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Thread: 1964 Kaiser Willy's Jeep Gladiator J300 Pickup Truck "Cindy" Resto Mod Thread

  1. #31
    Senior Member 5JeepsAz's Avatar
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    Aug 2019

    Early Driving Adventures

    l was gettin around pretty good at first! stayed off the gas. brake pedal seemed hard. clutched squeeked a bit. Weird throwing gears on a column. think i found reverse and first. second felt the best, up and out toward the windscreen. third gear, couldnt find it. not sure but this thing might even have a fourth gear. so when my wife handed me a coffee through the window, she was in her rights to ask me, "are you gonna start it or just sit here all day? You`ve been out here over an hour already."


  2. #32
    I had so much fun reading it since it is entertaining and informative at the same time.

  3. #33
    Senior Member 5JeepsAz's Avatar
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    Aug 2019


    … You`ve been out here over an hour already. And. Remember, you said as soon as you got a ‘new’ truck that the “old” furniture would be gone…”

    I’d never driven a column shift. Sitting there in my Jeep Truck, I even tried to hypnotize myself to recreate some false childhood memories but it failed to produce the desired column shifting capability needed to go further than the sidewalk. I did see one once. Actually twice.

    The only column shift I ever saw up close was about forty minutes before I saw it again. This being before and after the car accident. The first time I saw it, some cool kid explained it to me and I got shoved out of the way because they were going out to “hit the town” and “meet some girls” and “be home before curfew”. That’s right - the last column shift I ever saw was viewed upside down when my brother’s friend flipped his Ford going down the driveway.

    The only important thing I learned about that was good seatbelts. “Lucky we had good seatbelts. We were all four hanging upside down inside of there for about a half hour until somebody finally got undone and fell on his head”. I fingered the button on the hanging seatbelt to feel what a good belt meant. And then we all got out of there because the kid’s dad also knew what a good belt meant and he was rumored to be coming to retrieve his son and his Ford, directly.

    So I wasn’t going anywhere just yet, cause I did not want to turn Cindy upside down. I managed to back her out and turn her around, very safely. See, the old furniture in question was premarital booty. From before. Somehow, due to poverty and good furniture coverings it managed to stick around for ten or fifteen years. But the time had come.

    All of us have read some of the funniest posts ever written on Jeep forums. All the ones about modifications too, more creative than anything, the wonderful modifications that you may have never thought about without fellow Jeepers informing your viewpoints. There was some hubbub on various platforms at that time about tonneau covers versus toppers, also called camper shells back in my day. So. I had devised me a plan. Which I considered hilarious and which was.

    The old furniture in question was built original to look vintage – so it was like double vintage. It looked old. And it was old. Awesome. During the search year I dove onto the bed and it broke, but those rails were so cool I figured to install them onto my Jeep Truck as bed side panels. What I did not know but found out gloriously was this. That headboard fit the width of the bed like a drum. As for the side rails. No attachments necessary. They hooked into the headboard same like always!

    I applied sawsall to the situation. Fine results. Some folks measure lots of things but I don’t advise it in this type of case. If you start high enough, you can always whittle down the excess to match whatever length your aiming at. It meets the weight requirements for the back end staying seated in the track either way too.

    In this case needed the legs cut off the one end to become feet on the other end. They fit decent. I did match the hinges to vintage styling already on the wood, by way of purchasing that type. And, it was my incredibly good fortune to find out that morning the grass carpet fit without trimming. I just screwed it down using the handles – real good! It was my first thief deterrent. The second one is the hellish fence from hell fence, which you may like to read about in a future post.

    I do want to say that as much fun as I’m having retelling this story – the truth is I liked my tonneau. I really did. So I was sincerely appreciative when forum guys on here enjoyed it as well – it did give me the confidence to keep building, keep having fun. It was always temporary until I got my topper. Turns out – I still have it. Yep, it fits UNDER the topper!!!

    Let’s have some fun, here are the pictures.

    Wait up – hold up. What you are looking at is a whole camping set up. Alright? Portable living room on a green shag carpet? With a fire in the middle? That’s a sleepable double bed!!! Just need a skeeter net. Come on now. This thing is AWESOME!!!
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    Last edited by 5JeepsAz; 04-17-2021 at 03:02 PM.

  4. #34
    Senior Member 5JeepsAz's Avatar
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    Aug 2019

    Body Work

    Body Work

    So many great threads to search starting with Larrbeard, GMWillys, Tjones, bmorgil and many more as to body work.

    My build was solid as purchased, built for daily driver not for show, and the truck had no rust. Adding seatbelts and some brackets in the engine bay was all it took to get the body where I wanted to go. I did find a really neat-o hand turn, for the spare cinch, made from rebar – looks ancient. I still need to get a metal wizard to age that handmade part. It is a big “T”. The original probably was a knuckle bruiser, so it got upgraded!
    Last edited by 5JeepsAz; 04-08-2021 at 02:46 AM.

  5. #35
    Senior Member 5JeepsAz's Avatar
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    Aug 2019



    All opinions as far as paint. You can spend more on paint than anything else, or less. Really.

    Consider a concourse paint job. Perfect in every way. That is plenty money and plenty months. On the other hand, a rattle can? Well, you might use it where you will be the last person to see that paint for fifty years because you are going to close it up within a frame rail. No, not on your hood!

    Put it like this: We might see a dozen cars during grocery shopping. Every auto has different paint. Every auto has many thousands of paint decisions into it. The chemist, engineer, advertiser just to start. How many decisions did they make, and remake, in the creation of the paint job on those cars? Has to work on plastic, has to match interior, has to survive the North Pole and Death Valley, mom and dad both have to agree on it, etc.

    It’s what people see. Paint is as much the truck as the silhouette, the engine, the performance.

    All those decisions on that dozen cars in the grocery parking lot and exactly NONE were made by you. Until this build. Now you make ALL the decisions, all thousands of them. Paint coloration, quality, and application. It’s a thing. It is what people see – and it is what you will see. Therefore, it needs to be right. And, that’s up to you!

    For this build, the decision tree went like this: what do I have, what do I want, what does the truck deserve, budget.

    What I had was disputed. Was it patina? Was it an old respray? What I wanted was a period correct paint job. The truck deserved an honest paint job. I budgeted way more than I spent, but that was just lucky.

    If I have original paint, patina, then I have period correctness. So I started there. I just needed to know what I had, easy!

    I was sent packing by one auto detailer shop. Finally referred to the owner of a place, he looked at it, shook his head, and pointed at the exit gate. Barrett’s comes through my town – there should be tons of detailers available, right? Not one. Sure, I could pay a grand plus for someone to fly in from a commercial shoot, but that wasn’t happening. Absolutely nobody would take on the truck. One dude looked at a picture, said no. Month later texts, he had some time, could he come look at it. Sends his guy over the next week. Texts me this exactly: “Get it painted and I’ll detail it”.

    So I am without a team. No expert help. I start earning my degree in paint. Here’s what I remember from months of watching youtube auto detailers, reading the internet, all the threads on paint and there are a lot of them.

    First, you have the surface to be painted. Metal, yes, but what kind? Does it rust easily? What kind of nonmetal moldings did they make back then? Has the original surface changed in fifty years – will it still take paint?

    Then we have the paint layers. Primer, paint, in my day. Each layer, metal, primer, paint, expands and contracts differently. Are the layers still adhering to each other? Is the metal rusting from under the paint? Is the paint weathering off of the metal? Flakes, chips, scratches? Can you sand the original paint without turning it to dust?

    What is patina? Is it particulate matter resting on the paint each evening for fifty years becoming a layer? Is it cellular – plant matter resting on the paint, or, is it chemical matter eating the paint, or, is it shim shaped rock shavings poking into the paint, or, is it velcro shaped vines of something metallic or plastic plastered onto the paint? Imagine fifty years of splatter on your paint. That’s patina.

    Just how the hell do you get that off, to reveal the original paint?

    What is auto detailing? A process of cleansing to first remove loose particulates, then dissolve grime into solution without harming the paint, then cleaning the actual paint, then applying solution to be absorbed by the paint to protect it, then applying a coating over the paint. One thing astounded me.

    Somebody said dry paint is like dry skin – lipids work on both. Lipids? Are you kidding me? Be careful – that is true and it’s the other stuff in the lotion for your car that can harm your paint! End of the day, easy off oven cleaner is a viable treatment for my patina – heck, it is the same problem – same solution for baked on grease and grime, cooked on stains…

    I can rub off a 4”X4” square of patina in an hour. It is SO BEAUTIFUL. I can power buff a 4’X4’ square in an hour. It’s Pretty enough. So I do. And you know what? The doors look perfect. If the whole truck looked like those doors, I’d keep it like that. But it didn’t .

    Someone sanded that thing for paint – specifically the bed, a very long time ago. But they didn’t paint it. The patina was on bare metal as much as overtop red paint. Strangest thing. Nobody figured it out. I found the swirls and marks from many dudes trying to resolve that paint problem over many decades. But every night – the patina set in, building itself up again. When I finally got her cleaned up – she looked like she was ready for paint. Not like a cool old paint job that could be clear coated. Like a POS ready for paint; no money for paint; back yard sittin, hidden; under a tarp, stashed; ugly, old, future barn find, automobile. Almost killed me. So many hours.

    I concocted rusto solution out of salt and vinegar and hydrogenated peroxide – made me sick to fake rust it but it did look cool from two feet. The problem was from twenty feet it looked like amateur hour. I just couldn’t do it. So I needed to paint. And fast. My daily aint no eyesore. That meant studying old trucks just for the paint – learning how to search for early 60s trucks with various paint applications. Ended up watching walk through videos of truck shows and parades. The look I liked? Single stage paint. They had the period correctness I was looing for.

    So you can strip to bare metal, primer, paint, paint, clear. You can do less of any. I’m not even going to get into the quality of paint. Let alone, the quality of a professional painter. I watched a ton of videos of people rating paint shops. Found the vids rating shops for specifically trucks, then for resto trucks.

    Somewhere I jumped to MAACO. Found out that our friend Earl Shibes was onto something. He had a quick, cheap, and workable process. Learned from enough youtubers that if you find a maaco with a good painter, good manager, it’s good. Cut to today – and that is what is on this truck. Painter has 17 years in the shop. His assistant 15 years in the shop. The manager at the time had been around several years.

    I went with a light sand – leaving the old paint under there – maybe primer, and single stage paint. I can still see all the damage from the years – but it’s painted a nice red color. Decided to stick with original color because changing the color meant taking it down to frame, for me anyway, and then why would I not do a rotisserie or frame off resto of all the parts – what, I’m gonna take it apart to paint it but not restore it? Nah.

    Finally, went with the original red. And, trusted the painter to pick the white for the bumpers to match a picture I had. I love it. Wife gave me a kiss and a hi five.

    Hope you enjoy the pics!
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    Last edited by 5JeepsAz; 04-17-2021 at 03:13 PM. Reason: Don't miss the famous ole fivers especial butt chair!

  6. #36
    Senior Member 5JeepsAz's Avatar
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    Aug 2019

    First Road Fix! Police… Onto the Flatbed?

    An old jeep truck is something I’d never driven before. Never learned to drive one. Therefore I thought it would be a low skill level endeavor. It should be easy. Experience and the Forum set me straight right quick on that account. Thank you forum members for immediately identifying problems with the brakes, the support for all the brake upgrades, and for celebrating my ‘improving’ driving skills. We may have saved Cindy’s life!

    Driving a Kaiser Willy’s Jeep Gladiator Pickup Truck requires skill, practice, and an understanding of what some folks call mechanicals. Who knew an engine breathed different when you used a choke button than when you upped the idle? Alright, I knew. But not at the level required to operate the vehicle properly. Not then. In the beginning. So.

    I was about as pissed off ready to learn though, when the retiree race track engine builder neighbor said, after explaining in detail every aspect of what my truck was designed to do, and he knew names of parts and stuff – heck he even left spec printouts on my porch late at nights for my coffee drinking morning reading pleasure, these were quite specific to my truck, well he said, “I thought you’d never driven a clutch before”.

    YOUCH. THAT HURT. I made it my plan to settle up. Although I had two problems. First, he was absolutely honest the way a friend should be - I did not know how to drive the truck. Second, the truck ran funny. Did things like stall out, fumigate the neighborhood, beat even fast little cars off the line but somehow end up the last one across the intersection. How is that even possible? I’m first, shift to second, suddenly I’m last, all within the distance across a city crosswalk? What is this truck? C’mon man. Oh. And it didn’t have third gear. Maybe that should read: I couldn’t find the third gear.

    Alright, so I’m sticking to side streets. The thing won’t shift into gear. Sun is going down. So I crawl under. This shift linkage is gunked up something fierce. The shift lever on the column works okay, but following it down under, when you operate the shift lever the linkage below responds by acting like a bow legged individual person running across the rope ladder at an obesity camp obstacle course. It just spreads apart. However, at the other end, going into the transamission, the extension from the transmission becomes tight again. Pushing there, I click it into gear. Button up the hood. Wipe the grease on my jeans. My first Road Fix!!

    I get back in the cab all happy and start it up and drop the clutch. Whooa!!! Reverse gear. LOL. I did that again before I found first gear. Limped home at 5-8 mph, right at last daylight. Still, felt satisfied I could road fix it. I squirted some tube grease in the nipple hole and that shifter sat up pretty and commenced to operate properly. Good deal. Until the brake problem.

    So the truck would stop itself approaching a stop light, once I hit the boulevards. Odd thing was it would take off pretty easily, meaning the wheels seemed free floating on acceleration but not so much without gas pedal. It would stop on its own, see?

    Then came the stalling problem after it overheated. Yes, I’d be doing good in traffic, let off the gas, didn’t need brake pedal, and then it would sometimes go to the “Red” area in the heat gauge and it didn’t seem as peppy so I’d push more gas into it until it stalled. Couldn’t figure that out.

    As for third gear, it just was not there initially. A big hole. Almost wondered if it had four gears because it felt like two holes. Both were without a gear at the bottom, so that mattered little on the streets because, well, no gear beyond 2nd. Until one time me and a pal were making a left turn from a side street onto a wide street.

    I was on that gas peddle and cranking that steering wheel. Wind was blowing in my hair. My pal said, “You oughta drop a four on the floor into it”. I about had a spasm. Cut my Cindy? No way, Pal. Remember, I'm hitting third by the time I hit the right lane off a banana left turn. Stunned by the suggestion (admittedly I have considered it, but that's my place - not for some rider to suggest) I just went for third automatically, without thinking. My tightened grip on the shift lever, my commenced clutching Cindy Girl toward my bosom, it pulled the lever ever so closer to the correct insertion site. 3rd Gear Baby!!!! I could go forty mph now!!! That was a great moment.

    That brake tightening thing happened a few times, until finally I got underneath of it and hit the emergency brake triangle with a piece of pie shaped plywood, cause Cindy is plywood rated for those who care, then it rolled easily down the concavity shaped parking lot to the low spot. So, I jumped in and continued driving.

    Eventually though, this came to a crux.

    She was hot. She was cranky. She died. On a dusty Arizona main street. That one day.

    So, I sat in a turning lane for an hour waiting on AAA rescue.

    Cops pulled up. A total scene. Yes, it was street legal. Yes it was cool. No, it couldn’t stay in the U-Turn lane very much longer. 5-0 departed. Thank you very much! But…

    We were alone together for the last time, little did I know it.

    The only jeep that waved at me was a long beard in a jeep Comanche. I waved back. But Cindy wouldn’t perk up. So sad.

    Then a guy pulled up in a air conditioned flatbed!!!

    The Kaiser Willy's Jeep Truck moved, maybe she would live to see another day. Come on Cindy!

    And then Cindy went into the shop for a long, long time.

    Enjoy the pics!
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    Last edited by 5JeepsAz; 04-10-2021 at 12:00 AM.

  7. #37
    Senior Member 5JeepsAz's Avatar
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    Aug 2019

    Hiatus, Lonesomeness, Learnedness

    Worse than a MOPAR knock off, I was nonfunctioning. Weepy, wistful, and worsening. You may think I’m overreacting. But you’ll remember this, and well, very well. Promise. When it’s your turn. See how you like it, then. For now I was a mopin MOPAR man. How bad is the dirty side of resto, you ask? I’ll tell you.

    Mopin’ around like I ate the powder from a convenience store coffee creamer mix – after the water is evaporated. I was stuck like that – have you ever examined that stuff? I was bound up like a pound of that syrup titrate was processing through the loins of my bowel. Slighty encased like a crusty old bolt. Nothing moving up in here momma – take a rain check. For like the next eight months.

    How does tap water turn dry powder gook like that into sweet tasty coffee mixer? I have no earthly idea. It’s magical potions, apparently, because after water is added, but you accidentally let it dry out again – you could get fired from your job – it is that damaging to the coffee maker and to customers who never want your coffee again after seeing it for what it is. Perhaps it’s a lesson in the formation of Patina!!!

    Oh sure, of course it reminds me of the beautiful patina on Cindy before she croaked – no way to know what it is: can’t live with it; can’t live without it. But I was a man without stimulant, coffee mix without water, MOPAR without capital letters. Some dude without a truck. Just felt FUBAR.

    I looked at her little fence area, longing for her, without a clue as to what to do, without compass, minus a north star, no Jeep Truck, forever. My truck. She used to park there. Oh, she will never park there again. My word what will I do? I was at home and despairing without Cindy Truck. This was all that same day she perished; she had been in the shop about 45 minutes when I collapsed completely.

    I could go on and on. You’ll know this pain. One day!

    I continue. So alone. So sad. Too tearful to walk away, too lonely to turn away, unable to leave it be, my emptiness matched only by the dirty, crying gravel rocks, weeping like me, but not burning up on fire with salty tears like mine. Gray river rock steaming off petrol fumes to become patina on some other truck, born from her oil drips, those little motherless gravels looking up into the mercilessly cruel desert sun, unshaded, naked, and useless. Like me without my Cindy.

    I went inside and sat down, probably to never move again. That is exactly what it feels like. Remember this before you start a resto. She will break your heart!

    It took a while, maybe a month, to get out of my armchair again. Glad it took that long. Because Cindy would not come home for like 6 months. Nobody told me how it feels. Nobody told me it takes ten years to find a stupid little part. Nobody told me mechanics are too busy with other work. Nobody told me nobody knows how to fix an engine without a computer code telling him or her what is wrong and a protocol sheet with systematic instructions how to complete the repair. Nobody tells you about the dark, dirty side of resto. Well, you been told, now, and here is what else not to do.

    Don’t go buying some fence. Like I did. I bought some 8 foot of fence. So, I got some paint and painted up that fence. (more later on that damn intractable fence – no idea it would rule my life, in reverse, forever). Suffice to say painting fence left an even bigger empty parking spot and huge hole in my heart.

    Slowly my mood improved.

    At the time I was crucified by the heartless evil artificial intelligence called the net. AI - that damn thing knew me well, supplied me with an endless stream of Kaiser Willy’s Jeep Truck clickbaits. Slightly interested, I managed to use my choke finger to click a few items. Huh. What’s this? Automotive Industry Archives Baby!!!

    Did you know that they had commercials to introduce each new type of transmission, back when every generation of shifter required completely different skills? Need to get the news to John Q Public so that he, and as importantly she, knew the latest cool thing – need to know basis - so you could operate your new vehicle? Of course, the automatic we drive is cool, but they started with a shift-o-matic. HI-LOW. How do you train the public?

    Make a commercial. Them Jones’s had the know, you better keep up!!! You had more speed “for hills”. As people moved to the suburbs, they needed “hiway speeds” to go along with “geared for easy to park” at their city job sites. Good old American know-how brought to you by your own personal black and white television.

    The column shift was introduced as superior to floor shift. Some shifted with buttons on the dash, eventually. But it was the commercials that were utilized to train the general public what the latest transmission did, how to operate, easy enough for a gender neutral reference to operate! Same for suspension, engine, interior, headlights, in about that order. I was gonna be ready to drive, drive, drive.

    Another way they did it - make a training “movie”. How the cars went from factory to rail to your customer so dealers could explain supply chain delays telling customers why to wait with a smile for your new vehicle to arrive after super smart men solved surly supply chain problems with alacrity! Such smart people back then, plastics are the future – invest, invest, invest! “Here’s the man overseeing a parts delivery” “Now he’s outside overlooking the latest “bumper” crop (guffaw, guffaw).

    The foreign public information campaigns fascinate – families going from farm to rail station to date night to a big house full of kids – holy crap – in about thirty seconds it’s the lifestyles of the fifties writ large on my HDTV. Man oh man. They had it going on back when. Cindy was born into a boom of babies, a 60’s society in turmoil, rock and roll music, and room to roam across the USA on Route 66. And American soldiers driving jeep on foreign soil to fight for freedom. God Bless them one and all. What a decade. Unbelievable.

  8. #38
    Senior Member 5JeepsAz's Avatar
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    Aug 2019

    Resto like you are Wheelin’

    Ever been four wheeling in the desert with a geologist using a pick like the one in Shawshank movie except bigger and better? Maybe you pull over into the shade under a big towering washout at the bend in a desert wash called an arroyo? These run, or have water in it, couple times during the summer and couple months of trickle in winter. It’s a dry river bed normally. Great for wheelin.

    This time of year, thunderstorm season, you always want to have an out if that wall of water fronted by logs and bushes and cactus screams down upon you. You need a sure way to higher ground pronto. But in the meantime, this track is nice cause it’s packed sand after the water dries up. Of course, the sharp end of the rocks are pointed downstream, think of a water fall – it is way smoother on your tires going the downstream way, dropping tires off of the pointy rocks than it is going upstream facing those fractal edges of a million points of tire popping fun. Especially at speed. Which I enjoy.

    Risks either way, since going upstream you at least see the wall of water, and with your back to it going downstream it is on your tail while you haul to the nearest up and out exit. Pick’em. Where do you want to go, where do you want to finish the roady? What’s the rain doing in a 40 mile radius the last 10 hours? Alright – good to go.

    Managing the resto is a thing. I tried laisses faire, micromanagement, leading, following, got out of the way. It was done the same day no matter the approach. One bolt at a time, as we know.

    Anyway, you sometimes park away from geologists in general terms. These people are known to be excitable. They walk right up to a fresh cut river edge and start clanging on some jutting out bottom rock, with this huge pick, all excited because this has not been in view in eons because the bottom of the 25 foot cliff has been buried since before human times. Allegedly.

    It does not matter one whit when you are yelling “get out from under there! Collapse! Collapse! Collapse!” Because they pay no mind until they come up with a cracked in half rock of some beautiful variety only found when a volcano blows up on a glacier and then gets transported by a tsunami or some similarly earth crushing ordeal that happens to rocks.

    These people do love to explain such things – as they do, I kind of edge away from the highly unstable hillside because they have to follow you to be close enough to stick the rock in your face so you can appreciate it properly. Sometimes under a lens. Sometimes take a picture and zoom in. Backing away by this method I get them back to the jeeps; safely, while I eat a piece of nice triple decker sandwich and try to learn.

    They might describe the whole face of that cliff as a conglomerate, or parts of it, considering it could be alluvial fan deposits overlaying a conglomerate – exclaiming how fast water deposited all the same size bigger rocks in that row, slow water this line of sand particles of small size, and up in the middle there a layer of dark material laid down after a forest fire because it is ashes or whatnot. Anyway – looks like a cake with layers, how they tell it. So you eat a bite and wait for some knowledge and hope that a flood or landslide doesn’t ruin your rest in the shady stopping place, so you can get back to wheelin at speed.

    Well, same exact story about shops and vendors and your Kaiser Willys Teep Truck. It’s kind of like a layer cake, kind of like examining something that happened 50 years ago only discovered yesterday by you or your trusty mechanic. He’s got to show you this cool thing and why it effects the build plan, sort of like doing the right repair sequence is the same as going downstream to avoid many pointy problems; simultaneously, you need to know when the flood of repairs means all stop and pulling on up out of your resto. Of course – you pluck some rust out from under the wrong under piece and the whole resto falls on your head – some things just bury you.

    Also true, who you go four wheeling with is vitally important. It makes or breaks a trip. Similarly, the overall team that did my resto, being modern, didn’t know me, didn’t even know each other, except by reputation, but they knew trail by heart, and I knew they would get me through. Example?

    My guy would say something related to some suspected part ordeal that had happened. Back east one vendor would say something about replacement parts required for this or that but it would be depending on what’s on the truck and the other one out west would identify the specific part and what else was needed and I’d negotiate that purchase and delivery with someone northwest and upper Midwest but lower 48 who was the only one who had the correct part. Got real good at piling up parts in our living room, she allowed some, until the next spa day, she got one too, at the shop when they will all be magically put together. That’s not counting what the shop did that I didn’t want to know about.

    My build was stewarded by a master mechanic who understood every word I said and was able to translate it into 2020 mechanic computer language, 1970 mechanic mechanical language, with an equally vivid storyline in explanation like when he was the one pulling knuckle heads out of the ditch, back when, because he was building my truck to “do” something, not just to ‘look’ something.

    He masterminded the best jeep truck build I ever saw because he listened to me, built me not just what I thought I wanted, but whatever else he knew I would need. Thank God for that dude and his whole family and the shop family.

    He also knew how to throw me out of the shop when I was particularly troublesome, and he knew when to offer me a shop courtesy ride home when I wanted my truck back right now but it wasn’t gonna be ready, and he knew when to tell his guys the truck wouldn’t pass his final even though they were about sick of it and wanted it gone.

    Funny thing is that truck is dialed in perfect.

    This is one bad truck.

    Many shops and many vendors. Thank you all. Seriously. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
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    Last edited by 5JeepsAz; 04-16-2021 at 11:54 PM.

  9. #39
    Senior Member 5JeepsAz's Avatar
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    Aug 2019


    If you want good info on specific parts or processes, go to threads by Pelogo (RIP), LarrBeard, gmwiĺlys, TJones, and bmorgil and equally good comments by these folks on other member’s threads. Search your terms and you will find what you need! Build specifics are detailed by brilliant, knowledgeable, and highly skilled people on here. Read em, ask em, do what they tell you. It’ll work out fine!

    This thread is more of a storyline like “restos for dummies like me, the story of”; because I need a different way to grasp the build – but I will give you one detailed story. Brakes. Because we do need to stop our vehicle after we get your resto running and driving.

    Brake job #1. My truck had a brake job before I got it.

    I know this because I have the previous one hole brake master cylinder and some pieces of brake pads also called shoes, I think. Anyway they came with the truck in a box. Although pads should be called socks and the brake drum should be called shoes, if we are being correct. Even though tires are called shoes. Why argue with history.

    Anyway – it was sold with newly ‘addressed’ brakes, and proof of that. So when the garage pulled apart the brakes all around, and some of them were crumbling, it caused disagreement as to the meaning of “addressed”.

    Brake job #2. What was up? So brakes #2 was just pads and safety check, mainly because easy and it would fit whatever was on the truck, done during my ownership. The pedal was hard as a rock, the lines were not leaking or replaced, and the truck did stop. After that she got squirrely on me, it just felt like two different trucks were stopping – the right front and the back left, sort of at the same time. Awkward. It got worse.

    I was driving along happily one day in the right lane on a five lane road – two one way, two the other way, and turning lane. I do believe this was before the law against texting and driving. Hey man, I’m modern. I did it. When I glanced up the light changed, yellow, then red. Somebody dove in front of me to get the open spot. I jammed the hell out of those brakes. Did I mention this is no power steering? Then I swerved uncontrolled from the right lane to the turning lane. That was the end of the current brake set up. I thank God I didn’t kill anyone. It was also the end of phone usage while driving a resto.

    Brake job #3. So, the brakes were “addressed” for the third time. We went around and around like the new wheels would, about whether to go with period correct drum brakes or the more sure and more costly disc brake conversion.

    Half drum, half disc? No disc? No drum? As usual, I started at the beginning. Research.

    Decided to go with a new drum brake system. Tried to measure the drums. The earlier willys trucks have whole brake system repair kits. But not the early J series. Mine had an odd size drum on it. An inch larger than replacement parts from the earlier trucks. Not a damn thing fit properly. So it meant completely changing out the brake system, to smaller brake drums than what was on there originally, including all new fittings and plumbing.

    Not a chance. Don’t tell me a smaller brake drum is better than a bigger one. That makes no physical sense, I don’t care about better efficiencies. I just went across three lanes of traffic trusting modern replacement parts. If I want effiicient, I’ll go with discs. Be careful what you wish for…

    Which meant reconsidering discs.

    Because if I had to replace the drums and plumbing all around, then why not replace with new disc brake set up?

    Three reasons: first, you have to grind your axle to fit discs; second, you have to pay for it; third, your original wheels might not fit, and that means your new tires already purchased might not work.

    Well, can’t go with drums all around, perhaps consider front discs and back drums? I thought about. But I would still be tearing down the back brakes – why not just do it right. If I have to go with front discs, might as well go all around.

    So I looked into it. Oh great – you can get a front disc package and a rear disc package. It’ll work.

    So we proceeded. But wait. There’s more…

    What’s that you say? A what? A dual reservoir proportioning valve master cylinder? Get it off a corvette? Why in the hell would I do that? Because there is no other way to be safe? You mean I need two reservoirs, one as a backup, and two different streams of juice to the brakes, different pressurization to front and rear, and we don’t know which master cylinder deal will fit the truck, supply the right juice, and be quality?

    So, really. I’m supposed to have a truck with new brakes all around, new plumbing, grind my axles? But only at the end, when it’s all on there, only then will I fill the gigantic hole in the engine bay where the master cylinder goes? That’s a lot of faith. Also the only way to guarantee proper fitment and function. My resto is going to include parts likely coming from a reinvented 78 Vette part?


    They all got it done.

    Enjoy the pics!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by 5JeepsAz; 04-17-2021 at 09:49 AM.

  10. #40
    Senior Member 5JeepsAz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2019

    Driving Adventures Part II

    I drove it. As if, I stole it. Right on out of the garage bay onto the big boulevard, past the construction zone, and whoops. I got funnel caked into two options. North or South. On a freeway.

    Well, it was hot, so I turned northern, to avoid the sun in my eyes. Windows open. Let er rip. Freeway entrance had a real tall wall on the right hand arc up toward the end of the merge. She was bellowing on through at about forty-five miles per hour, wide open throttle, like you said.

    The sound of that single pipe aimed at a brick wall, full throttle: bap-bap-bap-bap-bap. A ringing rhythm of righteous indignation at having been cooped up too long in a garage – the glory ride of ever, wide open, sun on our shoulders and the wind at our back. Me and my girl Cindy just getting it, hard and fast – doing 15 mph under the speed limit – probably about up to 50 mph in a 65 zone. Pretty darn fast with no power steering in a 55 years old truck. Me, I was grinning ear to ear. Talk about a slow jam. Wonderful. Cindy is back, baby!!!

    I avoided the freeway – that would be for later. But for the first drive – stayed in the right lane and got off at the next exit, dropping back down into town traffic. I must have shifted 300 hundred times on the way home. I got a handful of correct shifts, so I knew it was possible. The 280 or so I missed were explainable. Maybe justifiable is a better description. Overall. She worked. I knew that.

    Now Cindy and I did not know each other really well yet. When I would ask for more it was always there. She grumbled, rattled, and complained when I was not on it. Nevertheless, we had a good relationship. I kept trying, steadily, to be a good driver. Eventually, we grew on each other. Man and his pickup truck; very happy resto man; one cool Kaiser Willy’s Jeep Truck; rockin in the free world.

    In time, I figured out she accepts the shift, rather than takes it. No synchro in first, obviously, but even second and third are ‘just in time’ sort of deals. You miss a shift in a 1964 column shift with a two foot throw – well, there isn’t anywhere else to go. It’s either grind up or wind up. That throw now, we are talking high noon to below your kneecap. It’s a long way. I finally figured out there’s a detente at 3 o’clock so after its in gear the shifter has a place in between. Also learned the clutch has a long absorption. That thing is solid from resting place until the floor and back. That’s one clutch you can ride easy. Just time your shifts off the sound of the engine, and you’ll be fine.

    So, I’m at the end of another residential run, time for the U-turn. Have you ever turned back in an old long bed with no power steering and solid axles on tall bias ply tires? I was well to the right of the right hand lane, knew trouble ahead when I wasn’t perpendicular at the middle of the center lane, lost my give a **** when the curb was a coming up fast. I figured to test the articulation, so we bounced up and over the curb, left our mark on the sidewalk, but as I have said before, I did not hit the fire hydrant. I considered it a successful turn. Good bounce, good return, no wobble, no twist.

    Of course, when I began that turn there was no traffic, why I chose the moment, but since it is a slow truck and executing the turn took a minute – it was full traffic both ways when I re-entered the roadway a minute later. That was okay because the guy in the right lane slowed up so when I nosed into the fast lane that driver was already expecting. I straightened out back into traffic by utilizing a wee bit of the center turn lane and straightened her right up. There is always dust in the desert so nobody seemed to mind my cloud. I ignored a few Jeep waves and carried on about my business.
    Last edited by 5JeepsAz; 04-15-2021 at 10:42 PM.

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