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About uglydukwling

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  1. From your list of improvements, it sounds like everything except the frame should be replaced, and maybe the frame should be, too. By the time you've done all that and made the components work with each other, it might be easier to take a chassis that already works and try to make it fit the body. Either way, maybe it's more trouble than it's worth. Still, I might be inclined to try one or the other, especially if I can follow a plan that has already worked, so I can just do the fabrication without having to do the design, too. The devil is always in the details. I've seen too many projects abandoned because there were a lot more problems than an overview suggested. In fact, I've bought a few of them, but only to strip parts. I've never been very tempted to finish one. I figure, by the time somebody gives up, he's had time to become familiar with it, and he knows a lot more about why it won't work than I do. I said that the wagons I have are restorable, not that they're perfect. They all need some floor work, though in general the part that shows is pretty good. Interestingly the one with the best (almost intact) floor has a small rust hole in the roof. You just can't win. Somehow, the front clips seem to survive in near perfect shape, though. I'm a fan of c-rail frames, by the way. Because they're a less stiff section than a box, they have to be made thicker to achieve the same stiffness. This helps to postpone the eventual rusting. Also, because they're open, rain, mud, rotting leaves and insect nests tend to fall off rather than hiding inside a box-section and keeping it wet and acidic. I suppose it would be possible to make a sealed box frame (are any of the newer ones air-tight?), but I haven't seen one. Crud always seems to find its way inside.
  2. I suppose I could write to the Underground, or Chrysler public relations, and find out if the wagon is scheduled to appear in any shows this summer. I'm only about an hour from Detroit. The '64 is too good to use as the basis for a project, but I have 3 other wagons from the '50's with restorable bodies. I'm not sure what years the titles call them. By the time they get to this age, they're usually a mixture of parts, anyway. Even the '64 has a 2-piece windshield, for example. If I use an old-school chassis, I had considered the IH Scout. The wheelbase is 4" too short, but I have several Scouts, so I could splice 2 ,and use an extra 4" of one chassis, or shorten a Traveller. Apart from the fact that I already have them, the Scout has a lot going for it. Dana 44 axles with a decent ratio and exactly the right track, an indestructible engine, front disc brakes, tandem master cylinder, power steering, and even the right wheel bolt pattern. One of the scouts is an '80, and IH supposedly solved the squirrelly handling in the last year of production. Also, no electronics. And, to keep everything unusual, one of my engines is a 196 slant 4 on natural gas. Several people have done this swap, but from their build threads, it's hard to tell how much they had to modify, and how much they did because they just liked to tinker. The only one I've seen up close had so many modifications and so much body lift that it was impossible to tell how it would have fit if he had just tried to put the body on the chassis. You may yet end up talking me into modernizing an original chassis, especially if you have a list of modifications that have already been done, and worked for somebody else. One of my wagons has an overdrive and a front pto winch, a rare combination that would be kind of cool to retain. It also has a small-block Chevy already installed. The engine is seized, but installing another one would be a drop-in at this stage. The V-8 always seemed like overkill to me, but a 153 should bolt up to the same adapter. It looks like an ideal engine for this vehicle, if it wasn't so hard to find. The 230/250 would also bolt up and they're a dime a dozen, but I've heard conflicting opinions about whether it's too long. Ah well, thinking about the possibilities gives me something to do while it's too cold to work. And when it's warm enough to work, I'll probably be too busy.
  3. Changing the body mount brackets is a given in any chassis swap, but I was hoping to not have to change too much else. I've seen too many swaps that were "easy". "All we had to do was move the engine, firewall, front and rear suspension, design a new steering linkage, cut the floor out and use a 6" body lift." The whole point of using a complete chassis is that all the expensive and frustrating design work has already been done and all the components fit the frame and each other. If I change a lot of things, I no longer have that, and I might as well try to make all the components fit my frame (At least it already fits the body.). But that always turns out to be more complicated than it sounded and there's always something that didn't quite fit. I guess I don't want this wagon badly enough to design it from scratch, or I would've already done it. The thing that caught my interest was that they made it sound so straightforward that it might actually be worth the effort. I'm not particularly committed to the Unlimited chassis either. In fact, if there's something older and less complicated that fits as well or better, I'd be even happier to use it. I was hoping to contact the Mopar Underground to see if they had kept records of the build process, but maybe that's a futile hope. If they're like most corporate types, they probably won't talk to outsiders anyway.
  4. Do you have contact information for the Mopar Underground? I'm specifically interested in their Willys wagon on a YJ chassis project. I have a stock '64 wagon daily driver. For years I've thought about building a modernized but still original-looking version so I could keep up with freeway traffic. By the time I count up all the improvements that should be done, it seems like it might be less trouble to use a complete chassis where all the parts already work with each other. I've looked at Wagoneer, Scout, S-10 and even full-size pickup conversions. They all look great until you get into the details. Then they become more trouble than they're worth. From the articles I've read in JP, Truck Trend, Popular Mechanics, etc. they make the YJ chassis sound almost like a bolt-on. But phrases like "minor trimming" and "slight tweaking" come up. The pictures of the final product look exactly like what I want, but they don't show any pictures the work in progress, specifically the interference points and what had to be cut or altered to make it fit. I suspect that their definition of "slight", and "minor" may be different from mine, since I don't have access to the Chrysler engineering department. This is something that I'd like to have, not something I have to have. I'd like more information before I dive into a project that's likely to become a career.
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