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thefoxhat

1943 Willys MB Jeep so far.....

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18 months ago I took my first step into the world of MV's and purchased a 1943 serial numbered Willys MB jeep as per the pics below. It had just been imported from California and came with the title documents and some photos of its life as a desert recreational vehicle. Probably should have done a bit more reading up about these vehicles first but what the heck, I suddenly fancied the idea of restoring and driving around in one !! This was its first day back at our new workshop;

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It was a non-running vehicle and appeared to be a bit more than 80% complete. I wasn't that bothered at the time about anything being period correct, original or whatever as I just wanted to rebuild a jeep for fun......

 

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It was obvious when buying the jeep that the body tub, particularly the front floor pan, was going to need a lot of work as it had clearly rusted through above the usual strengthening ribs and attachment points. Here is the interior after we began a complete strip down. This was going to be a full restoration down to the last nut & bolt. However I do have a normal day job but dont work fridays so restoration work would only be carried out most fridays and some saturdays.

 

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The first weekend of working on the jeep had stripped out pretty much everything that could easily be unbolted and removed. The list of 'new' parts required was starting to grow and grow ! The following weekend two us managed to get the body tub dragged over the back and tipped up against the wall so as we could inspect the rolling chassis a bit closer. I had already spotted that the offside front chassis rail was cracked when buying it and clearly the front end of the chassis needed some extensive restoration..............

 

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Then it was out with the engine, gearbox, transmission and axles to get down to the bare chassis. At which point it was clear that the offside front chassis member had completely sheared off ! The nearside chassis rail had also taken a beating over rocky terrain and was pretty badly bent and creased in places. The decision was taken to replace the front half of the chassis with new rails

 

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I'll start the next installment soon............

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So everything was laid out on the floor level, various measurements taken, the old front chassis removed, the new rails & front bumper section put in place and all welded back together...... then the front tubular crossmember was cut out of the old chassis rails and welded back in as well (not shown in this pic)

 

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This was the state of the body tub after some poking around with a chisel and hammer. The rear floor has already been cut out and I think the decision at this stage is to fit a new front floor pan as well. There are just too many holes that need patching and it still wont look very good when I've finished anyway, so a new floor is ordered along with a pair of new wheel

tubs (more on this later)

 

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Decided to replace the rear crossmember as well as the original was badly dented in places and had been cut and welded to the body tub as well.. Here is the new one in place ready for bolting on

 

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Chassis now virtually complete again and has all been sanded back to bare metal, rust treated and spray painted in red oxide. IN this picture work has also commenced on cleaning up the axles and getting them primed ready for paint as well.

 

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Next step after all the red oxide was to paint the axles and chassis (and the new combat rims) in gloss green paint. The axles were checked over, diff covers removed, oil drained and everything was found to be in pretty good condition. New brake pipes throughout are being fitted with new brake cylinders and brake shoes, etc.

 

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Chassis now coming along nicely with the axles back in. Fitted new front springs, re-used the rear springs, new spring shackles and bolts throughout. Steering column and pedal assemblies refitted and copper brake lines going in and new dampers fitted. At this stage I guess we were about four months into the rebuild and it really felt as though we were making good progress.

 

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:cheesy:..Hi ...Apart from then "British Green" paint all is looking Fab... nice pre composite Willys Tub ..

 

Whats the Chassis/Body /engine N'os

 

 

Keep up the great work ..

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looking good mate,why the gloss paint?any reason?................

 

You need to gloss paint over the red oxide and seal it. Olive drab sprayed directly on red oxide is still porous as its properties are the same as primer..... later photos will show everything sprayed in Olive Drab.

 

Chassis plate number is 213788 which is Feb / Mar 1943 I believe?

 

There was a number on the bulkead triangular gusset plate of 116022

 

Engine is not the original from what I can work out but not sure what it actually is. Any help here is welcome;

Engine number is 140006 stamped on a flat horizontal area above the water pump

head is stamped 640161

and the block casting numbers are 2-17 641087-L-W10 A

 

 

This was the next step in spraying the chassis the correct Olive Drab with the new rims just laid alongside for visualisation

 

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So with the chassis pretty well done, we got the body tub laid back down and started stripping off all the old paint. There was plenty of original 'green' underneath a couple of layers of paint and it was certainly the hardest paint to get off. Here is the tub nearly back to bare metal. Hey, willysmb - whats a pre composite tub by the way??

 

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We didn't find any markings when stripping the hood very carefully layer by layer which was disappointing so we didn't give the tub much thought until we noticed some yellow lettering or numbering on the flanks above the wheel arch. Now I know there were never any WW2 markings in this area so I think our interpretation of what was uncovered here can't really be justified (unless anyone else knows different?) Both sides had the same markings.

 

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Then we turned the tub upside down and proceeded to remove the front floor pan. The rear floor had already been cut out and the new section has been laid in place for a trial fit in this photo....

 

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It was at this point that I also decided to replace the wheel tubs and the back panel as they were in very poor condition and it also gave better access to repairing some difficult areas on the tub where some of the spot welded seams had started to rust away..... there wasn't much left of the tub at this point.....

 

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More to follow in a couple of days..............

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Looks good , intresting what you said RE the olivedrab properties , most olive drab is gloss paint with matting agent added in , so I would not say it has the same properties as primer which is porous by design , the gloss will still seal, its surface finish is modified by the agent to apear matt. ?

 

Rgds

 

bob

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We didn't find any markings when stripping the hood very carefully layer by layer which was disappointing so we didn't give the tub much thought until we noticed some yellow lettering or numbering on the flanks above the wheel arch. Now I know there were never any WW2 markings in this area so I think our interpretation of what was uncovered here can't really be justified (unless anyone else knows different?) Both sides had the same markings.

 

..............

 

 

It could be original. The USMC usually put their yellow markings on the side. If you google USMC jeep you will see some images of similar makings.

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I assume that you are aware of G503.com. It is an essential reference for anyone restoring an MB or GPW. Although many US Marine jeeps were painted Forest Green, I think that some were redirected from US Army contracts so were painted OD

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Sounds like you have a post war CJ engine in your jeep..

 

Having restored a couple of jeeps in the past I used a cheaper gloss OD paint as a base for a the much more expensive Tony Sudds OD..

 

 

shes looking great ..keep Up the great work .

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Good chance those markings are original WW2! The engine is indeed post-war but can be used in a WW2 jeep without any problems. Nice project! :)

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Looks good , intresting what you said RE the olivedrab properties , most olive drab is gloss paint with matting agent added in , so I would not say it has the same properties as primer which is porous by design , the gloss will still seal, its surface finish is modified by the agent to apear matt. ?

 

Rgds

 

bob

 

Well I guess I might have been conned then into buying more paint ! We got the stuff from Warpaint and thats what the guy said we needed when we ordered the red oxide and olive drab. Pain in the rear spraying three colours so you reckon we could leave out the gloss green? Too late for most of the work now anyway !! We live and learn......

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It could be original. The USMC usually put their yellow markings on the side. If you google USMC jeep you will see some images of similar makings.

 

Well we did a quick search at the time but I didn't find anything definitive that supported what we found? Will go have a look again !

 

I assume that you are aware of G503.com. It is an essential reference for anyone restoring an MB or GPW. Although many US Marine jeeps were painted Forest Green, I think that some were redirected from US Army contracts so were painted OD

 

Yes been looking at G503 and that has been of immense help.

 

Funny how things change because I started out to simply restore a jeep to a good standard that was to the best of my ability but not really bothered about it being 'original' or authentic down to the last detail. However as you find out more about the history things start to change a little and I became very keen to keep as much of the tub as possible, dents & dings included - that metalwork has 'lived' for nearly 70yrs and it shouldn't be discarded. Equally, considering most of the new parts I have bought for it are, by their availability, period correct, then the jeep has started to become more period correct than I would have anticipated. So the more you go down this route the more you feel you need to do the 'right thing' which I have never experienced before...

 

I have definately been sucked in to the different world of military vehicles and can see a how the MV thing grabs you !

I've even been looking for another one to restore as its been very rewarding and relatively straightforward.

 

I guess the Willys Jeep is probably considered very common and easy and not really a hardcore MV like some of you guys are into but its been a great project and introduction into the world of MV's for sure...... !

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Well I guess I might have been conned then into buying more paint ! We got the stuff from Warpaint and thats what the guy said we needed when we ordered the red oxide and olive drab. Pain in the rear spraying three colours so you reckon we could leave out the gloss green? Too late for most of the work now anyway !! We live and learn......

 

The original matt finishes of the 1930-40s were porous for sure but they were changed in the 40`s to a less matt finish which sealed better , I cant comment for sure what they have provided you but all the olive drab i have been supplied is redoxide then top coat, However they are the experts if thats what they are telling you i would go with there recomendation as it is there paint, but its a first for me .

 

rgds

bob

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Looks good so far,my 43 gpw is USMC,heres some pics as found.P5130007.jpg

 

Jeeps were always olive drab from the factory and could serve in olive drab with original army numbers on hoodand usmc numbers on side / rear, or resprayed in forest green as mine will be,with original usmc numbers.

DSCI0021.jpg

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side.jpg

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With the chassis complete, more work is carried out on the body tub...

Whilst the tub was upside down and missing the floor the opportunity was taken to red oxide and gloss paint up inside the cowl area. Just makes me feel better knowing that 99% of it has a decent coat of paint !

 

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Front floor pan now in place and ready for welding. Rear floor and the new wheel tubs plus new rear back panel are also clamped in place to ensure everything fitted together as it should. All the repro panels fitted pretty good and didn't require to much fettling to align which was a nice surprise !

 

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Worked also continued on the engine strip and rebuild. Head was removed and bore wear was checked and found to be OK. Sump was removed and the amount of sludge in there was amazing. Inspected the crank bearings and all was OK so I decided the engine was probably OK and just needed a cosmetic rebuild....this might come back to haunt me later.... !

 

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I had the T84 gearbox and transfer box rebuilt by Jeffery Engineering. Finally the engine and the gearbox are reunited in the chassis and then everything was given a coat of Olive Drab. When everything has been cleaned, painted and re-assembled you feel like you are on the downslope when putting everything back but there's a long way to go yet......

 

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Meanwhile back on the body tub there were many rusty holes and splits in the metal that needed patching. I invested in these welding clamps and started to weld in many small pieces of 'new' metal that were salvaged from the old metal floors and wheel tubs that I cut out... It only seemed right that 1943 metal was repaired with 1943 metal for some reason ! This is just one example of these many repairs I carried out...

 

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Hi thefoxhat,

Could I offer some advice drawn from experience. In the absence of a body jig, try to secure your body, floors brackets etc to the chassis with as many fasteners as possible before welding. This includes mudguards bonnet and the grill. Then weld as much of the body as possible in situ before removal and completion of the the welding process. That way, when you go to reinstall the body after final fit out and painting, you know it will indeed fit correctly back on the chassis. Same drill goes with any body repairs, best to do them when the body is secured firmly to the chassis. Finally if you have to heat shrink the sheet metal, work from the inner areas of your body first and then work the stresses to the outside. I know the welding can be harder with the body in position but believe me, you will be much happier with the final finish.

Great job you are doing, good luck and enjoy the experience.:)

Cheers

John W.

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Hi thefoxhat,

Could I offer some advice drawn from experience. In the absence of a body jig, try to secure your body, floors brackets etc to the chassis with as many fasteners as possible before welding. This includes mudguards bonnet and the grill. Then weld as much of the body as possible in situ before removal and completion of the the welding process. That way, when you go to reinstall the body after final fit out and painting, you know it will indeed fit correctly back on the chassis.

Great job you are doing, good luck and enjoy the experience.:)

Cheers

John W.

 

Thanks John - I wouldn't disagree with what your experience tells you. The pics were taken about 12 months ago so the restoration is actually nearly complete.... however welding up the tub on a flat concrete floor, and checking for squareness and level throughout all the welding, the final tub actually fitted the chassis very well. I was expecting to have to do some elongation of holes and some stretching / bending, etc but it all lined up really well. However there is a small problem now in aliging the front wings with the grille shell as one wing appears to be about 12mm longer than the other. This could be more down to repro panels being out of spec rather than the tub being out of square but no doubt your way would have highlighted this earlier in the process and it could have been solved.... so, good advice.....we live and learn ;)

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With the tub upside down and the new rear panel tacked in place, the rear floor pan and wheel tubs were all plug welded in place after several hours of ensuring that everything was square and level

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Then the front floor pan was fitted again and finally welded in place. It didn't follow the contours of the old bulkhead join very well but with some careful welding and using a hammer & dolly it all came together much better than I expected. We just need to pull the front flanks in a little with a tie-down strap to get it to all fit very snug...

 

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Now we could put the tub right ways up and start painting and fitting it out. Quite a major turning point when you think you have finished doing all of the cutting and welding. So all we managed to retain from the original tub was the bulkhead and both sides.

 

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Looking real sweet..;)..

 

at the beginning of the war Both Willys and Ford had their own design of body tub ...

 

in about mid 43 ...:-X:-X If memory serves me right ..a composite tub was made by ACM it showd features of the two tub types ...

 

If you look at the difference in the front floor construction and TOP HAT reinforcing braces the ones on the repro floor are

 

Ford and Standard ACM design ..

 

ken

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Salvaged the original triangular strengthening plates from the old metalwork that we removed and these were blast cleaned, primed and plug welded back in place

 

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Here's an underside view of the new steps welded in place to the bracing/tub and then seam sealed prior to painting. I know its not 'original' but most joints will be seam sealed so that this Willys will last for a little bit longer on our roads !

 

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Being keen to get on, the underside was also sprayed in a couple of coats of red oxide and then covered with the gloss paint before I realised that I had forgotten to weld back in the bulkhead triangular chassis braces... Doh, never mind, soon fixed..

 

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Once that was done and all the welding was tidied up and red oxide primed, etc, the underside then got a couple of coats of Olive Drab. Again this final coat makes you feel as though you are well on the road to finishing the job but there is still a long way to go fitting everything back together. The inside of the tub was also painted Olive Drab at this stage as well.

 

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Other work fitting out the chassis with brake pipes, clutch & brake linkages, etc was also proceeding in parallel with work on the tub. I decided to fit all the wiring, switches and instruments, etc into the bulkhead / dash whilst the body tub was kept in the vertical position as you could stand inside the tub with your head (and arms /hands) almost up inside the dash and easily see exactly where everything was going with easy access. These pics are just at the start of fitting out the bulkhead and working out what goes where again..............

 

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Here you can see what I mean a bit better with the body tub stood up on the rear panel, most parts fitted to it now and ready to be lowered and fitted back on to the chassis........more to follow soon........

 

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Just a question. What olive drab are you using?. Who,s the suppliers?. From the pics it looks very close to the olive drab Tony Sudds used in the restoration of my Jeep back in 1989. The paint on mine was by Glasruits(spellings)

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