Build Thread #SteerAndStuff Buggy

MNorby

Spotter Required
Dec 31, 2016
98
Time to start getting back onto the the forums more. Here is my build thread on the new buggy after selling my old GoatBuilt Ibex that I had cut in half twice and remodeled to make more inline with what I was doing. I first built it with the idea of doing a little of the local racing but after racing twice I decided racing just isn't my thing and retired out with a 100% win ratio. So then making a larger chassis do more rock crawler things was the thing with adding a back seat that rarely got used, redoing the front end for better visibility and aesthetics, and adding rear steer.

So after seeing the other JHF builds I really liked the style of the chassis and with only a one car garage building a chassis at home didn't sound appealing. So got the chassis and axles ordered from JHF and started the parts gathering. Here is a rundown of the parts list so far:

  • Chassis: JHF Trail chassis
  • Engine: GM 3.9L from 2009 Impala
  • Transmission: 700R4 (60° bellhousing from 1984 2.8 S10)
    • TCI Full manual reverse valve body w/ braking
  • Transfer case: Dana 300 (27spline input, 32 spline rear output)
  • Axles: JHF portal axles using Toyota 8" 3rds

*I should preface the name. Years ago in Moab on Escalator a friend got jammed in and couldn't move. He asked for a spot and at that point I told him to just "steer and stuff" since he was stuck. After that it became a colloquial term and now I'm just running with it. I'll see if I can add a clip of the video sometime.
 
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MNorby

Spotter Required
Dec 31, 2016
98
After a marathon trip to western Nevada and back doing 1,974 miles in 35.5 hours I got home with the chassis and axles components from JHF. I had build a temporary wooden table to build on and be able to roll around if needed in anticipation of getting the chassis. Got home and slid onto the table and had no time to wait and went ahead and mocked in the engine, transmission, and transfer case.

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MNorby

Spotter Required
Dec 31, 2016
98
First thing I had to change was the transfer case adapter. I originally planned on using a factory GM th350-np208 adapter which pilots and bolts up but problem was for my custom clocking the support ribs and casting of the adapter wouldn't allow redrilling for the clocking I desired. Ended up getting an adapter from Novak and was able to redrill the front of the transfer case to get the perfect clocking.

Also got seat mounts built using either double sheer or a bushing on the single sheer tabs to facilitate using pins to mount seats for tool-less removal.

Transmission crossmember ended up using 1.5" square tube since stronger moment of inertial in the direction of hits it would take. I notched one side of the crossmember and half notched the other so it engages the chassis then used some formed shock brackets to retain it and also locks the crossmember in place.

Started building headers. Wasn't as hard as I expected but at least easier to learn how to build headers on a V6. Waiting on backordered muffler to finish building exhaust for now.

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MNorby

Spotter Required
Dec 31, 2016
98
Started working with the interior panels and thinking of layout for the controls.

Also got a radiator mounted. Wanted small enough to not obstruct visibility, simple to mount, and an off-the-shelf option. The dimensions of a 64-66 Mustang radiator fit pretty decent out of all the options I could find without doing something custom. Could have mounted it over the upper control arm mount but sat the tank higher than I liked so moved it inboard just next to the mount but lower. Mounted using grommet/bushings used on Harley tank mounts.

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woody

eternal noobie
Staff member
Oct 12, 2010
1,296
54
Toquerville UT
You'll have yours done before me at this rate! Looking awesome!

I looked at a similar double-shear mount for the seats....getting that inside/back pin installed is impossible, so opted for one longer rod for each seat the pulls out via a hole in the side skids. Might have those skids mocked this weekend.

What muffler did you go with? I've got a couple already purchased that I don't plan to use, but the Flowmaster HP2 is what I wanted....and shipping in June....uugh.

I need to redo my trans mount....did you go bushings or hard mount?
 

MNorby

Spotter Required
Dec 31, 2016
98
You'll have yours done before me at this rate! Looking awesome!

I looked at a similar double-shear mount for the seats....getting that inside/back pin installed is impossible, so opted for one longer rod for each seat the pulls out via a hole in the side skids. Might have those skids mocked this weekend.

What muffler did you go with? I've got a couple already purchased that I don't plan to use, but the Flowmaster HP2 is what I wanted....and shipping in June....uugh.

I need to redo my trans mount....did you go bushings or hard mount?
I try to do at least a little something everyday. Adds up, even the short 15-30 minute days gets me thinking on next steps.

Hoping the seats aren't too bad with skids on but it's something normally don't take apart often I guess.

I ordered the 18" body Flowmaster HP2, it has taken 3 weeks or so to get.

Everything is solid mounted in the drivetrain. My first time trying that.
 

MNorby

Spotter Required
Dec 31, 2016
98
I have one throttle pedal I got for a deal to play with. I am going to re-work the drivers side dash side panel for ore foot room. Have to be able to drive with snow boots on.

Small update. Have the rear steer valve, transmission shifter, and transfer case shifters done. Wanted to keep the rear steer and transmission close and easy to access back and forth. Starting to mock up the rear cutting brakes as well.

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Wezzier

Loves Light Bars
May 4, 2021
2
Wallace, ID
Started working with the interior panels and thinking of layout for the controls.

Also got a radiator mounted. Wanted small enough to not obstruct visibility, simple to mount, and an off-the-shelf option. The dimensions of a 64-66 Mustang radiator fit pretty decent out of all the options I could find without doing something custom. Could have mounted it over the upper control arm mount but sat the tank higher than I liked so moved it inboard just next to the mount but lower. Mounted using grommet/bushings used on Harley tank mounts.

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Curious to see hpw you route the radiator lines, looks like you have decent room in the front is it too narrow to lean one back up there?
 

MNorby

Spotter Required
Dec 31, 2016
98
Curious to see hpw you route the radiator lines, looks like you have decent room in the front is it too narrow to lean one back up there?
Not really enough room. Could fit a 18x14 radiator max up there and even that interferes with a ton of stuff.

Winch mount built today. Did similar mount on last rig and liked how easy it is to transition from front pull to suck down. Neet to build a tube fairlead to finish it off.

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MNorby

Spotter Required
Dec 31, 2016
98
BTW, hustle up with a throttle pedal....I've tried 3 setups and don't like any of them....lol
Here is where I am with the throttle pedal. Plan on mounting oem pedal under seat and a cable to operate it.

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