Saturday, October 15, 2011

Third time's a charm...or is it strike three, you're out!

So, since our last meeting of jeeper-a-haulings, I've been getting busy.   I couldn't stand seeing that blemish on my rear end so I went ahead and had it cosmetically doctored up.  I cut the piece of steel and welded it to make the jerry can (or is it gerry can?) reinforcing plate complete, and then was able to finish priming the back nine.  Once the actual gas can sits atop its bracket and a spare tire is mounted, nobody (except the three people reading this blog) will ever notice the once upon a Bubbafied time when the rear panel WAS a tailgate!

I took a day's break resting on the monumentous laurels of the major tub job and did nothing.  Truthfully, I hadn't planned anything beyond that point.  So, as a filler for jeep work, I cleaned up all of the bolts and retapped the nuts that will be used to attach the fenders to the frame and grill.  I then removed the grill from jeep number two (the USMC radio jeep) and went about joyfully cleaning it up.  It was remarkably straight and did not require any major repairs.  The paint came off somewhat easily and within an hour, I had shiny metal glaring in my eyes.  Just about that time, my Inspector General was waking up so I gathered her out of her crib and had some coffee while she ate some waffles.  After breakfast, we both went out to the garage to check on the grill.  I was able to scrape off the remaining paint in the hard to get areas while Nora pointed at the next spot that needed attention.  Upon her approval, I rubbed a rust prohibiting chemical on it and then we spray painted it.

The grill of Jeep #2 before the clean job.

Definitely the approving nod from the Inspector General.

"Discotech!  Lets bolt this be-atch on a jeep!"  I'm fairly sure this is what Nora said after we painted it.

That afternoon, I began dismantling the grill on Jeep Number One.  I may attempt to make my own wiring harness, so I was trying to be EXTRA careful in the removal of the original one.  Amazingly, my steady hands and neverending patience won out and I was able to successfully salvage the original headlight harness AND the black-out light harness.  Victory.  There were several clips screwed into the upper and lower portions of the grill that held the harness in place.  Unfortunately, about half of the screws were beyond recognition and I ended up griding them off.  The flip side is that all but one of the original clips can be reused.  I haven't had a chance to clean that grill up, yet.  Also on schedule for it is to remove three broken off screws (which I did not break!).

Yesterday, I bit the bullet and made my last trip to NC to pick up the third little pig.  This was the worst looking jeep of the three.  Truthfully, it is barely a jeep...but, it CAN be recognized as once having been a jeep.  As a matter of fact, when I stopped at a gas station, a WWII veteran commented that it looked A LOT like his jeep when he last lost it in 1943.   Then the other bright, or not so bright, spot along the journey home happened when the jeep and I caught up to a military police HUMV convoy on I95.  Crazily, all of the GI's looked away as we rode buy.  I think the jeep was embarrassed, too.

Anyhow, this Willys, built on 6/8/44, actually tried to resist me taking it home.  I hope it wasn't because it resigned itself to going ahead and dying in the field where it has been sitting.  Oh, no.  This guy may (or may not!) be whole again, but if nothing else, it DOES have a lot to donate to making a completed jeep.  Besides having a great frame, two good axles, three leaf springs and a couple of fun bolt-on pieces, it has the matching glovebox data plates and frame serial tag  AND  the tub serial stamping that dates it to June of 1944.  This totally has the makings of a D-Day tribute.

When I said it resisted coming home, I meant it.  Two of the four wheels were locked, as in not rolling.  Russell, the great guy who actually accepted my money for these jeeps, had to fire up his tractor and drag the jeep around so we could get it aimed at my trailer.  I then backed up to the jeep.  With the ramps down, we attached his winch to the front axle and he moved the tractor to the rear to "help" push it onto the trailer.  Well, all we managed to do was push the ramps cockeyed.  Plan Two:  position the tractor to the side and connect a chain to the front axle of the jeep.  Since there isn't an engine in it, it was quite easy to accomplish phase one.  Phase Two of Plan Two:  lift the jeep skyward and back the trailer under it.  Objective completed.  Phase Three of Plan Two:  reposition tractor to the rear of the jeep, attach chain to bubba-ed bumper, and go airborn again.  Once in the air, Russell gently pushed the rest of the jeep onto the trailer.  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

Despite the two locked wheels and four flat tires, I still went through the complicatons of strapping all four corners down.  Four hours and forty-five minutes later, I backed this beauty into my driveway.  Nobody was at home, so I set about cleaning out the inside of the jeep.  TONS of leaves and debris.  Once everything was out, it was easy to see what I would be dealing with.   Realistically, it is more like what I am not dealing with.  Basically, the entire floor is gone, vanished, poof...disappeared.  But that was pretty much expected from the beginning.

Maybe not its best profile angle.

And truthfully, this might not be its best side, either.

I think I can see a bit of a grin in that ORIGINAL bumper. 

This does nothing but make that rear panel repair I did on Jeep #1 look AWESOME.

Who knew so much crud could sit where there isn't any floor?!

After a run through at Bo's Car Detailing Plus.  Check out the steering wheel. 
Think that happened the same time the rear panel got crushed?

Just a different perspective.  I'm not sure it helps, either.
Before calling it a day, with the jeep still secured on the trailer,  Jack and I filled up all of the tires and they seemed to hold the air.  I played around with the transmission and was able to get it into neutral.  Amazingly, the tranfer case also seemed to move and I was able to get it out of four wheel drive.  That was a good sign.  We then went to each wheel and jacked up the jeep to spin the tires.  Remarkably, three of the four would spin.  I guess dragging it around the field in NC helped to free one of the wheels.  Only one remained frozen and that was the front passenger side.  I really wanted not to take Russell's dad's advice in getting the jeep off of the trailer:  "Find a strong, sturdy a White Oak.  Wrap a chain around the tree and connect it to the jeep and just drive away."  

No, I really wanted to roll this guy off the trailer.  So today I spent a little bit of time knocking a turduckling of greasy dirt off of the hub.  Now that I could acually see the hub, I squirted a bit of penetrating oil into the edges of it and tapped around the surface with a hammer.  next, I opened it up and removed the spindle nuts, washers and bearings.  It was messy, but I was giddy as a doofus because I got to use several of my old school WWII tools that were made specifically for this job!  With the bearing out, theoretically the brake hub, with the help of some wiggling, should have slid off.  It didn't.  And adjusting the brake pads with the eccentric screws on the rear of the hub did not help, either.  However, I was overcome with joy just when I got the screws in the rear to move.

In the end, I used the BFH and a small steel bar and tapped around the edge of the hub until it came loose and then slid off.  The brake pads looked like they had a lot of life left in them, but no matter how much adjusting I did, I just couldn't get the hub back on.  As a last resort, I just removed the two brake pads and replaced the hub.  It was a bittersweet victory:  the hub now spins freely AND the drive shaft turns with it, but I had a couple of major, important parts left over!  Oh, well, the jeep doesn't even have an engine.  And Jack and I were able to push that beast off of the trailer!

Just a couple of the small, hidden treasures that are still on this jeep.  I know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

It is hard to read, but this is the frame serial number tag that reads 340503 and it matches the glovebox data plate serial number.

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