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Discussion Starter #1
Ever since I was a boy I've played with Jeeps. Micromachines, hot wheels, or play mobile, anything that was jeep drew my attention. In early April of 2014 I purchased what is titled as a 43 ford GPW. Before I knew it I was trailering the old girl home (the jeep had been parked back in 2005 and placed on non-op. It wasn't running when I purchased it.) Due to a fellow pirate members suggestion I've decided to start a thread for the build. Any and all Advice, Experiences, Thoughts, Opinions, ETC. are welcomed! Willys builds I have read through on the forum and I'm using as my inspiration are of course, SVARAS, Grahm, Dobbs-1, and APU.

Specs on the Willys:
-Buick 231 engine from 1985 (not sure what it was pulled from)
-TH350
-NP231 23 spline tcase
-Dana 44 rear
-Dana 30 front
-York style onboard air
-Warn winch model 8274
-33x12.5 tires
-Disc brakes up front
-Drums in the rear
-Tall windshield (I've heard people say it's custom from the Fresno, CA area)

Now for the good part, PICS:

-Loaded on the trailer for it's ride home-


After getting the Willys home I immediately parked it in the garage and let off a couple bug bombs in it. That killed all sorts of critters.

-The next order of business was to rip out the carpet interior-


-And of course the carpet was hiding nothing other than rust-


The battery was interestingly located at the passengers feet, which will be relocated (as if leg room wasn't already cramped in these Jeeps.)


-A quick spark plug change and she fired right up-


-Uncovered a little patch of original paint on the frame (funny how this sort of thing gets us excited)-


-Time for a chassis swap. Face Off-


-The old Chassis after removing the body. I was finding frayed wires all over the place. The Willys was a huge fire hazard-




-Finally, this is how the willys sits as of this past weekend-
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Also to mention:
The new chassis sits with 4.56 gearing, ARB air lockers, and a 4 inch rough country lift.

My very loose plans that with any amount of convincing are subject to change as of right now are to run it with 35"s.

I would like some input as to the body positioning. In the above picture it currently sits with a 2.5 inch body lift. Should I change this so it sits closer to the frame? Im going to center the rear wheel well over the back tire. But should I run it with an extended hood and fenders spaced forwards as SVARAS did in his original build, and Dobbs-1 has done in his? I think they were extending their fenders forwards around 10"

Can't wait to hear some opinions and advice from all of you!
 

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Very cool start! I've been considering a similar build based on a TJ frame and suspension. Just can't find a decent TJ base up here in New England. Too much rust.

I'll be watching this one!

If it were me, I'd ditch the body lift. What wheelbase are you shooting for? Personally I think a 10 inch nose stretch would look bizarre. But I'm biased. I don't care for any stretch in the fenders and hood. Can you stretch the tub some and maybe the nose some? That would give a better look in my opinion.
 

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I agree, spread the stretch out between the nose and tub. Place the firewall where the TJ's would have been, then stretch the tub back.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The wheelbase is at 93.4" as it sits.

if I were to keep the body stock and just bolt it together I'm approx 3" short of fitting the powertrain behind the grill (That is with the tub centered over the rear wheel well, and also with the putting in of an EXTREME short shaft kit from teraflex onto the NP231 t-case this past weekend. That allowed everything be to pushed back about 3" further than it was with just teraflex's short shaft kit on the NP231. I suppose I could just shorten the rear driveshaft, but it's tiny as is and I'd rather stretch the body out somewhere in order to fit everything behind the grill.
 

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A 3 inch stretch between the cowl and the fenders would be easy to do and if you made it bolt in you could reverse it if you didn't like the look.
 

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if I were to keep the body stock and just bolt it together I'm approx 3" short of fitting the powertrain behind the grill (That is with the tub centered over the rear wheel well, and also with the putting in of an EXTREME short shaft kit from teraflex onto the NP231 t-case this past weekend.

I'm a little lost now, the grille needs to move forward 3" or the tub needs to stretch 3" to get back up to the grille? If it's the latter I'd add that 3" to the leg room area, there is a seam right in the middle of your tool cutout on the right side of the tub, it looks like the seam on the drivers side is hiding under some bondo. I like your mockup with the rear fenders where they belong, that ends up weird on so many builds.
 

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It is your jeep, if you need the legroom, I don't, stretch it in the door if you want to be able to buy an off the shelf top stretch the front, I live in a cold weather area so that is where I will be adding the length I also am using a Ford script tub, I don't know if there is any collector value, so I am trying not to do any permanent changes.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'm a little lost now, the grille needs to move forward 3" or the tub needs to stretch 3" to get back up to the grille? If it's the latter I'd add that 3" to the leg room area, there is a seam right in the middle of your tool cutout on the right side of the tub, it looks like the seam on the drivers side is hiding under some bondo. I like your mockup with the rear fenders where they belong, that ends up weird on so many builds.
I see how I was being confusing in what I was saying. To clarify: the radiator would be sticking out 3" past the grill as is. So I need some sort of stretch in order to push the grill forwards, whether that be at the tub or between the cowl and fender. I hope that clears things up?

As to your compliment on the rear fender positioning..Thankyou! What is it that ends up looking strange to you on other builds? The wheel sticking so far towards the rear which necessitates the cutting of the fender?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I'm 6'3" so some extra legroom would be welcomed. The firewall as it sits is 14" away from where the firewall on the tj would sit on the frame. (Basically, the firewall sits 14" from where the incline begins on the frame.) Based off of the suggestion to do multiple stretches and place the firewall at the same spot on the frame that the TJ would, I drew up a rough sketch today of a 10" stretch at the door (in red), and a 3" stretch between the cowl and front fender for a total of 13". let me know what you all think of those stretch lengths and how it would look!

 

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I would definitely leave enough room to fit any engine you may wish to put in between the firewall and the radiator, the second place to add is legroom, though some can be taken out of the wheel wells, I personally like enough body behind the axle so you don't have to do a comp cut.
If you plan ahead you can build it so there is less wasted effort as you add items later.
 

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If you're planning on wheeling it you could choose to have new rear fenders made that are longer.

I had some 3/16 rear fenders laser cut and cnc bent from stout fab.

He was able to easily position the wheel well where I wanted and to the radius I needed.


I would do that and then add the rest with a longer hood and spacers in between the tub and body, with this new room it wouldn't be terrible to make a bigger foot pocket either.
 

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most all the stretching I have done happens between the wheel well and the door well. this adds lots of room for seating. the fire wall is easy to redo to fit longer engines. both help retain the willys original look. my 51 is 106" with a sbc / automatic and looks factory stock. 24" stretch in the body and 4" in the firewall
 

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I see how I was being confusing in what I was saying. To clarify: the radiator would be sticking out 3" past the grill as is. So I need some sort of stretch in order to push the grill forwards, whether that be at the tub or between the cowl and fender. I hope that clears things up?

As to your compliment on the rear fender positioning..Thankyou! What is it that ends up looking strange to you on other builds? The wheel sticking so far towards the rear which necessitates the cutting of the fender?

Ok, I've got you now. I'd stretch it right at the seam in the middle of the tool cutout in that case. Just make plans for it and keep thinking about it, I'd get the drivetrain mounted up and then make the body fit.

Comp cut rear corners look wrong on a basic Jeep, yeah lot's of them get cut due to rusty corners or damage, but that rear wheel arch is part of being a Jeep, with a mild rig on 35's I like to see that arch stay intact.
 

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The wheelbase is at 93.4" as it sits.

if I were to keep the body stock and just bolt it together I'm approx 3" short of fitting the powertrain behind the grill (That is with the tub centered over the rear wheel well, and also with the putting in of an EXTREME short shaft kit from teraflex onto the NP231 t-case this past weekend. That allowed everything be to pushed back about 3" further than it was with just teraflex's short shaft kit on the NP231. I suppose I could just shorten the rear driveshaft, but it's tiny as is and I'd rather stretch the body out somewhere in order to fit everything behind the grill.
I've got a 94" wb with no body stretch anywhere. Of course it's been a nightmare getting everything to fit.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Power washed all of the gunk off of the th350 today to start getting it ready for a por-15 job, and a Novak th350 to np231 adaptor install. In the process I was finally able to uncover the original GPW VIN number stamped on the original frame! I knew the frame was painted the original green at one point, but I thought the frame# had been welded over. This was the first VIN number I have come across on the willys and it matches my title so I was excited to say the least. Made me a tad sad to be ditching that old frame.



 

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Discussion Starter #19
To everyone who has posted on this thread thus far I just want to say thank you! All of your thoughts and suggestions have been extremely helpful. After looking at all of your thoughts and builds carefully I think I have finally decided what I like the look of most when it comes to stretches. The plan will be to put a stretch in the door area of 6-10", and another stretch up front between the tub and fender of about 3-4" which will also mean adding length to the hood. These stretches will give me more leg room, and give me space for an engine upgrade in a couple years if I start to get the itch...Which I'm sure will unavoidably occur:D.

Also, for any roadkill fans out there, I received the ultimate stamp of approval on this jeep project tonight
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I finished up the TH350 rebuild last week. Also while I was at it I installed a shift kit. Esthetically I'm happy with how it came out!




 
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