Fixing broken stuff


Sharpest Tool
Jul 11, 2010
Western NY state 315 er
Willys Model
Willys Year:
Our 51 Willys truck isn't rusty but it does have it share of torn and poorly repaired sheet metal parts.The original looking tail gate was in bad shape,broken spot welds,cracks,trunnion hinges from what looks like a 40's GM truck,and the worst is plently of past piss poor welding.
The rear crossmember has several large holes cut in with a torch,and not a very neat job.At one time it had some sort of tow frame gizmo welded to the crossmember.I cut some pieces of heavy sheet metal to patch the holes,weld them in, and my wife spent an hour with a hand held grinder getting things reasonable again.The tailgate was brought into usuable shape by applying pressure and lot of clamps and spot welds.The object here isn't a show truck but something that functions properly.

This next photo shows reapiars to the rear bed corner,typical of both side. Too many poor past repairs with globs of chicken crap weld to work with so I cut out the old metal and welded in new 16 gauge.Then I made the hinge trunnions from a short length of 1 inch electrical conduit (about 1-3/8 OD) and strap steel.

One chain latch was a hand made piece of junk,I believe the one on the right is original??? Anyway,I reshaped the hand made one,welded on a chain ring and it's good to go for me.
Hey Tony

I had to do some of the same stuff last summer. If I can say what I have learned from these old trucks is keep a second metal grinder as a spare. Lots of ear plugs are great too. I think I also have 3 pairs of safety glasses. Funny thing about these old trucks you can make stuff work like you did with the hinge brackets.
My wife I think she has gotten used to the noises that come from the garage. I grind almost every night that I work on the old truck. Same deal as you..lots of clamping too. I love the finish on your truck. Nothing like a truck that looks its age. :cheers:

Thanks for sharing
Dozerjim,the truck was from the Prescott Arizona area and likely had been there it's whole life.It came to NY on a rollback truck I hired.
Mike,the grinder croaked a few days ago but I was able to fix it.There's gonna be no finish body work,the welds will be ground,then sanded off with 60 grit disc.The the whole truck gone over with a DA sander then painted.We are old,ain't got that much time to fuss around :mrgreen:

Man--I hear ya on the "ain't got that much time"!!! I'm gettin' darn near "Geezer" so I just want my projects to run good, steer good and stop good.

A couple years back I picked up an Ercoupe airplane project. The plane was complete but disassembled and had been in a guy's garage for years. I got it home and called over a friend of mine who is a certified aircraft mechanic to look over the plane and tell me if should tackle the restoration. He looked at all the parts, then came over, put his arm on my shoulder and said "Do you think you'll live long enough to finish it?" I sold it 2 weeks later.

Keep On Truckin',
Old Willy
Old Willy said:
"Do you think you'll live long enough to finish it?" I sold it 2 weeks later.

Keep On Truckin',
Old Willy

Sounds like a wise move... My luck would have been to live long enough to finish it, but die in it 15 minutes later :lol: At least with my Willys, I'm already on the ground when it quits :thumbupleft:

A friend of mine is building a stunt plane in his garage, he's designed and fabricated the entire plane himself. Even went to the engine factory and bought the engine, and tore it town and rebuilt it right there with the factory mechanics. Talk about a whole lot of work... and every part of it your life depends on... He holds several state titles for aerobatic flying, and he's in his mid 70's. Quite a guy...

Around 1975 I got to messing around with Corvairs and saw an ad in the paper for a 4 carb Corsa engine.I go to the guy's house and he's got Corvair engines piled up like firewood.Inside a garage is an experimental airplane under construction,powered by a Corvair engine.The guy flew racing aircraft and his wife said he spent a year in a body cast after he flew a plane into the ground .So maybe 20 years later I read about a local pilot killed when his experimental plane crashed,yup same guy,he was in his 70's by that time.
Some people would rather die doing what they love than wither away in a rocking chair.