NOW we are rolling!

by Andy

Thanks, as always, to help from my father and brother, things went very smoothly with the cage today. As a nice bonus, Jon Steele spent the day helping out as well. He also brought beer. Jon is a good guy. For those that have been reading along, Steele is responsible for building this website. He deserves a lot of appreciation for his efforts!

So just a second ago I said that the cage install went smoothly today. I was kind of lying. It was not smooth, but the results for the day are pretty awesome. The A-pillar, roof hoop, and main hoop are now all welded in place. For the first time in a LONG time, the car is actually starting to look more complete. The process of getting all the tubes welded in place required some more metal grinding and cutting, tie-downs, and all 4 of us pushing and pulling to get things lined up. When Steele wasn’t busy helping with the cage, he was taking some GREAT pictures. Here are a few showing the welding process:

With all those pieces in place and welded the cage has really begun to take shape:


And that is when things went from kinda smooth, to not smooth at all. I began trimming the sill-bar with my tube notcher and high torque drill. The drill stripped the arbor of the tube notcher, and the drill itself cracked. You get what you pay for, and this Harbor-Freight junk had already exceeded its expected usage. With the roll cage building put on hold, we moved to the shift linkage, drive shaft, front suspension, and front brakes. My Dad also spent a bit more time grinding on the rear of the car where the rear bars for the roll cage will eventually mount. Honestly, it was REALLY nice to get some solid progress on putting the car back together. And after all the welding and cutting and bending and grinding, it was nice to work with parts that just needed a nut and bolt to stay together.

I am really happy with how much we accomplished today, and I wouldn’t have gotten nearly as far without help. Im a little disappointed that the cage work got cut short, but it was also nice to work on something else.
Tomorrow, I am probably going to run a few errands to replace broken tools, and perhaps pick up a used Momo steering wheel. If I am lucky, I will finally get the steering rack cleaned up and rebuilt. But that might be a tall order! :)


  1. svmess
    12 March 11, 10:20pm

    I can hear the roar of the engine and the smell of burning rubber! Nice work.

  2. parid
    14 March 11, 3:06pm

    Interesting X brace on the main hoop. How are you planning to attach your belts? Are you going to run with a seat brace?

  3. Andy
    14 March 11, 3:25pm

    I am installing an FIA approved seat so with my understanding of the rules, a seat brace is not required. And for the belts are going to attach to a bar that is not yet installed. :)

    And the x brace looks fine to me. ;) I wanted the tube to connect at the bends at the top of the hoop, and as low as possible to the floor, so thats just how it ended up. I know the x does seem higher than normal, but hey, it’ll still be strong. :)

  4. Taylorcraftbc65
    16 March 11, 4:24am

    From what I can see, I like your cage work. (I built all the cages in all my dirt track stock cars in the seventies, and currently weld the 4130 thinwall fuselages of experimental aircraft).
    It is interesting to hear about the progress on the other parts of your build. Tee and I picked up a 2WD Cherokee front axle at a local junkyard that is going to sponsor the car. It will remove over 200 pounds from the front of the car.
    Our car is SOOO cheap on it’s AIV, that we will have enough wiggle room with the AIV for us to get a post 1996 Ford 8.8 inch rear axle with disk brakes. It is over 100% stronger that the weak Dana 35 that is the stock rear axle for the Cherokees. That makes it safer for my fellow racers who are behind me on a track. It you have ever seen a Dana 35 come apart from too much power or load being put on it, it can throw axle grease EVERYWHERE. Brie

  5. Andy
    17 March 11, 9:06am

    Haha, I would ram you if you got axel grease all over my windshield. ;)

    Are you going to be running the Cherokee in just rear wheel drive? If so, can you tear down the transfer case and the front wheel drive components to save weight? Seems like with the weight of that thing you’d want to get it as light and as low as possible. Should be interesting! And are you in the Colorado area by the way?

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