Frankenstein Wagoneer

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Thread: Frankenstein Wagoneer

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    Frankenstein Wagoneer

    So, I’ve been planning this project for a while…Got the Beast (81 Wagoneer with a 360 and a 4 inch lift kit) in March. Rusted out rockers panels (no surprise there!) Got a great deal on it though. Rust underneath, but my shop looked it over and said the frame is ok, it is just surface rust. It does need a new gas tank skid plate, but that is in the future. My shop gave me a quote for the rust…I know they do excellent work but I’m only going to have them do the stuff I could never undertake, like getting the AC working again. There is a guy in the AMC club here that had AMC NOS rockers, but he wanted more than I was willing to pay for them. I am sure they were cherry parts, but here’s the thing…I’ll never see a dime back from this vehicle. I just can't see spending way too much on repairs.

    As for the frame rust, and the rocker panels…Recently I found the Eastwood catalog…been looking at their rust encapsulater, etc etc. Looks like great products, and I was getting ready to take the plunge…was going to get the frame paint they have, and the rust encapsulater. Then, I was going to spray on truck bed liner on the bottom foot or so of the doors and on the whole underneath. Was going to paint the exhaust with their special exhaust paint too. That was the plan.

    The I discovered JC Whitney and Carparts.com. THEY have purpose built rocker panels for $25 bucks each. Plus the shipping because they were a little heavy…it was about $80 bucks for both sides. And, they don’t require you to take the old rockers off, you just slap these suckers on overtop. They get “welded, riveted, or screwed on”. I found at Home Depot and Loews they have rust converter too, it isn’t “official automotive rust conversion spray”, it is from LockTite and it is $2 bucks less per can. And, they have the rubber coating in a spray can too…it is not “official truck bedliner” but it is exactly what I need. And, I got self tapping metal-to-metal screws. This is perfect, because I cleaned out the garage and the basement of all the unopened leftover home improvement stuff we never used after our big remodel and took it back to Lowe’s and Home Depot and got store credit, which I used to pick up the above items. So instead of paying Eastwood a couple C-notes, I got all this “not automotive Eastwood, but still ok in my book” spray stuff.

    Then I went to Pep Boys and found some frame and rollbar paint. I splurged on a couple cans, although I could probably have just used the rubberized stuff. Pep Boys also had some high temp exhaust paint, so I got a can of that for the exhaust pipe/muffler. It was a bit less than Eastwood, and I didn’t have to wait for shipping.

    The projectt will take two or three days. I have some “Honeydo” list to take care of tomorrow AM but in the afternoon, I’m going to spray rust killer and then bolt the rocker panel on the right side. That way if I mess it up, hopefully I’ll learn and not repeat the mistake when I do the left side, since that is the side I’ll be walking up to when I get in the Jeep to drive it. The second time I work on it I’ll be working the driver’s side rocker panel. The third time, I’ll spray the underside with the rust killer and then spray on the rubberized stuff, also the bottom part of the doors and the rocker panels. The final time, I’ll paint the exhaust with the special paint and paint the frame with the special frame paint.

    That’s my project and the plan to carry it out. I am not restoring it. I am having a great time working on it, but it ain’t no restoration. Put it this way…the theme for the Beast for all cosmetics is “used or cheapest possible”, and get it better than it currently is. Mechanicals? I’ll have my shop do them. They do awesome work and will make sure that everything is done right. But for the stuff I can muddle through, well, where’s that rattlecan? I know I set it down here somewhere…

    I’ll come back and report as I work through it, and will also try to post pictures. Wish me luck!
    Last edited by WWI Flying Ace; 08-22-2010 at 12:31 AM.
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    Re: Frankenstein Wagoneer

    So what's the goal here? Winter beater?
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    Re: Frankenstein Wagoneer

    Quote Originally Posted by 4x4x4doors View Post
    So what's the goal here? Winter beater?
    Pretty much. And 4 wheeling a little, but nothing crazy. Here is the Solstice during the snowstorms we had last winter...this is a big reson for the Jeep ... I am standing in front of the car...the black triangle is the corner of the windshield and the top...everything else is buried... That is the Commander in the background. Wife wants to keep it stock, I wanted a lift kit...yadda yadda yadda got a Wagoneer I can play with that has a lift, etc.
    Last edited by WWI Flying Ace; 08-25-2010 at 04:46 PM.
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    Re: Frankenstein Wagoneer

    Here is the unsuspecting girl now...


    I was getting ready to start the rocker panels and was looking at the extent of the rust. The panels are pretty bad…like, you can see to China through that hole bad, but the panels I have will take care of that. The Empire of Rust...



    Before I went to the carwash to get everything clean, I noticed my daughter had driven the Jeep last.


    However, when I got to the car wash and pulled up the carpeting in front of the back seat to get the lay of the land, I saw the…tire.



    Gaping holes in the floorboards. OK, so part of this project is to know when to fold ‘em too. The floorboards will have to be fixed. Dang…that is more than I can do I think. I'll have to figure that out, but for now, back to our story. So, not wanting to waste the afternoon, I went to Plan B…the rust spray on the frame! First, get the Beast into the pod bay, Hal…and it fits (barely).



    I spent an hour or so chipping at the rust underneath with an old grill brush (we needed a new one anyway)…then sprayed that stuff on…7 or 8 cans of the rust converter. Took a while but its all on. So, next time I am out there, I’ll spray the frame paint black and also the exhaust pipe and muffler with the special hi temp paint.

    After that is done, I’ll have to get the floorboards fixed. Just not sure when that will be, unfortunately. But then I’ll use my patch panels for the rockers and the black on the bottom of the doors after the floor pan is fixed. No point in doing it sooner. Not quite what I wanted to do this weekend, but good to have something done!
    Last edited by WWI Flying Ace; 08-25-2010 at 04:18 PM.
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    Re: Frankenstein Wagoneer

    How is the interior holding up?
    Can you guess what he's going to do with the big fist? Hidden Content

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    Re: Frankenstein Wagoneer

    Pretty good...the headliner is in geat shape, the seats are ok, but they are under cheapo seat covers right now...carpet is actually in pretty good shape, dash is pretty nice (one crack, not bad for almost 30 years old). Has a CD player, and the electric rear window works.
    2007 Pontiac Solstice GXP
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    Re: Frankenstein Wagoneer

    Update:
    OK, so I had some serious time with the Beast this past weekend. Honey Do list was pretty big, but managed to do a lot of grinding away of rust, and chopping out of rust. Here is the “during”…Dremmel grinding fury! And tin snips…



    Rust be gone…there is the left rear door sill, and my foot, and my gloves, and my driveway…



    The epoxy I was able to luck into was from aerospace, and would have been great…but it was old and expired. So, I went to the auto parts store and got JB Weld…that and the pop rivets got the plates on in the back. Here is the “after”, for the right rear quarter panel:



    My problem is that once I got the carpet out, it became apparent that the seat belt mount is rusty, as are a couple of the seat mounts. Now, I am having a great time messing around with the patches for the floor pan, but a seat belt and the seat mounts are safety concerns. So, I’m going to take it up to my guy for him to do the professional weld it like a Sherman tank fix on the brackets and the seat mounts. Everything else…I’ll keep messing around with. I need to get the front done and I have the patch panels ready to go, but I don’t know how big they will need to go for the seatbelts and the seat mounts so I am on hold for the moment. Hope to have it back later in the week so I can work on it this weekend and hopefully get the floor pans all done…and then I can finally do the rockers as originally planned!
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    Re: Frankenstein Wagoneer

    Got it back from the shop where they did the seatbelt mount. Then, this weekend I finally completed the aluminum patch panels and then I had ordered some sealant a couple weeks ago which got in this week. So, this weekend I actually got the patches done and the sealant! Woo hoo!

    Driver's side (the grey is the brush on sealant from Carparts.com over the aluminum plates that I installed. The black is the rust killer spray.)


    Here is the Passenger side:


    Here is the left rear floorpan and the front corner of the rear wheel well:


    Here is the right rear passenger floorpan and the front of the rear wheel well:


    Here is the right rear wheel well patch in the bed. The left wheel well is similar.


    Next step will be to get the heat/sound insulation installed, then the carpet goes back in! I ordered decent scuff plates and kick plates from a guy too for cheap.

    After all this, I'll eventually be able to get back to the rocker panels! I did test fit the replacements I have but they will need to be slightly modified to fit in the back as the wheel wells were cut out for the bigger tires. Ah, so fun and yet so much work! I'll keep the forum posted as I make progress...
    Last edited by WWI Flying Ace; 11-01-2010 at 12:26 PM.
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    Re: Frankenstein Wagoneer

    Finally got the patch rocker panels put on. Got stamped parts sent out from JC Whitney or Carparts.com or whatever for about $25 each plus shipping. They install over the old ones. They are cheap parts, but I can't see spending a lot of coin on the Waggy, as I plan to abuse it when it is all done and the NOS rockers I tracked down were $300, which was about 15% of what I paid for the whole vehicle. It just didn't make sense. The stamped parts will work just fine for my hack job and I'm having fun working on it.

    I sanded and cut and sprayed out and neutralized all the rust on the old rockers with the rust-killer stuff. Then I sprayed the insulation foam from Home Depot inside the rocker panel, and let it expand to act as sound deadener, and to prevent water getting in. After that all dried and squished out the holes, I sliced it off at the level of the body, and then I attached the new rocker panels with JB Weld and lots of rivets. After they were installed, I then sealed them. I sliced the hell out of my fingers when cutting the metal but got them on the rig. Then sealed them, and sprayed the whole thing with the rust preventative. Got all that wrapped up yesterday (finally). There is more room in the garage now that the rocker panels are actually on the vehicle instead of leaning on the wall!

    I have had all the sound insulation and a new carpet kit ready to go in the interior since last fall, but I have to wait for the weather to improve before I can put it in (the spray adhesive won't work if it is too cold). So I've been working on the rocker panels instead. I also managed to Bondo the right rear fender behind the wheel. There is a good volume of Bondo that will go there, and on a couple of the other fenders, which will be the next stage of the body work. Bondo does not work for full restoration, but this Waggy is not really getting restored, so Bondo will be used. Plus that way I learn how to use Bondo (never used it before). And I got to buy an orbital sander. Always happy to buy a new power tool...

    I also cut my forehead on a jagged piece of metal that is hanging off the nuked gas tank skid plate, so I get to complete the weekend automotive repair activities by going to the MinuteClinic and getting a tetanus shot! Oh, what fun! But it is worth it...the old girl is really starting to look better, and I'm really enjoying the time spent working on it. If I paid anyone to fix it and got the quality of work I am doing on it, I'd be mad. But since it is my science project, I'm having a lot of fun with it!
    Last edited by WWI Flying Ace; 03-08-2011 at 03:45 PM.
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    Re: Frankenstein Wagoneer

    Glad to hear it's coming along but where are the before and after pictures?
    Can you guess what he's going to do with the big fist? Hidden Content

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    Re: Frankenstein Wagoneer

    Good questions.

    Pic #2 in Post #4 on this thread is the "before" for the rocker panels...that is the passenger side rocker. It was the worst of the two. The driver's side had less rust but did have a good amount, and also had a foot long divet where it looks like they high centered on a rock or something. So it was pretty ugly too.

    For "After"...got done in the evening yesterday so too dark for pics, and too much rain today to take one. But I'll get one posted as soon as they sun comes out and I can get a good shot of both sides.
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    Re: Frankenstein Wagoneer

    My bad I forgot about the before pictures, I am eager to see the after work though.
    Can you guess what he's going to do with the big fist? Hidden Content

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    Re: Frankenstein Wagoneer

    Quote Originally Posted by PA Dweller View Post
    My bad I forgot about the before pictures, I am eager to see the after work though.
    Don't feel bad...that is because I originally posted them in August, thinking I'd be done in a weekend! HA! Needless to say I've learned a thing or two about timeframe estimation with this Jeep!

    But, here we go...here is the "before":


    Here is the "after":


    It was worth the tetanus shot!
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    Re: Frankenstein Wagoneer

    Wow I am impressed, I had no idea it was possible to fix rust damage that severe. Once you paint the area it will look like new.
    Can you guess what he's going to do with the big fist? Hidden Content

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    Re: Frankenstein Wagoneer

    Quote Originally Posted by PA Dweller View Post
    Wow I am impressed, I had no idea it was possible to fix rust damage that severe. Once you paint the area it will look like new.
    If I understand correctly, he didn't. He scrapped and sprayed off the rust and then installed a panel that simply fits over the old rocker. So the hole is still there, just covered.

    Cool Jeep! I look forward to more progress pictures.
    There's no apology for stupid, boy!

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