Edit: I wrote that I used 10-24 insets and screws. I made a mistake, they are actually 1/4-20.
It seems like an age since I have posted on the blog, I guess I’ve been in the doldrums. No major van projects completed, the bumper build has been on a bit of a hiatus as I don’t want to be doing the steel fabrication part (trailer hitch) at work when we are doing aluminum work. But i have to get back on that horse soon or else I never will. I have done a little work on it however, I cut off the end caps and slimmed them down some. A trial fit of the originals showed that they were a bit clunky.
Even being in the doldrums, or maybe it was the horse latitudes, I have managed to do a couple of little things and this post is about something I did this afternoon. I had a bit of 3/16″ aluminum plate (5052 alloy) earmarked for propshaft protection. Oh I know what you are thinking, that’s not beefy enough is it? Perhaps not, if you want rock crawling type protection. But I’m just looking for something to protect the propshaft from flying sticks and stones and the occasional scrape over gravel.
I cut the plate to size (and by the way the two propshaft rails are not parallel, they taper in about 3/4″ towards the front) so that there would be a 3/4″ projection on each side of the stock skid rails. I want that projection so that I can attach (later) some more plate to enclose the space between the skid rails and the frame rails. I drilled 1/8″ pilot holes, 10 places, locations for machine screws to attach the plate to the skid rails.
Then I clamped the plate to the rails and drilled 1/8″ holes in the rails using the previously drilled holes as a guide.
I removed the plate then enlarged the 1/8″ holes to accept threaded inserts. I bought this cheap insert tool at Princess Auto, back in the hazy days of summer. It came with a selection of inserts. I’m using the 10-24 inserts here. You screw the insert onto a threaded boss on the tool, insert the insert (!) into the hole and squeeze the handle. A couple of broken blood vessels later the insert is secured. Tool with insert in hole and an insert itself shown in this pic.
How it looks after insertion.
After a few more ruptured blood vessels all the inserts were installed. Oh I did spray some high zinc paint in the drilled holes before insertion of the inserts. Originally I had thought of counter sunk machine screws to attach the plate, but you know how it is with counter sunk screws, you have to get things perfectly aligned. I opted instead for these rather nice large (almost a truss head) headed stainless screws.
I have a notion to weld some braces on the back side of the plate just to beef it up a bit more. But then again I’m only using
10-24 1/4-20 screws to hold the darned thing on.
I’m happy with the result, and happy to be back blogging about the arcane things I do for fun.