View Full Version : Restoring Ham's '48 Willys; A Milestone!

05-09-2015, 09:43 AM
Spring has sprung and I've fallen behind in just about everything – yard work, projects and keeping the story updated.

Last week the trip to Toledo finally happened. It had been scheduled for early January, but it was just too cold to go - and the truck wouldn't start that morning. We were looking for some major assemblies and big parts; a steering column with shift box, door catches, a window regulator and an air cleaner and mounting brackets. As it turned out, it was a good thing I was able to go when I did. The dealer in Toledo is going to have a sell off auction shortly, as he said “I’m going broke being so helpful”. If you’re thinking about parts from Willys Overland in Toledo – do it now!

I came home with most of the “stuff” I went for, as well as a pile of other “stuff” that we probably need later on. The steering column was getting to be close to the top of the list because we’ll need it once we get the cab set. It needs the roller bearings replaced and the usual work on the steering box. We have two sets of parts, so we should be in good shape except for bushings and such – not an issue. They had a bottom mount radiator, they’re kind of rare. It will take a bit of fussing to adapt the old fan shroud to it, but the old radiator was past fooling with. I can remember my dad pulling it at least twice and having tubes soldered shut because of leaks. I poured a can of Stop Leak in it once as well, so it had done its duty.

The transmission came back from the transmission shop. This was probably one of the few things that hasn't had an “Oh, by the way” connected with it. Tore it down, cleaned out the doobers and crud, gears and synchronizers were OK, and – replaced the input and output bearings that had corroded a bit after sitting 30+ years.

So, all of the major elements were done – and a fairly big milestone happened. New brake drums, tires and wheels went on. The chassis came off the lift and big pieces started to go on the frame. Of course the old holes for the motor mounts didn’t match up so new holes had to be drilled to make good mounts fit. (Maybe the straightened front plate on the engine had something to do with that.). The engine, bell housing and transmission got bolted together and – son-of-a-gun – they actually fit in place!

Work now is getting things put in place around all of the big pieces. We've found some parts around the clutch and brake mounting pieces that are worn badly enough to take a second look. And, there is still work going on to route brake lines to the master cylinder and stay out of the way of the steering column and shift box.

I took on several minor projects. A rebuilt Carter YF carburetor is kind of salty, so I bought a rebuild kit and did that myself. Of course, I wasn't the first person inside that carb and even though it had worked for the time I had run the engine, it turned out that the last person to rebuild it had left out the accelerator pump check valve. The You Tube videos show where it goes, but there is always that feeling that you’re adding something in that really doesn't need to be there. We’ll see if I did well pretty soon.

The other project was to overhaul the ignition, headlight and dash light switches. The originals just aren't available anymore. I’m an electronic/electrical guy, so taking a switch apart and cleaning it up isn't that big a deal to me. (You usually get one chance to take an old switch apart – if you have to take it apart twice, you usually break off a tab or two..) They cleaned up pretty well – the ignition switch goes to the locksmith to let him clean up the lock – I have no desire to chase those little springs and rods all over the bench top!