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Green Gruntt; 1954 CJ-3B Rebuild
Topic Started: Apr 14 2018, 03:11 PM (146 Views)
Rus Curtis
Member
[ *   *   *   *   *  ]
I thought it would be a good idea to finally introduce my jeep to everyone. I'm at a point now that progress can actually be measured - so I'm starting this thread.

While I was still in school, Dad and I would drive around on occasion looking for jeeps - just for fun. We had seen this jeep a couple of times and bought it on its second sighting at a local farm. I recognized it because of the embossed tape stuck to the windshield with its name, "Green Gruntt."
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It also had a full hard top (Koenig I think).

After Dad paid the farmer, I drove it home with Dad following behind. This was in 1977. It needed repairs right off. The frame needed welding around two spring hangers, the brakes were marginal and one U shackle was not connected to its spring. Immediate repairs were done and I began a long path of learning about vehicle maintenance and repair (I'm still trying to learn).

Being originally 6 volt, it really sounded like it was grunting when I pushed the starter switch - so its name really fit. However, there were multiple electrical issues that never got resolved. Looking back, IF I'd known more about how to keep a 6V system healthy, many of the regulator/generator/battery swaps could have been avoided. Out of frustration I eventually converted to 12 volts. I saw this as an upgrade back then. Once the regulator was adjusted, everything seemed to work together.

Being more drivable, this allowed me to work through many other issues. It was a long list but I managed to drive this jeep through my last two years of high school and for most of college. In college there was a short period where it sat waiting on repairs. In those early years, there was a lot of time spent learning, four wheeling and grinning.
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(ROTC cookout just before graduating)


Upon graduation, I prepped the jeep, in 1985, for long storage before leaving home for the military. I parked it up on blocks with a tarp over it not knowing how long it would sit or whether I'd be able to eventually take it with me. I spent many years overseas and in Alaska but eventually wound up in Kansas with the Air National Guard unit. There I began to think I might be able to finally haul my jeep to where I lived.

It wasn't long after moving to Kansas that I found this new website, The CJ3B Page, and learned about these Midwest Willys Reunions. Things got really interesting! The amount of available information and access to all those people AND their jeeps really changed things for me and my 3B.

In 1996, I bought a flatbed and travelled back home to get my jeep. Even though the jeep was configured to flat-tow, it had been sitting for 11 years and I felt a flatbed trailer was safer. Due to work, it sat in my Kansas garage for another two years.

I finally pulled the trigger and began a full tear-down in 1998. I then learned why so many jeep owners do their own repairs; it was very difficult to get body and frame work done but, by little bits and pieces, I did get some things done. It was during this time of reading posts on the BB and keeping tabs on as many websites as possible, I came across a Bantam Trailer in Northern Indiana in 2001 that I just had to have!

Bantam T-3C Build Thread - Cj2A Trailer Forum

This was definitely an impulse buy. I didn't have space nor the time for it, but found a storage unit near work to keep it safe and out of the weather for the time being. The initial material about the civilian trailers on The CJ3B Page helped a lot before and after the purchase.

With the 3B disassembled into pieces, I found time for the frame work and blasting and could concentrate on the mechanics.
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(Rolling frame in Kansas)

Rus Curtis
Alabama
'54 CJ-3B "Green Gruntt"
Bantam T3-C
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Rus Curtis
Member
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Locating a body shop was not easy but I found one willing to help in 2006. During this long period of time, I continued collecting parts. I wanted to stay as original as possible - thinking somehow I would be able to salvage all the body parts - but my body repair plan changed from "patch and filler" to "cut and replace" when I stumbled across a pair of NOS body panels from Pioneer Jeep Parts.
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(NOS Panels delivered to body shop and original paperwork that was still attached when they arrived. Note the seat adjustment holes on driver's side panel)


Those, coupled with multiple parts from Classic Enterprise, gave me a new body from the cowl all the way to the back of the tub.
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(Foreground new body, background original tub. On the original, notice lack of larger hole for right taillight. Originally a single taillight? NOS panels were for a later model - b/u light hole and above mentioned seat adjustment holes)

The Kansas shop I was using got as far as most welding done and a coating of primer before I needed to collect everything.
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(Original front attached to new rear-nearly finished priming. Floor welding complete. On floor panel: Left of weld-new, right of weld-original)

I was retiring and planning a move back home in 2008.
Rus Curtis
Alabama
'54 CJ-3B "Green Gruntt"
Bantam T3-C
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Rus Curtis
Member
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I moved all my jeep stuff over two trips back home to Alabama.
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It sat in storage for over a year while I found a house and added a roomy garage.
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With everything finally moved to my garage in 2010, I doubled my efforts to get momentum back on this project. In 2012, I got help from my new neighbors to pull the tub, giving me easy access so I could finish incomplete repairs to drive train, i.e. transmission, engine, leaking seals, etc.

I got the body re-blasted and delivered to a local shop to get a good primer coat before painting (they weren't ready to do anything else for me at the time). After priming complete, the body sat in the garage. I eventually found a different body shop willing to take on this stagnant project.

Rus Curtis
Alabama
'54 CJ-3B "Green Gruntt"
Bantam T3-C
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Rus Curtis
Member
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I finally got all the body work completed and painted in 2015. Life got in the way again, and I didn't set the tub on the frame until 2018 - thanks to the neighbors again!
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(Pulling everything out to make the job easier)

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(The tub resting on top of the frame)

I've got some documents and MANY pictures to reference as I go, but will still need help as I continue to put the pieces back together.
Rus Curtis
Alabama
'54 CJ-3B "Green Gruntt"
Bantam T3-C
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oldtime
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MODERATOR
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Rus, I for one find your story to be an interesting read.
Sure glad to see you have stuck with this Jeep for so very long.
Hopefully someday soon you'll be reaping the benefits again.

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bob in NC
Member
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everything looks good. tires good. looks like lots of the hard part is finished. downhill from there.
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Lawrence
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Lawrence
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Keep up the good work!

Lawrence
1955 CJ3B
Family Tradition
Decatur, AL
~~"Seen it all, done it all, can't remember most of it"~~
~~"We cannot direct the winds but we can adjust our sails"~~
http://cj3b.info/Owners/Wade.html
http://cj3b.info/Events/SEWillys2017.html
http://cj3b.info/Owners/WadeRiver.html
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Rus Curtis
Member
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Thank you everyone.

Update: So I'm waiting around for some parts to arrive and feel like I could be prepping something for an upcoming installation.

I had previously ordered a new pressure line for my oil gauge. https://walcks4wd.com/tube-oil-gauge-hard-line-1952.html

When you compare it to Lawrence's image, there's something missing.
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Where the clip goes, there's a short section of loom to protect the line. I noticed on Walck's website that the same pressure line that fits the earlier 2A/3A has this. I asked if the lines are the same length (don't laugh! I was wondering if I could use that other line instead!) and they confirmed the two lines are not the same. So instead, I figure I'll make the adjustment myself. So I ordered several sizes of loom (knowing full well I wanted to add a section of loom around the oil inlet hose for the filter as well as adding loom on other pieces down the road).

This is what I started with: 3/16" 1/4" and 1/2"
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After trying to fit the larger 1/2" on the oil hose (it didn't fit BTW), I ordered a bigger size of 5/8"

After snipping off the bottom flare on the line (about 1/4" total), I was able to slip on the grommet and the loom before the fitting and the final flare.
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Now it looks like it's supposed to and ready for installation!

Rus Curtis
Alabama
'54 CJ-3B "Green Gruntt"
Bantam T3-C
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Rus Curtis
Member
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I looked around to see what other small odd-job I could do and noticed I had a straight section of left-over brake line after forming my vacuum and fuel lines. I rummaged through a box and found the takeoff vacuum wiper line that attaches to the w/s frame - this is one of the few items I started with that were good enough to keep for a pattern!
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First I removed the hoses so I can check the length to ensure I have enough.
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Then, I get out the tube bender and got to bending....
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I now have a good rough draft to tweak once I get the w/s frame installed.

Rus Curtis
Alabama
'54 CJ-3B "Green Gruntt"
Bantam T3-C
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Rus Curtis
Member
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After securing the tub to the frame, I began laying out the wiring harness I got from Vintage Wiring of Maine (purchased in the previous decade). This wiring harness includes a few alterations I requested when ordering: 1. I had a turn signal that I was adding so all the wiring needed to be added for the turn signals. I even sent Joe the turn signal so he could add loom to its wiring harness to make it look period - back then I wasn't thinking I could do a simple job like that but he included a few things to make installation easier like a flasher bracket and a terminal block for all the wires. 2. He included a trailer plug on the jeep harness as I was also getting the wiring harness for the Bantam trailer at the same time. 3. Since I'd gotten a replacement T-90 way back in college, I noticed it had a threaded hole for a backup switch on the back of the tower. Joe added that extra wire in also - to include a wire running out the back for the back up light I hope to add later.

I had from time to time opened the box and studied the wiring harness. I'd never seen one before. When this jeep was purchased, a lot of the wiring was exposed without insulation and I used generic wire, from a local auto parts store, and a wiring diagram to connect things and rewire a few mistakes from the Previous Owner (PO). That wiring job, while not attractive, did work and kept me running through college. As I continued reading and searching, I ran across something I'd noticed on Lawrence Wade's jeep: Two clips holding the battery positive cable and the starter cable together.
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I read about them on the 2A Forum

Cj2a Forum/Parts/Electrical/Battery Cable Clips
https://www.thecj2apage.com/forums/battery-cable-clip_topic7104.html

and even won a bid on a ratty cable just to get my hands on one of those clamps.

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I picked up a couple more from Harry Sheets (Midwest Willys) in case I couldn't source a new pair. When ordering my cables, I made sure they My Webpagehad these loom sections added. This would make adding the clips later more accurate and easier.

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Clips from Harry Sheets
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Rus Curtis
Alabama
'54 CJ-3B "Green Gruntt"
Bantam T3-C
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Rus Curtis
Member
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With only the tub sitting on the frame, I started from the back with the tail light harness. I threaded the left and right tail light harness through the holes where the rear crossmember attached to the frame channels. It seemed to be the logical path.

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Rus Curtis
Alabama
'54 CJ-3B "Green Gruntt"
Bantam T3-C
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Rus Curtis
Member
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Wrong!

I had recently stumbled across a wiring diagram posted on the 2A Forum on the factory bulletin on adding the second tail light.

Link to Bulletins
https://www.thecj2apage.com/forums/service-bulletins_topic8144.html

Bulletin pic
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I thought that was specific to the older 2A model. But after receiving pics from Lawrence, I could see his harness ran across the top of the frame too.

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Rus Curtis
Alabama
'54 CJ-3B "Green Gruntt"
Bantam T3-C
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Rus Curtis
Member
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There must have been a reason. The only explanation I could come up with is to keep the path clear for the PTO driveshaft - making this perhaps a standard routing for all CJs that had a rear PTO option. I moved my wires from being routed inside the rear crossmember to above matching what I saw and it seemed to fit better.

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here's a "stitch" image of several snapshots showing the center section of the tail light harness

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Rus Curtis
Alabama
'54 CJ-3B "Green Gruntt"
Bantam T3-C
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Rus Curtis
Member
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The next segment of wiring was the lower main harness. This harness segment has wires splitting off to connect to the master cylinder brake light switch. An obvious problem was the wires and the switch both had male bullet connectors. The other problem was if I slid the harness forward (after connecting to the tail light harness and pulling forward to take up all the slack) the brake light switch wires were too far forward with no way to connect - and the front section of this wiring harness stretched too far up the firewall. If I slid this lower harness rearward (estimating the front end of the harness where the brake light switch wires would reach the master cylinder) the connection at the rear would have so much slack I could loop the wires around inside the frame channel.

More pictures and conversations with Lawrence on where his harness hookups sat
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and studying pictures from another jeep I saw at the Fall Midwest Willys Reunion in Jefferson City, Missouri

Neal Rohrke's '54
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confirmed the harness should only rise somewhere between half-way and 3/4 up the toe board gusset. This placement also seemed to position the brake light switch wires at a good place to reach the master cylinder. After unplugging in the back, and allowing the wires to lay out flat, I felt like I had a few extra inches I didn't need

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Edited by Rus Curtis, Yesterday, 7:55 PM.
Rus Curtis
Alabama
'54 CJ-3B "Green Gruntt"
Bantam T3-C
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Rus Curtis
Member
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I contacted VWM to resolve this. They said it sounded like there was a bit of extra length and offered to send me some bullet connectors if I wanted to shorten the wires at the back end. They also offered to send a pair of connectors to fix the brake light switch connectors not matching.

Switch pigtails and extra bullet connectors
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(The clips are for the fuel line - I just wanted to take a picture of them too.)

Harness ends redone
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After cutting and installing the connectors in the back, I reconnected the harnesses at the rear and really like the results!

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The wires lie against the frame without any extra bulk.

Getting in touch with Lawrence about all this led to multiple phone calls and emails with lots of pictures back and forth - images I didn't have with details specific to the harness. Notice the boots on the back of the tail lights. I hope to find some like this!

Here is left tail light connection (see previous post for right tail light connection)
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Rus Curtis
Alabama
'54 CJ-3B "Green Gruntt"
Bantam T3-C
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