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Willys Fan
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Discussion Starter #1
I've been learning a lot reading posts on Pirate, and I thought I would take the plunge to start posting my build. A little background: I've been tinkering around on the same 53 CJ3B for most of my life. Here's a shot of my rig and me in 1962...I'm on the right.



My grandpa bought it new in 53, my Dad owned it after Grandpa passed away. The engine eventually seized. It sat for a while, then I rebuilt it in high school with help from my Dad. In the late 70's /early 80's I swapped in a Pontiac Iron Duke 4, saginaw steering, 11" brakes, and the typical white spoker wheels and 31" Dick Cepeks. At one point it got wacked by another car, bending the frame and body, and while I got it fairly straight with help from some frame shops it was never quite right. I started on a next phase of build to install a 4.3 Chevy service crate motor I got a good deal on, and some other mods, but the frame problems bugged me, and I was a bit stuck on what I wanted to do to address that. Moves, job demands, raising my family, and my other side career in a blues band led me to set it aside, and it languished for many years. After seeing all the great frames and overall builds that folks have done on Pirate, I'm now back at it, and have planned out the design and started building.

Here's a summary of the "CJ3BL" build plan. The "L" in the CJ3BL build name is for "Long" as I plan a stretch, and also since my initials are "BL".

Frame: 2"x5"x0.120" stack construction, with 2"x5"x0.188" bumpers. 142" long bumper to bumper.
96" wheelbase (16" longer than CJ3B, 2.6 longer than YJ/CJ7.
2.5" YJ Springs, SUA
Chevy 4.3 V-6
T-18, Dana 18, Warn OD
Dana 44 Rear: Original housing with Summers Brothers Full Floater Axle. Currently 11" Drums- may change to disc.
Dana 44 Front: CJ Wide Track width, with Chevy small spindle/Ford Hub/Chevy Disc Brake/Ford Rotors
Currently have 33" BFG's on Weld forged wheels, but may move up to 35's.
Original/modified Grill, Hood, Fenders, Cowl. Back tub will be fabricated.
Cage, side bumpers will mount direct to frame rails, essentially as a buggy. Body panels will mount to frame/cage structure while keeping the overall look fairly traditional. I think I have it worked out pretty well on how I'll attempt do this.

I don't have a CAD program, and I use Illustrator for a lot for other stuff, so I laid out the design in Illustrator as 2D line drawings. I did the layout at 1:1 scale with giant fonts. I used separate layers for dimensions and major design elements so that I can turn on and off details as needed. I then shrink to print 8.5" x 11" sheets to work from.

I've been building for a few months and have the basic frame done. I've been taking pics as I go, and I think I now have posting figured out, so will start posting pics of the build and get caught up to doing it real time.
 

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Check out Draftsight. It is a great free 2d cad program. It is just like Autocad.

I'm looking forward to seeing a new project in here!
 

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Willys Fan
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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the tip Meiser! I dig your rig, and really learned a lot from reading your build thread! I really like your low CG concept.
 

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Sounds awesome, I for one, am ready to see some of those progress pictures. Maybe one of your design drawings too?
 

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Will be good to see another 3B on here, give the rest of these guys some idea of what the finer side of life looks like!
I'm interested to see how the 2.5" springs do for you with ride height as well.
 

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Willys Fan
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Discussion Starter #10
Front Bumper

Thanks for all the comments everyone! I agree, a3dhunter! I'm sure partial towards my 3B.
Here's the first installment of some build pics.

I started with the bumpers and frame rails. The frame rails are 2" x 5" x 0.120" A 500 Grade B. Both bumpers are 2" x 5" x 0.188". Since 2" x 4" is more typical, I thought I might elaborate on why I went with the 5" height material:

I like the 5" "kick" height of the stack rail front and rear for better axle/steering clearance at full stuff- it's about the same as the original frame elevation over the axles ( I measured my old frame at 5.5" at the arch). The larger section also increases the 2" x 5" x 0.120" stiffness to about the same as 2 x 4 x 0.188" but with less weight. I plan to build somewhat buggy style with no separate body mounts. I like the idea of tying in the roll cage to the frame directly, and having decided that, it didn't make sense to me to have flexible body mounts with a body assembly and cage that move relative to each other to fatigue the body metal. Since there will be no body mounts, I get rid of the original 1" of mount pad and underfloor bracing above the rails. The bracing will be flush with the top of the rails. The height from the rail bottom to floor surface will be essentially the same as stock, but with stronger 1" taller rails. Lastly, I think the proportions of the bumpers and rails will fit well with the tall grill/tall hood 3B appearance. It will be interesting to see if these ideas all work out!

Since I laid out my design measuring and mocking parts up first, I decided to put D-Ring mounts, winch mount, pintle hook, and fuel tank mounting elements together before the bumpers are attached to the rails, as it's much easier to manipulate.

Some folks have commented on other threads that they like to see step by step how to info, so I tried to take plenty of photos. Let me know if this amount is of interest, or too much to wade through!

Here's the finished Front Bumper. It's 50" wide. I'm trying to keep the overall vibe in a "beefed up traditional" direction.


Here's step by step shots:
Taper cut to bottom ends, showing chamfers for good weld penetration. Caps for the end taper (shown later) are cut from the same tubing and include the tube radius and chamfered edges.

Winch is mounted so fairlead is under bumper, like Meiser's Rango lay-out, to keep weight low and provide better airflow to radiator. I also benefitted by using Meiser's countersunk socket head screw concept on the upper two mounts. I have an old Delta wood lathe from the 40's that has a gear reduction and cross slide to allow simple metal turning, so I made these up on that.

Lay-out and starter holes drilled for cutting holes for through-bumper D-Ring mounts from TMR:

I cut the holes using a portable jig saw, with the blade shortened by cutting it off with a grinder. This keeps the blade from banging into the opposing wall of the the bumper tube.

Filed for close fit, while checking with a combo square to assure the mount will be perpendicular to the face of the bumper.

D Ring Mounts welded front and back:

Cut out winch plate from 0.250" 1018 cold rolled plate with jig saw:

Winch plate and mounting boss welds. I fixtured the plate with some short lengths of square tube clamped to the back to keep the fairlead flange from warping inward while stitch welding to bumper. Decided to stitch weld rather than welding full perimeter of plate to reduce heat and bumper warp. Will seal unwelded edges with body sealer before paint to minimize rust. Gussets are curved to provide smooth edges at sides beyond fairlead.

Ground and filed winch boss welds to make pretty (they don't see much load) The tape is Gaffer's tape. I put it around hole to keep from scratching up the surrounding area while filing the welds. It comes off when done without gooey mess.

Tacked and welded Taper caps, then cut ends and fit end caps, which were also cut from the same tubing preserving the edge radius, then chamfered, tacked and final welded end caps. Finished bumper picture above. Now on to the rear bumper...
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Rear Bumper Part 1

The Rear Bumper is also 2" x 5" x 0.188". I plan to delete the original lower body panel below the tailgate, so the rear frame rail will not have a "kick down" at the rear. The rear frame rail will extend straight back and the bumper will be level with the frame rail. The top of the bumper will form the lower opening for the tailgate. The rear floor will have a short rise above the fuel tank, which will be positioned in the typical later CJ location, (but mounted higher). The rear wheel wells will not be comp cut, and will have a traditional curve , but that will transition into the bumper ends. More on the bumper ends and body corner ideas in the next post. I also plan to run a Pintle hook to tow a military style trailer for camping I hope to build when the 3BL is done. The Pintle is positioned so the top edge of the latch is just below the level of the opened tailgate.

Here's the bumper coming together:
Pintle hook bosses, internal reinforcement plate, and TMR D-Ring mounts. The pintle reinforcement plate slides in the tube from the end, has one rosette weld to position it, and then the Pintle bosses bear against it. I turned the Pintle bosses from 1.25" 1018 cold rolled bar. I used the large diameter bar stock for the bosses to provide a larger clamping surface against the interior plate. The bosses are countersunk to accept 1/2" cap screws inserted from the back, so there is nothing protruding on the inside face of the bumper (The D-Ring mounts are 27.5" apart, so the backs protrude inside the frame rails). This allows the fuel tank to be mounted close to the inside face of the bumper to maximize clearance with the rear differential at full stuff.




The Fuel Tank mounts to the bottom of the bumper at three points using 1/2" NF Screws. I turned and threaded some bosses that are welded with two rosette welds at each side to mount inside frame. Shown in the picture is a boss and a little fixture I made to clamp the boss in place for welding.



Fuel tank mounting boss ready for welding. (I used the scribe to dig in to the surface of the boss to keep it from spinning as I tightened the fixture screw).



Fuel Tank Boss welds:



Pintle reinforcement plate slid inside rail from end, then bolted in place for rosette weld to fix it in position:



Positioned Pintle Mounting bosses in rail, then bolted to clamp in place for welding. Edges chamfered for good weld penetration.



Pintle mounting boss welds:



TMR D-Ring mounts welded front and back:



Overall bumper with Pintle mounted temporarily:



The ends of the bumper are a little different...next post.
 

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This is a perfect level of tech, and your pictures are great quality too. Keep it up.

With the 5 inch stack frame are you going to have room for the grill mounts?
 

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Willys Fan
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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks! I appreciate the feedback! Great question Meiser! The rails will be spaced of 27.5" c-c, as in stock, but I am deleting the elevated brackets that the grill would normally mount to. Instead, the grill will mount directly on top of the rail with a threaded boss internal to the rail, a thin rubber washer cushion, and I'll be using bolts that have a nylock feature along the threads to keep them from loosening. My old original frame had the elevation height of the grill mounting bracket top at 9.8" from the lower edge of the central rail. Mounting the grill directly to the top of the 5" stacked rail places the grill at 10" elevation - the same height as the original relative to the bottom of the rails, so no increase in center of gravity. One concern with directly mounting the grill to the top of the rail is frame flex fatiguing the grill, but a 2" x 5" cross member will sit right behind the grill (with through hole for steering shaft) and I plan to extend the cage structure into the engine compartment, so this should reduce front frame flex.
 

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My frame does not flex at all that I can detect.

Nice idea on the integrated front grill mount. Welding might ruin a plastic lock nut. An all metal one might work better. You could also go all the way through the frame with a flush socket heat on the bottom. You could thread the insert and use a stud that was bottomed out in a blind threading situation. That would actually be handy for assembly since you don't have to try and line up the fastener, you could just drop the grill in place over the studs.

Being able to replace all parts of the fastening system is worth the extra work in the long run.

Are you TIG welding everything? What machine are you using?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Hi Meiser-
I'm TIG welding everything. I have a Lincoln Square Wave TIG 175, and I really like it. I used to have a Hobart 120V MIG, but I sold it and moved to a bigger TIG to handle a little bigger material and I like using TIG better. I need all the help I can get with my meager skills, and I like the control it gives.

On the grill mount, to clarify a little more - I am not welding a nylock nut, as you are right - that would melt the nylock material out of the nut. I'm welding an all steel female threaded boss on the interior of the rail (pics coming soon on how I'm doing this). The cap screw that threads into this internal boss to mount the grill shell has a nylock strip along the threaded shaft of the screw. See "Thread Locking Cap Screw" on McMaster-Carr site. I thought this would be a good solution as the screw can't be that tight given the I don't want to squash the 1/8" thick rubber washer I'll have between the grill and frame. More info coming soon!
 

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The curved gussets on your winch fairlead, did you bend them yourself or cut them from the square tubing?

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