Sunday, 30 September 2007

Biting the bullet.

Last Friday I met up with, co-conspirator, John Carroll, at Jeeparts in Shrewsbury, We had a long chat with Graham and Amanda, who run the business out of a very tidy, newish, warehouse on Atcham Business Park outside Shrewsbury. John has a similar pile of rust to mine and we plan to use them as a pair on a daft mission in the future.

Graham showed us around shelves stacked high with new parts. There was enough stuff to build a brand new Jeep from scratch! Chassis’s from the Philippines rubbed shoulders with original big end shells packed during the war in Ford’s huge US plant by Chuck, or Hank, neither of these knowing that one day their carefully labelled packs would be on a shelf with pistons from ‘The Piston Company’ of Coventry, where 50 odd years ago a Reggie or Len would have been packing pistons in their part in the global fight against fascism. This was living history.

Anyway. We sorted out a list of parts that will require the equivalent of a Third World Debt to pay for, and departed into the autumn light of Shropshire. John on his Harley and me in my Skoda, to contemplate the next move.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

The ghastly truth

Sometimes it’s best to get these things straight from the horses mouth, so to speak. So here, in it’s entirety, is the latest email from Matt at the Overland Preparation Barn, up in Matlock:

Barry and I took the body off yesterday and had a look at everything. Barry is quite keen that you get a new body, but I think, for what you want to do with it, repairing the existing body will be fine. Although this is going to cost a bit of time and it'll still look shabby! The strengthening cross members have all rotted away. And (as we know) the floor needs a long plate on going from one side to the other. The bit under the fuel tank has been bodged up with wire mesh and filler. It looks horrible, and a nice metal bit would be better (as it is susceptible to being hit, off road), but I think if you want this to be metal then it would be easier to simply get a new body.
Now the chassis is in great condition, although it has been hit on the front RH side and on the rear RH side. And it looks like the rear axle has been pushed (in an accident) to the left hand side. But these little inaccuracies are very easily straightened (by Barry!) There is only one little crack on theLH front hander (that we saw when you dropped it off) that need repairing.
The springs look rusty, but I think they are ok really. All the shocks are ok. There is a little play is one of the king pins, but itmight be possible to adjust this. All the wheel bearings/hubs are packed with nice NEW blue grease! It could do with four new hub oil seals, and one (well two really) of the stub axles have a VERY big groove in it where the seal seals against.This is on the rear axle and I think the stub axle is part of the whole axle assembly, so I suggest we fit a speedi-sleeve to these (about £45 each).
The wheel cylinders and the shoes all look kind of new, so I think we'll simply clean them up and put them back together. The master cylinder looks old, so I think a new one of them would be a good idea. Also a set of (four) brake hoses.
Oh, and I guess there is some sort of bush that the brake pedal pivots on, this has worn as well, so we need a new one.
And, the steering box is knackered!
On the chassis there is part of a stamp that says "F", it's not possible to read the rest,looks like the beginning of Ford?!

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Flaming Jeep!

This in from the Matt Savage Overland Prearation Barn: On Saturday (1st Sept) young Ted (aged 10) and I thought we'd try to get the Jeep running. With battery, jump leads, HT leads and a load of wire to coil and distributor... we got a spark!! Then had to find number one lead on distributor, pretty easy. After that I tried squirting petrol down the carb and operating the starter motor, it kind of tried to do something. But the squirting petrol whilst holding lots of wires and operating the throttle is pretty tricky. So I filled the carb with petrol (the carb body leaks fuel inside and out a little), then tried cranking again. Still it was almost trying to start, but not quite. All this with wires and crocodile clips falling off and coming loose! Anyway, we eventually got one battery for the ignition and one for the starter motor, this worked well. So we filled the carburettor up with fuel, and whilst operating the starter and throttle I also squirted some brake cleaner (very flammable!) down the carb.... nearly there, the odd splutter and a few backfires coming through the carb. Then another go with the same set up, leaking carb full of fuel, wires, crocodile clips, loose throttle linage and squirting brake cleaner down carb.... nnnnnn (ok) nenenene (yes!) nin eee nin eee nin eee (yes, yes, go on!).......... WOOF! (err, no... ahhhhh)  a little back fire came through the carb a ignited the leaking petrol in/on the carb!! After 5 seconds of panicking I soon put it out by smothering the carb with a rag.
No damage done!

Sunday, 2 September 2007

Collecting the Jeep

I have always had an unhealthy fascination with 4x4 vehicles. I bought my first Land Rover aged 19, a 1948 model, which I still have today, in good running order. A 1970 Carawagon followed 10 years ago which, in extensively modified form, I have travelled North Africa in. Now it is time to get the granddaddy of them all. A war time Jeep. Mousing around on ebay and millweb I soon realised they were pretty expensive and that unrestored examples were rare. Particular war time ones. Despite manufacturing half a million, most seem to have either been blown up, or destroyed by nature over the last 60 years. As a last resort I tried some old Landy contacts, AMD Four Wheel Drive, here in Leicestershire. They had one that suited my needs perfectly at a reasonable £3500. It didn't run and had been imported from sunny California. A deal was struck and I collected it from the barn of the 'A' in AMD' who expressed a strong desire for his photo not to appear on any web site. So that's him looking like George Clooney! I then trailered the Jeep up to Matt's place in Matlock, where we gave it a good look over and planned a restoration. Follow it on this blog over the coming months and if you happen to have a set of original wheels I would be VERY happy to hear from you. Likewise any other hints and tips. many thanks. Toby