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Old 11-02-2008, 02:33 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Love these wagons - this looks like a great build
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Old 11-02-2008, 04:57 PM   #27 (permalink)
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awesome work.. I learned to drive in a 56 wagon on my dads lap
Cool! Got any photos of it?
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Old 11-02-2008, 05:31 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Thats one killer rig! I cant wait to see the outcome
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Old 11-02-2008, 07:12 PM   #29 (permalink)
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I got the exhaust 90% done. All except for 2 straight 4' pieces I will need to buy. I studied the new exhaust that I recently had custom made for my CJ and I was able to cut everything apart and reuse 2 identical pieces for tailpipes. Then I welded 2 other pieces to the original Tahoe manifold flanges. It worked out very nice. The rear spring pack is missing some leaves intentionally. They will be going back in soon. The left over 4 link center truss will be removed from the 9" axle housing too.





I studied the heat/air conditioning unit from the Tahoe and I believe I have a solid plan for getting it installed. Pretty interesting what I have to do to make it work, but it should be awesome. Mostly, I just have to remove all the unnecessary bulky plastic plenums and reposition some of the components.

The main unit fits under the dash nicely now. But, there definitely won't be room for a glove box. I am planning to make a completely custom dash anyway. The original dashes are pretty cool, but quite useless for anything other than the stock components.



The main plenum fits nice and high under the dash. I get giddy just thinking about having AC in this Jeep. :blob:



I removed the fan from the right hand side of the main unit. It will now have to be mounted on the engine side of the firewall.



Nice heat and AC switch panel. It's flat and will be easy to mount in the dash.



I also mounted the AGR power steering box. This task is about as easy as it gets. 2 holes through the frame with tube spacers and a plate for the bottom 2 holes. I merged the Borgensen steering shaft with part of the original shaft from the Tahoe. It really went together nicely and it is still collapsible in case of an accident. Although the steering box is already tapped for the ram lines, I think I am going to leave them capped for a while. I doubt I will need the ram with 35's on a daily driver.



Here is the Tahoe steering column. Very nice indeed. Everything will be used except the airbag components.


Last edited by MidnightBurn; 07-03-2009 at 11:14 AM.
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Old 11-02-2008, 09:29 PM   #30 (permalink)
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it's especially nice to see someone restoring the body and not just chopping it to hell...specially on such an old (classic) jeep. great work and good on you for that.
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Old 11-03-2008, 05:25 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Interisted to see how the heater/A/C unit works for you. As the owner of a FSJ I have been looking for a better soloution over the stock with out having to go after market
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Old 11-03-2008, 06:03 PM   #32 (permalink)
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this may sound weired but could u measure from these two points, im building a mish mosh of stuff and trying to figure out whats interchangable
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Old 11-04-2008, 09:13 PM   #33 (permalink)
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It's approximately 51" to the outside.
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Old 11-04-2008, 10:48 PM   #34 (permalink)
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Very Nice. Can't wait to see the finished product
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Old 11-06-2008, 04:53 AM   #35 (permalink)
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thanks alot for the mesurment
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Old 11-08-2008, 08:11 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Progress from today.

I made some changes. I discovered that the engine location interferred too much with the firewall, heater/air conditioning unit, steering column, and fuel pedal. So, I had to move it forward and more to the passenger side.

I originally placed it as far left as it could go without the exhaust manifold hitting the frame. This was necessary to keep the front driveline from hitting the transmission pan.

But with the engine back that far, the section of the firewall surrounding the valve covers and distributor had to be 4 1/2" deep for adequate clearance. But the heater/air conditioning unit was only 4" deep.

The steering column and fuel pedal had issues as well.

So....

First thing this morning I cut the motor mounts out and made new ones that would center the engine in the frame and move it 2" further forward. The only way to make this work is to go with an after market air conditioning condenser that fits within the grill opening, allowing me to move the radiator 2" further forward.

I am very happy with the results. I still have a decision to make regarding front driveline clearance. I can either go with a 2 piece driveline or have the Dana 60 retubed (again) and move the pumpkin 2" to the passenger side. I think a 2 piece driveline will be the best option.

After I got the engine placement completed, I spent the rest of the day making cardboard templates of the floor, kick panels, and firewall. It turned out very nice and will be easy to build. I will go have the pieces sheared then weld them all together. Here are the photos of how it worked out.







I decided to rebuild the original floor design with the tool box under the seats. But I may use it for batteries and speaker mounts. Not quite sure yet.





It took quite a bit of work to cut out the original floor, firewall, and kick panels. Now I am basically ready to get the entire tub blasted. I hope to get that done in the next month or so. It is very tricky. I have to have good weather with extremely low humidity. Even with that, I will end up with flash rust on the drive home, but I can easily remove any that develops. I am about to get up close and personal with body work and that means a ton of sanding.

Last edited by MidnightBurn; 03-17-2009 at 10:17 PM.
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Old 11-20-2008, 10:59 PM   #37 (permalink)
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I tinkered around and figured out how to use the original Willys horn button with my Grant steering wheel and still have a horn. Interesting how they go together so well. The colors even match.





Here's a picture of my little helper. Jasper, the friendly mocha ghost... Looking more like Santa these days.



I also cut out the original dash. I am working on a design for the new one. I got bored with seeing every Willys out there having the same old dash set up. And because they come welded in place, it doesn't leave many options. I will make it fit nicely with the new steering column, my Auto Meter gauges and all the Tahoe dash components. Photos of that process will be coming soon.

Last edited by MidnightBurn; 03-17-2009 at 10:17 PM.
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Old 11-21-2008, 08:24 AM   #38 (permalink)
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Very nice work, great build to watch. Don
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Old 11-21-2008, 09:02 AM   #39 (permalink)
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awsome job i like that ur restoring the sheet metal ill be keeping my eye on this build
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Old 11-23-2008, 07:09 AM   #40 (permalink)
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It's always fun to hear what other people do with their builds. We all learn so much from it. There always seems to be an infinite supply of ingenuity and incredible skill out there.

I have learned so much from studying what other people have designed and built, so I am not offended from your input.

I do have many years of experience with building daily drivers, trail rigs, and rock crawlers. It is my passion and I have had the privilege of building over 20 rigs in all since I started at age 18. Not to mention all the dozens of rigs I have modified and worked on for customers and friends. I'm now 42. Believe me, when I start a vehicle with this level of involvement, I think about everything. I consider to ridiculous levels how one part I build will affect or be affected by the other parts on the vehicle. My wife can attest to the burning of midnight oil and all the formulas written on everything in sight. I turn into a machine when I am building something. Sleep becomes a disappointing interruption to progress. Drives me nuts to get tired and have to go lay in bed when a perfectly good project is underway. If it wasn't for her coming out to the garage with food on a regular basis, I would probably pass out and crack my skull.

I LOVE THIS STUFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I build successful rigs because I consider dozens of little things that can become big things. That's the exciting journey of the design/build process, right? Anybody can slap a few parts together and make something go down the road. But it takes time, patience, and dedication to learning and implementing very difficult things to build something that will work like we all dream it will. I never stop learning from others. It's one of the best parts of engineering. So much talent and extremely smart people all around us.

Back to the build details...

The steering is not going to be a problem. I originally built this HP 60 for my rock crawler CJ7/Commando. But I got bored with it and parted out what I didn't want and transfered the good stuff over to this build. This wagon will never see the kind of extreme off-road articulation that the Commando saw, but interference has been accounted for.

Some of my friends have wondered what the hell!!! A perfectly good crawler and you tore it apart!!?? Yea, yea, I know, but I am planning to build a full tube buggy next time. How many CJ's, YJ's, and TJ's, do you see out there? Too friggin' many!! After a while they all start looking the same to me. It's totally unique buggy time.

The floor will be braced properly. No worries there.

More progress coming soon.

Last edited by MidnightBurn; 07-03-2009 at 11:17 AM.
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Old 11-23-2008, 02:48 PM   #41 (permalink)
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Great stuff. Makes me wish I still had the '61 with the Chevy 250 I swapped in 25 years ago. Wonder where it is now?
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Old 11-23-2008, 03:24 PM   #42 (permalink)
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Great work thus far, you certainly don't have a shortage of good vehicles!

That steering wheel and emblem look dam near factory!
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Old 11-24-2008, 12:21 AM   #43 (permalink)
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Great stuff. Makes me wish I still had the '61 with the Chevy 250 I swapped in 25 years ago. Wonder where it is now?
I feel the same way. I had a sweet 55 wagon that I wish I still had. That was my first 4x4 in fact. Learned a lot from working on that POS. Loved every minute of it. It had a great running 283 with an SM420/SP18 and I bought a brand new Saturn overdrive for it. It even had the original sweet front bumper with the upper guard and Willys stamped into it. What I would give for one of those now.

I saw a show the other day where a billionaire was able to track down a car he owned 30 years ago. He paid $1M to get it back. Unreal.

It's pretty amazing how many old Willys pickups and wagons I still see sitting behind barns and out in fields around here. Most are trashed, but there are still some straight ones too. This wagon had serious rust in the floor boards, but otherwise, the body is extremely straight. The hood and front fenders are always hammered it seems, but these are factory straight with no cracks. I think the odometer reading is really true at 45k. This wagon definitely doesn't have all the signs of being driven for 50 years. It just sat in a wet climate near the coast and rotted away under the original rubber floor mats. I could have spent more time finding a rust free tub, but I like the challenge of restoring one that deserves a second chance at life. Plus, it was untouched. Every single factory part is here. That is rare for sure.

Any of you guys with Willys wagons, post up some pics. I would love to see them for inspiration.

Last edited by MidnightBurn; 03-17-2009 at 10:18 PM.
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Old 11-28-2008, 10:12 PM   #44 (permalink)
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I have been looking at thousands of photos of wagons and pickups trying to settle on a good color combination. I think I have found one I really like. At least today...



This one looks very similar to what mine will look like as far as stance and lift. Can't wait to get this far.

Last edited by MidnightBurn; 07-03-2009 at 11:17 AM. Reason: Not needed.
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Old 11-28-2008, 10:23 PM   #45 (permalink)
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I have been looking at thousands of photos of wagons and pickups trying to settle on a good color combination. I think I have found one I really like. At least today...



This one looks very similar to what mine will look like as far as stance and lift. Can't wait to get this far.
If ya want an opinion. Not bad but.......

How about keeping the lower cream color and doing a burgandy/wine color up top ?
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Old 11-30-2008, 07:32 AM   #46 (permalink)
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Yea, I'm not settled on the colors. Just the paint scheme. But I will try to stay away from bergundy and wine colors. Not my thing. It will be either blue or green up top.
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Old 11-30-2008, 08:29 AM   #47 (permalink)
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Though its kind of hard to tell, my '54 wagon was originally a dark blue-gray color, but the underside of the body is bright turqoise. My guess is that the paint color was changed when the body was in the paint booth. Maybe they ran out of turqoise paint?
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Old 11-30-2008, 09:39 AM   #48 (permalink)
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Could be. There were lots of weird things like that back then.

You know, it doesn't ever seem to matter what condition a Willys is in; thrashed in a field, partially built with missing body parts, or completely done, they all look bitchin'!!!
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Old 11-30-2008, 11:08 PM   #49 (permalink)
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[QUOTE=

Any of you guys with Willys wagons, post up some pics. I would love to see them for inspiration.[/QUOTE]



Pushed it outside for the first time, I wish mine was moving along as fast as yours.
I had that same picture saved of that blue wagon, I thought it look great but now that Im going with a satin look Im thinking about painting it a dark green with ivory inserts and roof but have not found any pics of that color combo.


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Old 12-01-2008, 05:37 AM   #50 (permalink)
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Very nice! Your rig would be perfect for a big block of some sort. Or maybe an LS1. Something with some serious cohones.

You are doing some awesome and very challenging work with moving the rear fenderwell back. Not to mention the bottom of the doors and rockers. Huge commitment for sure. I considered it, but I don't know if I am ready for all that body work. I already have my fair share.

The one thing I really hate about Willys pickups and wagons is the way they did the rocker panels. LAME!! The outer rocker and the inner rocker support structure are so weak. I bought all new parts, but have not committed to putting them in yet. I am considering going with some heavier wall tubing to give it some real rocker support and better design. Oh yea, let's create a drain at the bottom of the door and let's just not weld up the rocker all the way and let the water, dirt, and grime drain down into the hollow support structure and kick this rust program off right!! Yea, let's do that and it will look totally stupid and everything. Yea! Yea!!

Thanks for posting. It is definitely inspiring to see another Willys project in the trenches. If I find any pictures of the paint scheme you are talking about, I will post them up for ya!
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