the ground above 45 MPH. I want this truck to be capable of highway speeds. I wasnt entirely happy with the steering on my last attempt at speed. Also, I forgot to mention that my single radius arm was good for flex, but caused the pax side of the truck dive under hard braking. It wasnt terrible, but I dont want to deal with it right now. So I installed the origenal Superduty arm for my test. I had my new power steering housing installed, so I was hoping for improvment there.

                  On the first test, I followed my son in his pickup. I did it this way so he could tell me the speed (I had no guage) and to make it a little safer trafficwise. Maybe it would keep me from getting a ticket having an escourt if I happen to run across a cop. (this is a rarely traveled back road) In any case, this time I wanted a better speed indication. So I wired a cigerette lighter socket and taped my GPS to the steering support. The GPS has a screen called Dashboard that is perfect for my test. I still had my brother drive my truck for an escourt.

                  So right out of the gate, (litterely my gate) I could feel the truck was better on the dirt road on the way to pavement. I had it up to about 35 on the dirt road. It seemed to track better. After I got it out on the road I stabbed the brakes at about 40. No brake dive or any pulling. Then I excellerated to a little over 60. Vibration was way better. In fact, I cant say I even noticed. I did notice the wind. (been awhile since I rode a motorcycle) The steering was better, but I still must really concentrate on keeping it on the road. I posed the question on another forum and I believe my hydro ram is leaking across the piston. It is brand new, but I had it disassembled to machine differnt threads in the end. Maybe the shop damaged the seals and didnt tell me. (or didnt know) So I will order new seals and try again. I will report again later.


                  This update is pretty much a total fail. Anyways, here goes.

                  I suspected the hydro ram was leaking across the piston. So I ordered new seals. The ram is assembled with gland nuts that require a special tool. PSC didnt sell such a tool, but said I could buy it at local auto parts stores. They must have differnt auto parts stores then me. Cuzz none of them ever seen or heard of such a wrench, let alone sell it. I was serfing the craigslist and here is the only high point of this update. My new toy. (Plasma cutter)

                  The guy that sold it to me was a really cool guy and had a whole shop full of projects. We became friends, so all and all, it was a good deal. It was almost new and he liked it so much, he bought a bigger and better one. Most people would love to have a shop like mine. But this guy's shop rivals the "overhaulin" shop.

                  Anyways, the first job for the plasma was make the spanner for the gland nut. Not very pretty, but it didnt take long.

                  I thought that it would be eazy to work on the truck because the ram is hard to hold. I turned the wheels all the way to the right to make room. Removed the hoses and unthreaded the nut.

                  Now I removed the mounts and was ready to pull the cylinder. I thought I would wipe the dirt off the short stub before I pulled it through the seal. I though that if I pushed the stub out just a little, I could wipe it off better. If you note where the outlet is pointing in this pic, you might guess what happened next. I moved that cylinder about two inches and got squirted directly in my right eye. Plenty went in my hair, on my arm, all over my chest and all over the right tire. I imediatly jumped up and went to the sink to wash my eye. The hydro fluid turned to white gunk that wouldnd wash off my hands, arms and face. I wanted to rub my eyes, but my fingers were just coated. IT SUCKED!!

                  Finnily, I just grabbed a towel and wiped myself off and then washed my hands with GOJO. Now I could rub my eyes. Note to self- dont do that. In this pic, I got the cylinder off and even though it still had alot in it, you can see how much fluid I got in my catch bucket. Im batting a thousand here.

                  The seals looked and felt fine. I replaced them anyways. Re-assembully went much better the next day. I got it all bled and tested the steering. It may have been minorly better. (probably just my immagenation) so I guess the problem is in the orbital. My inlaws showed up and that is as far as I got this whole break. (back at work now) Till next time, cheers.

                  Insanity revealed,

                  Ok, I have to tell you guys Ive been keeping secrets. When I started this thread, I didnt want to be one of those guys that listed all this stuff I was going to do and then drop the project long before I did most of it. Also, I knew I would be changing my mind as the build progressed. But Im at a point that Im going to at least test the possibility of making this thing amphibious. Yes, you read correctly. I always thouht it would be nice to have a truck that could float. Maybe because I have sunk two trucks, My 74' Scout got stuck in a river and was flooded before I could get it towed out. I also got my 88' Bronco stuck in about 4' of water and another foot of mud. Both of those incedents cost me plenty in terms of money and headakes.

                  In any case, lets take a look at my madness so far.

                  First, I dont want it just to float, I want it to go in the water. I know it wont go fast, but Im hoping to move with alittle more authority than just relying the tires spinning. So I figured I would put a prop on it. If you take a look back at post #32, youll see a conversion disc to fit a smaller u-joint to the Sterling axle. No one asked why I made it so big. I was really surprized nobody asked what the extra six bolts were in the first pic on post #97.

                  Well I was looking ahead to when I cut out this 1/4" plate. Here I'm twisting each blade. The process went like this. Clamp the blade in the mill vise, heat it with the torch and twist by hand. I had a guide so I would get the blades the same pitch. I could do only three blades at a time and let it cool down.

                  After all blades twisted, a coat of Rustolium. If this experiment actually works, I will probably get this powder coated.

                  Here mounted on the pinion. This blade was on the truck during the highspeed runs and during my tire balancing. Seemed to run smooth and i could feel the breeze during the balance runs. Im not sure about it's effectiveness because it will be thrusting the water right at the diff. Also, the top of the prop maybe too close to the surface of the water causing cavatation. But it's the best I could come up with right now. I think its got to be better than tires trying to paddle

                  Next update, float construction.

                  Check out my project



                    Aircraft aluminum or "How to build a porcupine"

                    So we need this thing to float. Figuring out the floatation is a tough nut to crack. The basic saying is "If the weight of an object displacing water is less than the water it displaces, It will float". While this is true, its alot harder to calculate what this truck will displace, in say 30" of water, than a square box. Also some other things come into play. If you take a 10 lb. piece of steel and hang it from a fish scale, lower it into a five gallon bucket of water, it now weighs 8 lbs. (Ive done this) So for items like an axle that will be sumerged, it is very hard to say what it will weigh. If it was all steel and water could get to every side of it, it would require enough floatation to support about 80% of its weight. But the water cant get to all sides of it and there is material in a axle that is not steel. (Oil, air, brake pads, etc.) So it will effectively weigh less.

                    In any case, I did some rough calculations and deturmined that the tires will not be enough to float this truck. I have quite a bit of experince with aircraft sheet metal. Float construction begins, aircraft style. Building with aluminum is not real expensive and fun!

                    I'm using .032" thick 6061-T6 aluminum. Aircraft use this and 2024-T3. For reasons I wont go into, I would recumend the 6061 alloy for most projects. First deturmin the "rib" shape. Cut it out of 3/4" plywood. Trace the plywood on the sheet.

                    Now draw a line about 3/4" bigger around your tracing.

                    Now cut out on that line. You dont have to be perfect. The edge wont show on the finished product.

                    Drill a hole at the corners. This is basicly a stop drill hole to prevent cracking.

                    Cut out to the hole perpendicular to the edge.

                    Clamp your aluminum on a table with you plywood form. (edge sticking out)

                    Bend the edge with a rubber hammer. Try to bend it evenly along the edge so you dont stretch it to much.

                    Repeat this on all the other edges. Now you have one "rib". You can repeat this for however many ribs you need. Some people would say they need a brake for this. But you can make alot of Identical ribs this way without measuring. Also you can make a reverse rib to cap the other end of you profile shape.

                    The one problem making them this way is the edge tends to stretch and cause the piece to warp. I dont know if you can see, but the rib is concave here and doesnt line up with this straight edge.

                    There is an easy fix for this.Its called a fluting pliers. Here you see a straight piece of sheet bent in an angle.

                    Here you see the same piece with a bend created by the fluting pliers. If you put more or deeper flutes, the bend will increase. If you go to far, you can just hammer the flutes out alittle.

                    Now you can see the rib fluted from the inside to straighten out the warp.

                    Heres the same view as before with the rib lined up to the straight edge.

                    Now I just drill some 1/8" holes with the help of a rivit spacer. Its held on the sheet with a temporary rivit called a cleco. (the copper thing with the chrome tip) If you never worked with clecos, your in for a treat. You can build large assembles (think wings) and take them apart to work on details before final assembly. They have all differnt sizes that are color coded (Chrome=3/32", Copper=1/8" etc.) I like working with 1/8 rivits, so I pretty much stick with them.

                    So after a little work, I have a porcupine all ready for riviting.

                    Next update, I'll finish the float.

                    Before I rivet the floats, I need do some reinforcing so I can mount this thing. I built this side bar that mounts to the frame. (Please dont zoom in on the welds) You can see I installed some heavy aluminum angle in the upper edge of the float.

                    Even if this thing is successfull, I would like these floats remove quickly with a few bolts. I could thread the thicker aluminum. But its not that thick and you really need helicoils in AL for things that will be removed. I chose to go with another aircraft staple, the nut plate.

                    Installing them is easy. Start by drilling a 1/8" hole where you want it. Then use your cleco to hold it while you drill the mount holes. In this case, Im using 3/32" holes to mount #24 floating nuts. (a floating nut can move alittle on it's base)

                    Then remove the nut and drill out the center hole. (The size is not critical, just so its bigger than your screw/bolt) With the same drill you can countersink te other two holes. If you were working on an aircraft, you would use a special tool to do this accurate. But for this build, I just winged it.

                    Then rivit the nutplate in. I'm using 3/32" soft aluminum countersunk rivits. Again, on an aircraft, you might use a rivit squeezer. But a regular pliers works fine.

                    In areas you cant reach, a tap of a hammer will do. Remember, these rivets hold the nut from turning. So you dont need alot of strength.

                    Here you see the finished nutplates. These nuts will hold a cover over this access hole with some stainless screws.

                    In this picture, you can see some heavier nutplates that will use 1/4" stainless bolts. I will mount the floats to the side bars with these. These nutplates used 1/8" rivits to mount to the heavy AL angle. This is another case where I was able to mount the angles in the float with the clecos. Then remove the angle to install the nutplate. Later I rivit the angle into the float.

                    Here the float is final riveted with 1/8" "round head" rivits. You could use countersink rivets here also. Then you could hide them completly with paint. But I like the look of rivets. You can see the top in the backround. The access hole will allow me to "buck" the rivets that hold the top on. These rivets are soft, but you really need a rivet gun for these.

                    I put another rib in the center for alittle more rigidity.

                    Here you get the idea of how it looks on the truck. You can see the unfinished front float here also. I have to make the other side also. The truck is higher in the back in this pic. I noticed after I put it back in the garage. Just have a little more air in the back bags. The floats should be level.

                    Last edited by WaterH; 05-20-2020, 06:06 PM.
                    Check out my project



                      Update time.

                      Here is a little closer look at the front float. You can see on each corner I had to make a little box. Im going to fill the floats with foam and I couldnt have it go in the corner because there are some bolts on the frame that stick in there.

                      Here is the front is completed with a round access hole. For filling with the foam. I could just seal up the aluminum, but I dont want any chance of a leak sinking the truck.

                      I got this two part foam for the floats. It is normally used for docks and boats.

                      This stuff is alittle tricky to work with. You are suppose mix it 1 to 1 therally before using. But it will start expanding in about 40 seconds. If its hot out, even quicker. I made a paddle that fits in my cordless drill so I could mix it quick. I mixed two Quarts at a time. Here you can see one mix poured in one end of the float. (its still growing here) While its expanding, its really hot! You cant hold your hand on the side of the aluminum.

                      You can repoar as often as you want. It sticks to the last pour. When you get close to filling it, you got to be carefull because it can expand withe great force. Also you dont want to mix too much. Even with a open hole, I had to put weight on the top so it wouldnt bulge. Im glad I put that extra rib in the center or the float would have deformed.

                      After about 15 minutes, it stops expanding and is somewhat hard. (it gets very hard in an hour) I was able to cut off the mushroom cloud. The float weighed about 15 lbs. before foam and about 35 after. The float became very solid after also. I could easily stand on it without bending the thin aluminum.


                      OK, so the floats are on. Now I have some ideas about how to add some more flotation, but I also have to add some more metal/glass/instruments and other stuff. So I want to do a test to see if Im in the ballpark as far as floating goes. I dont have any deep water right close. I was slowly digging a pond for this day, but the emphasess is on slowly.

                      So I decided to tow/trailer it to a local boat ramp. I started looking at my trailer, but there are some issues putting this thing on the trailer. I bought a tow bar awhile back for another car and I wondered if I could make it work. The front of the truck has two 2 1/2" square tubes that are bolted right on the frame rails. I did this on purpose so I could put accesseries on it using a standard 2 by 2 recievers to plug in to it. (what do you call the tube that plugs into a reciever) Anyways, I figured I could modified the towbar to hook on two recievers as my first accessery. First thing to do was cut off a couple 2" square tubes. I allready had some with a 1/4" wall,so that was quick. But when I stuck them in the 2 1/2" tubes, well NOT. The 2 1/2" tubes have a 1/4" wall, so the ID should be 2". I didnt notice there was a weld bead inside the tube that was just big enough to stop me from getting the smaller tube in it. Cleaning that bead off was a PITA! I guess they make recievers from seemless tubing. I used a die grinder with a metal bur. It was slow work,especially once I got in a few inches. Do you guys know of a better way to do something like that? No dont tell me. I'll just get mad there was some easy way.

                      Anyways, drill couple holes and the tubes pin to the frame securly. Next, remove the bumper clamps off the tow bar, bolt it to the reciever tubes. Its a fairly nice towbar and went on without much trouble. The bar has a multi hole spreader bar and I had to file one hole just a hair to get the right width.

                      The tow bar can pivot up and down at the front of the truck to accomadate differnnt height hitches. Normally, my Bronco hitch is too tall for most things I haul. But this truck is a bit higher than my Bronco. I have a drop hitch I use for my trailer. So I turned it upside down to even it out. (kind of) In this pic you can really see the differnce in tire size. Looking at this, you wouldnt think my Bronco wares 38's.

                      I tried towing it around in my yard and the wheels would not trac like they should. I think my caster is not correct. So Im building new radius arms that will have adjustable caster. Their almost done, but I had to go back to work. On my next break, they should be done. Even if they dont fix the problem, I will get someone to steer while I tow. Its going in the water soon.

                      Ok lots to updates now that I'm back at work. Of course lots to type. I'll start with the radius arms.

                      These turned out nice and solved some problems and cause others. I just about got all the issues licked. First we'll take a look at the drivers side. If you have been following this, you saw me make a single arm for the pax side to test flex. I took that arm and welded some plates on to mount second arm. Most of the parts for these arms were bought from Ruffstuff. I recomend them. You'll notice that I can adjust the caster by threading the middle rodend in or out. I had lost some caster in the way I mounted the stock arms. This way I could get it back. (plus some if nesessary)

                      I didnt need the misalianment bushings because this arm will not move in relation to the lower arm. (once installed) I didnt care to mount it with a 1 1/4" bolt, so I made a bushing to reduce it to 3/4".

                      These arms have the added benifit of more clearence to the tires at full lock.

                      I could have fashioned a simalar arm for the pax side, but I wanted to have the abillity to make it flex like the single arm and the swaybar effect of the stock system. I started by making a twin to the drivers side. Instead of welding the fixed plates on, I made two bushings to weld in the side. The stock arm is in the backround. (Reguardless of how it looks, It is exactly the same length)

                      Then I made the top arm simalar to the drivers side. The only differnce is I used a smaller rodend. This was for clearence purposes. I thought this was nesessary, but apon completion, I found I could have used the same size. It's going to stay now. The next step was to make a pivoting mount that could be "pinned" to lock when needed.

                      When the pivot was free the two arms needed to pivot at the axle also. I could have let the rubber bushings on the axle absorb this movement, but they are not really designed for rotational movement. So I made some stepped washers with a few thoussands clearence to hold the arms, but still allow them to swivel.

                      In this pic you can see the washers bolted to a bushing simalar to the ones in the axle. You can see how the arms will be captured, but free to swivel.

                      I used a "quick release" pin so I can pull it when needed. I sappose I can pull this pin when I lock the hubs. (unless I choose not to)

                      The pivot plates and pin are also clear of the tire at full lock.

                      Testing the arms next update.

                      Now for testing of my new radius arms. After pulling the pin, I drove up a hill about two feet on the driver's side. If you look close, you can see that the mount has pivoted about the width of the hole. (5/8")

                      Here I drove up the same hill on the pax side.

                      I could have driven up further and no doubt the mount would swivel further. I didnt do this because untill I beef up my frame, I dont want to put to much stress on it. I do beleive that this system reduces stress on the frame, which is the main reason I did it. A stock tire hanging in air doesnt put on too much stress. But a 300 LB. tire/wheel on one ton axle really tries to twist the frame.

                      I set the caster back to what a Superduty has stock. Then I hooked up the towbar and MAGIC, the wheels follow when I turn the tow vehical. I cant wait to drive it at high speed again. Maybe the on road handling has improved.

                      Last edited by WaterH; 05-20-2020, 06:13 PM.
                      Check out my project



                        All sounds great, right. Well, not quite.

                        First problem I ran into was binding of the trac bar as I cycle the suspension. If you think about it, I rolled the axle back to correct the caster. That put the tracbar closer to the front crossmember. I only rolled it about 3 degrees. Anyways a grinder fixed that.

                        Next Problem, the airbags would rub the shocks at full bump.

                        I never liked the spring/shock tower and I wished I had cut it off and made my own.

                        For now I removed the lower bag mounts and cut them apart and rewelded them on at a differnt angle. I'm not very proud of my welding, but everytime I have to cut something I welded, it turns out to be the best job I ever did. LOL.

                        The last problem was on the pax side top radius arm mount bolt. The stock arms were 1/8" thick and had a big bolt go through right behind the shock. My arms are 1/4" thick and then I have the 1/4" step washer. On top of that, I had to get a longer bolt to go through all that. The length didnt matter because it stuck out on the inside, but for some reason the head was a bigger hex then the stock bolts. The end result of all this is when I cycled suspension to the bump stop, I gouged the side of my brand new shock. (of course i was looking at the other problems and wondering what that noise was)

                        The shock is not leaking, but doesnt look good. I ordered some new allen head bolts I plan on countersinking them into the step washer. That should solve it.

                        Next update, water trials.

                        Ok, its sink or swim time. Actually, its just wade a little bit time. LOL.

                        First, I needed to scope out the locale. There is a small river less than 5 miles from me and I know it has two boat ramps. I drove over to the closest one to check it out. It is not really a boat ramp. Its more like a dirt road that ends in the river. Its very secluded and I thought it would be perfect for testing out of the public eye. The water didnt look too deep, so I drove my Bronco in. I got about 20 yards out before the water was up on my doors. Thats not so good. I planed to back the project in with the tow bar. I would have to back a long ways to get deep enough to float the project and it was such a gradual slant that my Bronco would be flooded. Plus when I went to drive out, my Bronco started to dig down. I got out with out much trouble, but towing 4000 lbs. might not be so easy.

                        The second ramp was a proper boat ramp with cement that had a steeper angle. I drove the Bronco in and very quickly got up to doors and still was on the cement. Its a little more public, but it was 70 outside and who would go out on the river when it was only 70? So this is the spot.

                        Now I know that I dont have enough floatation to float stable, but I wanted to get an idea how close I am. I figure that the nose is extra heavy, so I strapped the stainless fuel tank on the back and filled it with water. I thought it would weigh about 300 lbs. and hoped it would make the truck float somewhat level. I went around the truck and put rubber caps on all the vents. (diffs, T-case and tranny) I hooked up the towbar without starting the project. If fate struck, I didnt want any chance of a hot motor/turbo going in cold water. LOL.

                        So down the ramp till I see the rear tires bob.

                        Here I ran into problem. As I backed further in, the rear tires went back up on solid ground. My son was wareing hip waders and confirmed the end of the boat ramp dropped off deeper for about two foot. Then it got shallow again. He walked out further and it did get deeper, but my Bronco would hve been off the ramp by then. I learned some stuff here and decided to take it home to evailuate it. I didnt like how low in the water the rear was floating. Based on that, I thought at the time that the front wouldnt float at all. Here the the rear is floating, the front is not.

                        I was kind of bummed out and considered dropping the amphibious idea. So me and my son got drunk.

                        The next day I got to looking at the project and I noticed a couple things.

                        First, I weighed the fuel tank full of water. Much to my surprize, it was over 500 lbs. Also, I took some measurements. The "center of mass" of the fuel tank was 64" from the center of the truck. The "COM" of the engine is about 32" from the center of the truck. I dont know if my thinking is right, but it would seem that twice the length would be twice the leverage. So 500 would balance 1000. The engine is only about 700. The front axle weighs a bit more also, but then theres the front float. So it maybe that im not so far off. Anyways, Im not giving up yet. I do have some ways to add some more floatation and Im doing it. Anyways thats all till I get back from work.

                        New up date

                        While working on the floats, I was jacking up the frame by the air bags. I noticed the front axle seemed to move sideways quite a bit. This is because of the trac bar. I all ready modified the trac bar early in this thread to make it adjustable length wise. The rule of thumb on trac bars is You want them to be parallel and the same length as the draglink. Also, as long as possible and horizontal at ride height. In my case, there is no draglink (hydro steer) and it's already as long as practical. I flipped the lower ball joint to make the bar horizontal as I could. It wasn't horizontal at ride height, but it was at full bump. (as good as I could get)

                        The problem is, It's not the bar that should be horizontal, it's the imagenary line through the bar pivot points that should be horizontal. Most times the bar is on that line because the pivots are on the ends of the bar. But in this case, the lower pivot is offset by the balljoint. I flipped the balljoint thinking I improved the angle considerably. But in fact, I barely changed the angle.

                        So in keeping with my standard policy of doing everything at least twice, I designed a new lower mount. This bolts in the mount where the balljoint was pressed in. The bottom, while not a press fit, is very tight and I had to pound it in. A 3/4" bolt assures it doesn't come out. Another 3/4" bolt will attach the lower rodend.

                        Installing a rodend in the end of the bar proved to be tricky. I would have liked to make a whole new bar out of DOM, but I needed the slight bend at the lower end. I didn't like the idea of bending DOM. (I think forged is stronger) I cut off the end easy enough with my band saw. Trying to drill a forged bar straight with a hand drill didn't sound like fun to me. So I devised a way to clamp the curved bar on my tool post of my lathe. Then I chucked the drill bit in the lathe chuck and fed the bar to it with the carrage. It worked good. I started with a small bit and slowly worked up to 13/16". Then I used the lathe to hold the tap straight. It would have been nice to "power tap" it, but I don't have that much confidance in my machinist skills. So I just used a wrench.

                        Although the bar is in the same place as before, now the pivot point is raised about 2 1/2". So the bar and the imagenary line is now horizontal at full bump. I did some measurements before and after at full bump and full droop. The left to right movement is about a 1/4" less. I was hopping for less than that. I guess I should have done the math first. In any case, it moves very little in the main opperating range. (3" up and down from ride height)


                        Last edited by WaterH; 05-20-2020, 06:28 PM.
                        Check out my project



                          After the less than stellar performance in the water, I'm going to give it another shot. While I do believe I should have tested it a bit more without the tow bar, it is obvious that it will need more floatation. I have limited area to install flotation without losing the look I want to achieve. I'm not interested in the "pragnant" fourwheeler look. LOL. I also dont want to lose off road capability just to float. Im deturmined to keep min. 16" ground clearance. Also I don't want the approach/deparcher angle to be any less than 45 degrees. So the best place for some more floatation is the belly. Its going to take some fancy sheet metal work to fit some in. Here goes.

                          The start

                          More work

                          And more

                          Still more

                          Access holes for filling with foam

                          The large bulge fits right under the engine. The angles on the sides bolt to the side floats. I had to make the weird sides because of the suspension arms. This was a time consuming project. It would have takin longer if it was showing. I didnt really have to worry about fit and finish.

                          I started filling it with foam, but ran out. I checked with a local boat shop, but they wanted three times as much for the stuff as online. I don't mind supporting local stores, but really, three times online retail? Anyways, I couldn't finish before leaving for work. I have to work through Christmas and New Years. I have limited time in January because of a business trip to Dallas. So I might not get to the next water test till Feb. That sucks.


                          I got to work a little in January before my trip. I finished the foamfill and bolted the center float on. I had test bolted it on at least five times while building it. It fit perfect then. Of course after filling it with foam, it changed somehow. The bolt holes had to be enlarged just to get them in. After getting it on, some of the clearences got alot tighter. First thing I noticed was the front u-joint was just about touching the float. This was hard to understand because I built it with at least 3/4" of clearance. After studying it a bit I realized that I built it when the truck suspension was at full droop. (I had it jacked up with the bags) When I let it down, the axle shifted over some and this is what I got.

                          There are some useless bumps on the pinion yoke that I ground down and made about 1/8" of clearance. Good enough for water testing.

                          The next area of tightness is the oil pan. You cant see in this pic, but there is about a 1/4" here. But when I built it, it was at least 3/4". I guess the foamed swelled it a little. Im guessing the engine will move on the mounts and hit it sometimes.

                          I maybe able to adjust the float with a BFH tool, but for now Im going to leave it. Heres a pic from the front.

                          Another from the back. (sorry about the focus)

                          During my short time off I got the float mounted quick and I was keen to get it back in the water. But another problem came up. I had been topping off the power steering resivore every so often. It was working good and I couldnt see a leak anywhere, so I figured it was slowly bleeding all the air out. But it kept going down. I therally checked every connection. Not a drop. So after a bit of deep thought (OK, a couple drinks) I realized the only place it could go is through the pump shaft into the engine. (remember its gear driven) I checked the dip stick not really sure if I could tell. LOL. It was at least a gallon over full and very clear. I only put a half a cup each time. I guess It really adds up.

                          Anyways, I didnt have enough time to get that all straightened out, so I worked on another area. Earlier in the thread I had reclocked the T-case adapter and welded some blocks on it. Well it looks like there are some cracks in the top. They may be just scratches. In any case, I started looking for a new adapter to keep as a back up. I found out that they make cast iron ones also. I never really liked the T-case held up by that aluminum adapter. So I got a iron one and reclocked it.

                          Even with a digital mill, this is a tricky job. Ford in its infinit wisdom made the six bolt pattern unsimetrical. Of course they didnt make it obvious. In fact, it would appear like they made it purposely complicated. If you imagine six holes and six spaces between, they made five of the spaces identical and the last about .200" differnt. You might think they did this so you dont install it wrong, but there is a dowel pin! Anyways I got it figured out. On this adapter, I didnt have to weld any blocks on. There is one location the there is a web behind and I might cut it off. (still pondering)


                          I got the adapter finished. The web that was in the way was thin. (there were three others very thick) I think it was only for a shifter mount. I ended up machining the web so I could use all six mount bolts. It turned out the aluminum one was not cracked. (just scratched) I like the iron one better anyways. All painted and installed.

                          If you have been keeping up with this, you know I made my own driveshafts. I really didnt trust them, especially the rear. So I got a custom driveshaft made by Tom Woods. It uses 1350 U-joints. If you look close, you can see bigger end caps. As a added benifit, it has more misalianment angle.

                          New splash,

                          Ok, so I got the new steering pump in, changed the oil in the engine, refilled and bled the steering resivore. The truck is running again. Bolted the center float back on. (had to remove it to drain the oil) Now I'm ready for another try at the river. My brother and a friend from Canada were in town and I hoped to enlist their help in this test. But the steering pump turned out to be a PITA because I had to make custom tools to press off and on the gear drive. This took several days and they had to leave. Then I hoped to get my son their again with his hip waders. He said he would, but he ended up partying to hard the nite before. (to be young again) Anyways, I was on my own. I towed it down to the river, got it turned around. Backing it down the ramp took a few tries because the caster doesn't help you going backwards.

                          First I backed it down just till I saw the back tires bob. We had alot of rain the day before, so the river was alittle deeper. That and the extra floatation ment I didn't have to go down the ramp very far. If you look at my earlier post, you'll see I had to back untill my Bronco rear wheel was under water. Here you can see I wasn't in near as far.

                          Now if you look at the rear of the project, you notice the frame rails are out of the water. This was promising, so back I went till I saw the front tires bobbed. Here the entire project is floating. Again notice the rear frame rails. I walked all around on the project to check how much stability and extra floatation I had. (not much, LOL)

                          Completely floating!

                          When standing on the rear 2 x 6 that spans the frame rails, both rear tires went under and the frame rails sank till the water was about 1" below the top of the rail. (the wood didn't get wet) If I stood on one side float, the machine tipped untill one of the front tires hit the ramp. Not sure what would happen if the water was deeper. I did practise my log rolling technique on the back tire and it never hit the bottom. Standing in the center on the front, the wood never gets wet and it is still floating the tires. but obviouslly, theres not much extra floatation. Something else I did was measure the distance from the rear axle to the frame with a tape. It would appear that the tires are barely floating the axle and not helping the total much. (they are hanging off the frame,) If your wondering why the rear frame floats so high, I think its because the front axle is pulling down so hard and floats in the middle.

                          Anyways the next test was the prop. I started the engine and put it in gear. There was alot of water churning up behind the project.It might have been just from the tires. But I was affraid to walk back to the rear while it was running because I could envision one of those U-tube videos of the project running over my Bronco while I swim to shore. LOL. Next time I have help, I will drive it out in the river with a rope so it can be pulled back if trouble ensues.

                          I'm pretty happy with the test and I think I might be able to pull this off. In any case, I'm ready to start working on the body. I leave you with this alternant view. Note exhaust bubbling off the Bronco.

                          Check out my project



                            I turned my attention to the back. I like a short compact rear end. So I cut about a foot off the frame.

                            I had a reciever hitch I got with the donor truck. I mounted it as forward as I could.

                            It looks pretty good. But I still thought It stuck out too much.

                            So I shortened it. This might look eazy, but it was alot of work. I had to grind off the reinforcement lip and the chain rings and weld them back on 3" back. Then redrill the hole. I like the outcome though. I ordered some iron for the bumpers. Next break.

                            I played with some cardboard and 2 by 4s. My first attempt.

                            Then I thought I need to finish off the back alittle. I like the lines of the fenders. I like the real HEMTT, but there are a few things I dont like. A real one is 8' wide and 8' tall and has 53" tires. Then the mirrors stick out to make it 10' wide. That is alittle large to wheel in. (or even drive around on the street) I have a mortorhome that big and Ive hit the mirrors several times. The front overhang swings wide on turns also. I decided that I want the mirrors no wider than the tires. (8') This body is 6 1/2' wide. Also, I was deturmined to be no taller than 7'. The HEMTT body doesnt scale perfectly, but I like it.

                            Here is some pics for scale. My Bronco sits on 38's

                            I drove it around like this in my yard. It wasnt too bad except for backing up. The seat is back abit from the edge of the window and of course I didnt have mirrors. When i back up, I like to stick my head out the side. The window being forward and so far out from my set made this hard to do. So I tried cutting down the width 1/2' . (3" on each side.) I wouldnt have thought 3" makes that much differnce, but it was much better. I still may make the door/window come back about 2 more inches. You can see the fenders stick out more in this version.

                            One of the features of a real HEMTT is a little window on the lower front to help see up close. Well I intend to make two big windows down there. I really like it. (did I mention that Im a helicopter pilot)

                            So I did alittle more work out back. I got a 3x6 steel tube with a 3/16" wall for a back bumper. I made some mounts out of the cut off frame and welded them on. I welded some 1/4" ends on. Then I ground the welds down so It looked like a solid chunk of steel. I really liked it, but I wanted this bumper to double as a air tank. I threaded a fitting in and put a 150 PSI in. It had little leaks several places along the weld. I rewelded with TIG and reground it back to smooth. It still had some real fine leaks. So I ran a small bead with the TIG around and left it. It doesnt leak and still looks pretty good. I still have to install a drain and some other fittings, but Im not set on the locations yet. So I just poured some oil in the hole and plugged it.

                            Check out my project



                              Small Up date

                              This is my "pretend Im a machinist" update.

                              Start with chunk of steel. Clamp it in the mill and start cutting.

                              Although I have been around real machinists working with mills and I understand the basics, things like knowing what speed to run the mill and how fast you feed the part to it, are not in my knollage base. So everything goes slow for me.

                              Turn it on its side, cut some more.

                              Flip it around, cut some more.

                              One more flip and cut.

                              In the bandsaw and make two.

                              Back in the mill to cut some corners.

                              Drill some holes and here we are.

                              If you havent guessed yet, Next post they will be installed.

                              Can't get nothin past you guys. They turned out nice. I probably got 10 hours in em. I'm sure they could be made faster. I only took a hundred thou a cut. I don't know how much the end mill can take. The steel is 2" thick.

                              Alittle cleaning with a flap wheel. (I wish I had a tumbler.) Paint and some grade 8s. Sorry about the pics. I really need to take it outside, but I got the front tour apart to work on the bumper.

                              Update time!

                              This update was going to include all kinds of pics of my fabracation of the front bumper. It was quite a project for me. After I finished, I wanted to take the truck for another float test in the river. Things didnt go well that day (more about this later) I had a number of problems, not the least of which I dropped my camera in the river. I didnt care about the cheap camera, but it had the SD card with most of my pics of the bumper build. GRRRRR My son swam around looking for it to no avail. (Did I mention there are gators in this river)

                              In any case, I have a few pics I copied to my computer before the mishap. The rest are just finished pics I took after.

                              I decided to make the bumper out of square tubing as you dont see any round tubing on a HEMTT. The actual HEMTT bumper is made or angle iron and plate steel. I have some other ideas. First I needed to stiffin up the mounts of my twin recievers. They didnt fit good in the frame horns, so I welded some chunks of steel on the ends and they fit tight.

                              Then I needed a cross bar to mount the bumper on. Chewed out some angle and welded it to the twin tubes.

                              Notching square tubing is eazy if you have a mill. Here is a sample I did to test. I did most all the bumper like this. It helped to have tight fits for my welding. I know alot of guys on here like the "stacked dimes" style of welding. I like it too, but most of my welding is of the "stacked chickenshit" style.

                              I wanted the bumper to bolt on because building/painting the cab later will be eazier without the bumper in the way. Also I may send it out later for powder coating. The main cross tube is bolted to the cross angle bar.

                              The ends wrap around and bolt to some "outriggers I built". They have some 1/4" welded in the ends. They fit very tight which is nice looking, but a bitch to put the bumper on. It must be perfectly straight to slide in the notched ends. Of course the finished bumper weighs abit too.

                              Because the front is up high and I wasnt so confident in my welding, I felt the top needed some bracing. The two bars have bushins welded in the ends to bolt to the frame and the bumper. They will covered by a console later.

                              Of course I had to have some schackles up front. It was alot easier making these then the rear.

                              Ill have some complete pics next post.

                              All in all, it turned out pretty good.

                              Hey Pepe', how's that for the covered wagon look? You should have seen it before I put the top bar on. LOL

                              Last edited by WaterH; 05-20-2020, 08:27 PM.
                              Check out my project