Recon H3 Project

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Recon H3 Project

Postby ReconH3 » Sat May 23, 2009 11:45 am

After years of having many Jeeps (Willys, CJ, XJ, ZJ, TJ, WJ, JK) I decided to get an H3 because I wanted something that could be an everyday driver. I really only got it because the WJ Grand Cherokee was no longer available as new. I'm really not a friend of IFS, but since everything out there was IFS I figured I would give the Hummer legend a try. Didn't want an H2, but I found the I5 in the H3 too weak. So I waited for the Alpha to come out. I custom ordered it because I wanted to make sure it had no chrome and sunroof. As an everyday driver, I really love it. I couldn't be happier. I also love the look of the H3. Especially when some tree-hugger Prius driver gives you the dirty look :) Now as far as a 4x4 is concerned, I quickly learned, thanks to this forum, that it was never going to meet my standards. Even if I hate IFS, I was willing to give it a chance. What really tipped the scales was the weakness of the front end. I mean the whole front end. Steering, Diff size, CVs, tierods, etc. So because of this, I decided to take a leap off the deep end. I won't get into all the details since I kind of want to keep it a under wraps till it's done. The guys I'm working with also want to because they don't want people copying their ideas. Here are some sneak previews of some of the cosmetic changes we have made so far. Hope you guys like them.

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I got rid of those horrible plastic door handles that are way too flimsy for a real 4x4. You can get a peek of the slant-back rear, and the 6 point roll-cage.

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Here's another peek of the slant-back with the military taillights. The finished product will be much better integrated.

Believe it or not, by removing all the rear glass, the H3 has become quite a bit lighter. The tailgate still works, and will still house the spare tire. Upper hinge had to be lowered and the whole structure around it reinforced.

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Here you can see how the upper hinge was lowered and then reinforced.

The front end will pretty much stay stock. The front bumper will be only as wide as the frame rails, therefore exposing the front wheels. It will be very similar to what a H1/HMMWV looks like. We will try to fit in the front military markers if it's not too much of a nightmare. Tires won't be much bigger than a 35. It still has to fit in my small garage, and be an everyday driver. I won't get into the drivertrain details since that's the really trick part about it :P

Any comments and suggestions are very welcome since we want to get this right the first time. Please don't ask me who the people I am working with are at this time. They will all have their recognition after the whole project is done. What I do want to say it that there is going to be a ton of spare parts, that are practically brand new. Some I will sell to cover expenses, and some I will give away. Please don't drive me nuts at this time. I will let everyone know when the time comes. It will be an exclusive So-Cal thing since I won't be mailing anything out. The give away stuff will done in a way so that nobody takes advantage to sell the stuff on eBay or otherwise. All that will be figured out when the time comes. Meanwhile enjoy the pics. I will be adding more as the project moves along. Please speak your mind on what you see. I like criticism. A very smart guy once told me: "I never learned anything from somebody I always agreed with."
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Re: Recon H3 Project

Postby Bellvis » Sat May 23, 2009 11:55 am

That is going to be awesome when its done! Keep it up!
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Re: Recon H3 Project

Postby Mark » Sat May 23, 2009 1:06 pm

Very cool project, keep us posted on the progress. You are making some HUGE changes on this just from what you have shown us at this point and I hope it come out just how you really wanted it. Unfortunately (based on your comments) nobody makes exactly what you wanted, an all around great DD that is also beefed up for wheeling. I love seeing people take the closest fit to their needs/wants and customizing it to their vision. Interesting choice in changing out the door handles. I wouldn't have made that change as I has seen far more handles like that fail versus what was stock but it definitely sets it off and looks cool but what really matters is that it's what you wanted :yup: 8)
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Re: Recon H3 Project

Postby Gunner_45 » Sat May 23, 2009 1:25 pm

Holy crap....this will be an interesting build....and that is quite an understatement.

Shame you don't have some HX/H4 fenders to slap on that baby..... ;) ;) ;)
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Re: Recon H3 Project

Postby ReconH3 » Sat May 23, 2009 2:28 pm

Mark wrote:Very cool project, keep us posted on the progress. You are making some HUGE changes on this just from what you have shown us at this point and I hope it come out just how you really wanted it. Unfortunately (based on your comments) nobody makes exactly what you wanted, an all around great DD that is also beefed up for wheeling. I love seeing people take the closest fit to their needs/wants and customizing it to their vision. Interesting choice in changing out the door handles. I wouldn't have made that change as I has seen far more handles like that fail versus what was stock but it definitely sets it off and looks cool but what really matters is that it's what you wanted :yup: 8)


The best DD that was a true 4x4 was the Jeep WJ. It had all the luxury and comfort of a SUV, but with great 4x4 potential. Unfortunately those are no longer available. That's why I go the custom route. Vehicles are built for the average Joe or Jane that probably never goes off-roading. I changed the handles due to past experience and because the factory ones kept popping out just from regular use. In my past experience, handles that aren't flush tend to get ripped off. The best setup would have been the old Land Rover Series 1, that were actually inside the door. That's a little too much work though, and I'm more biased towards US made products.

gunner_45 wrote:Holy crap....this will be an interesting build....and that is quite an understatement.
Shame you don't have some HX/H4 fenders to slap on that baby..... ;) ;) ;)


You are right on the money there Gunner. I was trying to find the pocket style flares they made for a red H3. I could have some custom made but since fenders are ripped off so easily while doing 4x4, I wanted something that was easily replaceable. If anyone knows of any please let me know.
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Re: Recon H3 Project

Postby tomp » Sat May 23, 2009 3:11 pm

Thanks for sharing pics of the body work. However, I think I speak for the rest of the members here that we are most interested in the functional front steering and drivetrain plans ;)
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Re: Recon H3 Project

Postby ReconH3 » Sat May 23, 2009 3:17 pm

tomp wrote:Thanks for sharing pics of the body work. However, I think I speak for the rest of the members here that we are most interested in the functional front steering and drivetrain plans ;)


If everything works out, some time in July/August you'll be able to see it all. I know it's quite a wide deadline, but anyone that has done custom stuff like this knows you can practically never hit the exact date. Things always show up unexpectedly. There is also the testing part that takes time. I'm more anxious to get this done than all of you put together :)
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Re: Recon H3 Project

Postby bennersj » Sat May 23, 2009 3:17 pm

This is going to be good, do you have any big plans for the suspension and front axle?
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Re: Recon H3 Project

Postby ReconH3 » Sat May 23, 2009 3:25 pm

bennersj wrote:This is going to be good, do you have any big plans for the suspension and front axle?


Definitely. The whole front end is out the window. We are starting completely from scratch.
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Re: Recon H3 Project

Postby tomp » Sat May 23, 2009 4:26 pm

ReconH3 wrote:Definitely. The whole front end is out the window. We are starting completely from scratch.


Yeah it is most warranted - but don't you feel this gets rid of the daily driver aspect of the H3? Having IFS in the front is what gives it that nice ride quality, thus making it a great daily driver. Take that away, and there goes the ride quality
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Re: Recon H3 Project

Postby ReconH3 » Sat May 23, 2009 5:01 pm

My WJ was a great daily driver with solid axle and great true 4x4.
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Re: Recon H3 Project

Postby twinmill28 » Sun May 24, 2009 12:06 am

ReconH3 wrote:My WJ was a great daily driver with solid axle and great true 4x4.

Ok, to this point I was feeling pretty confident that this project was headed to an independent rear suspension, true to HUMMER roots. But your statement here throws me off. As for criticism, I am curious about the interior color choice? If you are planning on actually wheeling this thing, those seats and carpet are going to get filthy. That is my favorite color for an interior, but my last car showed all of the grime from daily driving, and it was a car, which was kept much cleaner consistently. I'm not sure how hard everybody wheels their H3's, but I've never been concerned about ripping my door handles off in my escapades, and I usually play hard. I can see going with these handles to flow the slantback H1 look. Its good to have you share this project with the rest of us; I've photoshopped my H3 with the rear glass and metal removed directly behind the back door in the style of an H2 SUT, and it looked freakin' awesome. If I had the apparent budget of your project, that's where I would be headed. I like the cage, not sure the usefulness of it unless you plan on whailing on this rig. But of course this is coming from a guy who's got a stinger lined up in his H3 future, and I don't see putting that to the test at all! Will that be a functional liftback when finished? Also, will it have at least a small window to use the rearview mirror--which is actually more practical that I ever realized? So is this going to be a So-Cal show cruiser, or are you going to actually wheel it? If so, there are probably more than a few Club members that want to be on those trail runs! Keep us updated, this is a really cool project. Thanks for including us in the build!
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Re: Recon H3 Project

Postby ReconH3 » Sun May 24, 2009 7:08 am

The interior is leather so it washes off very easily. The color may not be the cleanest, but I always wanted that color. If it really gets dirty then at least I have proof I wheel hard :) I hope to never have to use the roll cage but in July I'm about to have my first kid, and that is why installed one. Even though I live in So-Cal, this was not intended as a show vehicle. When I wheel, I wheel hard. I don't know how many chances I'll get, but the intention is there. Since it is my only ride in Cali, chance are I will one day. The handles is something I did because it actually happened to someone I was wheeling with. I picked the Jeep handles because that is what came to mind. Shame I didn't think about the H1 ones like you mentioned. The liftback will not be functional. I didn't want to have to complicate everything since making it watertight was a lot of work. It would have been nice if it did. Way too much fabrication to make it work properly and not leak. No rear window. I'm used to it from other vehicles. My H3 has the backup camera which will stay permanently on. Since the monitor is exactly the same size as my GPS, I will be putting them side by side in the place of the rearview mirror. The day this rig hits the trails, I'll let everyone know. Thanks for all the comments and suggestions. Below is a pic of me competing in my TJ, so you can see I don't make show vehicles :)
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Re: Recon H3 Project

Postby 4digr » Sun May 24, 2009 9:21 am

I think that maybe you should have considered a Dodge Power Wagon. Since you're obviously not afraid of (trimming) sheet metal you could've just adjusted the rear overhang and built a slantback for it, and you'd have already had the front/rear solid axles, lockers, swaybar disconnect, V8. : :)
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Re: Recon H3 Project

Postby ReconH3 » Sun May 24, 2009 9:46 am

4digr wrote:I think that maybe you should have considered a Dodge Power Wagon. Since you're obviously not afraid of (trimming) sheet metal you could've just adjusted the rear overhang and built a slantback for it, and you'd have already had the front/rear solid axles, lockers, swaybar disconnect, V8. : :)


True, but the most important thing here was that I always wanted a Hummer :) I have an F250 with a V10 overseas, where I could have done some crazy project with. The problem is that it has to fit in my garage, and the H3 is right on the limit.
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