Willys Jeep: Some Progress

In Jeep by J Michel Metz3 Comments

After a couple of months hiatus on working on the Jeep, I finally had a chance to get working on it again. This post is actually a summary of some of the things that have been happening since June, when we moved into our new house.

Jeep in new home

New working space for the Jeep

The frustrating thing was that I actually had the Jeep tub completely disconnected from the frame and ready to be removed, only to have to suddenly move houses. After working for months on each and every bolt on this thing, having to wait for nearly two months was killing me.

Finally, when we got the chance to take the tub off, it was pretty anti-climactic.

Naked Jeep!

There’s no question, though, that it’s quite a dramatic effect.

The next step is to remove the engine and transmission, and I’ve got stands ready and waiting in the wings for them, but first there were a few more things that needed to get done.

The first thing I had to do was drain the transmission ‘fluid.’ I put that in quotes because, well, there was very little ‘fluidity’ to what was left in the transmission case.

Pretty sure that’s not ‘normal.’

The book warned me that it was going to be foul-smelling, and that was true (though not as bad as I had prepared myself for), but it doesn’t take much imagination to come up with a disturbing analogy for what came out of the transmission.

Pepto Bismol, anyone?

It was obvious that this wasn’t going to be something that was going to drain quickly. In the meantime, we got to cleaning up the frame, which even after two doses of degreaser and high-pressure washing still needed some major elbow-grease.

Living with someone who has mild OCD can be useful, especially when she uses the powers for good. 🙂

Before she got ahold of it…

Clean me!

And after…

The whole frame is much better. Obviously, the frame is going to need some significant attention with an abrasive wheel and, possibly, even some sandblasting (trying to figure that one out, whether I should try to do it myself (I have the air compressor, but not sure what kind of mess it makes) or try to take it to someone who can do the cleaning at the same time as fix the front crossbeam).

The next thing I did was take out the rear driveshaft, which came off surprisingly (and I mean surprisingly!) easy. But here is where I think I may have made a mistake. Actually, as I write this, I pretty much figured out I made a huge mistake.

I don’t have any before pictures, but a shot of the front driveshaft can give a good indication of the kind of grime that was caked around the driveshaft:

Too much caked dirt and grease.

The connections are somewhat delicate, so I didn’t want to go after it with a wire brush. So, I put each end into the carburetor and parts chem dip (it’s a part, right?) for a while.

The ‘cleaned’ rear driveshaft

Well, it worked. Too well, perhaps. To my horror, within seconds after rinsing off the ends, I noticed the ends showing considerable rust that I hadn’t noticed when I had removed them from the chassis.

Uh oh…

I knew my ignorance about cars, metals, and this sort of thing was going to risk damaging something important, and I guess this may have been my first ‘hard knock’ lesson.

Yes, it’s cleaner, but…

The pieces still move freely, but as you can see from the photos above, that’s not how they’re supposed to look. Worse, as I started writing this I began to realize that you are not supposed to put rubber in the chem dip, and there are rubber seals on the driveshaft. Oh… crap. I have a feeling that I’m going to be springing for another driveshaft.

I still have one more to go, but this one is going to be much more difficult to remove from the chassis. For one thing, the caked mud and grease has hardened into a concrete-like seal on both ends of the shaft.

Oh the joy of removal…

In the photo above you’ll also notice that there’s a circular connecting plate that has warped terribly. You can see from the picture below of the rear axel what the disc is supposed to look like, and how warped the one above is:

A much cleaner driveshaft connecting disc

Worse, and I’m not sure if I did it or if it was like this before (because of the caking) but one of the nuts is severely stripped at one of the most difficult places to reach under the engine:

Aw, (stripped) nuts!

To be honest, I’m not really sure how to do this. If I had a lift I’d be able to raise the Jeep high enough to be able to safely get the grinder with the cutting wheel to it, but I’m not so sure what to do at this point.

Thing is, I really need to get the engine and transmission out of the frame. The stress fracture in the crossmember is getting worse and while I know that it needs to be completely replaced and welded professionally, I don’t want it to cause any other issues with the frame (like, for example, causing it to twist and put sustained stress elsewhere). You can get just about any part for a Jeep – even of this age – except for the frame. For that, you need to do some hard looking.

The only thing standing in the way of taking those pieces out is that driveshaft. Once that’s removed, then I can get the transmission and engine onto their stands, and get to work making the frame rock solid.


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