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Old 03-12-2010, 07:28 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Just another flatty build...

Well, I am really not starting from scratch on this one. I already have a pretty bad ass Willys, but like any rig, it does have its problems.

The story behind it:

I started the Jeep about 6 years ago; pretty mild, a carbed 4.3, kept the T-90 and the D18 and basically stretched the wheelbase 6" and sat it on locked Dana 44's spring over using factory YJ springs. I threw on a set of 35" KM BFGs and wheeled the shit out of it. It wasn't long before I realized how shitty carbs are, so that came off and got thrown in the dumpster. I did a TBI swap on it and it was much better. Then came the gearing issue... the T-90 sucked. So I did a bunch of research and decided that a Ford NP-435 would suit my needs really well. I wanted a 420, but I simply couldn't find one. I did the 435 swap and it was loads better, but the engine was never quite right, it always had a slight rod knock and I didn't like it. So I quickly rounded up another 4.3, and began a serious build on it. It got bored .030 with 350 flat top pistons (about 9.5:1) the biggest comp roller cam I could run with the TBI, 2.02/1.60 valves, port and polish job, screw in studs, guide plates, hardened pushrods, and comp stainless roller rockers. It also got an Edelbrock performer TBI intake, long tube headers, and a new Chip for the computer. Overall I was very impressed with it, so I left it be for a few years, only fixing things that I broke. I then had some bad luck with the tires, cut 2 in a row, and as some of you have found out, the KM 1s are getting very hard to find. So I decided it was time for an upgrade. I bought some 38x12.50x15 TSLs and mounted them on a set of Rock Solid Off Road Fabrication bead locks. I then continued to wheel it with great success conquering pretty much anything I wanted as long as it wasn't too steep. Unfortunately the front axle wasn't too happy with the tires, the shafts were begging for mercy, and the ring gear bolts got loose and all broke. Not only that, with my increased confidence, larger tires, steeper gearing, and a very stout engine, the stock Willys frame started giving up on me, even though it is plated at stress points. And finally, the body: its a tub... of shit. Probably one of the worst Willys tubs I have ever seen. The front clip, cowl, dash, and tailgate are all in really good shape, but the rest... its garbage. This is where I am now.

The plan:

Well, I really want to keep a Willys, or at least, the look of a Willys. Tomorrow I am going to pick up a YJ frame. I am going to strip it down except for the spring mounts, and narrow it to Willys width. I am also going to cut the bends out of it so that it is straight all the way back. This will allow me to bolt in my axles and springs with no modifications. Once I have the rolling chassis, I am going to cut the front clip off of the Willys Tub. I plan on Keeping the dash, windshield frame, and possibly firewall. I will be building a tube chassis off of the YJ Frame, but it will seriously resemble a Willys tub. Plans for the chassis are to have aflat belly skid no lower than the bottom of the frame, boat sides (the "door opening" will be taken from 10" down to 3" or so), and a dovetail that is only as wide as the Willys Tailgate. Im not sure if Im gonna keep the Willys fenders on the front or not... at this point I am seriously considering just making some out of tube since it would be a pretty easy task. I am also gonna build a decently tall stinger for it, and it will be tied into an external radiator hoop (that follows the grille line) and possibly the fenders too if I go with tube on those. The cage will be nice too, plans for it are to have a double roll bar behind the front seats with possibly some dimple died plates tying them together, windshield bars, etc. Overall, Im not really too sure on how Im gonna g about it just yet, but I know I will be keeping whats left of the tub intact until the new "body" is built from tube, that way I can get measurements and angles from the old tub. I want it to look like a Willys, so im gonna try to keep the angles as close as possible.

I'll be sure to take pictures and keep you all updated.

As it sits now:





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Old 03-12-2010, 10:25 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Looks cool...Cant wait to see how it turns out for ya! Good luck!
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Old 03-12-2010, 11:34 AM   #3 (permalink)
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i am in the early stages of a 60/14b in my 48 so i will be watching this.

Why not build a frame from scratch as opposed to modifying a YJ one?
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Old 03-12-2010, 01:07 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Well, the frame was cheap at $100 and there is nothing wrong with it. The material for a new frame would cost more, plus I would have to buy spring mounts and other little things too, so by buying the frame I am saving some money. Might cost me a little more work, but I am the owner of a Fab shop here in Chattanooga, so the tools are no problem. I dont really like taking money from my company to work on my own rigs with how the economy has been, so I am trying to do this as cheaply as possible. Other than the money, there is no real reason as to using the YJ frame. I think it will be plenty strong enough though, especially with it having a tube frame welded to it.

Last edited by Team Willys; 03-12-2010 at 01:08 PM.
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Old 03-12-2010, 01:15 PM   #5 (permalink)
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You'd be better off building a frame than modifying one. You aren't saving any money by trying to make something else work - sorry to burst your bubble.

Considering your plans involve a lot of tubing front and rear it's dumb to half-ass some frame that doesn't fit in lieu of building something that will fit what you are trying to do. If you don't value your time, you don't value your money.
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Old 03-12-2010, 01:23 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Willys are now invading pirate4x4.com

Kinda funny im starting my willys build in a week. I would build a new frame if i were you. Theres way too much involved making something work when it wont. You will be happier with a new frame.
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Old 03-12-2010, 01:38 PM   #7 (permalink)
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You'd be better off building a frame than modifying one. You aren't saving any money by trying to make something else work - sorry to burst your bubble.

Considering your plans involve a lot of tubing front and rear it's dumb to half-ass some frame that doesn't fit in lieu of building something that will fit what you are trying to do. If you don't value your time, you don't value your money.
Eh, its my jeep, my way. Saving money or not, saving work or not, Im gonna stick with a YJ frame. I mean, I agree that a custom frame is nice... don't get me wrong. The last flatty I put together (a 53 CJ-3B) got a custom frame, but it took a shit ton of time to get everything designed, and the shape of it still didn't please me all that much. Not to mention, he had over $500 in just materials for the frame (including tube, plate, mount brackets, etc). If I were keeping a full body, I too agree that a custom 2x4 box frame is the way to go because a YJ frame just won't fit a Willys body at all, especially if it were narrowed in the rear. But since this is going to be basically all tube, I think the general shape is better than what you can get with a fabbed frame. And I don't think modifying a YJ frame is a half assed way, just an alternative to fully custom. I mean, to build a custom frame, there is going to be butt welds and other welded places because I can't bend that size tube, not many people can. So, having a few joints in a factory YJ frame isn't going to be any big deal to me. I'll put some gussets on the joints and call it good.

However, if I change my mind, feel free to flame me all you want, and rub "I told you so" in my face. Until then lol.

I mean, if I had an unlimited budget, it would be getting a 60 and a 14 bolt linked front and rear, but that's not the case. If the darn thing wasn't falling apart around itself, I wouldn't be changing anything at all. I am just basically replacing the frame and body and keeping everything else. It worked great before, but Im just tired of fixing the frame and having a shitty body.

Last edited by Team Willys; 03-12-2010 at 01:42 PM.
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Old 03-12-2010, 02:17 PM   #8 (permalink)
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No one is flaming you, I'm just curious why if you are tubing a majority of the MB anyway why you would waste your time trying to adapt a curve frame to essentially a flat section of the Jeep. Also, why even bother if you are going to do tubing and a cage? Why not integrate the whole thing as a quasi-tube buggy?

You probably only need about 10-15 feet total to accomplish a custom frame section if you were dead-set on that. I'm just not following the logic. Spring mounts are cheap from places like Ruffstuff and would probably break even once you count in all the welding gas, wire and grinding discs it would take to make what you have "fit".

I find attempts to save money on something usually end up costing more in the end. I thought about doing what you were doing as I was unemployed for a while and on a budget stretching my 45 GPW, but in the end I decided it was better to go full custom. I was proven right as building my own frame fit my GPW way better than tweaking some other frame to fit.
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Old 03-12-2010, 04:56 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Yeah... I did think about the rear "curve" at the rear of the YJ frame. I was looking at the Willys a few minutes ago and see what you mean... The frame goes completely outside the inner fender on a YJ (lol, there's a customer's YJ sitting outside so I looked at it some), and if I narrowed it down to Willys width that would put that section of frame inside the fender well. I understand that. But heres the thing, also while looking at the Willys a few minutes ago, I decided that the rear fender wells aren't in good enough shape to fool with. So, im not really sure at this point. I really think I should do something about inner fenders as I don't want mud and other shit all over me while wheeling, but those just aren't going to cut it. So it looks like those are going to be custom as well.

Im still gonna get that frame tomorrow and see what I think when its just a bare frame laying on the ground. I might end up changing my mind and just go full custom, but for now, Im gonna stick with plan A and see what happens. I may end up having to ditch it all and start over, but we'll see.
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Old 03-13-2010, 04:07 PM   #10 (permalink)
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So I picked up the frame today:



Everything looks good, some of the brackets have already been removed, and I need to go through and weld up some places where they cut too deep, but nothing is all the way through so no big deal.

I do have a question though...

The more I think about about it, the more I think that it is completely retarded to run leaf springs on a buggy. I was gonna do it for simplicity, time, and money, but I mean, do it once, do it right, correct? So here's the deal... right now I am seriously considering a link style suspension, double triangulated rear 4 link, and a 3 link up front with a pan hard. Question is, what type of spring will be best; ORI Struts, Fox Air shocks, or Some type of coilover? I am looking at a 14" to 16" travel at each corner. I am aware that they will not fit under the hood, and that's exactly why I want them! Holes in the hood are cool! Lol. Anyway, what are your thoughts and opinions? Keep in mind, this will be used for rock crawling, and general trail riding, so High speed "through the desert" use is of very little concern to me.
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Old 03-13-2010, 04:38 PM   #11 (permalink)
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ORI's are bad ass. no need for bump stops, sway bars or suck down winches. so if you add all that stuff up they are less than a CO or airshock setup. thats what im doing when I build my buggy. good luck.
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Old 03-13-2010, 06:04 PM   #12 (permalink)
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x2 for ORI. I agree, better to go with link if you have the $$$.
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Old 03-13-2010, 06:42 PM   #13 (permalink)
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However, if I change my mind, feel free to flame me all you want, and rub "I told you so" in my face. Until then lol. (quoted so you remember )............

........linked front and rear, but that's not the case.
And then in your next post.......

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So here's the deal... right now I am seriously considering a link style suspension, double triangulated rear 4 link, and a 3 link up front with a pan hard. Question is, what type of spring will be best; ORI Struts, Fox Air shocks, or Some type of coilover?
Are you really trying to save money? ORI's, coilovers, and links? If you own a fab shop, a custom frame shouldn't be all that difficult for you. I mean do it once, do it right.......
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Old 03-13-2010, 07:34 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Unfortunately, money is an issue. Yeah do it once do it right... but after crunching some numbers, it looks like I'll have about $850 in just the links, NOT including steering components (probably gonna need new stuff) or any brackets I buy. I can design everything I need in my CAD program, but I don't have a brake big enough for 1/4" so I end up having to out source custom parts like that. In the end, if there is something available off the shelf (from like ballistic) it is usually cheaper for me to go that route. The idea of the ORIs came from finding out I was gonna be getting a little extra money here soon, (like $800) so I thought; "Hey, I can just throw in a little more and go ahead and get some ORIs," but in all my excitement, I forgot about link cost... So, unfortunately, that looks like it may get put on the back burner for now. I am gonna go ahead and set it up on leafs for now and get the chassis all built. That kinda needs to be done first anyway in order to be able to weigh the rig at all four corners before getting coilovers/air shocks/ORIs, what ever I end up with. Since the frame and axles are already set up for Leafs, and I already have them, I will not be wasting any time or money to use that for now. They will simply bolt in. Another limiting factor is time. It ABSOLUTELY has to be done no later than July the 1st, earlier if possible. And, May 5-10 I will be on vacation in Las Vegas checking out some hunnies at a topless pool party or two , so thats gonna require some cash too. The trip itself is already paid for, but I have to have spending money for once I get there. If I get the chassis done and end up having enough money to get links and ORIs, I will swap over then. But it might be after the July trip depending on how time and work goes.

Last edited by Team Willys; 03-13-2010 at 07:35 PM.
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Old 03-13-2010, 07:53 PM   #15 (permalink)
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just sayin http://pirate4x4.com/forum/showthread.php?t=870848
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Old 03-14-2010, 06:30 PM   #16 (permalink)
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That's a cool rig I guess, although I have never been a big fan of Toyotas really. If I were going to build a frame that had rails, it wouldn't be roung tube. Just saying... I would use square tube so mounting things to it is easier.

Anyway... I picked up some stuff from the Pull-a-part today. I got a COMPLETE wiring harness from an 88 chevy s-10 blazer with a TBI 4.3. I do mean everything, from the headlights to the tail lights. The only thing I didn't get was the cruise control stuff and the power door lock wiring. Obviously I wont need that stuff so it doesn't matter. I also picked up a Cherokee Tilt steering column (the GM harness will work with the turn signal switch in the Jeep column), as well as a set of Pedals (gas, clutch, and brake with the brackets) also from another cherokee. Currently I am running the AA kit and its a real piece of shit, so I am gonna throw it in the trash. Im gonna try to go get the tube on Wednesday evening, and then hopefully I will be able to get started pretty soon.
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Old 03-14-2010, 06:35 PM   #17 (permalink)
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That's a cool rig I guess, although I have never been a big fan of Toyotas really. If I were going to build a frame that had rails, it wouldn't be roung tube. Just saying... I would use square tube so mounting things to it is easier.

Anyway... I picked up some stuff from the Pull-a-part today. I got a COMPLETE wiring harness from an 88 chevy s-10 blazer with a TBI 4.3. I do mean everything, from the headlights to the tail lights. The only thing I didn't get was the cruise control stuff and the power door lock wiring. Obviously I wont need that stuff so it doesn't matter. I also picked up a Cherokee Tilt steering column (the GM harness will work with the turn signal switch in the Jeep column), as well as a set of Pedals (gas, clutch, and brake with the brackets) also from another cherokee. Currently I am running the AA kit and its a real piece of shit, so I am gonna throw it in the trash. Im gonna try to go get the tube on Wednesday evening, and then hopefully I will be able to get started pretty soon.
you have a " fab shop "........dont be scared, shit I will hold your hand if i have to
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Old 03-14-2010, 07:18 PM   #18 (permalink)
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you have a " fab shop "........dont be scared, shit I will hold your hand if i have to
LOL!

Yes, yes I do. But there is a point to where you have to decide whether you are doing something just to be different, or if you are doing it for functionality. The tube is way cool, and would be super easy to build... but IDK, I just like the tried and true 4x2x1/8th I guess.

I didn't pay to advertise on here or I would give you a link to my website and show you some of the things I have done. Some pretty cool stuff, although at this point the nicest thing I have done is a hybrid interior/exo cage on an XJ. I also help design and build a 53 CJ-3B for a buddy, but it was done at another shop (before I opened mine), so I don't claim it haha. The business has only been officially open (as in my daily job with all of the legal jazz taken care of) since October. I did it on the side for a while, but got laid off from my day job and turned this into a full time affair.

Last edited by Team Willys; 03-14-2010 at 07:20 PM.
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Old 03-14-2010, 09:38 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I think building a frame would be better as well, but it's your jeep so it's your choice. I use a free CJ2-a frame on my MB, granted NO, it's not the best choice. I would have much rathered build my own frame, but it was free (besides the time - 10 hours).

Look forward to seeing more progress man! I too am not a fan of the toy engine in a Jeep.

And a fyi, you have a CJ2-a tub.
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Old 03-15-2010, 03:51 AM   #20 (permalink)
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good luck with the build
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Old 03-15-2010, 09:01 PM   #21 (permalink)
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I know I have a 2A tub... I also have a 3A windshield frame (not pictured), and MB grille and front fenders. Pretty cool stuff. Wish I did'nt cut up the front fenders and grille though, they would've been worth a lot f money, but not anymore... Oh well. I didn't get anything done to it today. I had to work all day on putting the OBA York compressor on the LS powered FJ I have been working on (I did the motor install and wiring). Only thing I did was unload the frame off of the trailer and got it in the shop. I hope to start stripping it the rest of the way down and getting the frame parallel, but it may be a few days. I have a customer dropping off a 2000 XJ for a rear bumper build and tubular rocker replacements.
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:59 PM   #22 (permalink)
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I find attempts to save money on something usually end up costing more in the end. I thought about doing what you were doing as I was unemployed for a while and on a budget stretching my 45 GPW, but in the end I decided it was better to go full custom. I was proven right as building my own frame fit my GPW way better than tweaking some other frame to fit.
Putting together your frame was easier than the SAS/frame extension on my Toyota.
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Old 03-16-2010, 10:32 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Well, I got my frame built, or modified, tonight.

First thing I did was remove the YJ body mounts.



Then I determined how much the frame needed to be narrowed at the front and the rear to get it down to Willys width (30 inches on the outside), I needed to remove 3" from the front cross member, and a whopping 12 3/4" from the rear ones!!! So I made some measurements and made the marks.



Then, time to start cutting!



Once I got the frame rails separated, I needed to remove the bends to get the rails straight so they are the same width all the way back.





Then, time for some welding! (This is for you welding Nazis!)



Looks like a robotic weld, huh?

Once all 4 bends were straightened, it was time to weld the cross members back together. I made sure everything was square and clamped the cross members to some 3x3x1/4 tube to hold it all while I welded it back. It all went VERY smooth, and only took about 4 hours to do it all.

Feast your eyes on the only 30" wide straight YJ Frame!



I still need to remove the shock mounts... I was gonna leave them on just in case I could use them, but I know they wont work, so they are gonna hit the scrap pile as well.
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Old 03-17-2010, 03:34 AM   #24 (permalink)
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I have to say that I think it would be easier to build a frame from scratch but the frame looks pretty good to me. I'd use it under my Willys.
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Old 03-17-2010, 06:13 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Easier??? I don't think it really could've gotten any easier... I didn't have to do much at all. I was working by myself at a relaxed pace and still got it done in 4 hours, including removal of a bunch of brackets I didn't need. I highly doubt that it would be any quicker to build a frame from scratch. Not to mention, this was cheaper. I only used one flap disc, 1/2 of a grinding stone, and a couple of cut off wheels. And VERY LITTLE wire/gas for the welding portion. I have less than $20 in consumables in doing this. So... less than $120 to get it where its at. You can't build a frame for that price.

On another note... this frame wouldn't work well for a Willys b/c of the hump in the rear frame section, you would have to run a huge body lift or cut the floor out to use it. BUT, I am not building a Willys. I am building a tube buggy that looks like a Willys. There's a big difference. I think its gonna rock! With the frame only being 30" wide, and with a flat belly skid, its gonna have a TON of clearance with the boat sides! I am really anxious about picking up the tube so I can get started on it.

This Saturday I am going to take the Jeep out in its current form one last time. Its been a good Jeep, it deserves one last go at it before I tear it apart.

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