I wish i had some super awesome update but i dont.
I came up with a solution that works, but im not super thrilled with. There is a lot less space than the pics show. Also, the clutch lever is tilted back towards the motor, and the gearbox can only be clocked every other position, so theres really no 'perfect' position; each one has its own issues to deal with so i stayed with this one.
I straightened the clutch lever...
...and then made a removable extension for it:
It might look like theres a ton of room in this pic, but there totally isnt. I actually had to notch the bumper, valance & grill to get this to fit.
This is the 'lock' position. The handle swings forward into the grill, and over towards the passenger tire when in freespool. It works just fine with one hand, but its not much to look at. The problem is, it will become a very tight space, once the radiator/condenser, and trans/p.steering coolers go back in. Because of this, im stopping right here. This will work, but im afraid if i try to design something more elaborate, itll be in the way later down the road. So im going to keep this for now, and once i get closer to the truck being complete, ill revisit it and see if i cant come up with a more elegant design, that doesnt interfere with anything else (i already designed, mostly built, & then rejected a 'better' design because it took up too much space).
So i went over to Eastwood today, bought some epoxy primer, and their extreme chassis black. Supposed to be pretty durable, and its an aerosol so i dont have to worry about trying to brush it on the bumper, and into all the crevices. Hopefully i can start painting them in a week or two, but first i need to deal with this:
I dont want to cut the sheetmetal, so im modifying the clutch lever again. If all goes well, ill have this sorted tomorrow!
In case you were wondering, i weighed it, and the bumper comes in at 130#. The winch weighs in at 72! And thats w/o 90' of 7/16 cable on the drum.
So id call this project complete but if you look closely, youll notice the clutch lever is behind the valance!
Im gonna look into it tomorrow to see if ill be modifying the lever again, or making an extension or something.
Gussets for the bumper brackets:
I decided on two for each side. While im sure one would probably be sufficient, it just looked out of place with one, and i figure a second cant hurt.
Time to weld those seams!
...and more welding....
...and more welding!
So if all goes well, ill be removing the bumper wednesday to begin grinding all the seams and getting them cleaned up, then lots more welding & grinding after that.
I got the driver corner finished:
I knew i was going to be doing some tube work, so i ordered some stuff, and took a couple days to upgrade the bender:
New base with swiveling locking castors, and a hydraulic conversion courtesy of SWAG Offroad.
Just in case i might ever want to switch back to manual for some dumb reason, i added 1/2" holes to bolt it to the floor, and the castors are bolted in place via tapped holes in the base plate.
It is soo much easier to use than by hand! Wish i did this years ago, makes bending tube so much easier to do by myself. No spring-back on the bends either, which is a huge plus over manual bending. So with that done, lets bend some tube!
So i tinkered a bit, this is what i came up with. Its very similar to what i had originally, just some minor changes to the corner to tighten it up a bit:
4" across the bottom, the angled pieces taper up to 3"
...and from there tapers again...
...until the corner, which ends at 1".
Pretty tight to the body:
The end is capped, and i added a bent piece in the bottom to add rigidity to the corner.
Im pretty happy with this, i think its going to work out well. Now i need to duplicate it on the other side!
I still need to add gussets from the bumper brackets, add a tubular brush guard, mount the light bar, cut the opening for the winch fairlead, and then do an absolute ton of welding!
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