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With most of the work done on the lower mount, we tacked it into position and focused some attention on the upper mount. I can't begin to tell you everything that was taken into consideration when the upper mount's position was determined. This picture is taken on the driver's side of the vehicle. Having already determined where the center of the shock rod would be traveling, Blaine centered the shock tower and marked in some lines that would serve as guides for the plasma cutting. In the above picture, the shock tower had been cut to length. We had cycled the suspension through is full range while working on the lower mounting bracket and this had helped determine the proper length of the upper mount shown above. This is also all used in conjunction with the max and minimum shock lengths. You don't want your shock to serve as a bump stop for your springs. Likewise, you don't want it to limit your droop.
You can see in the above picture that there are two lines to the left of the shock tower in the above photo. One is parallel to the mount while the other opens away from it as it runs to the bottom of the frame. This 1/4" wide gap at the bottom will be filled by spreading the bottom of the shock tower outwards (flaring it if you would). This causes the tower to wedge fit into the notch that will be cut into the frame.
What you can not see in the pictures is that the top of the shock tower will be tilted out a small amount, about a quarter inch, to allow for better clearance when the shock body goes up towards compression. This means that the depth of the cut into the frame is deeper at the bottom than it is at the top.
With the the measurements checked a couple more times, a bit more checking
with the shock in place, etc., Blaine sketched in the remainder of the lines
that would serve as his guide when using the plasma cutter. He tossed me
the shock towers to clean up in preparation for welding them into position.
You can see the lines drawn on the frame. Blaine is
carefully removing what to me, anyways, looked to be a HUGE section of my frame.
Actually, I was not worried about it. I've seen what he can do on his Jeep
and I knew my TJ was in good hands.
Blaine finished the removal of the driver's side frame section.
As you can see, the cut is narrower at the top than it is at the bottom.
As I mentioned before, the bottom of the shock tower will be flared out with a
rather large hammer, once it is tacked into position.
I cleaned up the areas on the frame where Blaine would be welding while he
plasma cut a slot into the back side of the shock tower. You can clearly
see this notch in the photo above. This was a slight change compared to
the previous installs that Blaine had done.
With the shock tower now properly clamped into position, you can
see why the slot was cut in the back of the shock tire. Blaine will now
able to weld the top of the tower on all three sides. You can also see the
gap at the bottom of the tower. Once the tower is tacked into position,
Blaine will pound the bottom of the shock tower out to take up this gap and
provide a good fit on which to weld in the bottom of the shock tower.
Here is the shock tower now welded into place. I am no
welding expert (heck, I am not even a welding novice), but you gotta love those
nice smooth welds! Oh yeah, those are there to stay!
A view from the bottom of the shock tower (kind of). OK, so my upside down picture taking isn't all that good, but you can get the idea, right?
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