Steelman's '59 Wagon Build

Steelman

Bigger Hammer
Feb 20, 2010
40
Willys Model
Willys Year:
I bought a '59 wagon a little over a year ago, but have recently only started working one it. The plan is a resto mod keeping a stock body and factory looking interior with a modern drivetrain and other conveniences, i.e. A/C, power brakes, power steering...

This is what I started with, pretty good shape some rust in the usual places. I think a bad oil leak from the tranny kept a lot of the rust at bay:


The fender flares are actually covering up some nasty stuff with almost 1" thick bond in places.



What I have currently:
'94 TBI 350 w/ 4l60E
NP205 Transfer Case w/ PTO
Ford 9" rear
D44 Front
BDS 3" YJ front springs
BDS 3.5" XJ Rear Springs
XJ Saginaw Box

TBD or planned stuff:
35 or 37 tires
MT Classic Lock Wheels
A/C
XJ Pedal/booster/master
Lots more......

I have about 2 months into it at this point.

Body Removal


Got the frame stripped down, with 50 years of crap it was a big mess.


Frame back from sandblasting and starting to layout suspension


Also extending front frame and laying out the front suspension




Lots more to come.
 

Eric B

Precision Fit
Nov 27, 2009
841
Colorado Springs, CO
First Name
Eric
Willys Model
Other
Willys Year:
Other
Nice work so far :thumbup:

Keep it the pics coming and keep pluggin away.

I am taking this weekend off for "Mommy Day" and gonna relax with my Mrs and have a :cheers:

Eric
 

62 OlllO

Well Oiled
Oct 19, 2009
1,821
Georgia
First Name
Kevin
Willys Model
Wagon
Willys Year:
1962
That's one disorganized, messy project and I should know, mine looked the same at one point. It's surprising to see all that dirt, grease and rust fall off the body and frame...it seems to never end. Sometimes I felt that there wasn't any progress at all. From the pictures your body look's in great condition. I've been working on a '62 Wagon....modernizing it as well. Keep posting those progress pictures, I look forward in seeing the finished product.
 

Steelman

Bigger Hammer
Feb 20, 2010
40
Willys Model
Willys Year:
Yeah working out of a garage there is only so much room, it is always going to be somewhat disorganized. I sandblasted the frame before i probably should have, but I was getting tired of getting covered in crap every time I got near it.

The body is in pretty good condition overall, but there is still going to be a a decent amount of body work.

62 OlllO said:
That's one disorganized, messy project and I should know, mine looked the same at one point. It's surprising to see all that dirt, grease and rust fall off the body and frame...it seems to never end. Sometimes I felt that there wasn't any progress at all. From the pictures your body look's in great condition. I've been working on a '62 Wagon....modernizing it as well. Keep posting those progress pictures, I look forward in seeing the finished product.
 

Steelman

Bigger Hammer
Feb 20, 2010
40
Willys Model
Willys Year:
Nope, but that is what I am calling it because that is what I titled it as. There are a few things that are contradictory for the various years, one piece windshield & two piece rear window together. When I looked up the VIN it was a '59 Maverick 4x2. Quite possible somebody swapped the frame and other parts over the years.

73fj said:
Are you sure it's a 59? Seems to be too many bars in the grill....not an expert, just askin.
 

62 OlllO

Well Oiled
Oct 19, 2009
1,821
Georgia
First Name
Kevin
Willys Model
Wagon
Willys Year:
1962
Enough talk...show some pictures....I love your Wagon and it's progress, brings back sweet memories. What ever...It's A Wily's Wagon and that' super cool!!!!!
 

Steelman

Bigger Hammer
Feb 20, 2010
40
Willys Model
Willys Year:
Front frame extension almost done. Still have some welding to do, didn't what to do too much at once.



Boxing the inside as well

 

Steelman

Bigger Hammer
Feb 20, 2010
40
Willys Model
Willys Year:
Huge amount of work since the last pics, although you can hardly tell by looking. Lots of time spent welding and filling holes. But it is back on it's own tires, or at least it would have been if my order hadn't been screwed up and the hubs showed up this week. I will figure out the shackles once I get some weight on it and determine the correct angle.



 

Steelman

Bigger Hammer
Feb 20, 2010
40
Willys Model
Willys Year:
Starting to look like a Willys again. It is quite a bit taller than I was planning on. I will probably convert it back to SUA.







Engine going in, obviously not in the final position but I got tired and lazy

 

Gojeep

Well Oiled
Jan 10, 2010
3,479
Victoria Australia
First Name
Marcus
Willys Model
Pickup
Willys Year:
1948
Are you going to have the shackles at the front or rear of the front springs? Remember you want the non shackle end to be at least as low as the other end of the spring, ( not the upper frame mount ) once the shackles are fitted. Preferably lower which you will notice if you measure any stock setup. Otherwise you will suffer from axle walk and it will be steering itself without any imput from you in bumps.
 

Steelman

Bigger Hammer
Feb 20, 2010
40
Willys Model
Willys Year:
The shackles will be in the rear. I assume you are talking about the caster angle change when the spring isn't more less flat. My front axle is currently full width, approximately 7 inches wider than I want it. So when I narrow it I plan to correct the caster and probably tilt the pinion up for better driveline angles.
 

Gojeep

Well Oiled
Jan 10, 2010
3,479
Victoria Australia
First Name
Marcus
Willys Model
Pickup
Willys Year:
1948
Take a look at any factory leaf spring setup and you will always find the fixed end of the spring basically level or lower than the other end of the spring. So the spring eyes are level to the ground. This means the fixed end must be mounted the length of the shackle lower compared to the shackle frame mount position. You will get axle steer otherwise no matter if it is the front or rear axle. You cannot correct this by rotating the knuckles as this applies to a rear axle as well which does not have caster.
 

62 OlllO

Well Oiled
Oct 19, 2009
1,821
Georgia
First Name
Kevin
Willys Model
Wagon
Willys Year:
1962
Just figured out where this post had gone to...Build Section, makes sense....share your secrets with more pictures of the progress.
 

Steelman

Bigger Hammer
Feb 20, 2010
40
Willys Model
Willys Year:
Not a whole lot of progress in a while just a lot of odds and ends:

Steering box sort of mounted, and radiator crossmember





Booster/Master Cylinder/Pedal





Working on more boxing plates:





Also I have to disagree with you Gojeep. If you look at most modern leaf spring vehicles the front leafs are angled backward and and the rear ones are angled forward. When I say modern I mean in the last 20 years, I can't think of any current vehicles that use leafs in the front any more. The shackle angle has a much bigger affect on ride quality and spring rate than the mounting angle of spring. A mistake that lot of people make is that when you angle a spring back the shackle has to go back with it. The shackle angle is measures from the datum between the two spring eyes not the ground. Bad shackle angle can cause all kinds of problems. Granted there are a ton of other factors here like the arch of the spring, location of center pin, spring rates, even type of eye; that is part of the reason leaf spring design is an art.
 

Gojeep

Well Oiled
Jan 10, 2010
3,479
Victoria Australia
First Name
Marcus
Willys Model
Pickup
Willys Year:
1948
Steelman said:
Also I have to disagree with you Gojeep. If you look at most modern leaf spring vehicles the front leafs are angled backward and and the rear ones are angled forward. When I say modern I mean in the last 20 years, I can't think of any current vehicles that use leafs in the front any more. The shackle angle has a much bigger affect on ride quality and spring rate than the mounting angle of spring. A mistake that lot of people make is that when you angle a spring back the shackle has to go back with it. The shackle angle is measures from the datum between the two spring eyes not the ground. Bad shackle angle can cause all kinds of problems. Granted there are a ton of other factors here like the arch of the spring, location of center pin, spring rates, even type of eye; that is part of the reason leaf spring design is an art.
Not talking about ride or shackle angle. Talking about keeping the fixed eye low ( ideally axle centerline height ) so you have the least amount of length change in the spring as possible as the spring cycles. This will minimize the amount the axle moves back and forth, thus reducing axle steer.
 

Steelman

Bigger Hammer
Feb 20, 2010
40
Willys Model
Willys Year:
Sure but that difference in axle path is pretty insignificant until you get into ridiculous angles. This a 50 year old lifted vehicle not a track car, I am not to worried about a little bit of roll steer.
 

Midnightburn

Precision Fit
Sep 18, 2009
655
Idaho
Willys Model
Willys Year:
Nice work Steelman. I thought I was looking at my frame and suspension for a minute there. You did it exactly the same way. It works good doesn't it. Looking forward to seeing more as you go along.

GoJeep, I have to disagree with you on this as well. I have built all of my reverse shackle setups with the spring angled slightly downward toward the back and the anchor as close to the frame as possible. As long as the spring perch and caster angle is adjusted and the shackle end is mounted through the frame rather than underneath, it is quite beneficial to do it like Steelman has. And if you extend the anchor down to make the spring eyes level, it adds up to unnecessary height. Especially, in a spring over situation. When building a rock crawler, this is even more important because of approach angles. I have seen people build the anchors very tall and it catches on everything. Not such a big deal on a wagon of course.

However, it is really more of a preference than anything.
 

Gojeep

Well Oiled
Jan 10, 2010
3,479
Victoria Australia
First Name
Marcus
Willys Model
Pickup
Willys Year:
1948
It is always a compromise isn't it. I tend to lean towards the best handling and performance on the road as where I spend 90% of my time before getting to the tracks. :)
 

Steelman

Bigger Hammer
Feb 20, 2010
40
Willys Model
Willys Year:
I would be lying if I said your build didn't influence me somewhat. You started your thread on Pirate a couple weeks after I bought my Willys and have been watching it ever since. Although never did figure out why you had to flip and modify the rear springs, I used the same ones and didn't have a problem. I did quite a bit of research and they way you did it made the most sense for the way I wanted to do it. I wanted to use the factory frame.

Midnightburn said:
Nice work Steelman. I thought I was looking at my frame and suspension for a minute there. You did it exactly the same way. It works good doesn't it. Looking forward to seeing more as you go along.

GoJeep, I have to disagree with you on this as well. I have built all of my reverse shackle setups with the spring angled slightly downward toward the back and the anchor as close to the frame as possible. As long as the spring perch and caster angle is adjusted and the shackle end is mounted through the frame rather than underneath, it is quite beneficial to do it like Steelman has. And if you extend the anchor down to make the spring eyes level, it adds up to unnecessary height. Especially, in a spring over situation. When building a rock crawler, this is even more important because of approach angles. I have seen people build the anchors very tall and it catches on everything. Not such a big deal on a wagon of course.

However, it is really more of a preference than anything.
 
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