Saturday, June 25, 2011

Halfway Home Driveway Shots...

No these aren't the best shots but its the best my phone could do...

I'm currently at my in-laws house in Western Mass after having spent some 8 hours driving up and back to Burlington, VT to pick project Retro-Runner back up.

Final stats on the front?  16.5 inches of clean, no bumpsteer travel.  To be honest with a bit more work (relocating a part of the break system) the travel could go well beyond and into the 18+ range.  Given the rear only has about 14 inches of travel, it just doesn't make sense to go farther.

Things discovered both today and in recent days with this project?

The BTF Long Travel kit is really well put together.  It was assembled with hardly any problems other than a last minute discovery that the brake calipers were positioned just a tiny bit (1/16 of an inch or less) too close to the brake rotors as they just barely touch.  A slight widening of the caliper locating holes and the wheels turn smoothly and cleanly--albeit with a bit of a metal on metal squeek.  If the squeek is not gone by the time I get home a quick bit of dremel work will take care of the last 1000s of an inch that is still coming in contact with the rotor.

Other items of note?  Ruff Stuff Specialties is a great outfit to deal with as we had to source a couple of left hand thread, 7/8 inch rod ends at the last minute and they got them too us overnight with no issues and then when I called back after finding that we had forgotten to order a pair of jam nuts along with the rod ends, Dan at Ruff Stuff had a pair sent out to me for free, overnight, again.  Truly great service.

Then we have the powdercoating.  Soooo worth it.  I had been tempted to leave the front suspension parts as bare metal or spraying them myself.  For only about $225 I got them all nicely powdercoated which will cut down on maintenance and protect my investment.

Lastly?  Well, I learned a ton during this process, not the least of which was how correct I was in my original projections as far as the time and money it would take to get to this point.  Once the project got SERIOUSLY underway late last fall--when Retro-Runner went in for the beginning of its cage build but after the install and painting of its fiberglass--my original thought was that everything would take twice as long and cost twice as much as I would forecast.

Time wise, it consistently took about 50%  longer than anyone who was doing any work would state at the beginning of a portion of the work.  None of this was really their fault.  Really.  It is simply that in a project of this complexity that you are ALWAYS going to come across issues that have never been thought of ahead of time--say Nissan changing its thread size on its tie rod ends in the middle of a production cycle, or bodymounts being EXACTLY in the same spot as the down bar of the cage should be passing through to reach the frame.

Cost wise it isn't the major items that inflate the overall cost--both sections of the cage (engine cage, cab cage) and the long travel suspension kit all came in nearly exactly as proposed.  What causes all the extra money to be spent is, well, the extras.  New rod ends, new calipers, new rotors, powdercoating, new wheels, HANS, harnesses, work on the dash, brake lines, intercom, and on and on and on...The cost of just the pure cage(s) was spot on what I was expecting...the ancillary items were way more than I had thought of coming into the project.

I'll be working on the truck quite a bit more in the coming weeks to prepare it for its first event and will also be getting some glamour shots of the truck done as well as part of marketing it to others.  Thanks for tagging along so far...this is just the beginning.


Anonymous said...

Sick truck man!

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