View Full Version : 1952 Willys Wagon - My first bodywork -
This is my first bodywork. Really it's my first work anywhere. I haven't welded since shop class in high school about 11 or 12 years ago. I just bought a Millermatic 210, wired my garage, and started welding.
I bought this Willys on Ebay and then went to Utah and drove it home to Northern California. It has a Chevy 400 under the hood and plenty of holes and rust. Reviving this old thing should give me plenty of practice.
The pictures that I'm posting right now are shots of some of the work that I'm doing.
Here's some holes left from emblems and trim that have long since been removed. Some holes were actually drilled and somebody mounted some Chevy logos. I took these off so as not to confuse the DMV. They had a hard enough time trying to figure out was this vehicle is anyways.
Here's a wider shot of the same thing
Here's a close-up of one of the holes after I scraped and ground through layers of old paint. I'm sure there are plenty of better ways of doing what I am trying to do and I guess I'll figure it out with time, practice, and experience. First I used some paint remover and scraped through a layer at a time and then I got impatient and started grinding. I also used a wire wheel.
Here's another hole that I cleaned up. I cleaned up a whole side after I welded up the first hole.
Here's the side that I plugged, ground and hit with primer. I need to bust out the hammer and dolly on this because of minor warpage. I'll need to figure out the exact timing to minimize warpage. I don't think it's too bad, considering this is the first time I've ever welded sheet metal. The warp doesn't come out and hit you in the eye but when you run your hand over it, you can feel it a bit.
I smoothed it down after welding to get it as right as I could. I know, I should have taken some pictures before I hit it with the primer. At least I have plenty of holes left to take pictures of.
I filled these holes by using a steel rivet and put it through a steel washer. Then I pushed the rivet through the hole from the inside and tacked it. That way I had something to weld to. I think it worked out pretty well. Once it all got hot and melted, the rivet and washer became part of the wagon.
Here's a wider shot so you can see the vehicle that you are looking at. As you can see from the driveway, the body isn't the only thing that needs work...
And another wide shot. Here you can see the actual work area on the hood that is painted black.
I noticed that these links were in the first post. I wanted the pics to be inline but don't have a photo site yet. So I just opened them up and grabbed the links to put inline. Don't bother clicking them...it's just the same stuff that is above.
10-26-2005, 08:41 AM
The body looks great! Usually these things are rust buckets. THis is very good example. Is it pretty original?
It does look pretty good. There are some dents and some rust, but overall it's not bad. The body looks to be mostly original. I think the oak strips that run the length of the cargo area are original. The running gear has pretty much all been replaced with Chevrolet parts.
There are some areas that have been covered with bondo and painted. I do see some areas where it looks like rust is showing itself from under the paint so it looks like I'll be making and welding in some patch panels.
10-26-2005, 01:15 PM
I guess when I said "original" I meant body. I figured most of the running gear was chevy since you mentioned the 400. That's a pretty common conversion for lots of old trucks of any make (350+chevy front end)...Mostly folks do that to get common parts, 4x4, and front disk brakes. I'm sure this will be a head-turner when you are done.
I see what you mean. Yes, I believe that the body is all original. When i was scraping through the layers of paint, I actually got down to what I believe is the original color (i think it was Navajo Red...or something like it) and I saw the outline from where the original Willys 4x4 emblems were.
The leaf springs look to be original too...badly worn and they look awfully funny sitting on top of the Chevy gear because they are so small. I looked up the VIN and this wagon was originally a 4 cyl engine.
I'll post some more pictures as I progress and I'll show some of the steps that i've been using in case anyone else wants to give it a shot.
10-26-2005, 04:26 PM
Yeah, what were they thinking...4 cylinders...They didnt deserve to make a truck this cool and just put 4 pistons in it. A fellow I used to go to school with had one of these with a 4-banger and a 2wd automatic. It ran, but...4 cylinders. A big straight 6 and 4-wheel drive should have been the minumum allowed by law, and that should have only been for hardship cases.
Seems like those leaf springs are cross referenced with a more common truck from later years, like an international or a dodge or something of that persuasion. Parts stores probably wont even list this truck for many things. My dad used to have a studebaker truck that was hard to get parts for. Lots of stuff was cross referenced with IH trucks and tractors. To maintain it you had to be a parts specialist.
keep them progress pictures comming.
Here's pictures of the steps that I took today while working on the other side of the hood.
Sanded paint down to metal
I used a rivet and washer. I put the washer on the longer side. I tried it the other way but it didn't work out as well.
Then I put the long end of the rivet through the hole in the panel and pulled it so the washer is right up on the hole.
I tacked it in place and then filled it out with a few more tack style welds. After that, I hit it with a grinder. I got it as level as I could with the grinder and then the low spots showed themselves. I filled the low spots a bit more with welds and grinded again until the low spots were gone.
11-25-2005, 07:29 PM
I know I am a bit late here but just wanted to say that it looks great! Can't even tell nothing was there. A lot of people just bondo over holes and later on wonder why they can see where the trim holes are.... Good tip with the washer and the nail...
12-15-2005, 04:16 PM
A couple of things that might help. You can use a peice of copper behind the hole when your welding, sucks up the heat, and makes it easy to fill in the hole. One issue with the washer, or putting a peice of metal behind the hole is it will become a trap for future rust unless you weld up the edge of the washer on the backside. Before you grind off the old paint, make sure you clean the surface very well, soap and water, then chemical cleaner. You will just gind in any garbage laying on the surface. This can cause you all kinds of problems later when painting. Get a body file, and after you fill in the holes, file the surface flat. You will always have some low spots. A good way to see them is to just spray a little black on before you file, make it like splater, then file, and the low spots will jump out at you. You can then use a hammer and dolly, or filler to make it flat. If your going for good body work, before you apply filler, put a coat of acid ecthing primer on the bare metal. Then your filler, sand and file, then epoxy primer over that. This will give you a good seal, and not cause paint issues in the future, and rust will never get under your filler.. Unless you use epoxy primer, talc base primer will atract moisture, and here we go again. Body work is a pain, but it can be fun and very rewarding.
Thanks for the post. That is very helpful information. I will try all of that. I have been having to finish the welds on the back side so that tip will help save a lot of time.
01-11-2006, 04:00 PM
01-22-2006, 11:03 PM
10-21-2006, 09:57 AM
This thread brought back alot of memories. Dad had a '55 Willy's pickup. He bought from a gas station when I was a little kid. It was white with Esso stickers on the doors and a "Down with Miniskirts" bumper sticker on the back of the cab. All the neighborhood kids would wait on the corner about a block from my house waiting for my Dad to come home from work and get a ride back home in the bed of the truck (can't do that anymore, around here anyway). Eventually the motor went on the truck and Dad got rid of it. Someday I would like to find one like it, I just haven't been able to find one I could afford or isn't a total basket case. Oh well, thanks for the memories!
10-24-2006, 05:44 AM
They are a great old truck,,very rare in Ozz,,although there are a couple getting around.
10-25-2006, 08:48 PM
beautiful truck, jdd. this is one of my first posts, but your thread warrants it. your plugs look great, and i appreciate you taking the time to post the pics and the write-up. i am about to start my first welding ever -- on my '75 bronco. your thread finally pushed me to go for it. thanks.
10-26-2006, 04:13 PM
My father's first car was a '51 Willys Wagon -- 2WD with a four cylinder. He drove it solo in a move from New York to California, and later took the family on vacation north to Big Sur and back. So, nothing wrong with the four, so far as durability. Years later, my brother owned a '53 with a 2WD/6 cyl set-up. Closest I got was a Jeep cherokee loaner earlier this year when my car was in the shop.
11-15-2006, 10:18 PM
I have a 1950 willy jeepster with the 6cyl 161 engine. My Parents bought it in 1951.
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