Jeep: First Weekend

With the first 3-day holiday weekend of the year, I managed to make as much of a dent in the jeep project as I could. What became obvious, though, is that the old beast ain’t givin’ up its secrets willingly.

Not that this is a surprise, of course. I mean, it’s been severely mistreated for the past several decades. Left out in the fields, burdened with obnoxious and atrocious tow bars and roll bars, left to rust for years on end. It’s no wonder it wouldn’t know how to react to a little TLC.

Nevertheless, I still managed to make some progress. I understand that the Jeep needs to come apart in order for me to check to see what pieces are working, what need to be replaced, and what needs to be cast aside like 60-year old underwear.

To that end, I had a few goals that I was looking to accomplish:

  • Remove the abomination that is the roll bar
  • Remove the abomination that is the tow bar
  • Remove the hood
  • Clean and inspect the carburetor

Okay, so if you think that’s an odd list of high priority, I admit the last one was just one of those things that I desperately wanted to get into. Until I started this project I didn’t even know what the carburetor was, let alone how it worked and how to fix one.

In short, it scared me, so I wanted to attack it as one of the first things.

Now that the weekend is done, I can see that I actually accomplished more than I thought I had. After all, when I started the weekend I didn’t have any idea how to work an air compressor or an air wrench, didn’t even have a toolbox, and a lot of rusty bolts to take off.

Using an awful lot of penetrating lubrication spray is a must, but even that didn’t help everything. The abominations came off relatively easy (and being able to use the new air impact wrench was a lot of fun!).

Abomination Tow Bar

Die hideously, mutant abomination!

The hood, on the other hand, was (and still is) a major pain. The screws are rusted completely together to the nuts on the inside of the firewall, which are not easily accessible (or in at least one of the cases, accessible at all until I start removing additional pieces).

These suckers don't want to cooperate

Today I was told that a possible solution is to hit the screws with heat (enough to get them red-hot) and then let them cool, repeat a couple of times, and then try to remove them. The idea is to get the metal to expand and then contract, loosening them from the corrosion. Given the penetrating lubricant has warnings all over the place about how flammable it is, I’m thinking that a good bath of soapy water would be a good idea before doing so.

(Must also remember to get a fire extinguisher…)

Given how much difficulty I was having with this (and a few other bolts around the Jeep), I moved back and forth between the engine and lubricating the bolts. I probably learned more this weekend about how engines worked than I have in my entire life.

Hands-on Lab

Hands-on Lab

(Remember, when I say I know/knew nothing about how engines work, I’m not exaggerating!)

Part of the problem was the sheer amount of grease and grime on the engine, so I decided to clean it up a little.

Here’s what it looked like when I first saw it:

Before cleaning...

And after a little cleaning up:

After degreasing

Shut up, Grime!

There’s a lot more that needs to be done, but at least it’s easier to see things! Looking at it from the other side really tends to show off the original color:

Before

Before...

And after
…and after

Hmmm… maybe it doesn’t look as dramatic as I thought. Oh well. 😉

Unfortunately the one thing that I’ve been dying to work on, the original Carter W-O carburetor, didn’t quite go so well. After taking it apart according to the original Carter instructions, I found that several of the pieces were so rusted that it couldn’t even come apart correctly.

Moments from Death

Sadly, the picture above was taken only a couple minutes before the valve plating screws disintegrated on contact. This, combined with several of the jets already being stripped, meant that the carburetor I have is useful for little more than spare parts.

There are replacement carburetors available, of course, from Solex. Now that I’ve had the chance to look, play with, and take apart the original Carter, though, I kinda feel like I want to stick with the original, but I genuinely don’t know how well I’ll be able to rebuild it even with donor parts. Plus, a ‘new’ rebuilt Carter WO is gonna run around $300. Quite frankly, I’m not really sure I want to be that anal about restoring with original parts.

One of the things that I’m really gutted about is that I desperately wanted to have a success story here. I wanted to take something that I knew 100% nothing about, disassemble it, clean it, fix it, and have it working afterwards, but I got stymied on the first part. There’s a part of me that kind of hopes that I’ll find a donor carb that I can use to replace some of the broken bits and, with the help of new gasket kits, rebuild the carb like I would like.

Yeah, I seriously doubt it too.

For now, I’m just going to add it to the (wish)list of things that I know I need to replace. How handy that these restoration web sites have wishlists for just such a thing. 😛

Nevertheless, we made some tremendous progress on the Jeep this weekend, and ironically it now is looking more like a Jeep than with all the extra crap bolted on.

The results of the first Jeep weekend

You’ll notice that I took the tires/wheels off. It has made it a lot easier to access the undercarriage of the Jeep! But there was also a very interesting thing that we found out during the process.

During the time when this Jeep was made, it was apparently common to have left-hand bolts on the left hand (driver’s) side of the Jeep. As it turns out, this was still the case for this one too.

The odd thing, though, is that the front passenger’s side was also left-hand bolts! I’d never heard of this before. What this means is that 3 out of the 4 wheels were left-hand bolts. If there’s anyone reading this who has heard of this before, I’d love an explanation. I am completely stumped about this.

I have a feeling that when I can get the body panels off and separate from the frame, the photos will continue to look like there’s a lot of progress going on. However, there is a lot to learn before I can take things off and not wind up hurting interconnected systems. So, the photos may not be as interesting or dramatic until that can happen.

In any case, the next steps are, well, to come up with the next steps. I’m going to try to come up with a plan of action to know how to continue the dismantling, and while there are a couple of sites on the ‘net that have great pictorials about restoring this type of Jeep, I’m finding that following their lead isn’t very easy. We’ll see.

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