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Discussion Starter #21
yeah. thanks. guess we will see. I figure I can take it all back apart and sell it again if needed. I still have the argo as backup and will not sell until this proves iteself.

most of the time the neighbors up the way have crushed the powder down with their snowcats. into a nice base and you are riding on a foot or so of powder. if its drifted, that stuff it like cement. but, if you break through the crust, that's where the trouble can start and you get stuck.

anyway, its all unknown. Not many people have these types of conditions to contend with.
 

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Nice gathering of info here bluebruin. Subscribing to this thread to see what happens.

I live in Arizona so not much call for snow tracks here. But I find the mechanics of tracks on a trackick fascinating.

Are you following anybody else's build threads who have done this?

randy
 

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Discussion Starter #23
not really. I have a lot of researching to do, so I am sure I'll follow any in progress that I come across. I am more hoping for some that are complete that I can learn what worked and didn't.

1st order of business is to see if my sidekick is in good working order. I am not much of an engine mechanic. So, I plan to take it in for someone to look over. I don't want to invest in a car that is not relatively decent since I'll be putting in lockers. I can tell already, just from driving around in my snowy driveway I am going to need lockers. Compared to my Jeep Rubicon Unlimited its terrible in the snow..... I was stuck in probably 8 inches of snow and having all sorts of traction issues just driving around in my driveway... that doesn't happen in the jeep, even in 4high or 4low, with no lockers... So, we'll see. Maybe its just because it so light?

anyway, I installed the tow bar today, so I can drive it down to denver and drop it off at my mechanic to see what he thinks of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #24
pulled it into the driveway out of the snowy front field after digging it out a bit.


a look at the stock front bumper and grill. the guy I bought it from must have went to university of Colorado like i did, so I will go ahead the leave the buffs emblem


removing plastic bumper outer shell. took out foam and then saved both those pieces for later in case I want to reinstall them. If this project works out, I'll be tossing all this stuff, and cutting off all the brackets and other junk to reduce weight.



Here is the steel bumper underneath the plastic


The tow bar kit I bought on ebay for $54 with free ship. good for 5,000lbs.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
directions say tow bars must be mounted minimum 24" apart. Here is a photo of the maximum spread they are capable of.


i opted for somewhere in the middle of that. Here are the inside edges of the mounts


it could be easier in retrospect to weld some plates down lower below the bumper here.


the reason is that the bumper is "closed". they welded two sets of pressed steel into a tube/box type construction, so getting inside the bumper to hold your nuts while you tighten the bolts that hold the tow bar mounts in nearly impossible. I ended up putting bolts into the bumper and using a magnetic pickup tool to help be guide them out the holes i drilled. I put the nuts on the outside of the tow bar mounts. I had to use some of my own shorter bolts since the long ones that came with the kit would interfere with the quick disconnect pins.

the position of the factory holes in the bumper present a spacing issue. so I decided to line up the inside edge of the mount with my mark and put the bracket over one of the large holes.


like this


turns out there was some inner metal obstructions on my inside holes.. which was a pain. had to drill them out, pound them out with metal bars etc. big pain.

next issue was the width of the mount vs the contour of the bumper. not enough flat space to mount it solid.


so I made a metal plate as a backer for the mount to take up the gap




anyway, finally got it all mounted and done by dark...
 

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Discussion Starter #26
close ups of how the mounts turned out



 

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Discussion Starter #27
close ups of how the mounts turned out



 

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Discussion Starter #28
hooked up. we'll see how it tows when I have a chance to go test it out.
 

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I can not see the last few pictures, but from the drift of the earlier pics, you are bolting the towbar to the front impact bar.

Are you doing anything to reinforce the little bolts that hold this impact bar to the frame?

I do not think the impact bar is designed to pull the car. The small bolts are designed to hold the bar in position on the frame for a compressive impact, and I doubt they will handle the stress of pulling the car... for very long anyway.

Without any reinforcement, I suspect you'll likely pull the front bumper (impact bar) right off the frame. most likely at a bad moment.
 

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Discussion Starter #30
guess that is why they include a safety chain in the towbar kit..... hahahha just kidding. I am not sure, i know the tow bar is meant to mount to the "bumper" but since its just a piece of plastic with foam behind it that is not feasible. On my jeep I have solid steel bumpers that are tied into the frame. I am just not all that familiar with the sidekick yet. guess I will have to poke around under there and see what is bolted to what. I can always weld a plate to the frame and mount to that somehow. Is the 1990 a unibody or frame? Aluminum or steel?

Thanks
 

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All TracKicks covered by this forum are body on frame... steel.

IIRC: the bumper impact bar is connected to the frame with 4 bolts with 12mm heads. I THINK that would be a 8mm threaded shaft. While these would be fairly easy to shear, I suspect the metal of the impact bar mounting tabs would fail first.

Climb under and take a look.

In the following picture, of one of my chassis, you can see the two bolts (one side) that hold the impact bar in place on the "horn" of the frame.

-- edit: sorry the picture didn't work. (I have to change browsers) ... the pic is posted in another thread:

http://www.suzuki-forums.com/suzuki-sidekick-escudo-vitara-geo-x/175825-hello-putting-morris-minor-sidekick-chassis-2.html#post1054017
 

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Discussion Starter #32 (Edited)
I was out looking when you wrote that.... yes, I now see the frame rails now, and then a sort of arc shaped part of the frame the comes up and around the front wheel wells to allow the IFS to hang from it.

I see the "crush" bumper mounted to the real frame behind. I could probably just weld the tow bar mounts right to the front of the frame

here
 

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Discussion Starter #33
took it for a test drive tonight. did just fine, no problems so far. Long term I need to relocate the tow bar mounts perhaps.

I am going to get this down for a checkup to see if the vehicle is in good enough condition as a starting place for my project platform (transmission/engine mostly).

Then I'll consider remounting tow bar.

I have a heavy duty safety chain between jeep bumper and Zuk frame for backup for now.
 

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For what it's worth, this is my hookup for the mountains.

I towed many years and thousands of miles with that same ebay purchased towbar system. It finally failed while driving in Fort Collins this past summer. Makes for some interesting RV driving trying to get off the road safely.

Replaced it with a Harbor Freight model which seems to be much more substantial, $69 on sale.

To hook it up to the Sidekick I took it to a spring shop and they folded a square "u" bolt to attach those brackets to the chassis tube that the front torsion bar and lower wishbone are attached to, ($20 for two 1/2 inch "u" bolts).

Attached pics show Harbor Freight towbar system, brackets attached to truck, and the failed Ebay system brackets.

Very simple setup. Yearly now, I'll be checking for metal fatigue in the brackets.

You have a very interesting project going. Best of luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #35
thanks for sharing your tow setup! I may do something similar long term. For now it seems ok. I put a long tow chain between the suzuki tow hook thing underneath, and my jeeps two recovery d-rings on my rear for backup. The jeep tows it like its not even there. I only plan to tow this up to the cabin 1 time after finishing the project. 1 hour drive. After that, it will remain there indefinitely. Tow system is just in case something breaks and I need to bring it to town (12 miles on lonely dirt roads) to a repair shop. So, I may just leave the setup I have.

I towed it down to Denver last week for a checkup on the suzuki to see if the vehicle is sound enough in general to justify putting this time and money into or if I should look for another sidekick....

When I got there, I was unhooking the zuk and drove it around the parking lot. The rear wheel was thumping bad. I forgot to take the parking brake off when I left my house for 100 yards. The jeep didn't even notice one way or the other. I think I toasted something in the brakes back there. ugh. Guess we'll see. They are looking at it next week sometime.

should have an update then.
 

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Discussion Starter #36 (Edited)
finally an update

finally an update...

towed the sidekick down to a garage in Denver and had it looked over. Not in terrible condition. The oil in the engine is the most concerning. But, I want to tackle the track project before I sink any money in the vehicle. if the tracks physically fit and work, I'll upgrade the diff's to locking, beef up the steering maybe, fix the oil leak etc. No sense in putting money into it now.

I am considering registering the car here in my county which has emissions, so I also bought a new muffler to install since the other is trashed from the previous owner offroading.

Anyway, I have made some progress on the wheel adapters. I am not really having any luck finding "off the shelf" adapters that adapt 5x5.5 to 4x156. You can have custom ones made. The website I checked quoted me $800 for 4. Yikes! no thanks. So I'll be going the DIY route as usual.

I don't plan to drive this thing over 20mph (or maybe less) since I only need it to go about 1000 yards. So, being perfectly concentric about the hub is not a huge concern. I'll have 1/2" steel plate laser cut and stack up the plates into my two halves of the adapter. One half bolts onto the suzuki, the other bolts onto the tracks. Then you bolt them together. It will be 3" thick.

I know that will be a lot of weight and will also put stress on the bearings etc since your cantilevering out more, but I have also read the tracks can have trouble clearing things in your wheel well, the brake calipers, brake lines, etc if you don't push them out 2 or 3 inches anyway. So, kill two birds with one stone.

anybody know a website where I could order aluminum adapters? if not, guess I'll give this a shot. I mocked it up in wood.

The main problem with adapting 5 to 4 bolt is that no matter what you do, one of the 4 bolts will overlap a location of the 5 bolt. So, you can't use "traditional" adapters. You have to use two-part adapters. Makes them very thick.



















 

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Discussion Starter #38
I PM's and the suggestion from the help post above was new rotors that have dual bolt pattern. And I guess new axles with the correct studs. sounds expensive and complicated. I'll contact them to see.

I actually found some adapters for sale: $99 each. But I think the center bore might be too small and these are probably not thick enough to keep the tracks in front of the hubs.... trying to minimize costs by not buying new hubs.

got my quote back for the adapter design I made in wood, only in 1/2" plate steel. $540 in laser cutting and steel. Yikes. Guess I better keep looking into options.
 

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Discussion Starter #39
hmmm they might be onto something with the dual bolt hole rotors. I think I misunderstood the photos he sent me.

I am going to have to take some things apart. Maybe there is a way to just have the drums or rotors, or whatever part the studs are pressed into re-drilled for a 4x156 patter? Or some "blank" ones drilled since 4 bolt overlaps the 5 bolt pattern a bit. Then I can use whatever thickness spacers I need to make the tracks clear, and those spacers are pretty cheap.
 

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... But I think the center bore might be too small and these are probably not thick enough to keep the tracks in front of the hubs.... trying to minimize costs by not buying new hubs. ...
Why not remove the hubs?

I think you can find "plates" from a next generation Vit/Tracker (1999 and up) that you can use to "replace" the hubs. a simple spacer should give the required clearance to make the small holed adapters work.

Not like you need to lock and unlock them when using the tracks.... you can select 4x2 or 4x4 with the transfer case.

Note you WILL need to remove the plates if you ever tow it 4 down.
 
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