View Full Version : First CJ 5 1956 F 134 - love at first sight.....

56 CJ Shelley Raye
04-25-2013, 02:39 PM
.....then I saw the rust. Basically the back end body, tailgate, bumper are rusted to chunk and powder.

My plan is to replace rear bumper, tailgate, grind out rust spots on body then treat with rust reformer, prime, bondo, prime and paint.

Have provided pics for your entertainment, in case no one has made you laugh hystericaly yet today. Yes, you are welcome.

So, underneath everything but the tail end looks great. All of the frame, driveshafts, tranny, x-fer case, diffs....I have ordered the suspension kit 4x kit and new bumper (and they should be waiting for me when I get home). After seeing what I saw in my feeble attempt to remove the OLD bumper, I am afraid. But only a little. The thing runs great, new carb, spark plugs, wires, points, condenser, distro cap, fuel filter, battery, it all works. Starts a little hard, but so do I, really now, it's only 2 years older'n me!) I could take it out and drive it on the street if I had the tags (that's never stopped me before, but somehow age has a way of making one a little more cautious).

I plan to clean up and paint some of the grime, engine part covers, oil pan, etc., replace old crudded up wires, general spiff up job.

I'm looking for some advice from folks who have done this before. I'm not looking to restore my new toy to it's original glory, but do want it to be safe, nice looking and operate as it should. Tooling around town tieing up traffic, climbing hills and ridges, crossing the occaisional small creek etc.

Am I approaching this from the proper perspective? I figure I have to get it out on the road to see what all makes bad noises, doesn't work etc.

Suggestions, advice, ideas, bags of money, all are happily accepted. It's my first "real" toy since my go-kart when I was 12, which taught me a lot about small engines. I don't want to screw anything up, but want it to drive and look better.

I started the pics from the back, as it looks after my feeble attempt at bumper removal last evening. How do you like the pink on the last pic? Maybe all over with clear laquer and a blue roll bar?


1948 Cal Willys Pickup
04-26-2013, 07:47 AM
Were you planning on putting that rear "bumper" back on? And thanks for the laugh.

56 CJ Shelley Raye
04-26-2013, 08:09 AM
Glad you got the chuckle! Yes, I received the rear bumper yesterday. After taking another look at things, it appears that the panels on either side of the tailgate should probably be replaced, since from what I can see looking from underneath those pieces on either side are a major piece in the attachment.

BTW, I was gleefully opening my shipment of leaf springs, clamps, shocks, grommets etc for my all around suspension replacement and did one of the things that my daddy always told me not to do. "Don't take those copper staples out of a heavy duty cardboard shipping box with a big pocket knife. That's not what your pocket knife is for. Use the right tool for the job at hand." Needless to say, after I got the bleeding stopped, (thank God for bone, otherwise I'd be missing a finger!!) applied a huge wad of paper towels and pressurized with clear packing tape, I got out the screwdriver and pliers and completed my gleefull box opening.

Ok, back to the task at hand, do you have a suggestion for that bumper mess? I'm going to have to hack saw the bolts to get it off, doubtful if the MegaBoltLoosener that I have applied by the gallon has done anything but make them look wet. Those rear panels are mighty ugly, and I'm getting the feeling that they'll have to go. What do you think?

1948 Cal Willys Pickup
04-26-2013, 10:49 PM
You sound just like us Air Force maintainers whenever we get a "Bite" from a jet. Tie it up with whatever is around and move on. If you have a torch it will probably help get those bolts off. If not and you don't have any other options than a hacksaw I would get a nut splitter and take it off. If you have good access with the hacksaw by all means go for it. Its hard to say without being there but from the pic it looks like there is a lot of corrosion under the paint. I have a pickup so not real familiar with that area on your vehicle. For me if I don't have the tools or time I would replace. If I don't have the money to replace then I would probably borrow what I needed from someone for repair. Either way you are looking at a bit of work. Do you have welding equipment?

1948 Cal Willys Pickup
04-26-2013, 10:51 PM
Oh yeah I wouldn't put that "bumper" from the back back on unless you have a purpose for it. Its probably adding a couple extra hundred pounds you don't need to lug around.

56 CJ Shelley Raye
05-01-2013, 12:19 PM
LOL!! Yep, That "bite" is a new phrase to me, but not a new proceedure! I do have a torch, and will give that a shot! Thanks for that info! I don't have a welder, was going to be "given" one but it was the size of a volkswagon bug so I had to pass...not really any place to put it since I have a '67 GTO taking up all the garage room. That's the next project.

That rear bumper your'e talking about, the one that is designed to hold the gas cans? Good idea about leaving it off. That thing even looks heavy.

Thanks for the ideas! Keep 'em comin!

1948 Cal Willys Pickup
05-02-2013, 07:40 AM
Yes thats the one I was talking about. Most people dont need a spare can of gas but like the looks. Not sure if you have a spare but I would consider a swing out tailgate that can hold a spare. They even make gas/water cans that attach to the spare in case you want to do some serious off roading. Are you planning on towing you Willys? If not you could probably pull that stuff off the front as well. If it comes off easy you may want to hold on to it in case you want to use it in the future.

56 CJ Shelley Raye
05-02-2013, 11:36 AM
I'll be takin it off for a while, a good winter project to make pretty. Won't be needing it for some time, if at all. Love the swing-out tailgate idea. That'll fit perfectly with where I intend to go up the mountain trails.

Towing is a maybe yes, maybe no. Will probably remove that once I'm sure I have the engine cooperating 100%. If I do tow it, it'll be to my hideaway which is 80 miles of 65 - 75 mph. I guess for that I should invest in one of those tow hookups that'll raise the front wheels, then disconnect the rear diff. Suggestions? I could take the back roads, since going over 35 - 40 mph in this tub is truly a hallucination. The GMC Sierra w/ tow package should do the job nicely on the highway, but I just need to decide on what maner of tow. I'm guessing anything other than trailer requires diff disconnect.

First things first though, get the engine tuned up, chunks of rust from body removed so as no projectiles cause my insurance to go up, frame cleaned and inspected for wear and cracks, preceeded buy a massive underbody pressure wash.

What do you think....am I on the right track? What needs to be higher on the list? I need all the help I can get, but am having a lot of fun so far. O can only imagine the fun on the first test drive around the block.....if it makes it!

1948 Cal Willys Pickup
05-03-2013, 04:25 PM
If you are not an avid tower I would rent a full trailer whenever I needed to tow if you have the vehicle to pull it which it sounds like you do. What do you have for a front axel? Checking your frame is a really really really good idea. If your frame is too far gone then nothing else will work properly and may be a waste of money. After that BRAKES. Most of our tubs don't need super power brakes but if you are planning on doing some heavy braking then make sure you have at least front disc brakes. This will also help if you plan on going through high water as drums are very ineffective after coming out of the water. After that its really whatever you want to do. For me it would be drive train in conjunction with electrical, then steering and chassis work followed by any interior mods to guages switches etc. then lastly exterior. Of course all this depends on condition of things as you move along. If you do a full off frame resto/rebuild you may want to finish the exterior before moving to the interior. I guess my train of thought is all the pretty stuff done last so you don't mess it up doing the stuff that matters most.

56 CJ Shelley Raye
05-17-2013, 07:05 AM
Thanks for all of the great ideas and suggestions. I'm with you on getting it running (runs now but needs a little TLC to make it purrrrrrrr...) and stopping. The idea of front disc brakes is one I hadn't considered. Thanks for that suggestion also. I know wet drum brakes are useless (from experience), and the front disc would be a good conversion in any case I think. I got her up on jack stands now, so I can crawl around under and inspect what shape things are in. So far so good. The worst part seemes to be the rear tailgate assembly and bumper. I can't tell you how much your torch suggestion for getting rusted bolts and nuts off has helped! I couldn't believe it the first one I did.....was like I had just put it on new and was taking it off again. Thanks very much for that, really appreciated. Since I have it up and can comfortably get around underneath (safely secured on jack stands, I don't want to be a greasy spot in my driveway) I'll power wash underneath. That should reveal any real problems with the frame. Then after that dries I'll spray it down good with Rust Inhibitor / converter stuff. Have you ever used it? I used it on a rusty old steel wagon that I pulled behind the lawn tractor, and was really impressed with the results.

I'll probably only tow a few times a year, but who knows. I have time to think on that, and check out rental prices vs. times of year vs. cost of a trailer. Good suggestion!!

Now that my "bite" is all healed up, I'm ready to have another go! Thanks for all your suggestions and ideas.

1948 Cal Willys Pickup
05-17-2013, 11:17 AM
Rust inhibitors/converters work well but need to be followed up with some kind of coating or they will eventually rust again. I used KBR products on my frame and diffs and it seems to work pretty well. They also sell in various colors which other similar type products dont. They sell a combo trial pack which is what I used for my diffs. Its fairly easy to use and inexspensive but it will stain whatever it gets on so if you use it make sure you mask the area very well including your exsposed body parts ie hands, face, hair etc.

56 CJ Shelley Raye
05-17-2013, 01:25 PM
Yeah, I've used some rust inhibitors previously, and have seen how the material needs protection overtop. I was thinkin about a high heat or bedliner spray. Never heard of KBR products....is there a website?

Major concern right now is getting it clean and coated with rust-get-outta here. I know I'll be putting more coats of the rust inhibitor on in certain places as I get it cleaned up, but no sense in letting it progress for now, even a little bit.

Understand about the "masking". Use of this product could cause severe laughter and finger pointing if not used properly, with requisite covering of items not intended to be coated.

1948 Cal Willys Pickup
05-18-2013, 10:27 AM
This is the third time I am trying to post this message. Page keeps freezing up on me then I have to reopen the page. Anyway you are too funny. Here (http://www.kbs-coatings.com/) is the web page and I screwed up. Its KBS not KBR and they have whaat you are looking for. They ship quickly and have fair prices for their products. Up to you if you want to try them out.

56 CJ Shelley Raye
05-20-2013, 07:00 AM
Wow. 3 tries......I appreciate your effort. Computers can be a royal pain, but they sure do come in hand in cases like this one.

Thansk for the web site.....It looks like they have some great products. I'll definitely be checking them out.

Saturday I finally got that last RR leaf spring bolt out, the one in the front. Had to hack saw thru it. It was completely stripped on the inside. Talk about a pain. Anyway, after all the suspension was off and I could jack up the frame enough to get underneath and have a good look around, I was really surprised. The frame looks GREAT all over. Most of the rust seems to be the tub, and where it attaches to the frame. That doesn't bother me much, I'll deal with that after the major items are taken care of (coat frame, fix BRAKES!!!) and then get to cleaning up all the globbed on grease on the diff's and variousl other greasy/globbed underneath parts. Rust inhibit and undercoat.

This is so much like playing with my go-cart when I was a kid......except I don't have to chage the head gasket every other day!

Thanks again for the info!

11-05-2013, 11:21 AM
I just had to read about your 56 CJ after refurbishing mine this summer..I bought my 56 and it didn't look too bad on the outside..the floor was done for..the body was held on by two bolts and the steering column !..the rear mounts were gone and going over bumps sounded like a dumptruck slamming its tailgate...it had good bones and I took the body off to fix it...ended up scrapping it and buying a new body tub kit..painted the entire chassis w/POR-15...axles, springs, everything !...new tie rod ends, bellcrank bearings, etc...new tub fit perfectly...rewired with a new harness...kept it six volts...put in MB gauges...going to paint it with OD green enamel...painted the engine/drivetrain Hemi Orange...have mounted the spare on the tailgate a la M38...have all 5 tires military tread NDTs...still mounting the seats...have to replace all brake linings, tubing, master cylinder, all four wheel cylinders, all flex lines, too...drum brakes in good condition work just fine...and with my 5.38 gearsets, if I want to slow down, I'll just lift my right foot !...I'm good for only 35-40mph anyway...disc brakes are totally unnecessary here...if I was going super fast (which ain't gonna happen), then discs are a good idea...I have no rear bumper...the front bumper is a massive six inch piece of channel iron that I'm gonna keep...it's very well built and a bit intimidating...good for pushing things out of my way...I put new gaskets in the engine and an aluminum radiator...it is now running and moving under its own power...just need to tackle the brakes...this project is purely entertainment for me...I've owned a 79CJ7 with a SBC350 w/T18 granny gear trans...lots of fun...had a 48 CJ2 all stock...just sold my 05 Wrangler 4cyl. w/6speed trans...had a 62 Willys pickup...now this 56 is my latest toy...on this project, the blue tipped wrench was my best friend...you'll find out...good luck with yours...Mike

56 CJ Shelley Raye
11-06-2013, 12:58 PM
Hey there JeepCJ5. Glad to hear your project is going well. Mine was slowed a bit by summer, but I did get a few things done, and a few things identified that need attention. You did the whole tub? Wow. I have a '67 GTO taking up all the space in my garage, so I have to keep my 'Wiley' outside to the side, but I do keep it covered with a tarp that's strapped down. Can't have any more abuse. My tailgate and rear valance, bumper and signal light panels were nothing but Bondo with green paint over it! Everything was sealed shut. Luckily, mine ran really well. Needed new suspension, all around brake redo's just like yours, and I'm absolutely in love with my CJ. It's amazing to work on something that was made before computer technology took over, and all the gadgetry was added on. It's great to have room to "move" when working on the pup. Got my rear suspension all replaced, and can I just tell you that that blue tipped wrench was mighty handy to have in toolbox. 1948Cal Willy's Pickup gave me that little clue, after I had complained about twisting nuts off and shearing bolts. Use of that little wrench was immediately implemented. My tub is in ok shape, except for the rear end Bondo, so I cut all that out and have new tailgate, valance, bumper and light panels to attach. Those are waiting until the brakes get in shape. I figured I'd go ahead and pick them up while I had some spare cash, and I'm glad I did. You are so right about the drum brakes.....no need for disk with my intentions. Crawling around in the woods, up and down the Blue Ridge and Allegheny's is where I'll be spending most of driving time. It sounds like yours is going to be spiffed up nicely! You'll have to post pic's so's we can all admire! Good 'talkin' to ya, and have fun!!