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1955 Jeep CJ5 Tub, Frame, Axles and Gear Train Rescue!

Willys Jeep Jeep CJ-5 Jeep restoration Jeep forum

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13 replies to this topic

#1 JohnF

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 06:51 AM

Just picked up this 55 CJ5 minus motor for next to nothing. Going to build a rotisserie and try to rescue the tub for my 67 restoration. Going to be a challenge but hate the thought of an aftermarket tub. Everything else is for sale. Just not sure what anything is worth yet.

 

hood

fenders

two grills

tailgate

t-90 transmission

dana 18 transfer case

bell housing for F head

two oil pans 

heater box

air cleaner

windshield frame ( rough )

axles

frame

rear draw bar

 

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#2 JohnF

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 06:54 AM

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#3 JohnF

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 06:55 AM

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#4 JohnF

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 06:56 AM

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#5 Moses Ludel

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 07:56 AM

Wow, JohnF, what a find! For your neck of the woods, this first year model CJ-5 is in good shape. Rust is the main issue for Midwest and East Coast vehicles.  You have a tremendous value here, some prized parts for rebuilding or restoration work.  Great find! 

 

When I found my '55 CJ-5 (featured in the Jeep CJ Rebuilder's Manual: 1946-71), it had been setting idle for decades with a minor amount of bare metal exposure—at Carson City, Nevada in the high, dry desert country.  The Jeep had only minor surface rust, no exfoliation or rust perforation anywhere.  I know this is nearly impossible for Eastern or even Midwest vehicles.  My Jeep friends at Chrysler all come West to find rust-free vehicles for projects.  They have sent me requests to look for vehicles in our region...

 

If the frame on your "new" '55 is intact, and it looks like a late '55-'56 frame or newer with the front spring anchors at the rear of the springs, would you consider a tub replacement and restoration or a "buildup" with this Jeep?  Surely, you can sell the parts described, though intact the Jeep CJ does have cache and potential for either a restoration or a buildup.  Would you attempt to restore this tub, addressing the rust perforation?  If not, there are new steel tubs available.

 

In my experience with the F-head four, though a delight to restore and look at, the engine design is ancient technology and very poorly suited for highway use.  For off-road use, however, the F-134 is a viable option.  Frankly, for drivability, I'd be inclined to do a V-6 (3.8L Buick or 4.3L Vortec Chevy) swap, plenty of power for the light weight and short 81" wheelbase. 

 

I would upgrade to Saginaw power steering with a slow-ratio (4:1 or slower) gear, big (stock diameter) steering wheel and one-piece tie rod in place of the bell crank and twin tie-rods.  A front spring shackle reverse is a major gain, I got lucky with my '55, it came factory-built with the M38A1 frame—they had the anchors at the front end of the front springs.  The earliest CJ-5s were built on this frame.

 

Interesting how these vehicles conjure up such "plans"!  Always fun to find a Jeep like this one, JohnF—congratulations, and let us know where this goes!  At the very least you have prime parts for trading or selling...

 

Moses



#6 biggman100

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 09:50 AM

Moses, one thing id like to clarify here. Since JohnF is from the New Jersey area (which i noticed by the color of the plate on the van), older, mainly major rust free vehicles are usually easier to find, especially if he is in southern jersey. Certain parts of jersey, especially bordering New york, are where you find the eaten away, rotted out rust buckets. Central, southern, and south western Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and going south, rust free vehicles are easier to find. We buy all our vehicles starting in central PA, and working our way south, so we get away from the rot boxes, and we have found some very old (I.E. 34 Ford, and 33 Dodge), that were in really good shape for the year and where we found them. The real find here though is that he found an early CJ in any condition that was still useable. Most of them were cut up for off road use, scrapped when prices were really high, or sold to collectors in the midwest and western states many years ago.

 

JohnF, i am extremely envious of your find. I have wanted an older CJ5 or CJ7 just to bomb around in on the back roads around where i live for many years, every since i rode around my uncles farm in his CJ7, but i have never been able to find one that the tub isnt completely rotted out. Congratulations on your find, and good luck in whatever your plans are for it.



#7 Moses Ludel

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 10:23 AM

Very helpful, Biggman100, and encouraging, too.  Nice to know that my generalization about the "Rust Belt" has many exceptions.  Your strategy for where to look for vehicles in the East is useful to others.

 

I would agree that finding an original 1955 Jeep CJ-5 is extraordinary.  The most cannibalized and hybridized vehicles on earth would be the 1941 MB Willys through the latest JK Wrangler—and all Willys Wagons, Pickups, Station Wagons, Wagoneers/Grand Wagoneers, full-size Cherokees, CJs, YJs, XJs and TJs in between! 

 

Jeep/Mopar likes to use the term "most personalized" vehicles when describing the demand for Jeep Accessories.  There is a huge aftermarket for Jeep, in fact, the SEMA Show at Las Vegas transformed during the last decade from a traditional hot rod and muscle car show into equal or greater billing for trucks and Jeep 4WD upgrades.  Many aftermarket manufacturers now believe they need a Jeep line of retrofit products to compete.

 

Thanks for sharing, Biggman100!  Good to get your input from the region...

 

Moses



#8 biggman100

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 10:28 AM

Moses, technically the rust belt is considered New York, some parts of New Jersey, and all of the New England states. Basically it consists of anything bordering New York, and going north to the canadian border. Those states use, and have used, salt on the roads for winter clean up for decades, whereas states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania use sand, which tends to have a less harmful effect on vehicles.



#9 JohnF

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 02:14 PM

Moses

 

As much as it pains me to take this jeep apart as you know I am currently doing a restoration on my 67 which I need a tub for. So I went into this just trying to get a tub that I can repair for mine. I cant take on another restoration right now so I need to stick with the plan. Since the motor is missing for this 55 I decided to make it a donor Jeep. I am going to try to sell the rolling chassis before parting out, I am asking $ 1,000.00 obo it has the T-90 transmission, Dana 18 transfer case, and whatever else you see in photos. It is a very solid frame, no cracks where the spring supports are. Some rust damage to one of the cross members on rear of frame. I am going to attempt to cut the entire floors out and put in aftermarket floors to save the tub. Passenger side rear wheel is a split rim that I am replacing with a standard rim before sale

 

 

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only damage I see

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#10 Moses Ludel

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 03:02 PM

I fully understand, JohnF...You do have your work cut out, and I'm excited to see your floorboard installation and the restoration of this Willys CJ-5 tub for the '67 Jeep CJ-5. 

 

I'm curious how you'll go about cleaning up this tub and eradicating the rust.  Body shops frown on the use of glass bead blasting, it surface hardens sheet metal, which makes it difficult to work.  Your plans?

 

Use the forums to share the parts you're offering for sale, JohnF...

 

Moses



#11 JohnF

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 03:12 PM

Moses

 

My plan is to put the tub on a rotisserie, then i will basically cut everything out leaving just the sides and cowl. I will then have it soda blasted which removes the paint and does not damage metal. I will then purchase and weld in the repair panels. Fix quarter panel areas with fresh steel, Entire rear floor with supports, entire front floor area and riser and two new wheel wells. I will cut out the tool box area on the front cowl as the 67 did not have this, and patch the hole. I feel I can salvage original tool box under passenger seat. I feel I can do all this for around $ 1,500.00 which is a lot cheaper than an aftermarket tub and I will have a blast doing it so the time factor is a non issue. Thats the plan anyway, I want to keep it as OEM as I can.



#12 Moses Ludel

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 03:44 PM

Fantastic undertaking, JohnF!  Soda blasting is now the deal, great even for aluminum like AFB carburetor bodies.  As you note, the metal doesn't take a pounding, the rust disappears...Please post in the tools section and the Photo Gallery ("Modifications" postings like Megatron has done can be of great interest to members and guests.)  Fun to watch this process unfolds!

 

What are you using for blasting and welding equipment?  The sheet metal panel welding can be challenging despite the flat panels on a Jeep CJ.  MIG or oxygen-acetylene?  TIG?  Silicone bronze filler rod or wire?

 

This is exciting, and I'm really pleased that you're this invested in the "family V-6 CJ"!  Keep us posted...

 

Moses



#13 JohnF

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 04:26 PM

Moses

 

As far as the soda blasting, I have a local blaster that comes right to my house and does it. Used him for the truck restore. Welding I have a gas less mig welder using flux core wire which can be challenging on thin metal due to the higher heat. I would like your opinion on using panel adhesive rather than welding ? as new cars are mostly put together this way now.

 

I will post every step when I do the tub but right now the focus will be to get the chassis ready.



#14 Moses Ludel

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 07:34 PM

Soda blasting is so much more environmentally friendly!  Good to have a service come to the house.

 

As for panel welding, silicon bronze filler has become popular, it's acceptable for body sheet metal, and the melting point is considerably lower than wires like ER70-S2 or -S6.  Body shops have switched to silicon bronze because of the lower melting point.  I've played with this filler recently using 1/16" rod and TIG process.  It works well and like any other filler. 

 

Some regard this as a "brazing" rod, though to me the finish and heat at the weld seemed similar to welding filler, maybe more confined and with a smaller heat affected zone (HAZ).  I could not get the wire to "braze" in the traditional brazing/wetting sense, it quickly fused like a weld in the process.  Tensile is not as high as ER70; however, the elongation and ductility is very good, making this a good choice for flexing sheet metal. 

 

The lower melting point of silicon bronze helps with minimizing distortion if you choose to weld.  USA Weld has 0.030" wire with flux core.  If you'd like to see the product, here is a link: http://www.usaweld.c...ire-p/58230.htm.  Ask your local body shop what they think of silicon bronze versus other welding fillers.  If you do try it, practice a bit first on some clean scraps or "coupons" of sheet metal, approximately the thickness of the Jeep tub's body panels.

 

As for the adhesive approach, I've had no experience with its use.  I'm "old school" and skeptical of adding one more type of chemistry to mix with the primer/sealer, paint and clear coat options.  You want to use a "system" of products that are chemically compatible if you go down this road.  There are also lapping crimp tools with this process.  The panels join at a step or ledge, right?

 

Sounds like fun, JohnF!

 

Moses





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