So, I found a Craigslist ad for a guy who wanted to trade a 1964 Jeep Gladiator for a tractor.
Its been snowy in St. Louis for a while, and was still feeling bitter about my car having been stopped dead in its tracks by a 4" tall mound of snow left by a plow, and I had resolved to take steps to resolve that situation.
I drove about 50 miles out to Warrenton, MO, and found this beast of a Gladiator. Here's what's in it:
Turbo400 automatic 3-speed
manual hub lockers
33" Yokohama Geolanders
Here's whats not in it:
interior door panels
passenger seat mounting bolts
brakes that actually work well
I dont care, this is one of the better looking 45-yo truck bodies I've seen, and I vowed to make it beautiful.
my wife enjoying the truck
Like I said, he wanted to trade a tractor for the truck, but since I didnt have a tractor to trade, I offered him two grand, which he decided was as good as a tractor.
We left warrenton around dusk, me driving The Brick, and B3 as chase vehicle. about 60 or so miles back to our place. The brakes are soft as hell, so I was super stressed about not dying on I-70 or I-64. The steering is pretty loose, with a lot of slop. So, ditto.
Well, as we went through Ladue on 64, I heard a loud BANG from under the hood, followed by a lot of electrical smoke in the cab. B3 reported a yellow flash and short cloud of smoke. all my lights went out, headlights, taillights, everything. The engine was still running, but Ive got a cab full of acrid smoke, soft brakes, and no shoulder. My wife later reported seeing a yellow flash from under the truck, and hearing the pop, followed by a short cloud of smoke.
**** it, drive on.
I rolled down the window to vent the smoke (the window crank had no handle at the end of the arm, so that was super awesome), and after about 15 seconds (or 4 hours, I'm not sure which) the headlights came back on, and the truck was driving just like before.
I pulled off 64 at McKnight, and drove it another 3-4 miles to a friends auto shop, where we left it. After popping the hood with the engine running and looking around, (it was dark and cold, I didnt see anything) I shut it down, then immediately tried to restart it. The (brand new) battery was low, and wouldnt turn the motor over.
I'm thinking I can now add "grenaded generator/alternator" to my list of things to fix, but I'm not sure. I'm going to let Tom's dad at the shop take a look at it and give me an estimate on the brakes and the electrical problem.
This is the first post of my project page. Right now this Jeep is pretty rough, its going to need lots of love and work to make it awesome. But, a man needs a truck. Specially a righteous and bombproof one like an old Gladiator.
I'll keep the thread updated as it progresses.
My short-term plan is to make it safe enough that I don't have to look my wife in the eye and tell her I love her before getting in it.
Medium term plans are to get it to pass inspection.
Long term plans are to get the bodywork finished, I'm thinking a satin gunmetal grey.
1. I'm thinking that the pop/flash/smoke I had while driving it was either the generator or regulator calling it quits. Is that something likely? The fact that the lights came back on after a little while is kind of weird. The battery is obviously flat now, so I'm thinking that the generator or regular has been iffy for a while. How much of a hassle is it to convert to a conventional alternator setup?
2. The brakes obviously need work, but I'm wondering how much money I want to sink into a 4-wheel drum system. How much would a swap to an axle (I'll stick with a Dana44 front, thanks) with disc brakes cost?
Thanks for any interest in this thread. This is by far the oldest vehicle Ive ever owned, so I may have some questions that seem kinda retarded.