Sparky's '56 Wagon Build

Sparky Powers

Supporting Vendor
Joined
Jul 18, 2010
Messages
825
Location
Las vegas, NV
Willys Model
Willys Year:
#1
I finally have time in my life to work on a project because "I want to" and not "have to". I've wanted a Willys Wagon for years so I looked on Craigslist and sure enough there she was, $500 and a two hour drive. Best of all... I got the OK from my wife.

I decided to post the build of my '56 Wagon for a couple of reasons. First and most important reason is I am new to Willys and also to 4WD. Secondly this will be my first build that will require a large amount of fabrication. I hope that with the collective knowledge and talent of this forum I will produce a finshed project that I will be proud of and that will be safe. I openly want opinions and criticism through out the course of this build. Thx in advance.

Ultimately I want to retain the stock look while updating the drivetrain so I will be able to use it as a daily driver and also do some moderate trail work. After reading thru many different build threads, web sites and books I decided to find a late 70's Wagoneer as a donor vehicle. Back to Craigslist I went and found a '79 Wagoneer Chief for $500. Thx to my dad who stripped it down and brought the parts I needed down to me.

Upgrades will include, (but subject to change): :D
2005 GM 5.3L V8
*T-18 4 speed Wide Ratio Transmission
*Dana 20 Transfer Case
*Dana 44 axles with Disc Brakes in the front
*Power Brakes
*Saginaw Powers Steering
*GM Steering Column
Completely new wiring.
Roof Rack
Winch
Hurculine floor
Larger Fuel Tank
(* came out of the Wagoneer)

The Find

Bringing it home 006 by Sparky Powers, on Flickr
Not too bad after sitting in the desert for more than 15 years.


Bringing it home 002 by Sparky Powers, on Flickr
Loaded up and heading home.


Bringing it home 003 by Sparky Powers, on Flickr
PO decided to throw in an engine. Ran the #'s..... '69 Corvette 350 with 202 fueler heads. Free's always a good price.


Bringing it home 004 by Sparky Powers, on Flickr
PO tried to repair the rotted out floors. :shock:


Bringing it home 79 jeep 007 by Sparky Powers, on Flickr
"$500 and it runs and drives?"... I'll take it!


Dana 20 w trans by Sparky Powers, on Flickr
Got lucky, it is a Wide Ratio trans.


More to come.
 
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dirtbuggy

Precision Fit
Joined
Sep 29, 2010
Messages
571
Location
new river az
Willys Model
Willys Year:
#2
looks like the makings of a good start best of luck with your build looks like the body is in pretty good shape always a good way to start for me not being a body man. :lol:
 

Imposter71

Sharpest Tool
Joined
Sep 23, 2009
Messages
233
Location
NC Coast
First Name
Tom
Willys Model
Wagon
Willys Year:
1963
#3
Cool. The doner looks pretty good as well, I'd be tempted to keep the Cherokee and fix it up too! Good luck with the build.
 

nugilo

Sharpest Tool
Joined
Feb 6, 2010
Messages
289
Location
Ann Arbor MI.
First Name
Nick
Willys Model
Wagon
Willys Year:
1961
#5
Good luck on the project. I agree that the Cherokee is almost too nice to chop up. Had one of those in college and loved it. But, sometimes sacrifices must be made.
 

Sparky Powers

Supporting Vendor
Joined
Jul 18, 2010
Messages
825
Location
Las vegas, NV
Willys Model
Willys Year:
#6
It's a good thing that this isn't a FSJ Forum, they'd have me by a rope. :D What you can't see is that the Wagoneer has a bad case of cancer, all thru out it's body along with Flintstone Syndrome. I see it as I have prolonged it's life. It now lives vicariously thru my Wagon and a friends who got the engine for his rig.

Im looking forward to hearing from everyone with comments and concern.

thx,
Steve
 

Sparky Powers

Supporting Vendor
Joined
Jul 18, 2010
Messages
825
Location
Las vegas, NV
Willys Model
Willys Year:
#8
Willysworker, I read thru your build thread a couple months ago and it helped me make my decision of what route I wanted to take with my rig. I didn't think my skill level was strong enough to do a frame swap, frame shortening so Im just doing an axle swap. :D

Thx
Steve
 

Sparky Powers

Supporting Vendor
Joined
Jul 18, 2010
Messages
825
Location
Las vegas, NV
Willys Model
Willys Year:
#9
I couldn't stand looking at my Wagon and not working on it. So I bailed on the house work and decided to pulled the body off of the frame. I couldn't believe how easy it came off. I will be removing the Dana 25 axles and springs soon, so if someone is interested let me know. The rear axle had some serious force on it in the past. The drivers side spring is "wrapped" and the pinion spins freely.

More to come.

[galleryimage:12r1pp9k]939[/galleryimage:12r1pp9k]
[galleryimage:12r1pp9k]940[/galleryimage:12r1pp9k]
 

Pete

Founder/Owner
Staff member
Administrator
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
5,678
Location
Hailey, Idaho
First Name
Pete
Willys Model
Wagon
Willys Year:
1960
#11
Sparky Powers said:
...I will be removing the Dana 25 axles and springs soon, so if someone is interested let me know....
I'm interested in the front axle. Do you know what the gear ratio is? Any idea what kind of shape it is in?

I will be in Vegas for a week or so, starting on the 20th. My wife's family lives about 3 miles from you... :)

Pete
 

Sparky Powers

Supporting Vendor
Joined
Jul 18, 2010
Messages
825
Location
Las vegas, NV
Willys Model
Willys Year:
#12
Roundss,

LOL! Good Eyes! Yes that is a badge for a specific model.... a Wagoneer Chief. The badge came off of my donor vehicle. I never noticed that Willysworker did the same thing as I, makes sense cuz he used a Chief as a donor too.
 

Sparky Powers

Supporting Vendor
Joined
Jul 18, 2010
Messages
825
Location
Las vegas, NV
Willys Model
Willys Year:
#13
Pete,

Cool glad to hear your still going to make it to Vegas. I will check on the ratio in the morning and I will send it to you.

Steve
 

scottyd

Gear Grinder
Joined
Nov 24, 2009
Messages
22
Location
Las Vegas
Willys Model
Willys Year:
#14
Steve I sent you an email.

Pete it would be great to meet you when you are in Vegas, drop me a message and I will forward contact info.
 

Pete

Founder/Owner
Staff member
Administrator
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
5,678
Location
Hailey, Idaho
First Name
Pete
Willys Model
Wagon
Willys Year:
1960
#15
scottyd said:
Steve I sent you an email.

Pete it would be great to meet you when you are in Vegas, drop me a message and I will forward contact info.
PM sent...

Pete
 

Sparky Powers

Supporting Vendor
Joined
Jul 18, 2010
Messages
825
Location
Las vegas, NV
Willys Model
Willys Year:
#16
Okay so I checked the axle ratio for the front axle and it is 4:11. I couldn't find the build list on the axle tubes so I had to jack it up and spin check for the ratio. Again something in the rear axle is broken but the rest looks good.

Steve
 

62 OlllO

Well Oiled
Joined
Oct 19, 2009
Messages
1,821
Location
Georgia
First Name
Kevin
Willys Model
Wagon
Willys Year:
1962
#17
Sparky....your project reminds me of mine a year ago...glad to see another Wagon being saved :thumbup:
And if I'm ever near Vega's, I will stop in and check it out....welcome to the forum! :cheers:
 

Sparky Powers

Supporting Vendor
Joined
Jul 18, 2010
Messages
825
Location
Las vegas, NV
Willys Model
Willys Year:
#18
I've been busy building the cabinets for my house so I haven't had much time to work on my Wagon. I did get a chance to strip the frame and check it for any previous damage. I leveled the frame at the center section and then worked my way around til it was level front to back and side to side. I couldn't believe that it was within 1/8". The only damage that I could find was a bend in the frame horn at the drivers front shackle. I feel pretty lucky. Here are some progress picures.

I need some help figuring out what the hangers are for in the last pic.

thx, Steve


Tear Down 004 by Sparky Powers, on Flickr
Just got her all leveled.


Tear Down 005 by Sparky Powers, on Flickr
The only damage I could find.


Tear Down 006 by Sparky Powers, on Flickr
??? Help ???
 
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Sparky Powers

Supporting Vendor
Joined
Jul 18, 2010
Messages
825
Location
Las vegas, NV
Willys Model
Willys Year:
#19
So I stole a little time from by cabinet project to remove the old axles and mock-up the new ones. As you can see in the pictures the stance is quite a bit higher and the spring mounts don't line up. I will be cutting off all the old mounts so I can use the Wagoneer springs which are longer and wider than the Willys springs. I'm going to extend the front frame out about 6" to allow for the longer springs and secondly to allow me room to mount a winch between the grill and the stock bumper. For the mock-up I am using wood so I can easily make my layout and make any changes, but mostly because I'm a woodworker 1st and a student to metal work 2nd.

I also need to decide on if I will do a shackle reversal or not. I know this is a hotly debated issue but overall I want to gain a smoother ride. Im going to wait til I have the drivetrain in and the body on to decide on how much lift I will go.

All the items painted pink will be cut off and the front half of the frame will be boxed in.


Frame Mock up 001 by Sparky Powers, on Flickr
Mock-up with Dana 44's and Wagoneer springs.


Frame Mock up 002 by Sparky Powers, on Flickr
Once a carpenter, always a carpenter.
 
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Midnightburn

Precision Fit
Joined
Sep 18, 2009
Messages
655
Location
Idaho
Willys Model
Willys Year:
#20
Glad to see your project moving along. You have chosen a great donor and this thing should go together very smoothly. Even the steering column, power brake booster and master cylinder, power steering box, and just about everything you can think of will work on this project. As long as it's in good shape. At the very least, it will work for mock-up. Then you can buy new parts for the Chief if necessary.

You scored on a nice wagon for $500. Can't wait to see this one grow into a new machine. Be sure to just tack weld everything in place until you are all done and happy with the results. That way if you have to modify something for better alignment or clearance it's no big deal. I see so many guys weld one thing on all the way without even knowing how everything else will fit around or next to it.

BTW, I have used both Herculiner and Durabak liner as well as many other spray on liners. Spray on liners are always best (Vortex, LineX, Rhino-Liner) and for a roll on liner Durabak is a far nicer product than Herculiner. It's smoother and looks better. Herculiner will slice an artery if you're not careful. Just my opinion. It's your choice ultimately of course.
 
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