Techniek - U-bolts omdraaien

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In dit stukje techniek wordt omschreven hoe je op relatief eenvoudige wijze de U-bolts van je Jeep kunt omdraaien. Hiermee voorkom je het verbuigen of zelfs afbreken ervan in het terrein (bij het raken van bijvoorbeeld een stuk steen). Daarnaast win je ook (een klein beetje) hoogte.

Are you tired yet of dragging, bending, and breaking your axle u-bolts on rocks? Well flip your u-bolts to gain ground clearance and protect them from damage. I was able to do the u-bolt inversion for around $50 and in just a couple hours.

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The first thing that is needed to perform a u-bolt inversion are u-bolt plates from an 80s 1/2 ton Dodge pickup or Dodge Ramcharger. There are probably other sources for these plates, but this is a good and common one. I purchased some u-bolt plates from a junk yard for less than $20. It was so long ago, I don't recall the exact figure, but you should be able to pick them up for next to nothing since they aren't exactly an item that normally generates any revenue for a junk yard. The 80s Dodge Ramcharger and 1/2 ton pickup use a Dana 44 rear end, so the plates will work for for any Jeep with a Dana 44 or AMC 20 rear end. The Dodge trucks are spring over in the rear and the plates are curved to fit a Dana 44 with square u-bolts attaching the axle to the spring. After you have aquired some u-bolt plates, you need to get some u-bolts. I went to my local spring shop and had custom square u-bolts made 4" long and 2.5" wide. The cost was only $26 for these u-bolts. You also need to cut the shock mounts off the Dodge u-bolt plates. The picture to the right shows the original u-bolt plate with rount u-bolts and the new plates with square u-bolts.

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The last item needed is some way to attach the shock to the axle. On CJs, the shock bolts to the u-bolt plate. What I did to resolve this problem was purchase some Con-Fer shock mounts for $5 and weld them to the axle tube. You could fabricate your own shock mounts and weld them on, for the the price, it wasn't worth it to me. If you don't have access to a welder, it would probably only take a professional welder a few minutes to attach the shock mounts for you. If the idea of welding shock mounts does not appeal to you, there is one other option that Chris Kutish came up with. Chris took a small piece of 3/4" steel and machined out grooves in it for the square u-bolts. Then he drilled it and tapped it for a replaceable shock mount stud. He also machined down the leading and trailing edges so it would slide over rocks easier. One advantage of this approach is the force of the u-bolts is spread out over the springs. This approach also keeps the shock a bit lower than the weld on brackets which may provide more articulation. A disadvantage of this approach is you lose about a quarter inch of ground clearance and it is much more time consuming to fabricate the plates than weld on the mount.

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After the shock mount was welded on and painted, I put the Jeep on jack stands, removed the old u-bolts, put the plate on top of the axle tube, and bolted on the square u-bolts with the nuts on the top. This simple u-bolt flip has survived a lot of hard four wheeling already.

Auteur: Terry L. Howe

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