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Belly pans...or not

BoyToys

Active member
As I dive a bit deeper into what a 'stock' unmolested Imp should look like while I plan out restoration efforts, I came to realize that mine does not have any belly pan(s) underneath from the transmission all the way back to the differential. There appear to be mounting holes in the undercarriage for what I assume used to be there. Comments?? Seems the only reason for removing the pans would be for weight savings, but if aluminum they couldn't have weighed much. I would think a person would want belly pans to help float in the really deep powder.
Comments anyone???
 

Melensdad

Jerk in a Hawaiian Shirt & SNOWCAT Moderator
Staff member
GOLD Site Supporter
Given that I used to drive through fields, over river banks, through brush, etc, to me a belly pan makes a lot of sense. I'm in favor of them.

FWIW, as sort of a disclaimer, on a SnowTrac (the model I owned) the drive mechanism is all in the front, the majority of the bottom of the vehicle is actually plywood (I epoxy coated my plywood).​
 

redsqwrl

Bronze Member
GOLD Site Supporter
I am a lazy pocrap most days. I used magnets and paper to make a template.

an imp with out the covers on drags pretty good in the snow. I also found that packing snow up around the ebrake made mike carry a propane torch ( that never liked to ignite in the temperatures that froze the brake on)
 

BoyToys

Active member
I am a lazy pocrap most days. I used magnets and paper to make a template.

an imp with out the covers on drags pretty good in the snow. I also found that packing snow up around the ebrake made mike carry a propane torch ( that never liked to ignite in the temperatures that froze the brake on)
Heck of an idea while lying flat on your back to make a template. Lucky (or unlucky) for me, I don't have an embrake to worry about.
It's still beyond me why someone would remove the belly pans. Just added to my to-do list which keeps growing.
 

BoyToys

Active member
Snagged some free galvanized sheet metal the other day, now to get enthused about fabricating some pans. Since I've never been around a proper non-molested Imp for comparison, do these just mount to the frame and bridge the gap along and under the driveline? Probably up front as well...a 'bull nose" if you will, but not for me since I have a snow blade mount and hydraulic lines up there.
 

Idaho IMP

Member
The lower 1 by angle at the well should have weld nuts on the top side for 1/4-20 bolts. Mine has 3 panels that go from front to back, and the rearmost ends at the crossmember that supports the front of transaxle. My panels are probably 12 gauge aluminum. thats gonna be challenging to measure and drill them. Maybe measure and drill for one in each corner, then mark the remainder from above, or use a self-centering VIX bit to drill the centers at a smaller diameter. A self centering bit can be had at Hobo freight or any decent woodworking shop or lumberyard. Let us know how it goes!
 

BoyToys

Active member
Thanks man. I'll need to jack her up and crawl around to check it out...fun fun either way you look at it. I've got what measures out to about 15 or 16 gauge galvanized steel. Aluminum would be preferred and probably lighter weight but a person can't complain about free material. I may go the route proposed by Redsqwrl and create a template out of light cardboard held in place by strong magnets and transfer to the sheet metal for cutting and drilling. The hard part will be holding it up in place. Not a whole lot of elbow room underneath these things.
One of many things on my list before things get white once again.
 

SOS RANCH

Member
Hi BT: In 1017 I built a log cabin.. cut the trees, peeled them, scribed, fitted logs, and it turned out great. In the finish work inside around logs and irregular surfaces I used cardboard to shape the part then transferred it to the planned wood, cut, and it always worked out great. Nice idea. My cat has belly pans, aluminum, and held with screws or bolts in holes already placed in the under frame.

We had 4 inches of new snow last Saturday so at dusk I took her for a drive around one of the pastures. I mean, there was SNOW so I just had to do it !!
 

BoyToys

Active member
Yo SOS,
Snow is all history at my cabin (which I built from scratch exactly as you did, harvesting trees off my 40 acres). The most gratifying thing I've ever done. I still have my draw knife, scribe, bark spud, peevee, ship auger and brace, block and tackle, chain saws, etc etc. Just came home this morning from a trip up there. Been enjoying it for almost 25 years and always dreamed of having a snowcat since winter is almost my favorite season in the wilderness. I can hardly wait!
Hopefully I'll get around to slapping some belly pans on this summer; not a huge priority with all the other stuff yet to be done. I appreciate your suggestion.
 

SOS RANCH

Member
What a wonderful building project, BT !! Only those that have done this know... LOL.
 

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redsqwrl

Bronze Member
GOLD Site Supporter
Anothet idea as im king of keep it simple....

Run duct tape around the lip. When u pull it off you will have a template. It will lift crud and paint to reveal hole placement

Or put threaded rod pieces in nuts and hold a pc of material up with a floor jack, tap with a mallet to mark locations.

With skills to fit logs fitting a plate will be easy regardless the route u go
 

BoyToys

Active member
What a wonderful building project, BT !! Only those that have done this know... LOL.
My humble log abode is a bit more....humble, compared to your mansion. All done by brute muscle power, no machinery other than my truck and chain saw. Off grid solar, batteries, inverter, spring water piped down the ridge about 2500 feet to a buried tank, composting crapper, stuff like that. The only luxury is my Serius XM radio pumped through ancient Bose 501's (lifelong paid-up subscription when satellite radio was just getting started...surely they hate me but a deal's a deal, $400 20 years ago).
Der Imp'ster will stay at the cabin, I don't relish towing it every time I go up. Plowing is something I'll mostly do to keep my driveway open, provided someone keeps the 1/3 mile road open to my gate. If not, I'll be plowing the road too I guess as long as I stay on top of it. Imps aren't really made for plowing tons of snow so I guess I'll see.
 

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BoyToys

Active member
Anothet idea as im king of keep it simple....

Run duct tape around the lip. When u pull it off you will have a template. It will lift crud and paint to reveal hole placement

Or put threaded rod pieces in nuts and hold a pc of material up with a floor jack, tap with a mallet to mark locations.

With skills to fit logs fitting a plate will be easy regardless the route u go
Good idea(s)! Sure wish I had the means to hoist the whole shebang up in the air a few feet. Life would be easier. Getting too old for crawling around on the ground under a cat suspended with floor jacks. The what-if paranoia sets in, hoping that Siri can hear me when I say "call 911".
 

SOS RANCH

Member
Your build is really cool !! Anyone that does this realizes the craft involved and what it takes to make something in and out of the woods (meaning with woods materials). So, good for you! One thing I like is when I am in the cabin, I can be comfortable in knowing how tight it is and enjoy the coziness and warmth of a wood building both from the perspective of temperature but also from the perspective of the esthetics. It is quite the experience to step on the porch and enter something you built with your own hands that will last for centuries if done right and no forest fire...

I have a backhoe so I used that to work with the logs both in transport and positioning during scribing. I wanted this to be an art project so I did it the hard way with full scribing. Chambers has a book and video sequence on how to do this and I followed his advice and methods. I picked and felled the trees, peeled them, and so on. I have used a draw knife before many times but instead, I found a guy in Estonia that made a 9 inch disc with 3 adjustable cutters on it that goes on a 9 inch angle grinder and this is how I peeled them. The most I did was 7 in one day. Saved me a lot of muscle work even though it was not easy in the heat of the day.

I barely got the ridge pole up with the backhoe that has an extendahoe on it and had to fix the log to the back side of the bucket and then raise that to get it high enough but it worked.. slipped right in and the fit was excellent... whew.

No running water other than the nice creek about 30 feet from the door, no electricity, Kerosene lights, perfect wood stove for heat.

I have lived in log cabins in my youth.. one on the back side of Aspen Mountain at the Midnight Mine in '68-70 (hit 50 below a few times, skied down into town, for work as a dishwasher (shared that with another guy... made lots of money / sarc) and then got a ride to the top of the mountain on the lift (after panhandling a ticket from someone quitting early) and then skied down to the cabin. Elevation of the cabin was 10,500 ft.) and also north of Sun Valley, ID. None of these had electricity or running water. Met my wife there and we lived that way for 3 years. What fun it was to be young.

One of my buddies (since before the first grade) asked me why I did not build a log cabin where I live now and, by golly, then I did. What fun.

So, BT, I am impressed by your cabin! Nice !!
 

BoyToys

Active member
Your build is really cool !! Anyone that does this realizes the craft involved and what it takes to make something in and out of the woods (meaning with woods materials). So, good for you! One thing I like is when I am in the cabin, I can be comfortable in knowing how tight it is and enjoy the coziness and warmth of a wood building both from the perspective of temperature but also from the perspective of the esthetics. It is quite the experience to step on the porch and enter something you built with your own hands that will last for centuries if done right and no forest fire...

I have a backhoe so I used that to work with the logs both in transport and positioning during scribing. I wanted this to be an art project so I did it the hard way with full scribing. Chambers has a book and video sequence on how to do this and I followed his advice and methods. I picked and felled the trees, peeled them, and so on. I have used a draw knife before many times but instead, I found a guy in Estonia that made a 9 inch disc with 3 adjustable cutters on it that goes on a 9 inch angle grinder and this is how I peeled them. The most I did was 7 in one day. Saved me a lot of muscle work even though it was not easy in the heat of the day.

I barely got the ridge pole up with the backhoe that has an extendahoe on it and had to fix the log to the back side of the bucket and then raise that to get it high enough but it worked.. slipped right in and the fit was excellent... whew.

No running water other than the nice creek about 30 feet from the door, no electricity, Kerosene lights, perfect wood stove for heat.

I have lived in log cabins in my youth.. one on the back side of Aspen Mountain at the Midnight Mine in '68-70 (hit 50 below a few times, skied down into town, for work as a dishwasher (shared that with another guy... made lots of money / sarc) and then got a ride to the top of the mountain on the lift (after panhandling a ticket from someone quitting early) and then skied down to the cabin. Elevation of the cabin was 10,500 ft.) and also north of Sun Valley, ID. None of these had electricity or running water. Met my wife there and we lived that way for 3 years. What fun it was to be young.

One of my buddies (since before the first grade) asked me why I did not build a log cabin where I live now and, by golly, then I did. What fun.

So, BT, I am impressed by your cabin! Nice !!
Bringing back lots of good memories. Everytime I visit, I sit back and can hardly believe it built this thing...having personally touched every single square inch (and speaking of square, there is absolutely nothing square or plumb in a hand built cabin). I stretched an aircraft cable between two opposing trees about 25 feet up across the build site and used a block and tackle to hoist the logs in place. And half way through the project I found a 4" chain saw wheel to fit my Makita and powered it off a battery and inverter. Made shaping the scribed notches much more precise. Doubt I could do it again now, getting a bit longer in the tooth as they say, and my liver probably can't handle the amount of liquid refreshments I consumed while building it.
I have memories of Sun Valley, tackled that mountain a few times and enjoyed viewing all the "beautiful people", i.e., rich movie star types...at the lodge. I bet you have some stories to tell!
 

SOS RANCH

Member
Oh, yeah... I once pulled the Hemingways out of a snow bank and kicked Teddy Kennedy our of our lodge, LOL. Made dinner for the Brownings (of BAR fame), and in Aspen, tried to get Hugh Hefner's brother to haul a wood stove up to the cabin.. He declined so we tied it onto the back of a VW bug and got it there anyway. A cat jumped out of the window when we first showed up and the cat later glommed onto us so we called him "Glom". The Billionaires have bought out the Millionaires. Friends from the old days that still live there stay out of the towns and tell me not to go back (Aspen especially). I was glad to leave and did not want to raise my kids in a resort town for all the obvious reasons.

Lots of famous people, of which I have known many, know who they are but have forgotten who they aren't. ;o)
 

BoyToys

Active member
It's a crazy place. Once while "hanging out" in the restroom at the SV lodge, who steps up to the adjacent urinal but Clint. I said something proper like "how's it hanging". He just grunted and said something like "go away, unless you're feeling lucky. Well are ya?"
 

SOS RANCH

Member
Haha... My dad was at a boat show a long time ago with a friend. They had just come down a ladder leading to a big yacht and were standing near the ladder. Clint comes up and starts to climb the ladder. My dad's friend said, "That's Clint Eastwood!" My dad says rather loudly, "Who's Clint Eastwood?" Clint is half way up the ladder and turns around and looks at dad... LOL. This is when he was in Rawhide so a long time ago.

Paul Anka heard me performing in Sun Valley and that led to signing a contract with him as my producer and manager, which in turn led to a contract with United Artists Records. All that fell apart eventually so I did something else, but it put me around lots of famous folk. Most were great, some were weird and a few were ass holes. I still do a LOT of music, almost every day, but I've a great day job. I never wanted to have music be my main gig and am glad for what I did. Yet I am one of the few that actually signed a major label contract, no one knows who I am (thank you very much, LOL) but I sure had a lot of fun and met a lot of folks in that whirlwind into professional music.

I was sitting in Merle Haggard's studio some time ago and is drummer and I were sitting on the couch. He turns to me and says, "So, how was Paul Anka, a nice guy?" and I said, "He was until he wasn't." We both laughed. Paul has a rep, you know. A keyboard player that I record with (still) worked with Paul. He says Paul made everyone around him and in the band call him Mr. Anka. I never did.. I always said, "Hey, Paul! Sup?" haha. Maybe that is why it all fell apart, LOL again......

Oh, it is a long and entertaining story.... But I'd rather it snow so I could drive the Cat....
 
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