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Thread: Ham's 48: The Dead Goat

  1. #1
    Super Moderator LarrBeard's Avatar
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    Ham's 48: The Dead Goat

    OK Boys and Girls, GrandPa Beard will tell you the Goat Story just one more time – it’s an example of what we sometimes need to do to get parts and pieces for our Jeeps.

    I had been driving Ham’s ’48 since 1964 while I was going to college in Jackson, TN. It worked for a living those days. We went all over Madison County while I was working for the USDA as an acreage compliance reporter. I learned that most 4WD Jeeps managed to get all four wheels stuck and 2WD Trucks just kept away from the big mud holes and bogs. We hauled scrap metal, sand, gravel, furniture, old wires and cables and once upon a time, a bed full of ice and beer. In 1967 I had to go away for two years of Navy service and a friend said he’d look after it for me until I got back.

    Unfortunately, his idea of looking after it was to park it under a tree – and even worse, a Black Walnut tree! Black Walnut leaves are almost pure acid and black stain – yuck. By November 1968 I was back and I needed to get the truck up to Fort Wayne, Indiana where I had found work. By then I had a wife and we headed out north. I left about 4:30 AM and headed for Louisville, KY. We had planned out where we would stop for the night and she left Tennessee about noon. She got across the Ohio River about an hour ahead of me – there weren’t interstate highways in that direction yet.

    The next day got us to Fort Wayne, and the truck became a daily driver. I learned that if you filled the bed with snow, it added enough weight to keep the back end behind you – and when you didn’t need the weight any more, Mother Nature unloaded it for you. But, I quickly learned another lesson.

    In 1948 a heater was not a standard item on a vehicle, especially a Jeep truck. Family history says that the truck came “ …from some ole’ boy down in Mississippi …” – in 1954 my Dad was the second owner. The Mississippi heater was about the size of a coffee can – it wasn’t the 668053 Heater Kit offered by Willys- Overland; it was some odd ball after market dealer heater. It had not done all that well in West Tennessee, and after half a winter of Indiana – I knew something had to be done!

    Now, the summer of 1969 was spent exploring northern Indiana. The “square” one mile by one mile layout of the counties and townships was totally new to my wife and I. We spent most Sunday afternoons just driving around – and exploring. By that time our first daughter was well along the way, so just getting out of that little apartment was a great adventure and escape.

    We checked out all of the little communities; Arcola, Cedarville, Harlan, Leo, Woodburn, Maples and all of the back roads. But, I had a second agenda going on - I kept an eye out for old Jeeps. I had already checked out the junkyards (they weren’t salvage or parts yards back then) and there were no Jeeps to be found. Then, one Sunday afternoon when we were out exploring – SUCCESS!

    I really don’t remember, but I’ll say it was out in the Amish area around Harlan that I saw a familiar silhouette sitting in a barnyard. It was a Jeep Station Wagon- flat on the ground with a tree growing out through a hole in the floor and the missing rear window. I pulled into the driveway and knocked on the door of the house. I was greeted with; “What can I do for you?” I explained that I had seen the old Jeep, that I needed some parts for my truck and I would just like to look it over if he didn’t mind.

    “Well, go ahead and look, but don’t take anything.” That was a good enough start for me. I went over into the barnyard and looked – sure enough, it had a big square heater in it! I had struck gold!

    I went back and asked if he would be willing to sell the heater – I would take it off so he didn’t need to do anything.

    “Yeah, I guess so.”

    “How much?”

    “Twenty dollars”.

    “Well, how about ten dollars”

    “I’ll take fifteen, but the Jeep’s still in pretty good shape so you better not tear anything else up”. Remember, it was sitting flat on the ground and had a small tree growing up through it – but you don’t argue with the guy who has what you need.

    “I’ll be back next Sunday to get the heater.” I paid him, shook hands on the deal and off the wife and I went.

    A week later I was back. I checked with the farmer and said I was going out to get the heater. He reminded me not to tear anything else up – just take the heater. I finally got the hood open. There were no wasp nests and I worried the old rusty clamps off the hoses and cut the stubs off the hoses – they would not go through the holes in the firewall. I found the nuts that held the heater to the firewall and got them loose. Then, I worked my way up under the dash to get the defroster hoses, clamps and wiring loose.

    There I was, up under the dash of an old Jeep in a barnyard in mid-July trying to get a bunch of rusty clamps loose – and not tear up too much. It wasn’t but a minute or so and I smelled something funny.

    “Oh well”; I said to myself, “I’m in a barnyard so smells are to be expected.” I’m a farm boy – but it didn’t smell like cow. It wasn’t horse or chicken. It was even nastier than pig. It was nasty and dead – but I kept working. I got the defroster hoses loose, cut the one wire, but the heater wouldn’t come loose. I pulled, I sweated, I skinned a knuckle or two (I probably cussed) and got dirt in my eyes and then I decided I had missed a bolt on the firewall side. I unwound myself and crawled back outside.

    I happened to look behind the front seat and I saw what was so rank.

    There was a dead goat in the back end; a big dead goat. He was pretty far gone – his teeth were sticking out like he was grinning at me. His ribs were sticking out through his skin, and there were some little wriggly critters crawling around him.

    About then I decided that concerns about not tearing things up were long gone. I found one nut I had missed. I ripped the heater out - and I got the heck out of there as quickly as I could. It was way past time for a shower!

    Was it worth it? Oh yeah!

    That heater made the truck marginally livable until about 1976 when it went into the barn. It was part of the restoration – the core had no leaks after 35-years in the barn. Since the truck doesn’t have wind whistling through holes in the floor any more, that heater will run you out of the truck on a 10-degree January day.

    This leads us up to the Fourth Rule of Jeep:

    Rule Four: A guy just has to do what he has to do to get the parts he needs.

    Dead goats or not.
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  2. #2
    I find this long post informative and entertaining at the same time.

  3. #3
    Senior Member 5JeepsAz's Avatar
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    What a tale! That heater is a goat. Greatest Of All Time. As I'm laughing about it, it does cause a wonder. How did the goat get in there? How did it die? Why didn't they bury it? Did it have a name? A dead goat. Unbelievable!

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    Super Moderator bmorgil's Avatar
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    Best "Dead Goat" story ever!

    And they don't make them this way anymore, "the core had no leaks after 35-years in the barn"!

    Quote Originally Posted by mrgrtt123 View Post
    I find this long post informative and entertaining at the same time.
    That's why we have Larry! Click on his name and check out a few more. Always a good read.
    Last edited by bmorgil; 03-05-2021 at 07:23 AM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member TJones's Avatar
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    I am not sure but you really can't make this stuff up, even if you sat really long and hard and put a lot of thought into it

  6. #6
    Super Moderator LarrBeard's Avatar
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    The Goat

    Quote Originally Posted by TJones View Post
    I am not sure but you really can't make this stuff up, even if you sat really long and hard and put a lot of thought into it
    As we used to say in the Navy ..."This ain't no sxxt". It's all true. You can be sure.

  7. #7
    Senior Member TJones's Avatar
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    There is no doubt in my mind it’s true Buddy!!!
    It’s like some of Iras stories.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator bmorgil's Avatar
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    And just like that check out what appeared on WJL! Congratulations Larry! Nice write up man.

    https://blog.kaiserwillys.com/taking...y&utm_content=

  9. #9
    Super Moderator LarrBeard's Avatar
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    That's a couple of years old - Miss Amy must have run out of things to use this week....

  10. #10
    Senior Member 5JeepsAz's Avatar
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    I remember reading that, maybe before I joined the forum. Glad to know you. In honor of our forum friend Ira, let me say is an honor and a privilege to get your input into my Kaiser Willy's Jeep Truck build. Great story there!

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