Oct 6 2015

A Different Kind of Jeep Project

It’s been a while. It’s been a LONG while. Turns out having a kid not only takes a lot of the time I used to have, but also the money that would be necessary for me to continue working on Ike.

That’s not to say it’s been without Jeep-related fun. In fact, today marked the start of a new Jeep project. No, it won’t take the place of Ike, but it will let me have a little Jeep fun while also passing the torch to Hayden.

What could I possibly be going on and on about? Well, here’s the start of the new project:


Yeah, it’s a little …. different than my normal projects. It’s got a LONG way to go. First things first, I had to tear the whole thing down. Part of this felt very much like my tear down of Ike. I will say though that the screws were FAR less rusted and in need of brute force than the 1950’s version.


There was quite a bit of muck, grime, mud, grass, and what I can only hope was anything but animal poop. After disassembly, the first step was the initial wash. It looks better than it did, but there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done.


I’ve got some big plans for this little Jeep. It’s not quite the same as Ike, but it’ll do for now.

Oct 9 2012

Rzeppa setbacks

After another weekend of work, I’m getting fairly close to having a rolling chassis in my garage. This weekend was all about getting the pieces for my front axle prepped for paint and final assembly. This meant sandblasting, sandblasting, and more sandblasting. I got the rest of the brake parts blasted and ready (both backing plates, drums, and lower connecting plate), the hubs completed, and the differential cover blasted and cleaned. I’ll have to go back and get the spindles that I swapped out when I did the axle shaft removal from the parts Jeep though, since the correct bushing are on those ones, and they’ve already been cleaned and painted.

With all that blasting done, it was time to get down to the axle shaft disassembly. I started with the short shaft since it was easier to wield around and deal with. After getting enough grease off of all the ends and parts I noticed that there were three small screws on a retention plate holding the whole thing together. I also noticed what I imagine to be some sort of “locking” procedure to make sure the screws didn’t back out. Once the screws were set, a punch was used to deform the metal around the screw and plate to keep them together.

Once I “reformed” the metal and slowly backed the screws out, I was left with the two cages and ball bearings. It took me about 45 minutes to figure out how everything came out, since everything appeared to be too big to actually come out of the casing. After pulling out the middle pilot pin, I was able to rotate the cages past their normal travel and pop out the ball bearings. Then, I removed the inner cage by aligning the races with the wide windows on two sides of the outer cage, and from there it pretty much all came out. Moving on to the next shaft, the first thing I noticed after unwrapping it was the chipped spline on the differential side. I was not happy to see that. Here I thought the $400 parts Jeep was about to save me $375 in new axle shafts. Now it looks like I’ll have to at least replace that shaft unless I can get the other Spicer jointed one fixed. We’ll find out on Friday.

After the disappointment with the shafts, I decided to tear into one of the locking hubs I pulled from the parts Jeep.  These Warn model M54A locking hubs were one of the things that I was hoping to put onto a finished Jeep that would be non-stock (the other big one being an overdrive). The front axels are full floating which means the wheel rests on a fixed spindle. Since the spindle is fixed, the hub is driven by a drive flange that ties the end of the axle shaft with the hub, thus enabling the transfer of power. A lockout hub, like these Warns, have an adjustable drive flange that can be disengaged from the tip of the axle shaft to allow the wheels to move without the whole axle being engaged. Even when in 4×2 mode, the movement of the front wheels causes the entire front axle, drive shaft, and transfer case to spin, putting unnecessary load on parts that aren’t actually being used for a transfer of power.

The goal now is to get the parts painted on Friday and take my axle shaft down to a driveline place to see if there is any actual problem with the shaft (the yolks look bent to me) or if the joint is just crooked. If that shaft is good, I can get a new joint to install, purchase a rebuild kit for the remaining Rzeppa joint, and be on my way. Here’s hoping Friday is filled with good news.

Feb 5 2012

Big Weekend

In what will surely be only the first major component that needs to be farmed out for work, I finally got the frame sandblasted. Performance Powder Coating in Apple Valley did a fantastic job, especially considering how long it would have taken me to do the same work.

With the help of my buddy Joe, I got it picked up and we took it over to his dad’s place. After what seemed like just a short time, the old spring pivot joint was gone, and a new piece of metal was welded in.

Above you can see the before with the horrible weld job that was done. To the right you can see that the joint has been removed. While he was at it, I had him remove the remaining outriggers so I can be sure the frame gets painted under them. I’ve got a little clean up to do and then it will be ready to paint.

Today, though, I didn’t do any additional work on the frame, but instead focused on getting the front axle blasted and the first coat of paint out on. Since most of the axle was already wire wheeled, sand blasting went extremely quick since it was more or less just touch up in areas that I couldn’t get to with the wheel.

After getting it back up on the bench (I found out about half way through getting it back from the drive way that without the knuckles installed, I can carry the axle without the assistance of other tools). Much like I did with the rear axle, I ‘ll complete the full housing before I do the differential cover. It has got some serious baked on something or other on there that will need special attention.

The first coat of POR15 went on relatively easy. There are a few spots that I’ll need to pay special attention too, and the whole thing will get a second coat before getting a final topcoat of Rustoleum for the gloss and UV protection that I’m looking for.

This coming weekend I’ll hopefully also get the most stubborn U-Joint removed from the long axle shaft. I’m also going to clean up the knuckles, backing plates, hubs, and spindles in preparation for their reconstruction. I’ve also gotta start either looking for a place to get the frame primed and painted the way I want, or determine if it’s something I can do in my garage.

But, there is one more thing…

I was also the lucky bidder on a rather nice looking original Carter W-O 636SA carburetor on eBay today. So yeah, a pretty good weekend for Ike. 

Oct 23 2011

Getting back to it

After spending the last few weeks hemming and hawing about the brakes, I had finally decided to just stick with the original style 9 inchers. All the reasons I had decided to stick with the original brakes are still there, but after the suggestion of a coworker, I decided to check the parts Jeep and see what it had on it. The previous owners of the parts Jeep had done various upgrades and changes to it for wheeling out in the desert. Everything from the engine, to the tires and wheels, to the locking hubs had been changed. Come to find out, all these weeks trying to find a source (and the funds), were essentially wasted because the parts Jeep had already been upgrade.

That being said, I still have to get the brakes off of the parts Jeep, and figure out what they came from. After the discovery today that I had already bought 11″ brakes, I realized that I forgot to take a snapshot of them. Interestingly enough, the hubs on the front wheel were on the outside of the drum, not unlike what I have on the rear. They also didn’t appear to be 2″ wide, though that may just be due to the curve of the drums. As long as this setup doesn’t require much re-engineering to get things to work, I think I’ll be off to a good start.

Once I got home, I got anxious to get back to work. After running a tap through the differential cover holes to dig out all the crap (which seemed to take WAY too long), I cleaned off the differential cover gasket, and put on a new Permatex seal. After mounting the cover, the brake line bracket, and the ratio tag, I snugged down the bolts with a torque wrench. Hopefully before next weekend I’ll be able to figure out a little more about my new-found brakes.

Sep 5 2011

Last bit of paint on the rear axle

The rear axle is all but finished as far as painting goes. After putting the second coat on the differential cover, it’s just about time to button it all up. I’ll be putting in an order for a differential cover gasket, I’ve already purchased new fastening hardware, and the only thing I’ll need after that is some differential oil.

While I’m happy to be nearing completion on the finishing of the axle, I’m slightly less happy with the way the semi-gloss POR15 dried. When I chose to purchase the semi-gloss over the gloss, I was hoping for a finish similar to some of the other paint I have used. When the POR15 first went on the axle, it was rather glossy. I took comfort in knowing that it would dry and dull slightly. However, it appears that like all things dealing with paint, the amount of gloss left behind is all subjective. I would call the finish matte black rather than semi-gloss, but that’s just me. I could only imagine what matte black would be to this company.

In order to combat that I decided that I’m going to give the parts a quick shot of semi-gloss spray paint. I’ve used it before on other parts and it’s rather resilient, plus with the POR15 underneath it should give me the best of both worlds. While putting the second coat on the differential cover this afternoon, I gave it a quick spray to see what the results are using both POR15 and some good rattle can paint.

I was also finally able to talk to a few parts suppliers about upgraded brakes. It seems the piece that is the hardest to find and get ahold of is the backing plate and core hardware. As drums, especially drums intended for this type of installation, have fallen in popularity in favor of disc brakes, no new backing plate hardware is being produced. I’ve put in emails to two suppliers that specifically sell the conversion kits, and another two that don’t have them listed on their site. We’ll see what happens there.

I also put in my order for the brake forming and flaring tools. Once I get those, I’ll go and get the brake line stock and start a few practice flares and forms before I go to work on the axle. I think I’m also getting to the point where I have to stop putting off getting my frame sand blasted and prepped and need to start figuring out what I’m going to do there.


Aug 21 2011

Small work, big plans

Since I didn’t get my puller in time to pull the hubs this weekend, the Jeep work became more cleanup work than anything else. I finally cut off the rear tube that was maybe supposed to be a flag holder so that the frame would sit evenly while upside down on the stands. Since it was upside down, I pulled off the 4 axle bumpers from the frame. It’s an unfortunate reality that many vintage Jeep frames have extreme rust where the axle bumpers meet the frame. In what is sure to be one of the few times where I am luckier than others in that I don’t have any serious rust issues beneath them.

Borrowed from http://www.the-jeep-guy.comI’ve also decided that if I end up upgrading my brakes to 11″ drums, than I will be forming my own brake lines as well. I’m planning on talking with a few parts suppliers to see what is recommended. I’d love to have some better stopping power, but at the same time, I’d just as soon go with an easy replacement that gets me self-adjusting shoes. I don’t plan on doing anything like speeding down the road, but even when I was out driving it before I started the tear down, people would pull in front of me and then stop, as if I was driving a more modern vehicle.

I’m also going to be purchasing some POR15 for painting the axle. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like anyone carries it locally, so I’ll have to purchase online. Hopefully it will get here in time for the long Labor Day weekend so I can get a good amount of work done. It’d be great if I could get the axle painted and start working on putting it back together. Here’s to hoping that the front axle will go faster after I finish this one.

Jun 13 2010

Adding a modern comfort

Today I did something that I finally realized I needed to do: add a cup holder.

Now I know what you might be thinking. A Jeep shouldn’t have a cup holder, it’s not the way Toledo intended it. Well, here is my defense. I like to drive Ike to and from work. Some mornings, I’ll stop at Starbucks and get a coffee before I go in. After spilling my coffee all over Ike, I decided something had to change.

So, I did a search and found that someone at 1942MB had already figured out the least invasive and most usable way to add one. So, I ordered a cup holder off of Amazon and installed it. I must say, it’s not the prettiest thing in the world, but it does a fantastic job. And since I didn’t need to do any modifications to the Jeep to get it installed, and it’s easily removable, this modification can carry through to my final restoration and the Jeep can still be considered “stock”.

At some point I’ll put the cup holders in the tool compartment, once I have a tool compartment to put it in, and that way I only have to pull them out when necessary.

Also, thanks to a good friend and his family, I got the original side view mirror arm welded up. After doing my sand blasting the other day I noticed that the arm had a crack in it where it meat the cowl mount. Now that it’s welded up, I can get it sanded again, primed, and painted. Once that’s done, I’ll also pull of the mount from the side of the jeep and get it cleaned, blasted, sanded, primed, and painted. I’ve already got the new mounting hardware, so I should be good to go with putting a useful mirror back on the side.

I purchased a “reproduction” mirror from a parts site online because the mirror head had a broken tension screw and wouldn’t stay put. So when the part came, I was sorely disappointed with the material, build quality, and the overall sturdiness of the part. Even the “mounting bracket” it came with didn’t line up properly with the existing holes in the cowl. So, I will restore the bracket like I did the arm, and then just use the new mirror head. It should have a much better overall result, I think.