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The ‘RAITH Party Cart….


sgtsandman

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How big are the axle tubes? That more than anything will determine if you need to go spring over or spring under. I prefer spring over just because of the u-bolt orientation and ride height but I also use my trailer differently than you do.
 


Rick W

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Make / Model
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4.0 & 2.9
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Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
97 stock, 3” on 87
Total Drop
N/A
Tire Size
235/75-15
My credo
Never put off ‘til tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely
The shorter axle is a 1 x1 bent channel. It’s a complete coincidence, but I missed the correct width by about 3/8 of an inch. So I’ll have to cut that out, weld it back, and reinforce it. If I had cut my cross pieces 3/8 of an inch longer, I wouldn’t have to cut it at all, but it’s not something I ever checked.

The longer axle has a 1 x 1 tube for the axle. Obviously it’s a couple feet too long.

I think I have a solid 1” or 3/4” inch square bar in the shed of miracles. If so, I’m planning on laying that down in the channel and welding it over a foot or 18 inches. Overkill, but I’ve got the piece sitting here.

Ditto, when I cut the longer axle, if that piece will fit down the middle, I’ll drill the tube in several places, slide the bar inside, weld it where I cut it in half, and then spot, weld it through the holes in several locations.

If that bar approach doesn’t work, I’ll simply cut them and butt weld them, and then put some kind of reinforcing peace across a few feet. I’ve done it all many times before. The bar is great, because it looks like factory. Using an exterior angle can look a little hokey, but it still works fine.

Fortunately, this is all pretty light duty stuff, so when it comes to the over, or under question, I can just do it now, but it’s very easy to change if I want to flip it the other way.

The 185/65/14s are basically 24 inches in diameter. The channel is 4 inches, and the spring connecting point for the axle is about another 4 inches below that, and the spring is about 3 inches thick at that point. So a little simple math, my fender can rise a few inches above the deck, or a little bit more than a foot above the deck.

The three considerations anre appearance (has to look cool), and ease of reaching into the casket to get your brewski.

I’m using a cheap freebie truck box lid, split lengthwise, to make the fenders. Depending on the configuration, I may have to make that strong enough to step on, without folding up like tinfoil.

Rainy here today, but I may have the axles mounted today. I’m a bachelor this weekend, so I’m thinking it will be all bolted together with all the pieces by the end of the weekend if nothing comes up. Then it’s plumbing and wiring and painting.

And if I don’t mow my grass, nobody’s going to be able to see it anyway
 

Rick W

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1997 1987
Make / Model
Ranger XLT x2
Engine Type
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Engine Size
4.0 & 2.9
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
97 stock, 3” on 87
Total Drop
N/A
Tire Size
235/75-15
My credo
Never put off ‘til tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely
Rain was predicted all day today in Atlanta. So after a little work on the day job, I went over to Howard brothers and got the last couple bolts I needed to finish up the spring mounting, and when I got back, I finished it up in between the raindrops.

Then I focused on the day job again, except for running out to pick up my free light bar. When I was coming home, the sun popped out, so I changed into work clothes to tackle shortening the axles and rebuilding the wheel hubs. I have to tell you, neither one of those is very high on my list of “gosh, I love to work on car and trailer projects“ list.

I put a new disc on the cut off wheel, and actually had the axles cut in about 10 minutes. One end was already bolted to the springs, and then I bolted the loose ends on the far side, squared up the axles with a short piece of angle iron, and I welded them as much as I could from the bottom until I flip the whole thing over.

The front axle had four bolt hubs, but I had some five bolt hubs in the shed of miracles. The rear axle was a five bolt, but one was missing, again I had one. I took them all apart, cleaned all the bearings and pieces and parts, regreased them, and put them all together. I know I already said it’s a nasty job, but I’ll bet one of you guys three states away has some grease on you somewhere from my rebuilding these things.

IMG_1635.jpeg


Yuk!

By this time, the rain was back. I was going to be doggoned if I was not going to get it done, so I went out in the rain and polished up the spindles with a wire brush, and then Emory paper. But, hey, I was so covered with grease I didn’t get wet!

I mounted all the hubs up to the point where I still have to put the cotter pin in and caps on. Enough fun for today.

IMG_1637.jpeg


One afterthought. I’ve had a tub of Valvoline grease for probably a dozen years. When I went to nationals, and I spun a bearing on the trailer and then had to rebuild one of the truck hubs, and I bought a tub of STP grease. In my mind, I think of Valvoline as a quality product, but I think of STP as a really superior product.

The Valvoline was definitely thicker, and in my impression, better for something like wheel bearings. The STP was relatively thin. The only thought I’ll add, is I don’t know if the grease thickens up when it sits around forever. But the next time I need grease, it’s definitely going to be the Valvoline..

I thought I’d share it.

IMG_1634.jpeg
 

alwaysFlOoReD

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You must have been like a mosquito, working between the raindrops...
 

Rick W

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Make / Model
Ranger XLT x2
Engine Type
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Engine Size
4.0 & 2.9
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
97 stock, 3” on 87
Total Drop
N/A
Tire Size
235/75-15
My credo
Never put off ‘til tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely

Rick W

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1997 1987
Make / Model
Ranger XLT x2
Engine Type
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Engine Size
4.0 & 2.9
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
97 stock, 3” on 87
Total Drop
N/A
Tire Size
235/75-15
My credo
Never put off ‘til tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely
Finished up the wheel hubs, double checked everything from below, and flipped it over.

No sweat for feeble old me to tilt it up on one side on the saw horses, balance it as I walked around the tail end, and set it down on the saw horses. And I’m no Superman….

Balance point front to back is about the front bolt on the front springs. I’m guessing it’s 250-300 pounds total plus or minus.

Welded the top of the axle splices, and installed an aluminum channel cross piece across the equalizer point. Made the executive decision that the front and rear of the springs are close enough to the existing cross pieces that I didn’t need to add two more. 99% comfortable with that, but jury is still out.

IMG_1641.jpeg


I temp clamped two 1-1/2” x 3/16”aluminum angles I had (oriented front to back) under the tongue. Several purposes. In the rear, they extend about 2” under the front of the gas grille face to bolt it down (splits front almost evenly in three, and the main support and secure bolts are on the grille sides).

The angles run to the front of the tongue box, same width as the flat face, bolted so the tongue box sits on them, but you can’t see them under the tongue box and frame. They hold the box, but also reinforce the tongue structure.

The tongue box sits on those angles and is bolted to them front and back bottom of the box, and also front and back of the sides through the frame. Again, holds the box, reinforces the tongue.

I did it all without completing the front of the tongue so the frame exactly follows the tongue box angle. Hitch will be a receiver tube (later).

IMG_1642.jpeg


I did another front to back check, cleaned up the axle splices and painted everything not aluminum (not much).

Very scary senior moment: I checked all the springs and axles and shackles and bolts 15 times, and while I was painting it, one spring bolt was too short, and the nut was barely on it. I hate getting old. Fortunately, I had one remaining half inch bolt with a long enough shank to fit through the bushing, and still hold the lock nut on the inside. First thing tomorrow is to go front to back again and double check everything.

I have a bullet hole set of wheels/tires, center caps and the flange lug nuts to hold the caps. I also have a set of steelies and center caps to match the Missing Linc which I’m going to start with. Sooo, I dug in the lug nut pile to run a tap through them and polish them on the wire wheel, and realized half way through that I had two different sizes. Very similar, both the same lug thread, but half are 3/4 socket and half the next size up. Big suck moment. It won’t hold up progress, but I’ll have to hit the pull a part for another dozen of one or the other so they match.

Tomorrow, after a couple cups of coffee, and a very detailed front to back check, I’m going to mount the wheels and set it on the ground.

Then I’m going to fab the tongue/receiver. Roughly in my mind are two pieces of channel that connect to the front cross piece of the main frame, run under the tongue box, and connect to the angled-in channels. I have a couple different 2 inch receiver tubes. I’ll pick the right one, and weld some ears on it to bolt between those channels, blah, blah blah. I didn’t want to tackle it until I had the ride height on the tires.

Number two will be fabricating and installing the fenders, and the spare tire mount. Then the test drive.

If I survive that, then the gas grille, then the deck, then the Casket, then the back bumperettes, then the lights and wiring, then the propane plumbing, the the casket baffles, the sound system, etc., etc…

Who’s stupid idea was this anyway?
 

Rick W

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Vehicle Year
1997 1987
Make / Model
Ranger XLT x2
Engine Type
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Engine Size
4.0 & 2.9
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
97 stock, 3” on 87
Total Drop
N/A
Tire Size
235/75-15
My credo
Never put off ‘til tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely
If you look to the right of that last picture, there’s a piece of the channel beam that I haven’t split yet. I may use that intact to mount my receiver tube….
 

RobbieD

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That's turning out nicely.
 

Rick W

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1997 1987
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4.0 & 2.9
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
97 stock, 3” on 87
Total Drop
N/A
Tire Size
235/75-15
My credo
Never put off ‘til tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely

Rick W

Rusty Oleum
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1997 1987
Make / Model
Ranger XLT x2
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0 & 2.9
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
97 stock, 3” on 87
Total Drop
N/A
Tire Size
235/75-15
My credo
Never put off ‘til tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely
So much for planning. When I went out this morning, I really looked everything over in detail. Everything was sort of OK, but who wants to do anything “sort of OK.”

I didn’t like the axles. I spliced the big one, and the little one had already been spliced once, and I spliced it again. In my inspection this morning, I realized the tires were going to be very close to the frame. Remembering that any job worth doing is worth doing twice, I tackled the axles again.

Basically, I cut the whole midsection out of both axles, and I reset the width, saddling a piece of that unistrut on top of the remaining axles. It’s actually the same dimensions as the big axle, and since the little axle was a channel, it’s actually stronger than the smaller axle.

I also redid the U bolts on the smaller axle. I can’t say that there was really anything wrong with them, they just look shaky. Better now.

Then I painted everything again after I put it back together, and I hung the tires.

IMG_1644.jpeg


The tires are exactly where I wanted them by my measurements, but as I’m looking at the whole thing, I wish they were closer to the frame now, maybe 2 inches on each side, which still leaves me about 2 1/2 inches clear of the frame.

Did I say any job worth doing is worth doing twice? Now that I rebuilt the axles and u-bolts and hangers, it really wouldn’t be that big a job to narrow them up a little bit. I’m going to mock up the fenders tomorrow, and the width of the grille, before I make a final decision.

I am happy I ran the axles under the springs, it gives me the ride height I like. Can’t see it in the picture yet because it’s still sitting on the sawhorses.

But it’s progress, even if it’s senior paced…
 
Last edited:

Rick W

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1997 1987
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Ranger XLT x2
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4.0 & 2.9
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
97 stock, 3” on 87
Total Drop
N/A
Tire Size
235/75-15
My credo
Never put off ‘til tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely
Afterthought, but I’ll be working on the tongue and on the fenders tomorrow.

I don’t think the fenders will have to be strong enough for anybody to stand on them, but they’ll be at the right height that a few dolls or one fat chick might want to sit on them. That little bit of extra space from the frame may be what I need to build a big enough support structure so a plus size fan won’t bend the fender so it wants to rub on the tires when I leave.

Thoughts to explore while I watch “the hideous sun demon,” and drink a Pabst. Great 50s cult creature feature if you haven’t seen it.
 
Last edited:

Rick W

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Vehicle Year
1997 1987
Make / Model
Ranger XLT x2
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0 & 2.9
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
97 stock, 3” on 87
Total Drop
N/A
Tire Size
235/75-15
My credo
Never put off ‘til tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely
Details can kill you almost as much as being thrifty with Craigslist and such.

I started with the simple task of screwing on the center caps. Only one wheel still had the metal inserts. I’ve done it before, and I used plastic wall anchors, cut them short and set in super glue gel.

3 wheels, almost 2 hours.

Moved on to the free toolbox for fenders. 72” lid with the square turned down edges, 20-1/2” wide. Perfect.

Perfect except when I redid the axles, the turn in the tread pattern was 11-1/2” out. I like the tires to run a hair outside the fenders, so if the truck/trailer misinterprets my perfect inputs, the tire scrubs instead of the fender bending. A little more free rubber than I wanted. So I figured I’d pull the lid and strip it and mock it up.

Box was free and was a cheap one to start. First pain was the piano hinge was held in by about 10-12 rivets on the bottom side, but (aluminum) spot welded every 3-4” on the lid side. ??? Had to grind every one so I didn’t destroy the straight lid. Another hour.

IMG_1649.jpeg


Turns out the midpoint to rip it equally is 2/3 the way through the center angle. When I notched both of those angles for the front and rear turn down, I realized the lock side was actually a layered panel that ran all the way to, and into, the turn down for lock security. No real biggie except more time.

Then I went into brain freeze for a couple hours figuring out fender supports.

Turns out the problem was fixing and expanding my shed last summer. I went from the shed of miracles to 1.1 sheds of miracles. Inventory control went into chaos.

I moved the leftover sections my shopping mall escalator guard rail (Road Ranger headache rack and other uses) over & completely forgot I had them. @snoranger reminded me of the expanded shed of miracles inventory and I came to my senses and pulled out the shopping mall escalator aluminum.

Well, 30 minutes later, I had 6 supports fabbed up, but only got the main ones over the equalizers installed.

IMG_1650.jpeg
IMG_1652.jpeg


After I put in the other 4 tomorrow, and cut some of the angle from the toolbox lid, I can mock them in. I’m going to add a new angle, maybe steel, at the edge of the supports to handle the whole fat chick problem.

I’m thinking if the turn down is even with or just past the break in the tread pattern, they can still control the spray. I’ll have to do something for the gap on the inside side, but I had to deal with that anyway.
 

Rick W

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1997 1987
Make / Model
Ranger XLT x2
Engine Type
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Engine Size
4.0 & 2.9
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
97 stock, 3” on 87
Total Drop
N/A
Tire Size
235/75-15
My credo
Never put off ‘til tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely
Total epiphany on how to do the fenders this morning. I was just going to use the float tool box lid, and tilt it down in the front, and a little more in the back.

Today I had the thought of using the top of the box box, which steps out a few inches on every side, turning it upside down, and then putting a cap on it.

That squared off section of the box is about the same height as the base of the casket. Now I just have to figure out if I’m going to step it up again when I cover it, or just let it run flat. The way the whole thing is folded together, it also illuminates the need to put any kind of bracing underneath it (unless we run up on a real jumbo, and I’m going to need you guys to corral that a little bit!).

Sooo, early, I went out with a cup of coffee, some more stuff from the junk pile, and my advisor (Lincoln), and played around a little bit.

Except for the channel frame, every little bit of this project has changed as my creative juices got flowing after trying to follow my original design (which was always in my head anyway).

Can’t really tackle it till I get a couple things done on the day job. Work and clients get in the way of everything important I try to do.
 

Rick W

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Vehicle Year
1997 1987
Make / Model
Ranger XLT x2
Engine Type
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Engine Size
4.0 & 2.9
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
97 stock, 3” on 87
Total Drop
N/A
Tire Size
235/75-15
My credo
Never put off ‘til tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely
IMG_1655.jpeg


This toolbox would be split down the middle, half for each side. Imagine if I cut the boxy part on top of this toolbox off, either flat, or stepped up an inch or two.

IMG_1656.jpeg


I’ll probably start with the step up and see how it looks, and if I don’t like it, then I’ll make it flat.

Hey, it’s only zillions of hours…
 

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