Worked on spare tire carrier

I worked on the spare tire carrier today. I spent about and hour grinding, welding, grinding again and priming the spare tire carrier. I welded up one crack and 2 holes that weren’t supposed to be there. I also did a little grinding on some previous welds (I thought I couldn’t weld!). I smoothed out a lot of welds, but some I couldn’t fix. I know these things were made as cheaply as possible, but come on – these were crap welds! I finished off with a real heavy coat of brushed on Rustoleum Rusty Metal Primer to fill in the rust pitting. Hopefully I can do a little sanding next week and you won’t be able to see the rust pitting on it. 

Got the extra holes welded up, cracks welded, grinded off the wells on the top and straightened some of the metal.

2 coats of primer to hide some of the pitting.

After working on the spare tire carrier, I grabbed the new M35 wiring harness that I got from Saturn Surplus. I used my list of standard military circuit numbers to mark all of the connectors on the harness with masking tape and a Sharpie. One thing that I found was a large 8 pin connector that I thought was for the turn signal switch – I don’t know what it is for! I found all of the wires for the turn signal flasher or junction box (with ring connectors), but no small 8 pin connector for a turn signal switch or 3 pin connector for a solid state flasher. It looks like this is going to turn into more of a job than I thought! All of the wires I need are there, but the turn signal part will be a little work.

Well, that’s it for this week off. I guess I’ll get back to work on it again next week when I get off. Hopefully I’ll be able to go pick up my tires and replacement light switch next Thursday. The plan for the next time I’m off is to get the interior stripped and painted, engine compartment stripped and painted, wheels stripped/painted/tires changed, front springs and axle painted, windshield frame stripped/painted/assembled and engine running properly. The only major thing left after that will be repairing the rear panel, fenders and small hole in the floor. Then I can paint it and install the new interior.


Chassis is painted

Yesterday was another beautiful day to work on the Jeep – 67deg and mostly sunny!

I got outside around 10:30 and started on the frame immediately. I jacked up the rear end and set it on jack stands. This made it easier to get underneath for scraping, brushing and painting. I started at the rear shocks and moved to the rear – there are a LOT of nooks and crannies on a Jeep frame! 2 hrs later I was done with the prep work. I took a little break and then started painting. I considered spraying it, but I’m not ready to paint the underside of the tub yet and figured I would get too much paint on it if I did. Brushing was the only option. Like I said – there are a LOT of nooks and crannies on a Jeep frame! Another 1.5 hrs of painting, then about 30 minutes of scraping and painting on the axle and I am DONE refurbing the rear of the chassis! I also went ahead and cleaned/painted the springs. What is another good benefit of doing all of this work underneath? 4 hrs of abs/ and upper body workout!

Before – everything had surface rust, that bent up exhaust pipe and gigantic car muffler had to go!



After – All of the concrete like sand on top of the frame rails, dirt dawber nests and cobwebs are gone! I made sure to polish the Limited Slip tag on the axle, since that axle is one or the peculiarities of a USMC M38a1

I still have the outer sections and brake backing plates of the rear axle to paint. Also, the front axle and springs to clean and paint to be completely finished with the chassis, but it is MOSTLY done.

After I finished with the chassis, I moved on to the wheel wells. A little scraping and a LOT of contorting around the tires to paint the wheel wells! These will get sprayed with a heavy coat of undercoating along with the whole frame and underside of the tub at a later date – this was original on a USMC M38a1. And when I say heavy, I’m talking about 3/16″ thick on EVERYTHING underneath! I won’t bore you with pics of each wheelwell – here’s the right front that you really can’t see.



Monday, I received my package from QTM parts via FedEx – which contained grill welting, a bumperette and a (very) used spare tire carrier. I also received the w/s bumper welting and pedal draft pad kits from RFJP ( via USPS.

The bumperette was said to be an original – sandblasted and primed. It feels a little lighter to me and is in too good condition to be an original. I think he sent me one of the repros which he said was an exact copy – just NOT made of spring steel. I guess it’s not that big of a deal – they are priced at $40. The spare tire carrier was everything he said it was. My dilemma was to either pay $125 for a new repro (exact US made copy), or try to find an original. Luckily, Matt at QTM had a used one – VERY used! He priced it at $75, but it IS original. He said it looked like the military had welded an antenna base onto the top and cut it off at a later date, and was a little bent up – he wasn’t kidding! I did a little grinding on the welds with the bench grinder and a little hammering on the bends on Monday, but not much.

I see the sun is out now – I think I might go out and work on that spare tire carrier for a bit.


Beautiful day for working on the Jeep!

I went ahead and removed the drag link first thing this morning. No since in doing the rest of the steering system without cleaning and painting the drag link, right? There was so much undercoating and grease/dirt mixture on the clamp screws holding the dirt guards on that you couldn’t tell where the screw head was! Once I chipped that away I was able to remove the guard and work at getting the cotter pin out of the end cap. I ended up cutting it with side cutters to get it out. The end cap came out easily.


I used the trusty old bench grinder and wire wheel to remove all of the undercoating, dirt, grease and paint from everything. Next, I had to get all of that old dry grease out of the inside. I used the propane torch to heat it the ends up enough to liquefy it, then used rags and brake cleaner to clean it up. I sprayed a coat of primer on it and moved on to the next project while it dried.

I started cleaning the frame and quickly realized that it was going to be too much of a job scraping this stuff off! I fired up the pressure washer and went to work. An hour and a half later, I had gone over everything from the engine compartment to the whole frame to the underside of the engine/tranny/transfer.


I hand painted a coat of OD on the drag link and moved on to painting the frame around the drag link and steering areas where I have been working. That led into painting the inner fenders and firewall. While I was going, I went ahead and painted the front frame rails. But why stop there – I still had a few hours of daylight and 75deg weather? I ended up painting the frame all the way back to the rear shocks! I didn’t paint the cross members though – maybe tomorrow.


I still had a little while before dark, so I went to put the drag link back in. I forgot how the pieces fit, so I had to Google it. Here is the diagram I used from Willysmjeeps:


It didn’t take too long to get it all back together – much improved steering response now!


Last thing I did was to change out the disposable fuel filter. Once I did that, it fired right up and actually idled almost normally! I drove up the driveway a little ways and came back – wasn’t running great. When I stopped, it started loading up and cut off. I guess I need to change the carb. I might end up taking the tank out and getting it professionally cleaned. Of course that means I will have to repaint the tank!

Tomorrow, I guess I might try to finish painting the frame and cross members and who knows what else!



Bellcrank and tie rods – done

I was able to get out to the Jeep for a few hours this afternoon. I slid under the Jeep and what do you know – the bolt was already loose! I used the impact to turn the bolt while I pried the bellcrank down until it came off. It was pretty nasty!

I used a punch to drive the old seal and 2 sets of needle bearings out of the bellcrank and cleaned it up with a rag. Next, I used the wire wheel on the bench grinder to clean it up. Lookin’ pretty good!


I put the new needle bearings in the freezer while I heated the bellcrank – the bearings were a tight fit. Once heated and cold, a little pounding on a socket is all it took to get them in. I installed the new seals the same way. Lastly, I installed the specialty upper seal and felt ring in the bellcrank. The new bearing sleeve and bolt installed, I put it back in the frame bracket. Guess what?! The damn new bolt was too short! I ended up removing the bushing from the old bolt with heat and installing the new bushing with heat (it was a tight fit). I primed and pain ted it. When it was dry enough to handle, I put it back in the bracket and tightened it down – PERFECT FIT! Nice and tight with no play!

Next, I used the wire wheel on the tie rods and cleaned them up nice and neat. I sprayed them with primer. While the primer was drying, I wire brushed the frame crossmember and primed it.


When everything was dry enough to handle (about 30 minutes), I put it back together and called it a day – I feel good about what I accomplished in 3.5hrs!


Haven’t decided on tomorrow’s project. I am planning on stopping by the parts store for a couple of filters. Maybe I’ll get that changed and put the other carb on. I could pull the drag link out, clean it up and paint it. Might work on the rest of the interior – supposed to be in the 70s again tomorrow, so I know I’ll be outside doing something for sure!


Old problem resurfaces

I went out to the tent and tried to fire the Jeep up to bring it over to the shop to work on it. It hit a couple of times but wouldn’t start. I sprayed starting fluid in the carb – it would hit but wouldn’t start even with choke. I decided to pull the carb and put the spare on. When I went to pull the fuel line off, it had a LOT of pressure on it. So I pulled the strainer on the carb and cleaned it. I tried again – same result. I pulled the top of the carb off because I figured there was trash in the needle. There was a bunch of trash in the bowl and a piece in the needle. I cleaned everything out and put it back together. She fired up enough to run to the shop.

Once there, I drained the tank – a BUNCH of crap in the bottom of the tank! I guess the new gas broke down the sludge that I didn’t get out of the tank. So next, I ran the gas through a paint strainer in a funnel into another container, then dumped the trash in the bottom of the first container. I did this 3 times until it was pretty clean. Then I poured it back in the tank. I rocked the Jeep for a minute to mix the gas in the tank up. Then I repeated the straining process. I did the whole process one last time – this time the gas was looking fairly clean. I fired the Jeep up and it ran much better, but I think the carb is plugged up now. I will have to put my spare carb on another day after I replace my pre carb disposable filter. I might also dump and strain the gas again just in case more of it broke down. I wish I had some kind of recirculating filter system to do this for me!

Next, I moved on to bellcrank. I believe the steering parts were never replaced – or at least they are covered with enough crap and rusty enough to make them look that way! I spent 15 minutes scraping mud covered grease away before I could even start. I decided to go ahead and remove the tie rods for cleaning and paint while I was rebuilding the bellcrank. This was easy enough once I was able to get the rusty cotter pins out of the tie rod ends.


I moved on to the drag link. I guess the USMC version is different from the other Jeeps or I had my seal kit installed wrong. This one had clamps holding the seal and clip on. The plug came out easily, but there was a bunch of dried grease in there and the inner plug wouldn’t even come out. Lastly, I began the process of removing the bellcrank. The USMC version is different from the regular M38a1. This one has a metal cap that screws on the bottom to cover the bolt. That was easy enough to remove with an adjustable wrench. Removing the bolt was a different story. There is a cotter pin and castle nut at the top of the bolt! And, as you know, there is NO room above the bellcrank to work! I actually had to remove the radiator bolts and brace it up to have a little room to work. THEN I worked with the cotter pin for 20 minutes. About the time I started trying to remove the bolt, my neighbor walked up and I quit on it. Save it for tomorrow.


After my neighbor left, I had time to do a few more minutes of work. I did a quick job – I went ahead and pulled the bumperette off. The impact, 3/4″ socket, universal, extension and 3/4″ wrench is what it took. There was a bunch of compacted sand that was like concrete covering the crossmember and frame. The right side nuts were kinda hard to get to. My replacement bumperette will be here next week.


The only thing I have planned for tomorrow, so far, is to get the bellcrank kit put in, paint everything and put it all back together. I might be able to get to the store to buy a couple more fuel filters too. We’ll see.

A little work on lights

I received a care package from Saturn Surplus last week that included a 3 bulb left rear light repair kit and an M35 front wiring harness (which will hopefully be converted to an M38a1 harness soon).

So today (my first day off) I started by removing the left rear light. Once I got it in the shop I soaked it down with PB Blaster and put some heat to it. The screws wouldn’t budge and I ended up messing both of the heads up. PLUS, there was NO WAY I would’ve been able to get the 3 smaller screws in the bottom out! I ended up just trashing that light.


So then I pulled my spare one out of the parts bin and went ahead and installed it on the Jeep. No work needed – it looked brand new inside!

I decided to go ahead and install another left tail light on the right side so that I would have 2 brake lights and (hopefully, when I get the M35 wiring harness installed) turn signals. Funny thing is – I had 4 wires on the right side! I am going to have to do some investigating to figure out what they are all for.

So anyway, I pulled the right tail light off and took it into the shop. All 5 screws came right out – the inside of this one looked good too. The guts came out in 1 piece.


wp-1486690783217.jpgNow getting the new guts out back in was another story – an exercise in patience for sure! I fed the wires through the back of the housing and started the 3 small screws into the plate and rubber grommet – it was a pain trying to get to them AND pushing down while trying to get them started! I succeeded after about 10 minutes. Next up was getting the lower bulb socket bracket installed – fairly easy, just had to find 2 more 8-32 screws and washers. Last was the upper bracket with 2 bulbs. After trying to start one screw for a couple of minutes, I realized that neither of the upper holes were tapped! So I had to look for a tap (luckily I had one) and work around the bracket and wires to get these holes tapped. Once that was done everything went together without a hitch. I now have a new second left tail light for a grand total of $16.50 + shipping!


I took it back to the Jeep and bolted it in. I used my multimeter to check the feed wires on the main harness because you couldn’t read the circuit tags on the wires. I turned on the marker light and matched it up to the lower bulb. Then I turned on the Service drive and matched it up to the upper right bulb. There were 2 extra wires that had caps on them – I don’t know what for. I am hoping I can clean the circuit tags well enough to find out. Anyhow, I hooked up the 3rd wire to the brake light bulb. I used a board to hold the pedal down while I checked for brake lights – didn’t have any on either side. I had B.O. marker lights and Service drive lights though!


Another funny (not funny, just odd) thing – when I went to switch back to B.O Marker from Service Drive, I happened to catch something out of the corner of my eye – the damn headlights were on! Why are they burning now when they wouldn’t before? Both high and low beams work – very brightly I might add (they are 12v). Anyhow, lights are sorted now – except for the brake lights which is probably the switch.

I moved on to the instrument panel spider next (I received ANOTHER care package from Saturn Surplus today with a spider and 10 male and 10 female Packard connectors). I laid the instrument panel face down on a towel on the bench and checked the manual for a diagram to hook up the spider. Once I got that put on I went back to the Jeep and started scraping circuit tags to figure out what hooked up where. After about 20 minutes I had everything except the speedometer hooked up and flipped the switch. I still have some things to sort out on that tomorrow! Not everything worked – the lights and High Beam indicator worked. The fuel gauge went to full. Temp didn’t move. Oil pressure went up as I was cranking the engine. Volt gauge is screwed up (I had to put the old one back in).

So that’s it for today. I don’t really have a plan for tomorrow yet, but I’m sure it will involve sorting the instrument cluster wiring and probably rebuilding the bellcrank.

Oh yeah, I placed my next to the last parts order today. I ordered an original spare tire carrier (needs some grinding and cleaning up), a bumperette and grill welting from QTM Parts (Quarter Ton and Military) – he sells a lot on eBay under username wcwfr4. I ordered windshield rubber from Midwest Military. And I ordered windshield bumper welting and pedal draft pads from Ron Fitzpatrick Jeep Parts (off eBay). Except for odds and ends and a trip back to Piedmont to get some used tires, all I have left to buy is interior. I have decided to run used tires for the time being instead of spending $800 on 5 new tires – and I will use the top from my other Jeep if I need one. Got to keep the costs down because I’m trying to pay for this thing as I go along instead of running up the credit card bill!

New exhaust installed


I spent 4hrs removing/installing the exhaust. Spent an hour making an exhaust hanger for the muffler and modifying the other hanger because the exhaust pipes are smaller than the one that was on it (I am guessing it was NOS pipe – the original hanger fit it).







I had to modify this hanger that I made for the center pipe to use as the muffler hanger since that one was missing.


Here is the exhaust I pulled out. The center pipe looked to be an NOS unit – just kinked at the axle bend. I guess they did this when they were installing the gigantic car muffler. They used bailing wire as the muffler hanger. One thing I can say though – it was quieter with that muffler (although it was 3x the size).


I put the valve cover back on and installed the plugs and wires. Fired it up and STILL SKIPPING!


I backed it back in the tent and cleaned up – I’ve had enough for this week! Hopefully I’ll be able to figure it out next time I’m off.

As I was laying in bed this morning, I had an epiphany. Something didn’t look right when I was troubleshooting yesterday. I put some work cloths on and went back out to check.

The plug wires were installed in the correct firing order, BUT this distributor rotates COUNTER clockwise – so it was firing as 1,2,4,3! I fired it up and although it was running smoother, it still wasn’t right.

Next, I hooked up a vacuum gauge and loosened the distributor. I started with 14in vacuum. I adjusted the timing for highest vacuum, then adjusted the carb – 16in. I repeated the process until the highest I could get was almost 18in vacuum. It was running a LOT better, but still not RIGHT. I took a test drive up the driveway and back – all I can say is it still needs work. Still not drive able. Next step will be putting my spare carb back on to see if that helps.

That’s all for this week off. Making baby steps, but at least I’m not just crawling!