Zj on Homemade Snow Tracks - North American Grand Cherokee Association
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Old 10-28-2010, 09:43 PM   #1
frozenZJ
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Default Zj on Homemade Snow Tracks

I had some info in my build thread but I thought it might be better to split it out into its own.

Anyway, we like to do deep snow runs in the mountains around here and with my old truggy gone, I decided to do something that would get the ZJ through the snow better. It does pretty decent but its not going to keep up with the other rigs around here.

So, after doing a ton of research and reading some other threads where people built thier own, I decided on building my own set of bolt on snow tracks.

To give you an idea of what I'm talking about......



But a lot cheaper and with roller wheels so I can drive it in the club parade and maybe try them out on sand. I'll stay clear of the rocks.

So, I gathered some rims, got some 136" snowmobile tracks and came up with some spindles and hubs. The spindles are for a 3500 pound traler axle and the hubs have the ears for the lugs cut off.

I had to step it all up with a few pieces of tubing so it would fit inside of the rim. Its all welded up inside and out. I also went with a 10" wide rim so I could drive as many inside lugs as I could.



I dont have a specific pic of it but I then welded 3/4" OD tubes on the outside of the rim. I used 11 of them evenly spaced out. I spent a bunch of time on this one and either 11 or 22 was the best way to go.

I also set the hub height at 24" as I wanted to get above the snow as much as possible. That should give me the clearance of a 48" tire.

The frame is 2" by 3" by 3/6" thick square tubing with a smaller piece that sleeves inside of it to set the tension on the back. The rear wheel is kicked up at 12 degrees (to help backup and steer) and the front has a 45 degree kick up to help plow through the deep stuff. The support is 4" square tubing that is 1/4" thick. I copied the support from Mattracks.

Here is a pic of the frame and you can see how I did the axles:



The wheels are 8" tall by 2" thick and they fit right into the track lugs. The bearings on them have an 3/4" ID so thats what I used for the axles. I cut some more tubing with an 3/4" ID to slip over and weld to keep the wheels from walking in. I had to clearance them with a dremel as there was no tolerance. The outside of the wheels is held in place with a 12" by 1/2" bolt.

Few more pics....





Kinda getting it into place...



This is before I kicked the rear up a bit and on a 133" track that I was using for setup.



New track on and all painted up!



And then mounted on the rig with the full weight on it:





I think I'm going to pull it back apart and add another set of wheels. It ended up being longer then I was thinking and it might not be a bad idea. Maybe next week I'll do that and then I'll start getting the rest together.

Here's where I got the support idea from, lots of different ways to do it. Mine is taller so I added in another gusset.

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Old 10-29-2010, 06:13 AM   #2
BigClay
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WOW, awesome idea!!

A few questions from an ingonarnt Southerner who has never seen a snowmobile. How does the wheel turn the track? Does it have cogs on it? How do you keep the track from coming off the rollers if you make a sharp turn?

Take some more pics!
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Old 10-29-2010, 06:49 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 85IrocZ-28 View Post
This is seriously cool, take some video of your first trip out.
Only if it works!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigClay View Post
WOW, awesome idea!!

A few questions from an ingonarnt Southerner who has never seen a snowmobile. How does the wheel turn the track? Does it have cogs on it? How do you keep the track from coming off the rollers if you make a sharp turn?

Take some more pics!
They do have cogs in the inside. The cogs get driven by the rim. There are also "windows" in the track that can be driven. The bogey wheels in the cogs and setting the tension even keeps them on the track.
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Old 10-30-2010, 08:41 AM   #4
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Great idea and pics. However my wonder is, wear on the front axle. Did you beef it up any???
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Old 11-04-2010, 10:29 AM   #5
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Great idea and pics. However my wonder is, wear on the front axle. Did you beef it up any???
The front axle is trussed down the length of it and I run alloy shafts. I also plan on beefing up the upper, inner C's to help them out. What I'm more worried about is the unit bearings. Might be a big load for them. I do have a plan in the works to fit in some larger ones off of a 94 Dodge Truck though. I have everything to do it but the actual unit bearings. Just need to get some and either put lug adapters on it or redrill the holes for the lugs.

I did decide to go larger on the spindles and hubs. I went online and found some for a 7,000 pound axle cheaper then the ones for a 3500 pound axle. Go figure. Waiting for those to show up now.
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Old 11-04-2010, 12:09 PM   #6
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That's pretty cool. Very curious on how it turns out.

I can't tell, but did you do all 4 or are you just trying to perfect the first one before going onto the others?

How much does one complete track assembly weigh?

How do you think it will affect your steering? Those tracks are going to give you a LOT of traction, which means that it's going to be a b|tch to steer with the factory steering box. So I assume you are going to do hydro assist at a minimum? I'm thinking plated knuckles would be a good idea, too, since there is going to need to be a lot more steering force on the knuckles. What backspacing are you running on the top wheel?
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Old 11-04-2010, 12:57 PM   #7
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Up front, I wonder if there is any way to tie the track chassis portion to the bottom of the knuckle? The spindle idea is great and looks plenty strong but some kind of inner attaching point would significantly increase the rigidity of the assembly. With non steering rear axle adding triangulation to the axle tube in the same fashion is easy.

I think you might find the ball joints are going to be a weaker link than the unit bearings. That's a whole lot of weight and leverage now working against them.

Sweet project dude. Very curious as to how it pans out for you. Seeing someone build a set of these track assemblies without a $250,000 budget and a team of engineers officially removes this concept from my Point At And Laugh List.
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Old 11-04-2010, 01:48 PM   #8
frozenZJ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SirFuego View Post
That's pretty cool. Very curious on how it turns out.

I can't tell, but did you do all 4 or are you just trying to perfect the first one before going onto the others?

How much does one complete track assembly weigh?

How do you think it will affect your steering? Those tracks are going to give you a LOT of traction, which means that it's going to be a b|tch to steer with the factory steering box. So I assume you are going to do hydro assist at a minimum? I'm thinking plated knuckles would be a good idea, too, since there is going to need to be a lot more steering force on the knuckles. What backspacing are you running on the top wheel?

Yeah, I wanted to build the first one and then stare at it and see what I would do different. What I'm doing different is I'm sinking the drivers down inside the rim so the rim lip also serves to guide the track. It also works out better as doing that almost lines the track up perfectly with the diameter of the rim to the spacing of the lugs to drive them. I'm also going to a spindle with a 2.25" diameter and an inside bearing with a 1.75 inside diameter.

I'm sure the steering wont be easy anymore. But I dont plan on turning them back and forth at a stop on pavement. I'll just have to keep in mind what my limitations will be. But since this is for snow, I'll hopefully be steering while moving which makes it much easier. I've braced my steering box but thats it.

I think the wheels are like 3.5" of backspacing. They are just a regular 10" wide 15" rim.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Horus View Post
Up front, I wonder if there is any way to tie the track chassis portion to the bottom of the knuckle? The spindle idea is great and looks plenty strong but some kind of inner attaching point would significantly increase the rigidity of the assembly. With non steering rear axle adding triangulation to the axle tube in the same fashion is easy.

I think you might find the ball joints are going to be a weaker link than the unit bearings. That's a whole lot of weight and leverage now working against them.

Sweet project dude. Very curious as to how it pans out for you. Seeing someone build a set of these track assemblies without a $250,000 budget and a team of engineers officially removes this concept from my Point At And Laugh List.
The problem with tying in the track chassis is that would limit the movement of the tracks over uneven terrian. Like going over a bump or something. It would be nice though.

When I collected the parts for my Dana 44 outer knuckle swap from a dodge truck, I found that the 1/2 ton dodge trucks have the same upper ball joints and almose the same lower ball joints. There was only a 50 thousands difference all around that we solved by making a cone washer out of 50 thousands thick conduit. I hope they hold up but they are larger then we think. I was surprised when I found this one out. Not saying it will be fine, but they are about the same as a dana 44 on a dodge truck.

I saw some other people build their own setups with good results.

Check this place out: http://www.americantracktruck.com/

They dont recomend any type of beefing of the steering are anything really. The video's are fun to watch. I'm hoping for the best in that area.
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Old 11-05-2010, 05:29 PM   #9
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Got another rim ready. Made a bunch of changes. The drivers are dropped down into the rim as it makes it work out better on the spacing. I also added a bunch more so there are more driving them. Also dropping them into the rim lets the rim guide the track (the lugs are on the edge on both sides). Was also worried about snow building up so I cut a bunch out of the rim so the snow can escape. Not worried about strength, that part of the rim only has to support the track now.

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Old 11-05-2010, 07:28 PM   #10
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hey, do you think you could give us a running total for this, I'm excited, I've wanted to do this for a while and seeing it done for cheaper than the ridiculous prices that companies ask is very encouraging
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