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Old August 3rd, 2014, 07:24 PM   #1
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Default Family cage no more (Finished!)

Decided since kids are grown up and dont want to hang with Dad anymore I might as well rework the cage in my Bronco the way I want it.

The family cage was ok, but I made some mistakes that I intend to correct this time around.

1. It was too tall. I convinced myself that having the cage up where the hardtop would have been was a good idea. Not so much.

2. The diagonal bracing across the front seat area was not well thought out. I guess I got in a hurry and just said "good enough". I cant really figure out after the fact just what the hell I was thinking.

3. Making it into a family cage with room for the back seat made the short wheel base Bronco look even shorter and taller. I hated the lines from the side view and once I parked it next to another Bronco that was it. That has got to go.

4. I ran the rear tubes all the way back and dropped them onto the top of the rear bumper. Easy and strong, however with no tailgate the dust rolled up into the bed and the towstraps and popcans rolled out. Not a good plan.

I have been looking at pics of peoples cages on the web for quite a while. I have found several design aspects I like, and I am going to try and put them together into one I can live with.

The black tape shows where some major changes will take place. Going to lower the overall height, and in the process change the bracing for the front seat area. It will also flow downward faster toward the top of the tailgate to give it a sleeker look.










No going back now! Anyone know where to get a decent price on tube?

Last edited by pipepro; September 7th, 2014 at 07:21 PM.
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Old August 3rd, 2014, 07:31 PM   #2
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I cut the back half off today so I could get working on installing the tailgate. The new cage will come down inside the bed and connect to the side of the frame rail. I think the only parts staying are the A and B pillars. New windshield upper bar, and rear bars all around. Ill post up pics as I go. If yall see anything silly(er) than normal let me know!
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Old August 5th, 2014, 08:17 AM   #3
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Are you working on this inside a Dicks Sporting Goods?

Good changes.
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Old August 5th, 2014, 08:27 AM   #4
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Are you working on this inside a Dicks Sporting Goods?

Good changes.
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Old August 5th, 2014, 05:40 PM   #5
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Are you working on this inside a Dicks Sporting Goods?

Good changes.


Yes, its a bit too crowded in there. I brought it home from our shop in Springport so I could do a little work every night when I get home. Ill have to take it back out there to do the bending and welding.
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Old August 5th, 2014, 06:27 PM   #6
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don't melt the boats!!

looking good andy. whens the projected finish date so we can go wheeling
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Old August 5th, 2014, 06:39 PM   #7
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Yeah, I had to put the Metabo away and use the sawzall to make the first cuts. If I can get some tube I should be done before labor day so fall wheeling is a GO!
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Old August 18th, 2014, 08:31 PM   #8
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Ok not related to the cage but something I have been looking at for a while. I need some opinions.

The bump steer is horrible, and yes I understand the drag link and the track bar need to be as parallel as possible.

Since the track bar in the Bronco is so short I think I actually made it worse by installing the Heim steering setup that connects the drag link all the way at the passenger knuckle. Most of what I read on classicbroncos says to NOT lower the mounting for the track bar on the frame end due to excessive force put upon the frame.

My options seem to be:

1. Raise the track bar bracket on the axle and try to push it as far as possible to the passenger side. With that, then install bumps to limit the up travel so the track bar doesnt crush the oil pan.

2. Shorten the drag link, and make it tie into the tie rod at a location that makes the 2 bars parallel.

3. Skip all this Geometry crap and go to a full Hydro setup.

Anyone got any other ideas or comments? Im open to suggestions.



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Old August 18th, 2014, 09:05 PM   #9
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Along those lines, Maybe I should be considering ditching that Drag link, moving the tie rod to the top of the knuckle, and adding a saddle on the tie rod for a shortened drag link? Parallel bars, and a higher tie rod?
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Old August 21st, 2014, 10:40 AM   #10
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What does the tie in point at the frame for the panhard look like, could you put a new outside of fame mount on it to lengthen the panhard? What about going to a non drop pitman arm, so you can get the angle to match up. Go to co's abs get rid of the coils so you can mount the panhard father out on the axle. The bump steer won't go away until you make the panhard and drag link match up, but you already know this, so to do as little fab work as possible, full hydro is the easiest way to go.
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Old August 21st, 2014, 11:58 AM   #11
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All good ideas. I was thinking of a Ruffstuffs outside frame track bar mount to gain some length. Im unsure about going to a straight pitman beacuse of binding at that joint when twisted up. Im also trying to keep in mind that Ill probably want full width axles sooner or later and then have to start all over. Thanks for the input!
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Old August 21st, 2014, 12:52 PM   #12
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As for the pitman, if you switch to Chevy 7/8 drag link ends, instead of hiem joints, there will be no bind at full droop. If you go full width axles, your drag link will have to lengthen as well, so the panhard will have to be longer as well. I'm thinking coilover shocks are in your future to free up some real estate for those mods. You'll be best off to find a king pin axle, so you can utilize a higher mount point for the drag link. This will make it much easier to match angles between the drag link and panhard.
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Old August 21st, 2014, 01:03 PM   #13
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Here's some of my thoughts. We run a 3-link and panhard on the 4517, and spent a bunch of time trying to figure out how to make it work well. From what I saw, there were 3 concepts. Options 2 and 3 need the standard track bar and drag link as long as possible, and equal length and parallel to one another (pivot to pivot).

1) Don’t do it. Just build a 4-link and go full hydro or use a steering box and bell-crank.

2) Build track bar & drag link to be level at ride height.

You still need to build this at full compression to make sure you don’t crash into stuff.

Benefits: Less side to side movement as on compression the axle moves towards passenger and on droop the axle moves towards driver side. (Figuring crossover steering with box on driver’s side) I believe in our setup it moves a total of 3” from side to side in 14” of travel.

Disadvantage:
a) You will need more real estate as the track bar will be running up hill at full compression. More likely to need to drop the frame mount and make a tall axle mount.
b) In rolling whoops, the body moves left and right while going through full range of travel, which can feel a bit strange. We never noticed this while racing locally and the whoops are generally tightly spaced; but while at KOH we noticed this where they are more widely spaced and taller.


3) Build track bar & drag link to be level at full compression.

Benefits: No change in direction of axle in relation to the body as the track bar passes through horizontal. Potentially easier to package

Disadvantage: Likely will need to twist pitman arm to limit binding.
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Old August 21st, 2014, 01:44 PM   #14
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On my full-size build,I went with option 3. With this setup, you don't see as much side to side movement of the axle under road driving conditions. The movement will be very noticeable at full droop though, which is probably not too much of a concern since during road driving, your suspension will never see full droop. My next best option would be to go full hydro with dual triangulated 4 link, thus eliminating bump steer, and the panhard altogether. Creates all kinds of room, and less moving parts to deal with.
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Old August 21st, 2014, 04:48 PM   #15
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Thanks for the ideas guys. I tend to agree, the 3 link is just too big of a PITA to be worth it. Now the Bronco is no race car, nor hardcorz crawler but I would like it to behave at speeds greater than a fast walk.

Im hamstrung with the short track bar, and the crummy location. I do agree that Coilover springs would free up quite a bit of room, and allow me to move the track bar location farther outboard passenger side. I think Ill play around with it a bit and see what I can do with a track bar riser on the axle, and a different upper mount, I know they will move in different arcs but if I can make them common through the middle range of suspension movement it may be ok till I can make the move to tons and hydro steer.
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Old August 21st, 2014, 07:49 PM   #16
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I think for the time being, you could shorten the drag link, and tie it into the tie rod, raise the pitman axle mount, and push it out at least another inch or so. This would help road characteristics some, but will only band aid the situation for a short time. I happen to know where there's a Chevy Dana 60, not that this will help, but I'm throwing it out there for you. Ford Dana 60's kingpin type will be best for you. I believe 86 to 91 would be easiest to find, but the 78 and 79 axles are out there. Good luck
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Old August 31st, 2014, 07:19 AM   #17
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Got some work done yesterday on the new cage. I think so far it looks good, much better lines and better triangulation. I am planning on diagonal pieces from the front corners of the windshield bar to the center of the B pillar crossbar.

I was considering adding a shoulder harness bar behind the seats and then an X brace there but it seems like overkill? Thoughts?

I am also still working out the rear frame tie in points. I welded in a plate to the body for now but am planning on something simple for underneath. I am thinking about adding short diagonal bars from the bottom of the tailgate horizontal bar down and in towards the frame location. It makes sense to me but is it overkill?

Nothing is welded out as of yet, if you guys see anything that I could improve on, Id like to hear it.
















I think it looks a ton better than the old:

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Old August 31st, 2014, 08:04 AM   #18
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I would put x bracing in b pillar uprights
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Old August 31st, 2014, 09:25 AM   #19
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I would put x bracing in b pillar uprights

would also really think about adding more cross bracing to the roof and definitely help that B pillar as well.

might want to run a vertical for the windshield area as well.

after the end over end that I had, I'm glad we had something stout to save us.
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Old August 31st, 2014, 11:31 AM   #20
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would also really think about adding more cross bracing to the roof and definitely help that B pillar as well.

might want to run a vertical for the windshield area as well.

after the end over end that I had, I'm glad we had something stout to save us.
Definitely putting diagonals from the A pillar to the center of the rear bar, just ran out of time yesterday. I agree the B pillar needs some lateral support, I am considering something like this:



I picked up some 1" DOM and had planned to use that for a Ʌ in the windshiled. I need to look around the net a bit at corner gussets for the windshield etc.

Last edited by pipepro; August 31st, 2014 at 11:33 AM. Reason: Sentence made no sense haha
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