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New roll cage and other stuff

Guest Lenny

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I've been working on my Trooper since fall and now have it about done, for now that is. These are the things I wanted done for the Jamboree.

First off I built a new roll cage. Started out by designing it in 3D on Solidworks. There I was able to use FEA (finite element analysis) to optimise the design to get maximum strength with minimum weight. Spent about 3 weeks on the computer modifing and changing until I got things just right. I used 1-5/8" dia. alloy 1020 DOM tubing in 3 different wall thicknesses. Main members used an .095" wall thickness while secondary stress elements used .083' wall tubing with lowest stressed tubes being .065" wall. The cage is designed to withstand a 14,000 pound force pushing from the side against the top outer corner of the main bar which is behind my head. The front can take a force of 7,500 pounds pushing down and back at an angle of 30 degrees above horizontal against the top of the front cross bar. The doors are designed to become a part of the structrure when closed and latched. They thus increase the resistance to the forces shown above. When you look at the pics, you will see that the doors also have tabs which contact the top cage and the lower trooper frame tubes to reinforce them against crushing in, in case of a side impact. The cage with the doors are designed to provide side protection to the occupants from the head all the way down through the shoulders and side of the body along with the legs. Doors pivot on 1/2" diameter grade 8 shoulder bolts. The latching uses two 3/4" diameter pins with holes in them on the doors (see pics). When the door closes, these pins stick thru two 3/8" thick tabs which are welded to the main Trooper frame. On the back side of these tabs there is a latch bar that has two 3/8" dia. pins that force themselves into the holes in the 3/4" door pins, drawing the door in tight and securing it as if it was bolted shut. You can see the door latch lever in the pics.

Next I moved the Top HID lights in to the center. This gave the Trooper a smaller lower look then when I had them spread all the way across the top.

The main catalyst that got me into this change is that I finally found some racing seats that I liked. Bought them from a Chineeze exibitor at the SEMA show in Las Vegas. They have carbon fibre frames and sit about 6" lower then the stock seats and are much more comfortable and really hold you i place good. Because of the seats being lower I was able to keep the cage lower overall. The seats were low enough to allow me to go to two way power seats. Lord knows that the stock seats don't adjust good at all. They were always a struggle when I switched driving between Jeanne, my daughter Shawna and myself. You will see in the pics that I was able to seal the power seat stuff from dirt pretty well. The seats themselves can also be adjusted to tilt from layed back to very up-right. Still waiting for the new seat covers to come from China so currently have two different colors.

With the low seating I decided to make the steeering wheel tilt. You can see in the pics the slotted plate behind the dash that allows this. Still need to get the locking bolt located for better access.

Seeing as I was going to redo the cage I figured that this was the right time to go to a glass windsheild. After all the two had to fit together to be right. I gave up on plastic because of the static charge it develops which attracts the trail dust quickly. Spent several hours in the junk yard measuring windows until I found a rear window on a 1972 Maverick that was as close as I was going to find. All the front car windows were too wide and most of the rears had heat wires in them. I built a frame for the window and mounted it so it would swing down on the hood for when I didn't want it there. It will secure downh there like it does when up, just not done yet. Still need to make a marine fabric cover to close up the bottom and sides and the top will get a tinted lexan extension. The roof will be also be marine fabric.

I also extended my front fenders forward all the way to the front to catch the bit of blow back sand I ocassionally get. Finally came up with a way to do it that looked acceptable to me.

After going fast thru a narrow but deep ditch that I didn't expect and getting a wall of sand pushed up in front of me to go thru from the front lower frame hitting the opposit wall of the ditch, I added a extended front skid plate. At the same time I changed out the winch to a 4500 pound winch and mounted it in a 2x2 receiver so I can move it from front to ear at will. Still need to get poly rope for it, don't like steel cable. Also neeto add the fairlead to it.

Finally aftfer looking for lighter 15" wheels for about 9 months, I found some 13 pound ones. What I had before were 21 pounds. This will lighten things even more and provide a bit softer ride as unsprung mass.

All in all I saved about 75 pounds with everything. About 30 pounds ont eh cage, about 30 pounds on the wheels (being able to eliminate my big aluminum plate washers also) and about 15 pounds on the seats. Probable added back about 10with the larger winch and skid plate.

Still haven't decided how I want to finish off the rear but I decided to eliminate the rear deck and will go to an extreamly light panel to cover the opening that just clips into place providing complete and easy removal when access is required.

I also put a bit smaller pully on my supercharger to get enough more boost to makie up for getting my compression too low before. Could tell a nice differance. Final Dyno tuning to be done friday. This time by Shaun Church with Church Automotive in California. He comes to Las Vegas a couple days a month. At the SEMA show I found out that Shawn is considered well in the top 10 tuners in the country if not maybe the best. Googling him seems to agree.

Should be ready for the Jamboree.

There are about 20 pics to view.



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Now that is what I was talking about that Joyner needed to do to update the Trooper some way. Great job, Len.

Did you do your tube bending?

rocmoc n AZ/Mexico

Yes, I did do all of my own tube bending. Next stop will be new dash and lower granny gear. Thanks to all you guys for your generous comments.


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I'm using 31x10.5-15 Mickey Thompson Baja Claws. Some of my clearance is due to the 14.5" of suspension travel I have which allows me to set it up to ride higher. As far as custom goes, many of the things I've done are those things that the original manufacture should have done to begin with. Better ball joints, better heims joints, Air filter, better engine port matching, better brakes, well sort of on and on. I think they should redesign from the ground up and use the Chery small diesel engine that puts out about 125 HP and 200 ft/lbs of torque. That with the chery 6 speed manual transmission along with good differentials to hold it, then you would have something that would have the power to pull any hill easily and stil be quick on the trails or rally type riding. Lets get a real granny gear while were at it and truly good long travel suspension. Many are either living unsatisified with their Joyners or spending a lot of money to upgrade them. A lot more then it would cost the factory to do it right to begin with.


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