Project Journal 3 - 1943 FORD GPW #117620

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Mission Statement: To merge all my best parts from my 1945 and 1943 Ford jeeps to build an entirely WWII wartime manufactured, all 'F'-script drivetrain, pre-D-Day 1943 GPW in combat configuration with a mounted .50 caliber machine gun (a dummy one of course)and period correct European theater field modifications.


=== 1943 GPW PROJECT JOURNAL (ENTRIES IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER) ===


Journal Entry 3/1/03

Here's the next jeep restoration project arriving home towed behind my 1989 Ford F-250, it's a 1943 GPW, SN #117620. In addition to matching frame and glovebox data plate numbers, it's much more complete and original than my first GPW and mechanically sound. The previous owner added the star and bumper decals to dress it up for sale on eBay. Since he was a friend of mine, I had already inspected the jeep before bidding on it and I wanted to make sure my friend got a fair "market price" for his troubles. He had recently discovered, purchased and retrieved the jeep, along with two others, from the high desert of eastern Idaho and it's in amazingly rust-free condition. I'm looking forward to building a "combat motorpool" class restoration from this authentic pre-D-Day, mid-series production model, making sure to not make it too pretty so I can use it off-road occasionally.

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Journal Entry 3/15/03

After checking the fluids and slapping on a new, out-of-the-box Solex carburator, the jeep fired right up and it runs and idles very quitely without any tell-tale oil-burning smoke. The clutch and transmission work great and it easily backs-up my steep driveway without any problems. The engine looks to be out of a post-war military generator, indicated by a Willys Industrial marked head and 6-blade fan. I plan to restore a period correct Ford GPW engine that is sitting on a dolly in my storage shed.

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Journal Entry 2/12/04

So far I've got the dummy Browning M2HB 50 caliber dummy machinegun (assembled from real G.I. parts which I built myself from a Sarco parts kit and IMA dummy sideplate) and correct M31C pedestal with a combination 30/50 cradle and ammo tray pieces scrounged together and ready to bolt in!

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Journal Entry 5/1/04

Well, I'm back in business with my "borrowed" milk crates and one-man jeep tub removal techniques again! I used my engine hoist (cherry-picker) to lift the back end of the body using a chain between the two foot rest brackets and then milk crates to rest the front half once I lifted it with floor jacks. I removed the steering box by unbolting it from the frame and removing the drag link from the bellcrank and leaving it attached to the pitman arm. Once you start lifting the tub you can pull the steering column out through the hole in the floor of the tub. Note to self, put the transmission in neutral before removing the shifter cane (stick shift) as it is really physically difficult to roll the chassis forward when the engine has full compression. I eventually loosened all the sparkplugs and it rolled much easier... DOOH! My intent is to replace the front floor in this jeep's body, as you can see the new floor leaning against the wall in the photo below. I see a bit more rot and BONDO in the tub than I had hoped for but expect a certain degree of rebuilding on the lower side panels below the door openings regardless. The exact degree of repair will be better known once I get done blasting the tub.

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Journal Entry 5/3/04

Today it was time to strip down the frame and get it ready for a power-washing and sandblasting. It is such a treat to work on a frame that hasn't been abused and "bubbized" like my first jeep project. About the only thing that is going to require any repairs on this frame are the front bumper gussets but this will be minimal because the frame stems are intact. The rear crossmember has a couple extra holes drilled into it but otherwise it is unmolested. After removing all the extra pieces off the tub, the extent of the BONDO is now visible. The rear floor is pretty solid but the hat channels are all rusted through. The front floor is totally wrecked, rusted out, patched and BONDO abounds! I fabricated dollies for the frame and tub and pallets for the axles for the first jeep project which I saved and are all ready to use for this project. It is amazing how quickly 6 hours go by when I'm totally absorbed by my work. The transmission is a newer model Willys built T-84J. No real surprises, however a couple great 'F'-marked parts discovered during the tear-down.

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Journal Entry 5/6/04

Today's project was to haul the frame down to the local carwash and give it a thorough de-greasing and get the dried mud out of the inner frame channel to inspect for damage. After it dried, I took a close look at the usual frame stress locations and found no major cracks, especially around the rear spring hangers which were really torn-up on my first jeep. The only real challenge, which I rate as "easy" is removing the large triangular plates welded to the front frame stems to attach the heavier, "tow-bar" rated front bumper. It looks like the original upper bumper gusset rivet holes in the frame stem are intact under the triangular plates. The lower bumper gussets have some pieces missing off them but I think I can graft on the missing pieces from some repro gussets and nobody will know there was ever a problem. I do not want to remove the original factory rivets holding the front spring shackle brackets if it can be avoided.

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Journal Entry 5/11/04

Today it was time to cut-off that nasty looking tow-bar bumper. Using a 4" x 1/16" cut-off wheel on my grinder to make some well placed cuts right along the edge of the weld bead quickly removed the triangular top bracket to expose beautiful original front fork stems. Removing the weld off the bottom bracket required cutting the bumper off horizontally right above the weld and then vertically to remove the bulk of the bumper bar. A second cut across the face of the weld bead once the lower bracket was exposed quickly removed the remainder of the bumper as you can see in the picture below:

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A little grinding with the disk grinder to remove the majority of the remaining weld bead and final shaping with a 60-grit 1/4" sanding drum on my Dremel tool dressed the frame stems and lower bumper gussets up nicely. The lower bumper gussets are about 60% intact and the missing 40% should be able to be pieced back together from the new repro ones I have. What is most important is keeping the integrity of the original spring shackle bracket rivets and welds, which still looks achievable. Test fitting the new top bumper gussets and new bumper bar indicates some twisting has taken place on the driver's side frame stem and that will need to be corrected before the bumper will fit correctly (currently a rivet hole and a bolt hole do not line up). Getting all the rivets and bumper bolts to line-up perfectly is required before permanently attaching (welding on) the top bumper gussets. It's also best to get all this welding done before blasting the frame so you can prime it once and be ready for paint.

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Journal Entry 5/19/04

Today's project was to finish fabricating the machinegun pedestal supports that are arc welded to the frame. Once again Jon Rogers' JeepDraw drawings prove to be invaluable, as you can see the incredible detail of the technical drawing shown in the picture below. Two of these brackets have been cut out of 3/16" (6-gauge) cold-rolled steel using a jigsaw with a metal-cutting blade. This took a while because I pretty much "fried" my poor little Sears Craftsman 3.2 amp jigsaw so I had to buy one with "MORE POWER" a Bosch 6.4 amp one which cut the 3/16 steel like wood! The tight radius bends are made by clamping the piece in my workbench vise, using an acetylene torch to heat the bending point red-hot and then folding it over to 90 with one hand (using a Vise-Grip on the piece) while keeping heat on it with the torch in the other. Both brackets turned-out exactly to specification which is what doing it right is all about! Next is the real pain in the butt, I have to mount the tub on the frame so I can figure out the exact mounting point of these support brackets, which must just touch the floor sheetmetal!

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Journal Entry 5/27/04

Over the last couple days I figured out the correct placement of the machinegun pedestal brackets and arc welded them tightly to the frame. Rather than mount the tub on the frame, I simply aligned the brackets with the pedestal base mounting plate that is already welded on the frame from the factory, since it comes into contact with the floor. After completing the pedestal bracket welding, I flipped the frame over and proceeded to patch the lower front bumper gussets. As you can see in the following pictures, I grafted the new parts on the old gussets and was able to preserve the original spring shackle bracket rivets and welds to the frame. Only the lower right inner gusset patch required some tricky welding tucked-up under the shackle bracket as closely as possible. After welding and grinding, I put a quick coat of red-oxide primer on them to see how much finishing would be required. As you can see the bottom sides are pretty much done. I still need to lay down some short tack welds with the arc welder on the top sides to reproduce the factory look but that will have to wait until after I can clean up the metal with the sandblaster. Next task is going to be straightening and filling the extra holes on the rear crossmember.

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Journal Entry 6/29/04

My jeep project got back-burnered because I traded-in my old 2WD Ford F250 pickup truck for a 4WD one and needed to spend some time adding "truck bling-bling" like diamond plate aluminum running boards and such. It's summer, hot and dry and time to sandblast! I'm done blasting the top-side of the frame and will make the final rivets and welds to the front bumper gussets next before finishing the blasting phase. There are a few bent pieces that will need to be heated-up with the acetylene torch and straightened before finishing the blasting too. This frame is really in amazing shape overall and very little cosmetic work will be required before painting it.

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Journal Entry 6/30/04

Today I finally addressed a problem that had been bugging me about the frame. The right front fork was slightly twisted and bent so that the holes in the gussets for the bumper bolts were about " too wide for the bumper. There was a slight twist as well, so it pointed at about 11 o'clock. The left front frame fork was perfect so my repair solution had to keep from damaging it. As you can see in the picture, I put together a jig using a 4" wide x 4' long I-beam, clamped to the good left side of the frame. Two 3/8" x 2" wide x 16" long steel plates clamped to the bad right side frame fork as a leverage point for my big farm jack. Using the farm jack required fabricating a bracket for the top to pull against, which I used " x 4" x 12" steel plate and bolted it to the jack. Moving the jack around so pressure was applied to first remove the bend, then the twist, everything straightened right up. After that, I cleaned up the lower bumper gussets using an acetylene torch and steel welding rod to fill pits and cut marks, then I tack-welded them to the frame stems with my arc welder. Next step is tack welding and riveting the upper gussets to the frame forks... maana... (that is if Sockeye salmon fishing season doesn't open on Lake Washington!)

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Journal Entry 7/1/04

Today it's time to finish those front bumper gussets. First task on the list is to replicate the look of a Ford rivet. Round head rivets are close but not quite right so I used them as a starting point. By "turning" them down on my "vertical lathe" (a.k.a. drill press) using a file, I was able to create the cone shape found on the peened type rivets on my GPW. As you can see, installed, they look dead-on orignal and nobody would be the wiser. So, all the tack welds are completed on the gussets, the rivets installed and a coat of primer is on them to see how they look. Tomorrow I'll be flipping the frame over and completing the sandblasting phase, if the weather is good for blasting. At this rate, I should have the frame ready for paint within a couple days.

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Journal Entry 7/2/04

OK, it's 4th-of-July weekend in Seattle, so by tradition, it's raining! Good for keeping the neighbor's kid's popbottle rockets from catching the trees on fire, bad for sandblasting. Actually it's made me stop and take a closer look at the frame and get out my farm jack on the rear crossmember. Subtle bends, forward 3/16" on the right side and back 1/4" on the left are quick work for my big 4" x 4' I-beam. I've also noticed the left front spring shackle hanger is hooking to the right (to inboard), that will be tomorrow's project with the farm jack.

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Journal Entry 7/7/04

Well, we did have some sunshine on 4th-of-July weekend and lots of fun playing, but now it's rainy again so sandblasting is still on hold. Good weather looks promising for this weekend. The frame really is all ready for blasting and priming now. I've straightened not only the left front spring shackle hanger but all 4 of them! Two of them had slight inboard bends which could be bent back out using the 4" x 4' I-beam to brace the farm jack. The two with outboard bends required a bit more creativity since there was no place to clamp the I-beam on the inside of the frame so I used my house as a brace! Luckily, as you can see in the following picture, there is a pillar between my garage doors that anchors to the foundation and it is narrow enough to get the farm jack around it and the jeep frame. One very important thing to remember when using a farm jack to straighten a frame, use a small block of wood at the contact point between the jack and the jeep frame. That is important because you have to hammer the wood block out to get the jack to release as the jack will be stuck otherwise because it is designed to first go "up" before releasing "down" when you change the direction lever! Notice too that I used two Vise-Grip clamps to hold the lower bumper gusset flush to the inside of the bumper while applying jack pressure to the spring shackle so the bending would not change the gusset's alignment with the bumper.

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Journal Entry 7/14/04

This is one of those Seattle summers that starts with weeks of daily showers, good for the lawns but a sandblasting problem! Yesterday was finally a day where I woke up to sunshine and only after I got the frame rolled back into the garage at about 5 PM, the raindrops kicked-in again! As you can see in the following picture, the primer has been applied to the frame to seal it from flash rusting. In a humid environment like Seattle, you can't wait a day or two. I use "Dupli-Color" or "Plasti-Cote" brand red-oxide colored primer sold in spraycans at the local autoparts stores. This stuff seals the surface better than the Gillespie primer which is porous and allows moisture through to the metal and rust to set in, even through the OD paint! I was amazed at the amount of flash rusting that had set in on the top side of the frame that I had blasted only 2 weeks ago. I had to re-blast the whole frame yesterday, luckily removing the flash rust is about 1/10th the effort of removing paint and rust so it didn't take long to "freshen" everything up. I found an amazing number of "F" marks on the frame that were not on the '45 GPW, like on the rear crossmember and the motor mount brackets. Check out that MD Juan repro front floor panel in the background! That will be going into the tub at some later point, much later at the rate I'm progressing on this project!

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Journal Entry 7/28/04

I spent last week on vacation up in the Queen Charlotte Islands of British Columbia, fishing for salmon and halibut so not much has happened with the jeep project until the past couple days. The following picture shows that the beautiful 8 leaf front and 9 leaf back GPW leaf springs, center crossmember and front bumper are all sand blasted. I'm also blasting a beautiful original 'F'-scripted hood for the '45 GPW which has the factory mounting points for the grease gun and lube chart holder, to replace the repro one currently on it. With the exception of the leaf springs, I'll give these pieces a quick coat of Plasti-Cote red-oxide primer like I used on the frame to keep them from flash rusting. The leaf springs get a special treatment which I'll detail in my next installment.

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Journal Entry 8/1/04

Today I'm preparing my leaf springs for paint after sandblasting. Over my other jeep and trailer restoration projects, I've attempted several different methods of restoring and preserving original leaf springs. I've disassembled and blasted each leaf individually, which was a ton of work, and I've blasted the springs assembled. Disassembling the springs always results in destroying a few of the special 'F'-scripted spring clip bolts so I've chosen to avoid this by leaving them assembled when I blast. I've noticed either way that once they're back in use and they get wet, they will seep rust from between the leaves if you only use Gillespie primer and paint to seal them. Regardless of the care taken in preparation, the metal to metal contact of the leaves will quickly remove any paint and expose bare metal which will rust when exposed to water. That is the nature of leaf springs. I've come up with a method that does a good job of sealing the leaves and hopefully preserves the springs better by keeping more water out. I sand blast the springs assembled and then remove the residual sand trapped between the leaves by banging the springs around a bit (dropping them from about 6" above the ground) and then remove the few remaining sand granules from between the springs with an Exacto knife, a dental pick and compressed air.

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Once the sand is cleaned-out well, I mask off the spring clips and brush on a thick coat of Eastwood Company's "Rust Encapsulator" (p.k.a. "Corroless") product into each side's gaps between the leaves, one side at a time. Sometimes a drop will seep through and form on the other side, which I remove with an Exacto knife once it's dry. Once the "Rust Encapsulator" coatings are dry, I prime the whole spring using non-porous Plasti-Cote primer. Both products come in a red-oxide color which looks perfectly original once covered with the OD paint. I've noticed that the springs I've used this technique on have not shown the rust seepage problems I encountered before and I would highly suggest this approach if you have some good looking, irreplaceable original springs like I found. If you have no choice and must completely dissemble the springs to repair broken leaves or clips, I'd suggest coating both sides of each individual spring leaf with the "Rust Encapsulator" product before reassembly.


Journal Entry 8/9/04

Finally, a dry enough day for blasting again, so a marathon 9-hour sandblasting event took place. Over the last week I have been disassembling and de-greasing the differentials plus their brake and steering components. De-greasing is no small feat with these leaky critters and getting the caked "GRUD" (GRease plus mUD) off of them requires multiple cycles of soaking with engine cleaner, picking and scraping the big chunks off and wire brushing with very hot water to get down to the paint. I like to do a final soaking with carburetor cleaner to "dry out" the remaining "GRUD" so it is relatively free of grease and sandblasts off easily. The bell crank on this jeep was worn-out so I've removed it and the tie rods for rebuilding. In the process, I discovered beautiful original "Ford" marked tie rods complete with the original "Ford" marked tie rod ends. So now the differentials, tie rods, spring plates and torque reaction spring are blasted and ready for primer. I also completed blasting the original hood for the '45 GPW as a parallel project. Blasting of the brake backing plates and drums will be the next scheduled event prior to their rebuilding and hitting the rolling chassis milestone before September.

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Journal Entry 8/16/04

Well, a week ago today, I finished sandblasting the original 'F'-scripted '45 hood with the factory mounting points for the lube order and grease gun. Little did I know then, that I would be sucked-into the "tin banger zone!" I've spent a full 6 days working on that hood now and it's still not quite done! The first job was to weld-up the cracks in the front center and along the reinforcing rib on the inside back. Next I had to fill all the little pits left after blasting out the rust. This requires applying autobody glazing (spot) putty to every square inch of the hood, front and back, using your fingertip as to keep it close to the contour of the metal and then sanding it out so the pit is filled even with the surrounding metal. Once the pits are filled, I primed the hood so I could see the dents and creases in preparation for the next phase, hammering them out. Once the dents are hammered out I spread the thinnest layer possible of the glazing putty to smooth out the hammer marks. Then the iterations begin as you prime, spot things you missed, fill, block sand and prime again. I would put the iteration count up to about 12 now and still have some small fixes to make... however the results are GREAT and the hood is going to look great on the front of my '45 GPW. When I'm ready to paint the OD on the hood, frame, differentials and such, I'll be repainting the back of my trailer too. I've never been quite satisfied with my blue factory numbers as the color is a bit too vivid of blue. I ordered the right stuff from Beachwood Canvas Works and I'll be re-doing the numbers on the '45 GPW's hood and '43 Bantam T-3 trailer in the next few days. I have primed all the '43 GPW's parts I sandblasted last week and they can be seen sitting on the floor in the background of the following picture:

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Journal Entry 8/21/04

Ok, the hood for the '45 GPW is finally looking perfect, ready for paint and safely set aside so nothing can mar it. Now to get the steering components refurbished and ready for paint. After blasting the front axle, I needed to get primer on the bare metal as quickly as possible to keep them from flash rusting. The steering knuckles were flopping around so I wired them together and secured them so I could prime them without the grease coating the steering knuckle "balls" and contaminating the primer. Pre-teardown inspection determined that the bell crank was very loose and I knew I would need to replace the pivot pin and bearings, what I didn't expect was a stress crack in the web casting between the arms of the bell crank (see picture) which pretty much condemned it.

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Life is too short to bet it on a $50 part that controls the steering, so I ordered a new one from Brent Mullins Jeep Parts. The new one is a bit heavier-built WOF (Willys-Overland France) unit but I made sure to grind all the WOF markings off with my Dremel tool so it would look a bit more "WWII correct." So you can see in the following picture, all the new parts that will be going into refurbishing the front axle and steering; bell crank, bell crank pivot rebuild kit, Ford style felt tie rod seal kit, pinion yoke, pinion yoke seal, steering knuckle seal kit, RZEPPA id tag + 8/39 ratio tag, axle cover seal and cotter pins for the tie rods. Ive learned from my first jeep project, bite the bullet and replace the pinion yoke and seal now and save the headaches later. I'll also pull the axle cover off to inspect the differential gears and clean out the housing. Once all back together, I'll de-grease as necessary and re-prime and then it's ready for new brake lines + clamps and then finally the paint.

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Journal Entry 8/26/04

Well, the front and rear axles are reconditioned and ready for 90 weight hypoid gear oil and OD paint. I opened each differential's cover, drained the oil, cleaned the housing and took a good look at the gears. I was pleased with what I saw, no gear tooth damage or rust from moisture accumulation and everything is nice and tight. I put new pinion yokes and pinion seals on both of them and then made some nice "budget" 'F'-script bolts for the differential cover bolts. The steering components were inspected for wear, a new bell crank pivot rod, new bell crank and needle bearings were installed in addition to GPW style felt tie rod seals.

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The job that took the most time and effort was preserving the original style steering knuckle seals by installing a 60-year-old, NOS Ford seal kit into them. Disassembly of the original steering knuckle seal "clam shell" fixtures was pretty time consuming because they were stuck together pretty tight. The replacement seal kit consisted of a felt seal with a saw-tooth rubber spacer. The paper gaskets with the old Ford kit were pretty crisp and unusable, so I had to replace them with modern ones or used silicone gasket sealant to "make" a gasket where necessary.

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Since I didn't remove the king pins, I was left with the task of removing as much of the old grease in the steerig knuckle housing as I could through the space between the ball and the housing. I was able to get most of the contaminated grease out and found nice fresh grease the deeper I dug. I made sure and polished up the "balls" by sanding them with 320-grit sandpaper and put a coat of Lubriplate on the ball so the new seals wouldn't encounter too much friction while installing them and pull out. A liberal coating of silicone gasket sealant on both sides of a new paper gasket between the housing and the steering knuckle "clam shell" fixtures and back together it went. Finally I degreased and primed everything and will set it aside until I'm ready to paint it OD. The steering is very hard to turn with all the new seals installed but that won't take much break-in time to correct. I am excited about the thought of driving a nice tight steering jeep!

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Journal Entry 9/2/04

Things are progressing well, despite slipping a disk in my back while priming the differentials! Over 10 years ago I ruptured the disk between #4 & #5 vertebra and ever since I've had periodic stabbing back pain when using incorrect body mechanics to lift. This time I was simply stooping over to put a final touch-up of red oxide primer on the steering knuckle seals and it was like I was shot in the back, buckling to the ground! My God, I had truly fallen and could not get up, for about 10 minutes anyway! Well, after seeing the doctor, getting some Vicoden pain pills, and MRI scan and x-ray, it looks like only some physical therapy is in my future and not surgery. I was finally able to get by on simply popping a few ibuprophen and felt good enough to move to the next step on the jeep, painting everything OD. As you can see in the following picture, it's a matter of days before I mount springs and differentials on the frame. The goal of having a rolling frame by September 1 has clearly been missed but not by too many weeks if my back holds out! Tomorrow I hope to paint the hood for the '45 GPw and the back of the trailer so I can paint on the new numbers.

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Journal Entry 9/14/04

Let the reassembly phase begin! A few little repairs and adjustments had to be made before proceeding with the reassembly of the rolling chassis. The new OMIX-ADA spring bolts I purchased ended-up being too long and the hole for the cotter pin was beyond the slot in the castellated nut! I purchased a few cobalt drill bits to bore through the hardened steel bolts for the cotter pins and cut down the bolts to the correct size. One of the front spring eyes had been worn into an oval shape so that needed some attention. Sizing a shim between the new brass bushing and the spring eye is accomplished by using drill bits to determine the metal thickness required. In this case the shim required 16-gauge sheet metal cut to the correct radius and pounded into the correct shape in the vise using an old socket wrench the same diameter as the brass bushing. Once the shim is shaped, the edges are ground on the bench grinder into a chisel shape and then driven into the gap with a hammer. The spring bracket will hold the shim in place and it should keep the spring bolt nice and snug so it wont pound on the brass bushing again.

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New OMIX-ADA spring shackles were used in the suspension reassembly to make sure everything is nice and tight. I had a set of NOS F-script spring plate U bolts which were too small for my 45 GPW because of the late production thicker springs but fit perfectly on the 43 GPWs 8/9 leaf front/rear combination. The special long nuts for the spring plate U bolts were purchased from Krage Motorsports along with all the other OMIX-ADA parts. Now Ive got to get busy on blasting the brake backing plates and drums and getting the drums turned to insure they are true and provide a good gripping surface for the new brake shoes. I'll also start installing the brake lines and master cylinder. Doesnt that F script pintle hook look nice, even though it is a repro?

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Journal Entry 9/18/04

Well, I'm almost ashamed to admit this discovery. In all my hours of looking at the transmission and transfercase in the process of disassembling the jeep, I assumed because the transmission case said "T-84J" in the casting on the side, the entire unit was a Willys postwar unit. Well, a few minutes with a steel wire brush and carburetor cleaner uncovered I have a diamond in the rough. Everything but the T-84J transmission case is 'F'-scripted!!! I was so surprised that I needed to sit down and smoke a cigarette... luckily I don't have any around anymore! Now I'm even more motivated to get that original GPW engine off to the rebuilder and take this restoration to a higher level than I had originally intended. Given the way the frame turned-out with no major defects, repairs or rust pits, the correct original 8/9 leaf springs and such, I've got a better jeep than I figured I had. This jeep deserves to be preserved, or continued to be preserved as well as it has been the last 60 years!

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Journal Entry 10/18/04

The jeep project has been on the back-burner for the last couple weeks and my time has been spent getting the house, cars and boat winterized. I'm finally back on task this week, getting the brake backing plates blasted and painted and the adjusting cam hardware refurbished. Several of the adjusting cams needed to have pieces of the the rectangular heads welded back on where wrenches have slipped off over the years and taken chunks of metal with them. I blasted the adjusting cams and replaced the bolts and lockwashers with new, cadmium plated ones. Since all the plating has corroded off the adjusting cam threads, I made liberal use of thread anti-sieze paste on the threads and cams so they would not rust and freeze-up. I like to assemble the brakes on the backing plates first, making sure to face the brake shoe with the longer strip of lining to the front of the jeep.

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Once all the brakes were assembled, I installed them on the jeep and hooked-up the brake lines. There is a special "coiled" piece of steel brake tubing between the hose and the slave cylinder on the front brakes which was a real BITCH to hook-up because it required so much additional bending. Most replacement kits simply furnish an "S" shaped piece of tubing, which goes on really easy but makes bleeding the brakes problematic. The "coiled" brake line is correct but took much swearing and bending with pliers and beating wtih a block of wood and a small hammer to position correctly. The secret to attaching brake lines is to attach the line to the slave cylinger before bolting the backing plate into position. So, the brake lines are almost done, just need to run the line from the master cylinger to the two hoses which run to the axles. A quick coat of paint over the newly installed brake lines and I was done for today. Next I need to clean the grease out of the 4 hubs and get those brake drums over to my buddy's machine shop for a quick "dressing cut" on the lathe to clean up the facings. Not far from a rolling chassis now!

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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. My set of Coker Firestone NDT tires finally arrived last week too... it's starting to look like the '43 GPW's restoration work will become a priority this spring!

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Entry Date: 6/8/05 - Time to build a transmission and transfercase for my '43 GPW. I am putting together an 'F'-script transmission and transfercase by doing the old mix-and-match of parts and donor units I have laying around. I've also purchased BobN's transmission rebuilding book and have been much impressed by the improvements in detail over the CD-ROM book version he released a year or so back. The transmission / transfercase I'm tearing apart came out of a '44 Willys MB donor jeep that had a 6-cylinder Willys Hurricane engine in it. I'm amazed at the good condition of the gears since I figured 50% more horsepower would have torn the drivetrain up since it was used as a snowplow but I'm only finding some pretty worn bushings and only a couple teeth damaged on the counter shaft gear. I'm thinking I'll probably replace most of the gears simply because they're going into a Ford case and I'd like to make it as good as possible given the current availability of parts. Notice the 48" x 77" 3/4" plywood with a 16-gauge steel topped work table I made for on my 4-post car lift... the perfect height-adustable workbench for a guy with a bad back!

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Entry Date: 6/28/05 - Inspection and measurement with my digital caliper showed what a worn-out piece of junk the old transmission was! The roller bearings on the main shaft had worn the pilot shaft and bearing recess way out of spec. Loose gears on the main shaft and some chipped teeth on the counter gear cluster pretty much spelled all new gears and shafts would be required. Ron Fitzpatrick was able to supply all "Made in U.S.A." rebuild parts but at nearly $700, which was way more than I had hoped would be required to put this tranny together! Everything seems pretty much cut-and-dried except for is the "spacer with recess" (WO-A-15427) used with the later seal at the rear bearings needs to be sized. Ron needed to know what size I need... OK, that means test assembly, measurement, disassembly, etc... Ron carries the part in varying incremental sizes based on the amount of end-play. I have a dial indicator set-up and feeler-gauges so determining this won't be a big challenge beyond just being a pain-in-the-ass. It's just not something covered in Bob's book and I'm not sure how critical the exact clearance is here. BobN's transmission rebuild book is pretty handy but I'm using Moses Ludel's t-90 rebuild in the Bentley CJ manual as a comparison to make sure there's not something critical Bob might be missing. So far just the spacer issue is all that's been missing.

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Entry Date: 8/10/05 - It's taken a couple months but now after ordering the majority of my transmission parts from Ron Fitzpatrick, those he didn't have in stock from Brent Mullins and the final elusive WO-A-15427 spacer ring with the recess for the snap ring from George Baxter at Army Jeep Parts, I'm ready to assemble my mid-series 'F'-script T-84 transmission. Oh but first, I've got to get the 'F'-script T-18 transfer case torn-down and checked for any problems, cleaned-up and prepped for paint, new gaskets and lots of silicone sealant to keep the 90-wt oil in and new output yokes and seals for the front and rear output shafts. I contacted my "ODD Squad" buddy Mac, to machine a cluster gear assembly tool for me which he has already sent me (you can see it on the workbench on the drawing of it).

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I've used paint stripper and then a steel brush on my hand drill to clean the paint and rust off the main transfer case housing and will be media blasting the bearing caps, plates, oil pan, levers and such before reassembling it. I'm not taking any chances with oil leaking from this transfer case, my current one throws oil and leaks way too much because I didn't understand how much silicone gasket sealant was really required to keep it dry. Even the bolt threads need to be coated with sealant when you assemble it, Last time I only put sealant on the gasket mating surfaces like one would do with a modern transmission. Over the years the threaded bolt holes get worn out I guess, that is the only way to explain why drips would form on the bolt heads themselves. Output yokes are another area I'm not taking any chances with, I bought new ones, which don't look exactly the same as the originals they are machined to the same spec but without the worn grooves. I suppose if I was really anal about originality I could use "Speedy Sleeves" and retain the original yokes but the only one you can see is the front one since the rear one is hidden by the parking brake.

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Entry Date: 9/29/05 - Well it's kind of obvious my '63 VW Bug Convertible top frame rebuild and new '66 Porsche 912 restoration project have back-burnered the jeep project this summer. I have finally got the transfercase done and ready for a tranny! The task of putting one of these devices back together is certainly of the variety that makes one wish they had 3 hands! Especially the getting the shift rod seals over the rods while positioning the front bearing cap back into place all coated with gasket sealer.... ARGH! The new rear output flange needed a little machining to fit inside the external shoe parking brake drum but I was able to use my buddy's brake lathe and a metal file to trim a couple thousandths of excess metal off the flange. I've begun cleaning the cosmoline off all the new tranny parts and will start assembling that over the next couple days. Here's the big news, I've decided to move my repro Ford tub with the square tool box latch recesses currently on my '45 GPW (factory correct for a '43 GPW not a '45) to the '43 GPW frame, along with the engine. The '43 GPW came with a restorable late-war composite body (factory correct for the '45 not the '43) that will eventually move to my '45. So essentially since I'm putting a new tranny and transfercase into it, I'm also swapping frames and leaf springs with my existing running jeep to make it more factory correct. My goal being ownership of a more factory correct pre-D-Day (June 1944) jeep with all my best 'F'-script parts on it, including a dummy .50 caliber Browning, Ma Deuce (M2)! Blowing the tranny in the '45 and deciding which jeep would get all the new parts started this strategic withdrawl (retreat) from the current project track. I needed to find my motivation and my new mantra is "pre-D-Day & factory correct" do you understand that reasoning?

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Entry Date: 10/11/05 - Say "goodbye" to my '45 GPW as I knew it. The Ford style body is off and I'll begin modifying it to "backdate" the spare tire holder to the 3-bolt variety and the blackout light switch to the early push-pull type before mounting it on the '43 GPW frame. I'm also adding the M-31C machinegun pedestal, early type parking brake, original radiator, new 'F'-script transfercase and tranny, 'F'-script waterpump, radio filterette under the dash and a laundry list of small items. I am a little sad to see my first incarnation of a WWII jeep going away but the next generation will be "taking it up a notch" in terms of originality and value. The '45 GPW will ride again someday with an original composite body and as more of a trail jeep since the frame has already been extensively repaired, why not take it out and use it off-road, saving the near perfect original for my "factory class" show jeep.

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Entry Date: 10/13/05 - Tonight the engine/tranny/transfercase unit sits safely on a dolly after being pulled as a unit using steel brackets I fabricated, bolted through the front motor mounting points and a hook on the transfer case thru a bolt in the PTO cover as lifting points. I fabricated the temporary drivetrain dolly using two 1000 lb. rated piano dollys with a 2x4 wooden frame deck screwed to it. I've started using these cheap $20 piano dollys instead of scratch-building rolling stands.

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The 4-post lift gently lifted the unit off the '45 GPW's frame using 1350 lb. rated chain and 835 lb. rated threaded chain links ("quick links") to secure the drivetrain to the big wooden cross "timbers." I am really enjoying the use of my 4-post lift and will certainly use the lifting brackets I'm fabricating again in the future. I did take the cover off the tranny to see if there was anything obvious to indicate why it failed. I was able to wiggle the 2nd gear significantly, which is not good. I'm sure something is broken inside the main shaft or syncronizing hub. No worries as the whole thing is being replaced with my rebuilt 'F'-script units.

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Entry Date: 10/15/05 - Tonight the stripped '45 frame will sleep on the top bunk and the fresh newly restored '43 on the bottom. I'm pretty much at the point where the '45 frame is bare, just need the master cylinder and to remove the skid plate and center crossmember. The '43 frame is at the point where I start building on it with all the '45 GPW's parts. I'm planning on swapping the Willys front differential currently on the '43 with the "GP" marked Ford one from the '45 and leave the front brakes intact to save work. I'll continue to rebuild the rear brakes on the '43 which means getting the drums turned, blasted and repainted. Having to only set-up two new brakes on the rear axle will save me a lot of time.

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Entry Date: 10/19/05 - Today was a milestone, the '43 GPW is now a "roller" with all the brakes all plumbed and ready for bleeding the air out of them! The last couple days was spent pulling the Ford front differential out of the old '45, Replacing the stamped metal cover for a cast "GP"-marked cover (with the words, "USE HYPOID GEAR OIL ONLY" cast into it), degreasing it and touching-up the paint on it where the radiator boiled over on it and it started to rust. Once the freshly repainted front differential was installed I decided to move the back brakes from the old '45 to the '43, thinking that keeping them a matched front-and-rear set was a wise thing. All the brake lines are plumbed back to the master cylinder (also stripped from the '45) and I'm ready to bleed the brakes once I get the pedals installed. A couple more parts to remove from the '45 frame and it's time to move it out of the shop and into storage and bring the tub back into the shop for marking and drilling the mounting base holes in it for the M-31C pedestal. All the remaining parts for performing final assembly on the T-84 tranny arrived from Brent Mullins Jeep Parts today and I painted the tranny case Ford engine gray last night so when the urge to put it together strikes me, I'm ready to roll. Funny thing about things like transfer cases and trannys, I've got to be in a certain mood to want to tackle it. I'll know when the time is right.

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Entry Date: 10/21/05 - The urge to assemble the new T-84 tranny hit me about 9 PM last night. I installed the cluster gear with the thicker thrust washer I fabricated, the drive gear set and main gear set using the late 'H'-case seal and special spacer with the recess for the rear snap ring. Everything was looking perfect until I noticed the lip of the seal had rolled because the spacer ring had popped out. I put it away for the night and dreamed about how I would approach it. A repeating nightmare of those 13 little roller bearings rattling around the bottom of the transmission case kept haunting me. When I woke-up I came to the conclusion that the seal must be reversed so the special washer inserts into it from what would the the "outside" of the seal... Essentially installing the seal "backwards" from the rear of the case before installing the rear main bearing. So I proceeded to do this and everything was progressing wonderfully until when tapping the cluster gear shaft into position, the rear main bearing popped-out of the case and the damn seal lip folded-over the special recessed spacer!!! The third assembly was the charm, everything has stayed together and I can move freely move the gears with my fingers while spinning the shafts... 1st, 2nd, 3rd and reverse all engage smooth as velvet. I sealed the cluster gear shaft with old-fashioned Permatex gasket cement and "glued" the lock plate between the cluster gear shaft and the reverse idler gear shaft with silicone gasket sealant. Later in the day I assembled the shifting forks and it sits on the workbench, ready for mating with the transfercase before I do something stupid and pop that rear bearing out again while playing with the shifting, which is very stiff due to new shafts, poppet balls and springs. I do not want to disassemblble that F@#&ING thing one more time! That C-clamp serves as my reminder! Between working on the tranny, I stripped the remaining parts of the '45 frame and moved it into the barn. I also made some storage "pallets" for the front and rear differentials and they are also moved into the barn. I'll remove the old and install the new tranny/transfercase on the engine before bringing the tub back into the shop. I'm getting a bit beat-up, so I think it might be a good time to take a couple days off and heal.

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Entry Date: 10/24/05 - Today's project was removal of the old transfer case and transmission from the engine and installation of the new ones while leaving the bellhousing bolted in place. After modifying the wooden dolly holding the entire drivetrain to support the weight of the engine by itself, it was easy to remove the old transfercase and then the transmission. The new ones went on without any real challenges, other than figuring out how to install the clutch fork thru the little oval-shaped access hole in the bellhousing. I left a small Vise-Grip holding the clutch cable with a slight amount of tension on the clutch fork so it wouldn't fall apart (again). Tonight the drivetrain sits on the dolly with the silicone gasket sealant curing on the new transmission and transfer case and waiting for installation of the early, external shoe parking brake. I must remember to coat the splines on the transfer case output shafts with silicone sealant before installing the yoke & companion flange as this seems to be a common point of oil leakage. I have put silicone gasket sealant on the threads of every bolt to make sure there will be no seepage this time and I'll let it cure a couple of days before filling them with 90 weight gear oil.

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Entry Date: 10/26/05 - Yesterday I installed the new 'F'-script water pump on the engine as well as installing the shift levers to test the transfer case and transmission. Everything shifts fine except 2nd and 3rd gear which wouldn't engage! Now the tranny is "dry" and all the parts are new so I'm trying not to panic and wait until I have the tranny filled with 90-wt. oil and the engine spinning the syncro hub before I believe I've somehow done something wrong during the rebuild... take a deep breath... relax... be patient! The tub has been brought back from the barn into the shop and I'm setting it on the '43 frame to test mounting hole alignment and mark the holes that need to be drilled in the floor of the tub for the M-31C machine gun pedestal. I had welded the mounting brackets for the pedestal legs to the '43 frame over a year ago and now it's time to see where they align to the floor of the tub. Hopefully they will line-up without any further fitting but I'm prepared to do what's necessary to make them align perfectly. The new 'F'-script rear axle shafts, some correct sized lug nuts and various 'F'-script body bolts got the blasting and painting treatment today so they could cure before assembly. I stopped by the body shop and saw my '66 Porsche 912 project was (finally) on the frame straightening machine (after sitting there for a month) so I seem to have the jeep tub out of the barn just in time so there is room there to store the 912 which should be coming home in the next few days.

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Entry Date: 10/27/05 - Talk about one of those self-defining moments. Just yesterday I was wondering why my new tranny rebuild wasn't going into 2nd and 3rd gear. I thought of all the possible things it could be and figured the tranny syncro band must have just been "binding" from being new and all. Well, I dropped a nut on the floor in front of my workbench today and while I was on my hands-and-knees looking for it, look what else I found down there...

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Yes, that is a transmission poppet ball... surely it must be one of the old ones I just replaced with new ones so I take a look in the old parts tub... but alas, there are 2 of them in there. The reality slowly dawns across my mind, this is the culprit for my 2nd and 3rd gear shifting problems!!! No, it can't be... I sit down and ponder the situation, first of all, why did it pop out when I used a drift punch to push it down with the spring into its hole in the tranny? I must have not plugged the shift rail channel from the other side and it did what "poppet" balls are designed to do and it "popped" out that opening to the front of the tranny. The horror... I've got to take the transfer case back off and the top cover and attempt to remove that shift rail from the back of the case. To make matters slightly worse, I used Loctite "red" (the perminent stuff) to hold the shift fork lock screws... the 500 heat to loosen the threads "red" Loctite. I have to look on the bright side, it was lucky to have found that poppet ball now, while the tranny is still out of the jeep and no oil has been added to it yet. I scrounged through my parts boxes and found I have spares of the tranny to transfercase gasket and the shift tower gasket so I don't have to wait for any parts orders to proceed with resolving this problem. I am also glad I had the instincts to test shift that tranny with the gear shift before proceeding, which indicated the problem to begin with. It is just too bad I was so concerned with keeping the rear tranny bearing stable that I feared testing with the shift lever until the transfercase was bolted in place... live and learn. One very, very positive development is that I went to inspect the completed unibody repair of my '66 Porsche 912 project at the bodyshop today and all the gaps (door, hood and fenders) were perfect and the total cost of the work performed was $344! Tomorrow AM I will be borrowing my friends tow dolly and retrieving the 912 from the bodyshop.

Entry Date: 11/2/05 - Well I can't describe the sense of defeat I felt when I saw that poppet ball on the floor (I guess it would pale in comparison to how it would feel to have the jeep together and realize the tranny doesn't shift because it's missing). I needed to step away from the transmission a few days to return to it with a fresh attitude so I took 3 days off. Monday I re-opened the transfer case and tranny, torched the red Loctite from the 2nd-3rd gear shift rail lock screw and pulled out the shift rail. Sure enough, the poppet ball was not there and finding it on the floor was a blessing in the form of keeping "Darryl the mechanic" very humble. Once it was all back together with fresh gaskets and silicon sealer, the shift cane still wouldn't budge the syncro hub forward into 2nd or back into 3rd, but I could move that shift fork with a mallet tap when I had it apart and I did hear the distinct click of a detent poppet ball engaging. Tonight the engine, transmission and transfer case unit sit bolted in their new home, the '43 GPW chassis. Studying all the new 'F'-script parts together is truly a thing of beauty to my eyes. I'm also feeling really positive about the steps I've taken to minimize or eliminate gear oil leakage. Now I'll have to make sure and photograph all the visible 'F'-scripts before I mount the body. Next step in the project will be intalling the original 'F'-script radiator I had re-cored last spring and bleeding and adjusting the brake system. I would love to have this old jeep back on the road by Veteran's Day, November 11, a week from Friday.

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Entry Date: 11/5/05 - The new frame is almost ready to put the body back on! The exhaust pipe sports a fresh coat of paint and is bolted back in! The new repro battery tray is installed and the battery is back in place! Fresh gear oil sits in the tranny, transfer case and differentials! The brake system has been flushed and the air bled out of it so the brakes work! The new external shoe parking brake set-up is installed and ready for final adjustment! The drive shafts are bolted in and ready for fresh lube! One delay is that I had to order special-sized carriage bolts that are required to install the Ford radiator but that can happen after the tub is installed and they should be here by mid-next week. It was so easy to bleed the brakes without the body on the jeep that I think I'll adjust the brakes next, before installing the tub. I have a couple cosmetic things to do to the tub, such as weld-up the hole from the late-style spare tire holder support foot since the older style 3-bolt variety doesn't use the support foot. I need install the new shock absorbers before I mount the body since it's easier to deal with. The weather has been so cold and wet that it's good to have an indoor project but I hope it clears about when I'm ready to test drive it!

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Entry Date: 11/11/05 - What more fitting way to commerate Veterans Day than working on a WWII Veteran... my 1943 jeep! Clearly I have missed my goal of having the jeep back together by today but the weather was so bad with wind and rain, it wouldn't have been possible to take the jeep out anyway. I did get the torque reaction spring, shocks and original recored Ford GPW radiator installed today. I had been waiting on special long 7/16" carriage bolts to arrive from www.boltdepot.com and they came this afternoon. I cut the bolts down to 1" and threaded them to 20 TPI before inserting them into the bottom of the radiator and bolting them, with the static supression straps to the front crossmember. You can really see how thin the OD paint is on the underside of the radiator fins, this is on purpose to maximize heat transfer with the air. From the top side, the paint looks fine and I'll be keeping it this way. Now all that remains is cleaning the grease and dirt from the bottom of the tub before bolting it on to the frame. Things should start moving very quickly to having this wrapped-up and testing that new transmission... GULP... the moment of truth... the litmus test of my mechanical skills.

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Entry Date: 11/18/05 - So a solid week of heads-down work since my last update to re-install the tub, connect the controls and button everything up but the hood and transmission cover so that yesterday it was possible to finally test drive the jeep. I took it out for a spin and, well, to cut a long story short, I've still got tranny issues! The new radiator and waterpump... A-OK. The new frame & springs, steering, tracking and braking... A-OK. The jeep starts and runs quiet and smooth just like before. I can shift into 1st and reverse with a mildly troubling gear grinding chirp like the tranny is still spinning a bit (clutch not fully disengaging, pilot bearing contact or a syncro hub hang-up?) but it does shift. Now for the real heartbreaker, 2nd and 3rd are locked in neutral!!! The gear cane just won't budge beyond what I consider a generous amount of pressure just before putting any torque on it and feeling it bend!!! Well, the tranny and transfer case will have to come out, this time from the bottom of the jeep. I think I can get my hands on a transmission jack from my buddy's shop so I can do it somewhat easier using the 4-post lift, but it does mean a whole lot more work needs to be invested into the goal to "keep it rolling!" I've got to completely dissassemble that damn transmission and start over from square one. My suspicions are either the shift fork rail is sticking or the syncro hub has come apart somehow and is locked-up. Thinking about it isn't going to remove that transmission and get to the bottom of it. Finding the poppet-ball on the floor a few weeks ago is nothing compared to how I feel about that transmission now... I'm obviously in uncharted territory here and have to keep thinking about how much I'm teaching myself by putting myself through this course of action. I do remember saying something about "taking my mechanical skills up a notch" by taking on repair tasks out of my "comfort zone" but now realize that might be a pretty ambitious goal. Starting with an unknown and empty case and loading it with new parts is a pretty risky proposition relative to taking a known working case and components and replacing only the worn components.

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Entry Date: 11/19/05 - Just as I step away from my jeep project for some perspective, an eBay purchase of an awesome set of solid shaft, Solex 40 P-II carbs that are the correct ones for my '66 Porsche 912 project arrived yesterday. The Solexes provided a nice distraction and instead of being depressed about my jeep tranny, I'm excited about my Porsche project. I have to remember that all this stuff is a hobby and supposed fun and the how can a grown man allow himself to lose any sleep about one his toys having a boo-boo? I thought about it and decided what I really need to do is go back and do some remedial study on the T-84 transmission. A very sound working post-war T-84J that came in the '43 GPW and the failed one that came out of my '45 GPW provide me with examples to study and compare with the one I'm building from all new parts that's giving me all the grief. Armed with fresh knowledge, I'll drain the gear oil while the tranny is still in the jeep and pull the top cover and see if I can identify the problem from there. While remote, investigating for a fix that doesn't require dropping the tranny/xfercase unit is surely worth the effort. So Transmissions-101 class is back in session while I'm patiently soaking my new Solex carbs in penetrating fluid and scraping the rust deposits in the bottoms of the bowls.

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Entry Date: 11/23/05 - As I figured would be the case, removing the shift tower and looking into the tranny while it was still in the jeep didn't resolve anything. Everything looks just fine from the top and nothing ugly (like for example a roller bearing!) came out on the magnetic drain plug or into the gear oil when I drained it, so next step was to pull the tranny out of the jeep. My buddy Roger who owns the Eurotech shop up the street was more than happy to let me load his brawny NAPA 1000 lb. capacity transmission jack into my truck and bring it back when I'm done or when he needs it. I used a screw type jack at the flywheel bellhousing to keep the engine in its usual position so I didn't have to drain the radiator and loosen the hoses. I used my big wooden timbers as a safety back-up to the screw type jack because if it fell it would spell a disaster to have the engine fall out since all that's holding it in is the front motor mounts! I removed the skid-plate, its crossmember and the tranny mount and fabricated a wood block to bolt into tranny mount's holes treaded in the underside of the tranny. The wood block provided a flat surface, even with the lowest spot on the transfer case so it would sit level in the transmission jack's saddle plate and not scrape-up the paint. With the transfer case shift levers removed, the transmission came straight back and out with plenty of clearance between it and the bottom of the tub.

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Going back in should be pretty easy too, that is until the time comes to put the clutch fork back on. I drilled a small hole in the clutch fork so I could dangle it in place thru the bellhousing access hole with a small piece of wire when I was installing it before, out of the jeep on the wooden pallet I made. That was not the easiest but I did get the knack of doing it so this shouldn't be too big of problem if I am patient. So tonight the transmission and transfer case are sitting on top of the transmission jack. Next step, after the holiday, will be splitting them apart and tearing down that transmission. I suspect something is amiss with the syncro hub springs or keys and will hopefully see that when I tear it down. I also want to try just assembling the shift rods and shift tower and cane and see if they bind at all as one test. All new shift rods might be just a bit too tight and will need a little work with the old whet stone to hone them down slightly. I'm also suspicious of the empty tranny case that needed the double thickness, custom-made thrust washer for the cluster gear set and I might use another case I have in reserve. These are the types of things that pop into my mind while I'm trying to sleep. BTW: If you look closely in the following picture you can see the holes for the new M-31C machinegun pedestal have been drilled in the tub and it is test-mounted with the 30/50 combination cradle on top. I'll need to take it back out to repaint it and the mounting bolts. The support leg brackets I fabricated and welded to the frame rails over a year ago lined-up perfectly with the floor of the tub and the legs of the pedestal... how about that!

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Entry Date: 11/29/05 - Tear-down of the transmission has determined that I screwed-up. The shift rail for the 2nd-3rd gear fork wouldn't move when the shift fork retaining screw was removed. I then removed the poppet ball and spring to find it was still jammed in place and difficult to move. So my error was that I installed a brand new shift rail in an antique transmission case and failed to make sure it moved easily once it was lined-up with the poppet ball. Most of this was due to fear of dislodging that damn rear main bearing (one more time which required tearing down everything and starting over). A total "rookie" mistake if I must admit it to the world! Ok, so now to fix it... I just have to hone the damn new shift rail until it moves freely, then install the shift tower in the empty case with the rail installed and see if it moves easily. I assumed that the shift cane would provide leverage to move the sticky rail... boy was I wrong! A new set of gaskets is on order from Ron Fitzpatrick and I should have this thing back in the jeep by week's end. I thought it would be interesting to show a picture of the "pallet" block I fabricated to facilitate easy moving of the tranny/transfer case assembly on the transmission jack saddle. Pretty simple, just bolts to the bottom of the transmission using the tranny mount bolt holes.

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Entry Date: 11/30/05 - EUREKA!!! I finally figured-out exactly what the problem is with my tranny not shifting between 2nd and 3rd gear!!! The new replacement shift rail has the notch where the shift cane engages with it MACHINED IN THE WRONG SPOT!!! As you can see from the photo below, it seems that the piece got flipped in the machining operation so the notch is in the right spot but all the other little notches got flipped!!! I have to laugh at how my thought patterns have pointed to something I assumed incorrectly or did wrong up until I discovered my real mistake was assuming all the new parts were correct! Man, what a puzzle to figure out but inserting the shift rod with the poppet ball and then bolting the shift tower with the shifter screwed down made it quite obvious that the shifter could never get into that notch because the shift gate kept it locked-out!!! Oh boy, now I feel really great about getting this back together and my jeep back on the road! Just as luck would have it, my gasket sets arrived from Ron Fitzpatrick via UPS a few minutes ago! WOO-HOO!!!

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Entry Date: 12/2/05 - Yesterday I assembled the transmission with a used 2nd-3rd gear shift rod I liberated out of the old transmission. I could actually shift the tranny into all 4 gears, however reverse and 1st was a little tight at first. I took the shift tower plate off and really worked the shift rod until it worked much easier. The job for today was to put the new transmission back into the jeep, once again using the borrowed transmission jack. Before wrestling with that heavy transmission jack I thought I had better consider ways to minimize the effort. Looking at an old T-90 input shaft which I use as a clutch pilot tool, I noticed there was a nice 5/16" hole drilled into the end of it where the roller bearings go. A little work with a dowel, some thread and a length of steel fuel line tubing resulted in a tool I could use to adjust both the engine and transmission to plumb level. My tool paid dividends as I was able to align the splines with the clutch disk and drive the transmission input shaft into the engine flywheel first try with very little physical effort other than a lot of climbing around to check alignments, rotate the engine and make fine height adjustments. Tonight the tranny / transfercase unit is bolted in with the tranny mount and skid plate crossmember supporting it and I'm pooped! Tomorrow I install the clutch fork and pedal cable, drive shafts, parking brake cable and skid plate and we're back in business ready for a test drive.

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Entry Date: 12/5/05 - Tomorrow's forecast, slightly warmer, partly sunny and no showers, a perfect day for a jeep test drive. The clutch, brakes, parking brake and speedo cable are hooked back up and adjusted. The transfer case and tranny shift levers are installed. The drive shafts are bolted back in and the 90WT gear oil just needs to be topped-off and the fill plugs secured before we roll the jeep out into the sunlight and crank her up for the big transmission test. I've stuck a magnetic engine block heater on the engine just to make the cold start go just a bit easier. As has become the tradition, the skid plate, transmission cover plate and hood will stay in the garage until a successful "test flight" and if all goes as planned, those pieces will be on and the whole project will be buttoned-up by tomorrow night. The hood number U.S.A. 20740770, from the '45 GPW will be "retired" and a new one for the '43 frame number will need to be repainted on that hood. The new one will be U.S.A. 20388595, which was estimated with some help from experts on the G503.com BBS for a 5/19/43 manufacturing date GPW.

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Entry Date: 12/6/05 - SUCCESS!!! The new transmission test drive went fantastic! A little hard to shift into reverse and 1st which should get easier as it breaks in but 2nd and 3rd shift smooth as silk. I've installed the skid plate and buttoned-up the transmission access plate. What a great feeling to keep with it and solve the problem and move on with life!

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Entry Date: 12/13/05 - The '43 GPW is all back together and ready to drive out of the shop. No drips from the transmission or transfer case after the test drive so perhaps I've got the leak problem solved too! I still have a few small projects, such as converting the headlight switch back to the earlier push-pull type, installing the new data plates on a new glovebox door, painting the new hood numbers, painting the M31-C machinegun pedestal and other small details that are better left to a warmer season but the major work that needs the jeep in the shop are done. The front clip for the '66 Porsche 912 project is already in the shop on the dolly I made to handle the jeep tub and the 912 itself will be winched up the steep driveway and onto the lift as soon as the weather clears to move the jeep back into the "showroom."

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The old '45 GPW frame and drivetrain components are stored in the parts "warehouse" and wait for the day when I get the urge to weld a new floor the original "composite" tub and build a "play" jeep. I'm really excited about welding a new floor in a rusty old 912 Porsche at the moment... fun stuff!

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Entry Date: 12/17/05 - Today I did a little experimenting with some MAGIC COLORS "removable" paint I had purchased from the Eastwood Company some time back. I had always wanted to put the shipping dimension stencil on my jeep that was commonly seen on pictures of jeeps which were shipped to a European beachhead in the late '43 early '44 timeframe, most commonly seen in photos from the Italian front and in Normandy. I thought the removable paint would be kind of fun to play with for bumper markings and such, paint on the stencil and easily remove it if I grow tired of it. I purchased the stencil itself from Rick at MILSTENCIL.COM and think it turned out looking really excellent! I tested the removable paint on an old OD painted part and found it is not affected by mineral spirits or water but comes right off without affecting the OD paint with the corresponding paint remover that comes with the kit from Eastwood Company.

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Entry Date: 12/26/05 - I figured since there's a machine gun pedestal in the jeep, it would be fitting to locate the M-2 chemical decontaminator on the outside of the jeep, on the right front fender as was common practice in combat zones, instead of under the passenger seat. Especially since I've found an original one in such good condition, it would be a shame to hide it. I also installed the nomenclature plate on the M31-C pedestal in the correct position according to one of Jon Roger's JeepDraw drawings. I've painted the pedestal bolts with a green primer using a small paint brush and will respray the entire pedestal once the weather gets warmer. With this round of the jeep project enhancements all finished, it's time to focus my attention on the '66 Porsche 912 project for a few months. Future enhancement projects for the jeep include restoring an original Carter W-O carburetor and some original Ford front fenders.

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Entry Date: 5/16/13 - So after sitting unfinished in my old shop for 6 years, being moved in boxes and taking up valuable space in my new barn for almost 2 years, I decided it was time to let the 1945 GPW go. I mentioned to my buddy Ken Berrian, the professional who paints my projects, that I was thinking of selling it. Ken immediately siezed upon the opportunity to have a cool toy up at his mountain cabin and he wanted a "bonding" project with his soon to be driving daughter Allison. So I partially reassembled the the jeep to make it a roller so it could be hauled away.

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Now off to a new chapter goes my first WWII jeep, its frame rebuilt to look like original but stripped of all its "F-scripted" parts, substituted with a mish-mash of wartime and postwar Willys parts. I'm sure it's going to be a lot of fun for Ken and his family and I now have lots more room in my barn, a win/win if there ever was one! I've come to the conclusion that owning one nice example of a WWII jeep is good enough for me and I'd rather be building cool vintage Volkswagens and Porsches for fun.

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