August 16, 2006:

I purchased this CJ2A in Ohio and brought it home today! There are some pics showing what the Jeep looked like when I purchased it in August of 2006 on the pictures page.

August 17, 2006

For right now, I'm just working on adding the vehicle to my insurance policy, going through it to assess the various mechanical systems, and addressing a few items to allow it to pass NY inspection. (Turn signals, high beams, etc.) The vehicle was basically only used for parades by the previous owner, so there are items which are bolted shut like the tailgate and windshield, etc. Lots of little items like that which need to be made functional again.

August 17, 2006 (later on)

I've had a chance to look the Jeep over a little better, and unfortunately did find some areas with bondo, which was a bit dissapointing since there wasn't supposed to be any in the tub, but even so the body is still in decent shape. Certainly good enough to ram around in for a bunch of years. Upon trying to fold down the windshield, I also discovered that it doesn't go down all the way, it hits the hood before it lays flat. After looking at some pics on-line, I have discovered that the support braces are very different than they are supposed to be, and they are attached in the wrong spot. Somebody obviously jerry-rigged it for some reason, I'm not sure why somebody would do that knowing that the windshield could no longer be folded down. Maybe they didn't realize it at the time. Seems like it would have been easier to just recreate the new braces. I did find the mounting holes and support brackets under the cowl in the proper location, so that's good anyway. When I get the chance, I will fabricate proper support rods for the windshield, attached to the original location. Course then I will need to figure out what to do with the holes where these dummy braces were attached. Oh well. Maybe I can cover 'em with an Army star or something.

I put it up on jack stands to check the gear ratio and to play around with the 4wd system, since the previous owner never even used 4wd. The levers both made the right motions, but I noticed that the front wheels were free wheeling. At first I thought maybe the front diff had been gutted since a parade Jeep doesn't need 4wd, but then I noticed the locking hubs. It took a little PB blaster to convince the levers to move, and one side still needs to be loosened up a bit more, but after locking the hubs, the 4wd system works great. Its open both front and rear unfortunately, but I was pretty much expecting that. After I got it down off the jack stands, I went for a little ride to test out low range, and drove down a trail in the woods. There was a rutted, muddy section which I wasn't expecting but the Jeep just motored on through. This is truly a blast to drive! Its almost twice as old as I am, as basic and rough as you can get, but I couldn't wipe the grin off my face the whole time! Having it painted as a WWII Jeep somehow mades the whole experience even more fun. I had to force myself to park it since I still want to go through it and replace all of the fluids (diffs, transfer case, transmission, engine oil, coolant.) I don't want to burn something up due to running it with low or contaminated fluid. Pulling the covers off the diffs will also give me an opportunity to inspect the condition of the gears.

September 1, 2006

I'm in the process of going through the whole vehicle to inspect it and get it roadworthy. I've been working on this for the past couple of weeks in my spare time, just haven't bothered to post an update here yet. I changed all the fluids - kinda convenient that the tranny, transfer case, front and rear diffs all take the same lube. I bought a 5 gallon bucket of the stuff at Autozone. (80W-90 hypoid gear lube)

The front and rear diffs looked OK; I pulled the covers which I sandblasted and powdercoated before reinstalling. I also am extending the front axle vent using a 90 degree 1/8 NPT to 1/4" barb fitting in the diff with some clear tubing between that and another hose barb attached to the stock vent which I will mount higher in the engine compartment.

The tranny and transfer case fluid (which is shared) was all emulsified - came out looking like chocolate milk. I wasn't too happy to see that, and I'm glad I didn't drive it very much before checking that out. I just wonder how long the previous owner drove it like that? There don't seem to be any bad noises coming from either so hopefully they are OK. I flushed it out as best I could, and after driving it a little bit I will drain them again and refill.

I greased all of the chassis and suspension grease points, and pulled the wheels and hubs to check the condition of the drums and brakes. Like many early vehicles, this one has left handed lugs on the driver's side. Or at least it did, until whoever had the rear drums off last swapped them left to right so that the left rear had right hand lugs and the left right had left hand lugs. I swapped the drums back to the way they are supposed to be. I will probably convert them all to right hand thread eventually, but its not a priority right now.

There seems to be quite a bit of end play in the front axles, so I plan to pull those and inspect them for wear. They might just need to be shimmed properly.

I installed a VDO Fuel Sender. (See the Maintenance and Modifications section in the frame to the left, or click here.)

I checked out the (aftermarket) oil pressure and water temp gauges in the dash and noticed that they could be lit too, so I planned to get some new bulbs for them. As I got into it further though I noticed that I couldn't get the bulbs out, the backs of the gauges were all cruddy and rusty and just generally not in great condition. That combined with the fact that they are both mechanical gauges as opposed to electrical convinced me to order matching Series 1 VDO gauges instead. Technically, the gauges were working, but now everything will match, they will be lit up at night and I don't need to worry about having oil pumped into the dash, and I can be sure they are accurate.

I also went ahead and ordered some racing harnesses since there are no seat belts. I only plan to install the lap belts for now, unless I add a roll bar or something in the future, then I can install the shoulder harnesses also. I went for the full harnesses because they were only a $15 or so more than ordering the lap belts alone, and this way if I decide to do something different in the Willys, I will have a couple of full harnesses to use in a different vehicle.

I have been working on the wiring as well. Its a real rats nest under the dash, there are wires running nowhere, etc. I'm getting rid of all of the useless wires and checking the condition of the existing wires.

Oh, I also did some work on the front bumper. It was pretty hacked up, and was actually barely attached. After some milling and welding, it is now attached by four vertical bolts again, and I also opened up a couple of holes in front of the frame and used those points to mount a couple of D rings which I found at a local tractor supply place. The D rings were a bit loose, so I put a piece of that split loom convoluted tubing over the straight part of the ring, (hidden behind the bracket) which makes a nice tight fit. (If you pull the D ring up, it will stay horizontal until you push it back down against the bumper. This will prevent them from rattling around all the time.) So anyway, at least the bumper is properly attached, and I should have a couple of fairly decent tow points up front too.

September 6, 2006

I have been working on the front axles, cleaning things up there and inspecting the condition of the parts, as well as trying to determine the proper amount of end float, etc. (With a lot of help from the folks on the tech forum at The CJ2A Page. I dissasembled the Rzeppa joints, cleaned them all up and re-assembled them, and also mixed up a batch of "knuckle pudding" for them. Two of the screws that hold the retaining plate in place on the joint for the passenger side joint had come out (I found them in the knuckle) and the third was starting to unscrew. I replaced all of the screws with stainless steel versions, and installed them with loctite. (The screws are 8-32 x 1/2".) I'm waiting for some parts that I have ordered to arrive before I can reinstall the axles.

September 7, 2006

Today, I reassembled and mounted the turn signals / running lights and converted them to have a floating ground. (See the Maintenance and Modifications section in the frame to the left, or click here.)

I also re-assembled the headlights and installed them in the grill. (See the Maintenance and Modifications section in the frame to the left, or click here.)

September 9, 2006

Today, I finalized a plan for how I am going to configure the dash, fitted various switches, etc. then I pulled everything out of it (except for the speedometer which will probably take some convincing to move so I decided to leave it alone). I sanded it down, masked it off and put a few coats of olive drab on it. Since I don't have a dash light, I fabricated a light for the speedometer out of a "light in a bolt", which is intended to be used as a license plate bolt. I have had a pair of them sitting on a shelf for years, waiting for me to get around to installing a roll pan on my '96 Dakota. At least they are finally being used for something!

September 13, 2006

I've been plugging away at the wiring the past few days, as well as working on about a million other little projects at the same time. Progress hasn't been very fast simply because I am having trouble finding the time to get away and work on it, but its coming along, slowly but surely. An hour here, a couple of hours there, it will eventually add up. The main thing I got done today was creating new headlight pigtails.

September 26, 2006

I've installed a Warn M8000 Winch, and all of the wiring is now basically done. There are only a couple of original wires left in the Jeep, everything else is new. I think all of the wiring is finished, with the exception of adding a switch or button for hazzard flashers, which I will probably do at some point in the future.

October 27-28, 2006

I was able to get everything mostly together prior to Daktoberfest 2006, and despite the rainy weather, I used the CJ2A. It performed admirably, although I was a bit dissapointed to get a bit bogged down in a mud hole - the Interco Super Swamper TSL radials I have mounted on it are a great mud tire, but I think the Jeep is just a bit light and may cause the vehicle to float on top of the mud as opposed to digging through it to the solid stuff underneath.

May 3, 2007

I finished up installation of a second battery today.