Tuesday, December 4, 2012


December 4, 2012

I know it's only one sketch, and this is a very short post, but I got to doodling and figured on sketching out my idea. Note that since I plan on just bringing this truck back to former glory, there really are no plans for huge modifications. Enjoy

Minor Differences include integrated rear tow hooks, and a hitch mounted in the rear frame rail, bolstered from the inside with steel gussets. I will surely try to hide some innovative tricks in this machine to make it a little more user friendly, but nothing as glaring as the power steering system from a 96 Chevy Astro or the Engine from a late Nineties Mustang.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tucked Away

October-November, 2012

Since I had been able to tackle laying a sea of vinyl across the floor, I decided to spring for some commercial grade floor sealant and top coat. 3 coats of each went down with a mop to give the floor a hearty buffer against scuffs, oil, and water (Sit-Rep, Zep floor sealers blister if water sits on them, and go milky white). 

Aside from the stains from a few yard waste bags, I think the floor should be OK  my theory is that they trapped moisture against the floor before the coating had set.

I rigged up a fuel canister that hung from the hood support when the hood was up, chocked the wheels, and snugged some battery jumper cables onto the posts of the rather aging battery that lives under the hood. With the system primed I rolled it full choke and the Super Hurricane burbled to life, much to the chagrin of all the late model cars on my street who know they don't have a hope of lasting 50+ years

In low-range, I slipped the Borg Warner T-90 Top-Loader 3-Speed into reverse, gently letting out the clutch while applying a touch of throttle. The Willys eased it's way backwards up the driveway into my garage, where it looks even better, in my opinion. I began gutting the lumber out of the bed and stacking it between my wall studs to save room and improve R-value.

Now, the garage has come a long way in the past month or so, namely due to one massive addition in the form of 5 free garbage-find late 50's tube light units, all in perfect working order. This garage has taken on a late 50's early 60's appeal simply because it seems building supplies from that vintage seem to be remarkably inexpensive or even free. After several nights of wire running and puzzle solving, I had wired up the garage on 2 separate circuits, one for left and one for right. This allows me total control over where I need the light, but it's such an improvement from my old little incandescents that I find myself just flaring up the whole deal every time.

rough garage budget so far,  somewhere in the $300 range for everything. the flooring, although cheap, cost a lot in glue and sealant, thus the price jump. all lumber, lighting, wiring, etc was totally free save my labour.

I seem to be one restoration behind on the 'good shop' philosophy; this new revamped garage is going to be very serviceable indeed.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Garage Journal


I happened to be surfing the web for vintage toolboxes, for fun obviously, when I stumbled across a website out of the states called "The Garage Journal."

Right then, everything changed.

I was browsing through entries in this blog-style publication, and came across an article/discussion based on a 1950's popular mechanics issue showing the perfect small hot rod garage. This small, purpose built shop had all the basics, everything you need for your own personal shop on a budget. 

One poster left a link to his thread; "Jack Olsen's 12 Gauge Garage." It was as if I suddenly was staring at what my garage would be when I own a house. As an Industrial Designer, I cannot stress enough the value of basics. It is almost always the simplest looking things that have the most thought behind them, and this clever garage is no exception. Every inch of space is geared for productivity, and backed by someone with a good eye for deals, details, and in this case, durable cabinets. I knew that The Willys could not be restored in the driveway, so I set to work gutting one of the most packed garages i know of; Mine.

To start, I had moved the wagoneer up north, where it sits waiting for winter. I then, in limited detail, began purging the garage of years of built up nothingness and valueless junk. Things that had been kept because "someday i could use that" were binned, recycled, or given away. I had a huge table of free stuff at the end of my driveway, worthless to me, but to someone else it could be very useful, and everything was taken.

I came across 600sqft of vinyl tile online for $50, and pounced. there were 3 colours of tile, so ended up going with the ones that matched each other best. this worked out to the undeniably inexpensive 8c/sqft price tag for the tile, though the glue would add to that.

I built 2 storage units above the garage doors to make use of the dead space, and converted an old platform-mezzanine into a hanging loft across the back wall for more overall storage space. this is where lawn chairs, bags of fertilizer, snowblowers, etc go.

After a full evening of scrubbing, hosing, and solvent cleaning, I spent last Saturday smearing glue on the floor and fitting down this tile from 1964. My girlfriend helped me immensely racking these tiles, and it's obvious she loves me an awful lot to help out with things like a garage. Overall I'd say I'm impressed with the results, I still have to seal the floor in a few days but I think it will hold up to some abuse, and will be more comfortable to walk on than brute concrete. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Odds and Ends

July 18, 2012

Been away a while on here, namely due to a super busy schedule. Today's post serves more to get myself caught up on what I've done and get it on here before I totally forget.

At some point between then and now, I got around to sliding under the front end of the rig with a socket set and breaking loose the remaining plow harness. This took a considerable amount of weight off the front end and also made the truck look a little more aggressive from the front (more clearance and all). The removal of this piece means the truck is totally free of the old plow, with only a few little holes here and there in the frame as a reminder.

Also, I managed (with the right timing I presume) to nab an old steel toolbox from the dump, and upon inspection i discovered it is a WW2 artifact, made in 1944. It has some cool old stampings in the steel so i think i'll do it up to be a permanent addition to the rig (cleaned, straightened, and fresh paint with logos). Best I can figure online is that it was a tactical box that held radio components for mobile stations; pretty cool old find to say the least, and I can't imagine why someone would throw it out... another man's trash I guess.

As a side note; I have not been sketching very much for this project. Usually I get right into concepts and dreaming, but I think I need to do more of that for this Truck. below is a quick 5 minute thumbnail.
Lastly, I've been working up a replacement pickup bed that can be made in sections by a local fab-shop from 14Ga steel. It's pretty simple construction and I would weld it myself in the garage to save a few coins. Best I figure through previous work, steel prices, and contacts, is that this bed will cost between $350-$450

Note the holes in the bed, which I designed so I could mount Oak/Maple/Cherry strips in the bed like the Willys Wagon. this is namely because making the corrugated bed like the real original is really pricey. Also note the bed is sized to fit a reproduction (or original) tailgate. the angled strips that run along the top can be salvaged from my old bed, so i will (carefully, and professionally) cut them off and (carefully, and professionally) weld them to this bed; along with the tube-rail across the head, and the vertical supports which have survived as well on my bed (mostly).

Friday, April 27, 2012


April 20, 2012

Fuel pump gasket was half on the block and half on the pump, rendering it's sealing capabilities to nil. I did manage to scrape it off with an exacto, giving me enough of a shape to draw up a template on a cork coaster (IKEA, on sale for like 40 cents for a pack a few years ago.. knew these would be handy). The new gasket looks like it should work, though it is a touch thicker than the previous gasket (I'm hoping it will crush down). I figure that since this engine has a vented oil fill tube, there really isn't any great crankcase pressure - meaning this cork gasket should hold up as well as the old fibre-paper style one. 

Also found a link to a cool PDF of the older 4Wheel Drive logo found on these trucks in the earlier 50's (on the CJ3B page). Since it was a free file, I downloaded it and print off a 1:1 scale on thick cardstock. Then with a straightedge and an F11 knife I cut out the old vintage letters, figuring i can use this to stencil the logo onto the truck (same logo was photoshopped to form the header panel on this blog. the colour combo of orange and steel blue is just something I've been kicking around lately (blue body, orange rims and lettering), paying homage to Jeep's recent Mighty FC concept.

Also snapped a shot of the 2 old Jeeps together, figured it was fitting to see them side by side.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Vinegar Boil Off


Since my lemon-juiced carburetor came out of the pot looking like a new part, I opted to boil off the Fuel pump in the same manner, this time giving the "boil it in vinegar" approach. The big attraction to vinegar is the fact that it costs about 25 cents a litre, making it 1/8th the price of lemon juice. it's 5% acetic acid content means it will have some eating power on older parts, but due to it's lower concentration it needs longer in the pot to work on the part you put in.

I wasn't in the mood to totally strip the fuel pump, so the main diaphragm stayed put, and i just brought the vinegar up to it so i wouldn't damage it. Vinegar strangely seems difficult to bring to a boil, unlike lemon juice which froths up on heat 3 of 8 on the stove. Vinegar on the other hand needed a constant 7-8 to keep it approaching a rolling boil. since I was using a new el-cheapo pot.. that might be the culprit.

Parts were left in the bath for a good 20 minutes of boiling time, and the vinegar works excellent on built up dirt and fuel stains. it seems to take issue with oil deposits though, and didn't touch them at all (unlike Lemon Juice, which slams oil back into the ground with an iron fist). I think for oily parts in the future I will boil for longer, over a fire, in a bigger pot, and add maybe 1 part lemon juice to 3 parts white vinegar.

All in all for this experiment, I was pretty pleased with the results. for about 30 cents, I cleaned the guts of the fuel pump very well, so I am happy about that and will modify my recipe for future boiling. As for now the pump is back together and ready to be re-installed.

Update: as of about 5:30pm on April 19th, with the tall stack carb back on and the bowl loaded with fresh fuel, the straight-six drew breath and fired for the first time in several years. It ran for about 25 seconds before draining the bowl dry, but proved to me that things seem to be in order. I do need to rig up a fuel delivery system under the hood so I can move it around my driveway, and probably give the points a good cleaning while mating them to some new spark plugs. All things considered it sounds pretty healthy for its age and wasnt coughing up blood and guts on my driveway.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I Think it's Stock, But it Has to Go


      Somewhere in the past, and I'm still not certain whether it was in Toledo, a Willys shop, or the 5th owners garage, a heavy checker-plate steel bumper was added to the rear of the truck, complete with mount points and a trailer hitch. I believe it to be stock for a few reasons. 1 is it's build quality and it's use of machined mounts. the second is that I've definitely seen bumpers like this while scouting the web. The fit was good on the thing but the mount points are now mostly broken and the welds on the fenders were about all that held it on.

     It's a semi-sad sacrifice to see the bumper go... and I'm not sure if I could sell the bumper to another Willys owner (it's salvageable), but I just don't like it enough to put it back on. It weighs a good 80-100 lbs so it certainly takes a lot of weight off the back of the truck.

     The removal of this piece allows for a much more aggressive departure angle from the back of the truck, and allows you to see some of the original design intents such as the side skirting behind the fenders, and the rear frame rail. 

     The welds along the fender edge were pretty thick from years of being beaded back together, requiring some serious plunging with the cutoff wheel.. some large torque with the Johnson Bar allowed the mount bolts to shear and I finally dropped the heavy wraparound bumper off the back of the truck. This gives the truck a much more aggressive back end. Unfortunate that, like so many old pickups, the tailgate is missing.. 

     Not much left holding the bed on now, only the fenders and weight keep it moored to the truck.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Fuelling the Rig

10/4/2012 – 15/4/2012

After browsing the vehicle and deciding that it deserves to be restored for active pickup truck duty (and not a wussy trailer baby), I purposed that the first logical thing to do would be to check for a heartbeat. I knew that with the fuel pump already out it wouldn’t be drinking on its own, and since the carb had a stuck butterfly it wouldn’t be throttling on its own either. First a check of the main belt driven parts to check for seized parts; with a green-light here I slotted a good battery in and hooked up the decrepit battery cables to see if the vintage Flathead would pulse. I had music to the tune of about 3 seconds of rollover before the old battery cables gave up to current, but it told me that there was life in the starter, and that the motor wasn’t seized (it has been sitting with new oil in the pan so that is a huge plus).

With this in mind I didn’t fry anything else by continually rolling it. I will simply pick up some universal cables and re-wire the battery so it is less prone to shorting on the body. About 4 minutes of work had the tall-stack Carter Carb off of the side ported cast manifold and in my hand (leaking thick stale gas everywhere) bound for some rebuild work. I will shop around for a rebuild kit but for now the guts looked ok.

Taking the fuel pump apart revealed that the workings were a bit frozen from lack of use, but freed up once I got it all apart. The diaphragm’s inside looked ok too, but re-hosing everything will be a bit of a trick. Taking the carb apart revealed that several years of sitting rendered this carburetor a sludgy mess. It was in desperate need of a cleaning beyond what an old toothbrush can offer, leading to my recollection of a classmate who boiled his bike’s carb in lemon juice to clean it all up.

El Cheapo no-name Lemon juice in hand, I poured “the equivalent of 42 lemons” into an old drawn-steel soup pot; nice and deep for the legendary foam lemon juice creates. I brought it to a rolling boil and slipped the carb parts into the bath, bringing the juice down to a simmer to hold the boil without going overboard. The recipe (if you want to try this at home) goes like this:

- 1 pot; large enough for your parts and the juice, deep enough so it won’t boil over
- Enough lemon juice (even cheaper is white vinegar, which I found out about after) to just cover the part. I used 2x946ml bottles. You can add water to bring this level up
- Bring juice to a boil and set parts in. let simmer/boil for 20 minutes, moving the parts around periodically and turning to allow total penetration.
- Remove parts and place into tub of hot water with dish soap. Scrub off the lemon juice varnish with a toothbrush. 

The results this method produced were unbelievable, working on both the white metal (or aluminum, I’m not sure) of the carb, and even better on the cast iron of the main butterfly section. I have no doubt that with this carb back together and properly adjusted; the engine is going to purr. Next is to try boiling the pump in vinegar to see if that manages to do the same thing. With standard vinegar having a 5% acetic acid content I should be fine. Next steps are to put these pieces back together and mount them back on the truck. I am tempted to give them a shot of paint to give them a cool shot of colour and protect them from future grime buildup.