After a bit of a hiatus, I'm back. There are a couple reasons why. First, I ran into a few unforseen problems with rear tire fitment, and second, sometimes you get busy with real life stuff. Of course the real life stuff is more important, but I always enjoy being able to immerse myself in my project and forget about what the rest of the world is doing. Fabrication and welding are especially effective for me when I want to block everything out.
I guess I'll start where I left off last time. I had just finished up the rear suspension and tried a front tire on the rear. It seemed to fit well and appeared to have room to spare. I decided that I would go with 255/50R16 tires on the rear, giving me a slight increase over the 225/50R16 I'm running in the front. I ordered the tires from Discount Tire Direct and through some sort of voodoo magic, they arrived on my porch within 3 days. The 16x8 steel wheels showed up shortly thereafter and following a quick bit of rattle can artistry, they were bronze.
|I have two roommates, Vaughn and Smokey Bear.|
|This tire was more flush than an industrial toilet|
I got a set of 225s on 16x7s, same as the front and set to getting the rear tires and brakes squared away. Up to this point I had not bothered to mount a wheel and tire on the axle with a brake rotor installed. All my test fitting had been sans rotor. when I mounted the 225s, I found two things; 1. even without the rotor installed, the rear tire still rubbed the inner fender, and 2. with the brake rotor installed, it was impossible to mount the wheel. I needed a narrower axle in order to fit these wheels and brakes.
After looking at the axle and noticing that the axle shaft extended out of the housing by about an inch, I came up with an idea. I would shorten the axleshafts each by about a half inch, without modifying the axle housing. I will not be able to use the stock brake components with this method, but I was not planning to, so this is a moot point. Below is a drawing I made to explain the process.
|Because I'm a sick person, I draw this sort of thing when I should be sleeping.|
I did have some concern about the machining protruding through the case hardening of the axle. The machinist, a man with a smart looking mustache said that while axles are heat treated it's not a case hardening, so I shouldn't worry about that. I still have my doubts. I may have to do some abusive testing on these axles. We'll see if that mustache really is smart or just dishonest.
With the axles shortened, I set to work trying to find a brake disc that would allow me to fit the wheel. The Ford Explorer disc brakes were impossible to fit my wheels over at 11.25" diameter. I searched on the AutoZone website for brake discs with the same bolt pattern, but a smaller diameter. I found that the SN-197 Mustangs had a smaller brake diameter than the Explorer. I got a front (10.8" vented) and rear (10.5" solid) disc to check fitment. It turns out the front would not even go on over the axle flange so I tested with the rear, and to my amazement, it fit. I did find that my wheel studs were a little too long, so using Summit Racing's excellent search function I was able to find that Jeeps from 2000 use the exact stud I was looking for, as it is a little over a half inch shorter than the Explorer stud.
|Front and rear wheels AND brakes installed? Inconceivable!|
There is certainly more story to tell, but I'll get to that later. It's the 4th of July and I don't intend to spend the whole day in front of a computer.
I'll leave you with this. 'MURICAAAA!