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03-11-2014 11:33 AM Willys - Body and Paint
The last time I posted was over a year ago, and the Willys was on its way to the shop for bodywork and paint. This was one of the jobs I knew from the beginning that I was going to farm out to others who had the experience and equipment. I probably have a hundred or so photos of the entire process, so I'm going to compress it down quite a bit and just show some highlights.
I brought the Willys out to Tim Leiphart's Hot Rods and Restoration shop in Lewisberry, Pennsylvania for the bodywork and paint. Tim is a few hours away from me, and although I was able to travel out to his shop from time to time and lend a hand with the work, almost all of the photo credit and work belongs to him.
All of the seams on the fiberglass body were sanded down, and low spots were filled in. The curved area around the trunk lid needed some attention to make the lid and body match up. At this point, the body is still on the chassis, and will remain there until all gaps are fit up. The tilt front shell posed a lot of fit up problems and took a long time to get everything to line up. The cutout in the tilt shell is just large enough to clear the blower scoop. There is no lip around either the scoop or grille opening, just a slightly rounded edge.


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  [Entry #189]

01-22-2013 08:34 AM Willys - Out to Body and Paint
With just about all of the mechanical work finished up, I decided to have the bodywork and paint done now. The electrical and interior work will be done later on after I get the car back. So, the Willys was taken off of the lift and loaded onto the trailer for a trip to a buddyís hot rod shop for the finish bodywork and paint. Once all of the fit-up and gaps are done, Iíll pick up the chassis and bring it home. While the body is being painted, I can dis-assemble everything and send the frame and some of the chassis parts out to be powder coated. If all goes well, the chassis will be finished and re-assembled in time for the body to go back on for the final time.


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  [Entry #188]

01-22-2013 08:04 AM Willys - Door Latch Solenoids
The latch was removed from the door in order to attach the solenoid cable to it by looping the cable through the latch arm and securing the cable with a crimp sleeve. The solenoid itself is attached to a thin steel plate, making it easier to assemble/disassemble the unit as needed. The third photo shows the entire assembly mocked up. The solenoid actually fits inside the door; this photo used the solenoid from the opposite door in order to show how everything fits up.
Once I assembled everything, I found out that it was difficult to adjust the cable for the proper length at the solenoid end. I ended up cutting another access hole in the door just so I could get at the clamp that adjusts the cable length. The cable needs to be adjusted so that the stroke of the solenoid is just enough to unlatch the door and have a little free travel left over. The last photo shows the completed layout of the solenoid/latch mechanism.


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  [Entry #187]

01-22-2013 08:01 AM Willys - Door Latch Solenoids
The Willys will not have any external door handles, but will be opened by solenoids in the doors to operate the latches. In order to install the solenoids, some access openings needed to be cut in the inside panel of each door. The solenoid actuates the door latch by using a flexible steel cable, and since it couldnít be put in a straight line with the latch, a pulley needed to be used between it and the latch.
Once I decided on the location of the solenoid inside the door where it wouldnít interfere with the window opening and closing, I picked an intermediate point between the solenoid and the latch to mount the cable pulley. Using a hole saw, the opening for the pulley was cut out. Similarly, the opening for the solenoid was marked and cut out. The pulley was attached to the inside door panel with a small bracket using flush mounted rivnuts and machine screws through the fiberglass.


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  [Entry #186]

01-22-2013 07:00 AM Willys - Headlights
The headlights for the Willys are stock repop parts for a í41. A template was supplied to provide the proper cutout in the fiberglass. The headlight bucket mounts from inside the fender area with short through-bolts, and then the lens and bezel mount from the outside, sandwiching the fiberglass shell in between.
These units have been updated to include a halogen bulb and a separate turn signal bulb. The quality of these parts is mediocre at best. I donít know if the original Willys parts, especially the bezel were made out of pot metal or not, but these are and the casting/finishing quality isnít that great. If I ever find better units, Iíll replace them.


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  [Entry #185]

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