Monday, December 5, 2011

I Was Framed!

I started this weekend with a very simple, vague goal:  to begin cleaning up the frame.  I wasn't sure how far I would get into this endeavor and I didn't want to set any kind of expectations for progress.  Generally speaking with this restoration, my mind will set a target and grossly misjudge the time it takes to accomplish it. 

In order to maximize the cleanup of the frame AND still maintain the ease of mobility for movement, I decided (for the moment) to keep it on the axles so I could push it back into the garage when I was done "playing" each day.  However, before starting the cleanup, I needed to remove a few more accessories.  Earlier this week I ousted the engine.  On Thursday, I removed the transmission/transfer case and the crossmember they sit atop of.  Early Saturday morning I removed the steering wheel column, the master cylinder, followed by the clutch and brake pedals.  The latter proved to be the most stubborn. 

After removing the pedals and steering column, this is what I was left with!

Subject's profile.  The kids liked playing with the steering wheel.  They said it was like steering a pirate's ship.  I wouldn't know.

Subject's rear.  The massive pieces of steel along the bottom edge of the picture were added by Bubba and will eventually be removed...and this is a chore I am not much looking forward to doing.

Subect's other side.  Couldn't really find a good one.

The next step was to push the chassis outside since my neighbors REALLY enjoy looking at my little slice of redneck splendor and do some dirty work.  A lot of dried up mud fell off of the chassis and onto my garage floor with all of the banging and such that I did when removing the clutch pedal and tube.  When I got the chassis outside, I was amazed at how much more dirt and grease and sticks and crud were still stuck to the frame...especially wedged along the interior areas of it!  I grabbed my largest screwdriver, a hammer and a scraper and just went to town trying to removing all of the BIG stuff first.  I guess I had to clean before I could clean...kind of like cleaning your house before the professional cleaners arrive to clean.

Just an artistic shot of the dirt I knocked off with a scraper.

Again, more of the same dirt.

For some reason, I became quite infatuated with the dirt at this point.
And now I have swept the dirt up into a nice, tidy pile.  4.5 full dustpans later, it was in the garbage can.

After scraping the big pieces off, I pulled the garden house out and washed it down.  It was late in the afternoon at this point so it seemed like a good stopping point.

Post rinse down.

Shocking:  post scraping big chunks of dirt and rinsing it off with water.  And it STILL looks like this??!

Sunday the family had some shopping plans so I sandwiched the shopping trip between two down and dirty clean-up sessions.  Me, the frame and that old noisy, but effective grinder with the wire brush:  its "go" time.  Despite my previous days efforts to knock the dirt off, once the wire brush spinning at 3000 rpm's touched the metal, I ended up looking (and feeling) like Pigpen in the Snoopy cartoon.  It took awhile to cover it all, but I did all that I could with the axles and leaf springs still attached.  Eventually, I'll pop those guys off and get those last hard to reach spots, but for now it is 90% clean!  What I couldn't reach with grinder, I used a combination of wire brushes and screwdrivers.  Afterwards, I sprayed it with a heavy dose of this rust inhibitor/incapsilator chemical and then wiped it all down.

Mostly clean...and solid!

A good contrast between clean-up areas and not clean is the battery tray above the front, right tire in this picture. Ii did not clean the topside of the battery tray.  Why I forgot to clean it?  Who knows!

The front.  I did not forget the front bumper.  It is a postwar hunk of crap and will be removed...eventually.

And now you can tell that it is dirt free!

Now that I have had quite an up close and personal time with the frame, I can honestly say that it is VERY solid.  The only area that I found that needs to have some work done to it (besides the incorrect front and rear bumpers) is the area that was once cracked and then hastily welded back together behind the driver's side rear shock absorber.  This was not a surprise, either, since I knew about it prior to buying!  The pleasant surprise is the fact that the is the ONLY area that needs to be corrected!

The large lumpy area to the right of the shock absorber is the crack and weld job.

The rear axle is sitting at a slight angle and is pointing it ever so tenderly to the right.  I am not sure if it is out of alignment because of the crack in the frame and the placement of the rear incorrect crossmember OR if the axle just is not squarely attached to the leaf spring.  Perhaps it is a combination of all of the above.  This picture (poorly) shows the alignment issue.

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