My Dad came down for a couple of days to help me with some of the work on the hatch and trunk area. The extra set of hands and eyes definitely makes things go quicker and smoother.
One of the main goals was to create the rear hatch roll bar shown in the top picture. The idea is that this roll bar will help give some more structure to the rear hatch area around the fuel tank. It will also serve as a mounting point for the rear of the canopy actuator, hanging the trunk hinges and mounting the fuel filler.
Of course everything is a jigsaw puzzle… I needed to finish off the passenger side of the hatch area first to match the driver’s side. I also drilled and welded in some nuts into the side bars for wall mounting points and on the roll bar where I’ll create an adjustable mounting bracket for the rear of the actuator.
We also had to seal in the area around the rear spring perch on both sides because once we welded in the roll bar I wasn’t going to be able to get into that area any more.
Once I get the body off the chassis for final welding, grinding and painting… I’ll weld in two pieces of 2 x 2 tube between the front and rear roll bar to tie everything together.
We also made sure that there was lots of clearance under the bar to get the fuel tank in and out of the hatch area.
Next up was sealing in the area around the rear cross member which ties the two spring perches together. This area has some spots where the rear brake lines come through and attach to a flex line leading to the rear axle.
I wanted to make sure that I could get into this area to get a wrench onto the brake line fittings. So we created a little box that I’ll create a lid for which I can fasten in a water tight way to allow access.
We also started to create the basket that will hold the trunk floor. This is the area where the air ride tank, valves and compressor will sit. We needed to make sure that we gave some clearance around the frame so that I’ll be able to use a bottle jack under the frame.
Why you may ask? Well the body is so far away from the frame that when you try to use a regular jack under the car the jack starts to hit the body before the platform reaches the frame. So a bottle jack is needed as a compact way to jack up the car.
You’ll notice the space above the rear axle between the new 1 x 1 tube and the rear cross member. At the lowest point of suspension travel the top trailing arms pop up above the level of the bar and rear cross member.
Which is a problem since I need all the clearance I can get to be able to get a fuel tank through the opening to the hatch. I’ll be doing something similar to the access area that I created for the rear brake fitting.
I’ll be creating a little “box” lid that will pop up over this area and be fastened down with some bolts (or self tapping screws) so that I can pop off the lid whenever I like, and have clearance over the rear trailing arms.
This will come in handy whenever I need to get access to the top of the rear axle 🙂