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For this year's Muddy Truckers Trophy I've decided, time allowing, to make a couple more modifications to my motor.
One of them is to try and give the front wings some protection as, I'm sure anyone that's competed with us will agree, trying to minimise damage to the front wings makes life so much harder in among the trees.
"Challenge wings" seem to be the "bolt on" solution but having helped fit them to Mike's 90 and seen numerous variations on a theme from a number of suppliers I've gradually come to the conclusion that I just don't like them. They look "wrong" and destroy the iconic Defender look to the front end. They also take ages to fit, lead to all sorts of compromises and, in most cases, cannot be removed from the vehicle without major surgery. Not to mention having to relocate, modify or simply remove a number of standard parts.
I also have the added problem on mine that they are mostly designed to link into the front roll cage hoop which, with mine being external to the wings, won't work.
So, all this has led to me pontificating for a couple of years and, as a result, I was no further forward than I was two years ago !
The best wings I've seen in terms of "stealth" are the ones on Matthew's 90 and it was those that I wanted to reproduce (ish) on mine. We had to take Pam's 90 over to Protection and Performance for them to measure up for the roll cage we're fitting to that so while I was there I got them to bend up 4 pieces of tube, each with a single 90 degree bend that roughly follows the curve of a standard wing. I also got a "bridging piece" bent that would go around the front edge of the bonnet to link the two wings together.
So, my cunning plan is to build the tube into the existing wing, giving them the ability to run along trees without damage but at the same time trying to keep as much as I can "standard".
Last edited by davew on Sun Feb 12, 2012 9:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
So, this is the best of the two wings minus the spat...
Having made use of the "spare" wings that came off Mike's 90 as a template I decided the best solution for me was something that could be bolted onto the existing wing top and front and then have the outer wing skin mounted on it.
I'm not convinced by the necessity of the huge great inner wing rails that the standard challenge wings use. The more I looked at it and the potential forces involved I came to the conclusion that the inner rails aren't needed at all. As long as the two outer wing bars are connected together any force acting on the side of one is going to be transferred onto the other. With the bottom front of the wings braced to the chassis if I hit them hard enough to move them then I probably want them to move rather than bend the chassis.
Along with lots of measuring and many coats of looking at, today's progress saw me cut one of the pipes to length, drill and tap all the holes in it and bolt it to the top and front panel of the wings...
I've added a spreader plate to the bulkhead end to spread the load of any frontal impact across a larger area of the bulkhead. For the same reason I've added a diagonal brace with some angle iron that gives an approx 40 degree angle from the pipe to the bottom of the spreader plate. This should mean that, again for a frontal impact, the load is spread across a larger area.
An unplanned for but certainly welcome side effect of the way I'm doing this is that the bars are truly "bolt on". The top and front wing panel are completely unmodified with only the outer wing skin needed to be cut. The wing skin will sit around 2mm inside the bar so the bar is the first thing to make contact with a tree. Not as stealthy as Matthew's wings but hopefully still retaining the standard look.
The bar will be bolted to a plate on the back of the bumper and the bar from there to the chassis will be angled backwards as that will also give the bumper some triangulation as, in the past, it's had a bad habit of bending backwards.
In between rain showers on Saturday and between signing on and the meal during the Nav Scatter I got a bit more done during the weekend.
I had to modify the inner wing slightly but managed to get the chassis brace and spreader plate sorted, linked the bar to the bumper and added a brace across the front bend to stiffen it up a bit further...
It took some figuring out and a couple of false starts but in the end I managed to find a way of laying out so it could still be unbolted and removed. The link between the two wings is still a work in progress but to allow the assembly to be removed it will have to bolt to a bracket on the bar at each end.
After removing the bar again I completed the welding and added the tabs that the wing skin will mount on.
With the driver's side as a template I created a mirror image for the passenger side minus the chassis bracing bar that will need to be cut to length and welded to the spreader plate when it's bolted into position.
I gave them both a coating of zinc primer before heading to the pub
The holes visible in the driver's side one (nearest the fence) are tapped to M8 and are used to bolt the top and front wing panels to the bar using the standard holes.
Most of today was spent cutting aluminium. Took a while to pluck up the courage to take mr angry grinder to a perfectly good wing skin but after making a cardboard template then practicing on an old wing skin I eventually cut the actual wing skin.
It's slightly oversize at the moment but it's close enough for a first fitting...
Sorry about the pic quality but I used my phone and the light was fading !
Today went pretty smoothly, it's a lot easier/quicker when you're just mirroring what you did on the other side. The only downside was that I ran out of gas for the welder. Fortunately I'd got all the "major" welding done, or at least enough to hold everything in the right place, so it didn't stop progress completely.
I cut the old wing skin off because I didn't want to spend hours trying to undo all the nuts and bolts using the keyhole surgery method. As I'd already done most of the cutting to get it off I then decided I may as well use the old wing skin until I decide if I'm going to go for some thicker aluminium versions.
Anyway, end of the day and it now looks like this....
Needs some of the welding finishing on the passenger side and a drop or two of paint and the job's done
Looks like today is going to be a bit of a write off with sleet/snow outside even I'm not daft enough to work outside !
Fortunately I got lots done on Friday evening and yesterday. Having bought a refill for my gas cylinder I took the passenger side wing bar off and finished welding it up.
I painted both wing bars again with the zinc rich primer and mixed up a small quantity of the 2 pack paint we painted the motor with last time and used it to brush paint the bars and touch up the cut edges of the skins.
So, finally, it's all back together again and painted, just needs a second coat of colour if the rain ever stops !
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