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Jessie The Jeep

1944 Flying Control Dodge WC51 - The Story So Far

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Glad to hear you've woken her up with no problems after a winter sleep, started the ambulance for the first time since new years last friday and it behaved beautifully I think they are starting to look forward to the season again

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May 2nd was a "Daddy Day Care" day while Lynne was off on a Girl Guide fund raiser. On her way out, she dropped my daughter and myself off at the truck yard, to collect the Dodge to bring it home for its Spring service. The North East Land Sea and Air Museum was having a farmers market day, and as it was in the rough direction of home, we called in there with the Dodge first. We had a picnic lunch, looked around the museum and stalls, did the bouncy castle and roundabout rides, ice lolly and home in time to get at least the oil changed before the rain started.

 

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May 3rd, the first day of the Herrington Park Steam and Vintage Vehicle Fair.

 

Well, day one was terrible. It was heavy rain all day. I'd pre-booked so turned up anyway, as I'm not a fair weather event attender, but it was dismal. In addition to the heavy rain, it was blowing a gale, making the outside temperature around 0 degrees.

 

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I sat in the Dodge, reading a book about RAF Bomber Command, while trying to keep warm with my candle/plant pot heater. This was a wartime contraption for heating garden air raid shelters, first shown to me by a local ARP re-enactor. The candle inside heats the ceramic plant pot which then radiates the heat.

 

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Penshaw Monument was fading in and out of the low rain clouds, and while the rain did ease a bit, the wind remained bitterly cold.

 

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By 2pm I was frozen, and with virtually no public there, saw little point in staying any longer. I came home and fixed some minor leaks that the heavy rain uncovered. The forecast for tomorrow is very different, with less wind and the Sun shining all day, so hopefully a better day is in store.

 

herrington2.jpg

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Day two was very different, with white fluffy clouds, blue sky, warm temperatures and less windy. I drove the Dodge again with my daughter in the back, while Lynne drove 'Jessie', her first Jeep drive for 18 months. Lots more vehicles turned up and hundreds of public, many having to queue around 45 minutes to get in.

 

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Edited by Jessie The Jeep

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Other than the T.A., we were the only military vehicles there, and standing out amongst all the shiny cars and traction engines, we had quite a lot of attention from the public.

 

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I'm most annoyed that I missed out on the Battlegroup North show on May 9/10th. I was struck down with "Man Flu" early in the week, which prevented the Springtime service I wanted to do before the long drive, and as the weekend approached, I just didn't have the energy to face the 3 hour drive, followed by camping in the cold and damp. So I pulled the plug on attending and saved the fuel costs.

 

I also just received word of another event in June being cancelled which was going to be another one in the Dodge. However, these two cancellations have saved me the fuel costs, which I'm now putting towards towing the Ford GPW down to 8th Airforce Country in a few weeks.

 

In the mean time, the Dodge service has been ongoing, a little at a time as weather and energy allows, plus some other small odds and ends. Back in August last year, I bought a voltage converter, to charge the 12 volt battery that runs the radios, clocks and amplifier. This was fitted to the Dodge yesterday.

 

The converter steps up the voltage from the Dodges 6 volt system to around 13 volts and gives a 1/2 to 1 AH charge rate. Wires from the engine bay bring 6v power to the unit. These are wired into the ignition switch, so it can only provide power when the engine is running. An On/Off switch is mounted next to the converter preventing power to it unless required. The output has diodes to make sure the 12v battery can't feed power back into the converter, in case it doesn't have its own internal protection.

 

The output from the converter passes through another switch before reaching the 12v battery as a second form of isolation.

 

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Good to see the vehicles out and about.

I bet a lot of people look confused at the paint scheme.

 

It just goes to show how something differently can be done owith a common vehicle while still being historically correct.

Well done.

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However, these two cancellations have saved me the fuel costs, which I'm now putting towards towing the Ford GPW down to 8th Airforce Country

 

More info required! I live in 8th Airforce country (I think) and would love to come and meet and see these projects in the flesh that I have read so much about!

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What a fun day I had yesterday! I was doing a little more of the Spring maintenance on the Dodge, and after inflating the tyres, decided that one tyre needed replacing due to side wall cracking. Not to worry, I had a spare tyre, though not on a rim. When I bought the Dodge five years ago, I got five wheels and six tyres, so I had a spare that could go on. I took the iffy wheel off, and put the spare on.

 

I then set to work on the removed wheel. After taking the valve out, and removing the split rim nuts, it didn't show any signs of the bead wanting to let go of the rim. Five years ago, just after getting the Dodge, I had to replace an inner tube that was torn around the valve. I local garage split the rim for me on their car tyre machine. So I went back and asked for a favour again. However, their machine couldn't shift the tyre off the rim this time, so they suggested a truck garage in Philadelphia, a few miles away. These tyres have been on the wheels since around 2009, and a bit of rusting on the seat where the bead sits was enough to stop it moving.

 

After collecting my daughter from school, we headed down there; and for a tenner, they finally managed to get the tyre off. I would have still been working on it in a weeks time if I'd tried to get it off with tyre levers. By the end of the day, it had been primed, and had the top coat on one side. Here's the old tyre off, and the dusty replacement waiting to go on.

 

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The rim parts were cleaned with a rotary wire brush to remove the rust and loose paint.

 

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Because of the Blyth Battery event this weekend, I needed a spare wheel, so it had to go back together again quickly. After the rim was cleaned, the first side of the two rim parts were brush painted in red oxide primer, and later, some left over olive from the GPW rebuild.

 

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The rim parts were then left next to heaters, late into the evening of the 14th, in order to speed up the drying time. They were still a bit tacky the following morning, but were turned over and the second side painted olive drab. The rim parts were then left outside as it was a moderately sunny day, and the warmth and IR/UV light should help to speed up the drying time.

 

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Because of the heating, the normally matt paint, despite being well stirred, had self levelled, leaving a more glossy/satin finish. As this wheel becomes the spare, I'm not too worried as the wheels will probably get a repaint when I get two new tyres later in the year, keeping one of the better old ones as a reserve.

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The paint was left to harden for most of the day before re-assembly, and then it was a fairly quick job to re-fit the tube, flap, tyre onto the large part of the rim and then the other half of the rim bolted in place. Valve back in, inflate and job done!

 

I almost ruptured myself lifting the tyre into the Back of the Dodge, and sliding it under the floor, but after that it was just a matter of putting the tools away and cleaning up, all set for Blyth tomorrow.

 

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I haven't sorted my Blyth Battery pictures from today yet, and plan to get more tomorrow, but I grabbed this one in the early evening back at home.

 

blyth6.jpg

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Blyth Battery Goes to War - May 16th/17th

 

With the wind gusting 25mph+, I didn't venture out of the Dodge, other than to set up upon arrival. I decided I'd make the effort the following day, but on the exposed coastline, it was freezing. The horizontal windsock on the Dodge said it all. I think the beach battle was earlier in the day than last year, and as a result, I'm sure a number of people missed it, despite the times being published. I heard the 25 pounder make the first shot, and then witnessed a number of the public scurrying towards the sound!

 

Here's a few pics.

 

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It's odd seeing a normal WC51

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Cockleshell Heroes Display. This display is set up in one of the two gun emplacements

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Day two was equally windy, if not more so, but there were more public about. I managed to have a good look around early in the day, while some of the displays were still setting up, though most of the gear was out on display. If the wind had dropped at all, I think it would have got out quite warm, but as it was, by the end of the day, I felt quite battered by the wind.

 

The drive there and back both days was un-eventful, other than almost wiping out the Tyne Tunnel toll pay basket with the rear body of the Dodge, trying to get close enough to pay from the left hand drive seat. Why they don't have any left hand drive pay booths I don't know, especially being so close to the ferry port.

 

A couple of Champs and a Land Rover, with part of Blyth Battery in the background

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And in the German camp, a couple of their trucks

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Edited by Jessie The Jeep

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I was watching an 8th Air Force documentary tonight and spotted this Flying Control "Caravan" built into a Jeep trailer and using a bomber top turret glazing.. I think it's great, and I have a trailer; but Lynne said NO!!!

 

 

Edited by Jessie The Jeep

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Just before I took the Dodge back into storage, I noticed that the shovel, axe and pick axe were looking a little worse for wear. In the five years that I've had the Dodge, I've not done anything to them, other than to use the pick when re-working the garden.

 

The wooden shovel handle has been cracked since I got it, and the other handles have shakes in them. The metal work on the tools is rusting in places, and it looks like the pick head has been damaged and repaired. This may also need some attention.

 

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So I decided that it was time to do a little work on them, and removed the tools before the Dodge was taken back.

 

Two of the handles have been painted at some point and much of the paint is flaking off. So the first stage was to give the woodwork a good sand down to remove the paint and odd splinters. The axe and shovel heads were cleaned up with a rotary wire brush.

 

2015_axe_shovel2.jpg

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The shovel, metal parts on the handle and axe head were painted in satin black. The pick head was placed in a bucket and electrolysis used to remove surface rust.

 

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I wanted the tool handles to remain wood finish, but because some green paint remained in difficult to remove places, they needed something other than just varnishing. I opted for a dilute mix of waterproof PVA adhesive, water and some earth brown emulsion paint. The handles were painted with a coarse bristle brush, leaving a grain effect in the translucent paint.

 

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The original wood grain also still showed, but it helped to mask the areas which still had traces of olive drab paint. After each coat had dried, they were given a rub down with fine wet and dry paper, giving a more sun-bleached, used look. The PVA in the mix also helped to bind damaged areas of the wood and fill shakes in the grain.

 

2015_axe_shovel9.jpg

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Below is the pick handle, with three coats of paint/glue, and rubbed down between each one, with a final rub down to dull off and slightly distress the finish. I'm very pleased with the finished result as it was a bit of an unknown using the paint/glue mix.

 

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The last picture shows all the tools in the back garden, baking in the afternoon Sun. The bright sunlight makes the woodwork look a bit more pale than it actually is. Next time I have the truck home, I think the tool rack also needs a clean and paint.

 

2015_axe_shovel11.jpg

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That's nice, but the 'pick' head should be a mattock? 16 inch by Diamond Calk if I remember correctly.

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The last jobs for now are the straps that hold the tools onto the rack. The strap material was treated with some canvas waterproofing solution. The buckles were a bit rusted, so I used a mini wire brush in a drill to clean off the surface rust.

 

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The first parts of the buckles have been painted satin black. Once dry, I'll do the small silver loop. I didn't want both parts wet in case the loop dropped down and stuck to the buckle as the paint hardened.

 

2015_axe_shovel13.jpg

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June 13th

 

While I haven't had the Dodge home since May, I have been planning and recently started building again!

 

For the first few years of owning the Dodge, my daughter has travelled around fastened in her baby seat, seen below. Her size and weight is now borderline for this, and while it will probably last out this season, it's time to sort something else out for her.

 

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For some time, I've wanted another chair under the observers dome in the back of the Dodge, and thought this might be an opportunity to kill two birds with one seat.

 

The plan is to build a B-17 pilot's seat, or a metal bucket seat that very much resembles the pilot's seat shown below. This would be big enough to contain and support a modern child's isofix car seat. Once I arrive at a show, the child seat can be removed, a replica pilot's seat cushion fitted, and the seat raised into the observers position under the dome. The seat will need two different supports, one set to firmly fix the seat in the truck, and another to lift it higher and allow it to rotate.

 

2015_obs_seat2.jpg

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I used some MDF to make a template for the seat base, and to estimate the correct rake needed on the backrest of the bucket seat, in order to support the child seat. The next step was to order some materials and start metal working!

 

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July 7th

 

Earlier this week, I ordered and collected most of the steel I would need for the project, and on Tuesday July 7th, began cutting. I started with the metal frame seat support for when we're driving, now referred to as the transit frames. This is made from some 40x20mm steel box. The layout was drawn onto the building board and the pieces laid on to check sizes and positions. Wooden blocks were then glued down to the board to form a building jig, holding all the steel in the correct positions.

 

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