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Willys M Jeeps Forums :: View topic - How to get started on a frame off resto?
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How to get started on a frame off resto?

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Joined: Apr 04, 2005
Posts: 15962
Location: Wisconsin

PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2014 3:13 pm    Post subject: How to get started on a frame off resto? Reply with quote

I just was asked this question by a member. I want to post the question here so you all get a chance to help him out and we all get to learn from it.

I'm going to tear my jeep down and rebuild it. Are there any good references available that would help with strategy, etc.? Also do you guys have any recommendations for body/frame bead blasters and painters in the Houston area?

Here's the initial reply I made:

This is the type question you should ask on our web site boards. That way our web site serves it purpose and your question gets answered and the folks all share the new info. As for guidance I would suggest you get a copy of Ryan's M38 manual: which will get you through M38 specific restoration stuff. Then google this: " books on how to restore classic cars " and the list of good how to's is endless.

An experienced mechanic would just obtain the service and parts manual for the MV he wants to restore and start on it but many hobbyists are not experienced mechanics and need to read up on the proper directions to move forward a few steps at a time.

One of the better jeep specific restoration guides is Moses Ludell's guide for the 46 to 71 Jeep CJ. ISBN 0-8376-1037-0
Wes K
45 MB, 51 M38, 54 M37, 66 M101A1, 60 CJ5, 76 DJ5D, 47Bantam T3-C & 5? M100

Mjeeps photo album:
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Joined: Sep 18, 2012
Posts: 574
Location: South East Saskatchewan

PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2014 7:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only thing I will really say is take your time, take lots of photos and label everything. Even if it is a bolt put it in a bag and label it.
Carievale Saskatchewan Canada
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Joined: Sep 22, 2010
Posts: 32
Location: Black River/Michigan

PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2014 8:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I second that--get yourself boxes of freezer bags of different sizes. Also get some wire and cut yourself tags for things that wont go in --say two gallon bags. Label EVERYTHING! Just write on the bag.

I also have tons of paper boxes on hand (that printer paper comes in). I try and place similar items (IE engine stuff) in boxes. Write on the outside of the box what bags are inside the boxes and number them. For example 1:Engine mount bolts. Label bag number 1 and place it in the box. 2:Trans to motor bolts. Label bag 2 and put in in box etc etc etc That way you can tell whats in them without rooting thru the boxes every time you need to find something. Write on them the way your going to store the boxes too--Again so you dont have to stack and unstack them. If its from the side put them so you can read them that way--if its the front stack them so you can read them that way.

Oh and if you have more than one "project" going on (like me) then label each bag and box with what it is---IE: 57 CJ5 Then add what it is. Also helps next guy if you dont finish--it happens. And next guy might pay more because it isnt a box of random crap he will never be able to put back together
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Joined: Apr 13, 2005
Posts: 53
Location: Fort Worth Texas

PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2014 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I certainly agree to bag and tag everything when tearing the jeep down to the frame but must stress that taking photos before and after the part is removed is one of the most helpful things you can do.

Some of us cannot remember what we did today, much less 2 years into a year frame off restoration. If you have a photo with the remnants of original parts on your jeep that show it was there and not some part in a box that may have been mislabeled then you can satisfy yourself that you are restoring your jeep back to original condition.

I also recommend research on the front end, before you take things apart and buy things you don't need or are incorrect. Other then the correct manual and parts books and Ryan's manual, there is one book that was setup for the WWII jeep that may give a restorer of other jeeps a format to follow... Ren Bernier authored the book, WWII Jeep Guidebook... I think he sells it for $25 plus shipping. He has a list of restoration costs and restoration journal that detailed the work done and the hours and dates the work was accomplished.

Jeep restoration may be one of those hobbies when you need to think small... one small job at a time... reread about what you are going to do that day like kit the carb or start repair on a fender. It is also one where patience and tenacity is a virtue. Some guys can go full blast and frame up restore a jeep in 6 months, others 6 years and too many that give up.
1944 MB-NAVY-
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Joined: May 04, 2012
Posts: 27
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What has been helpful to me is listing the parts I need for the project and a list of parts that I have purchased so I don't purchase the same part twice. It make going to swap meets more efficient. I also take a copy of Ryan's book with me so I end up with a part for my jeep and not an NOS part for some other MV? Good Luck.
1952 M38 3/52
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Joined: Nov 01, 2011
Posts: 199
Location: Escondido, CA

PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2014 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In addition to the excellent advice above, I recommend restoring pieces as you remove them rather than disassembling everything and restoring them as you put them back on. That way you have manageable size sub-projects that result in neat, clean and pretty sub-assemblies and the process develops your skills and knowledge along the way and, more importantly, maintains your motivation from the reward of completing something. Many people are tempted to tear the whole thing apart right at the get-go, and then are overwhelmed by the daunting task they then face. Another advantage to this approach is that if you have to terminate the project, you have some restored bits and some original bits rather than a total basket case, improving its market value.

With regard to a list of parts needed and purchased, my son created a Google Drive spreadsheet organized with the same categories as the ORD9 parts manual with columns for part numbers from same plus columns for possible sources and prices, "need to buy", "on hand", "installed", etc. We've added sheets for hardware sizes and application; tools, supplies and services purchased for the project; and major orders from suppliers. (What can I say . . . we're both engineers!) It has been a huge help.
Jim McKim
1952 M38 son-father project
Slowly turning rusty parts into OD parts
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