1963 Willys Pickup Build

danielfreeman

Bigger Hammer
Jul 25, 2010
27
Willys Model
Willys Year:
Well... I put this up somewhere else and then discovered this site as I was browsing various sites I can get parts through! This looks like more my place!

It's time to build again! I've always loved the old jeeps and this one will be a lot of fun! I picked her up for $600. The guy got her from someone because his wife made him trade it away to get something more 'reliable'.



First thing to do is strip everything down and get it ready for sanding. The body and the bed are already disconnected completely from the frame so all it takes is a little man power. I have a bunch of pictures taken - as of now I have removed the bed and disconnected everything except the tranny/t-case and the axles/suspension. I'll put them up as they are ready.


















The front axle - I believe it's a Dana 25.












The rear axle - a Dana 44.










The gas tank.




The rear suspension.














The cab firewall.




The front windshield, etc...




Steering wheel and gages.








Where the gas tank was mounted.






Inside the gas tank. Smells like varnish... this is probably less than 10 gallons though so I think I will just be buying a new one... I've thought of the old chevy tanks that used to be outside the frame... they would have two. They should fit between my frame rails... and who knows - maybe I'll use both. :)




Driveshaft.




Fuel controls, etc...




Front suspension and steering.














Removing the Steering components.










No wheels. No bumper.




All steering linkage removed.




Hubs removed.




Driveshafts removed.




The workspace.







And so it begins! I drained out all the fluids today as well and then regreased both driveshafts... they were bone dry and don't move too easy. I think I need to get them moving a bit to take the grease and lubricate itself up.

As I get down to the frame I notice that it is not fully boxed. It is a C-frame and I have heard and read a lot about the benefits of boxing vs c-framed. There are a few spots I will need to weld the frame a bit and a few places where a previous owner "closed" some sections by welding in some plates to close the "C". I am undecided on whether I am shooting for strength though a closed box in case I decide to put a big engine in there or whether I keep it C'd as it is for more flex as I drive around offroad?
 

pavel6

Well Oiled
Sep 27, 2009
1,687
Vancouver, BC
First Name
Pavel
Willys Model
Wagon
Willys Year:
1965
daniel: you seem to have done very well for $600 - the frame looks much less rusty than most I've seen although I am concerned about the amount of front crossmember cut away to allow the Saginaw steering box coupling to the steering column. Also, I've never seen the steering drag link like yours on a Willys (but what do I know!)
All the best and have fun.
 

danielfreeman

Bigger Hammer
Jul 25, 2010
27
Willys Model
Willys Year:
pavel6 said:
daniel: you seem to have done very well for $600 - the frame looks much less rusty than most I've seen although I am concerned about the amount of front crossmember cut away to allow the Saginaw steering box coupling to the steering column. Also, I've never seen the steering drag link like yours on a Willys (but what do I know!)
Hmm... Hadn't noticed it wasn't stock actually, or that the crossmember was cut until you mentioned it. I guess I figured they hadn't done too much too it and that whatever was there was stock. I've found a few other things they'd done to strengthen or change it. The gas tank was lifted 3 inches up under the bed and the t-case mount (and t-case/tranny) underneath was clearly from something larger with the mount cut to match the holes on the bottom. But looking at it now I can see a few changes more easily. In getting to know how she should be stock I am starting to discover the alterations.

I plan to weld a front bumper on that will serve as a crossmember as well so I am not too worried about the strength of the one in the front there but we shall see - I may weld a bit of support to it as well. I was wondering what steering box was in there and after looking it up I can see it's benefits - thanks for pointing that out.
 

62 OlllO

Well Oiled
Oct 19, 2009
1,821
Georgia
First Name
Kevin
Willys Model
Wagon
Willys Year:
1962
I loved all the pic's, reminded me of my own project started months back....taking it apart is a specialty of mine...it's the putting back together that tends to tax my abilities.... :lol: I thought I saw a front snow plow or battering-ram for a front bumper....it looked heavy duty, perhaps for taking out ATM Machines. I look forward in reading about your project.....good luck!
 

danielfreeman

Bigger Hammer
Jul 25, 2010
27
Willys Model
Willys Year:
I know what you mean about taking things apart! From my last experience I am labeling everything and putting them in bags by part (door, window mechanics, suspension bolts, etc...) so that I can remember where they go. I will still probably end up with loads of extra parts though. I find there are so many 'unnecessary' parts! :D

That front bumper looked like it was set up to be towed and it was pretty heavy duty.
 

Gojeep

Well Oiled
Jan 10, 2010
3,482
Victoria Australia
First Name
Marcus
Willys Model
Pickup
Willys Year:
1948
Looks like a great build and looking forward to the updates.
What makes you think it is a 63 though? The split screen was last used in 1960 and if that is the original grille, would put it even earlier as has the small parkers and no hole for the ventilation.
 

danielfreeman

Bigger Hammer
Jul 25, 2010
27
Willys Model
Willys Year:
Gojeep said:
Looks like a great build and looking forward to the updates.
What makes you think it is a 63 though? The split screen was last used in 1960 and if that is the original grille, would put it even earlier as has the small parkers and no hole for the ventilation.
Hmmm... that's what is on the title and I've found it hard to identify any other way.
 

Eric B

Precision Fit
Nov 27, 2009
841
Colorado Springs, CO
First Name
Eric
Willys Model
Other
Willys Year:
Other
I agree with Gojeep on the year question. However single piece windshields can be changed over to a split windshield with the molding in the center and 2 pieces of glass. Just like a 2 piece can be changed to a 1 piece. The windshield frame didn't change much.
The grille statement is correct though....unless it didn't come with a heater?
Great pics though.

Eric
 

Dratwagon.

Bigger Hammer
Jul 5, 2010
88
Willys Model
Willys Year:
Eric B said:
I agree with Gojeep on the year question. However single piece windshields can be changed over to a split windshield with the molding in the center and 2 pieces of glass. Just like a 2 piece can be changed to a 1 piece. The windshield frame didn't change much.
The grille statement is correct though....unless it didn't come with a heater?
Great pics though.

Eric
I agree with the windshield chang over the grill does not look like the rest of the truck but most of all look at how big the rear window is.
 

62 OlllO

Well Oiled
Oct 19, 2009
1,821
Georgia
First Name
Kevin
Willys Model
Wagon
Willys Year:
1962
Remember folks, Willys wasn't doing well and everyone on the line was probably told to use all available parts on the shelves...they didn't care what they used, as long as it was finished at the end of the line. Also remember a Willys built in '62, but sold to the dealer in '63, became a '63. You might have a unique Willys Wagon....one of the last built compared to the first ones. Keep posting pic's for us please....
 

danielfreeman

Bigger Hammer
Jul 25, 2010
27
Willys Model
Willys Year:
I'll get some more pics up soon then. Pics of the frame, windows, fenders, bed, etc... In the past I can tell someone started to do some work on it and some things are a little different than what 'should' be stock. I've been busy at work the past few weeks and unable to do much of anything. Hopefully my next off week I can get a bunch done. This week I'm looking at new tires to roll the frame around on as I only have 3 good ones at the moment. I'll get some pics up in the next couple of weeks, take the body off, and rip a few more things apart.

It does come with a heater - it wasn't attached anymore but came with it when I got it. Looks old and original to me but I'll have to grab the identification numbers off it to verify. Just ordered a hub puller for it last night. :D
 

TinkerToyII

Well Oiled
Aug 16, 2010
1,331
Grand Junction, Colorado - Ivins ,Utah
First Name
Randy
Willys Model
Pickup
Willys Year:
1956
What Great pictures, You spent some time taking and posting them andit was great to look through them. I think I saw your sample truck on U-Tube, doing brodies in the snow. Will be looking for the pics you are going to take.
 

danielfreeman

Bigger Hammer
Jul 25, 2010
27
Willys Model
Willys Year:
Thanks for all the input! I've worked 37 out of the last 42 days at work and it's been hectic! I finally got back around to working on her again a few days ago! I opened up the axles to check on seals, bearings, gearing, etc... and found the D44 gears chewed up in the rear. The front D27 looked good and clean aside from some beat up bearings. I will be changing out the D27 front end with a D44 front end that I picked up this week. It came out of a Chevy though so I will have to change the bolt pattern on it from a 6-bolt to a 5-bolt or vica-versa.

Here are some pictures of the teardown continued!

The drum brakes inside the rear D44...


Gnarled up D44 gearing inside the carrier...


D44 chipped gearing with a perfect outer ring gear? How is that possible...


The front end after checking out the axle...


The rear end after checking out the axle...


Two air tanks off of semi's that I will use to create an on-board air system - likely I will only use one because they are big.


Where the body will sit as soon as I can get enough hands to take it off! It's heavy!


A possible position for the air tank once it's installed...


New axles! A D44 front end and possibly a Chevy 12 bolt in the rear - it was only 60 more bucks cause the guy wanted it gone... why not!




The I discovered the D44 front is way wider than the Chevy 12bolt rear! Interesting! And that the D44 front and my old D44 rear were closer to the same size... also I noted that my D27 front end was way skinnier than my rear... I wonder if my rear was added later... or if they were made that way??



Rear axle removed...


And these little guys were in there tight! The rubber from the bushings had melted and sealed everything tight... on top of that the bolts were rusted in there... I finally got the nuts off using an impact drive and then put them on a little smack the hell out of them with a 15 lb sledge for quite awhile before them loosened up!


And finally... supported on 4 jackstands... nothing else holding her up!


I sanded the hood and discovered straight sheet metal underneath... like someone had gotten it sandblasted and then never painted it... I sanded it as best I could and then painted it with Rustoleum Rust Reformer... Here it is after it's painted with that. Next I will sand it with find sand paper and then paint it with a glossy black paint.




I removed the front and rear windows. The rear is the only one still intact and unbroken or cracked. All the rest will have to re replaced. Inside the cab was a lining of rolled up paper/wood used to upholster the inside??? That stuff was a pain to get out - it was held in with metal tabs folded over a channel. Pain to get it out but it will be nice to run wires though I am thinking...



And let the sanding of the frame begin... There were weld marks and random bolts all over from the previous owner(s)... I am removing anything that doesn't need to be there and cleaning up the frame all around. Many of the welds done before seem a bit shoddy so I am redoing them and cleaning them up as I go...



It has the TH350 tranny bolted into it along with the NP205 Transfer case from a chevy. It looks like they torched the crossmember to make it fit and drilled the holes in... I'll see if it lines up with my engine later... engine mounts are on my list of things to do at some point now... along with new leaf springs front and rear... this thing had the tiniest leaf springs in the front I've ever seen!



Rear half of the frame prepped, grinded, and ready for welding and paint. I am debating whether I shoten the back or not... but then again I still have to figure out how to fit new springs in the front and rear... it might change things so I will wait until then.



I am thinking about using YJ springs front and rear - the front D44 has 2.5" spring perches and the rear D44 needs to have them welded on as I will be doing a Spring Over Axle conversion as I go. The D44 in the front it ready for it but the rear is welded stock - for Spring Under Axle suspension. Anyone have any thoughts on whether I use Jeep YJ (or other Jeep) springs, hangers, bushings, etc... or whether I should use Chevy ones? Once I have the body off and the frame prepped I have to figure out what to do with suspension, shockes, steering, etc... I have a good idea but am exploring as I go.

Hope that was a good update! Enjoy and more updates should be coming next week (in about 10 days)...
 

62 OlllO

Well Oiled
Oct 19, 2009
1,821
Georgia
First Name
Kevin
Willys Model
Wagon
Willys Year:
1962
Rust & tools thrown every where, parts taken off, parts still on, new parts purchased...it look's like you are starting to get a handle on this project...great post!
 

danielfreeman

Bigger Hammer
Jul 25, 2010
27
Willys Model
Willys Year:
hehe... Stuff everywhere is right... I spent half a day looking at the garage and wondering where to start! I finally decided to clean it all up and 'organize' it first... took me 3 hours and then I suddenly had clean space everywhere... so I felt obligated - and couldn't resist the opportunity - to fill it up with parts and get it all dirty again... :D
 

retmotor

Bigger Hammer
Aug 19, 2010
100
Montana
Willys Model
Willys Year:
You've been quite busy. Thanks for sharing.

danielfreeman said:
... also I noted that my D27 front end was way skinnier than my rear... I wonder if my rear was added later... or if they were made that way??...
My Mechanic's Manual says; 57" front and 63.5" rear. So made that way.
 

danielfreeman

Bigger Hammer
Jul 25, 2010
27
Willys Model
Willys Year:
Updates!

All right! Well... the garage I am using may not be around as long term as I thought... so rather than do everything just the way I would like I am going to have to get her to where she can move and then work around that until I can do what I would like... just in case I have to vacate the garage suddenly - the house I am keeping my truck at is in 'foreclosure' for the moment but with the banks 'suspending' all foreclosures until they revamp their systems I may be safe... either way I will play it safe!

Before some photo updates here are some things I discovered. My front end is amazingly narrow so I will swap it out with a Dana 44 Chevy front axle I picked up pretty cheap. So... I measured the width wheel to wheel on my new front and my old rear Dana 44 axles:

The old rear Dana 44 measures: 65.5"
The new front Dana 44 (Chevy) measures: 67.75"

That's pretty dam close. I'll likely get a spacer for the rear to bring it out to 68" (1.25" on each side) and leave it at that... and I may add a .125" spacer to each of the front sides to even it out.

I started buying all new tires and had them mounted and balanced - now they sit in the corner and wait for their axles to be prepped. 35x12.5x15 BFG Mud Terrains.

So here are some updates:

The fenders:


The sidewall of the fenders removed... I don't know if I will use them as they are... I may fab tube ones that can take more of a beating and just leave them off until that time... likely I will use them as templates but for now they have been trimmed...



The rear of the frame all sanded, prepped, and ready to be painted... I couldn't clean the rest of the frame easily yet as I forgot to enlist everyone's help at a BBQ I held to remove the body... and that was one of the main reasons I held the BBQ!


Here she is with the fenders mounted after trimming... I'm not a big fan of the dip in the fenders and prefer the flat fenders... but they are coming together nicely for now...


And here she is all painted up!


I was then cleaning up the rear suspension to reuse for the time being - All I'll do aside from clean it up, paint, and regrease it is make it a spring over axle setup instead of spring over. You'll notice below that the rear shackles, though the same size as far as hole location is concerned, are vastly different when it comes to thickness. I take it that one of them is the stock shackle... and one an aftermarket replacement part.




Here are all the suspension parts for the rear, minus the springs... no rubber bushings. Second picture is of the springs all sanded, painted, and prepped to reinstall...



I was going to go with wider springs in the rear but these will work just fine for now... I ordered a set of 2" wide spring perches to weld on to the top of the axle so that I can bolt the springs to the top of the axle as opposed to the bottom. The axle is still filthy and needs the carrier gears replaced but otherwise it looked to be in great shape. Here the springs are installed again with the suspension all greased up and tightened.

 

cnsay

Well Oiled
Jun 20, 2010
1,482
North Idaho
First Name
Chris
Willys Model
Wagon
Willys Year:
Looking good. I did the frame on my truck in a garage with no way to lift the cab also. So I cleaned and painted the back and then put plywood on the back of the frame and rolled the cab onto it's back on the plywood on the back half of the frame. Rolled it real slow with some come a longs from the roof and it barely left any roll in the back bottom edge of the cab. Strapped it with tie downs so it wouldn't roll off the frame. A few minutes with a body hammer fixed the roll after I cleaned and painted the front half of the frame. May be an option if it is hard to find help moving it. That is one of the reasons I put overhead support in my shop when I built it.
 

danielfreeman

Bigger Hammer
Jul 25, 2010
27
Willys Model
Willys Year:
Finally got the body off! :mrgreen:
Here are a few pics...








and some seats I got from a 52 wagon - they just need reupholstering and will be looking good! no springs are sticking through the upholstery... it's just old and needs to be redone. :thumbup:


and my new babies... the next time you see these I hope to have them on an axle... 35x12.5x15 BFG Mud Terrains :D
 
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