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 2011

Dropping a Greasy Deuce

In this case, “Dropping a Greasy Deuce” may not be what you think it is.

Or maybe it is what you are thinking. If you are thinking about an old Willys Jeep with two DANA axles being dropped deliberately from the frame mounts.

The weather was so nice and lounging around the house was so wonderful that I really didn’t spend much time on Ike. Friday, however, I did stop by a body shop to look at their work and I’m fairly impressed. I’ll obviously be checking around for prices and quality, but for the first stop it certainly set a high bar. The only downside is that the shop is about an hour away in Rialto. Not a huge killer since no matter where I take the stuff it will need to be trailered, but it sure would be nice if it was all local.

Last week I had started to remove the shackle bolts from the rear end when I ran across a problem. The bolt had seized on to the shackle, so the air hammer wasn’t able to loosen it. Fortunately since I had bough new shackles I wasn’t concerned with re-using these ones, so I decided to just pull out my new favorite tool: the air cutoff tool. The awesomeness that is this tool is only overshadowed by my compressors inability to keep up with it. Aside from that, I went through almost 2 wheels cutting the left rear shackle free, the rear axle U-bolts, and the front two shackles which were also seized.

Once I got the rear leaf springs removed, I took an opportunity to look at the wear. The lower shock plates on all four corners show some pretty heavy wear. I’m hoping that these were fairly original to the Jeep for the amount of wear on them. The left rear spring pack center pin also snapped off showing quite a bit of rust erosion along the shaft. The new spring packs certainly look much better than the old ones, but I guess that is to be expected.

So now the frame is nearly ready for blasting. I want to do a few more looks around to make sure that I’m not missing anything and that everything has been removed. The axles will need to go out for a rebuild as well as some cleaning and painting. Once those three parts are completed, I get to start putting the whole thing back together. It’s taken a long time to get to this point, but I’m sure looking forward to having a functioning Jeep again.


Jun 5 2011

Almost time to reverse the process

Today was a pretty good Jeep work day. After the dogs so graciously woke me up nice and early, I headed out to the garage. Yesterday I got a tie rod puller from AutoZone under their Loan-a-tool program. The puller was still a bit too big, but much smaller than the one I got from Harbor Freight. It fit well enough to get the tie rod end off the driver’s side knuckle, but still didn’t seem to be able to get a good grip on the joint. Luckily, that didn’t stop me. After a little clever repositioning, I got the puller to grip on to the bell crank arm.

After the tie rods were removed, I started removing all the bits and pieces that were still connected to the frame. After removing brake lines, master cylinder, and the  bolts that were put back in place until I could bag and tag them, the frame was fairly clear of accessories. One very interesting “modification” is how a previous owner dealt with the clutch crossover tube. In what appears to be meant for a cotter pin and maybe a some sort of bushing or spacer was replaced with a nail and some bailing wire. I’m actually wondering if at some point duct tape was involved.

With the frame somewhat cleared, I decided to start on removing the suspension and axels. The first thing I had to do was remove the wheels and tires. Since I already knew that Willys used different threads on each side of the vehicle (left hand threads instead of the normal right hand threads) I proceeded cautiously. Fortunately previous owners before me had replaced all the left handed studs with all right handed ones. This was also the first time I was able to look and see how damaged the stud holes were on the wheels, which would tell me if any were re-usable. Unfortunately, all four wheels have at least 3 oblong stud holes, and 1 of them has 4. I’ll have to wait until I am able to take a closer look at it to see if it’s of any real concern, but it looks like I’ll be buying 5 wheels instead of just 1 for a spare.

Once the wheels were off and the frame was propped up on jack stands, I decided to start taking off the axels. Unfortunately once the blown out shocks were removed, my awesomely quick work slowed to a complete crawl. The rear C-shackles proved very resilient to my air tools and breaker bar. Surprisingly enough, the passenger side came right off. Usually the driver’s side is easier to work on. This time, though, the shackle bolts look like they haven’t been greased for so long that the upper bolt is seized to the shackle. Since the bolt has internal threads with a rubber pieces sandwiched on the back side, I have no way of getting some penetrating oil in there. Not sure what I’m going to do yet, but I may end up having to cut it out.

Along with that, however, I finally made my first big restoration purchase. I’m hoping to have the frame and axels done here in the next month or so, and once those are done, I get to start putting things back together. The only way to hang the axels back on the frame is with a brand new suspension, so that’s what I bought. Although it will be here well before I’ll end up being able to use it, the place I bought it had it on sale, so I figured why not. Now if only I could get all the old stuff off.


Oct 1 2010

Restored plates and covers

After way too many weeks, I finally finished the latest batch of small parts. The master cylinder inspection plate, transmission inspection plate, and both the transmission and transfer case shift boot retention rings have been sand blasted, primed, and painted. I also got brand new shift boots since the ones that were “there” for the most part where all but destroyed.

Poor Ike started out with this on the floorboard:

Under all that old metal was a little bit or rubber and a very torn transmission shift boot:

Then after sand blasting:

And now reinstalled:

Unfortunately I found out the hard way that my transmission shifter had been modified at some point in the past. The original shifter would have either had a threaded 5/16″ end, or a small extension that came out of the top that is about 1/4″ for the shift knob. When I looked at my shifter, the knob, which isn’t the right one, was held on with threads, but the end wasn’t actually threaded. Without knowing that the push-on style was 1/4″ or so, I figured I needed the push on.

After receiving the parts yesterday, I noticed that there was no way for this shift knob to go onto the shifting rod. Looking closer, it appears that my shifter was originally a push-on, but that at some point the tapered end either broke off or was ground off and a larger threaded knob was forced on. I’m going to stick with what I have for now, but I may end up having to look at other alternatives when it comes time to finish the restoration. For now, the incorrect knob will be used.

The next parts and pieces to get the blast and paint treatment will be the door channels and eyelets that I took off a few weeks ago. Unfortunately I ran out of sand before I could finish blasting them, and Harbor Freight hasn’t had any in stock the few times I’ve gone to replenish the stock.

Hopefully the weather will ease up a bit and I’ll be able to take Ike out in the desert for a quick run this weekend.


Sep 19 2010

Decision on color and lots of painting

I’m still a ways away from even starting the tear down, but I think I’ve come up with the color that I’ll use for Ike when it comes to doing the body work.

Drumroll please….

Potomac Grey!

With it not only being a color I was considering, but also the original color of the Jeep, I think it was all but destined to be grey again. Below is a picture of an accurately restored color scheme I found on the CJ-3A page of Mark Struhsacker’s 1949 CJ-3A. Ike’s wheels were definitely red in the past, but I don’t think I’ll do that to Ike again.

Mark’s Jeep looks fantastic, but the red wheels just don’t do it for me. Could very well change, but black wheels suit me better right now.

Speaking of black paint, I’ve been doing a lot of sanding, priming, and painting of all the parts I took off last weekend. The shift boot retaining rings, master cylinder inspection cover, and accelerator foot rest are all completed. Due to some unfortunate dog hair blowing into the wet paint on the transmission cover I had to sand it down and start over. It’s 2 coats in and will get at least a third one. I’ll also be putting in an order to Walck’s for the new shift boots and shift knobs to complete the job. The sticks themselves will have to wait until I do the real restoration since they are a little more difficult to remove just to paint them.

Hopefully next weekend I’ll have some completed parts and pictures to post. 🙂


Jul 2 2010

Learning about vintage license plates

While I await the next thing to break on Ike (*knocks on wood*) I’ve decided to jump ahead a little bit and look at some of the finishing touches. I’ve decided on many aspects of my restoration, such as paint colors, voltages, and other decision points. One piece of this restoration that no decision was necessary was the license plate.

This sent me on an early quest to find out what I would need to make this happen. My father is currently in the final stages of his restoration of a 1955 Chevrolet pickup truck. Since he was also starting his search for a set of plates, naturally I started looking for Ike.

From what I can gather, the 1950 model year vehicles in California were yellow and black. The top has 19 CALIFORNIA 47 embossed at the top. So what makes them a 1950 plate? Well, these little aluminum tabs that bolt over the 47 at the top right corner with a “50” embossed on them, make it a 1950 plate, much like the one pictured here.

So, while the search for 1947 plates continues, the search for the 1950 tabs has ended almost as fast as it began. Below are the 1950 tabs I recently purchased, including the now 60 year old envelop and instruction card.


May 30 2010

Cooling system nearly (re)done

After a few weeks of purchasing parts, waiting for them to arrive, and doing lots of sand blasting, sanding, priming and painting, I’m only a few steps away from having Ike back together and running.

After getting back the radiator, I ordered a new thermostat housing. After getting the new part, prepping, and painting it, I am very glad that I did. The differences are astounding. The fan shroud isn’t quite done yet, it needs a second coat of pain on the front and a first and second coat of paint on the back before it will be ready, but that will come along and be ready by tomorrow evening I hope.

I also learned quite a bit about sand blasting. Walnut shells are great at removing paint, but not much else, but aluminum oxide fills that need nicely. Unfortunately, I ran out of the aluminum oxide 20 minutes before Harbor Freight closed. The next morning I was back up and running, finished blasting the fan shroud clean and got the original side-view mirror arm blasted. After blasting the mirror arm I found a crack about 1/2″ at the base that will need to be repaired before going back on.

After the blasting was done, I wet sanded the shroud and arm. The shroud started to flash rust a little after it was done, so I dried it with a leaf blower, then did a light coat of primer to keep it nice. A second coat of primer sealed it nicely, and the first coat of paint is bringing it back to it’s original good looks (for a fan shroud).

Unfortunately, today I ran into an issue while checking that I had everything ready for re-assembly. Apparently, it completely slipped my mind that I would need new bolts to attach the new thermostat housing to the block. After looking through everything I got, I realized the parts list I am using has the cooling system from the thermostat housing to the water pump listed separately from the thermostat assembly, with the assembly being listed with the engine group and the rest of the cooling system listed under cooling. Since I hadn’t even looked at that page, I never thought of getting the 3 new bolts. And, just my luck, I find this out at 7pm on the Sunday before Memorial Day.

So, I think after I get all my parts painted, I’ll put everything back in its place on Ike with the exception of the thermostat assembly and then I’ll make a special trip to get the proper bolts. I may also try and clean the current bolts which aren’t too bad and see if I can get it together tomorrow and replace the bolts at a later time.

So I guess the moral of this little adventure is to always overbuy blasting media and/or start your blasting early enough in the day that you can run and get more if you need to, don’t paint in the windy desert, and always check your bolts before trying to put your Jeep back together.


May 4 2010

Call me Ishmael

“Thar she blows!”

Today was a “must drive the Jeep” day. Due to some minor issues on my primary car, I had my dad take it into the dealer for some warranty repairs. So, with the daily driver out of commission, I had a perfect excuse (as if I needed one) to drive Ike to work today. With the slightly warmer weather and longer daylight hours, today was the first drive to work where I didn’t need lights and gloves to get to work in one place.

After work was done for the day, I decided to run to my sister’s house to pick her up for a little sibling time while I went to get a tank of gas. By the time I was pulling down her street, there was a loud noise coming from the engine compartment. The noise sounded a little like a grinding noise. Unfortunately, the noise didn’t stop when I did, so I knew it was something else. I turn off the engine and run to the front of the vehicle only to find steam and water shooting out of the passenger side of the hood.

After releasing the soaking hood catch, I lifted it to find a whistling radiator overflow vent with rusted water spewed all over the inside of my engine compartment, hood, fender, and wheel well. Apparently rusted water does not a good coolant make. With the increased outside temperature and the additional driving I did at the end of the day, I think it was just enough to put the cooling system past its ability to work efficiently. The real kicker is that I was just talking to a radiator guy today to get pricing for re-coring the radiator in preparation for re-doing the cooling system this weekend.

So now my next parts order which was going to include a few cooling parts and a few other parts has turned almost entirely to a new cooling system. The radiator will either be re-cored or it will be roded out(?), pressure tested, and repaired, a new thermostat will be installed with a new retainer and gaskets, and brand new radiator hoses will top it off. Hopefully all that will be enough to keep me running for a little while longer.


Apr 5 2010

First Parts Order

I’m officially starting the rebuilding and restoration process now with my first parts order. It wasn’t much, just a few necessary pieces to keep things running well while I plan out my total restoration.

Today I purchased a new set of spark plug wires, a new distributor cap and distributor rotor, a new side mirror and rear view mirror, a new pair of hood blocks, and a new ignition switch. Nothing ground breaking or amazing, just a few odds and ends.

I’ve also put out some feelers to see what the cost difference would be from replacing the body parts that need replacing versus replacing the whole tub and body as one new piece. Unsure which way I’m going to go, but it’s also a long ways off.