View Full Version : Restoring Ham's '48 Willys - Labor Day Update

09-05-2015, 08:28 AM
My wife and I had stopped by the shop earlier in the week; I wanted her to see the 1919 Auburn Beauty Six. It was in last stages of getting put together. Body color was a deep Maroon, fenders were black. With the new whitewall tires and furniture grade wheels, it was impressive. The shop guys went well beyond ‘good-enough”. They went through the car and every piece of visible hardware was replaced with brass straight slot screws and square nuts (where appropriate) faithful to the original 1919 hardware. No more Phillips head screws and hex nuts on brackets and part clamps.

This was the first time my wife had seen the ’48 Willys since it had been in the shop. We got the wife’s seal of approval – she liked the color we picked for the truck. As it turns out, we probably really did do a good job on color. When it came time to put the headlight buckets back into the grill, there were about half-a-dozen screws from the dis-assembly in the bag. These screws had been protected by the headlight rims from weather and sunlight, so the paint hadn’t faded on the heads. The old paint and the new paint are a very – very close match. Guys don’t do colors all that well, but even the wife agreed we matched the old paint! Write this day on the calendar!!!

Later in the week, I made my Friday stop by the shop to look at things once the Auburn was gone. The ’48 is back to center stage and the guys are doing a deep clean on the shop to get rid of “Auburn dust”. As usual there were little details to discuss, but one problem we had involved the wiring harness from KWAS. Something just wasn’t right, we couldn’t find out where the harness was going to get battery power. I spent a while upside down under the dash tracing wires (#12, Black, with 2 white tracers). Oh yes, there are several #12 black wires with 3 white tracers; and just because they’re black, they’re not grounds. Things didn’t look just right somehow, so I got out the envelope, drew some pictures, then went back upside down under the dash. (It’s a lot harder to get under there than it was back in ’67.) We looked in the Shop Manual and decided which wiring diagram applied to the truck, got back under the dash and looked some more.

Then, lights came on in my head – (not on the truck…). ‘Way back in 1967 there was a wiring disaster. The coil had slipped down in its bracket and had shorted to the big terminal on top of the starter, the positive battery terminal. Lots of ugly things happened and I replaced a lot of wires. When I did that, I moved the six-volt supply lead up to the battery terminal. The shop guys were trying to duplicate my wiring from pictures, and the harness just didn’t go there. Loose ends and missing wires now made sense, so that gets fixed this week.

I hope the guys take a well-deserved break, have a good Labor Day and swarm all over the beast next week.