She’s off to finishing school!

It seems like yesterday that she took her first steps, but today she’s off to finishing school (Auto Exteriors). If you remember from last time, I gave up on trying to line the body up – time for her to go to the pros. After my brother looked at her for the initial assessment, it looks like the frame is diamond shaped by about 1/2 to 1″ – must have gotten hit at some time or another and not fixed right. Nothing a quick trip to the frame machine won’t fix he said. Sounds good – I hope it goes smoothly!

Hopefully she’ll be ready for me to go to the shop, sand her down and spray the final coat of OD24087 on. I got my stencils (paint masks) the other day, so as soon as she’s cured a little I can give her her identity back too!

Anyway, this was just a quick update – with a couple of pictures waving by-by.

I threw in the towel!

After working on my Jeep 5 hours yesterday and about an hour and a half today, trying to line the body up, the bolts slid right back into their original holes! I had to give up on this part of the resto – I am running out of time before the rally, not to mention my patience ran out yesterday. I’m going to have to hand her over to a real body shop (my Brother’s) with the right tools and know how to “Git ‘er Done!”.

Meanwhile this afternoon I got caught up with some little things. I got my fuel and temp gauges working. There was 2 problem areas there – no ground for the whole instrument cluster, and a bad temp sending unit. I checked the temp gauge by pulling the wire from the sending unit and grounding it. The gauge went all the way over to max, meaning it was good. I tested the sending unit with the ohm meter. It read 0 ohms when grounded – meaning it was bad. Good thing I had a spare in the parts Jeep – those little babies go for $45 NOS, I pulled the fuel gauge out and rigged up a wire to see if grounding the gauge to the dash would make it work, and it did! So I figured that a full time ground wire would be in order – I read on WillysMJeeps forum that a ground wire was a good idea because the way the gauge cluster is mounted in the dash doesn’t make good ground contact. I made up an 18″ wire with crimped ring terminals on the ends and secured it to the firewall and the speedometer – all the gauges work like a charm now!

Next I decided to try to fix my rattling generator. I took everything apart and pulled the generator out of the Jeep. Then I examined the mount and generator and I could see where the generator had been rubbing on the mount. All the parts were there and installed correctly (I looked at my parts Jeep to compare it). I didn’t see anything that I could do, so I put it all back together and put my original (longer) belts back on and tightened everything down as good as I could. I fired her up and she wasn’t rattling anymore! We’ll see how long she stays quiet.

The last thing I did was to make some lifting ring pins – I refuse to pay $7 each + shipping for those pins. I went to Tractor Supply early this morning and bought 2 – 3/4″x 3 7/8″ Cat 1 top link pins @ $3.49 each.


I cut off the tops of the pins and cut them to length using the original one as a template. Then I ground everything flat and drilled the holes. The only difference is the size of the lip and thickness of the cap – and I saved $7.00 + shipping! I think I am going to make some new ones for the rear too – they are kind of pitted and bent.

Here’s the finished product:



The last thing I did was to drill some holes in the top bow to windshield support rod for a securing clip (in the picture above). These little things take forever when you add them all up!

Slow start, but a little progress is made today

I started off today by taking the top back off – I figured I would have to do it when I am ready to put the final paint on anyway, plus I’ve been wanting to change those pitted windshield hinges (I’ve had the replacements painted for a few months now).


Pretty, huh? They sure do look a lot better than these did – these are on eBay if anybody needs some


Next, I jumped on the front end (not literally!). After jacking it up and putting it on stands, I grabbed the ties and wiggled them – looking for any play. The driver side had some looseness – I could detect a little play by pulling on the top of the tire. I pulled the tire off and tried to move everything, but I couldn’t get anything to wiggle. I tightened the kingpin bolts, but they were fine. So then I pulled the lockout hub apart to look check the bearings – that’s when I found the problem! The inner wheel bearing nut was looser than it should have been. I tightened it down and backed off until she turned freely, then put the retaining washer and lock nut on. I put everything back together and figured I would check the other side even though I didn’t detect any looseness. It seemed fine, but I re-adjusted them anyway.

Next I moved on looking for play in other areas. I found some in the bellcrank, drag link and steering gear!

I took the bolt out of the bellcrank because it had some side to side movement. I couldn’t tell where that movement was coming from, so I put it back together. It still had some movement, so I took a gamble and tightened the clinch bolt (?) on the back side of the bellcrank mount (that is riveted to the frame). It still had some movement, but not as much – so I tightened it more. It was getting better, so I put a cheater bar on the ratchet and tightened her down more. It was a good bit better, but I figured if I kept going something was going to strip, so I stopped there.

Next was the drag link – I tightened the plug on the front down as much as I could because it seemed like it was looser than it should be. I don’t know what you’re supposed to use to tighten them, but my biggest screwdriver was way too small. Maybe I’ll make a tool to do that with.

The sector shaft is moving maybe 1/16″ of an inch in the bore of the steering gear. I remembered that I didn’t replace the bushing when I rebuilt the box because it was going to be “too hard” – guess what? It’s going to be a lot harder now! I have about 4″ of play in the steering wheel before the tires start to turn. Most of that is in the steering sector and drag link – you can see the movement. All of the ball joints are new. I need to replace the steering shaft tube and bearing anyway. This is a job that will have to wait until after the rally.

I re-adjusted the steering gear, because I had tightened it up thinking that would take some of the play out – it just made it harder to turn the wheel!

I lowered the tire pressure back down to 25 psi. I am going to take the tires back to the garage that installed them to get them balanced too.

I checked the gas before my test drive – man, this thing is burning some gas! I’m down to about 1 1/4″ in the tank – it stops pulling at about 1/2″. I put 5g in it last time I was off. I took off on a test drive – went 6.5 miles. It seemed to drive better – maybe a little tighter. It didn’t do the “death wobble” this time, so that’s a good thing!

I figured out how the top bow tie down straps are supposed to be attached to the Jeep (after about 10 minutes) and installed them. They are held on by a footman loop. Of course when I started to take one of the screws out to put the strap on it, it stripped out – which turned a 5 minute job into a 15 minute job! They are done though – I’ll take a pic of them tomorrow.

I took Jordan for a ride with the windshield down because “she has never ridden in it with the windshield down” – her words – at least she wants to ride in it I guess!


Now, what to do tomorrow? My list is still pretty long.

Time to get busy!

Well, I’m off work again, so it’s time to get busy. It is now 71 days until the rally – CRUNCH TIME! I have 2 pages of things that I would like to get done to the Jeep before the rally – at least half of themĀ HAVE to get done!

The plan for today (after the chores around the house are done) is to tear into the front end and find the cause of “The Death Wobble”. I also have to order the stencils for the markings, some O.D. spray bomb, w/s wiper blades, and front bumper shackles.

I will report back on how much of this I get done.