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M151 restoration

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kmw
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M151 restoration

Postby kmw » Fri May 05, 2006 8:30 am

Alrighty, I've been looking at salt6's M151 restore...unfortunately he asked for comments on my experience rebuilding rusted out unibody vehicles....so here goes.

This ain't so bad. I've got a good friend who professionally restores classic sports cars. I've seen him rebuild a Jag E-type that was literally rusted in half!

First off -- unlike guns folks don't tend to store old vehicles by covering them with cosmoline. Don't I wish! Get rid of ALL of the rust. Grind, blast, wire brush, chemical, whatever you can do to make it go away. There's always more there than you think, and you can't weld to it. And it's like cancer; survivable but you've got to get rid of all of it. It's so much better to remove a little bit of "good metal" (that may only be half as thick as it was from the factory) than to keep it in and a year later see rust bubbling up from something you "fixed". The tin worm is an aggressive little beast, and it takes aggressive action to kill it. Some folks in the British car crowd use a product called Waxoyl that you spray inside the frame rails. It's exactly what the name implies, a waxy-oily product that creeps into all of the crevices and keeps moisture out.

The floors, battery box, and rust hole here and there in the fenders -- that's no big deal. What I'd want to do first is to clean those chassis members and get them welded up. Do you have a sheet metal brake? That'll be handy. You may be able to buy the original channels, but being able to bend your own will help in situations like http://www.panzer46.net/m151a1/DSC02220.JPG shows. You can make a U shaped bit that will fit inside that rusted rail, weld it in, and go from there. While this kind of construction is called "unibody", it still has a frame. It's just that the frame is welded to and gains a lot of strength from the body panels.

Check out a company called Eastwood. Many of the goods they offer are overpriced and available elsewhere, but they do carry a number of high quality top of the line supplies you may not be able to find at the local car parts place. Plus you can get an idea of some nifty little restoration tools and tricks. The seam sealers they carry are top notch. I seam seal all of my underside and exposed welds. You may have noticed a weakness of this type of construction, it looks like the mutt was originally spot welded. Rot will set in between the spot welds where the panels overlap. I've removed a number of floors from vehicles like this with nothing more than a chisel and a sledge -- the spot weld area was that rusted. I prefer to seam weld the floors in, and then use the paintable seam sealer. After you get the seam sealer on, dip your finger in some solvent and you can make a really nice smoothed surface without making a mess of everything.

Pick up a set of body hammers and dollies. Even the best replacement panels you buy won't fit right -- they probably weren't made on the original tooling, and if they were that's some _old_ tooling, plus your vehicle no longer has its original dimensions. Fortunately you don't have to worry about a big concern we have with little convertible Brit cars -- getting the doors to work right again!

What are your plans for finishing? I swear by self-etching primer when I've got something rusty that I've stripped down to bare metal.

Keep us updated....driving a car you've (re)built with your own hands may even be more fun than shooting a gun you've built...and in your case you've got something you can mount the gun on!

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Postby smoggle » Fri May 05, 2006 9:56 am

Buy a GOOD sheetmetal brake. The one at 'China' Freight is good for pop cans. A buddy of mine got it and the blade broke 2x. They replaced it and then the table broke. Very porous cast iron.

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Postby TOM R » Fri May 05, 2006 5:22 pm

you probly need the heavy brake they sell does like 40" wide and heavy gauge, though i think salt ordered all the body pannels premade :D
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Postby salt6 » Fri May 05, 2006 5:54 pm

Thanks kmw, smoggle and Tom!

I've been buying the replacement panels from jeepanels. He does panels for other military type jeeps. I have one more panel for the rear floor to buy. The guy from jeep panels has thrown in some "scrap" with my order which I can use to repair the rust throughs. I'm still in the process of stripping it down. Got to pull the motor when I get back from Tom's place. My plan is to strip it down to a rolling chaissis then begin the repairs. I plan on doing a motor pool restore not a factory type condition. I want to be able to take iot to the woods and drive it with out worry about banging it up a little.

I had though about cleaning out the one channel and welding metal to the outside of the fram channel to repair it.

I'll keep you updated but this is a long term project.


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Postby salt6 » Mon May 29, 2006 9:53 pm

OK, scored big today. Found the left rear corner that I needed. Also picked up a NOS heater kit and some other odds and ends.

The tires I picked up at the MV show in Aberdeen. Had the old rims sand blasted and then I primed and painted them. The tire store mounted the new tires for me. :mrgreen:
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Postby kmw » Fri Jun 16, 2006 3:50 pm

Cool score. I love finding stuff like that rear corner, even more so if it looks totally bizarre to "normal" people.

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Postby TOM R » Fri Jun 16, 2006 6:58 pm

wow, you got a spare of the light and bracket lower right corner of the pic, need 1 for my project, also a blackout taillite and trailer socket :mrgreen:
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Postby Willie_715 » Fri Jun 16, 2006 11:11 pm

I have already restored one M151A1 from the ground up we use it as a farm truck also converted it all to 12 volt,rebuilt all the suspension,brakes, differentials,tranny/transfer assembly. I partially rebuilt an M151A2 from the groundup for a friend of my fathers. My daily ride ia a frame off restored 67 M-715 with a 450hp Cummins,allison auto,Dana70 front,Dana80 rear,top speed 110.Use it for daily driver/gettin around in the riverbottom when flooded to feed cattle(has functional fording kit)fording depth 6 1/2 feet, slightly modified. Let me know if you have any questions.

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Postby salt6 » Tue Jun 20, 2006 7:49 pm

Well I got my first repair done. Cut out some rot in the fuel tank area and welded in new sheet metal. Also repaired the drivers seat support.

Sure feels better fixing rather than dis assembling. :mrgreen:

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Postby salt6 » Sun Jun 25, 2006 2:39 pm

Well, it was a good day. Spent most of the morning and half of the afternoon cutting rot out of the mutt. God the dirt that's been laying around in the nooks and crannies. Got to fine someone to help weld the LR fender on and one side panel. Want to have a quality job there. I did do one repair. I had a crack in the rail behind the driver. So I spent some time on that and got it welded up.

More later.



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Postby salt6 » Fri Jul 21, 2006 5:59 pm

Well got back fron NJ and a visit to Tom R. Picked up a trailer and some other parts. Also pick up this. :mrgreen:
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Postby TOM R » Fri Jul 21, 2006 6:06 pm

bout time you did somethin with that old rust bucket :shock: lookin good :D
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Postby salt6 » Sun Aug 06, 2006 6:01 pm

Got a panel welded in today. Still got to do some grinding on it, but with the temp hitting 107 today had to give up today. :mrgreen:

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Postby salt6 » Tue Sep 05, 2006 10:41 pm

Ok got some more welding done. Just repaired a little triangle area. I wound up also doing a little area just above the triangle area in the photo.

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Postby kmw » Wed Sep 06, 2006 7:51 am

salt6 wrote:Got a panel welded in today. Still got to do some grinding on it, but with the temp hitting 107 today had to give up today. :mrgreen:



Fantastic. Looking good.

Remember "weld when it's hot; paint when it's cool".


The spit is a great way of working on small unibody vehicles, plenty of "Little British Car" guys do that. I'm going this weekend to pick up my latest project, not military but still cool in the "ugly truck" world. I've bought a '69 Series IIa Land Rover 109, five door, safari top, spare tire mount on the hood, factory "limestone" (desert tan)....whole truck minus engine, needs a restore. I'm planning on bolting it to a Range Rover chassis to get fuel injection, air conditioning, stronger axles, power steering...won't be a lot of welding on this one though, those aluminum bodies hold up nicely. :)
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Postby salt6 » Sat Nov 11, 2006 8:23 pm

Got the rear corner on and the last of the holes in it repaired.


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Postby TOM R » Sat Nov 11, 2006 10:26 pm

:woot:
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Postby salt6 » Thu Dec 21, 2006 7:21 pm

Got the passenger floor in but I also got the holy grail of MV owners.




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Postby TOM R » Fri Dec 22, 2006 6:06 pm

good that means you are gonna drive it out here for aberdeene 07 right ;)
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Postby ChevyM14 » Fri Dec 22, 2006 9:49 pm

I got a 44 WILLYS MB about 3 mouths ago and it is one of the funist thing I have ever had! when you get it on the road, put the windshield down, rund thow the gears, and have a FUN.
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