Ike gets a column

Being an active full time MBA student has its ups and its downs. One BIG down is that the time I have available to me on the weekends is dramatically cut short. Add in the normal stuff that needs to be done while off work, some quality time with the wife (which I enjoy more than working on the Jeep the vast majority of the time-Love ya Kim!), and the time available for the Jeep becomes far smaller. That being said, over the last two months, I’ve done some work off and on. From masking parts, to putting a few coats of paint on them, the scraping off some and re-doing it because it wasn’t up to my standards. Unfortunately, none of it makes for good blog posts, since so little is actually changing for all the time spent on doing the work.

Three day weekends work out great for getting Jeep stuff done. I spent Friday over at my buddy Joe’s dad’s house learning how to weld with the new welder my wife and family got me for Christmas this past year. That of course means that now I’m looking out for scrap metal to get a little more practice in, but after a few tries I started understanding the process and what I should be listening and looking for.

This weekend, a lot of that work came together with some major structures put back on Ike. While waiting for paint to dry on parts, I finished putting the washers and cotter pins on the shocks. I also got all the various brake lines lined up and temporarily mounted the master cylinder while I waited for the tie-in bracket to finish drying. Once the steering box finished drying, I started assembling it all. Getting all the little ball bearings in place was actually far easier than I thought it was going to be. I’ll also say that I’m happy I bought a new steering column to go with everything. It was one of those things I decided to throw into my cart at the last minute because I ended up not needing a new master cylinder since I found a new one in a pile of parts. Not having to clean, blast, and paint that long tube saved me a lot of time and trouble.

Once all the parts dried enough for me to handle them, I put the newly painted tie-in bracket, crossover tube, brake and clutch arm, steering box, steering column, and even through the steering wheel and the clutch and brake pedals on for a few glamor shots. The pedals still need to stripped, primed, and painted, but they added a certain look that makes this post a little easier to see. This also reminded me that I need to get the outriggers painted and installed since the return spring for the clutch arm mounts to one of the outriggers. Since my sector shaft doesn’t have an alignment mark on the end for the pitman arm, I didn’t finish putting the steering box together until I get that issue resolved. Once that’s figured out, I’ll seal the box and fill it with oil.

The next few steps will depend on what I feel like doing and what I can get someone to help me with. I’d like to work on the brakes and getting the brake system filled with fluid, but you really need two people and a lot of patience to get it done right. Since I’m not going to be driving it any time soon, it’s not too high of a priority. The other things I’ll be looking at is the transfer case rebuild, transmission rebuild, transfer case cross member, and also starting on the engine rebuild. That of course will bring out a whole lot more money and parts, such as the exhaust system, wiring, and many other systems. That being said, Ike is really starting to shape up into a nice looking Jeep again, and I couldn’t be happier with the way it’s turning out (except maybe if it was going a bit faster).

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