Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Coming along just fine.....

In the mockup photo below (and closeup above), you probably noticed that the lower frame rails are a little short of matching up with the hardtail section. Matter of fact, they're short by approximately 1 " to duplicate the wheelbase of the original Softail. This is because I had to cut the original lower rails right in front of where they welded to the frame's rear swingarm uprights.

Also notice that the Softail's frame rails are 1 1/4" OD, and the hardtail's rails are all 1" OD. So, we can either make the Softail's rails longer to match up, or make the hardtail's rails longer. I split the difference, and made mods to both of them, and they should be as strong as was the original structure.

To mate the hardtail to the lower frame rails, I turned a combination 1" long x 1" OD spacer and sleeve to fill my gap, and extended it inside the original frame rail 2 1/4". Next, I turned a 3/4" OD slug down to fit the ID of the hardtail's legs, and made it long enough to extended through the 1" spacer sleeve, and into the original frame rail. Everything slid right into place, and the alignment was almost automatic - the frame length measurements were within 1/16" side-to-side, and the axle plate height was the same on both sides. Doesn't usually go this quick, I'm stoked!

Next, I cut an exterior sleeve to cover the splice points underneath it, and gave it a slash cut to give the transition from 1 1/4" frame tube to 1" hardtail tube more eye appeal. We'll do the same slash cut to the socket/sleeve that we'll need for the top rail junction of the hardtail, so it'll visually match the lowers.

Tomorrow, or maybe Friday, I'll get the top of the hardtail all set up and aligned/mated to the backbone section with it's related sockets and sleeves. Then, I'll disassemble the mocked up sections, clean them, drill the necessary plug welds, then tack and weld everything up solid. With that done, it'll be back in with the engine and transmission, and on to fabrication of the rear trans crossmember and mount.

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