Man-Trans Rebuilt re-manufacturer of manual transmissions


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In the last installment of the build up the Original Unlimited project the main focus was how the different components of the drive train were bolted together and then mounted on the rolling chassis. Months and months of work have gone into the project since the last article was posted but like any other frame up over all systems are often not completed until close to the completion of the project. This time around the focus will be on the steering, braking system, drive shafts/parking brake and the fueling system.
This Original Unlimited might be a 1970 CJ-6 but there are very few original items left. The engine is a 305 TPI Chevy V8 from a 91 Camaro, the transmission was a Mantrans, LLC supplied NV4500 and this was mated to the original Dana 18 transfer case with Teralow gears via some Advance Adapters magic. The axles are a later model Dana 30 front axle and the original Dana 44 rear axle. Both axles were stuffed with 4:88 gears and the rear was treated to a Detroit Soflocker. While all of the main drive train components were in place the rig still needed to be able to get power to the ground.
The first name that comes to mind when thinking of a place to get custom drive shafts made is Tom Wood's Custom Drive Shafts. After a few questions were answered Tom gave easy to follow instructions on how to figure out the measurement of the drive shafts. After the measurements were provided front and rear drive shafts were built using the high quality components that Tom Wood's shop is known for. Both drive shafts were built with longer slip splines to allow the shaft to accommodate more axle travel. The rear shaft was built as a CV model to help eliminate any drive shaft vibrations. Once the shafts were built they were left with the natural metal finish and then clear coated to ensure that the shafts did not rust.
Past experience had shown that the transfer case mounted drum brake was not adequate to use as a parking brake on this trail Jeep. It was usually not adequate on even stock Jeeps as it would often fill with oil and grime and simply cease working. A decision was made when the transfer case was rebuilt that the original drum brake would be replaced by a disc brake. Tom Wood came to the rescue in this department as well. Tom Wood's outfit offers a kit that bolted a disc brake onto the new companion flange that was required to run with the new CV drive shaft. This rotor is slotted and bolts behind the companion flange. The kit also includes a lever operated mechanical disc brake caliper and a universal bracket.
The only difficulty encountered in mounting the rotor was that the supplied bolts would not clear the rear out put housing. After some hex cap machine screws were ground a bit everything cleared fine. Once the rotor was in place the caliper and bracket were held in their location to determine where the best mounting location would be. For the Dana 18 transfer case the bolts that hold the rear PTO cover proved to be a very convenient location to bolt our bracket to. A flange was cut from plate steel and then welded to the universal bracket that came with the kit. Conveniently this universal bracket proved to be just the right height to be welded to our new crescent moon shaped flange.
To provide enough rigidity a triangular gusset was cut and welded in place. After the paint was sprayed and dry the new assembly was bolted in place. The current plan is to use a NOS parking brake lever from an M151 military vehicle. This handle was obtained from Nelson's Surplus Jeep Parts (330-482-5191) in Columbiana, OH. The handle is very similar to the type used on tow motors if finding NOS Mutt levers proves to be too difficult.
Once the drive shafts were in place and power could be sent to the ground the braking system needed to be addressed. A used YJ power brake system was purchased from JU Vendor DAVEY who owns DaveysJeeps.com and deals in used Jeep parts. From the original proportioning valve out to the wheels stainless steel brake lines were provided by Classic Tube. Because of the unique nature of the project and the year of the Jeep pre-bent lines were not available. Classic Tube sent plenty of fittings and a coil of 3/16" stainless tubing from which custom brake lines were fashioned.
Be careful in choosing a flaring kit to flare stainless lines. Most kits are not up to the task and it is easy to destroy a flaring kit in the process. Once all of the stainless lines were in place the braided stainless hoses that Classic tube built to the specified length were bolted in place. The end result is a high quality stainless brake system that sends power from a YJ power brake set up out to the large 6 bolt caliper bracket type disc brakes in the front and the stock 10x2 inch drum brakes in the rear.
In addition to bending tubing for the brake system stainless lines had to be routed for the fuel injection system. Tuned Port Injection motors are a high pressure fuel system that requires a high pressure electric pump. The core of the fueling system was provided by Howell Engine Developments in the form of an externally mounted electric fuel pump. Once this pump was bolted down to the frame custom lines were made. Using fuel line repair kits from Napa the stainless lines were mated to the original flexible lines that ran from the motor to the frame rail in the Camaro.
These factory flexible hoses were in good shape but they used an o-ring type fitting that would be difficult to duplicate. Using compression fittings that came in the fuel line repair kits the proper ends were attached to the new stainless line. Using a combination of special fuel injection rubber hose, bulk stainless line from 4wd Hardware and a couple of adaptor fittings the lines were able to be run from the front to the back and the stock style CJ sending unit was able to be retained.
Howell Engine Developments was a valuable source of both parts and information in this swap. Many of the miscellaneous components such as the air filter, coil, distributor cap, O2 sensor, fuel pump, fuel filter and even a new computer chip were all available from Howell and it certainly made the swap easier. In addition to the piece parts Howell can furnish wiring harnesses or even complete fuel injection systems to make a reliable EFI system a possibility in any Jeep.
With the fueling system complete the steering system needed to be addressed. The TPI V8 already had a good power steering pump installed. Matt Peters of Peters Off Road fabricated a frame mount to attach our Mullins built Saginaw 800 series box to.
This steering box has a variable ratio and is used in many large cars and pick up trucks. Many people do not know that Mullins is the steering box division of Borgeson Universal Company.
Borgeson has been in the u-joint business for 90 years and have long been a staple in performance steering components whether in a hot rod or 4x4. A Borgeson steering shaft was used to mate the Comanche pickup steering column to the Mullins built steering box. The new steering shaft uses high quality needle bearings that offer unprecedented performance and endurance.
Power flows to the box via a stock 80-86 6 cylinder CJ hose that was obtained from 4wd Hardware. The return line proved to be a bit tougher because of the custom frame cross member and the fact that the new steering box used two metric fittings while the CJ return line was standard measurement (the CJ return line fitting used an 18mm wrench but the threads were standard measurement).
A return fitting was kindly provided by a coworker who had ended up with some extra fittings from the new rack and pinion system he was putting in his hotrod. A 45 degree flare was put into the line and a rubber hose was clamped on since the return line is not under pressure. This is very similar to how the stock return line was built. A steering box brace keeps the box from over stressing the frame and a super beefy steering linkage from Bid Daddy Off Road was used. To help protect the steering linkage the tie rod and drag link were flipped on top of the steering arms by reaming the top of the holes and using tappets to fill in the bottom. Because of this modification a stock CJ power steering pitman arm was able to be used rather than a drop model despite the 4.5 inches of suspension lift. The pitman arm, HD tie rod kit and steering box brace were all sourced from 4wd Hardware.
With the drive shafts bolted in place, the brake and fueling systems routed and the steering system ready to go the body work, paint and interior were next on the list of things to do. Be sure to tune in for the next installment of this build up as paint and bed liner are sprayed, body armor is applied, the body parts are bolted in place and this Original Unlimited CJ-6 begins to take shape.


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