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Thread: Nuke VX build thread

  1. #1
    Member Since
    Sep 2009
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    1999 White Vehicross 1385
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    Nuke VX build thread

    Hey all,
    My VX build project has been taking longer than anticipated. It's a crying shame too since we had about 3 feet of snow in my area in the past month. Would have been GREAT to get it out and throw some snow around.

    As some of you remember, my VX started off life with me after sitting at least a year in a small town in AR with a bad engine. Repair shop said about $7k for a reman engine, but then I would still be left with an engine with hard/expensive to replace parts. Couple that with the "limited" IFS and I opted for a driveline swap.

    Here is where I began the planning (note the faded cladding):



    Then I began my novice surgical removal of said driveline:




    That is where I found the culprit to the horrible engine knock:






    Triumphant at last!


    Then it was off to the builder's:


    He appreciated all the "work" I had done, but he still had a way to go. During this time, I was selling off parts from the VX and working my 2nd job as much as I could to help fund this project. John the builder got started by removing the remaining axles (hey, I needed wheels on it to transport it to him...)


    Sourced a 5.3L (327ci) Chevy Short Block with 60K miles on it:


    And a Dana 300 transfer case:


    And a Turbo 400 automatic transmission:


    Continued in next post

    Sam

  2. #2
    Member Since
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    Part #2

    They had a hell of a time removing all the mounting brackets/braces/gussets for the axle mounts. John said it was the most reinforced front end he ever seen. Give him a break as he normally works on Jeeps. Once the frame was cleaned up for the motor/axle mounts:



    Then nestled the 5.3L in the engine bay:



    Then the Scout Dana 44 solid axles got new internals and upgraded alloy shafts/rotors/brakes to handle larger tires:






    As you can tell, the tires barely fit!


    Even with that kind of lift, the oil pan was too close to the front axle and needed to be shortened a bit:



    Then the locking hubs were installed (for streetability - wife still wants to drive it)!


    Got the gauges installed:



    Continued in next post

    Sam

  3. #3
    Member Since
    Sep 2009
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    Part #3

    Since it was running, I brought it home and began putting various parts back onto/into it:


    Even driving it around the neighborhood led to MASSIVE RUBBING in forward, reverse and turning. So some trimming was in order. I started with the front and trimmed the cladding:


    Then moved to the rear of the front tire and selected some metal to remove:




    Then I moved to the rear axle for WAY MORE fun and excitement!






    Then reinstalled the rear and side cladding:



    As you may noticed the cladding had a refinish and restore session:



    Finally, those headlight restoration kits seemed to work quite well. I was very pleased with my results!


    Here is a reference photo of when I picked up the VX tires compared to the tires on my 3/4 ton diesel pickup.


    Sadly, the VX is back at the builders. I uncovered a few areas where they did not double check their work. I am somewhat understanding since he was getting married that weekend and needed my vehicle out of the way since the reception was being held at his shop. First thing, the pin the connects the tranfer case lever to the shaft fell out literally in my drive way. Second, the transmission was way overfilled and was shifting erractically not to mention dripping everywhere. Third, the fuel gauge was wired backwards. I found that one out when I was driving a measured 2 mile route to calibrate the speedometer. The gauge read FULL but was actually EMPTY. There were other minor things that needed touching up, but the main reason had to do with the HORRIBLE steering. Truly, I could barely keep it in my lane up to ~40mph, above that, I needed some extra room to allow for lane wandering. I couldn't find any play in the system, so probably extreme bump steer.

    So, it is licensed and technically driveable, but not safe. Probably going to go with hydraulic steering (still not sure). Also, only the driver's seat is mounted. Most of the dash is still removed and a few more things need attention. I still have to get it to an AC shop to get a compressor mounted, connected to my system, and get the HVAC wiring figured out. Hey, Moab get hot!!! I've already got the polyurathane coating containers in the garage (red for interior floor and black for undercarriage insulation.

    There it is as of now. Like I said, more work planned. Let me know if anyone has any questions or suggestions. Take care!

  4. #4
    Member Since
    Apr 2008
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    2000 Foxfire Red Mica, 0555 (RIP) & 0717
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    Nice work so far, I love reading these build threads where people do some absolutely mind-blowing upgrade. Looks like you've gotten farther than most already, can't wait to see how it turns out!


  5. #5
    Member Since
    Jun 2009
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    99 Matte Midnight Sand Met... oh nevermind. VX #0377...Project ZU
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    Sweet, its looking great!!! What size tires did you install?

  6. #6
    Member Since
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    Former Owner of 'ZEUS' aka 1031
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    Thumbs up

    WOOHOO! Finally! You were torturing me! Like I was saying, nice goin, silent ninja! Regarding the steering... if you have room under compression, consider a high-steer setup to minimize bump steer and provide extra clearance.

    http://www.dandcextreme.com/product.asp?pkID=106

    The kit above could also take out extra steering slop because of the parts it replaces.

    As you probably already know, the drag link should be parallel with the track bar throughout the range of suspension travel to eliminate bump steer.

    I can't see from any of the pics; did you have a 3-link or radius arms installed in the front? Radius arms could be another reason for steering issues because of the suspension cycling characteristics and the steep angle they seem to be at. In either case, the caster angle may have not been tuned in yet. Hopefully, the upper link(s) were made adjustable to compensate.

    I'd like to see more pics of the suspension and steering components if you get a chance... we could see some tell-tale signs of what may be going on...

    It has really come a long way in a short time though so don't be so hard on your self... there will be LOTS of bug squashing to come!
    Sent from my "two hands on a keyboard"

  7. #7
    Member Since
    Nov 2010
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    1999, Astral Silver , VehiCross, 2547
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    A V8 n better mileage too. I want it!

  8. #8
    Member Since
    Sep 2010
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    2000,Ebony,VEC,0013
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    Good luck to you Sam. Hope you work these things out and wondered what was coming of your project.

  9. #9
    Member Since
    Jun 2002
    Location
    1999, Ebony, VX, #1679
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    Nice!
    What kind of angle did you put on the knuckles? To little knuckle angle will cause wandering which gets worse with speed. You may need to grind the selfsame in the inner knuckle of, rotate them and reweld them. I believe they are to be around 8 degrees.
    Billy Oliver
    15xIronman
    My Sponsors:
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  10. #10
    Member Since
    Jun 2002
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    99' Astral Silver
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    That VX is a BEAST!!!

    Kudos to you and all of your hardwork
    Live Free or DIE!

  11. #11
    Member Since
    May 2006
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    SOLD!
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    Holy carp! I can't wait to see the end result. Ascinder is gonna love this thread!! He's doing pretty much the same thing.

    Bart

  12. #12
    Member Since
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    1999 White Vehicross 1385
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    Post

    Quote Originally Posted by VXorado View Post
    Sweet, its looking great!!! What size tires did you install?
    37"x12.5"x17LT Goodyear Wrangler MT/R with Kevlar. Got a set of 5 but the spare may have to stay back at base camp, too large to fit on the inside and the roof barely clears the garage as it is.

    Sam

  13. #13
    Member Since
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    Gear Bump steer

    The VX is back at the shop right now, but this guy has been building buggies for over 20 years now, so he gets first crack at fixing the problem (besides I found some math errors and double charges, so I've got some cushion money factored in). I had mentioned the hydraulic steering before because the steering box had such a small pitman arm, not enough on the turning radius. Longer arms would run into other components.

    Rockkrawler makes a hydraulic unit that looked pretty good and cheaper than PSC setups. I will keep all these comments in my wallet for the next time I go out to visit the monster!

    Sam

  14. #14
    Member Since
    Jun 2002
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    Psc stuff is bombproof though.90% of the king of the hammers rigs run psc stuff for a reason.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Triathlete View Post
    Psc stuff is bombproof though.90% of the king of the hammers rigs run psc stuff for a reason.
    Yeah, well... that's not in the cards for me. This is a hobby for me and the family to enjoy. Doubt I'll need bombproof stuff, but if mine breaks then I'll know the next step!!!

    Sam

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