If you're on the trails in western North Carolina, you're going to run into Mark "Goose" Dulken, who inherited the family 1963 CJ-3B in summer 2010. In two years he has completed a major "restification" job on the Jeep, and put it to use on camping trips, getting to mountain bike trails, and cruising to car shows (see 3B's Making Splash at Car Shows on CJ3B.info).
Goose says, "I drove this Jeep as a teenager, and now 30-something years later it's back in my possession. My dad ended up leaving me the old family Jeep that was my first vehicle back in high school. One day maybe my son will have it and do a complete frame-off restoration, but I don't think its current condition warrants that quite yet. So for now, to be roadworthy and looking good will satisfy me."
Since beginning his project, Goose has become a regular on the CJ-3B Bulletin Board, where he coined the term "jamping" for Jeep camping. See also his campsite (200K JPEG) with roll bar as clothesline.
The tires on the Jeep are Cooper 31/10.50's, rims are mid-70's Broncos, and the suspension is a Superlift 1" kit.
When he started work on the Jeep, Mark planned on restoring it as stock, and possibly going with a military paint scheme. As he thought of modifications that would make it more functional, it became more of a restification project. Mark says, "Yeah, I was kinda going for a rolling-fortress look. After all, my dad flew a B-17 in WWII. I still need to put his nose art on the fenders."
The split-pane windshield, which Mark says he always liked on early flatfenders, is faked with rubber weatherstrip, attached with two-sided foam tape.
Here's the Jeep when Mark first brought it home. At the time he posted on the Bulletin Board, "Motor runs but no brakes, so a trailer was necessary. Rolled it off and started checking it over right away. Bear in mind I'm no mechanic although I do mess with dirt bikes sometimes."
The serial number (100K JPEG) was 57348 98203, and paint code 229 indicated original Amber Metallic paint. Trim code 201 may indicate Plantation White.
Soon after getting it into his garage, Goose said: "It seems the Jeep's not in the shape I first thought, not even close to being roadworthy. Maybe it does need the ground-up type of resto, but not by me. I'm a novice mechanic at best, and am now totally in over my head."
But he got some encouragement from George: "You can do whatever you put your mind to, Goose. Just think positive and ask tons of questions and read CJ3B.info for info." Doug added, "I think you should get your brakes in order. Hold off on everything else for a while while you have a bit of fun with it. While you're enjoying it with your sons, you can do the research, collect parts and prepare for the next project."
Goose reported: "As I went into the brakes, I decided to go farther and check not only the wheel bearings, but king pin bearings too. The king pin bearings are toast. I didn't even know what a king pin bearing was until yesterday. Here's a theory though: weeks ago when I removed my front differential cover, I had rusty water pour out along with the gear oil. We determined it was due to the old style breather on the diff cover that inherently lets in water. I now believe that same water, over the years, made its way out to the knuckles, and that's what destroyed the king pin bearings. Solution: new bearings, and the higher altitude differential cover breather hose."
Meanwhile, he posted, "While I wait to find some help with the brakes and bearings, I'm trying my hand at some body work. It's evident this thing's been many different colors in the past. I remember painting it black when I was 15 with a rattle can. God knows what all it was before that."
Mark also discovered he had some rust damage that hadn't been evident, including perforation (90K JPEG) under the gas tank. This photo shows patches applied with J-B Weld epoxy.
After some instruction, Mark was able to use a welder to do some sheet metal patches (70K JPEG). And it came in useful for lots of things: "My toolbox hinges rusted through at the pin and I'd been wondering how I'd drill them out when I got a brainstorm. Cut off the old hinges and welded on some new Stanley ones (80K JPEG)."
"How do you deal with fenders crumpled beyond bondo-ability? Buy some used CJ-7 diamond-plate corner guards off eBay and cut them to fit, that's how. I had to cut them to fit the wheel well, but the corner radius was the same.
"I primed the old mess underneath with a rust inhibitor, riveted the perimeter of the diamond plate every 4 inches, and then siliconed the edge all the way around to block out moisture. I wondered if it would take too much away from the vintage look, but I'm pleased with it."
As he went along, Mark primed with a Nason 2-part urethane epoxy primer, starting with some small parts (100K JPEG). He then painted with a Sherwin-Williams color called Dorian Gray, from their machinery paint line SherChem.
Mark wanted a rear-mounted spare tire and jerry can, to give that military look and to maintain side clearance and interior storage space for off-road camping. To help support the weight, a piece of 3/4-inch square tubing became a reinforcement for the tube at the top of the tailgate, but required a little persuasion to slide in.
Mark sent the engine out for rebuilding, and commented, "Since my Jeep's in the shop and I'm jonesing to work on it, I thought I'd try my hand at upholstering (130K JPEG). The rear seat (which I hadn't even touched since I got the Jeep) was falling apart, so I got some new plywood (OSB), foam and fabric for all of about $39. Seat and belts will go in and then the whole family can ride in style."
"A fire extinguisher was top of the upgrade list for me. Last time I cranked this Jeep in my dad's presence before he passed away last year, it burst into flames. It started, but smoke was coming out from under the hood. I raised the hood to inspect and a huge fireball hit the ceiling of the barn and could have damn near burned it, the Jeep and us, to the ground. Turned out it was a deteriorated manifold gasket at the base of the carb spitting raw gas out. Took me a month to grow the hair on my arms and my eyebrows back. I'd hate to relive that now with so much work into the project, if you know what I mean."
Mark also added a CJ-7 grab bar, and later cut out the old parking brake dimple in the dashboard.
The Superlift one-inch suspension lift kit went in smoothly: "There was nothing in the instructions, but the guy at Superlift told me on the phone that the double wrap ends of the springs go towards the bumpers, both in the front and rear. Had to drill out the spring/shock plates for the oversized U-bolts."
"The one-inch lift kit has the Jeep sitting a good two inches higher than before I started. The new stance looks awesome. I got the white Bronco wheels for $50/set, cleaned 'em up and painted them, then found a used set of Cooper mudders for $80 mounted and balanced. That's right, you're looking at a grand total of $130 and my 3B drives like a dream now."
Goose got a lot of high-fives on the Bulletin Board at this point.
Goose tackled a carburetor rebuild (90K JPEG) himself: "Not as bad as I thought it would be. And I mean that both in the degree of difficulty and the shape my carb was in, but I definitely expect it to run a lot smoother now. I've done so many dirtbike carbs (and this single-barrel is very similar) that I wasn't worried too much about it."
In the end he bought a replacement Solex carb (60K JPEG) for the rebuilt engine. The air filter is a K&N with a 2-1/2" opening.
Goose announced he was reinstalling the roll bar that came with the Jeep: "I was liking the military look so much I was reluctant to put the roll bar back in, but safety wins out over glamour, plus I'm kinda liking it anyway."
A bonus was that it provided the mounting point for a couple of bike racks that Goose fabricated to fit between the windshield and roll bar.
Then a big surprise for everybody: "I scored a Meyers aluminum halfcab for the 3B. I saw it on eWillys and drove to Virgina to pick it up. It's in good shape with all glass intact and operational doors and windows. With only a few small items to tweak, it's ready for paint. Or should I maybe leave it bare aluminum?"
The hardtop added to the no-nonsense look of Goose's Jeep, and made it much more versatile as a camping vehicle. Based on photos, the cab appeared to be a Sears aluminum top, but a tag (80K JPEG) indicated it was actually manufactured by Meyers Industries in Tecumseh, Michigan.
Thanks to Mark for that concrete evidence of aluminum tops by Meyers, and for the great photos of his CJ-3B. You can link to his complete blog of the project via the CJ-3B Bulletin Board. -- Derek Redmond
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