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Thread: Ascinder's 1-Ton VX... Cont'd

  1. #1
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    Ascinder's 1-Ton VX... Cont'd

    The first post in this thread is just the dialog from another thread that got us to this point. Ascinder (Beau) likes to drop bombs... military guy, don't ya know... the latest bomb he deuced is that of swapping 1-ton GM drivetrain bits into his IronMan VX...

    Ascinder - I'm currently stuffing a 6.0L 364 in mine

    Zeus - The GM 6.0?! That is one fantastic motor!!! What trans and t-case you hookin to, Beau?

    Ascinder - NV4500 and an Np205. No doubler at this time, but eventually I'll swap the 205 with an Atlas II and that will be that. The best part was I got the earlier NV4500 which has a 6.34:1 first gear. I was originally going with an SM420 with the 7.0:1 first gear which I still have, but the extra gear up top will make cruising a lot better. Plus parts availability is nice too.

    The 6.0 has now got all corvette front end accessories making it a bit shorter lengthwise which allows me to run a larger radiator. I also did this mod which gives a godawful 550 horsepower, the only difference being that I kept the fuel injection instead of going to a crabed setup!!! The torque for that motor is off the charts too. At 3,000 rpm it's putting out beyond the VX's maximum horspower. I ran the corvette batwing oil pan too which greatly increases the clearance so I can position the motor down lower which also drops the center of gravity. I also swapped the timing chain to a double row to handle the increased power. I also picked up some ceramic coated edelbrock headers instead of the cast stockers to help offset the weight penalty with the iron block. Also most of the critical fasteners have been replaced with ARP bolts which really ought to be called "just take out a second mortgage bolts". The tranny gets a new oversized 12" centerforce clutch, pressure plate, throwout bearing, master and slave cylinders and a wilwood pedal setup. To round everything out, I also have 16 of these:


    They are for the dual four links that are hooking up a D60 up front with full hydraulic steering and the 14 bolt rear. I'm going with some heat treated chromoly links which turned out to be suprisingly cheap. Likely I'll be going over to FOA coilovers all around. There's still a helluva lot to do, and I'll throw out tidbits as the project continues, but let's just say this isn't something for the faint of heart or shallow of wallet

    Triathlete - Ascinder...Build thread with lots of progress pics!!!!

    VXorado - Thats exactly what I was thinking... If you have time, a build thread would awesome

    Jolly Roger - If you build it........they will come.......
    Can't wait to see the finished product so I can brag to my friends/family about the V8VX!

    Ascinder - I will get started on a build thread I guess, but it's going to be slow. I take my time and really stew over my decisions, so don't hold your breath.

    Triathlete - We aren't going anywhere any time soon!

    Don't know the difference in cost...but, for links you might check THESE out!

    Ascinder - Yeah, I looked those when I was doing my link research. Aluminum links are somewhat lighter than steel, and are basically more flexible than steel, meaning they will deflect and spring back undamaged. The vast majority of links people use are DOM tubing. While relatively cheap and plentiful, it can be somewhat heavy when compared with aluminum. The best compromise I've found is heat treated chromoly steel. It is almost as light as aluminum, and way stronger than either aluminum or DOM. It is actually comparatively cheap too. Another advantage is that if I get it from these guys, it is just a trip over the hill for me, so I don't have to pay shipping. He's a forum guy over at pirate4x4, here's a thread about these links:
    http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/showthread.php?t=836035

    As you can read in that thread, the chromo links are substantially harder, have almost twice the tensile strength and are a little cheaper($800 vs. $1168 plus shipping) The aluminum has the advantage in the corrosion department, but for those of in the arid southwest that isn't a deal breaker. Aluminum does look way cooler too though I may still go that route, but we'll see.

    Triathlete - Out of curiosity is full hydro legal on the road up there? I know most states it is not.

    Zeus - Wow, Beau! Hmm... let me get all this out if you don't mind... by all means, question Zeus...

    How much distance are you going to have for a rear drive shaft with that combo? A 92" wheelbase doesn't lend itself very well to 1-ton hardware. I would give up on the dblr right now - you don't have the wheelbase for it. You won't need a dblr with the NV4500 anyway. Consider the Stak or LoMax if you haven't already - those are the two on my list. The 4500 trans is what I have in my diesel... er, the newest diesel... the stock '94 with the 6.34. It creeps brilliantly... in low range, the brakes strain to keep the truck still. I know builders have always struggled squeezing the 4500 into any rig shorter than the Wrangler... 94" wheelbase. Your D60 is a high-pinion isn't it? The 14-bolt has a long nose on it so I assume you could and may have to tilt the drivetrain to angle the rear yoke toward the 14-bolt and use a CV-driveshaft. The D60 high-pinion should allow for that... however... as I am sure you already know... everything will be extremely tight! The 14-bolt may even run into the fuel tank and the down travel will be very limited because of the short slip spline...

    I know how in-depth you can be so I hate to think you haven't already realized these issues... that's what makes me think you are planning to stretch the wheelbase and use a fuel cell. I'm also thinking this will not be seen on the streets since it will be highly illegal. Full hydraulic steering is not DOT approved, fuel cells are not either, in case you are planning a wheelbase stretch and didn't know that...

    I'm not saying you can't do any of this but you are a braver man than I so I'll just have to live vicariously thru you! You have one Hell of a puzzle to figure out and I wish you the best with it... you nailed it when you said progress will be slow. Good luck and keep us posted!!!

    Ascinder -
    Quote from Triathlete: "Out of curiosity is full hydro legal on the road up there? I know most states it is not."

    There have many here who have asked the same question a great many times. From what I have read and talked to people about, it's a bit of a grey area, yet there isn't anything specifically prohibiting you from running it, DOT legal or not. The guys here running it that have been pulled over have yet to get a ticket for it, and usually the police are more interested in checking out their rigs than writing them up. A great many officers wouldn't even know the difference between that and the steering on the lifted fullsize trucks with three steering dampers on them anyways, plus, I have a trick up my sleeve called out of sight, out of mind. I plan on running the steering reversed of how you typically set up a hydro system. My D60 is actually a drivers side drop(ford style), but the weird thing is unlike the ford style D60's most are familiar with, it's actually a low pinion setup which lets me sit the ram up above the pinion and behind the differential out of site. It will also be shrouded by the front four link brackets, rod ends, and links, not to mention the tires. Pretty slick if I do say so myself.


    Quote From Zeus: "How much distance are you going to have for a rear drive shaft with that combo? A 92" wheelbase doesn't lend itself very well to 1-ton hardware. I would give up on the dblr right now - you don't have the wheelbase for it. You won't need a dblr with the NV4500 anyway. Consider the Stak or LoMax if you haven't already - those are the two on my list."

    Well, seeing as how the NV4500 and the NP205 are a full 5" shorter than the VX's transmission and transfer case I'm in good shape for the driveshaft. I was planning on a high angle unit anyways, since I may get ballsy and hack out the firewall like this guy did-freakin awesome!! It would push the engine and tranny's CGs back between the wheels for awesome weight distribution and balance. I was also toying with extending the wheelbase when I link it, but as Bart and I have had many discussions about, that kind of thing must be done with a gentle touch so you don't end up making the beautiful VX into a hillbilly bumpkin mobile that looks like a pepsi can got thrown in a blender. In other words, preserving the overall look of the VX is a big consideration when deciding to hack up cladding and body panels for the sake of wheelbase.
    The doubler was goin to be more of a future addon since it would be considerable additional expense. I haven't looked really hard into the STAK or lowmax that much, but that's mostly because I had found pretty much what I wanted in the Atlas II. Any reason that unit didn't make your list? I've heard they are supposed to be pretty good. The atlas would occupy the same space as the NP 205, so I'd still be looking good driveline wise.
    As for the 14 bolt hitting the gas tank, that thing is getting ripped out so I have the travel you mentioned. I was thinking about a fuel cell initially, but I am going to start looking for alternatives. That was actually one of the things I have been mulling over lately. I may look into small car or truck tanks and play with alternative shapes. The VX is a great vehicle to mod specifically because no one really knows what they look like from the factory which gives a lot of leeway with the law, so if you make it look stock, who's to say it's not?(law enforcement forum members, forget you heard the last sentence)

    So, as mentioned earlier in this post, the D60 being a low pinion unit will be a bit of a PITA, but it's something I'll have to work around since I got it for $200 instead of nearly $1200. Since the 60 and the 14 are both low pinion, I will likely end up with CV shafts on both. Which means more of a flat transfer case mounting setup rather than angled.
    The steering was also addressed earlier in the post, and due to the nature of the drastic level of mods going on in the engine compartment, I thought it best to loose the stock steering setup. Being a four link front also brings the added issues of bumpsteer running a stock style or longarm steering setup. Full hydro makes steering nice, clean, powerful, and easy to run. Plus you can't run a panhard bar with a four link because it binds, so that's totally out of the question.

    As for driving on the streets, hell yes I plan to. There really isn't anything making this rig dangerous that I can see. When the steering valve is properly set up, there's no reason to worry about hydro steering. It's every bit as safe as manual or power steering, if not more so due to the oversize components being used. One of the big hurdles I do have to jump is the engine swap. Nevada requires it to have all stock emissions equipment from the donor vehicle and the recipient vehicle, so that will be fun. Also its first SMOG check must be done at the state facility where they also inspect the engine installation. I talked to the guys there and they seem pretty savvy, but fair, and generally good natured in helping you, so I'll have to hope for the best.
    Also, I really do appreciate the replys. They help give me a sounding board for all my whackjob ideas and help me consider other options or ideas I may have overlooked.
    Sent from my "two hands on a keyboard"

  2. #2
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    The Atlas is no doubt a great t-case... my projects lately tho are ranging from a '94 3/4-ton GMC Sierra up to a 1-1/4 ton M1008 CUCV - both use a Detroit diesel. BIG SMELLY TRUCKS! Your VX will be no light-weight when all is said and done but my trucks are far different.

    Look at the beef in the bottom two pics in this LINK. My 3/4 ton is deemed to be my expo rig with a WilderNest camper shell or something like that. I will be carrying a lot of weight. The doubler would just add to that weight and it's not needed anyway. I don't think an Atlas would hold up to everything the LoMax would. Plus in kit form, the LoMax is below $1400 and I have a good friend in Wyo who owns his own mechanic shop... my issue is they have yet to offer it in a driver's drop configuration for my '94. For the Army truck though, it's perfect! The STAK is always referred to by the GM full-size guys... and check out the brake setup at the bottom of this LINK. Besides, if there is something I learned from VXers it's that the most popular option MUST be shunned for no reason at all!

  3. #3
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    If your going to go high $$ for the Atlas you should also take a look at the Lovell. Very stout (comp tested) and air actuated. Can be shifted under load or at full open throttle!

    As for coilovers you may also look into the new ORI struts. Much more user friendly (no figuring out spring rates) and better raod manners. There are several posts on Pirate about them.

    As far as wheel base. I plan (when ever my time comes) to stretch the front out around 5 inches. Better tire clearance to keep it lower.

    What size tires are you planning on running?
    Last edited by Triathlete : 02/09/2010 at 03:32 PM
    Billy Oliver
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Triathlete View Post
    As far as wheel base. I plan (when ever my time comes) to stretch the front out around 5 inches. Better tire clearance to keep it lower.
    I agree with that, I think the wheelbase is gonna have to grow to around 100" to clear everything... I think with the stock wheelbase tires larger than 36" will smack the front part of the rear wheelwells and of course the back of the front wheelwells. If I didn't have other things going on... well I am tempted to create a Photoshop image of the madness I am seeing.

    Beau, feel free to start you own thread. I just didn't want all this going in the wrong thread. Besides, we need to kick you in the butt every now and then for moral support!

  5. #5
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    I want to see the photo chop...I would do it but i totally suck at that sort of thing and it would do it no justice!

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    Look at the beef in the bottom two pics in this LINK.
    Very stout indeed. My only concern is it's still only single range, where an Atlas II or Stak box gives me an extra gear to play with. Now I won't ever actually need the super low gear stuff, the if you read the Billavista doubler article over on pirate, then you know that that extra gear opens up other ranges for you to shift through which provides a more seamless gear range. That at least was my line of thinking on going towards the Atlas or Stak.

    Besides, if there is something I learned from VXers it's that the most popular option MUST be shunned for no reason at all!
    Truer words were never spoken I would be lying if I said I hadn't looked into some pretty out there alternatives like portal axles and such. The problem with those, at least the military ones I've seen is that you have to find a way to run everything backwards.

    If your going to go high $$ for the Atlas you should also take a look at the Lovell. Very stout (comp tested) and air actuated. Can be shifted under load or at full open throttle!
    Now that is something definitely VX worthy, but since I didn't see a price, I can only assume it's very high. I think it will end up in the wishlist category along with the LS7 motor, and the 609 spidertrax axles with 60 degree steering.

    As for coilovers you may also look into the new ORI struts. Much more user friendly (no figuring out spring rates) and better road manners. There are several posts on Pirate about them.
    I'll have to check those out some more in depth. I had never heard of them. They certainly look pretty cool. I think these would be absolutely awesome to run and since there aren't any bulky springs to mess with you could always add bypass shocks later on if you were really getting into situations where you needed the extra damping. I will definitely do some research on these. The only downfall looks to be availability.

    As far as wheel base. I plan (when ever my time comes) to stretch the front out around 5 inches. Better tire clearance to keep it lower.
    Agreed, the wheelbase needs to get longer for the reason you mentioned, but I think the rear will really need it too. Our departure angle is not a thing of beauty. However, as I said before, making it all come together and not look like hack job city will be a challenge, especially in the back where there's more "fat to trim". I guess what I mean by that is that in the rear, you are actually cutting into the body more, where the front you are really just trimming mostly fenderwell stuff.

    What size tires are you planning on running?
    I feel that 37s are the largest size I can safely run at high speeds. I'm really liking these a lot:



    They are Maxxis M8060 Trepador Competition Bias plys. I'm not crazy about the bias ply part, due to all the irritations that come with it, but they have been high speed offroad tested and look like they'll make great crawler tires too, plus, I've heard they're very sticky out here at the Moonrocks.

    Beau, feel free to start you own thread. I just didn't want all this going in the wrong thread. Besides, we need to kick you in the butt every now and then for moral support!
    I couldn't agree more. Actually, I think you did a great job building up this thread, so let's kick it here I have to say I have been very hesitant about putting anything up on the forum, because, as I've mentioned to others in private, I like to post results, not string people along on "what ifs", "that would be cools", and other such flights of fancy that come and go over the years. I feel I'm reaching the stage where some of this is coming together and I might actually pull it off, so having the moral support and a good butt kicking every now and again on here will set me in the right direction and more importantly keep me moving.

    I want to see the photo chop...I would do it but i totally suck at that sort of thing and it would do it no justice!
    Ditto, I have been wanting the same for awhile now, but I have no photoshop experience, so I've just had to guess and imagine. Having some concept pics would be awesome.
    The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascinder View Post
    I have been very hesitant about putting anything up on the forum, because, as I've mentioned to others in private, I like to post results, not string people along on "what ifs", "that would be cools", and other such flights of fancy that come and go over the years.
    Well, if you need some help let me know. I always enjoy this stuff.

    And just as a first bit of "encouragement" I would just like to say that (despite it being a million times easier) my Trooper's 2.8 > 3.4 engine swap is totally done and running like gang busters. So get your VX back on the road so we can go wheeling again!!

    Bart

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascinder View Post
    I couldn't agree more. Actually, I think you did a great job building up this thread, so let's kick it here I have to say I have been very hesitant about putting anything up on the forum, because, as I've mentioned to others in private, I like to post results, not string people along on "what ifs", "that would be cools", and other such flights of fancy that come and go over the years.
    Yeah I hate making myself out to be an unintentional liar... I am pretty good at it tho, it turns out. Big ideas, little focus. Lots of projects, little use. Sucks balls! That's why I say I must live vicariously thru you. Git 'er Dun!

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    Well, if you need some help let me know. I always enjoy this stuff.
    Sure man, any time you want to drop by and swing a wrench, I'm game. There's definitely no shortage of work to do. The engine/trans/xfer case is just about ready to go in for its first test fitting this weekend. BTW that valve spring compressor was a lifesaver, thank you very much for letting me borrow it.

    Yeah I hate making myself out to be an unintentional liar... I am pretty good at it tho, it turns out. Big ideas, little focus. Lots of projects, little use. Sucks balls! That's why I say I must live vicariously thru you. Git 'er Dun!
    Maybe I worded that poorly, I wasn't trying to point fingers at anyone at all. I am just tired of getting excited about stuff and then it just falls off the face of the earth, never to be heard from again. I just want to bring something to the table that is real and tangible. Something that says: "Here you go, this is how it's done." Instead of: "Oh wouldn't attaching JATO bottles to a VX be cool."

    Here's some pics of where I'm at with this right now, just so we're all on the same page.

    Here's the axles going in:




    Here's the gaping engine bay:




    Here's a couple shots of the engine since it got modded (yes, I already know the intake is on backwards. I put it on that way on purpose):





    And here's the "new" transmission:


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    "Oh wouldn't attaching JATO bottles to a VX be cool."
    Why yes it would...although not so practical!

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    Those Treps look nice but for some reason on the competition scene they haven't taken off so well. Most tend to still prefer the Creepy Crawlers.

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    Those Treps look nice but for some reason on the competition scene they haven't taken off so well. Most tend to still prefer the Creepy Crawlers.
    The Trepadors in the Comp Bias category are supposed to be more suited for longer duration use, while still as sticky as a sap covered gecko chewing bubblegum, they were supposedly meant for combined speed and harsh offroading, not dedicated competition rock racing. I think they are more suited to KOH type races and rallying than crawling competitions which is exactly what I'd like out of this project. The Creepy Crawlers were a close second consideration, but, the recommendation for offroad use only and their extreme stickiness hints at lower tread life which is a killer for me since I still want to be able to drive to wherever I wheel.

    Also, just so everyone s on the same sheet of music, the Trepadors can be confusing because there are two similar name for two very different tires. The Comp Bias are the first picture to which I am referring.



    VS. these, which are the "normal" version:


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    HERES a good read on the ORI struts...

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    Damn Beau, now you've done gone and let the cat fully outta the bag! Yer in trouble now, sir!!

    Bart

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    Billy, you have me totally sold on these. Now if I could just unload my VX engine, I'd order them immediately Without a need for bumpstops or a swaybar, my packaging becomes infinitely easier, especially with the limited space on hand for everything to begin with. So far, parts wise, I still need several major components/component systems. I still need to buy my hydro setup, the cooling system, the fuel system, the suspension links, the suspension bracket/tabs, the driveshafts, and those shocks. It's still a long way to go, but I'll probably be ordering the fuel system, the brackets/tabs, and the radiator here pretty soon.

    Damn Beau, now you've done gone and let the cat fully outta the bag! Yer in trouble now, sir!!
    Yeah, I had to sooner or later, but look at all this great help it's getting me!!!

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