Spent the day mounting 4 new Monroe Magnum shocks as well as a new fuel sending unit and plastic fuel tank and the restored skid plate. I also changed out a few brake line clamps that weren't to my satisfaction. For this I used SE cable straps which are very similar to the OEM clamps. Next up: reassembling the rear drum brakes, installing front rotors and connect e-brake lines.
A little progress on the replacement body. Who would have thought a brand new body would need this much work to make it look right. With the aft 2/3rds smoothed and a few coats of epoxy primer, it's just about ready to be mated to the frame. The body mount kit has arrived but I still need to get bolts and from what I've been reading in other forums, I'll need to cut down most of the tubes in the kit to the right length. Why is there such a lack of OEM style replacement parts? And what does exist is of such poor quality, it's no wonder it's so difficult to find an unmolested vehicle. Anyway, once mated to the frame the hoof, fenders, tailgate and windshield frame will be temporarily bolted on to check for fitment so bodywork can resume to ensure everything lines up as it should. I'm worried about the cowl and hood alignment after seeing other posts. Time will tell. Also, it will be time to check all existing holes for proper size and location and drill any other missing holes while using the old body as a guide.
We're making preparations to temporarily mount the body to the frame in order to bolt up all panels to work them as one for te best fitment possible> The area that scares me most about the replitub is the cowl area. The radius looks like it was created using a 2x4 with small kinks every couple inches. The side where all the pieces meet in a line *** seem sucked in a little and not straight with the body. More pics as we begin working these areas.
Spent the weekend bolting the Replitub to the frame. It went on very quick and easy, couldn't ask for a better fit. I wish I could say that for the tub overall. After mounted, the many many holes were drilled including:
Defroster mounting holes
Cowl Vent mounting holes
Gas filler mounting holes
Top channel on windshield
Tire carrier bracket (used bracket from OEM body)
Wiring harness (large elongated hole)
Rear seat latches
Trans access hole was undersized
Headlight dimmer switch mounting holes
I still need to make the holes, notches for the door strikers and the holes for the windshield knobs but that'll have to wait until the windshield hinges are back from the sandblaster. Meantime, the Jeep will be taken back the the body shop to mount fenders, hood and grille so that final bodywork can begin.
Got the Jeep back to the body shop and mounted up the fenders, hood and grille. Everything is mating to the Repli-tub much better than I had expected. The cowl is filled with kinks and waves and the radius on the driver's side was slightly higher than the hood. A few minutes with a 2x4 and some downward pressure on the hood and we were able to match the radius pretty well. Raising the fender up slightly corrected the gap between the hood and fender. I'm pretty thrilled about this as it was my biggest fear, especially after seeing pics that keith460 had posted with his Repli-tub issues. Maybe they've improved things since his was made. The tailgate lines up pretty well also. So a little more body work on the tailgate, hood and cowl, sandblasting the roll bar and a few small parts and mounting the striker plates and we'll have the whole thing in primer and ready for paint. The body will be removed and remounted several times in this process. We plan on shooting 2 coats of color with everything disassembles and shooting the final coat of color and clear with everything bolted in place.
Work is coming along on the cowl area. The edge that aligns with the hood has been straightened and the radius made smooth. Only looking straight on from the rear of the Jeep or directly from the top will you notice how everything is pulled in slightly. The driver side looks a little better still and require less filler.
Getting various parts back from the sandblaster revealed a sizeable rust hole in the spare tire carrier. I spent a little time placing a piece of bar stock inside the carrier and filling in the holes with the welder. After grinding down the welds I applied a thin film of jb weld over the area. A little sanding and it'll be ready for powder coating. Once that's done I'll coat the inside with rustmort and spray in some boiled linseed oil.
Installed the hinges for the doors tonight so striker location could be determined and the tub trimmed to clear the strikers. This has been the most difficult part so far, followed by mounting the Crown windshield. I'm using 2 piece Bestop Supertop doors and they just don't seat well. The alignment is decent, the doors are level and even within the openings but the seals just don't seem to have anywhere to go to allow the doors to fit flush against the tub. I may swith to steel half doors to see if they fit better but I'm not sure if the uppers will work with those. Anyway, the tub is trimmed, holes drilled and windshield holes elongated to make everything fit but I'm not looking forward to committing to mounting everything permanently with paint.
No, that part on the bottom rear of the tub is now correct (though I'm not sure if W/O does this or MD Juan. Tonight I fitted the half doors onto my YJ and they really aren't fitting much better, so I'm happy to report that it's not an issue with the tub but just a poor quality door from Bestop.
Played around with the Bestop Supertop doors tonight bending, adjusting, coaxing them into the opening. I've just been working with the driver side on the YJ and although it looks a little better, there is still a gap along the bottom under the striker. I can't imagine this would be acceptable at speeds above 45-50. One could say it might be little better above say 70 degrees, but it's when it is 42 degrees out that you really need a snug fitting door/top. It's a good thing I'm just building this for a weekend driver.
Spent Sunday degreasing the Dana 300. After all these years it remains leak free, trouble free and shifts smooth. Draining the fluid revealed only the tiniest amount of metal fragments sticking to the magnet and fluid which looked as good as new. After using engine degreaser, brake cleaner and Simple Green I painted the metal parts with chassis black after hitting the aluminum pieces quickly with a wire wheel. A refill with 2 quarts of 80/90 and it's good to go.
The T5 is another story. With bad syncros and virtually no output bearing (determined by the noise and crazy output shaft wobble) I decided to replace it with a rebuilt purchased on Ebay. Bad idea. I'm working now to return a supposedly rebuilt transmission which, when it does shift, is extremely difficult and noisy and other times will not shift at all. I should have known when it arrived in a re-used and resized U-Haul box packed in nothing but peanuts and the housing has been painted with a sloppy coat of grey paint. That right there tells me if was likely never hot tanked. I wonder what other corners were cut in the rebuild process. I won't mention who it came from as I'm still working on getting a refund and so far they have been fast and responsive and seem willing to please their customers. If I had it to do over again, I would have just rebuilt mine. That is probably the route I will go but it will really set the project back. The goal was to have the transfer case and transmission in before the body goes on for the last time. That likely will not happen now, but it sure would have bee a whole lot easier.
Today was a lucky day. A friend of mine sent me a link to Jeep seats for sale on craigslist. I know these are tough to find and I've been putting off looking for a set because when you do see them they are pricey. Turns out this guy had a set of highback Laredo seats not 20 minutes from my house. I gave hime a call early this morning and before noon I had a set of seats for $80 bucks. I love the style of these seats, and even though they are the right color the vinyl is just too dry rotted and torn to sit in a restored Jeep.. These seats have plenty of spring life left and all of the foam is intact and there is no rust visible on the frames. They are perfect candidates for a Nutmeg reupholstery. They don't recline but I don't mind. The back seat is not a fold and tumble but my OEM Garnet seat is, so again, no problem. I can't wait to get started on these. You have no idea how much I did not want to stick and aftermarket seat in the restoration. I'd rather drive around sitting on a milk crate.
My original tub was rotted away where the roll bar mounts to the rear fender wells. Can anyone tell me how those holes line up with the baffles inside the wheel wells? I've taken measurements the best I can, but I'd like to make sure I get it right. Pics would be awesome. Hope to get the rebuilt transmission and transfer case bolted in next week.