Thursday, November 17, 2011

Back in the Saddle Again...after a 2 week hiatus.

So much time has passed since my last update.  Rest assured, I have not completely sluffed off and lost interest in this endeavor.  First off, I was offered an invitation to attend a military timeline at Patriot's Point with a great group of guys that do an awesome First Infantry Division WWII impression.   Shhh, I don't think they noticed my jeep's 4th ID bumper markings!  Next, I was fortunate enough to be invited to Jacksonville, FL to attend a few worthwhile events WITH the good jeep.  The week began at TPC Sawgrass and their annual fundraising golf tournament Birdies for the Brave.  The jeep was a showpiece by the front door of the clubhouse on Sunday and Monday.  The tournament raises funds for several different charities and the most noteworthy one (in my humble opinion) is the Wounded Warrior Program.  Later in the week, the jeep returned to the CSX headquarters for their Military Appreciation Day.  They also had a small honoring for Warren inspiration for restoring GPW 261722 (aka the Good Jeep).  Warren attended the event with me two years ago and was a guest speaker prior to us riding together in the 2009 Veteran's Day Parade, as well as our sequel ride in the 2010 parade.

The "Good Jeep" displayed in front of CSX headquarters Nov. 2011.  Beside it is a photograph of
Warren in the jeep from 2009.  It was taken immediately after I presented him with his overseas hat
 with regimental insignia. Thank you to Bill Bergeron for the picture of Warren.
The following Day, Friday the 11th, I participated in the Veteran's Day parade in Jacksonville.  This was the first jeep ride through downtown Jacksonville where Warren did not sit beside me.  I kept him in my heart, but it wasn't the same.

When I got home, it was hard getting back into the jeep project.  Somehow, I managed to get going again.  I finished up the rear end of the body.  All that is left is to grind down the weld marks and to weld in one of the tabs that secures the body to the tub.  I am going to wait, though, to test fit it with the rear crossmember. 

Yesterday, I moved up to the front passenger side to replace one of the hat channels that travels beneath the passenger chair and then do the floor/hat channel repair in the front corner.

My test fit for the cardboard template hat channel.  Not too shabby!
The above piece proved to become a colossal pain in my arse to bend.  I am officially declaring my minature brake press for metal bending a bonifide PIECE OF DOOKIE.  Yes, it's name has been reduced to POD.  I struggled and struggled to figure out a suitable method to make all four bends.  the first one was easy, but the other three became quite difficult.  I am quickly exhausting all of my creative juices to produce these suckers.  I suppose I should be embracing the challenge of limited resources in the garage!  Nonetheless, I accomplished the feat and it only took me two or three hours yesterday.

Today, I knocked out the floor/hat channel section in the front corner.  It proved to be a three part process.  First part (after cutting the crap out) was to repair the bottom section of side panel brace.  After that, I needed to fabricate the floor with a small bend and last would be the section of hat channel for support.

The magnet is holding the bottom section of the side panel brace in place prior to welding.

Both hat channels are just sitting in place waiting for the mad man with his torch.
I purposely did not weld the hat channels down and finish the job.  The originals contained wood pieces inside for strength, hence the fact that the channels need to be replaced due to the fact that wood attracts moisture.  I have yet to decide if I am going to leave my replacements empty, fill them with wood or fill it with some sort of vinyl blocks that I found at Lowes.  I am currently leaning towards the latter option...and the only one that will ever know is the next poor, dumb bastard that restores this tub in 60+ years!

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