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My Former WC51 "Flying Control Dodge" - A New Chapter


Jessie The Jeep

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@steviem Silicone to put the glass in. Cliff at Universal Jeep Supplies said that the proper rubber seals just trap water in the frame, speeding up the rust. Silicone keeps the water out all together, but you'd need to do the same for the rubber seal on the bottom and outside edge of the frame, or water will just get in there too.

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October 17th

Yesterday, morning I fitted the jerrycan bracket first thing in the morning. The weather looked ok until after lunch and as the Dodge was now complete enough, we decided to go for a drive. There's still some odds and ends to finish off, but nothing that would stop a trip out.

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Here's a couple of minutes of video from the local drive to our local photoshoot laybys. I'll post up some more pictures later.

 

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As mentioned above, yesterday I decided to take the Dodge for a first drive in its new colour scheme. I needed to tidy lots of tools and junk out of the truck and from around it on the floor, then remove the observer's seat so it would fit out through the garage door. Still no word on when the builders might turn up to modify the garage. I'm tempted to do the job myself. Once out, I grabbed a few pictures of the Dodge without the canvas first.

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The spare wheel was pulled out from under the observer's seat floor and fitted back on the driver's side carrier. This false floor will be removed and the seat lowered to the truck floor. After that, the observer's seat was refitted so my daughter's child seat would fasten in, then the roof bows and canvas fitted. The hood and filler cap look significantly lighter, but it must be just the angle and the way the light is falling on them, as the paint all came from the same tin! The spare wheel still needed painting to match.

dodge_od_04.jpg

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The family were then rounded up and off we went for a four and a half mile drive around the local lanes. There wasn't a huge amount of fuel in so I grabbed the 10 litre lawn mower jerrycan as backup, but I have a genuine wartime can which can live there normally. There are a few laybys and places to pull in on the route, so we stopped there for a number of pictures from different angles. Here's an interesting comparison of the Dodge as it was in late July and yesterday, parked up at the same layby. Lynne thinks the Dodge looks smaller now that it is in olive drab.

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The childseat sticks above the observer's chair and is virtually touching the roof canvas. Once the seat is mounted on the floor, my daughter will have more head room and I can move it back for more leg room too. The modern childseat won't be needed for much longer, but the observer's seat with the four point harness will continue to be used. It was based on a B-17 pilot's seat and eventually, we'll replace the childseat ( currently used for comfort ) with a replica B-17 seat cushion which Lynne said she can sew. I've more plans for the back of the truck too, but more of that later.

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The forecast was for rain around 2pm so I didn't want to stay out long. I knew it would take a while to remove the canvas, bows and seat, then squeeze the Dodge back through the narrow garage door. One last picture of the content owner with his 'new' toy and we set off home again.

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The Dodge was reversed into the garage, after several attempts to line it up. I'd even removed one of the garage door hinges to give myself another inch of clearance, but still clipped the door frame with the freewheeling front hubs! I didn't do any more work on it that day, giving myself the afternoon off to process the photos.

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October 18th/19th - Finishing Touches

The 18th was spent tinkering with some of the odds and ends that needed finishing. The last pipe of the vacuum wipers was fitted up the side of the screen and a number of screws, bolts and nuts were touched up with paint. I'd left many of the fixings in primer as the paint would have been damaged by the spanners, leaving them until fitted for a coat of green.

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The spare wheel and washer were removed again and both painted to match the truck. Both of the steel bars with the door hinges were stripped, primed and painted and are now baking on the radiator. Last little job was getting some measurements of the canvas chain covers on the tailgate. The picture shows a piece of thin canvas material, salvaged from the original Norwegian Army doors. They were much smaller than the wooden doors I made for the Dodge and didn't really fill the gap to the rear body. I kept the fabric and used the metal hinge fittings for use on the wooden doors.

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On the 19th, I carried on working on the door hinges. The paint had hardened fully overnight on the radiator, so I was able to handle then first thing in the morning. Before the Dodge was stripped down, the metal bars that support the hinge points, were bolted directly to the bodywork. I didn't want them to dig into the new paintwork on the truck, so I used a silicone adhesive to glue a strip of leather along the rear face. They were left a little while to dry and then the edges and front face was olive drab a second coat.

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Back out in the garage, I refitted the roof bows. On Sunday's run out, they weren't fastened into the sockets where they fit. There was play in the sockets allowing them to rock forwards and back and that resulted in the canvas being quite slack. Eventually, once the garage door has been enlarged, everything will be bolted up properly, but for now, I wanted them more solid, but also easily removable so I can get in and out of the current door opening. There were some existing holes through the bows and bench seat backs which would allow them to be bolted to stop the rocking. This held the bow in place behind the cab and that was checked against the door fit.

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Originally fitted with nuts in countersunk holes in the backrest, I needed an easier way of removing them quickly, so used a large washer over the holes and a butterfly nut. The front and centre bows had holes, so four coach bolts from the old wooden body were cleaned up and fitted. On top of the bows, I fitted a six feet long piece of timber to tie them all together which would keep everything solid.

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More coach bolts were used to fasten this piece to the bows, but rather than butterfly nuts which would sooner or later take a chunk out of my head, I fitted 'T' nuts, countersunk into the bottom of the bows. The coach bolts can be cut off flush. Eventually, I'll add some more strips of wood either side of this centre bar, to support the canvas and stop water pooling on the roof. After it was all fitting properly, the centre bar was removed and painted olive drab. The canvas cab rear curtain was also bolted back onto the front bow and rolled up out of the way.

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October 19th ( additional ) - I persuaded Lynne to get her sewing machine out to make some canvas socks for the tailgate chains on the Dodge. The old ones had really suffered from age and UV light and had a number of holes with the fabric very brittle. I had the thin canvas off the old Norwegian doors which was cut, hemmed and sewed together into two new tubes. "Faith" the Dodge is very grateful for the protection it will give to her new paint job!

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October 20th - More Finishing Touches & Markings Change

The door hinges were dry this morning, so they were bolted to the body and screen. There's a little play in the mounting holes which allows the door to be adjusted for a good fit against the cab bow. All three doors were fitted, then the driver's side top opening section of door was taken back off again for a trip to the workshop to remove a warp.

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With the doors on and the spare wheel dry, that was also fitted back onto its mount.

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The cab canvas was rolled down to allow me to fasten pipe clips to the bow to hold the red flightline warning flag. On the front of the bow, a cup hook was refitted, which holds the canvas window open. 

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I haven't decided where to mount the registration plate yet. It was cable-tied to the grille, but I wanted to be able to remove it or fold it out of the way. It may get mounted on the bottom of the bumper, but for now, it is just chained around the grille with some silicone tube over the chain to protect the paint. The chain just hooks onto itself, so it can be easily removed.

Edited by Jessie The Jeep
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Across the day, I also repainted some markings. I posted some pictures on the 100th Bomb Goup website, where someone pointed out that the 1776th Ordnance Company were attached to the 100th, but not part of it. So the bumper markings shouldn't have had 100BG on it.

Much as I liked the idea of the Ordnance markings, it would have meant the Dodge no longer would have looked like it fitted in with both our Jeeps, which are in 100th markings. So rather than paint out the 100BG and replace it with 1776-0, I painted out the 1776-0 and replaced it with 351 for the 351st Bomb Squadron which matches our first Jeep.

The 351st was one of four squadrons in the 100th Bomb Group and was the squadron that B-17G "Hang The Expense" belonged to - the aircraft I modelled at 1/10 and 1/6 scales.

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I think that's about as far as I can go with the Dodge until my garage door is altered. I can take the false floor out and move my daughter's seat to the floor, but I'll wait until the season is completely over first, in case we're all out in the Dodge. Once the garage is sorted and the bows and canvas back can stay on the truck, I have an additional project to make for the cargo bed.

Edited by Jessie The Jeep
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October 23rd - What's Next?
 
Phase one of the Dodge rework is done now. There's still a couple of little odds and ends to sort, such as a snapped locker hinge that needs welding. However, I'm planning for phase two now, which can't start until the garage doors are altered, as I need the height of the new opening so the truck can be driven in and out without the need for taking the roof off.

When we stripped the old garage out, I removed the two steel 'I' beams that I'd fitted for my chain hoist and dolly to run on. My first thought on moving house was that I needed to refit them in the new garage. The Dodge rework opened up a new possibility for both a useful piece of equipment and a display item for the truck at shows.

I plan to use one of the steel sections to make a gantry crane in the back of the truck. The chain hoist and dolly can easily be removed from the beam and fitted to the other beam which will probably still be fitted in the garage. For those that know military stuff, it will be like a No.7 set crane seen in GMC's, but on a slightly smaller scale. The plan is for the crane and my daughter's seat to be welded onto a frame that sits in the bed of the Dodge, but that can be removed as a whole unit if needed.

It would allow me to do engine changes in the Jeeps, but also to easily move the engine elsewhere for work. I'm also planning on making a fibreglass B-17 propeller, unless the moulding costs outweigh the cost of a life expired real prop. I thought that having a prop hanging from the crane would make a really nice and different display at shows. So plenty of work still to do with the Dodge.

So here's an impression of what it should look like.

dodge_crane_001.jpg

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October 24th - Indicators and Locker Hinge
 
On Saturday 23rd, the postman brought a new indicator unit which was fitted on the 24th. I switched to LED's some time ago and fitted resistors in the circuit to compensate for the loss of resistance. They were fine to start with, but have gradually turned to "Hyperflashing". A new LED compatible indicator unit was the best solution. It was a straight forwards fit, with just one earth wire and two spade fittings.

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The other fix for the day was a hinge on the rear left locker. It has been snapped since I bought the Dodge in 2010! No need to rush into these things. Part of the reason I didn't repair it earlier is that all the machine screws had rusted solid and I couldn't get the hinge parts off. The screwdriver slot didn't give me enough grip to resist the socket turning the nut. The bolt removal fix was to weld a piece of steel across the top of the screw heads to stop them turning. Two badly rusted bolts sheared, but the four other screws survived to be cleaned up on the grinder and their slots recut with a hacksaw fitted with two blades to give the required slot width.

Once out, the hinge parts were cleaned up, the jammed hinge parts freed and they were then screwed to a block of wood so they could be welded. Larger welds on the top and some little ones on the reverse side, which were then ground flat so the hinge would sit flat. Once I tried putting the locker lid back on, I worked out why the hinge snapped.

The locker lid wooden pieces had warped a little and someone in past years has tried to glue them back in place. The lid was glued in a slight parallelogram shape, rather than square. The red arrows point to where the lid was binding. The piece nearest the pivot was putting loads on the hinge which caused it to snap. I trimmed some wood off with the bandsaw and refitted it. The locker catch doesn't quite line up due to the parallelogram shape, but it still fastens and there's no load on the hinge now.

2021_oct_locker.jpg

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I've already got plans together in my head. I need to make sure there's space for my daughter's seat and also our camping gear. I don't want to fill the whole bed with crane and leave no space for anything else. It won't have a winch like the bomb truck as all I need is the beam to hang the dolly and chain hoist from. The rear section, sticking out beyond the back of the truck, needs to fold inside the bed, as with the space and units in the garage, there isn't the length to have it sticking out the back permanently.

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1 minute ago, Jessie The Jeep said:

I've already got plans together in my head. I need to make sure there's space for my daughter's seat and also our camping gear. I don't want to fill the whole bed with crane and leave no space for anything else. It won't have a winch like the bomb truck as all I need is the beam to hang the dolly and chain hoist from. The rear section, sticking out beyond the back of the truck, needs to fold inside the bed, as with the space and units in the garage, there isn't the length to have it sticking out the back permanently.

how about a bigger garage or you could knock out say 6 bricks on back wall and stick the crane out side then a hanging basket 😄

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1 minute ago, Jerry Jeep said:

how about a bigger garage ....

I've been waiting since March for builders to alter the door height and width. No idea when or if they'll turn up. I also feel it will be safer driving without a battering ram sticking out the back!

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  • 2 weeks later...

November 9th - USB Power Supply

In both of my other vehicles, I have USB power supplies to charge phones, cameras and run a satnav. The M201 has a 24v to 12v converter fitted while the GPW is already 12 volts, so standard car accessories are fine. Until a few days ago, I struggled to find anything that would run on 6 volts that would be suitable for the Dodge.

Eventually I found a 3Ah, dual USB regulator with an input range from 6v to 40volts, ideal for the Dodge which is around 7.3volt while driving. It was a little over £3.00 and it arrived a couple of days ago. It was mounted in the locker immediately behind the driver today, so is easy to reach and cable runs for a camera or satnav don't need to be long. The cables can exit the finger hole for opening the locker lid.

It will have its first test run in a couple of days, as I'm taking the Dodge to the Rememberance Day service on the 11th and also on Remembrance Sunday. On Thursday, I also plan to try and call in on a number of other memorials in villages in the surrounding area. Some are surrounded by residential parking, so it depends if I can squeeze the Dodge into a parking spot as to whether I can stop.

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November 10th - Preparing for the Remembrance Service Trips

Preparations for the trip began the day before, with the very careful extraction of the Dodge out of the narrow garage opening. This time I taped some thin sheets of hard plastic along each side to protect the paintwork since the clearance is so close. Lynne helped to guide the Dodge out for the first time and only then realised just how tight the clearance is!

The roof bows were then assembled and I began to fit the canvas. At present, one of the buckles is missing from the rear canvas and I have no leather straps to hold the canvas rolled up for better visibility. I managed to roll the front corner up, which helps my view rearwards and tied the rope around the cab canvas strap.

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When I want the canvas down and the doors on, the front ropes interfere with the doors and can't be fastened to the hooks in the cab. On the right side, I cut a small piece of wood from the door jam which allowed that rope to squeeze between the bow and the door.

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On the left side, I fitted a eye-bolt to an existing hole in the step for the rope. The Dodge was filled with some fresh fuel, tyres checked and a few bits and pieces loaded up for the following day.

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