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Technical things I have ran across while doing my stretch and axle buildups.

Rating: 6 votes, 5.00 average.
First things first:

A safety warning about welding.

PLEASE! All who weld especially read this.

"An article from American Iron Worker :


Cleaners Can Turn Into Poison Gas

Yep, I thought I was a goner this time! How simple it was to get in trouble.

After seeing and reading so many warning labels, we tend to no longer pay them any heed. We buy chemicals and sprays at a local parts house and think "How can this be so bad, health-wise, if I'm buying it over the counter?" Here's how a small whiff of smoke almost dropped me where I stood.

I had a rush job to do welding four diesel tanks. I had to patch where they were pitted by road salt corrosion. Normally; I spray a little carb cleaner on the spot I'm going to weld, wipe it of£ and then preheat the area with an acetylene torch to get rid of any solvents. Where I normally get carb cleaner was sold out, so I got a can of brake cleaner and went through my regular routine. To be on the safe side, I even had the shop door open and the exhaust fan on.

I started TIG-welding on Thursday afternoon and had no problem at first. But when I started welding across a really pitted area, I found a couple of drops of cleaner that were lurking in a deep dimple. As I came close to the cleaner, a small puff of white smoke popped up, and I almost passed out.

I made it outside and sat for awhile in the fresh air. After about 10 minutes, I went to the office and sat at the computer to check the warnings on the brake cleaner can I used. That's when my whole left side started shaking for about 10 to 15 minutes. (I found out later I was having a seizure.) When I was able to control myself again, I read the can's warning: "Vapors may decompose to harmful or fatal corrosive gases such as hydrogen chloride and possibly phosgene."

After reading about hydrogen chloride, I started researching phosgene. The active chemical in the brake cleaner is tetrachloroethylene. When this chemical is exposed to excessive heat and the gas argon, which is used in MIG and TIG welding, it produces phosgene. Phosgene gas can be fatal with a dose as little as four parts per million: basically a single small puff of smoke.

Symptoms can be delayed from six to 48 hours after exposure. There is no antidote for phosgene poisoning. If you do survive, the long-term effects can be chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
My breathing still was hard a few hours later, but I felt a little better, so I didn't go to a hospital. The chlorine taste and smell in my mouth and nose were still strong. About midnight, I started coughing and my chest started hurting, but I thought that this would pass after a night's sleep.

The next day (Friday), the symptoms got worse, and my kidneys started hurting, so I drank a bunch of liquids and cranberry juice. For the next four days, I was constipated and only urinated
a lot of clear fluid with no smell. Though sometimes I felt okay; I was really in a lot of pain on and off for the next several days, as well as weak and tired. Then my urine became very dark and smelt terrible.

By the next Monday; nine days after the poisoning, I lost all balance. I was confused and could hardly talk, so I finally went to the emergency room. My symptoms were low 02 level, sugar levels out of control, vertigo, and I was hurting badly in my entire chest. I was admitted and put into ICU.

My kidneys had probably shut down for those first four days. My lungs were damaged, so I had to be on 02. I had to be on insulin to keep my sugar in check. Since there is no antidote for phosgene, all I could do was try to rest and hope I got better. After CT, MR!, EKG, and EEG tests, as well as several blood tests it looked like, at least for now, there is no permanent damage.

However, the MRI showed fluid in my sinuses and a buildup of fluids near my brain. The phosgene scarred my sinuses, which then became infected. The three doctors I saw said I was really lucky to make it.

After four weeks, it appears that I may have emphysema and chronic bronchitis. I'm on nasal medicine and an inhaler. My sinuses are severely scarred, and my smell nerves are damaged. I still have that awful chlorine taste and smell. I may also have pancreas damage. The insulin that I was taking had little effect on my sugar levels, so I'm now on some stronger medicines.

So why am I telling you all this? I hope to save someone from an easily avoidable severe illness or even death. The cleaning sprays commonly found in thousands of bike shops across the country can be just as dangerous if improperly used. Read the labels and warnings! Look up the chemicals you use.
Anytime you buy a chemical from a vendor ask for the MSDS Sheet on it. They are required to supply it. Don't let them tell
you to look it up on the Internet.

Just because you got away with it before, doesn't mean you won't get in trouble the next time.

Editor's note: Here are a couple of web sites and phone numbers you should have posted in your shop: (800/222-1222) and Your local hospital is another good one."

I plan on going back and posting some of the info and pictures from my build/stretch on my tj.

Here is the end result so far with it.

Updated 10-12-2010 at 09:49 PM by Antman



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  1. Antman's Avatar
    About a year ago I had had enough of my TJ trying to flip over backwards when I tried vertical challenges. I had tried
    to use a suck down winch setup by using my M8000 on the front and also had installed limit straps on the from axle.

    Anyway it was all for naught, as the TJ still tried to unload with the 93" wheelbase it has stock. Originally I am running
    the RK 5.5 Extreme long arm kit with a triangulated uppers setup in the rear. I run D30 front with 4:88 gears and Lockrite
    locker and Yukon Alloy shafts. The rear is a D44 with same gears, Detroit locker and Yukon shafts.

    I started gathering info from all sources I could find on the internet and from friends. One of the first stretches I saw was

    LANCE's stretch

    But as you can see there is no real mods on the hoop in the rear of the frame. It works well, but I don't like the look.
    I needed to do this on a small budget, although a couple of companys had kits that reworked the frame, I decided to
    do it myself with some help from a friend in Snowflake who had a shop.
    I moved the stock gas tank, minus the skid up into the back of the jeep and aligned it with the end of the floor behind the

    It sits on foam cushion and is held in with straps. By installing it there I was able to use the stock wiring and just splice
    in some fuel line to make the stock setup work.

    Here's the room I then had underneath!

    To be continued:
    Updated 10-22-2010 at 08:55 AM by Antman
  2. Antman's Avatar
    I plan on installing an aftermarket tank at some point in the future, but have had no problems so far with this install and no gas smell
    in the back.
    With most of the work being done by my friend Justin Fletcher, who as I said before, had a shop in Snowflake and is a good fabricator,
    we decided to use some 2 x 4 by 1/4"square tubing for the frame. we welded a piece across to hold the frame in place and cut it
    at the point you see where it starts to curve up. We tried to cut it so we didn't lose the level where the top of the coil plate went.
    We did miss it a little as we ended up using 3.5" coils. The 2 x 4 fit inside of the original frame and we then plated it on 3 sides.
    The coil buckets and bump stops are RK that I bought from one of the Undertaker Club members who was going to coil overs.

    As I said, when we cut it we went high enough to allow for the spring buckets to be near the same height, (we actually missed it a bit).
    The 2 x 4 by .25 wall is a lot stronger than the original frame is.

    We measured back where a 12" length stretch would be and installed the buckets. I wanted a 12" because most of the
    after market stretches were either 8" or 10". RK's was 10" and when I got the price of the stretch arms, I about choked!
    We lengthened both the upper and lower control arms 12" to match the stretch. This gave us 105" of wheel base!

    The RK lower control arms are 2" od solid rod. We had those cut and turned down to except 2" OD by .25" or 1.5" ID and spliced them in.
    If I had to do this over I would just build new lowers. The uppers are also spliced with DOM. Both uppers and lowers are all 12"
    longer. The uppers are spliced with 1.5" ID by 2" OD .25" wall DOM with each being 18" long. They are end welded and plug welded.
    Updated 10-10-2010 at 06:24 PM by Antman
  3. Antman's Avatar
    Here's what it looked like when it was finished:

    Here's what we did for rear body mounts:

    As you can see in the first picture, (above), the rear sits higher than the front, so we switched the rear springs from 5.5 to the 3.5
    springs pictured below.

    I ran this like this until recently when I installed 2" pucks in the front to give a little more belly clearance.
    Updated 10-10-2010 at 06:26 PM by Antman
  4. Antman's Avatar
    I am now building axles for the TJ. a 75 HP full width D44 with flattop knuckles and a 79 D60 rear with full float axles.

    High Pinion D44

    Steering parts from Ballistic.

    Ford flat top knuckles (I had Jimmy at Hooper's Automotive turn and tap the passenger side for me.)

    The D44 is a 75 1/2t housing and going to use 3/4 ton disk brakes, high steer and the shafts
    will be 1/2t length with 3/4t outers.

    And the D60 will be converted to disk brakes.

    When I stretched the jeep, I gave no consideration for anti-squat numbers. Everything seem to work very well
    and above my expectations as most vertical stuff is easily handled. Gate rock at the Cracks, along with the Scorpion
    at the Cracks are a piece of cake anymore along with going up Escalator and Riffraff and other ledges in Moab.
    I still have to get it on Prichert Canyon and I missed that run last year with axle breakage. I am looking forward
    to Widow Maker also.
    I will continue the axle build in this blog as I do it.
    I will post more as I get it together, but in the mean time if there are any questions?
    Updated 10-10-2010 at 06:33 PM by Antman
  5. Antman's Avatar
    Some other pictures.

    D44 all cleaned up.

    With the weld on wedges cut off. What a PAIN that was!

    My front limit strap setup that works for me quite well.

    TRL8TD'S Stretch with air shocks.

    I ordered the gears and locker from Complete Offroad and had them in about 4 days.

    The steering parts were ordered from Ballistic and took about 3 weeks of sweating them out with
    communication problems with Ballistic. If I order parts from them again I will deal only with the owner!
    Updated 10-10-2010 at 06:36 PM by Antman
  6. Antman's Avatar
    I'll try to get more going tomorrow.
  7. FourxDad's Avatar
    How did it change it's road manners ? Looks good.
  8. Antman's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by FourxDad
    How did it change it's road manners ? Looks good.
    Hi Greg, yes it handles better down the road also. I have some problems with the steering on the Dana 30 and hope to solve those
    with the high steer and Hydro assist I will eventually have on the full width D44.

    I actually have grown tired of throwing money at the D30 and it's steering woes. For those who have no plans to upgrade their axles
    to bigger axles for a few years, I recommend you take your D30 steering to either Absolute Offroad or one of the other fab shops
    who can get it right the first time.
    Updated 10-10-2010 at 06:40 PM by Antman
  9. Antman's Avatar
    One of the on going problems I have had with steering is the 4" drop pitman arms I have used. I am told that after market arms aren't
    very good and stretch to the point where the nut even if tight will allow the arm to wiggle because the hole stretches and it moves
    beyond where the nut and washer can keep it tight.

    Here's a picture of an OEM arm I replaced a 3rd different 4" drop arm I've had on my jeep.
    You can see the marks on how far up the shaft the 4" arm went!

    Two of the arms broke and one stretched to the point it wasn't usable.

    The stretched arm
  10. Antman's Avatar
    Another problem on the D30 is the track bar. I have replaced the axle side bushing twice and finally had to drill out the hole,
    as it had wallowed out, and replaced it with a 9/16 bolt.

    I welded a washer on the front to strengthen.

    And finally I drilled the hole out to just except a 9/16 bolt, (the bushing sleeve just excepts a 9/16 bolt.

    This really took a lot of the slop out of the steering.
    I am through throwing money at this D30 axle! The OEM steering on the D30 sucks! Currie's setup is better but I went through 2 of these
    also. I then went with Rugged Ridge, but only after sleeving it with DOM to give me .50 wall thickness.

    About half the money I have invested in the Ford D44 is in the high steer setup. Which I eventually want to hydro assist.
    Updated 10-09-2010 at 12:32 PM by Antman
  11. Antman's Avatar
    I am building a couple of axles for my TJ and using the following to do it.

    1975 half ton D44 Ford HP full width housing BOM 603482

    1977 three quarter ton Ford D44 LP for the disk brakes BOM 610005

    The axle shafts are different lengths with the F150 inners at 33-29/32" outers at 18-29/32"
    F250 inners at 34-3/4" outers at 18-5/8"
    I won't know for sure if I can use the F250 axles in the F150 housing until I get the gears installed. I may have
    to use the F150 inners with the F250 outers to get the F250 disk brakes to work with the F150 HP housing. The splines are the
    same length on both inner axles so I'll have to see if I get full engagement with the gears in.
    Updated 10-12-2010 at 11:19 AM by Antman
  12. Antman's Avatar
    I will put a little more about safety in here.
    I am a Senior Instructor for a company that teaches tower climbers, (Riggers), Safety and Rescue techniques. We teach to OSHA
    rules and regulations. As a worker and an Instructor, I have found that people, or employees are only as safe as their company's
    management is serious about safety. If the company enforces and teaches safety, the employees will consider it part of their job
    and usually be safe in their endeavors. They will even be safer at home!

    As stated above, you should have in your shop MSDS for all your chemicals that are in your inventory. Get familiar with them, and
    I know they are boring. Have all the appropriate safety stuff you need to grind, cut, weld, bend in your shop in good condition.
  13. Antman's Avatar
    I have decided to install the 2" pucks in the rear also to see how it effects the vertical aspect of climbing waterfalls and ledges.
    This will give me more belly clearance. Interested to see if its worth it for the clearance.
  14. DanFelix's Avatar
    Looking nice Bill.
    I can sure relate to your front D30 woes, it got to the point that I was so worried about what was going to break next that it wasn't so much fun any more, that's when I decided to just replace the whole darn thing. The Letzroll's 609 was cheaper than a new Dynatrac or Currie when you figure in the install and customization Andrew did, but on a tight budget, what you're doing is alot less painful than constantly nursing a D30 and a huge improvement in strength and durability. As for hydro assist, once you have it you won't regret it. Hydro is a totally sweet upgrade because you enjoy it from the instant you crank up the engine. It makes driving in tight spots so much easier, lockers engaged or not, not to mention less hassles with death wobble and excessive wear up front, it's a gotta have. Thanks for posting this thread Bill, looking forward to the updates.
  15. Antman's Avatar
    Thanks Dan, I appreciate the comments. You build is a great way to go, but I have had to go cheap. I think probable the stretch other than the long
    arm has been my best upgrade. With all the flex I had with the RK long arm, I could go most anywhere except vertical. Even with a suck down
    winch and or limit straps on the front end it just was plane scary! Now with the 105" wheel base, I can try most any vertical wall without the tip over
    backward feeling I had before. I don't make all the vertical stuff, but at least I can try them with some area of comfort.

    I plan on keeping this going as I change stuff on the jeep, and look for opinions and suggestions from the peanut gallery also.
  16. Antman's Avatar
    I finally got the gears and the LockRite Locker in today with help from my friend Justin. We made setup bearings from the old bearings from
    the old R&P. Justin has done lots of gears for the dealer he works for in Holbrook, so I kind of watched and helped when he
    needed it.
    I have a couple of shots of the gears installed but I am don't think I got any pictures of the final setup. We had them in and out
    3 or 4 times to get the shims right and ended up not having to do it over too many times.

    More to come as we get her done.
    Updated 11-07-2010 at 08:35 PM by Antman
  17. Antman's Avatar
    Wow! It's been a long time since I posted here. I now have the front axle in and operational. All I can
    say is GREAT! It steers so much better now and does barely fit on my trailer which is 83" wide. The tires
    are 37 x 15 and outside to outside is 82+ ". I still need to adjust bumpstops and stuff, but hope to
    post some more pictures in the coming days, so stand by. Here's one during the install.
  18. Antman's Avatar
    Here's the overall look now.

    I still need to figure the bump stops out and a few other things.

    Also starting to work on the Dana 60 for the rear. Hope to have her done by Moab time in
    the spring!
    Updated 10-24-2011 at 03:45 PM by Antman
  19. Antman's Avatar
    Just as an up date, I have wheeled this rig like this a couple of times and my expectations are satisfied so far.
    The 60 rear build is starting as soon as the snow melts a little bit. The extra width doesn't seem to effect road
    handling much as it runs great down the highway. Only had it up to about 65 though.
  20. Antman's Avatar
    OK, getting ready for Moab and haven't built the D60 yet but so far have broken a drivers side hub doing stupid stuff.
    The axle is far and above my expectations so far.
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