Front end work today

Today I pulled the hub/drum for cleaning, repacking, replacing the messed up stud and rebuilding the wheel cylinder.

The drum came off easily and the hub was pretty easy too. I took them in the shop and cleaned the old grease out of the hub. There was some chrome specs in the grease. I’m not sure if that came from the cage or the bearing itself – the turned freely and looked pretty good.


I repacked the bearings and hub then reinstalled on the Jeep. The wheel cylinder was a little more difficult. The cups were stuck and corroded in the cylinder and had to be driven out.



After honing the cylinder and installing new seals and spring, I inserted the caps. One of them was really tight, so I sanded and smoothed it until it moved a little better. I reinstalled the outer seals and bolted it back in the Jeep. Hopefully it will work fine – if not, I will be going through all this again.

The next job was to get started on rebuilding the front springs. I jacked it up and put jack stands under the frame right behind the spring, then jacked up the axle a little to take the pressure off the spring. I removed the lower shock nut, then the u bolt nuts (that required aero kroil and heat). The front pivot bolt was next – easy enough. The rear shackle nut required Kroil and heat also. Once removed from the Jeep, I took the spring pack to the shop, installed a c clamp to hold it together and removed the center bolt. Then I removed the bolts from the clamps. Lastly, I released the c clamp and separated the spring leaves.


You can see the broken top leaf.


I used a wire brush and a welding pick hammer to clean the leaves and remove the flaking rust.



This is how much rust I removed:


Next, I cleaned the leaves with paint thinner.


Lastly, I brushed on 2 coats of rust converter as the primer before reassembly. Lookin MUCH better! The new top leaf is in front – I cleaned and painted it a few months back when I received them (I bought 2 because BOTH of my front top leaves are broken!


I will have to buy new hardware to put the spring pack back together because it was all rusted pretty bad. Grade 8 center bolt 5/16″ x 2 5/8″ and grade 5 clamp bolts 5/16″ x 2 3/8″. I will buy 5/16″ ID tubing and cut my own spacers.



Replaced some more metal today


Today I added to rear panel tab to bolt the rear panel to the cross member. I primed and painted the back side of the replacement panel before setting the body back down on the frame and lining it back up with the body bolts.

Then I moved on to the passenger side rust through. I was going to cut out 2 different sections, the small floor piece and the bottom of the cowl brace. After looking at it for a little while, I decided to just cut one large piece out of the side instead. I’m glad I did that – it made it easier to get in there to replace the floor and cowl brace. When I peeled the skin back, I saw that the whole back side of the cowl brace was flaking rust and there was some rust in the tool box area.


I used a piece from the leftover rear patch panel to make the floor patch since it already had the correct lip on it. I cut the bottom of the cowl brace off as well.


I welded the floor patch in and started fabbing the lower cowl brace replacement. Yeah, not pretty at the moment. I am NOT a welder to start with, and trying to tack to half rusted old metal made it that much harder!


I used a piece cut from the tub skin I cut out to form it. I used a piece of cardboard to get the dimensions and folds right so that I wouldn’t waste metal (sorry, I didn’t take a pic of that). Then I transferred the template to the metal and bent it using the bench vise and a hammer. I’m kinda proud of how it turned out – being the first piece I EVER fabbed!


I welded the brace patch in with a bunch of tacks and then tacked the inside to the floor as original.

I used a combination of the side grinder, die grinder with carbide burr and angle die grinder to clean up my crappy welds as much as I could. Then I painted everything with a heavy coat of red oxide primer. Turned out pretty good!



I don’t think I’m going to replace the metal in the toolbox at this time – I really don’t want to get into removing the toolbox to get to it. I put a heavy coat of rust converter and primer on it instead. I will deal with it when the time comes.

Tomorrow I will go pick up a piece of metal to re skin the side and move on to the next project.


Rear patch panel done

I started replacing the bent up piece of the lower rear panel this afternoon. I ordered it from Classic Enterprises M38a1 body panels.

I started off by deciding what needed to be replaced compared to the size ood the repair panel.  After I marked our what was to be cut out, I used a cut off wheel to cut the old piece out. Since this piece was spot welded to the rear floor, I used a spot weld cutter that I bought from Northern Tool a while back to cut the door welds out.

I used an angle grinder to clean up the rear floor panel lip and the cut off wheel to remove the spot weld. I sprayed weeks through primer on the lip and the back side of the repair panel after I cut it to size.  The piece that I cut out was pretty messed up.

I spot welded the new panel in and used a side grinder to grind the welds down,  then the angle grinder to clean them up even more.  While I had the welder out, I welded up the holes that the previous owner drilled for external rear lights.

Don’t laugh – I never said I was a body man!  At least that panel is in and I can move on to putting the body back on! I can get a little more practise when I fix the Smalltalk holes and floor on the passenger side.

I have the other half of the rear patch panel left is anybody needs it – I’ll let it go cheap!

Manifold is installed

I had the afternoon to myself, so I decided to do a little to the Jeep. Why not get that manifold put back on. 

The head surface had rusted a little,  so I used my able head die grinder with an 80 grit twist lock disc to clean it up a little.  Then I installed the new studs (both end ones and the center one got black gasket sealer because they are in the water jacket).

I installed the manifold,  which was simple.  Hooking the lead pipe up was a PITA! I ended up loosening the 3 bolts on the flange in order to line up the manifold and lead pipe. 

Well that’s all the fun I could enjoy for today!  Next time I guess I’ll be tackling the rear patch panel so that I can get the body bolted back down. 

Exhaust manifold stud work

I decided to unbolt the body and shift it around a little in order to get a straight shot at the broken stud. I was able to get it moved just enough to accomplish this. Check out this sketchy support system:



I ended up drilling out the old stud because the easy out wouldn’t move it. After I drilled it to size, I tapped it out with a 3/16-16NC tap. Then I used my angle air grinder with a course scotch brite pad on it to polish the mounting surface.


I took the manifold into the shop and used my die grinder with a carbide burr to smooth and polish the inside of the ports then used the angle grinder with a 40 grit disc to clean the gasket surface. Maybe this will boost horsepower by .1%, lol.


My rear end patch panel arrived today from Classic Enterprise. I think I am going to just replace the bent up part on the left, about halfway across the top of the pintle arch.



I’m guessing this panel is for a CJ5 since it doesn’t go all the way across and (I guess) holes for tailgate hinges. Anyhow, the pintle arch and halfway across to the tail light is the only part I need to fix on my rear panel.

Working on exhaust manifold



I had some free time yesterday afternoon, so I thought I would get back on the Jeep. I pulled the spare tire off my other M38a1 (that I had stolen for the Denton rally in April) and installed it back on the Jeep with the new lug nuts I bought from QTM Parts.

Next quick job was to pull the exhaust manifold off and replace the 3 stripped studs in the center. I started removing the nuts and noticed that there was no rear one – maybe there was a bolt installed there at one time instead? Once I removed the manifold (which was easy enough), reality hit me! The rear stud was broken off FLUSH with the block!


I went to the shop and cracked open a cold one to ponder my dilemma. After I thought about it for a few minutes I decided to go ahead a remove the other 4 studs while thinking about possible fixes for the back one. Might as well replace them all while the manifold is off.

They came out easy enough using the double nut trick. I also found out that the front and top center studs protrude into the water jacket – evidenced by the stream of water shooting out of them when I removed them! I inserted the old studs back in them to stop the flow.



I finished my beer and decided to try drilling a hole and using an Easy Out. The problem here is that there is about 3″ between the rear of the block and the firewall. The only way you can drill here is at an angle. Stupid me thought that this would work – even knowing that the Easy Out needs to be installed into a hole drilled STRAIGHT into the stud, not crooked! I center punched the stud, drilled a pilot hole, enlarged the hole and installed the Easy Out – it wouldn’t turn of course. I heated the area and sprayed it with PB Blaster a couple of times – still wouldn’t turn.

20170731_151739-1  20170731_154447

After messing around with it for 30 minutes I put my tools away and had another beer – have to think about it before trying again the next time I’m off.

I posted a request for ideas on the Facebook M38a1 page tonight and got a few replies that pointed me in the opposite direction from where I was heading. The only thing I was thinking was to either move the engine forward or remove it completely. It was suggested by Clint T. that I remove the fenders and move the BODY instead – much easier than moving the engine, and something I can do on  my own without a cherry picker. I also need to move the body back to install the patch panel for the rear panel that is bent up, effectively killing 2 birds with one stone!


Bought some parts and did a little work

On the way to Nashville, we stopped by QTM Parts (Quarter Ton and Military Restoration Parts) in Chickamauga, Georgia . I had a great time talking with Matt and exploring his store, warehouse and junk yard! I was able to pick up a few things that I needed and save the shipping costs (large and heavy things are expensive to ship). We were in the car, so I was only able to buy some small stuff and a seat back for the driver seat (it is rotted away at the bottom). Windshield hinges for my other a1, sending unit and side valve cover gaskets for this a1, left hand lug nuts and 1 right hand stud for this a1.


So today I had a little time and decided to work on the seat. The lower part of the seat back was rusted away, so it had to be replaced.


I could’ve bought an NOS driver seat from Matt for $125, but I didn’t have room for it in the car, so I bought the replacement metal (sorry, I didn’t take a pic of it by itself). I paid $43. It was easy enough to remove the old one – I used the angle grinder to grind down the easily visible spot welds and then pried against them with a chisel until they popped loose.  I also marked the old spot weld points before I ground them down.


Then I ground down the leftover weld metal.


Then I lined the new metal up (centered on the side tubing and tight against the bottom tube) and started spot welding. I started at the bottom center, then worked my way around from side to side and top to bottom – jumping around.


Next, I ground down my spots (because I am not a welder and they weren’t all pretty, lol) and sand blasted it to make it all uniform.


Lastly, I sanded down the rest of the frame a little to make it look decent when I paint it. I sprayed it with some gloss black Rustoleum – because I didn’t have any primer. I figured that would be better than nothing.


It’s not perfect, but looks a lot better than it did! Hopefully I will have time tomorrow to get out and sand/paint it.