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Hello all,

Been an avid reader on here for a few years and always found it to be a great source of guidance and inspiration so thank you all very much.

I own a '97 90 300tdi that I am in the process of a complete rebuild onto a galvanised Richards Chassis.

Attempted to fit the bulkhead to it yesterday.... only to find the bulkhead doesn't fit :-(

The holes in the chassis are 12mm further apart than the holes at the bottom of the bulkhead A pillars.

The bulkhead is the original item although I have welded in new footwells and had it galvanised.

Whilst never expecting a perfect fit, 12mm does seem to be a bit much to force the A pillars apart to make it fit.

Wondering if anyone has come across a similiar problem and can offer any guidance as to whats best to do?

Chassis measures 1505 mm hole center hole to center.

Bulkhead measures 1493 hole to hole center.

 

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Welcome Terry.

First off - did you weld the new footwells in while the bulkhead was still attached to the old chassis? If not, this could easily be a source of error.

Secondly, galvanising can distort a bulkhead if it isn't suitably braced at the outrigger mounting points.

As for what to do about it, that is a hard one. You have a shiny new chassis, and a freshly galv'd bulkhead - but something is going to need some adjustment, and unless the door pillars can be jacked apart sufficient to fit, I would imagine the bulkhead being the likely candidate for modification/correction. I know this probably isn't what you want to hear, so hopefully someone more experienced with this operation will be along shortly to give an alternative take on the situation.

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1 hour ago, timc1967 said:

I wonder if a rachet strap around the chassis to pull in the sides while you fit the bulkhead?

I'd take the other approach and get a hi-lift jack in between the bulkhead pillars. Chassis are chunkier steel that bulkheads. Plus I think distorting the chassis will give more troubles down the line with fitting gearbox crossmember etc...

12mm isn't that much anyway, well within LR tolerances of 'to the nearest inch'

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So seems my mistake was welding in the new footwells with the bulkhead off the chassis. Didn't think about it at the time :( and I also had the chassis stored somewhere else whilst I worked on the bulkhead. 

I think I will try and spread the legs of the bulkhead to make it fit. I don't have a hi-lift jack so will need to have a think about how I will do it. Will be another 10days or so until I get back to having some time to work on it again so in the meantime any other ideas gratefully received.

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I had the same problem - galvanised chassis and galvanised bulkhead, with a >10 mm gap.  The bulkhead was a new, unused item, which was within a few mm of fitting before I had it galvanised, so I was confident that the galvanising process had distorted the bulkhead slightly.  I didn't fit a support bar to the bulkhead mounts before galvanising.

I took Dave's approach and used a hi-lift jack to spread the bulkhead, however my jack was too short to fit between the A pillars.  I installed one mounting bolt and then jacked against a chassis rail and the other A pillar using softwood pads. Two man job to stop everything slipping...

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18 hours ago, Terryh said:

So seems my mistake was welding in the new footwells with the bulkhead off the chassis. Didn't think about it at the time :( and I also had the chassis stored somewhere else whilst I worked on the bulkhead. 

I think I will try and spread the legs of the bulkhead to make it fit. I don't have a hi-lift jack so will need to have a think about how I will do it. Will be another 10days or so until I get back to having some time to work on it again so in the meantime any other ideas gratefully received.

Can't picture what fits where exactly, but couldn't you use a small bottle jack (2T for example) and a good bit of 2"x2" (or bigger), ideally hardwood?  Use the jack to push the wooden post against the bulkhead 'post' to move outward? 

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On 9/5/2017 at 2:11 PM, timc1967 said:

I wonder if a rachet strap around the chassis to pull in the sides while you fit the bulkhead?

I would use a combination of both the methods mentioned above. When fitting the gearbox cross member you jack the rails apart to be able to slide it into place so a ratchet strap pulling them in "gently" should give you a couple of mm without the risk of distorting the chassis (I wouldn't want to pull the chassis in the full 12mm). That is then a couple of mm less that you will need to spread the bulkhead.

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Your chassis measurement would seem to be OK.

I have a bare galvanised chassis here with a galvanised Bulkhead attached.

As far as I can tell with a tape measure (and the wife) the bolt centres are ~1502mm apart.

My gearbox X Member is not fitted yet.

 

If you were to attack your old bulkhead bolts with an angle grinder and cut diagonally along the length of the thread, so that you end up with a long taper or wedge shape, you may be able to tap them home and stretch the bulkhead. I have a few bolts cut this way in my box of "special tools" that I have used to align problem holes.

 

Good luck.

Edited by MR-HIPPO
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Ok so gave jacking the bulkhead apart a go and it worked.

Lifted the bulkhead and fitted the bolt at the drivers side. Used a small bottle jack, some wood to prevent any damage and with some fiddling got the passenger bolt through. There was a bit of creaking as the bulkhead flexed but nothing to worry about.

Just need to get it off again and paint it now!

Thanks for all the replies 👍

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