Thursday, October 6, 2011

Working in the Rear

Today, I had an opportunity to get down and dirty...with the jeep, of course, so I chose the bare-all backside.  For those that have never read this blog, or if you have short term memory loss, or if you read this blog, but really didn't pay attention, here is the current status of the rear of the jeep:  Bubba had once upon a time cut the rear panel out to make a tailgate and then spot-welded it back in place when he realized he was too big to sit on it.  I had removed the panel, cleaned up the area and today, set about putting it back in: permenantly!

The wide open, see everything, no secrets in this closet rear end.
I used two small wood blocks placed within the supporting hat channels to hold the rear panel in place.  With the panel "hovering" in place, I measured and cut the two pieces of new steel that will run down the left and right side.  I also had to make a couple of ninety degree bends at the top of each piece so they would match the upper lip that runs around the entire top of the jeep's tub.

Here is a good view of the two wood blocks that are holding the panel in place.

I wrote notes to myself on the rear panel.  They were reminders of the different dimensions I needed to use as reference points so the panel would ultimately AND idealy be put back in its original or minus 1/8", of course!
With the edges of the rear panel cleaned and deburred, I test fitted the driver's side piece first.  Not bad, but like always, I had to do a bit of finagling to make it work.  Satisfied, I then did a bit of welding to keep it secure and then went to work on the passenger's side.  It was a thinner gap that had to be filled and it was a bit more challenging.  The second one alway is, right?  However, it eventually got a good enough fit and was awarded the priviledge of being welded in place, too.

Both sides welded and rear panel is securely in place!
I do not have a piece of steel long enough to cover the bottom edge with one piece, so unfortunately, I'll have to do it in two sections.  I have the right side cut, but not fitted, yet.  Hopefully I get this part finished on Saturday and have all the scars ground down.  So, if you're lucky, the next time you see my backside, I'll have it completely covered and primed.  Now that is something to look forward too!

I also still have to weld the interior edges and fabricate two small support brackets, as well as, two small sections of the hat channel in order to finish it up.  I haven't decided if I am going to leave the wood blocks in place or not.  Originally, they were there.  However, being wood placed inside of a metal box, a great instigator for future rust is thus born.  These jeeps were never intended to be around this long, so the builders didn't care so much about the long term effects of rust.  They needed something lightweight, yet sturdy enough to offer support...and wood fit the bill!  And that concludes your bit of jeep history that you certainly did not ask for.  Sorry.

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