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Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
8/6/21 10:42 a.m.

So I've owned hundreds of cars and lived in Michigan for a long time, but have never had a four wheel drive vehicle.  I guess I've figured four wheel drive might get you out of the ditch, but good tires and careful driving keeps you out.  We've fixed a few flat fender Jeeps at Eclectic Motorworks over the years and I decided it's time to  get one for myself.  I've been casually looking for a few years and have seen terrible rust buckets, terrible modifications, terribly modified rust buckets, overpriced terrible "restorations," and little else.  I set my goals to find either a very nice, unrestored original and pay the long dollar or find a low-priced rust bucket that hasn't been messed with too much and restore it with a new body.  I finally found the right candidate.  As bad as it looks on top, the frame and running gear is barely pitted.  It supposedly plowed the high school in Sutton's Bay, MI for awhile and then a guy plowed his country driveway with it.  Then it turned into a ran-when-parked relic.  I'd guess they didn't use salt where it was plowing for it to stay nice underneath.  I'm aware that "Michigan nice" is "run away rusty" for those of you from other areas.

Here it is:

As bad as it looks, all the gauges, switches, and nickle-and-dime bits are in good shape so it's a very good restoration starter vehicle.  Plus it's all factory stuff and my goal is to keep it factory, except for turn signals, seat belts, and maybe 12 volts.  

While I've fixed a bunch of these and they're pretty simple, I'd appreciate any advice from those of you know know the tricks and trivia for these things.  That's why I love build threads.

chandler UltimaDork
8/6/21 10:50 a.m.

Ooh, that looks like a lot of work. I'll be following along

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
8/6/21 10:55 a.m.

I should have taken pictures of loading it on the trailer.  The previous owner challenged me that his front-bucket-equipped tractor and some chain could get it on the trailer faster than a winch.  He was right, but it was quite a hold-my-beer kind of event and I kept a safe distance from the chain as the Jeep dangled its way to its resting spot on the trailer.

I got it home, checked the oil, put a battery in it, and it cranked over.  Next I checked for spark--no dice.  A few seconds with some 400 grit on the points and I had spark.

The inside of the gas tank is a mess, so I used a temporary 3 gallon marine gas tank and a temporary electric fuel pump for the first attempt to make it run.  The needle and seat were stuck on the carb, so I pulled the top off, cleaned it, and put it back together.  With a little help from some carb cleaner as I was cranking it over, it sputtered and died about 10 times before I could get it to stay running.  After that, it idled down to about 600RPM pretty nicely and has been restarting quickly.  The oil pressure gauge and temperature gauge work and both showed healthy numbers.  I put water in the radiator and it didn't leak.  It's nice to find out it did run when parked!

It runs so well that I'm going to make it drive before I restore it and maybe put a few hundred miles on it.  My next steps will be to remove the ugly hardtop, find some used tires, and fix the brakes. 


DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) UltimaDork
8/6/21 11:12 a.m.

I read the first paragraph without scrolling far enough to catch a glimpse of the Jeep, then scrolled down..........I laughed...... I live in Dexter and you're stretching "Michigan nice".......by a lot !  No doubt you'll fix it up nice though.

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/6/21 12:25 p.m.

That's Michigan rust-free!

johndej Dork
8/6/21 2:26 p.m.

Yup, giving David Tracy a run for his money with that one! Looks like there shouldn't be much to get it moving (and stopping) under it's own power.

barefootskater (Shaun)
barefootskater (Shaun) PowerDork
8/6/21 2:36 p.m.

I don't know as much as I should for as much exposure as I've had to these. Fun to drive.

I vote that unless you have to Fred flinstone it, leave the bodywork alone. I really dig unrestored jeeps. 12v is good though. 

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
8/6/21 8:13 p.m.

I removed the top.  Then I started it up and drove it 15 feet backward out of the garage, then 15 feet forward back in.  The clutch, first, reverse, and the transfer case are in good shape.  Now it's at the back of the garage, up in the air, so I can fix the brakes and other underbody stuff.

As a guy who does a lot of sheetmetal work, I'm pretty impressed with the way the top and doors are built.  I think this top was sold through Sears for about $200 back in the day.  It's all just folded up 20 gauge steel.  The doors are like Origami sheetmetal art with sliding windows and some simple stops for height adjustment.  Not pretty art, but functional anyway.  I won't be putting the top back on, but hopefully someone will want it.  

As for barefootskater's Fred Flintstone question, there's plenty of meat left on the floor bones.  Just Michigan pinholes.

I just converted a couple of old Fords to 12V and ended up with nearly new 6V batteries, so it will be staying 6V for awhile.

ClemSparks UltimaDork
8/6/21 11:13 p.m.

This is going to be cool!

About what year was it made?

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
8/7/21 8:09 a.m.

It's a 1947

Wayslow Dork
8/7/21 9:26 a.m.

I'm currently working on a 1948 CJ2A.  The previous owner had dropped a Ford 289 and C4 into it. He'd also converted it to rwd then gave up. I'm bringing it back to original but it'll be a driver so I'm not worried about getting it perfect.

Here's a picture of what it looked like when i brought it home.


Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
8/8/21 9:51 a.m.

I got the brakes apart and got more confirmation I'm starting with the right Jeep.  While I used a torch on the hard brake lines, everything else came apart without the hot wrench, and it looks like the brakes have few miles on them.

The rear drums/hubs are on a tapered shaft and require a puller like this one.

Except for the seized wheel cylinder, things look good.

The fronts are like floating rear axles on trucks with a couple of big nuts that hold the bearings in place.  The nuts take a 2-1/16" socket, but most people seem to use a chisel because they don't have the socket.  After someone has used a chisel and messed up the nuts, people with the socket still need to use a chisel.  So I used a chisel and cleaned up the nuts for reinstallation with a socket.

Again, except for seized wheel cylinders, they looked good.


As I mentioned, I did heat the hard lines to a dull red to keep them from twisting so I could get the wheel cylinders off and the hoses off.  Everything came off like butter after that.

I took everything back to Eclectic to clean and bag while I wait for the new parts to show up.  Normally, I'd replace the shoes, drums, etc. and do a one-and-done complete job.  In this case, I'm just replacing the wheel cylinders, master cylinder, and hoses because everything else is so fresh and I'm leaning more toward keeping it rough/low-buck for awhile before restoring it.



barefootskater (Shaun)
barefootskater (Shaun) PowerDork
8/8/21 10:55 a.m.

"Keeping it rough/low-buck" is my favorite approach.

I've used a 48" pipe wrench when I didn't have a big enough socket. I'd like to think I didn't mangle that particular axle but beyond proper use. 

jerrysarcastic (Forum Supporter)
jerrysarcastic (Forum Supporter) Reader
8/8/21 11:41 p.m.

Wow I was worried about what the Hawaii rust was doing to my car, but I see that I should revise my thinking. This is... quite a project!

That said, you’re right that it’s got it where it counts.  I’m looking forward to seeing this come together. :)

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
8/9/21 9:12 p.m.
jerrysarcastic (Forum Supporter) said:

Wow I was worried about what the Hawaii rust was doing to my car, but I see that I should revise my thinking. This is... quite a project!

That said, you’re right that it’s got it where it counts.  I’m looking forward to seeing this come together. :)

Speaking of Hawaii rust, at Eclectic, we get rusty cars from all over the country, and we can usually tell where the car is from by the way it's rusty.  Midwest cars are really crusty underneath but the top sides are usually pretty good.  The floors will be bad, but the trunk floors are often okay.  Coastal cars usually rust from the top down--window drip rails, hoods, roofs, etc..  Southern cars are usually pretty good except the floors and especially trunk floors are bad--I think a lot of them end up in a field with grass wicking the moisture up or their floors/trunks sit with water in them from being left with leaking seals or windows down.  And Western cars rarely show up because they're usually solid and someone smarter than me is working on it.

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
8/9/21 9:25 p.m.

I made my first parts order today.  At the shop, we've been very happy with Kaiser-Willys, but I was talking with a military Jeep collector and he recommended Peter DeBella Jeep Parts in New Jersey because Peter has a good supply of NOS parts and tends to carry the nicer reproductions if there is more than one manufacturer.  I ordered all of the brake parts and a gas tank from him and will see how he compares.  

Speaking of brake parts, I pulled the master cylinder out.  Once again, everything came apart with no heat and little effort.  This is not how it usually works.

Then, I pulled the gas tank. Its bolts, as well as the seat mounting bolts that have to come out first, looked terrible and threaded into cage nuts.  Cage nuts are some of the hardest fasteners to deal with on rusty cars since the cage often is way too weak to handle the heat when you use a torch and then the nut start spinning and is often hard to get a wrench on.  But in this case, no heat, no problem, the bolts just came out. Amazing.

The floor under the gas tank isn't pretty, but the tank won't fall through, either.

I did break my first fastener when I went to inspect the fuel sending unit.  I think you also see why I'm putting in a new gas tank and sending unit.

There is a little mission creep settling in as I think I'm going to rebush the brake pedal since I've got the master cylinder out...I'll see what that leads to...

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
8/16/21 9:10 a.m.

The first parts order came in from Peter DeBella Jeep Parts with these brake parts, a gas tank, a muffler, and a few other things.  I was really pleased with how fast it came (2 days from NJ-->MI) and with the prices.  I was a little disappointed that the brake hoses take a 17mm wrench instead of a 5/8" like the originals.  This is much more common with replacement parts these days--why mix and match metric and standard?

At any rate, it took about 45 minutes to get everything but the master cylinder installed.  I'll do that next.

In other news, I sold the hardtop via Facebook Marketplace in 2 days.  As cool as it was, I'm not going to use it.  The person who bought it is putting it on the CJ2a he uses at his hunting property so he can keep warm when he hunts.

NermalSnert (Forum Supporter)
NermalSnert (Forum Supporter) Reader
8/16/21 9:14 a.m.

That Jeep looks like basic, pure mechanical fun!

APEowner GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
8/16/21 9:26 a.m.

Cool project.  It's interesting that it seems to have non-self energizing brakes but still has a shorter lining on the leading shoe.  I wonder if that's how they were setup originally.

slefain PowerDork
8/16/21 9:57 a.m.

Lucky for you almost every single part is available in the aftermarket. I used to put work at OMIX-ADA, you can build a brand new Jeep with all the parts available. The only thing that would be hard to find repro is that hard top and doors (at least when I last looked a decade ago).

The metric brake fittings aren't a shock. The R&D minion probably didn't specify the fitting, just sent over a OE sample and said "make one that fits the same".

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
10/24/21 8:19 p.m.

I'll put a few excuses here:  It was hot (for Michigan), we had some big customer projects to get done at Eclectic, prepped for Solo Nats, went to Solo Nats, took a little vacation, went to the Hershey AACA swap meet, and finally, yesterday, spent the 3 hours it took to put the brakes back together and install the new gas tank.  So, for the record, it takes 2 months, 8 days, and 3 hours to do this kind of work.

One of the other delays was and still is the tires.  The Jeep only had two usable tires--6.00x16 snow tires, which totally fit the part.  I have another decent used tire from a customer take-off, but haven't mounted it yet.  For the past two months, I've been contacting everyone I know to find one or two more 6.00x16 snow tires.  No luck.  I thought for sure I'd find some at Hershey.  I only found one and the guy wanted crazy money for it.  I don't really want to get new tires until this thing is past the beater phase.

I put old Ford wheels/tires on the back for now, so I could drive it.  1935 Ford wire wheel on one side, 1940 Ford solid wheel on the other side.   I've got a few more leads and expect to have snow tires, well, just about when the snow will start to fly. Not that I plan to drive it much in the snow, but as I said above, they fit the part.


I took it up and down the street several times.  Every gauge works, except the fuel gauge, which isn't hooked up to the new sender yet.  It drives very nicely, stops confidently, and the clutch, gearbox, and transfer case seem in great shape.  The engine stayed at about 160 degrees according to the temp gauge, which seemed about right for a short drive on a 50 degree day.  

I parked it and came back a few hours later to find a pretty big puddle under the radiator and at least one leak.  I was honestly surprised this radiator held the water as long as it did.  It's pretty rough so I'm going to order a new repop as I think I'd just be chasing one leak after another with this one.  

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
10/24/21 8:50 p.m.
APEowner said:

Cool project.  It's interesting that it seems to have non-self energizing brakes but still has a shorter lining on the leading shoe.  I wonder if that's how they were setup originally.

Good catch.  I agree the longer lining should be on the leading shoe.  Must be the last guy didn't pay attention.  I left them as installed, though, because I'm pretty sure I'd have to re-arc them to the drums if I switched them around.  I'm going to replace everything and do it all right when this gets past the beater phase.  For now, it stops better than I thought it would.  I could lock the fronts easily.

ClemSparks UltimaDork
10/24/21 10:08 p.m.

Thanks for the update...this thing's awesome!

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
11/28/21 8:24 a.m.

Thanksgiving weekend gave me a few hours to work on the Jeep, so I replaced the muffler and tailpipe (got a bargain price since these were rusty!),

replaced the fuel line and flex hose, rebuilt the fuel pump, and replaced the left motor mount while I had good access, 

Took off the plow ram, arm, and pump (not shown),

And put the windshield back in.  I think I should probably replace the glass.

bearmtnmartin (Forum Supporter)
bearmtnmartin (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
11/28/21 11:05 a.m.

Very satisfying project. I bet a few people looked at it and turned it down because visually it looked pretty intimidating, but you saw something they didn't. 

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