Body Work Part 2



One of the old rear body mounts was broken, so I replaced it with this good replica from Classic Enterprises.  Here it is tack welded in place.

To install the hat channel, I use the drill press to drill the almost 50 holes for the tack welds.

Here is the final installation of the passenger side bracing.  Once sanded and painted, the hat channel should look original.

Next I move to the repair of the drivers side floor.  I first start by tracing around the hat channel.  I want the sections of floor that I replace to be hidden by the new hat channel once installed.

Here are the holes and the replacement panels.

And the new panels welded in before the final grinding to be smooth.

Here I made sure to prime the inside of the hat channel to try to prolong its life.

Here is a shot of the original hat channel and wood reinforcement.

After a shot of primer under the new hat channel, they were spot welded in place.

Here are the reproduction front bow pockets I got from D&L Bensinger.  My only complaint on these was they they did not have the finish piece shown tack welded on the left bracket, and before installation on the right.  I fabricated my own out of 16ga steel.

Here is the new 1/4 panel brace I fabricated out of 16ga steel.  It's welded in the exact same spots as the one that was taken out.

This is the toolbox freshly spot welded in.  I will grind and smooth the welds and it will be good as new!

Holes for the tack welds were drilled in the new rear bow brackets, then they were held in place with a clamp for welding.

After being welded on, the welds were ground smooth.

One thing to note on both the rear and fenderwell top bow brackets, they were made in the Philippines out of VERY cheap steel.  This was very apparent when I welded them on!

Nearly every Willys flatfender I have restored has had this same crack on the cowl just above the hood hinge mounting holes.  My cowl also had a hole drilled in it that was filled with putty.  The cowl was cleaned to bare metal, and the hole was pounded flat.

Next, the crack that ran the length of the hood hinge portion of the cowl was welded along with the hole, then both areas were ground smooth, followed by a sanding with 60 grit sandpaper.

The hole on the left is for the pushrod starter and had been elongated from years of use.  The hole on the right is for the original pushrod starter, which will be welded closed for now.

The smaller holes were welded shut, then this plug was fitted out of 16ga steel.

The pushrod hole was reinforced with a washer and smoothed out.  After a skim coat of bondo, it will not be noticeable, but will be 10x stronger.  The patched hole is no longer visible on the right side (compare to above).

I hate creating extra work, but since I am investing all this time and money in this restoration, I wanted to do things right.    The black lines are my guide lines for replacing this section of the tail light panel.  You can see the rot behind the rear body mount and the few extra holes.

Sorry, but no real suspense.  Here is the new panel welded in.

Here are a few nasty dings in the left rear corner.....

...A little heat and some shaping with a hammer and dolly...

...and voila!  Actually it's hard to tell in the photo, but the dents are gone.

Passenger side tail light holes.  A trick I use is to cut out the section with a hole saw (in this case 2 1/2"), then cut the same size plug out of good sheet metal.

Stitch weld it in place.....

...And grind and polish it smooth.

Next up for repair was this toolbox hinge.  Only one side was beyond repair, but for uniformity, I replaced both hinges.

Here is the new hinge installed.  It's important to simulate the spot weld, so the holes are not totally filled while welding.

Well, I am nearing the end of the bodywork (FINALLY!!!!). All the welding is done.  Now I will use a wire wheel to remove rust, and use the hammer and dolly to straighten the dings.  Then it will be primered before body filler goes on.

I use a wire wheel to remove as much of the rust and dirt as possible before sanding.

After and initial sanding, I shoot the body in a coat of primer before the body work can begin.


Even underside of the body will get attention.

Little areas that need attention get a skim coat of bondo and sanded smooth.  Almost all of these areas are where holes were filled or patches made.

Since the tailgate hinges are painted body color, I primered all the hardware, then install them for the final shot of primer.

After a good mechanical sanding and finishing up with a good hand sanding with fine grit sanding blocks, it was time for the final coat of primer.

Next up, I move on to prepping the other body parts.  Most people would throw this fender away.  It has a nasty dent and a hole cut in the inner fenderwell.

With a little heat and a hammer and dolly....

The dent comes right out. This will need some finish work, but it is now salvageable.

Here is the hole in the inner fenderwell. 

After some creative metal work and welding, the fender is as good as new!

The glass gets pulled from the windshield frame and the extra holes are welded up.

Here a the parts awaiting sanding and prep for paint.  It's nice to have all original sheetmetal.

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