August 24, 2019, 05:03:50 pm


Your new home for car and truck enthusiast to share, learn, and brag.

Willyreplica from the start...

Started by workgoats, July 26, 2012, 06:16:20 pm

Previous topic - Next topic


July 26, 2012, 06:16:20 pm Last Edit: November 22, 2012, 03:13:27 am by workgoats
I tend to want something different.  So...

I started with a fairly good looking 89 Cherokee.  The engine was toast.  We bought it for the transmission which was transplanted into my daughter's 88.

I built one of those fancy devices to rotate a vehicle around so you could easily work on the bottom.

When I got through cutting on the XJ, this is what I ended up with.

I built the beginning of the frame with 2x3 tubing.  There will later be a 2x2 tubing frame member that the floor is bolted to.

The engine is a 318 that was removed from a running Ramcharger to make room for a Magnum 360.  The transmission is a 904 built from a 2x Ramcharger front case and the balance from a 80's Eagle SX-4.

The transfer is a NP242 from the 89 Cherokee.  The input gear had the wrong spline count for the Eagle transmission but Novak people provided the right one.

I did a final square up on the frame and welded a piece of 1/8" plate above the rear axle and the shock mounts to hold it where it belonged.

I had in mind what I wanted it to look like.  The plan is to get a Texas title for a Willys replica.  I went as far as putting up a concept drawing and lined out a plan for the grille.

After the frame was established, I centered my time on fabrication of the grille.  I planned it to look like a 1948 +/- Willys but I changed the number of vertical bars.

I first thought it would sit on top of the front cross member but it was too high.  I was too hard headed to redesign so I modified it a little and mounted it 6" lower.

I found headlight buckets in a couple of old Dodge pickups.  One came from a 1953 3/4 ton stake bed and the other from a 1955 half ton pickup.

The vertical bars are light weight 1" square tubing.  Modifications to the grille continued.  Part of the front fenders are welded to the grille and bolted to the remainder of the fender, allowing removal of the front end (for when I install a bigger engine).

The parking lights came from  That is the same source I used for the CJ instrument panel that I bought.

The radiator was purchased from Speedway and it was a tight fit.  I will next post info about the completion of the grille and installation of the radiator.


July 26, 2012, 06:20:09 pm #1 Last Edit: November 22, 2012, 03:13:53 am by workgoats
The grille wasn't sturdy enough at first.  When I added the fender extensions it helped a little.  After the fenders were built, I filled in the inner fenders and added some structure to the back of the grille assembly.

The radiator had to go so far up in the grille assembly that I had to make a little door for access to the radiator cap.

I built a base for the battery...

...and hooked up the power steering.

The seats are several inches rear of normal location for a XJ.  The steering shaft was completed using a 1996 Dodge 1500 steering shaft, a pillar bearing and half of a Cherokee shaft.  The pillar bearing was attached to the inner fender to help provide clearance around the exhaust manifold on the 318.

The bearing and a u-joint are prety close to the exhaust manifold.  I plan on placing a heat shield between them before it hits the road.

I had been busy, the plant was shut down, and I had lots of time but no income...

With the flat floor, the shifter  needs to be raised up to reach it.  I started here with a surplus electrical enclosure panel.  The entire truck is made from these.  I measured and marked the pieces for the shifter base.

I cut the pieces out, using my soon to be history Harbor Freight grinder.  (It has really lasted a while.)

In order to get the mig welder to weld decent, the paint has to be removed from the immediate area of the welds.  I removed it with another Harbor Freight grinder and a sander wheel.

Nick was there and he helped align the pieces.  My welding looked like this.

After it was dressed up (welds ground smooth) the shifter was bolted to the top and it was welded to the floor panel.  I left it at this point and will come back in a day or two to hook the other end up to the transmission.

To show that I am really working on it, here is where I stopped tonight on the dash.  I have some stuff to do tomorrow to help the other half out, but with any luck at all, the gauges and speedometer will all be mounted and dash wiring started.


I managed to get it outside for the first time on April 14th. (I had started about the first of February.) 

It may not look like much has been done, but I have been working on it.  I had to remove the floor and add bracing for the seats when I determined where they would sit.  I've also spent a bunch of time on wiring.

There is still a bunch of grinding to do.  I don't even want to think about painting.

It won't be long before all the wiring is ready for startup.  I'm working on stuff behind the dash now.

The dash is in place and a bunch of wiring has been done since these pics were taken.

I really need to get something in the back to hold the rear axle down.  (gas tank, roll cage,  spare rack,  tool box,  rear bumper, hitch...)

The following pictures were taken on April 19th.  Moving along at a regular pace.

Theses pics were taken on April 29th.  I had been working on the shifters and transmission cooling lines.  I added some on the roll bar.  Thought was, "One more cross piece toward the back and I will call it quits before Ram Jam."


July 26, 2012, 06:43:56 pm #3 Last Edit: November 22, 2012, 03:16:56 am by workgoats
It doesn't look much different from previous pictures but I had done a lot.  I managed to drive it out of the garage on May 18th and turned it around.  It went forwards and backwards.

I found that the one wheel cylinder that I elected not to replace will still get to be replaced.  Should have done it to start with.

I had a transmission pan leak.  The pan was damaged and a new one was scheduled to be delivered the next day.

I had removed the back seats from the red truck to have room for Ram Jam stuff and will be installing the seat belts from them for Ram Jam.  I have another set coming to replace the borrowed ones.

I have also installed a compressor for on board air but it doesn't have any oil in it so it will just serve as an idler for the alternator belts.  Also, there isn't a tank yet.  I have the idea that it could be used with a portable tank plugged into the quick connect fitting.

And YES, it needs larger tires and doors and a hood.  It will get them all some day.

On May 25th the build hit a snag.  After replacing the front axle u-joints I went to turn the thing around and work on the back bumper.  The transmission blew up before I could get it out of the garage.  This ended the possibility of making it to Ram Jam with the Jeep.  And by this time I considered it a Jeep, a Dodge powered Jeep.

After Ram Jam I started tearing down the rig to replace the broken transmission.  Here is what I found when I removed the floor.

It does certainly appear that the malfunction is in the transmission...

A recap:  This transmission was a 904.  The case is from a mid-80s 2x RC.  The innards are from an 82 or 84 Jeep Eagle SX-4.  I put it together years ago for a project that got cancelled.

I set out to put this on a 318 and to install a 242 transfer out of a Cherokee.  The Jeep transfer had the wrong spline count to match the transmission and I changed the input gear to match the spline count on the tranny.

Here are the comparisons between the 904 and the 727.  There is not much length difference in the transmissions themselves, but the adapters are quite a bit different.

I found parts of the governor in the driveway and felt that was what cratered.  Here is what it looked like when I pulled the adapter off the end of the 904.

I think this cratered because I did not check the differences between the Jeep parts and the Dodge parts.

Here is the adapter end of the Jeep transmission, followed by the end of the Dodge transmission.

There is a big difference between the distances.  The Jeep adapter is much shorter and has a seal after the governor.  The Dodge is over 2 inches deeper and does not have a seal. 

The input gear that I installed in the transfer case had the right spline count but may have been too long.  The parts of the governor did not show any contact with the gear and there are no scratches on the gear but it might have had something to do with it.

Here are pics of a 208 and the 242 after I have installed the new gear.  There is a bunch of difference but I do not have the transfer that originally came on the Jeep transmission so I don't know what it looked like.

It appears to me that the 242 will fit on the Dodge adapter without any conflicts.  The spline count is correct and the bolt pattern is the same but I will be measuring for interior clearance at least 4 times before I put the two together. ???


The 904 transmission is now replaced with a 727.  The adapter is much longer and ended up raising the transmission and transfer about an inch.  The transmission is larger in the bellhousing area too. So, I ended up removing flooring and structure as well.

Here's what it looked like when I got ready to start back with the floor.

I have already spent at least a day rebuilding the transmission shifter.  I am using the shifter from the 89 Cherokee.  I had to approach the transmission from the wrong direction but it didn't make a lot of difference because the Jeep transmission (4 speed) and the 727 have different throw lengths and it would have taken a bell crank of some sort even if I wasn't changing direction.

Following is a bunch of pics showing the transformation from open floor to the most elaborate transmission hump you can imagine.  Sorry for all the pics but it shows my limited mind....

There is one little space against the firewall that will eventually need a little backing as I cut out too much when I enlarged the hole for the transmission.

By the way, I don't need any comments on my tack welds...


They have been making fun of me and my vehicles on RCC.  Maybe I should buy myself some more goats....

I picked the color for the rig today and will try to upload a pic.  Our internet is having problems so it might not make it.


that is pretty cool. i like that color of blue.


So, to cure the motor mount / differential top control arm contact, I decided to raise the front a little and make it stiffer.

You will have to pardon the pic quality in these.

Here is the before pic with the suspension all the way down.

SixGun helped me secure a set of springs from a Grand Cherokee with a V-8.  We don't really know if these are stock springs or not.  They are stiffer than I expected.  Here is a pic of one of the original springs and one of the replacements from the Grand Cherokee.

The springs may be a little larger in diameter but they do have an additional coil in the save distance.

I had a fear the height was not enough so I decided to add an inch of spacer.  I found a guy who had done this before and I did something similar, starting with a couple of cutting blocks bought from the grocery store.

The center holes were drilled out with a hole saw and the outside cut with a jig saw.  The circle drawn in between is the amount that has to be beveled out to fit the spring tower.  I beveled it out with a dremel tool.  It was down and dirty.  I may never get all the plastic stuff out of the garage.

Here is what it looked like when I got it all back together. 

Total lift at the front was 2 1/2 inches.  That was actually what I was hoping for.  After getting it back out on the street, I have decided not to lift the back now.  I like the way it sits now.

I don't know about the function of the front sway bar.  I have custom mounted it to both clear and protect the bottom of the radiator.  Both links sheared when I took it loose so I have rebuilt the links and lengthened them a little.

I also added a 2" extension to the bump stop to be sure the axle does not make contact with the motor mount.  I made that with 2" pieces of tubing and a washer welded to each end.  One has a nut welded inside and the other has a bolt.  I screwed the extra two inches in and then screwed the original bump stop into the extension.

You can see the extension in the after picture.  I drove it over some dips in our street but it hasn't had a real test.  I have a tow bar on it today and this afternoon I will take it to where I work.  We have a driveway about a half mile long and I intend to drive it back in forth long enough to see how the radiator holds up.  We also have a couple of gullies and I might see what it will do off the road a little.


1935 Dodge KC Truck
1991 &1993 RamCharger
2000 RamCharger
2005 Cummins


Quote from: rjtx667 on September 09, 2012, 11:16:51 am
what color blue is that? I like it.

I don't remember but I will look it up.  The more I think about colors, the more I like olive drab.... :dontknow:


Quote from: workgoats on September 09, 2012, 11:32:51 am
I don't remember but I will look it up.  The more I think about colors, the more I like olive drab.... :dontknow:

:PDT_Armataz_01_37:  Olive Drab and Willys naturally go together.
"You may all go to Hell and I will go to Texas" - Davy Crocket


I have installed a tow bar in order to haul the project out to where I can do a little test driving.  I will design some "D" links that will attach to the tow points for extraction (although it shouldn't be needed).

I have basically finished the structure for the hood.  It is hinged from the left fender.  I expect to skin it later this week with a fiberglass panel and pop rivets.  It can be re-skinned with sheet metal later if needed.

I still have a lot of grinding to do, especially around the window frame.  I have to have the front driveshaft rebuilt and a windshield installed.  I WILL be ready for Hidden Falls in October.


This thing is awsome. :thumbsup:   great job.


I have begun work on the doors and the hood again.  Here is what the door opening looked like before I started.

The doors will be framed with light weight 2" square tubing.  I will also put a 3/4" square tube around the sides and bottom to allow for a lip to seal against another 3/4" tubing attached inside the opening.

With the 3/4" tubing tacked around the sides and bottom, I installed spacers and clamped the pieces in place to be tack welded and then removed to be welded up.

I have temporarily skinned the door with fiberglass (FRP) panel and installed the tubing in the door opening.  I have attached hinges as well but have a clearance problem with the steering wheel.  I made the body so narrow that the steering wheel is  too close to the door.

I think I can solve that problem but it won't happen till tomorrow.  I will post pictures on that too.  (when I remember to take them)

I took a sheet of the FRP and cut it closer to size for the hood skin.

If you are not familiar with the term FRP, it is a fiberglass panel used in bathrooms and many commercial kitchens.  It is 1/16" thick and textured on the front.  I have turned the textured side inside and using the flat, back side for the skin on the hood.

After installing enough rivets to insure the clearances would not change on the hood, I pulled the hood and began to work from the center toward the edges.

I managed to get one side basically completed and rough trimmed to the framework before I had to call it a day.  Hopefully I can get back on both of these project areas tomorrow.


1935 Dodge KC Truck
1991 &1993 RamCharger
2000 RamCharger
2005 Cummins