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Discussion Starter #21 (Edited)
a few tear down pictures added to the 1st post.

These next few are a little out of sequence as I just stumbled upon these. These are from the 1st Willys Run held in Charlemont Ma. It drew a small gathering of Willys fanatics and has since grown to 30 to 40 Jeeps. It's still going on today. The run was put on by good friend Todd who runs a local Jeep shop. I would date these at 1994, maybe '95. My Willys was still sporting it's obnoxious orange paint.
 

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Discussion Starter #22 (Edited)
the first is of good friend Jack from New Jersey. I blatantly copied his rig after meeting him that day. He later went on to open a fine Jeep shop in NJ that is still in operation today.

The little red one belonged to "the guy with the gun" If you were there, you'd be chuckling right now.
 

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Discussion Starter #24 (Edited)
And lastly, dear departed friend George Romond. The Willys community lost a great friend last year. May he rest in peace.

His 3B is being lovingly restored by Todd and his fine crew at Endangered Species.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
these are from the Paragon days circa 1999 to the early 2000's. Again - a bit out of sequence but I thought you'd like to see some rigs from our crew back then.

First set of beadlocks and the 37's on mine. Carnage ensued.

The blue 3B is owned by friend Todd. It sports an odd fire 225, a T98 hooked to a D18. There is an offset 60 in the rear. The front sports a D25 with custom made high steer arms. This rig looks exactly as you see in this picture today.
 

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Discussion Starter #26 (Edited)
This is Mike, known as "rolloverboy" here on Pirate. His rig sported a 4.3 hooked to a T18 and a D18. It sported full floaters front and rear and Swampers in a size i can't recall.

Mike went on to build 2 Willys inspired pro-mod comp buggies and competes regularly in the RCRocks and WEROCK series.
 

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Discussion Starter #27
And Eric - he is probably responsible for 80% of the good ideas and fab on my rig. A tool maker/machinist by trade, the impossible only took him 10 minutes longer than the possible. He's built countless axles, steering set up, bodies and frames for the Willys bunch up here in MA. He's since retired and moved to Florida. His rig just resurfaced last year after a few years tucked away. The new owner is very lucky.

This rig sported D44 full floaters front and rear, 4 wheel disc brakes and a 56 CJ5 frame. Being morally opposed to engine swaps, Eric stayed true with the Hurricane Four. He wanted more gearing however. We searched for a T98 for quite a while with no luck. So he adapted a SM420 to the flat head and the D18 with home made adapters. His adapter even clocked the D18 a few degrees. Cutting edge shit back then.

Here's the rig around 2000 with Eric giving a Pirate salute.
 

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Discussion Starter #28 (Edited)
So back on track here. I guess that was a long enough journey down memory lane.

In 06, Jim (lazydog on here) and I began to plan a trip to the 07 Easter Jeep Safari. I had never been. I knew I didn't want to take my rig in it's current state. The 42's and heavy axles were not cutting it. The overall weight was 4320 pounds. I knew I needed to make some changes before I made the trip.

The rig was put on a serious diet. Gone was the 14 bolt. It was replaced by a well built Ford 9 housing from a van. All the 8 lug stuff was removed and replaced with 5 lug lighter stuff. The Hummer wheels and 42's took a hike. 39 inch Iroks on light wheels took thier place. A whole bunch of other small changes were made netting a final weight of 3380.

1st pic is the rig on it's way to the scales. The rest are how it looked on the Moab trip. The rig perfomed flawlessly out there. It was back to feeling nimble and light. The 100 inch wheelbase was pretty ideal for all but the longest climbs. I did manage to bend a rear leaf spring attempting Mikey's hot tub. That was addressed not long after.
 

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Nice rig, and love the pics! Yeah my Willys is on the heavy side with 60/14 combo....that's why we are building my Dads Willys on the lighter side!

That's crazy you were able to drop 25% of the vehicles weight with your changes! That's got to change how it wheels big time. Have you noticed a big difference and what are they? Is there anything you don't like about the changes or is it all positive?

~Travis
 

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Amazing how you cut down the weight...pretty sure it feels much better now.
Really nice looking Willys.
 

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Discussion Starter #31 (Edited)
Nice rig, and love the pics! Yeah my Willys is on the heavy side with 60/14 combo....that's why we are building my Dads Willys on the lighter side!

That's crazy you were able to drop 25% of the vehicles weight with your changes! That's got to change how it wheels big time. Have you noticed a big difference and what are they? Is there anything you don't like about the changes or is it all positive?

~Travis
The only negative I can think of is that I got a bit over zealous in removing sheet metal. I have no proper firewall behind the seats. The heat and exhaust noise have gotten to be too much. You'll see why in the next couple sets of pictures. I'll be fixing that this fall.

Positives- the biggest to me was the steering. Steering the 42s was a nightmare. I don't want to go full hydro and the ram Assist did the job. But it was slow and would fade easily. That was eliminated with smaller tires and reduced weight. Second biggest gain - climbing ability. Not having to drag the 14 bolt up and over steep climbs made all the difference in the world. I saved over 300 lbs just on the axle swap alone. Third best - power. With a small V6 lugging 4300 lbs around, it was pretty sad. Smaller tires and less weight was like adding 50 horsepower. Out west it road and drove great, even on the street. It had no trouble pulling and maintaining 60-65 mph. Overall I couldn't have been happier at this point...

Thanks for the kind words everyone. More evolution to come.
 

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I forgot to mention I am on a similar road as you,I just sold my TJ last week to build a Willys. Just need to find a decent donor now. It's tough going around here to find anything! Cant wait for more of the evolution
 

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Cool man, thanks for the feed back on weight loss. Good info- I still can't believe you cut that amount of LB's that must have been some serious work! Man this really make me want to re-build mine! :flipoff2:

Keep it com'n

~Travis
 

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Discussion Starter #34 (Edited)
Cool man, thanks for the feed back on weight loss. Good info- I still can't believe you cut that amount of LB's that must have been some serious work! Man this really make me want to re-build mine! :flipoff2:

Keep it com'n

~Travis
It wasn't as hard as it sounds. The axle swap was worth 300 lbs. The tire and wheel swap was worth almost 50 lbs per corner. Right there is a good part of the weight. Then is was little things that added up. Like:

Syn winch line vs. wire
Aluminum hawse vs. steel roller
GM column vs. race car type set up
Remove rear seat and hardware
Tailgate and rear floor removed
1/2 ton brakes in front were worth 20 lbs per corner
Evaluate and consolidate tools and parts carried

There are a bunch more little things worth a few pounds each. But it all added up to almost a grand.

Again thanks for the kind words. I'll post up more soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #35
I forgot to mention I am on a similar road as you,I just sold my TJ last week to build a Willys. Just need to find a decent donor now. It's tough going around here to find anything! Cant wait for more of the evolution
It is tough. I'm thinking of heading to Nevada where my in laws live to find a clean start. I want to do a stockish one again....
 

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Discussion Starter #37
What happened to the CJ5 retro wheeler you were building a few years ago?
I ended up selling it before it was completed. Funny thing though - i have the oppurtunity to buy back the tub/body. it's in really nice shape still. I was thinking of doing a custom frame that would hold TJ suspension and axle bits. That would be kind of cool.
 

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Discussion Starter #38
this has nothing to do with nothing - it's just damn cool.

check this gem out!

Friend Mark is restoring his grandfather's 1953 CJ3B. His grandfather purchased it new in late '53. Story is - the day he brought it home from the dealer he removed the rear seat so he could carry his junk around. He wrapped it in a canvas tarp and stored it in his barn loft. It's remained there undisturbed for 59 years. Mark just discovered it last Saturday!
 

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Subscribed!....PM or txt me with your email and I think I have a few more pics for you....Ran into a guy at my $145 fuel stop in Longmeadow yesterday with a nice stock 3A. He says he is going down to the jeep rally next weekend in Ellington. And Todd has his Willys run this weekend I believe?
 
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