Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bodies, Fenders, Hoods..OH, MY!

I'm not sure where I left off before.  I guess I COULD actually read one of these blogs to catch up.  Instead, I think I'm going to wing it. 

I have determned that the last jeep I dragged home IS a USMC converted radio jeep.  Or, in truth, it was a radio jeep of some sort.  The Marines converted it from a WWII model to the radio configuration around 1947.  The clues were there; this super sleuth just had to uncover them!  So I am on the fence for what type of restoration I am going to do on it.  WWII Army, WWII Marines, post war Marines?  Opinions welcome.

I finally got the piece installed on the floor beneath the passenger seat of the first jeep.  It is very obvious that it is a replacement patch.  Not so much because of my inadequate welding skills, but because of the newness of the steel in a sea of 70 year old, pitted and weathered floor!  Nonetheless, I got it in and primed  90% of the floor and most of the insides of the tub.  Not bad.  There are at least three more places that need attention, but I will get to those when I take the tub off.  The hat channels on the underside need bits and pieces fixed and it will be easier to do the rest with the tub upside down.  And for the record, I have not forgotten about the rear panel.  It is just easier to move around the inside of the tub without it at the moment.

Half full or half empty?  Let's discuss.

Mostly done.  The areas still needing attention can easily be identified.
Today, I got busy on the passenger fender.  It was already off so I thought, "What the heck."  The paint came of easily with the gentle coaxing of the hand-held grinder and then I sprayed the trusty rusty remover chemical across it.  There are a few hairline cracks that need to be hit up with the welder and one mounting tab needs to be made and welded on.  It is one of the small tabs that bolts the fender to the frame.  It is very common for those suckers to rust away and busticate off.  On a side note, I got a call from a fellow jeeper, Jeff, after I had called it quits for the day.  I didn't say a thing about what I had been doing and he said, "Put the grinder down.  I've got a questino for you."  I guess I'm that obvious.

Passenger fender all cleaned.  Check out the crazy drawing in the foreground.  No, Jack was not playing with chalk and it is not part of the famous larger than life chalk drawings in southern England.  The grinder vibrated out of my hands and went to town beneath the fender when I was working on it. With a cool mind and a calm hand, I just unplugged the runaway; this ain't my first rodeo.   Shhh, don't mention this to Sarah-she doesn't like it when I endanger myself while working on these things-so let's just keep this on the QT.

I did not take a 'before" picture of the passenger fender so I took this one of the driver's side.  Condition is quite comparable.  Note the pipe on the fender.  It is sometimes the accomplice of the BFH.  I use it as a leverage bar to loosen stubborn nuts.  It is big enough to tackle tough ones and small enough to fit in tight spots.  Is that what she said?
After the fender, I was still trolling for some garage action.  The hood was looking mighty fine to my eye.  However, before I could get some hood action, I had to play with the windshield.  It tried to resist my charms, but I managed to remove it entirely from the jeep.  Now nothing could stop me from the hood. 

Three of the five bolts were still secured and one of the bolts still had the radio suppression bonding strap!  Exciting, indeed.  I squirted the lube oil all over them and then got the wrenches out.  The bolt with the bonding strap practically jumped out.  One bolt has been weathered to the point that the #11 metric socket fit it best.  Odd, but I went with it.  And the last bolt...well, Bubba was challenging me, and I wasn't quite prepared for the extent of the damage that he had inflicted.  What an evil game of chess you play, sir.

Let's digress and discuss Herr Bubba.  Bubba is the arch enemy of any jeep restorer.  Bubba arms himself with wrenches, hammers, spare bits of iron and steel, aftermarket products, welders and sometimes metal cutting torches.  He prides himself in transforming a perfectly good, stock WWII jeep into something sinsister and goofy looking.  And more often than not, he succedes.  Enter the jeep restorer, who must undo so much of the artistic mockery that has taken Bubba years and years and years to perform. 

Today, I found Bubba's signature along the hinge of the hood.  At some point in time, two of the bolts either came out and/or the threads became stripped.  Bubba had one of his most destructive tools at hand: the welder.  Instead of making a proper repair, he hastily welded the left hand third of the hinge to the cowl.  "Look, Ma, no bolts needed!" 

Armed with my cleverness (which often isn't enough!) I had to use a hammer, a chisel, the cut-off grinder, a cordless drill, a screwdriver and a FUBAR to remove the hood.  But remove it I did...and with minimal damage, I might add!  In the end, the hinge was kind of messed up, too, which is probably why Bubba felt the welder was his best and easiest option.  I shall fix it, though!  And that's where I left off today.

Just a good pic of the work area.  Various tools of the trade are scattered about.   

The two holes on the left (between the hammer head and glove) were where all the Bubbafied welding occurred.
I can't remember if I posted this picture or not, but it was taken last Saturday morning.  My neighbors probably think that Bubba, himself, lives here.  Not Bubba...just me!  However, in their heads, there probably isn't much difference.  
Four jeeps!  One for each of us.
And I have I mentioned how MUCH I love Sarah?  Now would be a good time to do so.  I love Sarah...A LOT!

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