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Old 04-10-2013, 01:57 AM
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UKJeeper UKJeeper is offline
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Hoping to make the best of a bad situation.

Took a big step closer yesterday on a slow path I've been taking toward acquiring a particular SJ.

Our local Jeep Club used to have a regular visitor at the monthly pub meets in Ben, a young guy with an '82 Chief that had been passed around the family (Dad, Uncle, Ben) that he was restoring. As I've had a few SJ's, we'd hang out and talk about what needed to be done to his rig and how best to proceed.

Then he stopped coming to the meets. Months went by, until last September, when he showed up again. Glad he did as no-one else did that evening.

Turned out the reason he'd not been coming was because he'd been in and out of hospital for months. He'd been diagnosed with, and was being treated for, Aplastic Anemia, a form of Leukemia. Which basically means your bone marrow stops making blood cells.

So we spent the evening talking about his illness, Jeeps, Harleys, and general BS'ing. The next month i tried getting in touch to see if he was coming, that's when i found out he had lost his fight against his illness a few days before. At the age of 28.

Unfortunately i was not able to attend Ben's Funeral as my Mother In Law passed at about the same time, also from a long term illness, and we had to go to California for her funeral.

I waited a few months before trying to reach out to his family to find out what their plans were for the Chief. I finally reached his Mum on Facebook, through his page, and explained who i was and what Ben and i had talked about. Got her reply yesterday:

Quote:
i'm so glad to hear from you. The meet he turned up to was two days before he went to b arts (Hospital, UKJ) and never came home. He barely made it home that night. He kept blacking out, but refused to let my husband chauffeur him or come get him. He was so stubborn, he spoke about that evening as he said you had said about helping him. I had to cancel the order from the States, but he had been getting bits from various sources. The reason I was trying to find the Jeep Club was I had hoped to do just as you've said. Ben so wanted it finished, I couldn't bear for it to just waste away.

We called it the family heirloom as all of us had passed it around free, except for the large bills for whatever ailed it at that time. I would be grateful if you would come and look at it and discuss our options. Ben had two other projects, his Harley and his Fiesta. The Fiesta is a project his friends in the Ford club want to do, and his Harley will be going to Italy in September to a Harley meet with one of his friends. My phone no. is xxxxxxxxx or mobile xxxxxxxx. No rush but when you want to come look let me know and we can discuss the options. My main aim is for Ben's projects to be finished and loved.

Loraine

Read her answer to my Wife last night, who of course started bawling as it reminded her of her Mom passing. And she DEMANDED that i follow this through. For Ben, for Ben's Mum, (and for her Mom).

No pressure then!

I'll update the thread when i've been to see the Chief, know better what needs to be done, and whether i'll be helping them restore it, buying it or 'brokering it' to someone who can. I have said that a condition of sale to anyone else will be to restore it, and not part it or scrap it (though i have yet to see what shape the bodywork is in, my three were all FUBAR'ed by the tin worm).

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Last edited by UKJeeper : 04-22-2013 at 07:03 AM.
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  #2  
Old 04-10-2013, 05:15 AM
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That's so sad and so young. I hope you can restore it to beyond his families expectations.
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  #3  
Old 04-10-2013, 05:59 AM
hookedup50 hookedup50 is offline
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X2(I'm all choked up) that is so sad, but it a worthy project and a good cause.
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  #4  
Old 04-10-2013, 08:14 AM
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jsinajeep jsinajeep is offline
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X3, If you restore it for the family and need parts I will help.
I know shipping parts over sea cost $$$$$ but I will help.
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  #5  
Old 04-11-2013, 01:14 AM
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Thanks all. I'll know more when i go and see the Chief.
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Old 04-14-2013, 02:39 PM
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Been out to meet Tony and Loraine (Ben's Parents), looked over the Chief, and had a long talk with them about what the future holds. The result of this is that they have now given me Ben's Jeep (AKA "Freddie").

Quite a bit to be done, first of which, and most important is to repair the roof. It has several rust holes that will need to be cut out and patched ('filler' is not an option). The roof bars and strips are not on the Jeep, and the area's around the bolt holes are quite well rusted. Also the edges of the roof above the drivers and passenger door, along with a small area at the front over the windshield are dissolved.


However... All of the bodywork below the gutters and down, is pristine. The fenders, wheel arches (inside and out), door frames, tailgate, and floor pans are perfect. No visible damage. Underbody still has good underseal, the fuel and brake lines show no corrosion, frame is good (except a bit of surface rust at the front frame horns). Chrome bumpers have no peeling or bubbling. Weather strips around glass is good. Rear window goes down, AND UP without tilting (though i didn't go all the way down). Rubber strips along bottom of drivers, rear, passenger windows is perished though. No visible bubbling around tailgate hinges, but didn't get chance to check hinge "stickiness" as we didn't move the Jeep from out of the garage (no battery).

As there wasn't a battery we didn't get a chance to fire it up, but the history of the engine is that it was basically rebuilt a few years back after a shop screwed up a rebore. There's Edelbrock parts bolted on (valve covers, air filter and probably carb. Two barrel).

Looked though the 'new parts' box. There were two of the window bases (that the windows sit in), but no guides, a fuel guage sender unit, and new (square) headlights. Looks like he was planning on going HID as well.

Must have been a 'base model' perhaps all three windows are hand cranked, not electric (rear window handle chrome is also good). Drivers seat fabric is split, but he has a pair of Recaros to go in there.

No pics unfortunately (yet) as the garage has about 18" on one side, and 12" on the other (UK garage size!), so not enough room. Once i find a body shop willing to take on the work, and drag it outdoors, i'll get the camera.
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  #7  
Old 04-14-2013, 08:04 PM
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jsinajeep jsinajeep is offline
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Sound like you are get a good start on it.
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  #8  
Old 04-16-2013, 01:17 PM
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UKJeeper UKJeeper is offline
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Went back today to take pics:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ukjeepe...7633258586275/

There's a hole in the top of the left front fender that i didn't notice the first visit, as well as a small hole in the base of the wing. However neither hole has gotten into the seams/joins, so should be easy to fix...

Also tried to start it. Unsuccessfully. Something clicks under the hood, but it's not the solenoid . Not enough time to troubleshoot. Ben's Mum is on crutches, but came to the garage to unlock it, and was standing there while i poked around.
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  #9  
Old 04-16-2013, 01:37 PM
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jsinajeep jsinajeep is offline
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All I can say is WOW, you got your work cut out for you.
Cut the roof off and put a different one on or make a convertible
out of it.
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  #10  
Old 04-17-2013, 12:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsinajeep
All I can say is WOW, you got your work cut out for you.
Cut the roof off and put a different one on or make a convertible
out of it.

Unfortunately, a new(er) roof is not really an option. Only one place i know of over here that has one (i've already talked to him), and he's hanging on to it for himself.
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  #11  
Old 04-19-2013, 10:56 AM
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Going to go back again to take a more in depth, leisurely look. Mainly at the rust holes over the A and B pillars. If they were downspouts for rain, its game over...

Also going to look at the frame around the gas tank as i've been advised it can rust out there.
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  #12  
Old 04-19-2013, 12:38 PM
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Dudley Downer here: I would not attempt that over here, even with donor roofs to be found. It's too far gone and too much trouble, IMO.

Maybe you have some great facilities and some help with a roof replacement project that big.
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  #13  
Old 04-19-2013, 02:13 PM
joe joe is offline
 
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Noble thing you intend but you're on the edge of an economic slippery slope.
Can't speck for you or your friends parents but if I were to adopt a good friends or my sons car. I'd do everything possible to keep it running well and on the road as a memorial. Don't think I'd spend a dime changing it to what I thought he would of liked if he'd had the money/time to finish what I thought his dreams were all about. You're in the UK , you never had a brit top up sports car in the rain? Couple roof leaks is SOP. Showing respect for loved ones lost isn't about money/work spent.
Ok, I know I sound like an insensitive cheap asshat but if you want to spend some money/time (in your friend/sons name)help some worthy local kid get through auto tech school and in the mean time drive your friends rig as much as you can. You want to remember "him" not his dreams(them days are over). Put your love and money where it can make a real difference.
Yeah I'm a cold hearted politically incorrect plick with no redeeming social value. ( I have paperwork from a shrink and a lawyer).
Your emotions/heart are in the right place but realistically rethink your intentions and go with what makes your heart go piddy pat and do some good.
My sincere condolences to you,his parents and his loved ones.
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Old 04-19-2013, 06:34 PM
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UKJeeper UKJeeper is offline
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Appreciate what you all are saying. Going to go and really crawl over it this weekend with a large helping of realism (leaving the rose tinted Jeep goggles at home!) and decide what to do. His parents already know it's borderline. His family have owned it for years, and it's known as "Freddie", as in Kruger, because it's a nightmare.

Just a hell of a shame to walk away, as there simply won't be another one like like it.
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Old 04-21-2013, 02:34 AM
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Hmmmm, just popped up on the Bay UK. Have asked for better pictures of the roof...

Edit: and got them

(and there's a roof rack)

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Cherokee-c...em19db7f 502b
Attached Images
File Type: jpg New Picture (1).jpg (35.5 KB, 9 views)
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  #16  
Old 04-26-2013, 06:39 AM
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Updates:

Someone swooped in and made a cash offer on the Golden Eagle, 5 hours before the auction finished.

However, the seller has given my email address to the buyer. They only want the engine, so bodywork is still possible.

Also, have another roof being offered (from a '78 Cherokee 4 door). Have a 500 mile round trip road trip to to get it though.

Going up over the weekend to help Ben's Mom dig out all of the paperwork and misc parts and maybe work on the Jeep.

Going up again next week with the Jeep mechanic mate to get it started if i fail at the weekend.

And finally, moving it to another friends place, much nearer to me (big barn, with electricity). Just have to find a car transporter. (selling my XJ at the weekend, hopefully, so i won't have a hauler for the trailer i normally use).

No big updates, just FYI.

Tim.
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Old 04-28-2013, 11:07 AM
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Always good when you get it started..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=do9SwGoj8h4

The moogly camera mic doesn't do justice to the side pipes... ;-)
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Old 04-28-2013, 11:11 AM
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Also added some more pics to the gallery:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ukjeepe...7633258586275/

Frame, roof close ups, and tailgate. Turns out its a bit moogly in the sheet metal. But the hinges are silky smooth.
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Old 06-01-2013, 01:23 PM
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Finally was able to move the Chief to its new location yesterday.





Now the Chief is accessible, i've been able to really take a look at it. Pulled the misc contents out of the boot and found all the chrome trims, new&unused window seals, the roof rails and once i'd pulled out the rotting carpet, the floorpans i'd been hoping to find. Just a very slight trace of surface rust at the wheel arches and foot wheels. Really good news. Money shots below.







More pics added here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ukjeepe...7633258586275/
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Old 08-21-2013, 10:22 AM
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Updates:
Replaced the metal strip the front windows sit in (along the bottom of the glass) as the existing ones...didn't exist. Rusted away to nothing. Ben had bought replacements but never fitted them. This means that the windows now go up, and down. Without the metal base the winder arm had nothing to attach to.

Old and new:


Also replaced the drivers side flip window (triangle one at the front) as the lock button had broken off a long time ago. Again, Ben had bought 2 doors (off a Grand Wagoneer) just for these parts (as far as i can tell). Also replaced the rubber seals that go along the top of the door where the glass goes through, will keep the rain out of the doors.

Old and new. (old is just the clips, on a bit of wood to show what was left!)


I've sourced headlight trims (the brackets that hold the headlights in) from a couple of mates on the Jeep Forums. Ended up up with 2 pairs (two mates), cost me a fiver. Front grille is back on, and the surrounding chrome trim. Ben had bought 2 round headlights, which i think he was going to put in the spaces inside of where the regular lights sit (see pic). I'll make sure this is done, as he wanted. However, The 3 pairs of other driving lights will probably not get mounted, as this would mean 2 headlights, 2 grille mounted driving lights, plus 6 extra driving lights = 10 lights! Its a Jeep not a Vespa!



Original seats back in, electric motors working (moves the seat back and front, up and down).

Removed the headliner, had a look at the rust damage underneath. Surprisingly, not too bad (IMO). The damage has not spread further than just around the holes. The rest of the roof is (mostly) still in good shape.







Also had the angle grinder (with rust/paint pad) removing some of the outside body rust/bubbled paint. Got a bit worried to find 1/2" of bondo on the rear right corner, but was only filling a small dent, not a hole. Removed it all and have applied hammerite to the steel, as a temporary measure to protect it from further rust damage.

And finally, have rebuilt Freddie's 'tent' into a more practical carport. Double layer of tarps, supported by wooden staves and running the full length of the body, giving him better protection from the rain. Still a temporary structure whilst i collect the parts for a proper carport. And he is going to spend the winter indoors, in a barn (unless a miracle happens and his bodywork is fixed and painted in the next 2 months).



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