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11GTCS Dork
1/1/22 8:36 p.m.

That looks great and you won’t feel guilty driving it!   Not to mention a great full family effort. 

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
1/1/22 8:42 p.m.

A little foreshadowing here of the next step.  The wiring on the Jeep is just not safe, so a rewire is in order.  Reproduction harnesses are about $300 and I'd buy one if I was restoring it.  I've wired cars from scratch without kits , but found that a kit is usually less expensive.  Usually I use a Painless or similar kit, which will run $200-500 depending on complexity.  

For the Jeep, I thought I'd use the cheapest kit I could find on Amazon and see what happens.

Here's what I got for my 32 bucks:

I'm not going to use the modern-looking fusebox, only the wires and relays.  I'm going to wire it with 4 circuits and use a more era-correct glass fusebox I had laying around from other project leftovers.   It's in the lower right of the photo.

I'm pretty impressed with this kit.  It's done in GM color codes and even has the circuit ID printed on the wires, just like the kits it's ripping off.  I'm feeling a little guilty about that, plus the likely poor treatment of the workers and environment needed to offer me such a low price.  

jh36 Dork
1/1/22 8:52 p.m.

In reply to Carl Heideman :

Everything about this is excellent. I love the T. And the Jeep. And the denim. I agree to leave the patina alone. It looks fantastic to me. I'm loving this....thanks for sharing. 

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
1/2/22 9:14 p.m.

TL;DR Version:  Seats are done!  (I will find different fasteners for the backs that aren't so shiny.)

For anyone who might want to try this, I'll give a lot more detail in the next few posts, starting here.

I cut out the 2nd seat bottom top piece from my pattern. 

I watched several YouTube videos last night describing strategies to navigate radii.  The best tips I got were to draw a line where I want the thread, to notch the straight piece, and to put the straight piece on top.

Most of the books and videos I've see just recommend using the gauge on the machine, but that turns out to be tricky on a radius.  The line is much easier to follow.

My line was in white sewing chalk and was pretty hard to see, especially as some of it rubbed off when I pinned the edges.  So I made some marks with a Sharpie--much easier to see.

The base is approximately 16x18" and the straight piece that forms the sides was about 62.5." 

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
1/2/22 9:31 p.m.

I used an electric bread knife to cut the foam.  I found it worked best when I used the plywood as a guide, rather than trying to follow the lines I had marked.

I've given up on spray glue that comes in a can.  I think they must have changed something in the past few years to keep up with environmental regulations or something.  The stuff in cans just doesn't stick like it used to.  So I bought the real stuff in a gallon can (about $35, so not much more than 2 or 3 spray cans) and used an old spray gun to spray it.  Since I couldn't get 3" foam, I glued 1" foam to 2" foam. 

I also sprayed the back side of the seat base and glued it to the foam.

Then I pulled the sides down.  This shows the seam at the back.

This is the worst electric staple gun in the world. But it's slightly better than a manual gun, so I used it to staple the sides to the plywood.

I took my time on the corners on the 2nd base (see the mistake section in an upcoming post) and it came out great.

I'm really happy with it.


Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
1/2/22 9:49 p.m.

The seat backs are detailed below.  

The guy I bought the foam from told me to throw away the horse hair.  I thought, I'll try one with horse hair, one with foam, learn from both, and see which works out better.  The horsehair one went fast and I guess I forgot to take pictures.  For the foam one, the upholstery guy said I should use burlap to keep the springs from scraping up the foam.  I used hog rings to attach the burlap.

Here's the front side.

I glued the foam to the denim.  I didn't glue the horsehair in the other back.

I slipped the spring and foam/horsehair into the cover, then used hog rings again to attach the back.  (This is the only picture I took of the horsehair, I guess.)  Hog rings are so much fun to install.  And no fun to remove.  But I didn't have to remove any.

The back is screwed to the metal frame.  I used this hardware for now, but will try to find more correct oval head slotted screws.  I stretched the seats over the frames, used clamps to hold them in their approximate position, then poked a hole just on the inside of the seam with a pick, then put the screw in.  There are 13 screws per seat back.

This is the horsehair side and its lumps.

The foam side has different lumps.  I'm not sure which I like better, so it will be interesting to see how these age.

Here's the main reason for the lumps.  If I could put a lot more screws in, the lumps would be gone.  I imagine heavier fabric would do better.  Or I guess I could have sewed a wire into the hem.  Maybe next time.

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
1/2/22 10:08 p.m.

I learn most things by making mistakes.  Here are some of my mistakes and what I learned.

I made the cushion on top first and it has a lot of mistakes.  The wrinkles in the sides are because I went to fast and didn't make enough relief cuts in the corners.  The stain on the top is because I overdid it with the glue (I later got most of the stain out).  A little harder to see is that the front seam is not on the corner, but down a little bit.  That's because I didn't cut the foam as accurately.  The bottom cushion came out great because I learned from all of those mistakes!  Normally, I'd redo the bad one...but this is a beat up Jeep and I'm curious how things will look over time.

I mentioned before that the side panels for the bottoms were 62.5" long.  I measured very carefully and knew that I needed 61.5" to get around the whole panel, then I gave myself 1/2" allowance on each side for a seam.  On the first seat bottom, that 1/2" turned into about 1/8" because I didn't sew accurately.  For the second seat bottom, I did several things to avoid this problem again.  First, I marked the center of the seat and the center of the side panel.  That way I could match the centers half-way through to make sure I was in the right place.  Second, I marked the sewing line as shown in the previous post.  I think the main problem with the first cushion was that I took the corners too wide and used material from the sides.  Third, I pinned the whole thing together before I started sewing so I knew I'd come up correctly.

This shows the second bottom. where I got it right.  Here, I'm pinning it prior to sewing the seam.

Back to the other bottom, I was able to run a double set of stitches.  I then went over the edge with a zigzag to keep it from fraying (didn't take a picture).  

I hope I didn't bore you too much with all of this.  As you can see, I'm a bit geeked about upholstery work right now.  The Model T will be my next upholstery project.

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
1/8/22 10:37 a.m.

I took the Jeep out for its snow test today and had some fun.  It was literally the first time I've driven a 4WD vehicle in the snow even though I've lived in Michigan since 1976.  We had about 18" on the ground yesterday, but it packed down to about 12" today with the sun out.  It was 17 degrees and I had my snowblowing clothes on and wasn't cold at all.  I guess if snowmobilers can do it, why can't I?  Maybe I'll drive it more in the winter than I thought.


The plow frame was, well, plowing a bit.  I suspect it will go better in deeper snow without that, so I may cut it off.  

Oh, the driver's seat is very comfortable.

bgkast PowerDork
1/8/22 12:00 p.m.

Wow, very impressive upholstery work!

jmc14 HalfDork
1/8/22 4:49 p.m.

Nice job! 

jh36 Dork
1/8/22 5:31 p.m.

In reply to Carl Heideman :

Fantastic...congratulations! Love the seats. That thing is made for your environment. 

Woody (Forum Supportum)
Woody (Forum Supportum) MegaDork
1/8/22 8:18 p.m.
Carl Heideman 



^I have dreams like this!


Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
1/9/22 6:50 p.m.

I've wanted the floors to be a little better and was thinking of painting them or using POR 15, but didn't want them to mismatch the patina of the rest of the Jeep. Welding them would be way too much work, and would cause the same patina problem.  I wanted something cleaner and with fewer holes to the pavement, especially in the bed, where I will haul stuff from time to time.

It occurred to me that we had a big roll of rubber mat at the shop.  I don't know where it came from, but it worked out well as floormat material.

First, I patterned up.

I cut it with the same aviation shears I use for sheetmetal.  It had been rolled up for so long I had to weigh it down or it would curl right back up.

I ended up having to use my rosebud tip on my torch to put some heat into the mats, then weigh them down with the jackstands until they were cool.  I also test-fitted them and used some heat to make the contours and folds work well.

I'm not ready to compete with WeatherTech,  but I've got my floor situation in good shape.  And no patina problem.  


Mezzanine Dork
1/10/22 3:39 p.m.

Great write-up on the upholstery, Carl. I learned to sew at a young age and use it frequently but haven't ventured far into automotive upholstery yet. Love what you're doing with this jeep. How did it perform in the snow? 


Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
1/10/22 6:45 p.m.

In reply to Mezzanine :

Thanks about the upholstery.  I'm really loving it. I posted earlier that I had been told it's like sheetmetal work and I agree.  Since I do a lot of sheetmetal work, it came together pretty easily for this simple project.  I'm going to continue to try progressively harder stuff and see where it goes.  It's a nice break from other work as it's so clean and quiet.

The snow drive was really fun.  At one point, I was curious how much the front tires were or were not spinning, so I just poked my head off to the side a little and I could clearly see the left front tire at work.  Can't do that with a modern Jeep or an SUV.

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
1/10/22 9:34 p.m.

My buddy Nick hangs out with me a lot and keeps the continuity on my projects.  Tonight, Nick did something about the shiny new gas tank.

Here's some of how he works his magic.

First, a good scuff to make the new stuff stick.

He claims he's using leftover paint from his house, but he's got it thickened with some secret sauce.  Notice also that he brings dirt he's combed from the right regions of the earth.

His stippling brush technique is the key.  He can make the textures just right.  And of course he knows right where to throw the dirt.


Continuity acheived.

Woody (Forum Supportum)
Woody (Forum Supportum) MegaDork
1/10/22 10:35 p.m.

In reply to Carl Heideman :

Wow, that's remarkable!

APEowner SuperDork
1/11/22 10:51 a.m.

This build reminds me of the book Year of the Jeep by Keith Robertson.  I read it multiple times as a kid. 

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
1/11/22 9:57 p.m.
APEowner said:

This build reminds me of the book Year of the Jeep by Keith Robertson.  I read it multiple times as a kid. 

I haven't read that book, but it does look like a good read for kids.

Speaking of books, last night I loaned Nick my copy of JUE 477, which is about the restoration/preservation of the first production Land Rover. 

In doing so, I realized that my goals have shifted with this Jeep.  I started out thinking it was a great candidate for a full restoration with a new body, then I went on to think of it as more of a beater project, but now it is turning more into a preservation/restoration build.  Not quite as extensive as the one in JUE 477, but I want to keep as much of the history of this thing in tact as possible.

If you're up for a philosophical discussion/rant, I'll also say I'm urging people around me to move past the fascination with patina, especially fake patina, and extra especially bad fake patina. In the case of this Jeep, it's a subtle argument: You could say it's full of mostly real patina, which is cool I guess.  I would say if it was very original with some faded paint and a few dings, it would have a great patina.  It isn't that--it's a really beat up Jeep.  What I think is cooler than patina is that there is a story behind every dent, hole, and improvised repair in it.  And just about everyone had a beat up Jeep in their family's life or neighborhood.  Stabilizing its disintegration, making it usable again, and building on its stories is way cooler to me than its patina.

Nick has been into patina since before patina was cool and has mastered the art of what I'm calling continuity.  You could say he's faking patina, but to me he's blending preservation artifacts into the fold of the whole history.

(Yes, sometimes I'm a little out there, and no, I haven't been drinking.)

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
1/19/22 6:33 p.m.

As I mentioned previously, I purchased a $32 wiring kit from Amazon.  Here is my report:  It's a decent kit, but it turns out that it's not quite as complete as I had hoped.  While it has 12 circuits, it doesn't include the wiring all the way to the final device like many kits do.  So, for example, it includes the power wire to the headlight switch, which then can be routed to the dimmer switch.  But it doesn't include the two wires for the high beam and low beam circuits.  Same thing with the turn signals--wiring to the switch, but not past the switch.  So I think it's still a decent kit at a bargain price, but I priced out getting the correct GM colors for the missing wiring and it would be about $50 from the FLAPS (probably cheaper on Amazon, didn't check).  That's still a pretty good price for a wiring kit.   

However, I'm a wiring geek, really fussy with wiring, want to keep this thing pretty correct, and I love cloth-braided wiring.  So I priced out bulk original wiring.  Most of the restoration supply houses had it for about $1/ft, but Rhode Island Wiring had it for $.40-$.60/ft for smaller quantities (10 foot minimum).  Rhode Island Wiring has a great reputation, but I've never done business with them.  I got out the factory wiring diagram, deleted the generator and voltage regulator, added circuits for a GM alternator, added a passenger side tail light, and added turn signals for my updated diagram.  I then measured the lengths I needed for each circuit so I could make my bulk order.  I ended up needing 18 different color/gauge combinations.  They apologized for some supply-chain problems and could only supply 16 of my 18 wiring needs in stock, then told me it may be a week or longer before they filled the order as they're so behind.  Anyway, three days later the wires showed up and I'm into them for $95.  I highly recommend Rhode Island Wiring!  I found the two other colors at an online shop that seems to be more for motorcycles--Ton's Performance.  I paid about $1/foot from them, so I'm into everything for about $125.  As I mentioned before, a reproduction harness is around $300, and maybe $50 more for one with turn signal wiring. I'd also need to modify a repro harness for the alternator.  I'll have 20-30 hours in making the harness, so a repro is still a good deal.  But since I love wiring and I'm fussy, this approach is better for me.

Speaking of fussy, we're working on a Factory Five Daytona Coupe at Eclectic.  It was built about 10 years ago and we're doing some updating and sorting on it for the owner. Whoever wired it was not fussy.  The owner is letting us correct that as we work on the car.

There will probably be a story in GRM showing the approach we're taking to sort this all out.

I'll find another use for the Amazon kit.  My sons and I are starting two Formula Vee projects and this kit may have enough wiring for both of them.

Mezzanine Dork
1/19/22 10:22 p.m.

What a damn mess! As a fellow fussy-wiring enthusiast, that Factory Five car gives me the willies. I'm eager to see how you work with the cloth insulated wire, particularly securing and terminating. 


RandolphCarter New Reader
1/20/22 9:43 a.m.
APEowner said:

This build reminds me of the book Year of the Jeep by Keith Robertson.  I read it multiple times as a kid. 

11 year old me is giving you a high five. I don't know what I reread more at that age, 'Year of the Jeep' or the novelization of 'The Dark Crystal'.


Love the floormat solution. They look like they've been there since the Nixon administration.

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
1/22/22 5:48 p.m.

The Jeep is back up in the air so I can work on the punch list while I'm waiting for a few bits and pieces for the wiring.

I decided to cut the bottom part of the plow frame off since it's just in the way.  I left the hoop in front of the grille to honor its former life as a plow pig.

I've got reproduction taillights that mount down low in the stock position to replace those big nasty ones up high.  Both corners of the Jeep were bent in from some incidents in the past. 

I wanted them a bit straighter.

A porto power did the job.  First the bumper, then the body on each side.

Much better.

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
1/22/22 6:04 p.m.

By the way, the punch list is:

  1. Fix battery tray and make a battery hold down
  2. Find and install horn
  3. Convert to GM alternator
  4. Tail lights
  5. Turn signal switch
  6. Wire everything up
  7. Radiator and hoses
  8. New hard brake lines
  9. Replace the steering bellcrank (currently have 90 degrees of slop in the wheel)
  10. Front U joint on front drive shaft
  11. Fix the noise in the left front
  12. Replace e-brake cable and make e-brake work
  13. Seat belts
  14. Change the shiny screws on the seats with some that are more appropriate
  15. Change all the fluids
  16. Probably points, plugs, wires, etc..

I'm sure it will grow, but this isn't too bad.

cghstang_chris Dork
1/31/22 7:43 a.m.
APEowner said:

This build reminds me of the book Year of the Jeep by Keith Robertson.  I read it multiple times as a kid. 

Thanks for sharing this. I just read it over the weekend. It took an inter-library loan to get it since only a couple of public libraries in Ohio still have it in their catalog.

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