Burning steel!

Spent the day at Andy’s burning some steel! I can’t thank him enough for spending part of his holiday break helping me out.

Authors note: When reading the below, when encountering the word “we”, please substitute the phrase “Andy, while I watched,” in its place.

I kept the axles on the carts I built. Made it easier to load them on a trailer.

All of the brackets and truss pieces are ready to go. Everything was wiped down with acetone, the edges cleaned with a scotchbrite pad and primed with weldable primer.

The rear was fairly straight forward, Artec LCA brackets and the Barnes 4WD track bar bracket. We only needed to figure out just where the LCA brackets needed to go. The Artec web site didn’t give any details. Using my Jeep and the stock mounts for reference, clamped up the new bracket and welded it in.

These things are pretty stout. (Note: the axle is inverted in these pictures.)

The Barnes 4WD rear track bar bracket was next. It is just massive. This thing is going nowhere!

The front was next. First, test fitting the Barnes 4WD truss. This truss is beefier than the Artec, all 3/16″ instead of a mixture of 3/16″ and 1/8″ steel. And, according to Ringer, was much better fitment.

Welding in the truss took a long time. To prevent any warping of the axle tube, we could only weld small beads at a time, moving from one side to the other, front to the back, waiting to allow it to cool in between.

When welding the truss to the cast differential housing, it’s necessary to heat it up first to prevent the weld from cracking, as the two metals heat and cool at different rates, plus have different metallurgical properties.

Next was the Barnes 4WD front track bar bracket, again, beefy. The holes are drilled for 14mm bolts, and my track bar uses 9/16″ bolts, so we opened them up with a 9/16″ reamer.

Next up, Barnes 4WD lower control arm skids! (View from the underside of the axle.)

Lastly, since the previous owner had run coil overs, that required removing part of the spring perch, we had to fabricate a new spot where the spring will index.

All in all, it was a very long day. Over 7 1/2 hours from start to finish.

I cannot express how much gratitude I have for Andy and the Jeep community.

Can’t wait to bounce these off some rocks! (but maybe not too hard.)

Next step is some mild clean up grinding, a wire wheel to clean up some slag (for some reason, the truss was throwing more than the rest), finish cleaning up the rust and getting some paint on them. I still have parts to buy. But my schedule of getting them installed in February or March is still on track.

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