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Thread: Tube frame vs hybrid beam / tube frame?

  1. #1
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    Tube frame vs hybrid beam / tube frame?

    I am at a conundrum. The YJ is no longer a road going vehicle. Trailer fixed that. I have a few issues that need sorting like the punky spots on the body, thin frame member at back corner due to rust (repaired but don't want it to fail in a big stuck/ tug situation).

    So I have been toying around the idea of building a new frame to rectify all of the potential issues with the original stock frame and any rust issues. Since it is no longer road going I am not constrained by any design that must fit MTO criteria. I do however want to build a proper cage while I am at it.

    I do not have auto cad or any software to calculate stress loads or determine proper placement of triangulated members if making a full tube chassis. Weight or weight savings is not my goal.

    Parts I do have and will be using:

    8.8, HP30, NP231, SYE, RE SOA springs, stock 4L HO.

    I also have left and right side patch panels from rear corner to front 1/4. I may use these as well as some of the original body parts if I choose to keep it Jeep looking. This is where my design starts getting complicated. When I spoke to Jamie (Throttlehappy) about his buggy and insurance it became quite clear that a Jeep based vs 100% original design off road vehicle / atv are looked at quite differently by the insurance companies. I do not want to pay road going insurance rates if I only get out a few weekends a year nor do I want to wheel without proper insurance. So yes the insurance companies are having a MAJOR say in what and how I repair / re-invent my ride.

    Ok that is the overview.

    So basically I have my original YJ that needs TLC and I have multiple variations of electric glue guns to make it work the way I want it to. My realistic plan is to replicate the stock frame and geometry somewhat and make modifications as where I feel required. I do not see a SBC or 60's in the future for this rig I say this so the discussion doesn't become how to make it bigger, badder and so far from the intention of this project. I would however like to put a spool in the 8.8 or a Detroit to work with the OX I have up front. Not sure which is a better option for my needs. Might even Miller lock (Lincoln lock) it to get a feel before I decide or either path.

    My intent was to build tube fenders for the front to replace the now rusting stockers and have them bolt on in case they need replacing. I want a box for carrying gear so if I keep stock Jeep look this will fit the bill. Stock jeep profile would be great as I could still use my trail cover if it rained. Now if I go hybrid frame tube how do I integrate body and frame and do I go solid or flexible mounts? If solid mounting flexes I will forever be fixing that.

    Lots of ideas. Lots of considerations. Lots of things I want to get right before I strike an arc.

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    sounds like you got your bases covered as to what to do.
    dosent seem like you need any advise but from what im getting from your post hear is some advise anyway.

    get a good frame and swap all the parts over and use good tub, enjoy your ride and when you are ready to go big and bad then chop her up.

    good luck.

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    I am partially with bad company on this. I built my own frame for my toyota truggy-ish thing, and although it was fun, it was a pain in the ass. If you can buy a good frame and swap your pieces over it will be a much easier, and less time. I say to patch, and fix your body, and throw it on a nice clean original frame. then you get the strength of having a solid foundation without the worries of body damage. Building your own frame is very rewarding,and cheap. But if you can buy a good frame it could be a waste of time.
    currently building a toyota. i'm sorry.

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    The number one reason I am thinking of building the frame from the ground up is my capability. I am a millwright and have the equipment so this gives me a chance to design things right. For instance bumpers and winch mounts are added on to the frame. Why not incorporate them into the frame? Same thing with trailer tie down points, recovery points and even on board air tank. The frame is there so why not utilize it as an air pig? Skid plates are far from ideal as designed stock and many people make modifications anyway. I need to work out a torque arm so once again I can modify the stock framework for a mount or design an inclusive design that is clean from the start.

    I am looking at doing a hybrid beam and tube frame instead of going full tube or just replacing the frame with a clean stock frame. I just don't know if there are any major structural challenges in going this route. Also if I went full tube chassis does anyone ever try this while still retaining leaf springs?

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    Sounds like you already made up your mind. build it! I built my frame to be able to use it as an air pig, but changed my mind later into the build because i didn't want to be pumping moisture into my frame.

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    If you're hoping to use ORV insurance, I don't think you'd be allowed to use the Jeep frame. It would have to be a pile of steel. Which really means you could never put it on the road (unless you use your existing windshield frame and ownership).
    That said I'd rather have a hybrid. It makes selling it later a lot easier when you can say "yes, it can be plated".
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    Not interested in plating or selling ever. It owes me nothing and will most likely be my nephews first off road vehicle in about a 16 years as he is still on the tit.

    If I use the frame as a pig it will get a filter / water separator upstream.

    Now just for arguments sake beyond the vin tag how much of the original vehicle must remain to register it as the same vehicle? Can it be a completely new frame tube body with sealed seams and the vin tag windshield? What about etest? These are the nickel and dime costs that make a roadworthy insurable off road vehicle that is not a daily driver not cost effective. What year would it be 2012? So does hot rod status as per etest apply and how does that work?

    I realistically want to fix the body / frame so I can go play safely and reliably. I want to be properly insured. But at $78 for a sticker, $1000+ for road insurance, etest and repairs and depending on my schedule a half dozen wheeling trips if I get out a lot this adds up to an expensive per trip cost and I am still hauling it to and from by trailer. Now ORV insurance makes it much more attractive on so many levels meeting my wheeling schedule.

    So how do I take a JEEP and re frame it to fix its issues and ensure it WILL qualify as an ORV and not be still classified an on road vehicle with all of the associated paperwork, legalities etc?

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    From an ORV standpoint, you are overthinking the legality side of this. The MTO is not interested in what percentage of a heep is left (if any) in order to green plate it. Many people have green plated jeeps and hybrid heep buggies and the process is remarkably simple. Remember that there is no inspection requirements OR universal standards in which to gauge how an offroad vehicle is engineered. Tube frames or hybrids, body or no body, it is of little consequence when green plated.

    Insurance typically seems to be where the confusion starts. Many brokers and companies can not figure out how to classify this particular type of ORV. Be it a buggy or green plated heep, it does not seem to matter - the confusion persists. When they can't figure out what to do, they either refuse coverage or refer you to a facility policy (which is outrageous). From what I have seen, if the person you are speaking with becomes confused, it is best to be persistent and ask to speak with another rep or their boss. Almost all the time, any given company can offer a policy if they can classify it.

    FWIW, I built my own hybrid beam and and tube frame for my occasionally street driven CJ several years ago. It is a much better way to go for a wheeler since you can engineer out all of the compromises of the OE frame and design it for your specific needs and end up with something stronger and more durable in the process. If you are able, I say do it - you won't regret it. Insurance and any other authorities seems to express little to no interest in the home made frame....and while I don't go spouting off about it, it is obvious the frame is not OE.
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    Just to add a little more from what CTD said....it is still legal to "make your own road vehicle" in Ontario....much like a MotorBike you have to meet certain criteria so yes you could in fact make your own frame...use a YJ tub..etc etc etc...I forget the particulars but I remember my Brother N Law looking into it about 4-5 years ago cause he got himself a parts YJ that had a better frame and tub than the one he had......he thought about putting that on the road aswell but didn't have an ownership for it....for anyone interested contact the MTO cause its not overly complicated from what I can remember....
    They call me Monkey cause I'm the silver back of the bunch
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    I say do the hybrid - I'm actually doing (sort of) the same thing... except I'm using the front 3/4 of the original Jeep frame because it's in GREAT shape.. but as per usual the rear is rotten swiss cheese. So I'm building a back half and incorporating some sweet nuggets of engineering to improve on what Jeep should have done in the first place.

    Here is a build I read on pirate that gave me the ideas to do what I'm doing... might be a great resource for you too - it might also make you want to buy a dimple die set.

    http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/jeep-...-erection.html

    Essentially (like most people) he kept the centre section of the stock YJ frame and built the front and rear to incorporate the things that you're taking about - winch and bumper mounts, suspension whatever.

    That build uses coilovers... but there are plenty of people who do this and still use leaf springs... another reason why sticking with beams (rectangular tube) might be the way to go because it will be nice and easy to affix your leaf mounts to a flat surface as opposed to figuring out how to do it with a tube (round) chassis.

    As far as body mounts go - I would keep the rubbers, regardless of what you do your frame is going to flex, and your body needs to flex too otherwise you could tweak it and crack the paint or twist it and have your doors not fit (not sure if you're planning on running doors... but in case you are).

    I'm sure everyone has their ideas, but what I've seen a lot of (which I like) is using poly mounts everywhere - including where you attach your cage to the frame. Steel on steel is never good. but that's just my .02 cents.

    Take a look at the build on Pirate - it was an eye opener for me... and it will either give you ideas to mimic what was done, or tweak the idea and come up with something your own.
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    The only original part on my 82 CJ, is the vin tag, and it went through safety and appraisal (20K) with no probs at all. It is, a pure ON road, acutally built as a street rod, lowered, chopped top, glass body, and 2 wd, with a built SBC. but I built it so IF I wanted to make it back to a 4x4, I could easily. Before anybody goes off on me, this is NOT my first build, and I DID have an Aqualu bodied YJ before . I have also build a bunch of frames for dragsters and street rods over the past 40 years, and trust me, it's ton of work. If you do build your own, DO NOT even think about leaf springs, or D30's. A YJ frame has too many twists in it to duplicate, and keep straight, without a major frame table, and a mountain of welding, so I'd suggest you get hold of Bleinhamboy, and get one of his rustfrees. (I have one, and it has NO rust, inside or out) that also applys to the body. I dont have one of his bodys, but I have seen them, and they are pristine. At the end of the project, keep in mind you will have a ton of $$, and a ton of labour, spent on something that isnt worth much, regardless of what you did/spent. Vertually ALL of mine, came from guys from Jeepkings (everything xcept advise) or Cookstown A/W.
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  12. #12
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    I am overthinking especially the insurance end of things. Just want to be trail legal and it still be affordable to be legal.

    The more I have looked at it over time I see flaws / improvement to be made. At work sometimes it is best to scrap something and start with a blank slate than try to fix where others have gone before. I could fix countless little things or just do away with them and implement my own cleanliness to the design. I already have an idea of how I want both ends of the frame to terminate and how I want bumpers and mounting points to be integrated for shorter and better approach /exit angles. I want a better skid plate design that will incorporate my TC e brake.

    There are so many little details that are so hard to cleanly incorporate on a design that wasn't ever designed for them. I have been kicking around a radically different torque arm design that would be much better executed from a clean sheet of paper and if I fails I could always plan for a traditional design.

    Thanks for the feedback.

    I don't know why it was suggested NOT to go leafs. Argue about the D30 but my research has the RR HP30 rated as strong as a 44 according to: Differentials: Identification, Restoration & Repair by Jim Allen and Randy Lyman.

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    Hi Again. The reason I suggest not using leafs, is several reasons, but mostly ride quailty, and rebound as well as being able to tune it to suit tire changes etc. Leafs are easier to use, but not as adaptable. TIP. YJ frames are easily adaptable to front coils, and a three or four bar set up. You only need to fabricate some spring pockets, and rustle up some bars. You could even use the YJ leaf spring lower rear mounts, and grab a D30 out of an XJ or ZJ, both of which come with a lower ratio than a YJ, and get rid of the vacuum piece o crap.
    As far as using a 30 however, they are on the whimpy side no matter what you do, especially if you use 35's or larger. It has always been my experiance and practice to plan for the worst case senerio, and if you're gonna spend the money, do it where it counts. In a perfect world, D60's, and Atlas T/Case would be the ultimate.
    But what you have to keep in mind, and nobody ever does, is that all done, and especially in todays world, vehicles are NOT an investment, and are only worth what somebody is willing to pay. TV shows like xtreme 4x4 suck people in, and never demonstrate the cost or the time it takes. They are, only a half hour commercial for products.
    I speak from over 40 years of experiance of building a wide variety of cars, from Top Alcohol dragsters, to dozens of show quality street rods, and everything in between. I have only ever made an actual profit on one, and that was the right guy, on the right day, and the Canadian Street Rod Nationals as a platform, where I won best of show, and sold the truck for more than I even dreamed..and then spent the money on another one, that I lost on..lol

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    From a wheeling perspective leaf springs are awesome... You can't go wrong with the reliability of a leaf, you also avoid all of the nonsensery of 4 links, 3 links, ladders and panhards... They are easy to tune, give you great flex, and tough as nails.

    I agree that a coil setup would give you a better ride ... But if you wanted ride, you'd drive a Cadillac.

    Check out this thred on pirate, it will re-instill your faith in leafs:
    http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/jeep-...f-springs.html

    Also check out the Peterson's chassis and suspension handbook, there are a number of ways to make leafs work for you... It certainly changed my mind

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    Thanks for the replies by those who understand the purpose of my thread and the build I am looking to create. I am building MY VISION for MY NEEDS. I like to build. I am a millwright and have the tools and capabilities. Rust free California frames, coil springs, D60's and an atlas is not my build. It does not address the issues or capabilities I am trying to address.

    I look to the positive responses from builders who have made great rigs to their vision. It is inspiring. Thanks for the ideas. I will try to outline some of the basic frame ideas over the next week.

  16. #16
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    I dont see why you couldnt copy the frame and manufacture another one just like it. Maybe make it a little thicker and drain holes and maybe even oil spray holes. I would use rubber body mounts. On second thought the jeep frame flexes alot and adding cross members and thicker rails will impeed the flexing. are you going to use the stock style suspension. maybe reinforce the tub at the attaching points

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeeper52 View Post
    I dont see why you couldnt copy the frame and manufacture another one just like it. Maybe make it a little thicker and drain holes and maybe even oil spray holes. I would use rubber body mounts. On second thought the jeep frame flexes alot and adding cross members and thicker rails will impeed the flexing. are you going to use the stock style suspension. maybe reinforce the tub at the attaching points
    Exracer's intent was to design his own frame that eliminated the shortcomings of the factory frame which would allow him to have a product that met his needs perfectly. The idea would be to build a frame and cage combo that did not flex. Usually, when going this far with a build, you are better off to solid mount the body and make it act as one with the frame and cage. The rubber mounts add nothing benificial to the design and only serves to weaken the design and allow movement where it is no longer desired.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CTD NUT View Post
    Exracer's intent was to design his own frame that eliminated the shortcomings of the factory frame which would allow him to have a product that met his needs perfectly. The idea would be to build a frame and cage combo that did not flex. Usually, when going this far with a build, you are better off to solid mount the body and make it act as one with the frame and cage. The rubber mounts add nothing benificial to the design and only serves to weaken the design and allow movement where it is no longer desired.
    I said copy In my mind that meant recreating the critical point and modifying what he wanted.Im sure the OP understood what I meant. were not legalizing or splitting hairs here were just airing suggestions. That is what this forum is for isnt it?

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