DarrylD's WWII Army Jeep Project Journal - Chapter 5
Journal Entry 9/16/02
So here my jeep sits, just about everything is ready to install the engine. Steering system installed, new fuel tank and lines installed, all the wiring up to the firewall installed, battery installed, new radiator ready to go, fenders, hood and grill painted and ready to bolt on, rebuilt brake system ready to put fluid in, BUT NO ENGINE YET, WAAAAAAH!
This is how the engine looked when I found it in a shed in the Olympic Penninsula in early January, 2002. I talked the owner out of it for $150! It is a genuine WWII Ford GPW engine with the correct casting numbers for my jeep. The mouse nest between the generator and block, crafted out of grass, was thrown in at no charge! The engine was locked-up, indicating serious problems lurked inside and its rebuildability was questionable. However, there were enough original parts to make the deal a good one regardless if the block was salvagable.
After tearing it down to see if it was worth rebuilding, on June 1, 2002, I hauled this GPW engine down to an expert Ford flathead engine rebuilder recommended to me by my old hotrod building friend. Over the last three months the engine has been further torn down to discover why it was locked-up. It seems that the wrist pin retaining bolts in two of the cylinders had come loose and the wrist pins wore grooves into the cylinder walls until the point where they locked-up. As a result two of the cylinders needed to be re-sleeved. At this point the engine has been re-sleeved, line-bored, deck height and head leveled, crankshaft annealed and straightened.
Meanwhile, I've been restoring the various engine components that get bolted onto the block. I've blasted and painted all the mounting plates and have rebuilt the distributor and intake and exhaust manifolds. I need to restore the generator and starter I purchsed from the G503.com contact whom sold me the rear springs back in July. The box in the picture below is full of the parts that I'll run down to the engine rebuilder when he is ready to do the final assembly. I am starting to get very excited about getting that engine back!
Journal Entry 10/4/02
YIPPIE THE ENGINE IS DONE AND HOME! It sure looks pretty, all painted with the NAPA Ford Ferguson Gray engine pant and ready to start bolting components on to it. Now the end of the project is well within sight!
Journal Entry 10/11/02
As you can see from the following picture, the engine is installed and about half of the components to be bolted-on are installed. The only snafu was assembling the throttle linkage plate upside down and having to back out the engine so it could be removed from the back of the engine block and reinstalled correctly. I good smack on the head and and an ugly gash were also left as a reminder of why tall people need to be careful when crawling around under jeeps! I was so happy to have the engine in I hardly noticed my injury until I went in front of a mirror!
Journal Entry 10/13/02
Restoration of the engine is complete! Now to the "dirty" part of the project, adding fluids and firing her up for the first time. My Dad is coming from Colorado on Wednesday to help me with that phase. This is especially exciting because of his WWII experiences in the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps and I'm sure putting his hands on this machine will erase many of his 80 years. If you look closely in the following pictures you'll notice a few minor deviations from the original engine configuration, a brand new Solex replacement carburator instead of the problematic Carter W-O model, a new light weight alloy replacement radiator instead of an original and a glass bowl on the fuel pump. The fuel pump will be swapped back to the metal bowl when I get the fuel system primed but I debated about the other two items and decided that reliable operation was more important than authenticity at this point in the project. The carburator and radiator are easily swapped out with rebuilt originals once I find some that are in good enough condition to rely upon but for now they will greatly simplify the debugging process. Otherwise, everything else is as authentic as my research could determine. Now I've got to bolt on the muffler, fenders, grill and headlights and get this buggy ready to drive.
Journal Entry 10/21/02
GPW 117620 is back in service and ready for action! Today we took a 2 mile drive, without current tags and valid insurance, but sometimes you just gotta hope the cop will understand! Dad was a big help getting the brakes adjusted and bled and the final engine adjustments prior to turning the engine over and starting it for the first time. A couple minor problems, a bad t-fitting on the front brake lines had to be replaced with one off my parts jeep and there is a tiny antifreeze leak from somewhere behind the #3 intake and exhaust manifold, indicating a bad seal on a manifold stud or a microscopic crack in the block. I'll probably have to use some kind of stop leak chemicals in the antifreeze to make it stop which doesn't concern me too much with a new repro radiator it shouldn't have any negative impact on the cooling capacity. I can't describe the joy of taking my Dad for a ride in a vehicle from his past, he was thrilled too.
Here's how the engine looks after a few miles on it, note the paint is already burning off the exhaust manifold, looking just like it's supposed to.
Journal Entry 3/2/05
I finally found a raditor shop here in Seattle that uses period-correct style fins on their re-core work and I had my original 'F'-script GPW radiator re-cored. The replacement core is patterned after those found on '30s Ford Model-A radiators. Extra custom fabrication steps were taken such as bevel cutting the fins at the ends of the front and leaving out the center cooling tubes so it better matches the original GPW radiator style. The fins are slightly farther apart but you need to compare the cores side-by-side to really notice it. What is obvious is that the core is not the modern style fins used in reproduction and lower-quality re-cores.
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