Things are finally beginning to move again on the JeepMonster! I went over to R&W Custom Sliders & Offroad this weekend to make a sturdier template for the body’s side panels. I took with me a couple of sheets of plywood veneer (it’s about 3/8″ thick and looks like stuff you’d see in an inexpensive travel trailer), and Robert and I spent several hours cutting it to the right shape. [I honestly don’t know where the time went – I got there about 9 AM and only stayed for what seemed like a couple of hours, but when I left it was almost 3 PM.]
I had thought we might need two sheets of the plywood, but as the side panels are only 23″ tall at their maximum, we were able to do it with one. So here is the 2′ by [x]’ panel. The first step was to transfer the shapes from the old cardboard template (which has seen better days at this point) to the plywood, beginning with the front edge and working back from there. Along the way, we had to make adjustments due to some design changes Robert and I agreed on over the last several months – things like dropping the bottom of the side panel about 4″ to cover part of the frame and give the body a better proportion, and then dropping the bottom of the door opening 4″ to make it a little bit easier for this old guy to get in and out. Then we decided to drop the fender-flare height 4″ to keep things in line. This is an in-progress photo of deciding where all the openings will go.
The template ended up just about 11 feet long. We cut out the door, the two wheelwells, and the spot near the back of the tub that was originally (on the M38-A1 military version, at least) used for one of the top bows. Once all that was completed, we clamped it more-or-less in place with the dashboard/cowl/firewall that we’re using. This shot shows how the new door opening will look compared to the original (you can see the difference in height between the grey metal and the wood). The back tires are just sitting there; the axles have not yet been reattached to the springs.
This angle shows how the new body will drop down more than the original – the front clamp is at the bottom of the original, while the new panel drops down about four more inches.
Robert expects to get some of the body pieces cut and/or bent this week, so maybe soon there’ll be REAL METAL to show off!
In other news…
Now that there’s a real template to work from, Robert no longer needs all the pieces of
Jeep junk-that-used-to-be-a-Jeep, so I brought them home:
It took me a bit of effort (both physical and mental, as I had to figure out ways to safely move things around), but I managed to get everything off the trailer and into the garage / back yard. (The pieces in the garage will also ultimately go into the back yard, but since they have to go through a people-sized gate instead of a vehicle-sized one, I’ll need help with moving them.)
My next task is to strip the hulk(s) of anything remotely useful, like gauges, spring shackles, and axles. Some of it I may use again, but some of it should be usable by someone else – the shackles are super-strong and an inch or so longer than stock, and the axles might come in handy for someone working on restoring an early CJ-5 or CJ-6. You never know.
Speaking of gauges, I was on the Auto Meter site recently to see what’s available (and at what cost). I discovered that they now have a line of Jeep-authorized gauges which, while tempting, I will probably forgo. They’re nothing if not comprehensive, though – there are gauges to measure axle, transmission, transfer-case, and engine-oil temperatures (and the gauge faces are marked so you know which is which), in addition to the standard speedometer, tachometer, coolant temperature, oil pressure, fuel level, and voltmeter. If I were to get all 12 individual gauges [tach, speedo, volts, fuel, coolant temp, oil pressure, oil temp, trans oil, xfer oil, and 3 axles] the cost would be right around $1000. ACK! And then there’s the drilling/tapping/welding that would have to be done to the axles and other parts for the senders. It’s very tempting, but I’ll probably just go with the basics: speedo, tach, oil pressure, coolant temp, volts, and fuel. *sigh* And probably not the Jeep-authorized ones, either. Generics are cheaper, just like drugs.