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solfly HalfDork
9/3/20 7:07 p.m.

Fun build!

Rattmandu New Reader
9/4/20 2:31 p.m.

After finishing the long block I needed to be able to bolt up the transmission to check fit in the truck. The first step is to chop the bellhousing off the CD009.

The Collin's adapter is made to bolt up to a T56 bellhousing from a 2000ish Camaro.

New and old bellhousings side by side.

And then this assembly bolts in place of the stock front cover. Here's the stock cover:

Cover removed and adapter plate shmeared with some shmoo.

All bolted up. The threads and under the heads of the bolts also got a little shmoo.

Shifter relocation was next. This shifter yoke gets attached to the shifting rod with a double roll pin, same attachment method as the stock linkage.

Shifter sit's right on top.

I also made a new transmission mount to attach to a urethane bushing housing. 

Engine and trans meet for the first time, sans flywheel and clutch.

It's a pretty big unit.

And this is as far as I got on the initial test fit. Oil pan fouled the engine cross member, and the top of the trans hit the tunnel.


solfly HalfDork
9/7/20 5:46 a.m.

Body lift?

Rattmandu New Reader
9/7/20 11:35 a.m.

In reply to solfly :

Nope modified the front cross member and made a new trans tunnel. I actually don't have much of a lift overall, it's like an inch of suspension lift, and a two inches from the bigger tires.

solfly HalfDork
9/7/20 4:21 p.m.

I was mostly joking, assumed the solution would be more elegant.

Rattmandu New Reader
9/8/20 9:48 p.m.

I don't know if I'd necessarily describe it as elegant, but I got out the grinders and just started chopping.

Initially the upper forward portion of the trans tunnel and a couple inches of firewall go. 

I chopped out the center section of the engine cross-member and capped the ends with angle iron.

I then proceeded to go in and out with the engine and trans about seven times opening up the cuts a little each time. The trans cuts had to go higher up the firewall, wider, and further to the rear.

The oil pan fit right down in the gap in the cross-member.

The new cross member is 3x2x0.120 tube attached to the bottom of the old one, and will eventually give me a mount for a skid plate.

And back in with the engine once again to make mounts. The engine is offset to the passenger side an inch or two, partly for steering clearance, and partly because the Nissan trans tunnel is also offset. The frame is plated with 3x6 pads where these tube mounts land.

The trans mount is built into a stock cross-member.

You can see how high in the cab this transmission sits. It's a big boy.

And then I pulled the engine again to burn the mounts in.

Engine sitting in it's final location on it's mounts.

Rattmandu New Reader
9/8/20 10:29 p.m.

Now I needed to get rid of my Flinstones mod, so I drew up a cardboard trans tunnel.

It fit pretty well but I wanted a bit more clearance for the seat, so I left everything the same except the upper rear edge I made one inch narrower.

Transferred the design to some 16 gauge.

Used the finger brake at work for the main bends.

Welded up the end cap and ground the outside smooth.

Pulled the dash out to access the firewall.

The rest of the wiring harness and the heater stuff all came out too. The front of my tunnel and the firewall needed a bit of massaging.

In a move I'm sure my neighbors loved I spent a solid 8 hours the next day grinding and beating and welding the floor into submission.

I had to get a little creative with cutting some seams in a hump in the driver footwell.

Cut a hole for shifter access because there's no way to slide the trans in with the shifter installed.

Brushed on a coat of etch primer.

And applied seam sealer to the underside. super smooth


Rattmandu New Reader
9/10/20 5:21 p.m.

With the engine back out it was time to mount some more accesories and put in the clutch so I could bolt on the transmission for reals.

25 pound SFI flywheel with ARP bolts.

This is the clutch disc that came with the Collin's adapters kit. I didn't realize when I ordered it that it was a 6 puck clutch. Probably going to be spinning the tires all the time on accident.

Pressure plate.

Four port steam vent crossover.

And the Summit branded SFI balancer and a timing pointer. I wasn't terribly happy with how far the timing pointer was from the scale on the balancer so I had to modify that.

My little bent sheet metal pointer next to the one that came with the timing mark bracket. It's offset from the slots because I didn't quite get the balancer lined up close enough to TDC for the pointer to adjust to zero.

Painted and installed. Much closer to the balancer now so it's easier to read with less parallax error.

And to mostly round out the front, water pump, alternator, and tensioner. The power steering pump has to stay off because my lifting chain is in the way.

At some point I decided I didn't want to use a two piece driveshaft with a carrier bearing, and my rough measurements showed that my single piece driveshaft would be about 65" between U joints, and combine that with my 4.56 gears and driveshaft speed ends up being pretty high. By my calculations a 3.5" steel driveshaft would run into vibration issues at like 60 mph, and stepping up to a 4" aluminum would be good to about 90 mph. So I figured why not go up to a big boy 5" aluminum, but turns out that has some clearance issues with the shifter.

Which led me to the dumbest thing I've done on the truck, and I'll probably change it later. I flipped that yoke on the shifter shaft upside down, and then spaced the shifter up by the same amount that yoke moved, about 1.5". This clears now and everything is hunky dory, but that does mirror my shift pattern left right, haha. I can claim it's an anti-theft feature for now. I spent a month in the UK a couple years back shifting with my left hand, so I imagine it's a similar learning experience, it'll just be fun going between my two six speed cars.

solfly Dork
9/10/20 6:51 p.m.

What made you decide on that option vs a 4 or 4.5" driveshaft?

Rattmandu New Reader
9/10/20 7:06 p.m.

In reply to solfly :

I guess I haven't seen 4.5 as an option anywhere, and 4 would be pretty marginal if I end up taking this thing down a drag strip eventually. (speed wise. torque wise it's way overkill)

Do you know of anyone who makes a 4.5" 1350 weld yoke?

solfly Dork
9/10/20 7:17 p.m.

I don't think I've seen 4.5", guess I didn't think of that before I posted it.

Rattmandu New Reader
9/11/20 8:11 p.m.

Guess what, we're finally caught up with reality, and the first bit of progress that's ahead of the first post. 

After fighting with a scammer on ebay for a month I finally got a throttle body to mount on the TBSS intake and got to check clearance to the hood. This intake is a mighty high combo.

You can see her just peaking out over the top of the curtains.

There's only 4 inches between the front of the water pump pulley and the surface the grill mounts to. I think I'm going to have the oil cooler, power steering cooler, and eventually AC condenser up front and do some sort of rear radiator set-up. Could do a small auxiliary rad up front, but I'm not sure yet.

Popped the hood back on to mark interference.

I cut the hood using the factory ridges in the hood as a guide, with the cut out widening towards the front.

Back on the truck with a very technical 2x4 to get a spacing that I liked. It would have been cool to do a little ram air thing, but I'm erring on the side of not sucking in a bunch of Seattle rain.

Made a template of the front hole and transferred to a piece of sheet metal.

And did the same for the side openings, which were a bit trickier since they twist like 70 degrees from the front to the back.

I think it turned out as a pretty slick looking bulge.

Rattmandu New Reader
9/14/20 1:30 p.m.

I want to talk a little bit about the thought process of my front suspension geometry design. I was trying to match the track width of my rear axle, mount to the existing frame rails, convert to a steering rack because I wasn't a fan of the looseness in the box, and try to package as much travel as possible without jacking the truck way up in the air.

I took some guesses with the CG position at being 60% front weight bias, and 27 inches from the ground which corresponds to roughly the height of the cam-shaft. In the side view having the upper a-arm pivots parallel to the ground packaged well, then the angle of the lower arm pivots were set to give me 40% anti-dive, and the center of the lower arm was shoved forward to give me a nominal 5 degree caster angle. I then have shims in the front and rear of the arm mounts to give me +/- 3.5 degree caster adjustment.

Up front my upper a-arm length was pretty well defined because it's captured between the steering knuckles I had, desired track width, and the frame rail on the inboard side. The angle of the lower A-arm was set to put my roll center also about 40% of the way up to the CG, and then the length was chosen to minimize bump steer and camber change through the range around normal ride height when using the fixed pivot to pivot length of the steering rack I had. The steering rack height is set to point the tie rods at the instant center of the a-arms.

At the extreme range of bump travel you can see I have about 5 degrees of camber gain and almost no bump steer. This is 6 inches of wheel travel up, which is where the tire will come close to interfering with the curtain.

Full droop is limited by the angle of the tie-rod ball joint, and is about 4 inches of droop. All the way down the tire cambers out about 2 degrees and toes in slightly. I'm hoping that since there will be very little traction on the tire if it's all the way down like this that it doesn't do anything too bad.

To pick my spring rates I needed to know how much sprung weight I had above the front tires so I built a set of wheel scales out of some cheap e-bay load cells and a friend of mine put together a little arduino project to read the outputs.

Stands for the load cells made of scrap tubing and 2x4 pockets for a trailer.

Bread board proto-type for the arduino and the four load cell amplifiers.

We had some fun stacking random stuff on them for calibration purposes.

And the load cells tucked up under the front tires with the rear end on stands to get things level.

I've only weighed the front for now because I work on a slanted driveway and I had some concerns about rolling off the scales. Also I don't have brakes right now.

Gross weight on the front axle was 1,740 pounds.

We then put the frame back on jack stands, and removed all pre-load from the torsion bars to get a rough unsprung weight of 170 pounds per corner. My estimated unsprung weight for the suspension I'm building is 180 pounds, so that pretty much agrees with my guess.

Armed with my unsprung weight of 800 pounds per corner, a shock to wheel motion ratio of 0.498:1, and a desired wheel frequency of 1.5 Hz I'm going to start out with 350 pound per inch springs. This rate also puts me at my desired ride height with no pre-load on the spring. Technically at free length the the spring will be loose on the coil-over by a quarter inch, but limiting straps will keep the shock from ever extending that far.



solfly Dork
9/14/20 2:20 p.m.

cool to see the process

Rattmandu New Reader
9/14/20 4:44 p.m.

The arms and the mounts were all designed in Solidworks as sheet metal parts that tab and slot together out of 10 gauge cold rolled. The heim joints thread into purchased threaded tube adapters that are welded into lengths of 1.5 OD, 0.25 wall DOM tube, and on the outboard side they're welded onto a cup for a one inch uniball that get's retained with a spiral snap ring.

The lower arm is designed with two additional spar pieces through the center of the arm to transfer the load from the coil-over. The slots are drawn at a width of .010 more than the thickness of the sheet metal so I had a little bit of wiggle room to slide everything together.

I also made a simplified model of the lower arm to run through Solidwork's built in FEA software. This is loaded in the center at max spring force, 3,150 pounds, for a 350 pound spring compressed 9 inches. These results show a deflection of 0.0055 inches in the center, and were also pretty low stress.

The upper arm is designed in much the same way except open enough to pass the coil-over.

With the arms drawn up I made flat pattern dxf drawings of all the parts and sent them out to a laser cutting company called Send Cut Send to get quoted. They have a nifty system where you submit the drawings and then choose from a selection of materials and quantity of each part and they automatically give you a quote. For fun I played around with nesting the parts for a set of A-arms, and an upper lower pair actually fits on a 48x16 sheet.

Designing the lower arm attachment points was probably the hardest bit of sheet metal design simply because they intersect the mounting plate at a compound angle, and turning compound angles into square cuts on a piece of sheet is kind of challenging.

The shock tower portion is designed with clearance to pass the bolt and socket wrench in from the side for attaching the top of the shock, and I also drew it with premade holes for some dimple dies, because dimple dies are rad but hole saws suck.

There will also be a pad bolted to the top of the shock tower that will attach to a bent tube strut tower brace that passes over the top of the intake manifold.

Rattmandu New Reader
9/14/20 6:30 p.m.

When I was happy with the design I sent the order off to Send Cut Send, which was on a Sunday, and I got the parts in on the Friday, 6 days later.

I was real impressed with the speed and the packaging. Much better than the stuff I order from machine shops at my real job, haha.

Edges were nice and clean with no lip.

And I immediately set about doing a dry fit.

Everything fit right together. Out of curiosity for their tolerance I measured some of the hole cutouts and for instance these half inch bolt holes for the shock were like 0.501, pretty dang good.

I also had them cut out the world's fanciest cup holder for me to weld to the back of the trans tunnel.

These are some stainless cup holders meant for a boat or RV or something.

I wanted to TiG weld all the tab and slots so I picked up a cheap Eastwood welder and set about practicing. I think it had been about 11 or 12 years since the last time I TiG welded, and I wasn't exactly good back then either.

The exterior seams between the flat plates, and the joints to the DOM tube were all Mig'd, the welds from the plate to the uniball cup were Tig.

And the same process for the upper arms, except the inner wall piece takes a bit of finagling to sit right since it's bent in two different angles.

The shock mount tabs were added last, and you can also see the weld washers I added to double the thickness for the wear surface riding on the bolt.


solfly Dork
9/14/20 7:37 p.m.

That's awesome. Cool that we've got places like send cut send. What a time to be alive.

Rattmandu New Reader
9/15/20 12:24 p.m.

I also had Send Cut Send cut out the shock tower and mounting plates for me.

Tower structure was welded up first. The dimple dies don't work as cleanly on the 10 gauge material, left a bit of a lip around the dimple.

Support wings and the base plate for the towers.

These are the large plates that will hold all my spatial alignment.

These are support yokes that go around the shock bolt access hole.

The arm attachment points are held in alignment with a threaded rod and I turned aluminum spacers to set the gap at the width of the heim plus the shims plus 0.030 so that it still assembles after everything pulls in from welding.

After welding up the arm attachment points I attached the shock tower and its braces that come down in between them.

The lower arm attachment points were attached with the same threaded rod method, just a little more fiddly since everything is at an angle.

Getting dangerously close to having a mocked up suspension.

I did find one design issue, the shock mounting tabs on the lower arm didn't have enough clearance to the shock body to allow for full droop. You can see where it would hit on the left side.

I removed a pretty serious chunk of meat from the shock mounts, and then fusion welded the weld washer to the tab where all of the weld had been ground away.


iansane (Forum Supporter)
iansane (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand Reader
9/15/20 12:50 p.m.

Looks amazing. Really impressive stuff!

...I can't be the only one to wonder how much they charged you?

Rattmandu New Reader
9/15/20 1:12 p.m.

In reply to iansane (Forum Supporter) :

The A-arm plates were right around $500 and the mounting hardware and shock towers were about $600 shipped.

ebelements Reader
9/15/20 1:17 p.m.

I've been following sendcutsend for awhile but never had any first or secondhand experience. Looks just as awesome as they promise. 

BTW, this build doesn't disappoint. Keep up the killer work!

Rattmandu New Reader
9/15/20 2:47 p.m.

This last weekend I pulled off the stock front suspension. Going for that hover car look.

On Sunday I performed a suspension mountectomy with the sawz-all, death wheel, and BFH.  I really need to get a plasma cutter, my wrist still hurts from the sawz-all blade catching and jamming me into the fender liner.

And last night I flap wheeled everything smooth. I'll ned to go back and fill in some accidental gouges in the frame rail, but over all not too bad.

Over the next week or so I'm hoping to get my new suspension mounts clamped up to the frame rail and trued up to the axle. The fender liner will take just a wee bit of trimming to clear the shock towers.

Rattmandu New Reader
9/20/20 9:36 p.m.

I may have been a little more aggressive than necessary with trimming my wheel wells. I wasn't having a ton of fun holding the mount up there with one hand and tracing around the offending areas.

I started my alignment by clamping the mounts onto the passenger side frame rail. This position pushes the wheel 2.5 inches further forward. The shock tower is set perpendicular to the bottom of the frame rail, and the height is set by bring the mount all the way up till it hits the crossmember.

With everything clamped into position I fit the A arms and steering knuckle to check clearances.

And then brake rotor and tire. Getting that track width way out there.

Plenty of steering angle.

Plenty of clearance to the sheet metal up front.

Much better clearance to the foot-well than it used to have.

It looks so rad, haha.

After tacking up the passenger side I clamped up the driver side in a similar way and took a bunch of measurements to keep the wheel base square. I set the wheelbase the same on both sides by measuring back to the spring perches under the rear end, and used my little digital level to make sure they're both vertical.

I might be convinced to make some new smooth wheel wells out of trailer fenders, but I haven't really decided yet.

solfly Dork
9/21/20 7:26 a.m.

thats awesome, really ambitious build definitely one i look forward to updates on

Rattmandu New Reader
9/21/20 8:59 p.m.

Tonight I added the lower mount support rails to stiffen the bottom of the assembly. They're just a folded piece of 10 gauge that's left open a bit on the bottom to drain. 

They still need to get tied to one another with a tube, and a diagonal going back to the engine cross member. 

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