Home of the MPV TT

WARNING: This website contains ingenuity, do not try this at home.

WARNING: This website contains ingenuity, do not try this at home.

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Building a New Rear End – Part 2

The next thing to tackle was adding all the parts for the air system, and I began by milling a piece of UHMW to act as a spacer for extra clearance and extra support.

Then, making a little bracket from a scrap piece of aluminum sheet to hold the air water separator in place, I was able to mount all the components and start running the lines.

After relocating the compressor for more room, I continued to make the most of the space from where the spare tire used to reside, and taking special care to place rubber hose around the air lines where it comes into contact with the frame and other components hoping to prevent any chaffing.

Moving onto the installation of the 4-links, I fabricated some brackets from some 1/4″ steel to improve the geometry over the stock MPV set-up, allowing me to run longer upper links.

To make enough room for the hidden nut on the backside of the bracket I used my handy little portable Hypertherm Plasma torch to blast a hole through the frame since it was impossible to get a drill bit in there.

After TIG welding the bracket into place, I painted it, and all the links. You can see to the right of the new upper link bracket, the original mounting hole for a giant bolt which went through the link, and through the frame. Also in this picture you can see the calipers and rotors installed (with the nice paint job on the rotor hat to prevent that ugly rust which is inevitable) air bag, and Skyjacker M95 monotube shock. After getting my measurements from max to min through the cycle of my air suspension, I searched through many manufacturers to find a set with the proper dimensions and properly sized mounting holes. These M95 shocks are not only plain looking adding to the good looks of the set-up, but are also built for off-roading meaning they are built to handle massive cycling of the suspension, and also have built in bump stops so I never have to worry about bottoming out.

Next came the emergency brake which is of the tried and true drum type clamping to the inside of the rotor hat. There was no need to re-invent the wheel here, so I looked to utilize the simple set-up the MPV already had.

The brass piece that came in the e-brake cable kit was not going to work with the MPV’s set-up, so I fabricated this adapter from aluminum on my Grizzly mill to secure the new bare cable, and attach it to the cable coming from the OEM handle.

My custom adapter installed, and enabling the new e-brake system to fit, and act like OEM.

One thing that I did not like about the Wilwood e-brake cable kit was how this nut attached to the backing plate on the differential. I grabbed some washers to fix this, and had to bore the one on top out to fit around the shoulder on the nut ensuring a flat and secure connection.

Since all these electronics and valves are under my van and exposed to the weather, I decided it was the perfect time to make a cover/diffuser which I had been dreaming about for years. I first made a cardboard prototype, then used it to measure from and create a CAD drawing.

Cut from 16ga aluminum, I then used a little hand bead roller to add some strength, and finally put it in the break to form it into shape.

To minimize rattles I made a little tool from a scrap piece of 2×4 and a utility knife blade and pulled some small rubber hose through it to perfectly slit it open.

Using some strategically placed dabs of super glue, I fitted the hose all the way around.

Installed, and looking slick!

Finally, this is my new two-piece driveshaft. The MPV originally came with a two-piece from the factory but I built a custom one piece after the swap. I ended up finding out that the original design was best since I tended to bottom out on the driveshaft when going over big bumps. So with this new two-piece I will never have to worry about bottoming out on the drive shaft again, especially when I fully deflate the air springs, and ride low.

In the next and final installment of the differential build-up, I will cover the modifications needed for the braking system.