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Homebrew Steering Box Brace

#1 User is offline   Joe Dillard 

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 12:41 PM

I decided to build my own steering box brace & while I was at it, figured I would do a step-by-step mini write up incase folks are interested. :)

Started things out by droping by a local metal supply shop & picked up a piece of 2 7/8" OD x 2 3/8" ID x ~.188 wall tubing x 1' in length. Bare with me, but this should be enough for me to make ~8 clamps.

I tossed it in my chop saw & cut a piece ~1.25" long which would be the startings of a clamp.
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I spun that short piece around so that the inner welded seam would be sliced as I cut that piece in 1/2 to make the clamp. In this pic, you can see as I draw the saw blade down, I'll be cutting the seam/weld & eliminating the weakest area of the tube.
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Here I'm almost finished cutting it in 1/2.
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Next thing to do was to put these "C" pieces into a vice & slightly squeeze them together so that they fit the contour of the steering box.
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Here you can see that since I squeezed the slice a bit, it fits snug along the contour of the steering box and makes for 1 side of the clamp (once I attach the tabs).
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I had some 3/16" flat plate laying around that I cut 4 pieces to ~1.25" x 1.25" x 3/16". I'll use these pieces and attach/weld them to the "C" pieces I cut earlier and make clamps out of the finished product.
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I started drilling them with a pilot hole & finished things up with a 3/8" hole so the 3/8" grade 8 bolts/hardware will fit nicely.
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More to follow in my next post

#2 User is offline   Joe Dillard 

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 12:48 PM

Made some progress between doing other less interesting household chores (I removed 4 bathroom sinks/plumbing/countertops due to new granite countertops being installed).

Anyway, here's how the clamp looks as I tact welded it and was doing some test fitting. Take note of the left side of the clamp; I was using a small 1" x 1" x ~1/2" thick washer between the clamps ends. I'll be using this washer later as a component of the crossbrace.

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Here's another look at it from beneath.

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If I do things right - I'll be able to attach the crossbrace to this washer and dial-in the correct angle for mounting on the opposite side framerail.

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Next thing up was to make 3 plates that I'll be welding together as a frame attachment bracket. The plates were made of some 4" x 1/4" flat plate steel I had laying around. The 3 plates once cut ended up all being 4" x 2.5" x 1/4". I drilled 2, 1/2" holes in 2 of them.

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Here, I'm removing the 3/8" head screw which holds the front passenger side hydro line inplace. You can also see how the outer plate looks before being welded to the other pieces.

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Here's how the washer looks as I sliced the end of the ~20.5" x1" x .120" wall crossbrace. I notched the crossbrace with my chopsaw just enough so that the washer fits real snug and is sunken into the end of the crossbrace. It will be fully MIG welded when all is said and done.

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Here's a test fit after I welded the washer to the crossbrace and installed it sandwich style in the clamp.

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This is a test fit of the crossbrace to the inner framerail side of my bracket before I tact welded it. I did cut it at an angle so it would sit flat against the frame attachment pieces.

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Another couple test fit pics.

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Here's how the frame bracket looks from up top prior to me welding it.

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When all is said and done, it will look similar to this except with some primer and Hammerite paint.

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Shortly after I finished it - I took a trip to Colorado and Moab to do some trail runs with friends. Here's a couple pics of it while doing Billings Canyon with my friend Wally in Grand Junction, CO.

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#3 User is offline   Jerry Bransford 

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 02:29 PM

Hey very nicely done Joe, great photos too. So few realize how important it is to brace the steering box when you're running big tires. I just discovered mine was bent pretty badly two weeks ago so it's just one more thing to have to check for straightness after a rock crawling trip. Luckily a bottle jack was enough to straighten it.
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#4 User is offline   Jim B 

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  Posted 02 July 2007 - 08:36 AM

X2 Joe, nicely done.

The detail on the pics really relate. :rolleyes:

The geometry stress on the steering plays a pretty good part if we should brace or not in my opinion. I've tried a few things and they way I'm set up now seems to work for me without a brace. It's always a handy thing to have though. :)
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#5 User is offline   Joe Dillard 

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Posted 02 July 2007 - 05:49 PM

Thanks guys. I sometimes look for excuses to work in my garage & this seemed like a good one. :2thumup:

My guess is that folks could use a similar approach if they wanted to & make their own if they felt inclined for a XJ, ZJ, WJ, TJ, MJ, CJ, or whatever the newest "J's" happen to be. :tongue1:

#6 User is offline   k7mto 

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Posted 02 July 2007 - 06:11 PM

Good job!

Now post more pics of the wheeling trip! :tongue1:
Matt
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#7 User is offline   Joe Dillard 

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Posted 02 July 2007 - 07:11 PM

View Postk7mto, on Jul 2 2007, 06:11 PM, said:

Good job! Now post more pics of the wheeling trip! :tongue1:

Certainly. :2thumup: Here's just a few from 21 Road just north of Grand Junction.

Here's my friend Wally's YJ. He just sold it and is building another rig.
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Wally sometimes likes to take the easy line:
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My friend Scotts YJ:
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Yes, this is a BIG rock & you climb up on top of it then down the other side.
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#8 User is offline   Rollbar 

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Posted 03 July 2007 - 10:48 AM

Nice Job Joe, do U make them for re-sale?
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#9 User is offline   Joe Dillard 

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Posted 03 July 2007 - 11:40 AM

View PostRollbar, on Jul 3 2007, 10:48 AM, said:

Nice Job Joe, do U make them for re-sale?

Thanks. Naw, I just build things as part of our hobby and I like toying in the garage as much as the next guy. I haven't tried to sell one.

Watch for my homebrew axle truss thread though. You may see those for sale soon due to a few companies trying to copy my design. :banghead1:

#10 User is offline   Rollbar 

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Posted 03 July 2007 - 11:52 AM

OK Cool.

Go here & apply some of these (TM etc.) tactics when U post your stuff if other company's are trying to get your info etc.
http://www.uspto.gov...kflow/start.htm
*MY CJ IS YOUR yJ's DADDY*

*Who Needs A Stinking Manual When You Have A Fat Wallet For Tech Support!*

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Support the Central Florida Bible Camp for kids

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#11 User is offline   Wildbill 

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Posted 04 July 2007 - 10:19 PM

Really nice job on the brace and the pics are great as well. I love seeing fellow square lights :whistle: on the trail and it looks like that's all you wheel with :sneak:

Wildbill :rolleyes:
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#12 User is offline   Joe Dillard 

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Posted 04 July 2007 - 10:51 PM

Wildbill, naw, I wheel with whoever shows up (even if it is all YJ's sometimes). :naughty:

Seriously, I'm often one of the few YJ drivers amongst TJ's, CJ's, MJ's XJ's, ZJ's, WJ's etc.

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