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JGRAHAM
JGRAHAM New Reader
2/27/17 10:41 a.m.

I agree. CAM would be a better class for me. To be legal for CAM I'd need to get some 200TW tires, re-install door panels (which I plan too do), and get the cab carpet back in. I might just bedline the inside for a "finished" look. Running in XP along side a pair of local FFR Cobras really makes me admire the capability of those cars.

Anyone have an idea where I could get some gently used 200TW, 295-315 x 18" tires? I've been looking for some so I can run at the Raleigh GoodGuys show in April.

JGRAHAM
JGRAHAM New Reader
3/1/17 1:18 p.m.

So what a fun 1st season with the V8 Ranger was. It sure turned a lot of heads and had far more power than before, but was still consistently in the bottom 1/3 of the raw time list. Still being slow was perfectly fine with me. Simply racing among others and enjoying the sport was all I needed. I will say though that now the Ranger can beat all of my co-workers

In defense to the Ranger I’m still very much a novice. I’m not nearly as smooth as I could be. I tend to drive with an ON/OFF gas/brake mentality which greatly upsets the truck. In between every event I was also changing things which made it tough to get a good baseline. I hope this year I can finally get to where I’m learning the truck’s character and not changing it between every event.

A few things mechanically speaking that I knew/wanted to change for this upcoming season. As mentioned earlier I really wanted to get another front suspension in the truck. I also noticed that the stock Ranger steering response is way to slow for tight course like at Pungo. In addition, the novel idea of using a manual valve body automatic transmission just isn’t as good as a pure manual gearbox. I’ve seen some very capable auto equipped autocross cars, but in my particular case the C4 trans with its non-existent engine braking in 1st gear really hurts.

The SLA Front End:

As mentioned I just never felt 100% about what I had done with the twin beam setup. I’m sure constantly looking at the AJE Macpherson and other really nice SLA setups didn’t help sway my opinion. This past November I was all but ready to place an order for the AJE Ranger kit. This system basically uses all the geometry from a SN95 mustang. You use the struts, knuckles, brakes, and even steering rack.

AJE Ranger frame work

At that same time I ran across an ad on craigslist and it seemed almost too good to be true. Another gearhead-racer was getting rid of a lot of his suspension pieces off an unfinished, ground up chassis build. After talking with Rob over the phone I knew he had most, if not all the pieces I needed for my own short, long arm setup. Not to mention the wealth of knowledge I could probably pick up from him. The trip to Rob’s didn’t disappoint. I wish I could have talked longer with Rob, but nonetheless he sold me the SLA “starter” kit and a huge amount of free tips of what works and doesn’t.
So the trailer was loaded to the gills on the way back home with most everything I needed to start. I inventoried the parts and started the teardown.

Entire twin beam setup out

Shop carnage

Stripped down to the rails

Setting the most critical part, the k member

Mocking up upper arm location

So that gets us up too this past December'ish. I'd imagine a few more posts and I'll have you all up to current day.....maybe just in time for the first autocross event.

JGRAHAM
JGRAHAM New Reader
3/2/17 6:16 a.m.

The bottom half of the SLA setup was pretty much set for me as is. A Maximum Motorsports tubular k member and A arms for an SN95 were used. This set the steering rack and lower control arm geometry for me. After setting ride height I knew exactly where the k member needed to sit. Squaring the front end was probably the biggest headache of it all. I probably should have made a quick and dirty chassis table.

SN95 knuckles are used in conjunction with a Panoz upper ball joint bracket. Rob had told me that this took a fair amount of research in finding this suitable piece to adapt the Macpherson setup to a double control arm system. Finding the matching upper ball joint for the Panoz bracket was a little tough, but again Rob had done all the leg work to find that Howe Racing made one. The upper arm is a SPC fully adjustable piece.

Had to cut into my blacksmith'ed fender flares. This photo also shows the wheelbase stretch.

Setting ride height

Placing the upper coilover mounting hoop

Taking some time with my little mechanic. He thoroughly enjoyed bringing his rides to the shop.

Mock up bar in place of the coilovers

RideTech coilovers have arrived!

Mock up block in for testing. The rusty tubing is there just for bracing.

With the block in the chassis I could tell I didn't have enough strength in the coilover hoops. I ended up playing off the AJE Ranger kit some with my own triangular upper brace.

And last for this morning....a stance shot of the 285s up front.

STM317
STM317 Dork
3/2/17 6:32 a.m.

Pretty cool! General question, when using a dummy bar for shock mock-up, what length did you use? The shock wouldn't be at full compression or full droop if the truck is just sitting there, so how do you determine a length for the bar that closely approximates the length of the shock in a semi-loaded state? Not criticizing at all, just curious for my own reference.

Gunchsta
Gunchsta New Reader
3/2/17 8:32 a.m.

Dumb question but was there a reason for the wheelbase stretch?

JGRAHAM
JGRAHAM New Reader
3/2/17 8:50 a.m.

Your right. I contacted Ridetech and they recommended at ride height the shock should have consumed ~40-45% of it's travel. I just minus'ed 40% of the fully extended length and popped two holes in the square tubing.

I moved the wheelbase forward to get better weight distribution as well as it allowed me to drop the engine further down in the chassis.

Chadeux
Chadeux Dork
3/2/17 8:58 a.m.

Does the engine go in from the bottom now or am I missing a way for that new brace to come off?

loosecannon
loosecannon HalfDork
3/2/17 9:19 a.m.

Welcome to the Rabbit Hole!

Gunchsta
Gunchsta New Reader
3/2/17 9:36 a.m.
JGRAHAM wrote: Your right. I contacted Ridetech and they recommended at ride height the shock should have consumed ~40-45% of it's travel. I just minus'ed 40% of the fully extended length and popped two holes in the square tubing. I moved the wheelbase forward to get better weight distribution as well as it allowed me to drop the engine further down in the chassis.

Excellent reason. Thank you for the explanation!

JGRAHAM
JGRAHAM New Reader
3/2/17 10:25 a.m.

The triangular upper brace comes off and the engine can be installed from top-down. I used two roll cage disconnect couplers near the shock hoops.

Roll Cage Couplers

Chadeux
Chadeux Dork
3/2/17 11:29 a.m.

I looked closer after i posted and thought a saw something looking like those and the bolt at the firewall.

JGRAHAM
JGRAHAM New Reader
3/2/17 12:06 p.m.

Yeah exactly. I really like those couplers. They interlock for a very secure fit.

MulletTruck
MulletTruck Reader
3/2/17 2:56 p.m.

Those upper ball joint adapters are pretty slick. I am putting a SN95/Fox body hybrid front end under my mullet truck but this has me thinking now.

I just did a quick search but cant find any information on them. Do you have any detailed pictures of them by chance?

JGRAHAM
JGRAHAM New Reader
3/2/17 3:16 p.m.

MulletTruck heres a few that might help. As shown I did have to machine a small amount of material to get the Howe joints to fit. It's a very stout, cast piece. FFR has a similiar part, but seems weaker in construction. The part has no numbers or ID on it. All I was told was that it came from Panoz.

MulletTruck
MulletTruck Reader
3/2/17 3:28 p.m.

Thanks! That is exactly what I was looking for. My truck has very little weight on the front end since the engine is in the bed. I will look for the FFR piece.

JGRAHAM
JGRAHAM New Reader
3/2/17 6:08 p.m.

No problem. Awesome build you have going on as well!

gumby
gumby GRM+ Memberand New Reader
3/2/17 6:16 p.m.

Did you cut up the MM k-member, or did you receive it that way? Also, how did you settle on the upper control arm location and geometry?

appliance_racer
appliance_racer New Reader
3/3/17 6:43 a.m.

I'm starting to wonder if we shared a brain at some point. V8 ranger with mustang cross member, a-arm adapter with roundy round upper arms. So far the only thing different between your truck and the one I've built over and over in my head is the stickers on the sides. It's almost freaky but completely awesome!!!!! I'm REALLY enjoying your build!!

I know this thread is behind the real life status of the truck, but what's the plans for the rear suspension? My thoughts were building something along the line of the FAYS 2 watts link. I had one on one of my mustangs and I loved it. I was also thinking of converting to coil over for less weight and more adjustability.

JGRAHAM
JGRAHAM New Reader
3/3/17 6:51 a.m.

In reply to gumby:

Yes the MM k-member was actually already cut when I got it. it looks like Rob (the guy I bought the parts from) simply cut the top mounting structure off on a flat plane. He then plated the plane with 1/4" steel. I'm assuming his chassis had flat rails too bolt this too.

The upper arms were set off of 1) where I could build supporting structure the easiest & 2) rough calulations on roll/instant centers and camber/caster values.

Advice given to me by Rob on locating the upper arms: You can spend hours or even days calculating and adjusting for the "perfect" theoretical placement for suspension components, but in the end you will simply have the see what fits on the vehicle. Account more PLENTY of adjustment to fine tune when it's all together.....and I think this was great advice.

dinger
dinger Reader
3/3/17 8:31 a.m.
MulletTruck wrote: Those upper ball joint adapters are pretty slick. I am putting a SN95/Fox body hybrid front end under my mullet truck but this has me thinking now. I just did a quick search but cant find any information on them. Do you have any detailed pictures of them by chance?

Those are a fairly common circle track racing part. They are referred to as a "upper ball joint collar".

Ball Joint Collar

Hope that helps.

MulletTruck
MulletTruck Reader
3/3/17 9:53 a.m.

Thanks Dinger!

loosecannon
loosecannon HalfDork
3/3/17 10:01 a.m.

For simplicity, I used the entire upper control arm assembly from Speedway Motors but I found this amazing resource for fab parts, here is the upper control arm mount I got from them http://www.ubmachine.com/upperarmmounts.html

appliance_racer
appliance_racer New Reader
3/3/17 1:47 p.m.

Ok had a stupid moment. If you read the title of the thread it clearly states IRS. Don't listen to that idiot goin on about a watts link

JGRAHAM
JGRAHAM New Reader
3/3/17 2:55 p.m.

In reply to appliance_racer:

too funny! I'm glad your enjoying it...yeah I've got an IRS with a aluminum 4:10 pumpkin waiting to be installed. It might have to wait for next winter though.

JGRAHAM
JGRAHAM New Reader
3/3/17 2:56 p.m.

Thanks for sharing the UB Machine link. Looks like lots of useful parts for creative fabricators like ourselves.

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