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700hp, 40s, bypasses, tube chassis rock buggy build

Discussion in 'Other Builds' started by snivilous, Mar 2, 2020.

  1. Mar 2, 2020 at 10:36 AM
    #1
    snivilous

    snivilous [OP] New Member

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    I'm on this forum a lot, so figured I may as well start a thread for my buggy. Maybe there's people with similar interest or just ideas and comments to help along the way.

    This buggy originally stemmed from the idea of swapping parts from a FJ80 I raced a few years ago, into a more lightweight package and a full tube chassis. A local guy who goes by FABN801 was building a chassis called a Rock Lizard so I called him up and placed an order. This build has evolved many times since I got the chassis in October of 2018, but the current setup I'm sticking with is:

    1.75" Rock Lizard chassis
    Very mildly built 6.0 LQ4, 4L80, and 3.0:1 Atlas transfercase
    Superduty axles--Dana 60 front, Sterling 10.5 rear
    40" tires and 17" beadlocks
    14" 2.5 triple bypasses and 14" 2.0 coilovers with 2.0 bumps up front (~14" wheel travel)
    14" 2.5 coilovers and 18" 2.5 triple bypasses with 2.0 bumps out back and trailing arms (24"+ wheel travel)
    Full hydro, 32gal Jaz fuel cell, etc.

    It has a 117" wheel base, 22" belly height, and the front has 10" of up travel and the rear has 13" of up travel.

    Since KOH this year, I've really cranked up my effort. So here's a few pictures to cover the past year.

    Chassis arrived:

    [​IMG]

    LQ4/4L80 out of a suburuban I bought from a buddy:

    [​IMG]

    Chassis vaguely laid out:

    [​IMG]

    Starting to tack up:

    [​IMG]

    A big thing to note, is my PRP seats are 24" wide each, and the chassis is 48" wide total. Right off the bat I widened the whole chassis by 10" (part of the reason I got a DIY kit was for stuff like this). How the chassis currently sits, really only from the "window sill" down to the subframe is "stock chassis". The nose, tail, B/C pillar, are all completely different. I wanted the chassis mainly as a baseline since it was my first full tube chassis. My plans for the future are to do it entirely from scratch, but I didn't know what I wanted so took a kit and modified it to my liking.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Mar 2, 2020 at 10:37 AM
    #2
    snivilous

    snivilous [OP] New Member

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    [​IMG]

    I reused about half the shocks from my Landcruiser. In retrospect I probably should've gone bigger on some stuff, but we'll see how it does, I expect to have to swap larger shocks in and there's room for that. The front bypasses, rear coilovers, and all the bumps are reused. The front 2.0 coilovers and rear 18" bypasses are new.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    My original rear shock mount before I decided to change some stuff:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    There will be quite a few welding photos. I am not a fabricator or welder by any means. I bought a cheap Tig last September just to play with and learn after always doing Mig. I've practiced a lot and really happy to be doing all my welds in Tig now. The whole center of the chassis is Mig, and then as you move outwards into the more recent sections it changes to Tig. If this project has taught me anything it's how to be a better welder. This was the first Tig weld I did on a chassis piece after I started getting comfortable.

    [​IMG]

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    Beginning of the front shock mounts:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This was in November right before I bought a house and moved shops:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Full bump:

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Mar 2, 2020 at 10:37 AM
    #3
    snivilous

    snivilous [OP] New Member

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    Moving the chassis was a bit of a cluster:

    [​IMG]

    Moved to the new shop:

    [​IMG]

    Not a lot of work happened since November and about a month ago.

    [​IMG]

    Updated rear shock mounts:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    First pass cleaned up:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I removed the suspension and drivetrain to roll the chassis around do a first pass on all the tubes. I'll do more passes in the future before I paint the chassis, but this will keep everything strong enough to completely mount everything and be able to start and move the chassis around.

    [​IMG]

    Rear link mounts:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    After KOH I went on a spending spree. I got a full Holley system with trans control. A bunch of stuff to mildly build the engine like some used heads, a cam, lifters, valve springs, full ARP bolt kit, oil pan, covers, gaskets, chain, oil pump, pushrods, etc. Turns out there's a machine shop literally behind the field next to my house. I dropped the heads off there and hopefully get them back this week.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And finally to catch up to today. I spent a few hours this weekend and cleaned up the pistons and rods. I'm honing and rerining but otherwise keeping the bottom end stock. With the heads and cam I'm guessing in the 500hp/tq range. Very mild build until I know what I want to do. I think it should push it around pretty good as I'm shooting for the buggy read to rock to be under 4000lbs. I'd like to eventually push into the high 600hp range with a stroker or boost, but that's after working out all the kinks in the buggy.

    I'm hoping to have it driving in a few months. I still need full hydro, beadlocks, full brake system, and full cooling system just to drive it. After that I still need to build the axles which are totally stock at the moment.

    If you have any comments or advice I'd be glad to hear it! I also have a build on Pirate4x4 that's a bit more indepth and been going on for awhile, though Pirate is pretty dead. Any fabrication or welding advice or tips and tricks I'm all ears!
     
  4. Mar 2, 2020 at 10:40 AM
    #4
    GravityGear

    GravityGear Parking Lot Prerunner

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    Excellent... I'm debating whether to build a prerunner or 4600 after we move from here. You're swaying me to 4600.
     
  5. Mar 2, 2020 at 10:56 AM
    #5
    snivilous

    snivilous [OP] New Member

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    My Land Cruiser was originally meant to be 4600, but 4600 has so many restrictions I decided to go to 4500 and raced KOH in 2018. Then a year later I did the cage and helped build a 4600 4Runner for my buddy which raced EMC in 2019. This past year was the first time in 3 years I hadn't built a racecar, and going to KOH and not racing was really depressing honestly which is what kicked me into gear to really start putting time and money into the buggy again so that won't happen next year. I don't have the budget to race competitively, but I really really like it. The lizard will be race legal, but it's not going to be strictly a racecar. I plan to play with it and do a lot of trails, and just do the races that I enjoy and are fun.

    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]
     
  6. Mar 2, 2020 at 11:16 AM
    #6
    GravityGear

    GravityGear Parking Lot Prerunner

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    You gonna sell the cruiser?
     
  7. Mar 2, 2020 at 11:46 AM
    #7
    snivilous

    snivilous [OP] New Member

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    It's long cut up. Which was a mistake probably, but it was my first serious build and needed a lot of improvements. Had too many band aids. Gutted it to put the parts in the lizard, scrapped the rest, then decided all those parts were too weak so sold them and got the tons and LS.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Mar 2, 2020 at 5:12 PM
    #8
    GravityGear

    GravityGear Parking Lot Prerunner

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    Transfer Flow tank, trailer brake controller
    That's a great looking hammer truck. Did you finish?
     
  9. Mar 2, 2020 at 5:21 PM
    #9
    Midnite72

    Midnite72 Anything DIRT !!

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    Nice BUILD !!
    Like to see more also

    :welder:
     
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  10. Mar 6, 2020 at 8:51 PM
    #10
    snivilous

    snivilous [OP] New Member

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    Got the short block assembled today, everything went smoothly. Rings, hone, rod bearings, and ARP rod bolts. Gonna swing by the machine shop on Monday since I haven't heard about my heads yet and they should be done. Watching the Mint tomorrow, then maybe do a little chassis work on Sunday.

    I also struggled very hard today not buying a LSA blower. I was literally one click away on eBay from buying one. But I priced out the total cost, and I could buy full hydro, beadlocks, and brakes for the price of the blower. Need to attempt to stay focused on just making everything work before upgrading further :D

    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2020
  11. Mar 6, 2020 at 8:56 PM
    #11
    snivilous

    snivilous [OP] New Member

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    Thanks! No, I only did one lap and ended up rolling on competition hill right next to main pit. Made it 78 miles. The roll destroyed some of the front ring gear, and I barely had time to make the lap 1 cut off so naively ended the race prematurely. I did a few short course races and another desert race in Utah with it too.

    Thanks man! Feels like I don't get enough time in the shop, but I'll post the slow progress I do. At a minimum it helps me think about everything and keep some semblance of a log of what I've done and why.
     
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  12. Mar 6, 2020 at 9:57 PM
    #12
    computeruser6

    computeruser6 Climate heretic

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    I think that as far as this forum goes you're one of the more skilled fabricators and mechanics. I think more of us would be asking you questions than having advice to offer(myself included).

    How much Land Cruiser was left by this point?
     
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  13. Mar 8, 2020 at 7:32 PM
    #13
    snivilous

    snivilous [OP] New Member

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    Worked on the fuel cell cradle a little today.

    [​IMG]

    I'm going to add a diagonal from the bottom tube to the rear tube, and then thinking of building up and trussing forward to the C pillar. The subframe tube is really annoying me too how it doesn't tie into anything, so I think I'm going to cut it out and then truss from the subframe up to the bottom fuel cell tube. I also plan to plate in the fuel cell cradle so the cell is held snugly. After all that, most of the tail end fabrication will be done I think. I tried throwing a spare on top of the fuel cell, but it's essentially level with the roof and way too high--both from a raising CG perspective and just plain too high to throw 130lbs up there. The alternative is to hang the spare off the back at an angle like Bomber cars do, but I don't know if that'd kill my departure angle. For now I'll just go with no spare, and if need be I can easily add one kicked off the back or maybe just do a mount so if I want to run a spare I can but can leave it off the rest of the time.

    [​IMG]

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    I was going to button up the rest of the block today too, but realized I need a new cam retaining plate and that none of my ARP kits have cam bolts so need to order both of those. Instead, I installed the trunnion upgrades for the stock rockers, so now the heads should be relatively quick to put together once I get them back.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Mar 8, 2020 at 7:39 PM
    #14
    Hbjeff

    Hbjeff New Member

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    Giggity giggity. Can’t wait to see this awesomeness
     
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  15. Mar 10, 2020 at 4:23 PM
    #15
    snivilous

    snivilous [OP] New Member

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    Haha I appreciate the sentiments, but I'm just a guy in his garage. If anyone has questions I'm happy to answer, but I know just enough to know I don't know enough. I'd be stoked if people have advice on welding or engine assembly or notching or whatever.

    My 4500 truck was actually really stock. In race trim it had all the body panels besides the tail gate and front fenders. The body was lightened, any sheet metal I didn't need (hood bracing, door panels, etc) I cut out. The drivetrain was all completely stock--engine, tranny, and tcase were 100% stock. Driveshafts were stock besides the front was lengthened a little bit. Axles were mostly stock besides a little fabrication and the differentials being geared and locked, but stock shafts, stock hubs, stock brakes, etc. The suspension was the biggest thing, and was the main reason I didn't race it as a stock class vehicle. I've always liked the suspension aspect of stuff so bumped a class above stock class so I had more freedom, and then maxed out those rules. Front had a 3-link vs the stock radius arms, and then coilovers and bypasses and hydraulic bump stops on every corner. For how much it weighed (5200lbs totally empty, probably 6000lbs loaded to race) it needed a lot of upgrades, but it was a fucking cloud through the desert, it'd go as fast through pretty deep whoops as the engine could push it.
     
  16. Mar 13, 2020 at 9:25 AM
    #16
    snivilous

    snivilous [OP] New Member

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    Got the heads back today! Clean, inspected, surfaced, valve job, and installed my new springs and seals and stuff.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I have a final box from Summit showing up today, I had to buy a few hundred dollars of ARP bolts that I was missing (cam bolts, cam retainer bolts, crank bolt, etc.); now I should have everything to finish putting the motor together I think... Maybe get that done this weekend.
     
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  17. Mar 13, 2020 at 10:15 AM
    #17
    GravityGear

    GravityGear Parking Lot Prerunner

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    Will you be racing the Bonneville series? YORR is also hosting the U4 race in WY.
     
  18. Mar 13, 2020 at 10:23 AM
    #18
    snivilous

    snivilous [OP] New Member

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    I'd like to do a few BOR races this year if possible, the Knolls race was the first race I ever did so would be cool to get back in their series. Idk about YORR, that's a pretty far drive from southern Utah. I'd rather do SNORE or something in Nevada or Arizona.
     
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  19. Mar 13, 2020 at 10:35 AM
    #19
    GravityGear

    GravityGear Parking Lot Prerunner

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    I'm moving to that general vicinity soon. I'll probably come and check out some BOR stuff.

    AH, I didn't see that you're in southern UT. You've got BITD and AZOP real close then.
     
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  20. Mar 15, 2020 at 7:26 PM
    #20
    snivilous

    snivilous [OP] New Member

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    This weekend I made the front shock mount cover plates. The last piece for the front shock mounts will be a tube that ties into the chassis and comes up from the bottom to hold the shock bracket in tension. These plates are more aesthetics than anything, though will provide some stability to the bracket. Lots of welding, so was able to learn and try some things, pretty happy with how they're turning out.

    [​IMG]

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    On the engine side of things, got the camshaft, sprockets, timing chain, oil pump, front and rear covers, and oil pan and associated parts all installed. I was really close to having the engine fully sealed up, I had one of the heads laying on the engine and started putting the studs in and the second one did not want to turn. I hadn't even thought of chasing the head stud holes since everything else has threaded without issue. I ordered the super long taps from ARP already, and also ordered a Transgo HD2 shift kit for the 4l80 (may as well do any tweaks I want to that before I drop the whole drivetrain into the chassis soon here).

    [​IMG]

    I'm resisting buying fuel system stuff, which is hopefully all I need to fire the engine up once it's together. But there's no rush on that, still lots of fabricating I need to do.
     
  21. Mar 19, 2020 at 9:38 PM
    #21
    snivilous

    snivilous [OP] New Member

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    Made a lot of progress the past two days!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Still a lot to do on the engine, and then need to install the shift kit in the trans and then it'll be time to bolt the drivetrain up and drop it into the chassis. After that "all" I need is a fuel system to fire it up! Metric assload of work to do still, but it feels like I bit a massive chunk off of this build for the first time.
     
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  22. Apr 6, 2020 at 8:38 PM
    #22
    snivilous

    snivilous [OP] New Member

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    The engine mounting tabs weren't done correctly originally (ie 6 months ago). They weren't cleaned or chamfered, and considering they're minimal amount of bracing and how much weight and power they'll hold I decided to knock them off and do it correctly.

    [​IMG]

    I grabbed a HF engine lift and balancer which made things a lot easier than using the forklift. I dropped the engine in to test fit the cleaned up mounts before welding them.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Also welded some areas I had missed while I was working in the engine bay.

    [​IMG]

    Then back in the engine went for the "current" final time, so hopefully it doesn't need to get pulled again before I can drive it but we'll see.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    With how tight everything is it can be a bitch to work on, but it looks damn good with the V8 snuggled in there. Next step is install the tranny shift kit and then mount the trans and atlas, again for the "current final time". Then onto doing interior work. I was planning to buy a LSA supercharger today, but the ebay bid for some reason ended prematurely so I missed out on it. There's no other LSA deals at the moment, so instead I'll spend that money on the fuel system I planned out (which costs more than the blower hahaha) and is the final part to theoretically get the engine running. What I want to do is get everything to a "good enough" spot so I can drive it, then finish the last 10% out from there. In my experience, getting it to run or drive, even a little really speeds things up since you feel like you're finally at the point of buttoning stuff up or repairing things instead of just building an endless ground up project. For instance, the rear end and back of the passenger compartment still have quite a few tubes to add in, but they're not critical parts. I can get it driving and go in and add those at a later time. So that's my plan, start getting the big stuff ordered so the whole thing can move soon and then finish out the small stuff; with that said, still LOTS of big stuff to order (fuel system, brake system, cooling system, steering system, beadlocks).

    [​IMG]

    Overall I didn't make a lot of progress, but it feels and looks like a lot, so I'm happy with todays work.
     
  23. Apr 6, 2020 at 8:53 PM
    #23
    Mountun Goat

    Mountun Goat Pretty ugly, yet completely effective

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    Damn son! Killer build so far :headbang::popcorn:
     
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  24. Apr 10, 2020 at 3:07 PM
    #24
    snivilous

    snivilous [OP] New Member

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    Just finished the fuel cell hold down plate and super happy how it turned out! Started it last night and finished it today.

    [​IMG]

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  25. Apr 23, 2020 at 4:18 AM
    #25
    snivilous

    snivilous [OP] New Member

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    Mocked up the spare tire and D pillar and decided to go this route.

    [​IMG]

    Front suspension back on and starting to test fit seats and bend interior bars.

    [​IMG]

    I was getting worried about weight so weighed the front and back, the tires, brakes, fuel system, etc. Right now with everything including a spare, I am right at 3500lbs and exactly a 50/50 weight distribution with a half tank of gas. My weight limit with 1.75" tube is 4400lbs, so I'm very happy. I still have a lot of tube and parts to add, but I think I'll be around the 4000-4100lb mark.

    [​IMG]

    I had some more aggressive notches that my notcher wouldn't go to, or compound notches, so I learned how to do a flat pattern layout in Solidworks which worked out awesome. This tube is the very first time I test fit or measured it after I took measurements in CAD.

    [​IMG]

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    Did the same thing for the V brace, never gotten the two tubes to overlap to the same point before without a lot of work and redoing some but now could do it first try.

    [​IMG]

    I also bought a LSA supercharger.

    [​IMG]

    I installed it yesterday to see how it'll fit and it looks great. I had to push the front axle forward 1", and I'm gonna grind on the truss a little for some added clearance from the crank pulley, but otherwise everything fits awesome and it sits a little lower than my shock mounts. I learned that my new Holley fuel injectors are too tall though, so need to get some different ones and a new fuel rail. I have everything from Aeromotive and Fragola for the fuel system though, and just got a box of tube connections from TMR so can start the engine cross brace.

    [​IMG]

    Also peek the new lift I'm installing. Hoping to have that operational this week, and first task will be to lift the chassis and use the forklift to check tire clearance everywhere so I can order beadlocks.
     
  26. Apr 26, 2020 at 9:36 AM
    #26
    snivilous

    snivilous [OP] New Member

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    Got the lift installed and threw the lizard on it.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I went to try and flex it to test clearance, but the pads on the lift arms weren't gonna cut it so I made some tube adapters.

    [​IMG]

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    And then onto flexing it out to check clearance. This test wheel is 9" wide 4.25" back spacing.

    [​IMG]

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    Sway bar link may get frisky with the tire. Probably time to start mocking that up.

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    Not sure how far out the tire actually turns since there's no stops, but it was nearly at the limit of the knuckle at this point (obviously there'd be a spring to consider too).

    I mocked up ride height a little too. The chassis level and rear up travel seem a little off, but oh well. The chassis is nearly level but the rear only seems to have 9-10" of up travel. I've changed things so many times I don't remember or care where it should be. If I need more up travel I'll just lift the ass a bit.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Planning to order beadlocks in the next few days, going with Trail Ready since they've worked good on my last few rigs and the female likes them. Thinking of doing 3.5" back space to gain a little room for the sway bar and the front coilover. Not a big fan of how wide it'll be or the front scrub radius, but I don't think there's much that can be done about that at this point.
     
  27. May 10, 2020 at 8:50 AM
    #27
    snivilous

    snivilous [OP] New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2019
    Member:
    #29192
    Messages:
    531
    SW UT
    Vehicle:
    Supercharged
    Finally got my steel order in and got some tubes knocked out along with the transfercase support.

    IMG_20200509_214912.jpg IMG_20200509_214928.jpg IMG_20200509_214944.jpg IMG_20200509_214958.jpg IMG_20200509_215024.jpg
     
    ViktorG, PeakIT, GiantsFanDan and 5 others like this.
  28. May 10, 2020 at 10:54 AM
    #28
    Mountun Goat

    Mountun Goat Pretty ugly, yet completely effective

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2018
    Member:
    #13002
    Messages:
    4,905
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Dan
    Hinton Alberta, Canada
    Vehicle:
    Oh8 Limited DC Bush Beater!
    Pretty legit bud
    Looks awesome dude. I have to ask, what is a lizard in regards to the truck?
     
    BIGUGLY and snivilous [OP] like this.
  29. May 11, 2020 at 9:37 AM
    #29
    snivilous

    snivilous [OP] New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2019
    Member:
    #29192
    Messages:
    531
    SW UT
    Vehicle:
    Supercharged
    Thanks man, pretty sure you're the only one who ever looks at this hahaha. Shame there's no active offroad forums anymore.

    The 'Rock Lizard' is just the name of the chassis kit I started with. Though the only thing left of that chassis that's "stock" is from the door bar down to the subframe, everything else from the width to the height and the nose/tail are different. So not much of the original "lizard" chassis left, but I still refer to as that sometimes lol
     
    Mountun Goat and smslavin like this.
  30. May 11, 2020 at 9:57 AM
    #30
    smslavin

    smslavin On a plane...

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2017
    Member:
    #8578
    Messages:
    6,709
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Sean
    Denver, CO
    Vehicle:
    2016 Tundra CrewMax SR5
    what's the story with the 40 back there in the corner? :boink:

    nope. i love this thread. don't know if it's more tactful to say i'm jealous or envious. enjoying the progress. wish i could have a few of the skills you have. actually, i just wish i had the space to learn some of those skills. i've wanted to build something from the ground up for a very long time.

    keep sharing so i can live vicariously through you. :cool: :thumbsup: :cheers:
     

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