View Full Version : offical J5 400hp SBC install and air ride suspension mods
03-16-2012, 05:07 PM
This is my official build thread. The plan is a 400hphard small block chevy install and chevy saginaw 3 speed trans install. I also plan on redesigning the suspension to a air ride fully suspended design with about 7" of travel. Then a new roll cage and cab. I am also expecting to have to beef up the track cleets. Here are pictures of the progress so far.
03-16-2012, 05:18 PM
03-16-2012, 05:19 PM
03-16-2012, 05:21 PM
Picture of newly build 400HP Motor. :clap:
03-16-2012, 05:22 PM
Thats All I have for now but Will post pictures as I go. Thanks For looking
03-16-2012, 05:30 PM
Nice pics,keep them coming! That chevy will definately strike fear into that J5 drive train !
the old trucker
03-16-2012, 09:32 PM
I think you must have dropped that engine on your head. I don't think evrything will stay together. What are you planning on using for air bags, those short double convalescent bags ??
The Old Trucker
03-16-2012, 10:07 PM
Yea I thought I would get a response like that:yum: But no I didn't drop the motor on my head but I do have a few screws loose:brows: Especially because this was a great running machine before I tore it appart:ermm: Or maybe because I'm an ex ARMY Tanker that just misses my old Tank, but I do know someone who put a 700HP small block in a J5 and the diff held up very well but the track cleets didn't. Which is why I expect to have to make some changes there. As far as the Air ride I dont have a complete plan there yet but was thinking of using 7" round double bags but I'm not ruling out using coilover race shocks. Keep in mind this will be a complete redesign of the suspension and will more than likly become a suported track design like the M1A1 abrams tank. I might even put M114 surplus tracks on it. Its going to be a work in progress and might take a few different directions. The main plan is to have a badd A** little tracked vehicle for sand dunes and mud bogg compitions.
03-16-2012, 10:11 PM
Oh yea what you see in the pictures is all Im using of the original J5 so If anyone needs body parts,good running motor and trans I have them for sale just message me.
300 H and H
03-16-2012, 10:13 PM
Keep in mind the reason the track cleats were damaged is because of spinning the tracks. This takes the peak load away from making it to the differential. Hook those tracks up, with some good'ole home made grousers, and then you might find out how weak that differential really is. Just say'in...
03-16-2012, 10:42 PM
Thats the chance I will have to take I guess but I do have a back up plan for the diff if it breaks but I'm hopeing it won't. Like I said I know a Guy who has already done it with more HP and he also beefed up the cleets "after breaking a few" and his did really well. "maybe I should of just started from scatch rather than using a J5" but I'm going to give her hell and see where the pieces fall. Its only money Right??????
03-17-2012, 08:02 AM
Talked with a guy who had a 350 in his J5. All he said was you don't want to step on it too hard!! Its not a dragster!! I seem to remember that the j-5 diff is rated around 210-225 hp. Not positive.
the old trucker
03-17-2012, 08:17 AM
What says we start a vote...
I think it will last 30 days after he gets it together & running. The Old Trucker
03-17-2012, 08:37 AM
It ought to be interesting to see how you put that engine in that 2ft hull. I had a tight fit with my straight 6. Love to see people taking on projects like this. Where would we be without imagination and ingenuity. Keep those pictures coming.
03-17-2012, 08:40 AM
Would you be interested in selling any of those J5 track cleats?
03-17-2012, 12:11 PM
Yea I know it will be like pounding a square peg in a round hole but "itll fit". For those who support this crazy Idea thanks and for those who don't I'm surprized I thought you might be happy with all the extra J5 parts going on the market.:wink: No seriously I know there are going to be challenges and part failures but thats the fun of it I've been building things like this all my life and I'm not worried 'thats how you get really cool toys that no one else had the crazies to try". As far as selling track Cleets I don't want to sell any yet in fact as of right now I need some. All I'm selling now is just body parts,motor and trans all other parts like suspension and track parts are not for sale untill I figure out for sure if I need them.
03-17-2012, 09:22 PM
Carry on, Love the project Why the saginaw and not a TH350?
Manual shift valve body?
03-17-2012, 09:54 PM
Thanks for the support.The main reason for the saginaw is I wanted to stay with a manual trans so when I go down hills I have more control and because I have a light weight racing flywheel and pressure plate which will help with quick rpm and hp. The trouble with th350 is with such a low gear ratio it will hunt between gears to much and over heat. Also th350 has more rotating weight which robs hp and I dont want to deal with all the trans cooler problems.
03-17-2012, 10:03 PM
No doubt Manuals are more efficient. Did I read that right earlier you said in the sand. then heck yah the heat will be a issue.
One week ago I was grooming and snowmobiling this week it is in the Mid to high 70's.
I am interested in the suspension system you create as well so don't hold back as you go.
03-17-2012, 10:12 PM
Mike, no doubt I will post my work. Glad to show and share ideas that why I like this site so much. I have a full fab and machine shop so I plan on getting crazy with the trick stuff.
03-18-2012, 06:40 AM
No seriously I know there are going to be challenges and part failures but thats the fun of it I've been building things like this all my life and I'm not worried 'thats how you get really cool toys that no one else had the crazies to try".
I like the way you think. :beer:
Hell if it was easy it wouldn't be no fun at all. :biggrin: I for one, am looking forward to following your progress. :thumb:
300 H and H
03-18-2012, 08:14 AM
Well after the comments I made, I should clarifie a bit....
Track damage from spinning is going to save some of the torque loads, as the tracks slip. If the tracks aren't slipping, the load on the differential will be the weight of the vehical. So as long as 400 hp is just moving the gross weight of the cat that is loading the diff. So by keeping the gross weight down, you will be doing the diff a big favor......
And you control the load on the diff. with your right foot...So don't "plant it" every time you can. It may last a very long time with an operator who knows what he has, and treats it accordingly. I wouldn't be hooking up to and pulling any large heavy loads with this machine though....
Keep the pics comming, Love to see how it turns out.
Best regards, Kirk
Good luck with this project.love engine swaps if the diff fails you may want to grow a OC12 in the mix will hold a lot more HP
03-18-2012, 11:46 AM
do tell what is a OC12 and where do I find one just in case.
I is a larger diff assy much strongr but not a lot of added weight Boggie or snowcat Pat could help aquire one
03-19-2012, 09:53 AM
Sounds like a great project, can't wait to see more. That air ride has really got me thinking about doing it to mine.
This is very cool
crushertest2.mp4 - YouTube
the old trucker
03-20-2012, 01:36 PM
Maybe this will show you all why I'm doing what I'm doing. (quote)
I've seen these before & all I have to say is good luck & make sure that your health insurance is paid up before you waste any more money on that.
03-20-2012, 01:47 PM
Yea,yea thats what seat belts and roll cages are for somtimes you have to take risks for fun otherwise "you" will lead a long boring life.:brows:
I assume you guys have all seen the Ripsaw vehicle. It seems like that's what you're headed towards.
Better have wheelie-bars. (Or would that be wheelie-tracks?)
03-20-2012, 03:06 PM
Exactly what im trying to achieve! Only smaller and mine will float when im done with it. These guys Howe&Howe tech who built ripsaw helped inspire my idea. But my original inspiration came from the crusher j5 in fact the crusher was my inspiration to join the army as a tanker. The crusher j5 was on a t.v. show back in the early 90s called full metal challenge. I would be willing to say the crusher j5 also inspired the ripsaw. The guy I bought my J5 from actually contracted Howe & Howe to build a vehicle called the badger which is a mini personal tank.
More jacked up J5 vidieo
J5 Bombardier SDP VR6 VW engine - YouTube
03-23-2012, 06:39 PM
Anyone see any reason why you need a driveline in a J5? Since im going to solid mount the motor and trans why couldn't i just hook the trans yoke direct to the diff.
300 H and H
03-23-2012, 08:37 PM
If your alinement is near perfect it may work. The reason to have two U joints is to alow for misalinement.
03-24-2012, 11:44 PM
new pictures of progress. Its just mocked up in there still need to mount it.
03-25-2012, 01:01 AM
Quote: More jacked up J5 vidieo
Years ago that would have been a blast! Raced about everything on wheels when I was younger. Now that just looks painful. Wonder if the guy in that video has any kidneys left? Just getting old I guess.
04-01-2012, 09:25 PM
New pictures of this weekends progress. Motor and trans mounted and a window cut and framed out in the floor for access to the bottom of the motor.
04-01-2012, 09:31 PM
here they are
04-01-2012, 10:08 PM
nice work on the headers, I wonder which way you were going to go.
04-01-2012, 11:53 PM
Thanks Im going to route them to the back of the cab and im going to put 5" chrome stacks
06-09-2012, 10:12 PM
Ok here is some more progress. Ive been busy so not as much as I would like to have done but here you go.
06-10-2012, 01:18 AM
Ooh it's gona be so cool! Your fab skills are top notch.thanks for posting pics!
06-10-2012, 12:24 PM
I forgot to post this picture. these are the stacks that are going on it. they are not mounted just setting on there but just trying to show the idea. They are going to be flanged on so I can add a glass pack muffler inside if I want to quite it down. But the plan is full open and I plan to add a flaming pipe kit so it will shoot flames out the top. :brows:
06-10-2012, 12:28 PM
here it is
12-31-2012, 05:54 PM
OK I know you all thought I have given up on this thing but no. here are some more pictures. Its moving along pretty fast now and I should get to fire it up for the first time within a few weeks.
12-31-2012, 05:57 PM
12-31-2012, 06:04 PM
12-31-2012, 06:07 PM
The roll cage is next on the list
12-31-2012, 08:35 PM
Is the air ride done already? should we get new axles ready? :brows:
12-31-2012, 08:55 PM
No not yet. I want to play with it with the v-8 first. I wanted to get the v-8 conversion done first then I know how much room I have for the suspension mods. I'm really thinking about abandoning the air ride to go to coil over shocks or if I can muster the $ maybe nitrogen long travel shocks or even torsion bars. I think the torsion bars would be the best easiest to work with. Hell I might just leave the suspension as is. I know with the amount of time and money at this point if I tear it back down to do the suspension mods the wife might just have a real #### fit.
Alaska Snow Cat
12-31-2012, 09:53 PM
Nice fab work! I think you might need to put wheelie bars on the to do list.
12-31-2012, 10:55 PM
Yea I was thinking Willie tracks lol..
01-01-2013, 09:29 AM
I finally found a application for a six point harness. all the while I was preparing rally cars for competition I never understood the need for six point seat belts. you sir have a need for them on that bad boy.
Does the seat position feel natural, it is hard to sense the fit via a photo.
lay back seating positon?
Any way to french the seat down into the tunnel?
I have some tank driver helmets here I never where you may need to have those.
01-01-2013, 01:48 PM
Yea I already have the harnesses for it and two more seats. All three seats will be inline from right to left. And helmets are on the plan too. I'm an ex tank driver on a Abrams in the Army so yea I would love to have some tanker helmets. I think my time in the Army on a tank has really fed the fire on this thing. I can tell some crazy stories about tanking.
01-01-2013, 02:29 PM
Oh yea as for seat position it fits perfect nice and comfortable. The foot pedals look weird being out to the side but is comfortable because the steering sticks are n the middle of your legs anyway. And I have plenty of room to move seat forward or backwards and lay it back.
01-26-2013, 09:56 PM
Ok here is some pictures of the progress on the roll cage. I had some set backs with the tubing bender. The tubing Im using is 120 wall 1"3/4 and is a seamless Heat treated tubing and as it turns out it is too tuff for a standard duty bender. The first bender I bought bent the main arms because the tubing was too strong. I call the manufacturer and they stood behind it and upgraded me to the Heavy Duty model, So I had to wait a week and a half for the new one. The bad news is the new HD Bender Bent in the same places as the Standard Duty model Just not as bad. Its still usable. I called the manufacturer again and he is sending me new parts to fix it and It look as though that will be the last time they send me parts for it. But I cant complain they have been very good to deal with and Im impressed with their service.
01-26-2013, 09:58 PM
01-26-2013, 10:00 PM
01-26-2013, 10:25 PM
01-26-2013, 10:47 PM
coming along nicely............
Nice work on the cage!
That sort of work always strikes me as similar to paying up your insurance bill. You hope you never actually use it, but want it in full force if you do.
That thing will stand out nicely in a crowd of snowcats.
300 H and H
01-27-2013, 08:29 AM
Like Undy I like the roll cage.
Safe play is fun play. It gets alot less fun in a hurry if you get badly hurt. 6 point harness and a good helmet would be on my list as well...
This machine without the cage would be a disaster waitng to happen IMHO, with an opeator who isn't up to the task. Power is a great thing as long it is under control when it is unleashed...by a thinking and carefull person at the levers.
Looking forward to the test run. Stay safe out there...
For when you absolutely, positively must get there. In snow. Right now.
By the way, when does the blower go on, and the nitromethane go in? Or wheelie-skis or track-tion bars?
Keep it coming. We like it!
01-27-2013, 11:48 AM
Funny you should mention nitro...... my Dad just came across a nitrous kit on the cheap and asked if I wanted it for the j5. I said no I think its going to be fast enough. I already have all the safety gear just waiting to install it all. I'm hoping to fire it up and drive it around the yard soon. My neighbors are gonna love me with the straight open pipes. I still need to add a few more bracing bars to it and weld it all up before I run it. I'm waiting till its done to start it "helps motivate me to hurry and get it done".
Funny you should mention nitro......
Yeah, sick minds think alike. Fast is nice.
I've had several CJ5's with 304 v8s, and was known to drive them around the block a time or two before I got the header mufflers installed. ("Love" might not be exactly the word I would choose to describe my neighbor's reactions.) I don't know if they objected more to the noise or the flames. :w00t2: The current one has a 350 SBC with rams-horn manifolds - so I can be more civil.
I'm waiting till its done to start it
You obviously have more self-restraint than I would have. I'm looking forward to the end results!
01-27-2013, 12:46 PM
Yea, I plan on adding a flame kit to the pipes. Its going to be more of a mud bog machine so I'm sure the crowds will love it. They say the flame kit will shoot flames out up to 3' :brows: Yea Tim Taylor was my idle :biggrin:
01-27-2013, 10:10 PM
Great ideas this will be great to follow along with you. I also have been thinging about ways for an air ride system.
01-27-2013, 10:21 PM
Yea I have several Ideas on the air ride. The nice thing about air ride is the ajustablity of it. You can change for conditions and load requirments. Also much cheaper than coil over or nitrogen shocks, plus the drawbacks of coilover shocks is you really need a good idea of spring rates to start with so it can be expensive if you dont get it right the first time. The suspension mods will be last on the list though. I want to play with it for awhile first. Then I'll decide if I really want to make those changes. (I dont want to bit off more than I can chew). I have other projects that need attention too.
02-10-2013, 09:04 PM
New update!!! The roll cage is done!!!!! Starting to skin it with sheet metal now. Bad news though while fitting sheet metal around gas tank I found my hydraulic clutch was not working right after closer inspection I found it to be out of fluid. Then found that the hydraulic throw out bearing was leaking. So long stories short the trans has to come out now to repair it. One step up two steps back.
03-21-2013, 10:20 AM
Well the trans is back in and the throwout bearing is fixed, the problem was bad orings and dirt was causing the leak, good as new now. wiring is now done and dash is completed. All that is needed to run is drop the dist in and adjust the vavles and shes ready to fire up. before I fire it up though im going to get the driver seat back in and make the mounts for the seat belts. "because I know Im going to want to take it for a spin" :brows: it is still far from done though still lots of sheet metal to do. and paint. will post pics later on this week. Maybe video of the first breath of the motor :clap:
03-21-2013, 10:51 AM
Just remember the mud you get on it "test driving" has to all come off to paint it......:yum:
03-23-2013, 11:37 PM
ITS ALIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just fired it up today. after many fights and cussing the holley carb. But in the end I Won! :brows: When I first tried to start it it looked like old faithful with all the fuel leaking everywhere. Took me about five tear downs and finally a trip to my brothers house to get him to fix the problem with the carb. Ill tell you that carb came really close to being the first thing I was going to run over once it was running. But cooler heads prevailed. It even got to take it for a spin around the yard. It seems to be geard much higher now I never got out of first gear with it but I think it is going to be alot faster now. :biggrin: It is very snappy on the revs and sounds like a flat bottom jet boat at the lake. Very loud and throaty:brows: Ill get some pictures of it tomorrow or the next day and post them for you all to see. Maybe Ill get a video to post but I have no idea how to post video. Anybody have suggestions on how to do that?? Anyway I'm happy it is running and it has been a long hard road but i can see the light at the end of the tunnel now. All that is left to do is sheet metal, head lights,roof KC lights,winch on front, Paint and mount the passenger seats and seat belts, doors (they are going to open upwards), and windows. it all sounds like a short list but its alot to do still but at least I can drive it in and out of my shop now.
03-30-2013, 02:13 PM
Ok here is pictures.
03-30-2013, 02:16 PM
03-30-2013, 02:31 PM
video is up now on youtube
03-30-2013, 02:37 PM
05-07-2013, 04:05 PM
video of mud bog http://youtu.be/RcjnPSWjrWU
05-07-2013, 04:07 PM
Video of high speed run on track http://youtu.be/cEZeSHElmRIl
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