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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Rear Hatch- Fabrication

Let's get back to this custom hatch I've been stringing out for way too long. After making the necessary cuts to allow the tire to fit through the hatch, the Jeep was sent to the Offroad Connection in Fultondale, Al to have some sheet metal work done by master fabricator, Wayne Howse.

Here Wayne is tack welding the side arching pieces to the inside of the hatch. He formed them with 90* angles to allow better contact for welding. Welding sheet metal is hard enough as it is, so butt welding is just not an option. Well thought out.

After completing the sides he moved on to the face of the arch. Because he previously bent the side pieces, he had a decent platform for the face to lay on and tack to, well thought out.

Here it is all welded up laying against the new bumper from Dirtbound Offroad. The fit is flush with the bumper and the JCR Offroad Quarter panel/brake lights. 

Not much rise was needed in the arch to accommodate the tire. Just about 1 & 1/16". When final paint is complete and the license plate goes back on the whole project will hardly be noticeable. 

I removed the hatch handle and rendered it unless by gluing it together. I'll will remount this to use it as a handle, but not in the way it was originally intended. There is no lock catch on the inside anymore, so I will need to find another way to keep the hatch firmly closed.

I haven't decided how I will fasten the handle to the door. One way or the other it needs to stay put.

Here is a picture of the 1/4" Marguard #10 plexiglass/speedglass. I bought this at a local plastic distributor and trimmed it down to size through the use of a template I designed. 

I'm using 1/4" cap head/hex head stainless steel bolts to mount the plexiglass. There are 16 in total.

The hatch will be secured with 2 hood pins. 1 on each side. This process will be done soon and all progress will be documented in the future. 

Here is a picture showing the rise in the arch of the metal work. 1 & 1/16".

The length of the sheet metal work at approx. 28".

The height of the sheet metal work at approx. 8 & 1/4".

The project as it sits now. I applied some Bondo to smooth out the edges. I will need to use some fiberglass to blend it all together smoothly. I will document that process in the future. 

The "eyelid" above the sheet metal arch covers the hole the rear windshield wiper used to be in. This will contain a LED light in it to shine on the license plate.