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Thread: Upgrades and repairs, Thoughts?

  1. #1
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    Upgrades and repairs, Thoughts?

    So as I was planing out what upgrades, repairs, and changes that I will make to my 55 Wagon, I thought I would post some sort of plan here to get the input of some of the experts.
    Since this vehicle is my every day driver, my current priorities are reliability and safety, followed closely by upkeep, and then just all the other stuff I want to do.
    I want to keep as close to stock looks as possible (not looking for huge 35 mudders and massive diamond plated bumpers ect)
    Here is my list, what am I missing or overlooking here?

    Safety:
    Disk Brakes (at least the front), probably new master cylinder
    Modern 3 point seat belts
    New gas tank (current one has JB weld on the bottom and still leaks if overfilled a little)

    Reliability:
    Tune Up (Spark plugs, wires, cap, rotor ect)
    Rewire electric system (I got a few power gremlins)
    4x4 system tune up (4x4 hasn't been used in at least 5 years)
    Carb tune up

    Other Stuff:
    Defroster needs to be tweaked, to work better (it's marginal now)
    New rims maybe 16s (needed for Disk Brakes anyway)
    31 tires (currently 29)
    Other than cracks in the springs, how can you tell when you need new suspension? It certainly rides like a 60+ year old truck, but still.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator bmorgil's Avatar
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    Safety:
    Disk Brakes (at least the front), probably new master cylinder
    Must have new master cylinder. The old one isn't sufficient for the discs and, you will need a dual master for safety as well as proper function.

    Modern 3 point seat belts
    Great idea!

    Reliability:
    Tune Up (Spark plugs, wires, cap, rotor ect)
    You may want to consider an electronic conversion for the points. Points are a lot of fun but they require periodic maintenance. The Petronix system is very good. It guarantees a quick start.


    Other than cracks in the springs, how can you tell when you need new suspension? It certainly rides like a 60+ year old truck, but still.
    Check for looseness in all the components and be sure the preload is set on the front king pin bearings.

    I am sure the boys have a few more ideas.

    And by all means good luck!
    Last edited by bmorgil; 06-22-2021 at 08:24 AM.

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    Super Moderator LarrBeard's Avatar
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    "Other Stuff:
    Defroster needs to be tweaked, to work better (it's marginal now)"


    The defroster never will be a "modern" defroster, but you should be able to improve it.

    And a double "thumbs up" on good brakes. "If the brakes don't stop it, something else will" isn't a good answer.

    Other than cracks in the springs, how can you tell when you need new suspension?


    Most of the bolts, bushings and Zerk fittings on the suspension are probably in bad shape. At least pull them and check them. Shocks of course.
    Last edited by LarrBeard; 06-22-2021 at 06:45 AM. Reason: More ideas

  4. #4
    Senior Member 5JeepsAz's Avatar
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    Since this vehicle is my every day driver

    Awesome! "Let's make it a true daily double, Alex." ...



    perhaps consider comfort, reducing noise at speed & temperature moderation with removable lining, Check your glass and window seals, tunes of some variety?

    For Safety maybe wipers or a handy-dandy spray bottle, effective headlights & brake lights.

    Let's see them pictures!

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    Quote Originally Posted by bmorgil View Post
    You may want to consider an electronic conversion for the points. Points are a lot of fun but they require periodic maintenance. The Petronix system is very good. It guarantees a quick start.
    Thanks for the reminder! I thought I heard the previous owner mention electronic ignition, sure enough, I just checked and I do have that... would have felt really silly if I had gotten a new set of points only to find they were not there. So do I just change cap and rotor with this setup?

    Quote Originally Posted by LarrBeard View Post
    The defroster never will be a "modern" defroster, but you should be able to improve it.
    The current heater/defroster is after market. It is still an under the dash box with hoses to the defroster, but the person that installed it for the PO
    (I think you call him Bubba) ran the only defrost hose so that it blows all the air directly into the closed cowl vent (or out the vent if it's open)

    Quote Originally Posted by 5JeepsAz View Post
    perhaps consider comfort, reducing noise at speed & temperature moderation with removable lining, Check your glass and window seals, tunes of some variety?

    For Safety maybe wipers or a handy-dandy spray bottle, effective headlights & brake lights.

    Let's see them pictures!
    Noise reduction would be nice, my littlest wears shooting muffs when she rides with me, the Transmission whine (for lack of a better term) is quite loud, I sort of suspect that when it was last rebuilt that they used a more modern thinner transmission fluid, but I am not sure. It's on the list for a shop that knows what they are doing to check. But I am open to other sound dampening options.

    There is an aftermarket radio for tunes, but it doesn't work right. It's low priority, but I do miss my classical music channel on the ride to work.

    The wipers are electric conversion and do work, I also apply the RainX stuff that seem to work quite well.

    Was thinking about doing some nice bright LED headlight/taillights but currently it all works so it was pretty low on the list.

    Pictures? Well there are a few elsewhere on this page...... but I'll totally post them again! haha.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #6
    Super Moderator bmorgil's Avatar
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    That is a nice looking tuck VT!

    Yes the points are out of the game. The wires cap rotor and plugs will still need some attention every now and then. Depending on how much you drive it and the engine condition, they should last awhile.

    LarrBeard will be a help on the heater defroster. He can install them with a dead goat next to him. Even the originals look aftermarket because they were add on. Take some close ups so he can see what you have.

    The transmission should have a fairly "thin" lube in it. Something about the consistency of straight 40 weight motor oil.
    https://willysjeepforum.kaiserwillys...d-transmission

    Larrbeard is also in the process of setting up high power LED lights on his 48' truck. I am sure he can guide you through converting to LED.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator gmwillys's Avatar
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    Some tips for installing three point seat belts are linked bellow;

    https://allmetalshaping.com/showthre...=12411&page=58

    Scroll down towards the bottom of the page to see the seat belt install. The build is a truck, but they are essentially the same as the wagon. There would be some fabrication involved, but it would be worth it in the end.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator LarrBeard's Avatar
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    " Was thinking about doing some nice bright LED headlight/taillights but currently it all works so it was pretty low on the list."

    You are already a 12-volt conversion, so improved lights would be fairly easy.

    My wife was worried that the '48 was hard to see from the back, so I put an LED light in the tail light/stop light. It really does make a difference. I'd suggest those as a minimum upgrade - cheap and fast.

    Modern halogen headlights are a great improvement over the original two-filament incandescent lights. Again, cheap and fast.

    Seeing and being seen is almost as important as being able to stop.

    The electric wipers are part of that "seeing" formula. Losing wipers in a downpour or when a semi roars by you isn't a great sensation.

  9. #9
    Super Moderator LarrBeard's Avatar
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    https://allmetalshaping.com/showthre...=12411&page=58

    I just stand in awe over skills and craftsmanship like that. This restoration is from Australia where he will need to get an engineer to inspect his work before the vehicle can be titled and driven. Just think how Bubba and Junior would react to that here in the USA!

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    Quote Originally Posted by bmorgil View Post
    LarrBeard will be a help on the heater defroster. He can install them with a dead goat next to him. Even the originals look aftermarket because they were add on. Take some close ups so he can see what you have.
    Do I have to provide the dead goat or does he bring his own?

    As you can see in the photos, it is an aftermarket Napa heater, it works fine, but that hose goes up into what looks like an attempt at something to split/spread the airflow, but as the picture shows, the air only comes out directly above where the hose goes in, which is directly into the cowl vent. The rest of that is... I'm not sure.... Just for show I guess.
    As a side note, the whole contraption came out when I was taking the pictures (it was all free floating and not even zip tied to anything) so I have left it out.

    My main question is this, is there some part that gets put on the window side of the hose, or do I just run the ducting up near where it comes out of the dash by the windshield and let it blow out the little dash vent?

    Quote Originally Posted by bmorgil View Post
    The transmission should have a fairly "thin" lube in it. Something about the consistency of straight 40 weight motor oil.
    https://willysjeepforum.kaiserwillys...d-transmission
    My service manual says that a 80w or 90w (depending on the season) is the correct weight, wondering if that it outdated by today's more advanced oils?


    Edited to add: The PO kept all his receipts... "Bubba" charged him $275 to "Modify and make defroster to work on drivers side" and for "Make Duct work"
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by VTWilly; 06-23-2021 at 12:20 PM.

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