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.



Having found another Willys Jeep Pickup while casually browsing an online classified site, I got to thinking, “Yes, it’s time for another project.” I spent the winter going stir crazy wanting to get my hands dirty again and tuck into something that needed a bit of automotive salvation. With that in mind, I set up a time to view what would become my next project.

The Basics:
- 1960(ish) Willys Pickup. (late 1960 saw the intro of the 1-piece windshield)
-  Original Willys Super Hurricane Flathead 6, producing 105HP and around 195lbft of torque, when new
- Original Borg Warner T-90 toploader 3-speed transmission, mated to a Spicer 18 transfer case.
- Original bed, albeit very rough and rusted, rare to find a truck so unmolested.
- Original Interior components (where surviving). Pedals, shifter knobs, dash knobs all still intact. Looks like some door components are missing – probably have been for ages – will need to find new ones.
- Meyers SP78 added at some point in the past. This was done in a more “professional” manner using bolts and standard hardware, rather than welding it to the frame as I would expect on a truck of this age. Since I already have a plow on the other Willys up north, I figure having 2 is likely overkill. This one is closer to resto than the ’51, so I think that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
- All glass, surprisingly uncracked. The passenger window is missing however, but should be an easy replace by templating the driver’s side and getting one made up (will make a temp Plexiglas one).
- This truck has rust in most of the usual spots. The bed is really now just fenders and a top rail, the floor/mounts of the cab are basically non-existent, and the frame needs some patching on a cross member. This means welding, lots of welding, and a lot of good old fashioned fabricating. This is exactly what I wanted.
- Extra goodies included the aforementioned plow, and a set of 4 spare tires all on matching rims (3 of these tires nearly match the spare on the truck). I am well cared for in the Willys tire department.

The plan in general with this truck takes a different approach to the Wagoneer I spent 4 years rebuilding. On the Wagoneer, it wasn’t really worth the investment to make it sparkling new, since it was just so beat up. This vehicle is made mostly of flat steel, so my plan is to reproduce the pickup bed in CAD and get the shearing work done at the same place that made my bumper, then weld it all together myself at home. It will be slightly more expensive than doing it yourself, but very pro and a lot faster than messing about in my garage with massive pieces of steel. With this reproduction I should be able to visibly duplicate the factory bed, while making some much needed structural improvements.

The bottom of the cab will receive a similar treatment to the bed, with most of the underside forming work being done by a manufacturer. 14 gauge sheet steel is not wildly expensive or hard to work with, so it shouldn’t break the bank at all.

First steps with this truck will be to get it running so I can move it around the driveway. I need to patch a brake line that sprung a leak when I pushed the pedal… should be relatively easy to fix. Also going to try boiling the carb and fuel pump to get them all limbered up and ready for service, a trick I learned from a classmate in college.

The only non-original pieces, these vintage WW2 blackout lights can be cleaned up and used as tail lights

Here sits the beast with the pro plow mount removed. Thanks to whoever bolted it on, it came off like a dream in a couple minutes.

Spartan interior. Lots to love here. Need to try my hand at upholstery once I get some different seating

Otherwise I spent my time browsing the interior, marveling that although not 100% complete, it is remarkably unchanged and original. The cardboard glove-box is still intact and housing old bits and pieces, and the cable driven vacuum wipers are still in place. This level of completeness demands only one thing; RESTORATION

Monday, April 2, 2012

It's Coming


This is about to be a blog, documenting this 1959 Willys Pickup. More to follow shortly.