Part 3 of 3: Now the body work… yuk.
I started sanding the areas where the stripes had been and found some bondo in the fenders and in front of both door openings along the bottom behind the cowl supports. I ground it all out, cut out the rust, and replaced the sheet metal. Replaced the bottoms of both cowl supports with new pieces. Had to knock out a few dents and dings. Also found many of the mounting points for items like reflectors that dad had covered over during his de-militarization of the Jeep. It was fun finding all these original mounting locations and seeing that they fit the new parts perfectly. Then more sanding……and more sanding…….and priming….and sanding….whewww….
I found a few original markings under the hood which was cool.
Then on to paint. I rigged up a “redneck paint booth” in my shop using cable and tarps to make about a 15’ x 20’ paint area. I used an exhaust fan with a furnace filter for ventilation. During this time I also changed out the old 8’ T12 fluorescent lamps in my shop over to LED’s which was a HUGE improvement in lighting. I had saved all the brown paper that was used in the countless boxes of parts that were delivered and used it as masking for the paint and later the stenciling.
I painted the fenders, hood, grill, dash and windshield frame separate from the body. Also made a “tree” to hang small parts in my booth. I used 24087 semi-gloss OD paint from Kaiser for the body and engine. I bought two gallons of paint (and mixed per directions using Xylene as a thinner) and around 6 rattle cans….which came in VERY handy. I had used a bazillion rattle cans working on projects over the years but this was my first time with a “real” paint gun. I watched hours of YouTube videos on paint prep and painting techniques. I bought a proper respirator and a Tyvek suit and we were ready for action. I must say my first time in the booth was a stressful but successful experience. I was painting in cold weather and used a propane heater to warm the booth and whatever I was painting. I then used an electric “radiator” type heater in the booth to keep it a little warmer for a while to help the paint dry. I think she turned out pretty good for a rookie.
Me and my lovely wife Michelle then tackled putting the windshield glass back in the frame using a new gasket. We put the frame on the dinning room table and after much stress and strain…and soapy water with numerous wooden popsicle sticks and small plastic bondo spreaders….success!!!!! We worked each piece from the sides to the center. What a pain.
Lastly….the stenciling. This was actually easier than I thought it would be. I read the instructions from the vendor (I really did!!!), and took my time to carefully measure all my centerlines and distances to ensure everything was straight. The only Maalox moment of the stenciling was the big star on the hood. Once again, my lovely wife helped out with this. Getting the lines straight over the curves in the hood without making wrinkles was a challenge, and her patience along with some blue painters tape helped make the big star a success. I also stenciled a tribute to my late dad under the door opening on the passenger side. She will always be his jeep.
The replica M2HB in the back was the cherry on top. It came from Shane at Hoosier Hot-Shots and is mounted in an original M23 cradle with an ammo box holder. The detail is great and it definitely gets lots of looks when cruising around.
The project took me about 13 months which doesn’t sound like very long. But she was my obsession during this time (as most of my projects are) and most every Saturday and Sunday were spent in the shop. There were countless hours cleaning parts and running them through the wire brush before paint. And then the sanding…..
Lots of details and projects within projects. But this was without a doubt the most satisfying project I have done.
Go to Keith Spillman’s photo album on the blog to see all of the restoration photos!
Kaiser Willys Jeep Life – Keith Spillman
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