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Remember my latest project – a Willy’s Jeep? If so, and interested, here is the latest update to keep me on track and possibly on budget. Ongoing yes, progressing yes. And yes, the guy who traded with me for ‘Old Blue’ my 2007 Seadoo GTX straight across, still has the upper hand on this deal but, I’m steadily closing in.
Sometime before the heat, rain and snow the Willy’s was towed out to the high desert to a Craigslist found fabricator who on the phone talked a good story. Prior to this I interviewed at least three restoration or renovation auto metal fabricators and they all start about the same way. …. by telling you their entire life story. In my short jeep renovation project life I have found that no amount of prodding, or effort to steer the conversation back to the said Willy’s project will occur, until the Bubba Gump like story is said and finished.
A metal fabricator is a guy who if so inclined can build you just about anything out of metal by cutting, bending, and assembling. This is the type of guy I found myself needing on account of me; not leaving well enough alone, wants to be able to stop this here V8 powered Willy’s. First project – build the new braking system into a power brake system. What this entails is nothing short of dispensing away with an over 60-year-old foot pedal, single master cylinder disc brake system and fast forwarding myself into front disc brakes, with a power steering power booster and a new Summit Racing brake pedal and voila – stopping without wandering to the left, right or anywhere but straight and in about a quarter of the stopping distance.
If the Willy’s was still sporting its original four banger L-head or F-head engine then possibly no-problem; fortunately, for me as I said earlier, the previous owner updated to a Chevy small block V-8, with an automatic transmission. Project 2 is the repositioning of the driver and passenger seats. They need to be correctly repositioned requiring upgrades to the roll bar, the safety belt harnesses, adding grab bars and while he is at it a few other safety features.
Project 3 – The fuel tank; the current 10 gallon gas tank is located just under the driver’s seat. Not good for a freeway speed capable V8. The upgraded set up will utilize a 20 gallon under the frame in the rear fuel tank – just like the rest of the jeeps now calling themselves anything from a Lareto, Sahara, Wrangler to a YJ (87-95); TJ (96-06) etc.
My metal fabricator is yet to deliver even though I have heard his life story countless times. Why just yesterday the wife timed me at 90 minutes on a phone call intended to switch from our search for updated CJ axles, to a full on rolling chassis to back to just upgrading the current set up with a drum to disc brake set up.
Rolling chassis options: 77 CJ7’s
Due to shortly arrive is a drum to disc brake conversion kit courtesy of eBay. In case I didn’t make it clear the donor rolling chassis is now out. Now just in case you don’t know; a rolling chassis is the chassis of a car or truck, minus the body, engine and transmission. My plan of course was to upgrade the bottom of the Willy’s by about anywhere from 12 years to as much as 62 years. Amazing how many wrecked or near wrecked jeeps are available for anywhere from just a few hundred dollars to several thousand.
The WWII jeeps below are not for sale but, were previously used for movie shoots, today they just sit. 1941-1944 era jeeps.
Should’ve kept the old one – my old 04 Wrangler X Crawler with Rubicon axles and a power chip capable of easily propelling me down this Alaska road at 100 mph.