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Thankfully I have a friend patient enough to show me the way of TIG welding, so we were able to get the new drag link hot glue'd together, with a few passes to preserve the tube adapter's fine threads from overheating/warping. It's probably obvious that most of my practice was on the bracket on the left, which is for my Crx rally car project. I made a few clean TIG welds, but similar to when I learned MIG they were not so smooth & slow going... but a little more than 15 minutes practice should help me towards getting my welds more like my friend's really nicely sunken smooth welds. I need to start looking for used TIG machines to start on, because I am hooked!
I have been MIG welding carbon steel for a number of years with my Miller Millermatic 251. Whenever I needed alloy welded, I brought it to a friend of mine at his welding shop. It worked out great and wasn't much of an inconvenience. My friend retired about 3 years ago and sold his business. I continued to bring small jobs to the new owner's shop. but it's becoming a real pain in the butt. My friend is a true fabricator, not just a welder. The new owner is younger and has outstanding welding skills, but doesn't possess the fabrication skills or degree of precision of my friend. I have been looking at purchasing a TIG welder for a few years, but $6-7k for the Miller I want is hard to swallow. I considered a used machine,. but don't have the experience to properly evaluate the machine before purchasing it. I stumbled across the Prime Weld TIG225X a few months ago. I just purchased one this morning. I have read many, many reviews and watched some youtube videos. The only complaint I found was the foot pedal was kind a crappy. The latest shipment of machines that arrived this Monday have a new upgraded foot pedal. Check out "The Fabrication Series" review of this machine:
. Best part about this machine is the price - $775 shipped and it has a 3 year warranty. I spoke to Mike the owner of Prime Weld Monday afternoon. He told me he sold over 1,000 machines in a little over 3 hours. You can purchase the TIG225X direct from Prime Weld or through Amazon. As an FYI, I have no affiliation with Prime Weld. I’m just trying to help a brother out.
 

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Looking great. Are you sure that drag link tube is strong enough? LOL. Probably could use that to push stray boulders out of the way.
 

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Discussion Starter #503
I have been MIG welding carbon steel for a number of years with my Miller Millermatic 251. Whenever I needed alloy welded, I brought it to a friend of mine at his welding shop. It worked out great and wasn't much of an inconvenience. My friend retired about 3 years ago and sold his business. I continued to bring small jobs to the new owner's shop. but it's becoming a real pain in the butt. My friend is a true fabricator, not just a welder. The new owner is younger and has outstanding welding skills, but doesn't possess the fabrication skills or degree of precision of my friend. I have been looking at purchasing a TIG welder for a few years, but $6-7k for the Miller I want is hard to swallow. I considered a used machine,. but don't have the experience to properly evaluate the machine before purchasing it. I stumbled across the Prime Weld TIG225X a few months ago. I just purchased one this morning. I have read many, many reviews and watched some youtube videos. The only complaint I found was the foot pedal was kind a crappy. The latest shipment of machines that arrived this Monday have a new upgraded foot pedal. Check out "The Fabrication Series" review of this machine:
. Best part about this machine is the price - $775 shipped and it has a 3 year warranty. I spoke to Mike the owner of Prime Weld Monday afternoon. He told me he sold over 1,000 machines in a little over 3 hours. You can purchase the TIG225X direct from Prime Weld or through Amazon. As an FYI, I have no affiliation with Prime Weld. I’m just trying to help a brother out.
Good to know, had not even heard of that brand myself. Would be good to have a few options in the sub-1k range to compare against each other before I put money down. I can see myself very much getting into Tig. The detail & precision of it combined with the lack of spatter... fantastic!
 

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Discussion Starter #504
Looking great. Are you sure that drag link tube is strong enough? LOL. Probably could use that to push stray boulders out of the way.
Engineered failure points is something I think I could do with learning more about. I would not be surprised if the knuckle failed before those steering links I built, & that's not ideal haha!
 

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Discussion Starter #505
New steering links are complete! Don't mind that panhard bar hanging there all out of place... it's next up on the list:


Modifying the OE Rover steering stem to mate the wheel to the new Land Cruiser steering gear was a success & quite a bit easier than I could've hoped for with the splines matching up:


The big 7/8" spherical joint is bolted into the drilled out pitman arm, and the steering damper / stabilizer clamped onto it's new centering location on the new length drag-link:


I'm glad I was able to get my hands on a set of weld-in tube inserts with the hex ends, makes adjusting them a little easier. And some may cringe at the single-shear construction... but these Rover axles are barely considered "half tons" (with known strength issues involving ring gear deflection) so I'm not too worried about uber levels of strength until I can start building myself a set of custom full-float axles I have in mind. The primary reason being the brutal cost of just trying to upgrade these british axles versus building custom american axles:


The video of the work on the steering links:

 

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Looking good man. Single shear isn't the best, but heims are stronger than regular TREs (also single-shear).
 

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Next up is replacing the original Rover panhard-bar bracket I cut off the frame to make way for the Land Cruiser steering gearbox. Thankfully I cut the old bracket off nice & clean so I can use it for making sure I start out fabricating the new mount with the panhard bar propped up right where it used to be:


Starting out with simple lower mounts using a pair of great big washers & tubing that has just enough clearance for thick impact sockets to get ahold of the pivot bolt:


I plan to work with tubing much more in the future (roll cages, bumpers, exhaust etc), and I need something to speed up the "fishmouthing" / cope cutting process. It'll speed up the cutting AND set me up for better welds too since the fit will end up much more accurate. There are options out there for off the shelf tools to do this, but the cheapest are $80+ for each tube size... that could get brutal on the wallet & take up a mess of space in a hurry! Others use software to print out cut templates, but this is faster & easier. This idea is just a handful of stainless rods I cut down + velcro strips that cost less than $20 all in:


The rods stack up around whatever size tube/pipe & get lashed on with a strip or two of velcro (or tape for easier duplicating). I made up enough rods to fit the circumference of anything ranging from 1/2" to 4". The velcro is tight enough to keep them from falling out, while allowing enough slip for them to form the shape. I'll see how it works in practice, but the idea is to either slip the inner tube up to mark the end for cutting, or use the other end of the tool (that has the same shape mirrored around) when you slip the tube in to mark it. Here it is showing a simple 90-degree cope profile on 1-1/4" DOM tubing:
 

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Looking good. Like your tool design. Doesn't have to be all that complicated to work. If you have a lathe, you could also make some sleeves out of wood for the various sizes. Of course the velcro is infinitely adjustable. Even a couple HD rubber bands could work.
 

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I'm LOVING That coping tool you whipped up. Have eyed the pro version many times, but haven't pulled the trigger due to the cost. Will have to build one of those.
 

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Discussion Starter #510
Looking good. Like your tool design. Doesn't have to be all that complicated to work. If you have a lathe, you could also make some sleeves out of wood for the various sizes. Of course the velcro is infinitely adjustable. Even a couple HD rubber bands could work.
Right! Simple is good. I'm going to try a handful of things to see which works best: velcro, rubber bands, tape, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #511
I'm LOVING That coping tool you whipped up. Have eyed the pro version many times, but haven't pulled the trigger due to the cost. Will have to build one of those.
It's working great so far. Bought a cheap little case to keep all the rods & velcro loops from scattering all over. I'll have video on using it here pretty soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #512
Took some time aside to make a trip down to Indianapolis for the PRI show (a huge racing industry expo; think Sema minus all the showy stuff) for my first time. And glad I did... because WOW was that an overload of beautiful craftsmanship, new tech, & info to try to take in within an all too short 2-day period! Way too many interesting things to share them all, but I've got a few good ones, here a near completely billet Cummins:


There was a big area devoted to a whole spectrum of tools & equipment for building vehicles, from small hand tools all the way up to 5-axis CNC machines that are always pretty fun to watch doing their dance (especially since I work with CNC machinery for work). I was drooling over the welding tables & fixturing setups like this, something that could be super useful for me & maybe even be able to build myself in the future:


And here one of my favorite vehicles, something of a mix between a rally car & super bike & trophy truck, all in a compact 900lb buggy. Would be so much fun to build AND rip around:
 

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As soon as I made it back home from PRI I went right back to work on the Rover, now with extra motivation & a few new ideas. I'm starting the base of the new panhard-bar bracket with a 1/4" plate cut to fit where the old OE Rover bracket hung on:


I may try to build a boxed-in version of this bracket as well, similar to the original, in the case that I'm not liking how strong the tubular version ends up. But I'm confident this will be better than original, & it will have even more contact area with the frame based on the numbers I crunched for the design I have in mind. Next I'll tack weld this all together so I can add a couple more tubes & several gussets up on the welding bench:


I also learned another weakness of the GoPro lenses in the cold, even though they're glass... 20 degree air + hot sparks from an angle grinder = instant crack! I keep a handful of spare lenses around, some like this one for dirty work (welding, painting, grinding, etc) & several clean ones for regular filming. This lens took a beating this summer, but winter always takes it's toll on these GoPro's:
 

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TIG welded panhard-bar bracket! All thanks to a friend with more skills & the patience to show me why TIG is so awesome. I'm for sure getting my hands on one by spring... it's so precise & clean!


Bracket MIG welded in place of the old OE bracket with a healthy coating of weld-thru primer beforehand. The welding went better than expected for upside down & off handed. The welds along the rectangular base laid down great, but the vertical section of tube was a bit of a handful:


Finally reassembled & functional once again! No interference with the new Land Cruiser steering gear's pitman-arm, & as smooth moving as you can expect from wrestling the steering wheel without the engine running:


Here you can see the vertical bit of tube that runs up the inner-side of the frame rail. Overkill I'm sure, but it just sort of made sense with the angle that the tubing ended up after I bent it for the ideal position, plus it could help in resisting the side-to-side loads that the panhard-bar will leverage against the frame:


I'm liking all the angles of the links on the front axle, should keep from tracking funny or having any weird bump steer effects. But it's all good in theory until the long awaited road test shakes out any issues with all the work on these new/modified things... honestly I'd be shocked if there's not at least something I come back with after road testing thinking "Well that didn't pan out!"


So now the only things in the way of the first test drive are: Reconnecting the steering system's plumbing with the new reservoir, & then making a few throttle-cable brackets.... figures I'd reach this point right smack in the middle of winter, but I can hardly wait!
 

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need to get this thing out to KOH and put it thru its paces!

Looking close to being done!
 
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