View Full Version : Restoring Ham's '48 Willys - Plodding Along

08-01-2015, 08:55 AM
It's summer and a lot of things need to be done, leaving little time to keep the story updated.

As is normal with this sort of a job, plans and approaches change about as fast as I can write them down. Last post I said that we'd paint the door panels. Well, we got took the door panels out of the storage loft and looked at them. Guess what - they don't match! One of them has the embossed finish and one of them is just slick. Obviously something was changed well before I started to work on this truck back in '66 or so. We went over to the trim shop and talked about things and we decided to finish the door panels in a vinyl wrap with an embossed pattern similar to the pattern on the "good" door panel. Another mystery - why was one door panel changed?

The doors and door glass are done - except for door latches. We had ordered new latch sets because the chrome on the old ones was in bad shape, but when we received the new latch sets, the triggers aren't chrome - they're maybe powder coated. We decided to re-chrome the old ones. There are about a dozen chrome pieces that are being redone - shift lever, hood script plates, windshield wiper escutcheons and the door handles. Another set of "oh-by-the-ways".

But - there was one major victory this round. We finally got to work on the bed and it turned out to be a fairly easy job. All of the holes in the bed were around spot welds. The braces under the bed had not corroded away and the shop figured out a way to patch and fill the holes quickly. Pictures show the details, but basically cut out the spot weld area, weld in a backer plate, fill and cover with bed liner at final paint.

The instrument cluster is out for repair, repainting and re-calibration. Three of the four gauges are bi-metal gauges, in good shape functionally, but they need repainting. Ammeter is OK. Speedometer face needs to be reworked. The face plate is bent slightly, but I'll live with it - fixing it could end up making it worse. The speedometer is "just worn out". Bearings and bushings are wallowed out badly. Probably due to 250,000 some odd miles. Another mystery - how did a Chevy speedometer pointer get in there. I'll leave that too since it's "original" to me. The cluster will take 4 to 6 weeks, so wait a bit longer....

The next major step is to get the engine running before the engine compartment gets any more crowded. The guy from the exhaust shop comes in next week to measure up for an exhaust system. I want the truck to have the exhaust come out the rear, not just dump under the cab or bed. If it ever had such an arrangement, I never saw it - but exhaust did cause a lot of corrosion underneath. And, another "Aw -pooh". There is a puddle of oil under the engine. The oil pan has a big steel skid plate on it - probably spot welded. It looks like one of the spot welds has rusted, like the welds on the bed. Once we run the engine for a few hours and get ready to do a break-in oil change, we'll pull the pan and put patches over the welds.

There have been a couple of questions on the forum lately about "How big a job is it to ...". I hope my story doesn't discourage anyone from starting their own restoration.

Until later...Keep on Jeepin'