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rustomatic
rustomatic HalfDork
12/24/23 10:14 a.m.

So last August, I think, I decided to kick my wife's car out of the garage.  For those who don't know, the Willys truck/pickup was made from about 1947 to 1964, with very few changes during that time.  The great majority of them were 4x4.  I have wanted one for decades.

The idea here is a slow vehicle project, i.e., one that will not result in a vehicle that goes fast.  There will also be stages, but the primary one here is to get the thing on the road in a non-annoying way.  Full function is the goal, however without the limitations of a vehicle that was designed to do about 45 miles per hour.

As a non-Facebook person, I found this thing on the Marketplace.  In Iowa.  I kind of like Iowa.  What kind of moron looks for an antique car in the Midwest?  This one.  Don't hold an area's potential for rust generation against what may lurk behind closed (garage) doors.

Having looked at a few of these trucks over the last 30 years or so, it can be quite difficult to find one that's not too decayed (or that doesn't cost an arm and a leg).  It's also hard to find one that hasn't had things done to it that one might disagree with too heavily.  Out of evils to be against, I shockingly picked rust.  In Iowa.  This thing is somehow the least rusty old truck I have seen in, well, pretty much since rust on old trucks was invented.

This truck is an unfinished project.  The PO was well-intentioned (with some useful skills), and he did several cool things that the truck will be keeping.  The "project" was killed about 12 years ago.  This is literally an indoor truck that has not done squat in who knows how long.  Perfect.

To avoid going on too long, this is my personal progress responsibility thread.  It will involve lots of work, some of which I have already done (this will be badly documented, per usual for my posts).

bearmtnmartin (Forum Supporter)
bearmtnmartin (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UberDork
12/24/23 1:43 p.m.

watching with interest....

maschinenbau
maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
12/24/23 2:36 p.m.

Yes finally! Let me know if you ever need an extra hand.

lownslow
lownslow GRM+ Memberand New Reader
12/25/23 12:11 a.m.

I had a 49 with a Ford 300 six in it.

Fun little truck

Woody (Forum Supportum)
Woody (Forum Supportum) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/25/23 8:01 a.m.

The first vehicle that I ever worked on was the 1960 Willys wagon that my friend inherited from his grandfather when we were in middle school. As horrible as it may sound, it got chopped down and converted into a truck. It ended up with a small block out of a junkyard Corvette and a Model A pickup bed with Willys fenders. It looked really great on the short wheelbase frame. I learned a lot working on that thing. Someday, I'd like to build one with a proper pickup cab on a wagon frame.
 

He still owns it. 

nocones
nocones GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
12/25/23 9:15 a.m.

I own this 54 my dad built.  It's on a 1994 S10 Blazer 4WD chassis with the 4.3.  Nothing I own gets universal attention quite like this thing does.  Your right about the speed limit though.  These cabs don't really enjoy going 65-70mph.  Wind noise becomes quite extreme.   

Good luck with the project!

rustomatic
rustomatic HalfDork
12/26/23 8:21 a.m.
nocones said:

I own this 54 my dad built.  It's on a 1994 S10 Blazer 4WD chassis with the 4.3.  Nothing I own gets universal attention quite like this thing does.  Your right about the speed limit though.  These cabs don't really enjoy going 65-70mph.  Wind noise becomes quite extreme.   

Good luck with the project!

Yesss!  I have seen this truck in the background of some of your posts, and every single time, I could barely resist asking if it was for sale.  Color theme is on point!

rustomatic
rustomatic HalfDork
12/26/23 8:24 a.m.
Woody (Forum Supportum) said:

The first vehicle that I ever worked on was the 1960 Willys wagon that my friend inherited from his grandfather when we were in middle school. As horrible as it may sound, it got chopped down and converted into a truck. It ended up with a small block out of a junkyard Corvette and a Model A pickup bed with Willys fenders. It looked really great on the short wheelbase frame. I learned a lot working on that thing. Someday, I'd like to build one with a proper pickup cab on a wagon frame.
 

He still owns it. 

That is excellent!  It evokes disdain and appreciation simultaneously, as I loved the wagons way before I moved on to the trucks (never had either until now).  Gotta love a vehicle with character!

preach
preach GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
12/26/23 8:51 a.m.

Had I been in the right spot financially I was going to re-body my Tacoma with a Willys. I love the look of them.

Next to a '32 Ford tudor sedan, the 50's Jeep two door station wagon might be my favorite platform to build a hot rod.

rustomatic
rustomatic HalfDork
12/26/23 2:29 p.m.

It's probably time to account for some other reasons why this truck was specifically attractive.  The previous owner had tackled, to an extent, the whole drivetrain, which included axles, an engine, the tranny, and a transfer case.

What was missing was as follows:  Shocks, a rear driveshaft, a usable gas tank (original still in place), usable front leaf springs (they held the stuff in place, but that was it--totally clapped out).  Also, aside from a bird's nest of wires attached to the engine, there was very little wiring in the truck.

So what I've done thus far is set up and install a new gas tank (Tanks Inc. universal truck tank I had sitting on a shelf for years), installed/fabricated mounts for shocks (fronts for a late model Ram--had sitting around/rears for this actual truck), had a new rear driveshaft made, made an exhaust system (2 into 1/two mufflers), threw away the nasty smelling bench seat, installed new front leaf springs, and slapped on a new race car steering wheel (cuz what was there was more art than wheel).  It gets to be a drag when every single project seems to require an angle grinder and the welder . . .

 

rustomatic
rustomatic HalfDork
12/26/23 2:36 p.m.

Oh, I forgot to enumerate the advantageous finds, along with some other stuff I added on.  Let's start with this:

The engine came with standard cast manifolds, but they were heavy and didn't use space the way I like.  Ebay headers (always choose V-bands) to the rescue.

The engine is kind of a funny story.  It's a Gen III LS 4.8 truck engine that the PO bought brand new from Summit in a crate, like 12 years ago.  He gave me the receipt for $1400.00.  It has never been fired.  Beat that.

The mounts are a bit hokey, but I've got a grinder and a welder . . .

You might also notice the interesting brake master/booster set up.  I have no idea what it is from (Aisin brand), but am assuming Tacoma or something.  PO made a decent pedal setup.  Steel lines are all new--front axle has braided lines.

rustomatic
rustomatic HalfDork
12/26/23 2:45 p.m.

In this feelthy peekchur, you can see the tank (https://www.summitracing.com/parts/tnk-ut-n-2?seid=srese1&gclid=EAIaIQobChMImITYwu2tgwMVKaVaBR0AjAEzEAQYAiABEgL1RvD_BwE), which is the focal point here.  I actually bought this for the E28 LS swap project from years ago, but never used it.  I basically made a cradle with 1x1 tubing, then welded metal tank straps to the back side of the cradle.  To remove tank, simply unbolt cradle (mounted to existing frame crossmembers/welded shock tabs from Ruff Stuff), then unbolt front side of straps.  Filler is through a hole in the bed that I did not line up perfectly . . .

Inside of the tank is a Walbro 450, not because turbo, but because quiet and problem-free in my experience.

The second thing you see is the rear axle, which is from a Dodge Ramcharger; I believe it is a Mopar 9.25.  PO said he put a Detroit Truetrac in it--it's definitely locking in some fashion, and it is plenty strong for the 4.8.  Good deal, except I strongly dislike drum brakes.  Springs seem original--this is one of those for now things . . .

The weird stock shocks are actually held on with cotter pins and washers.  The lower mounts did not have holes in the shafts, so I had to drill them out, which was odd.

rustomatic
rustomatic HalfDork
12/26/23 2:56 p.m.

The front axle is a Dana 30 from a YJ Wrangler, so the stock configuration leaf springs were pretty easy to line up.  The u-bolts are just through 1/4 inch plates drilled to pattern.  The large Ram (non-adjustable Fox 2.0) shocks bolted up to the (Wrangler) lower shock mounts with a bit of persuasion, with an emphasis on droop travel.  The front leaf springs are stock replacements (with weird stock hangers) from a Willys-specific shop in South Carolina.  I made the upper mounts out of a mix of 2x3 tubing and 1/4" plate.  Fit is close, and they will probably not be forever (future imagined stages).  Front brakes are stock Wrangler discs.

For the first time ever in life, an old 4x4 only came with a front driveshaft (instead of just the rear).  I took this as a good sign.

I put the flat-towing things on just to move the truck from my side yard into the garage.  It worked pretty good, but they mean it when they say you should not do it in reverse (without locking the steering wheel in place).  The front plate is a big piece of 1/4" C-channel the PO welded on to add guts to the frame for the Saginaw power steering box conversion.  Steering has literally no slop . . .

rustomatic
rustomatic HalfDork
12/26/23 3:03 p.m.

I made my typical exhaust:  2.5 inch tubes from the shorty eBay headers to a 2-into-1 muffler that goes to a 3-inch pipe (and V-band), then a 3-inch muffler and tail pipe (in tank picture above) that dumps behind the rear wheel.  The front muffler is a $50 special I found on eBay that I think is an unmarked Magnaflow.  The rear is the vaunted old-school Dynomax Super Turbo.  All fits above the bottom of the frame . . .

rustomatic
rustomatic HalfDork
12/26/23 3:14 p.m.

Rust may come into view now:

There are a few holes in the floor on both sides, and some less-than-awesome repairs were made over the years.  That's it for rust, though, in a truck that is literally old as hell.  I was genuinely shocked when I saw how little there was.  

You might also notice the shifter sticking through the floor.  That is for an NV3500, which is connected to what I think is an NP241 transfer case (has manual shifter).

At this point, I am nearly inclined to just start wiring this thing up to get it running and driving, but that might be kind of stupid if I then still have to cut out the floor and spray weld all over (near new wiring/fuel lines).

Here's a pic with the new wheels (Wheel Vintiques steelies).  I decided on some sweet 31" Atturo Trail Blades (AT), because I like them (had three sets now).

One of the awesome tailgate:

The patina is perfect.  Paint will not happen.

 

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
12/26/23 3:31 p.m.

The engine was a surprise.

 I like everything about this project.

Brett_Murphy (Agent of Chaos)
Brett_Murphy (Agent of Chaos) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/26/23 5:50 p.m.

Nice score!

rustomatic
rustomatic HalfDork
1/8/24 7:31 p.m.

It's time to post more evidence of me bumpin' uglies with the Willys.  Nobody in his right mind likes rust, so naturally (like the formation of rust), it took me a while to start addressing the floor of this thing.  I began with a plan after much avoidance.  It involved patching specific areas of holiness.

I then decided this was not the best plan, as I might wind up blowing through all of the surrounding surfaces when attempting to weld.  There was that and the basic concept of metastatis.  I made another plan.

 

Much bigger cuts were needed.

After this, I began to use a lot of energy to cut, bend, hammer on, and finagle some .020 gauge steel into something(s) that would resemble floor pans.  (Shout out to the Harbor Freight metal nibbler gun thing I bought many years ago--it still rocks!)

Pans are being welded top and bottom (to supports/existing cutout areas), and blowthrough has been minimal.  The floor of this thing is like .016 gauge-plus.  It's making me realize how cars from the 1960s were really a step or two down in build quality . . .

Oh, bonus tip here:  If you find yourself welding up some sheet in a relatively flat area, but you wind up with an oil can effect (bop/pop up and down in middle of panel, regardless of backside support and bereft of any will to ever buy/use a bead roller), just weld in a cool message to shrink the hell out of the panel in that spot.

Bonus bonus:  Here's the fuel filler.

maschinenbau
maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
1/9/24 9:33 a.m.

This is a really cool project! Any way to make your pictures larger? They appear very small for some reason.

rdcyclist
rdcyclist GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
1/9/24 11:52 a.m.
rustomatic said:
but that might be kind of stupid if I then still have to cut out the floor and spray weld all over (near new wiring/fuel lines).

"Spray Weld" another term to add to the GRM vernacular. When I use one I learned years ago from I think Curtis, "Firing the parts cannon" everybody knows what I mean. Even people who don't work on cars cuz I use it sometimes when attempting to fix systems at work which are not cars...

rustomatic
rustomatic HalfDork
1/9/24 2:20 p.m.
maschinenbau said:

This is a really cool project! Any way to make your pictures larger? They appear very small for some reason.

I've been trying to stay with the 400 pixels as a top (which is admittedly far too lame), but I tried 500 on one and it worked, so I'll continue to try increasing size until the bar crushes my windpipe . . . or I just get rejected.

rustomatic said:
maschinenbau said:

This is a really cool project! Any way to make your pictures larger? They appear very small for some reason.

I've been trying to stay with the 400 pixels as a top (which is admittedly far too lame), but I tried 500 on one and it worked, so I'll continue to try increasing size until the bar crushes my windpipe . . . or I just get rejected.

i'm pretty sure the forum software automatically resizes if pix are too large.

rustomatic
rustomatic HalfDork
1/22/24 7:19 p.m.

Seat belts were not a feature in 1956, for cars, anyway.  There will be some seat belts in this truck.  First though, some ridiculous mounts were needed:

This art installation began with some 1/8" plates fully welded to the floor as though I were installing a roll bar, but no, it was just for some week-kneed seat belt mounts.  Said "mounts" are actually 1/4" shock mounting tabs from Ruff Stuff Specialties that I did not find an appropriate use for in time, so seat belt mounts they became.  I figured that maybe this would be a bit more structurally sound than the through-the-sheetmetal mounting they did in the '60s . . .

Have you noticed how good I am at using my wife's Nikon?  Me neither.

If one has seatbelts, one must also probably have seats, so I got some.  It took two tries, as old trucks were small, made for small people (by modern standards).  Smittybuilt Jeep seats it is:

Since the cab is so short leg-wise, the seats basically need to be right angles.  These things are comfy enough, as I don't intend to drive this thing 2000 miles at a time.  I'm also not tall . . .

The floor of course needed more sheets of metal, so more metal was annoyingly, slowly, painfully burned into place:

On the driver's side, I had to make a spot for the transfer case shifter.  Since the truck came with the linkage that came with the 2000-era transfer case, I figured I'd try to place things about where they'd go in a more modern vehicle.  What you see in the picture includes part of a circle track shifter I'll be using (which will allow geometry pretty much parallel to the Chevy stuff, but with heim joints in the linkage).

I'd really like to stop huffing smoke from all of the different substances that have been adhered to the cab of this thing some time soon.  Nearly there . . .

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
1/22/24 7:41 p.m.
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) said:
rustomatic said:
maschinenbau said:

This is a really cool project! Any way to make your pictures larger? They appear very small for some reason.

I've been trying to stay with the 400 pixels as a top (which is admittedly far too lame), but I tried 500 on one and it worked, so I'll continue to try increasing size until the bar crushes my windpipe . . . or I just get rejected.

i'm pretty sure the forum software automatically resizes if pix are too large.

The ones in this thread were taken with a 50MP phone camera, default setting 8160 X 6120.  Fire away.

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/another-round-of-whats-it-worth-with-a-61-gmc-carr/181182/page3/

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