Frame & Body

GRILL. This Ford "F" marked grill was in relatively good condition, rusty, dented, and with twisted bars, never the less, better than some I have seen. At some stage someone had made three cuts with a hacksaw and folded in a section of the lower right side, possibly for a forward steering box. After a light sandblast, I straightened out the folds, and welded them together with the Oxy. I then spent the next few hours sandblasting the complete grill, noting holes, cracks and dents as I went.. One particular crack, shown welded up in the picture on the left went from the edge to within a half inch (12.7mm) of the head light opening, In all there were six similar cracks, one hole for the wiring harness was enlarged on the top air deflector sheeting, so I put a heavy ring of weld around that, it should dress up OK when I start playing with the file and grinder. You may notice in the pic the soldered areas around the bolt holes for all the earthing straps. As I sandblasted some of this solder away, I'll re-solder those before masking them off and painting. Note though, the later models had soldered areas masked off with torn off strips of masking tape, appearing to be square or rectangular after painting, yet the soldered areas are relatively circular in appearance, whereas on the earlier models , like Al's '42 GPW, the soldered areas appear round after painting. This also applies to other soldered areas on the inside of the fenders.

One dent that is causing me a problem is on the lower left front, a 1/4" deep dent with a 1/4" bulge right smack above the same location of a captive nut, making it near impossible to tap it out from the rear. I'm considering drilling a hole and heating the area, and pulling the dent up and at the same time tapping in the side. This should bring the panel back in line. Failing that I could always remove the captive nut, panel out the dent, and reinstall the nut cage, as I have several others where I have to replace missing nuts. (UPDATE) Having thought about it , I decided to make a tool to fit under that captive nut, so I could tap it down, and it worked. I used an old screwdriver with a broad tip, heated the end, and bent it in the vice, then ground it to fit, this allowed me to hammer downwards and right up to the edge of the fold. I then ground off the small raised areas flat and sandblasted the area ready for primer. For those who intend to follow this type of repair, if I were to do his job again, I'd make the tool wider so that there would be fewer marks on the opposite side.

An interesting thing I've found was the left front headlight wiring loom clip brace, broken off inside the grill edge. I measure mine as 16g, and 1/2" to 5/8" wide,( Hard to tell with the weld,  the remaining part has a hole which matches with a predrilled hole in the grill edge reinforcing bracing. I posed a question on the G503 Technical Board about this and was surprised to find that Ford and Willys differ in some respects. Most have been measured at 5/8" wide, the overall lengths vary, from 1.625" to 1.75" and the distance the hole from the ends varies accordingly. For this particular grill I'll be replacing mine with a 5/8" x 1.750" (15.9mm x 41.3mm) x 16gauge.After fixing the grill, I'll follow up the different measurements that are being sent to me about the missing brace. My thanks to Steve, Mark, Joe and Chup for their interest in this subject. Their names will be going on the combined drawing of the Willys and Ford tabs. In the meantime,  I've drawn the Ford type, sorting out the variables between that and the Willys may take a while longer. I suspect that the very early Willys grills will be the same as the Ford as Ford made the first few batches for Willys probably up until about June of '42. And contrary to the belief of Chrysler,  Ford designed the jeep grill. After making the tab, I inserted an old drill bit into the hole and located the hole in the grill reinforcing rib, this held the tab in place while it was being welded. So simple, from start to finish it took 25 minutes. A light sandblast and it's now ready to be primed.

The next job will be the openings for the black out marker lights. There were two plates welded over the openings, and onto these were fitted two round traffic indicators, I removed the plates some time ago but had never cleaned off  the welds and the edges of the openings. Shown here with some blue spray to show up the weld edges. After grinding off the bulk of the welds, I'm now using a small fine file to take the edges back to the correct shape. I should have this part done within the next few days.

Staple holes for the felt were placed at random.


WINDSHIELD Having looked around for a few years since picking up the tub which came with a slat grill w/s frame that was totally rusted out, and hearing about the problems with the Repro inners and outers, I decided it was worth the wait to get an original, regardless of condition. I managed to pick up both at the Brisbane Swap Meet in 2001. The outer frame had been re-sheeted, an excellent job, and the frame needs no more than a few small touchups to complete, however, the inner while it looked good with the paint covering, once sandblasted showed it was too far gone to restore. This was an early type with the straight handle. So Sean Elliott obtained another one which I combined with the first to make one decent one. The center section of the replacement inner was shot, and totally rusted out, however the main part, the outer edge was in a relatively good condition. The corner frame casts were still in place, although the screws were broken off inside, this meant that I would have to drill them out from both side to allow the cast to be withdrawn. As there was no glass in this frame I used a  little heat from a propane torch and the top rail was freed from the bottom.


Testing fit of replacement center section, Welded , and finished, no filler required.

I sandblasted the inner and cut the center section away, primed the complete  thing, as I could sand blast anywhere I needed to weld, filed the frame down to good rust free steel, measured what length I needed to make the replacement divider, cleaned that up and drilled out a small rust hole( shown in the top left pic)  back to good steel. Using magnetic clamps , the joint was first tack welded and then after checking the alignment, a solid weld was applied, the weld was ground back, then filed to shape. The alignment was rechecked and found to be almost perfect, a little heat and the center was brought back from the 3mm error ( it was leaning back) and primed.. If you intend to do a similar repair, I can't stress enough the necessity of keeping everything in alignment and square. The next part was the Top Rail.


Top Rail after sandblasting, welded up "Mirror Holes", Wiper Bushes fitted, Channel "lacework" repaired and primed.

I sandblasted the top rail and what I though would be relatively easy to repair turned out to be a little difficult, but not impossible. The sandblasting showed up the cracks, and the rust lace work for most of the channeling length, missing hinge rolls , split ends, extra drilled holes, it was warped and twisted, but all original and this is what I wanted. I began with straightening and removing the warp, then tested the fit to the outer frame hinge, it slipped in without any problems. Next came the extra holes that had been drilled , possibly for an inside rear view mirror, these went all the way through, and was a simple matter of using a mig welder, grinding the weld and filing back to shape. Next was the oversized holed that had been drilled/gouged/worn/butchered for the wiper arm shafts, one was 3/8" and the other was over 1/2" in diameter. I found two brass fittings with a 1/4" bore, the right length of around 5/8", I ground off the hex head, and using a 1/4" drill shaft rotated them on the bench grinder, this "turned" them down to 1/2" diameter. I filed the holes in the inner to even them up, inserted the bushes and brazed them into position, a quick grind and file and the inner started to take on a respectable look. One end was split for about 8" from the end, I inserted the cast corner frame brace, and inserted a shim under that to give me clearance for paint later one. Then using the flat edge of a 1/4 x 1" flat steel, tapped the channel  fold square and even. Using the oxy I brazed welded full length of the split and with the 4" grinder, with a new disk attached, on edge I carefully ground down the brazing to leave a smooth layer of brazing holding everything together. When Sean brought up the replacement inner he included an extra top rail, so I used this to repair the missing end hinge folds. Cutting the "new" pieces from an old top rail, up close to the fold of the top and front edge, I filed away the corner and fitted the new pieces, then it was a simple matter of oxy welding the pieces in, held in place with magnets. It was necessary to file away the weld penetration so the cast corner braces slide in and out and the hole for the corner screw lines up, and a little dressing of the welds on the outside. The pic on the right is after applying the primer/putty, 99% of this was removed in the rub down stage, leaving only sufficient to cover the edges of the welds, and other small rust pits. The final application of red oxide primer was then sprayed on. I'll leave it primed until I have the glass cut and test fitted.


Friday, 26 APRIL 2002 The ordered Glass for the Windshield arrived at 6.45pm, cut to 23" x 12.5" (x2), the Autoglazier delivered them to the door, we test fitted to the frame, on first inspection all appeared well, and I wrote out the cheque for AU$59.40( which included the G.S.T. of 10%) so I was extremely pleased at the price. The following day I checked the fit once more in the frame and found that on one side the top rail was touching the glass which would not allow for any sealant, my immediate thought was I had somehow made a mistake when repairing the inner frame. After rechecking the internal measurements and the frame for square, I then checked the glass and found that one piece was out of square, and wider on one end than the other. On Monday I took the glass to the local glass shop where the edge was re-ground back to square and size, retested the fit and it was perfect, the regrind cost AU$5.... cheap!. Over the weekend I had done up a dxf file on the computer of the Ford W/S Safety Glass logo, and on Monday, had the local sign shop cut me some sticky back stencils, 12 logos on one sheet, AU$10, and did a test on some glass I had in the shed. The principal of using a vinyl stencil ( Old Henry used stamped 35mm Film) and sandblasting ( same as Henry did back in the 20's, 30's and 40's), the first test showed that with too much pressure I blew through the stencil and scored the glass, also the sharp edges of the stencil were lost, ( Pic on the top right) so on the second test I used lower pressure and kept the blaster at a distance of 150mm (6") this gave me better control and an even etch. (Left Pic). It took about an hour to remove the unwanted vinyl from the first pane stencil , but only 30 minutes to do the second, both panes were blasted, and they turned out far better than I had hoped, and looked original, which after all was the main objective of the exercise. I don't recommend this method unless you have the patience to sit with a magnifying glass and a sewing tool called a "Quick Unpick" which I found to be better than an "Exacto" knife for the removal of the waste vinyl. The location of the logo can be found in the All American Wonder Vol.2, don't forget to add extra to the measurements for the glass which fits inside the frame if you are doing this to glass not yet fitted.

Monday 6 May 2002, The outer hinge roll of the top tube of the outer frame was missing the locking tabs, also a short length from one end. Inspecting the roll I saw that 1/8" was folded back on itself, and tightly crimped. So grabbing a length of 18g I folded over the 1/8" and cut short strips to match the wide of the holes, these were welded in place, the excess weld filed off and the slots cut with a hacksaw, similar to the original, even down to the different depths I found. The area was then lightly sandblasted to give a bond for the primer.


TOOL BOX LOCKS Just before going over to see Al in November, I removed the tool box locks from the GPW, they looked pretty rough. One was missing the locking tab for the lock barrel, but this wasn't a problem, Al has some 18g plate handy in his garage. I set about making a new one the morning we took them to the electroplaters ( The "new" tab is arrowed on the right side of the pic 45K). The barrels , once cleaned up, look like new, although , they do show some wear around the key hole.

FRAME/CHASSIS There's several sections of the frame that need serious work done, one is the Right Front Shock Mount. I purchased an F marked replacement from Marathon Spares in Tamworth. Some things to note on these reproduction mounts, there's no hole drilled for the split pin on the shaft, and there's no hole or captive nut on the front face for attaching the earth strap bolt. My most likely method of repair is to cut the old mount through just under the shaft bulge, and weld the altered repro so I can keep the original rivets. Two factors that may influence the decision are, the Philippine steel is renown to be the worst steel in the world to weld, and the condition of the original component after bead blasting. (UPDATE 15 April 2002) As the steel is so poor, I decided to braze the nut into position. After sandblasting the mount, I also found that the welds holding the two pieces together will need redoing, as they are porous and thin.

(Updated June 2009). Finally decided to tackle this job which I think is a little harder to do than the rear cross member and A-Frame I just completed. First thing was to see what I was dealing with in regards rust and available metal left on the original. Wherever possible I'll keep as much of the original parts of the frame and tub, using either reproduction or home made repair sections. I tossed out the idea of using the complete reproduction mount......Started 23 June 2009

Step 1. Seeing what I have


Step 2. Separating the Reproduction Shell Halves.


Step 3. Separating the Original Shell Halves

What's irking me at the moment is the repro front shock mount, the shaft is too short when you separate the two shell halves so it doesn't fit the inner shell of the original, ALSO........and what's more the rivet hole is in the wrong place.  
I'll either have to replace the shaft or extend it that 1/2" so it will fit.


Step 4. Decided to extend the shaft , remove all of the original outer bracket, including the rivet. Will now need to weld up the misaligned hole in the reproduction outer and re-drill to align with the hole in the frame. Made a riveter for my air chisel. If it works, fine, if it doesn't, I'll try something else.


The riveter worked....... in a fashion....the end isn't like the Ford, too rounded, so later I may go back and try again, in the meantime, it's holding, and looks a lot better than I started with.Hole drilled for the split pin, end of the shaft tapered, Inner and Outer joined with an arc welder, so look like the same crappy welds that were there originally. I'm happy with it. This of course will be mostly covered by the battery tray when everything goes back together.

- COMPLETED - 27 June 2009 -


Next job:- Started 27 June 2009 is the two front frame ends, another fun job coming up!


There's really one way to do this repair, remove everything from 1.125" forward of the front edge of the radiator bracket, which also aligns with 5.5" to the rear measured from the rearwar edge of the hole in the frame side. This will give me measurements for when I replace the front horns.


As I wanted to re-use the Spring Mounts, I had to cut away all the Bubba Plates, rust, excess welds, and the remains of the bumper gusset plates, and boy!. am I pleased I went to the trouble, the threads are perfect, but the best and biggest surprise was to see both mounts were "F" stamped. My aim here is to make the frame sections, then while both ends are off the frame, mount the gussets, the spring mounts by riveting as per the original, much easier when they're short pieces. I'll then attach the bumper to the gussets. This will achieve two things, firstly, the gussets, therefore the frame pieces,  will be at the exact distance apart, secondly, getting the frame pieces at the same height as they're attached to the bumper I can make all the measurements and levels so I should, theoretically be welding the frame ends back in the exact, factory position.

The next step is to fabricate the frame horns, piece of cake! Here in Australia, it's almost impossible to get the correct gauge so you make do with what's available, the steel I got is only .2mm thicker than the original, so I figured, by the time I disk sand off the joining welds, it should come back to near enough to be good enough and undetectable. Paying for one long piece to be folded is far cheaper than paying for two short pieces, just needed to mark each end, then split the piece in half. After that it's just a matter of trimming each piece to suit where I removed the original horns. I should be able to cut and drill for the rivets this afternoon. And people wonder why I do the drawings.


I wanted to make sure the frame pieces I folded up were at the correct width, that the holes I drilled were in the correct places, that when the gussets were attached so the rivet holes aligned, that the gussets fitted within the bumper and that the whole thing was aligned so top and bottom holes in both the bumper and the gussets and the wood filler all aligned..whew!That was a mouthful.. 

I still need to open the large hole in the frame repair piece and bevel back that leading edge..
And yes....I intend to use real rivets........should be interesting.....

Decided that as typical Ford Pointy Head Rivets are not available I'd make my own as I want this area to look as original as possible. And, because the original size is not available in Australia, I used bolts, first welding with the Mig to build up the flats of the bolt head, then turning these down on the lathe until the size matched the original. I'll only know if this works after I set the rivets, but it's better than the alternative of using bolts or snap off rivet "look a likes". I hear you ask "Why go to all that trouble?", the simple answer is.... "Because!"

The correct length needed is the total thickness of all material the rivet will go through plus 1.5 times the diameter of the rivet. If you keep to these formulas you'll do OK for rivet diameter and length. Thanks to Bill for this information.

Now that I know the ends fit the bumper and the bracket holes are in the correct position, I finished off the horns ready to be split in two. It's far easier to make these horns when the pieces are together as you have something to fit into the vise making cutting of the bottom edge easier. If you're considering making these for yourself, I've added the following photos to show how I do the cuts in this steel. The marking should be easy to see, I place the piece so I can see the marked line and then bring the disk cutter up to the line.  This leaves very little to be removed after cutting. I then, using the disk cutter, grind it flat and smooth, finishing off the edges with a file . usually making the edge slightly beveled as though it were cut in a press. When making long cuts, priming the part makes for easier marking, you can see the chalk and the lines. On the photo to the bottom left, you can see where I've brought the disk up to the line, I then make a groove that the disk can run in so it doesn't go spearing off the line ruining the workpiece.Having the line visable, as you look down on the workpiece also makes for a better job.

Restoration...It's all about the illusion.


Once split in two, I can mark each piece where I want it to fit on each end where I cut off the old horns. I may need to make the passenger side longer as there's some pitting and old Bubba grinding grooves on what's left of the frame.

As the right size tubing is not available, we're a Metric country, these are the tubes which separate the gussets inside the bumper and, as all I could get was 9/16" round solid stock, decided to make the tubes from that. An hour in the lathe and they were completed. Another small job done.

Time came around to putting everything together before riveting. I decided to scarf join the side frame rail instead of a straight weld, hopefully, this will give me greater strength as the front springs are connected to this repair section and I don't want any nasty surprises. I still need to open up the top flat of the repair piece to match the beginning of the side rail curve. While clamped and attached to the bumper so that everything fitted correctly I arc welded the pieces together, all I need do now is insert the rivets, set them, cut the frame side rail and weld everything together.


It was far easier than I thought it would be. After setting the jack, my son Pat, heated the end until it was a bright red, then, using a ball pein hammer, I proceeded to form the end. As this was happening, the rivet became tighter in the hole, especially after hammering straight down with the flat of the hammer. This really is a two man job, especially when the piece is sitting loosely in the vice, there's a oxy torch going full steam ahead, and I believe it would be dangerous if tried alone. It was OK. we actually had fun, and I got to teach my son a few new words. It was late in the afternoon, so tomorrow, we'll do it all again.

I couldn't get the rivets I wanted, although a good mate sent me some from South Australia, Thanks Mike. I'll keep those rivets for the repairs to other parts of the frame. I made the rivets for this part in the lathe, all in one go, four long and four short. The short ones for the tops and the slightly longer ones for underneath where the spring gusset plates are attached. As I need them, I'll cut them off the "String" with a hacksaw so the heat doesn't harden them before setting. All in all, I'm pleased with the days result.




FRAME/CHASSIS One of the first shocks I received when I first looked at the frame was the "repair?" someone had done to the A Frame and rear cross member using 1/2" steel plate. After seeing how a restoration might be achieved on this, I decided that it would be best to cut the A Frame between the lightening holes along the A Frame sides, and fabricating a new A section, and at the same time making a new rear cross member, both relatively easy to do.( See Parts and Ed Campions rear cross member)

Updated June 2009

Removed the offending Bubba plates, then the real shock set in, not only was the A-Frame ripped out, but the rear cross member was cracked right through. A good mate in Melbourne, Bill Mullen sent me up a section of original Ford A-Frame section, perfectly good for the purpose, all I had to do was cut out and weld in a circular section and I had the part for making the repair to the A- Frame. I had some correct gauge steel to make the missing section of the rear cross member.


I asked on the Gee about a weld which was present between the A-Frame and the rear cross member as I didn't think it should be there. I was right and I wasn't happy about trying to grind out that Bubba Weld.. so I took to the rear cross member with a thin cut off disk.
This allowed me to fix where I went a little deep with the grinder trying to get rid of the welds.  Really easy to do, actually it surprised me how quickly it all went back together. The new Mig is beautiful to use, vertical up welds are a breeze with good penetration and very little left to grind back to smooth.


I deliberately did rough welds when attaching the reio plate to the a-Frame and rear cross member as almost all original plates were this way. Making the reio plates was dead set easy, 20c worth of steel, one of my drawings, Rear Section - 5196-5097.gif and a 4" disk grinder and it was made in half an hour.



SENDER COVER As mentioned in Nabholtz, for a short period the fuel sender cover was metal. I was fortunate to get this one in excellent condition,( come to think of it, they are extremely rare in any condition).  This one required only superficial restoration. After a short spell in a container containing brown vinegar, the light rust was dissolved, then washed, dried, primed and painted. These are now available as repros from Ron Firzpatrick Jeep Parts  

FUEL TANK When I found out that Peter Fraser was leaving Australia to make his home in the United States, I just had to have one of his fuel tanks before he left. These are the best reproduction fuel tanks money can buy, made from the correct gauge and the correct leaded steel, the best part is...They Fit! unlike the other so called reproductions that are on the market, which do not come near Peters for quality and value for money. This is the best money I've spent so far on my restoration. They will be available in the U.S. from Ron Fitzpatrick on the G503

Home Restoration 2 3 4