The roll cage

It has been a long build getting the hummer all torn apart and put back together. It’s finally almost done and just in time. The deadline goalie set for ourselves is August 1 and we just barely made it! We would tell ya everything here but nobody wants to read that much so we shall split it into several posts so we can keep more updates flowing.

So much has happened over the last month and a half. Just when we thought we were all back together disaster kept hitting us hard. While the body was off it was so much easier to build the roll cage that is required for the race.

Mike is constantly complaining since a hummer already has a more than adequate roll over protection system, but rules are rules so we have to make one to very specific methods.

It all starts with measuring and bending the tubing. Since we don’t have a hydraulic bender we are blessed by Josh and a 6’ extension on the bender handle. Don’t let the guy on YouTube fool you, bending 2” DOM tubing is not that easy.

After the pieces are bent comes the challenge of fitting them all together. I can’t say much positive about the tools or customer service at Harbor Freight but they do make a tubing notch vise that makes perfect cuts a breeze. If you’re building a roll cage I highly recommend that little gem for sure.

We cut about 30 notches in our tubing which is about 1/8 thick. The Milwaukee hole saw performed like a champ and never went dull which is utterly amazing.

After a few days of bending, throwing it in the trash pile, and re-bending and we have a completed roll cage.

We hired Troy’s Welding in Porter Texas to come and do the final welds and gussets. One of the nicest guys I’ve met in Houston he triple welded everything.

It may not be the prettiest weld in the world but we can now be hit by a freight train and after we push the broken pieces of train out of the way we will be able to continue racing.

Upgrading the fan

every Hummer owner knows the battle with cooling and today we will be adding the new better duramax fan. The new Duramax fan is larger than stock which means you have to trim it down. Our solution which didn’t work the best was to clamp a grinder onto the frame and then slowly rotate the fan to make the cuts as even as possible.

Learn from our mistakes. While this seemed like a great idea, and we still think it is, you need a better cutting blade than we used. The thin blade normally used to cut metal did go through the plastic but it also got all gummed up and proved very slow and annoying. The cuts were even but we had to still go back with a razor knife and trim off a lot of melted plastic.

Rebuilding The Turbo

How many people get to see what the inside of their turbo looks like? it all starts with a YouTube video about how to disassemble you turbo. Of course we didn’t figure we needed the video so there goes jack just taking out bolts all over the place! Finally after all kinds of theories he broke down and watched the video and success, we have it apart! Well dang that thing looks nasty!

Only $29 and a rebuild kit from amazon arrives and all the tiny screws and things are replaced and then BOOM, a new turbo!

disclaimer: the turbo looks new because we gave up trying to figure out how to get this one little snap ring back in correctly and just ended up getting a new one, that’s why it looks so pretty. Some of us know when to give up, however, then we have Mike on the team…

There’s no way that can be welded, it’ too thin. Well for a new one costing $289 Mike will find a way! Many tiny welds later and a lot of patience, success!

A lot has been happening

Many things have developed finally we got the heads off of the engine.

A few of the bolts from the exhaust manifold were broken off from the last time Mike was into the engine. Well, they never got replaced due to the fact that Mike was replacing the head gaskets in the wi yet in Upstate NY where it was about 35 degrees inside the garage. A lot of things get the theory of “it’ll be fine, it’s a hummer” when it’s 35 degrees. Haha

So since they were rusted into the heads and broken off we tried without success to weld a nut on them and then get em out. Ultimately drilling them out and using an extraction tool was the solution. By the way, the cheap extraction tool at Home Depot sucks and only worked for one out of the three we had broken off. The rest called for precise drilling and a lot of patience.

With the heads finally off we got a look at the cylinders and everything seems ok, no cracks in the block so we win! Woo hoo!!

New studs are installed and it’s ready to go back together! All went well there and everything was torqued down smoothly. Manifolds and intake are all back on and we are ready for the next exciting moment! The valve covers gave us a bit of surprise as the old gaskets had actually warped somehow and you can see in the picture how they weren’t even sealed with anything except some etc that fit into the gaps. The only thing we could figure was that they were over tightened and that pushed the gasket out of place maybe??

More and more assembly of little things led us to the injectors. With the high cost of new ones we decided to just clean the current ones. That was definitely the way to go. With zero experience and YouTube as our guide everything came apart and went back together smoothly.

It was a big ordeal of tiny parts everywhere. Don’t panic, when we did the final assembly it was a much cleaner work area.

Next we will attempt to rebuild the turbo and weld something that everyone says can’t be welded.

Just another day of repairs

We discovered the air hose on the compressor leaks and we have to go get a new fitting for the end. But wait, that store is too far away and even though we will go there later, we will most likely forget to buy it. The solution, always keep a tool attached to it so it can’t leak at the fitting.

It’s time to take out the transfer case and switch it with the brand new one we got. We disconnected front driveshaft and of course lost one of the strap nuts. Undid all the nuts in the transfer case only to discover that genius engineering was used in the construction. The very bottom bolt necessitates removing the transmission mount so you can barely squeeze a wrench in there. Jack crawls under and starts loosening it and then Mike thinks, “hmmm maybe I should put one of the top nuts back on for safety.”  A min later the bottom nut is off and the transfer case shifts right towards Jack’s waiting melon. Bonus points for remembering to put that top nut back on, woo hoo!! Easily pulled out transfer case and set the new one in place. Today’s injury is sponsored by Homer Simpson as mike lifted up the new case all by himself and is now suffering from back pain. 

 Switching the tailpiece on the transfer case. We changed it to the stronger case however the tailpieces differ a bit.   Our team member Chris sent us a new tail piece with the fitting for the speedometer but we need to take the tone ring out of the old case.  Pretty easy job we hope.  We split open the case and of course oil is all over the floor.  Used up the last of the kitty litter so add that to the shopping list.  

Washed out the differential that was full of aluminum shavings, stared at the engine and thought about the timing chain…..   lol.

Everything is off the engine now except the front timing cover.   It’s covered in old oil and gunk so there has to be a bad gasket there. I guess since we have gone this far we might as well take the rest of the front cover off and give it a closer look. The problem however is that to take it off you have to remove the injection pump. Now this isn’t a huge issue except if anything moves then we will have to reset the timing which is a huge nightmare seeing how it’s all electronic and we don’t have the computer. 

Luckily everything came off and went back together with no movement, woo hoo!  Now it’s time to rearrange the garage so we recruit all the family and push the hummer out and then back into another bay and it’s time for dinner and bed. Mmmmm bed. 

Tear down of the engine begins

The garage opens and here we go again! It’s time to start tearing apart that engine!! Yesterday we pressure washed the engine transmission and transfer case and wow what a mess! Two cans of break cleaner and a day later we are back in the garage.

Off comes the air conditioner condenser, probably never to return. Surprisingly all the lines came loose with no problems! Amazing! The oil/transmission cooler is next and we were surprised to find that it combined the engine oil cooler and the transmission cooler all in one unit.

Finally the super cool griffin aluminum radiator argues it’s way out of the truck and the fan shroud follows in two broken pieces. Luckily Rodney at had an extra one for us so no worries. It’s a good thing. We went all out removing stuff, as we saw the plastic duuramax fan blades were all broken at the ends. It’s nice to find problems sometimes and lets us understand why it was running hotter than we liked.

Air conditioner compressor and vacuum pump come off to get put on the shelf to collect dust with the condenser. Vacuum will be replaced by an electric vacuum pump. Alternator comes off and oh yeah, that’s not going back either, a new high output one is on the way courtesy of

Of course since it’s a Hummer the water pump doesn’t come off easily with pry bars and hammers until we read the shop manual and realize the upper half of the timing cover is removed along with it. New one of those coming too, haha. It’s getting to be like Christmas with all these new parts.

Jack gets his wish today and he can finally take off the weird turbo at the back of the engine. Shaking his head in disbelief at the odd engineering it comes off with no issues. We didn’t even snap any of the exhaust bolts. Intake soon follows as well as fuel lines from the injection pump.

Removing the body, no not the girlfriend….

Two videos today! The cool time lapse of the body coming off and then the even cooler regular one. Up and down up and down it goes as we discover more things that need to be disconnected. Finally one last time up and it’s free. Hey, let’s make a video look like we got it on the first try! Haha. Push push push and the frame rolls out of the garage while the women happily watch more hummer parts taking up yard space.

The Roof Comes Off

We don’t hide the screw ups on our team. Complete honesty, it’s more entertaining that way anyhow. Hahaha

Things are finally coming around, the roof has come off and that gives us more access to build the roll cage. It’s surprising how much more room we appear to have now that we aren’t bouncing our heads on it. Well, at least Mike’s head, that’s not ever an issue for Jack.

The rumors of the roof being held together by glue proved to be untrue. it was a surprisingly easy job. Remove the rear doors, the door frame, find so many bolts, and then just raise it up with pry bars and the lift. Watch and enjoy the video. No injuries, woo hoo!!

Tires and Diff

Well last week Mike drove all the way to north Texas from here in Houston to pick up tires and rims. He found a guy that is the disposal guy for the military Humvee Tire @ This guy has an enormous amount of tires so check him out.

Rows upon rows of tires.

Last but not least Mikes haul, he scored rims, tires, a transfercase, and run flats. I almost forgot. The new Eaton Posi Track (Detroit locker) came in a few days ago.

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