Fred the Stretched 3B, Part 1

by Barry Ogletree

Here's another great project from Barry Ogletree in Texas, who has a lot of experience in customizing Jeeps, particularly in stretching them. Recently on CJ3B.info, Barry described his background and his high-hood project A CJ-3B Named Spud. Of course the next logical step for Barry was a stretched 3B.

Part 1 covers the stretch, and Part 2 will follow Fred to the paint shop and a car show. See also Fred at some 2016 Car Shows. -- Derek Redmond

I learned to do this kind of illustration, to help communicate with my employees on large job sites when I worked managing heavy construction. Necessity -- a picture is worth a thousand words. But I did study commercial art in college (before computers.) I think of it as an offshoot of my CAD drafting for blueprints.

We have taken CJ-3B's and done all sorts of crazy stuff to them, mostly hunting vehicles. The CJ-3B is much easier to work on than a newer Jeep. A CJ-3B is sitting on leaf springs -- TJ's are on coils. CJ's sit calmly when aligning -- TJ's are almost impossible to hold still enough to rebuild after cutting. The coils on the TJ's rear will jump up 4 inches when it's cut. Good ol' CJ-3B's just sit there and let you do it to them. We could only do the TJ's with a complete frame carriage to hold everything in place. A TJ actually sat on the carriage and moved through the shop with no wheels or tires. Weight had to all be supported, or you never would keep it all in alignment.

Meet Fred

Fred arrives in Texas. We found him in Boston -- a complete restoration. Fresh sheet metal really helps the cutting, welding and overall work on a project like this.

If Red Fred only knew what was going to happen! That tow bar has got to go.

How about a size comparison? JK and CJ. Newer Jeeps are a lot more vehicle, and with more complex cut patterns for this kind of a project.

Fred is titled as a 1965 model, but his serial number plate (180K JPEG) reads 8105 126423, which according to Kaiser Jeep 1960-67 Serial Numbers was built in March 1964.

Splicing Tub and Frame

And away we go. First thing to come out is the tool box, which blocks access to all of the passenger side sheet metal.

Ripping the floor pan. Tool box and gas tank removed. There are a lot of ways that cutting it apart and reassembling it can be done. I like to cut the welds loose. Some might offset a little, and cut on the side of the weld line.

Angle iron to hold the sheet metal from springing when the sides are cut.

Rear of tub off. Four bolts, and walk it off the frame. A few wires also. We remove the wires at the wire terminal block at the center rear of the Willys.

I made 40-inch extensions for these brake/stoplight wires. They are the same color as original, but one size larger wire, as that is what I happened to have. Nothing to this.

The angle iron crosspiece stays on until the bodywork is finished. See a diagram of where the tub will be spliced (60K JPEG) and a diagram of the underside (90K JPEG) showing the second reinforcing hat channel which will be added.

Rails added for the stretch, and boxed for extra strength. This is the strongest part of the Willys. Diamond-shaped gussets inside the channel tie the two large C-channel pieces to the original frame -- you can see the outline of the weld. Then the smaller C-channel fits inside the frame.

Here are the measurements (90K JPEG) for the frame extensions for a 40-inch stretch.

40 inches is the magic number for everything working out. Trust me...

For the exhaust we build a simple "jumper tube" with a flare on one end to slip over the original tube, and then use an expansion mandrel to stretch the downstream exhaust, so the jumper will slide in. It is 44 inches -- 2" for slip fit, 40" for stretch, and 2" to slip into the original pipe.

We added a new diagonal brace at the rear of the frame -- the old one was badly rusted.

Then fitted the rear part of the tub and bolted it down. You can start to see the section for the new panels to fit.

Parts of two body panels were used on each side: the wheel well section (black) and front door opening (grey). You can get them from several places. Personally, I have had a great experience with Walck's. They had every piece in stock, put it on a pallet, and truck-shipped it to Texas. Arrived quickly and in perfect shape.

The two pieces are cut and joined. Stiffener braces for the panels are in the foreground.

The two door openings are the same size. That is the reason for the 40-inch stretch, and it also gives a few inches of metal to tie the roll bar to.

The new panel will sit on a strip of 1x1 angle, making fitting up much easier.

Adding the 1x1-angle stringers that will tie the floor pan and the rear section together.

Floor pan with transmission tunnel. The tunnel adds rigidity to the floor -- it has nothing to do with driveshaft clearance. The tunnel sides are not equal. To fit everything they need to be exactly as the transmission tunnel.

Welding holes around the edges for tiedown to other panels. There are other ways to do this, but this is the strongest and the easiest.

Floor pan laid in place, with stiffener crossmember sitting on it.

New toolbox in the front, and original toolbox in the rear (a vertical piece will fill the space to the floor pan.)

Details Added

Stiffeners added to the side panel, and a tab to tie to the roll bar for added support. Allows for future removal when bedlining the roll bar. Yes, it will be bedlined.

The sides worked out very well with little body work. Vertical panel added to the bottom of the rear toolbox -- this gives a better floor for the rear passengers' feet.

The idea to put on the dual rear wheels was the tipping point for deciding to go ahead with this project. Brakes were also upgraded to 11-inch.

I had the fenders rolled custom just for the opening. They fit perfectly but are too wide -- they will be moved about two inches into the fender well to line up to the tire edge. They are bolted on with six 3/16" plated bolts, washers and nylock nuts.

Speedway tires, 7.50 x 16 x 8 ply -- these are the best tires. They can be run with low pressure, and you can get a really smooth ride. Of course, the longer wheelbase gives a very smooth ride as a benefit of the stretch. No hobby horse motion.

A dually adapter (100K JPEG) gives 1.5 inches of space between tires. See moe details on the DRW setup in Ladies Love Duallies.

Rollbar uprights have been fitted and removed.

Ready for the paint shop. See also the interior bodywork in primer (130K JPEG).

The drive shaft is about 41-3/8" longer, but do not use me for this -- measure your own application. The Willys is a slip yoke from the transmission/transfer box. Personally, I like the full length slip coupling. They spin with much less vibration than the standard partial splined.

Any good drive shaft shop can build a good drive shaft. The most important thing, is to use a shop that can spin balance the drive shaft at very high speed (like 3600 rpm). With the CJ-3B's high-ratio differentials, the drive shafts are spinning like crazy. So, a great balance job is absolutely necessary.

Continue to Part 2: Paint Shop and Car Show.

Thanks to Barry for the story and photos. -- Derek Redmond

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Last updated 31 March 2016 by Derek Redmond redmond@cj3b.info
All content not credited and previously copyright, is copyright Derek Redmond