Willys Hotchkiss Jeeps
Willys Hotchkiss JeepsWillys Hotchkiss Jeeps

Hotchkiss re assemble Blog 6

Now the paint has cured - its on with the reassembly.  After cleaning off all the nuts and bolts and replacing those rusted beyond use - it was a coat of paint on the heads (to avoid runs in the paint if they were painted when on the vehicle)

It seemed a good time to replace all the wheel bearings and brakes.

The long prop shaft was removed at the rear and it came out with swarf on it.  The actual drive shaft was a ww2 one and really shouldn't have been fitted as it was quite corroded. Obviously a propshaft had fractured in the past leaving the swarf in the axle. Luckely it had collected behind the internal seal between the banjo axle casing and the arm of the axle- so stopped damage to the diff.  When they snap - if you leave them in they rub the two ends of the fracture together depositing swarf.  You really should use the new shaft to fish out the swarf as they should be magnetised.  Or send a magnet down (say a fragment of an old car speaker) on the end of a stick VERY WELL ATTACHED!

The drums came off easily on the rear wheels - but the fronts were a nightmare. It seems the axle stubs had the old bearings very well 'driven' on and they were catching not letting the drum off.  In the end I avoided using a heavy hammer (you can fracture the drums or at least chip them doing it this way) It took me about 10 minutes of thinking it through to come up with a cunning plan..

In the end after taking out the split pin (under the grease cap) and removing the locking nut - I undid the drive flange (six bolts) and removed the large locking nuts underneath (and large locking washer)

I then put the drive flange back on and used a three legged hub puller under thie flange - pushing off the front fluted driveshaft - and 'pop' off they came.  Needed to use the puller on the last taper bearing to remove this as well....potential hours of hammering and muttering avoided..

On went new taper bearings in the drums.  They can be easily drifted out using a small cut out in the drum behind the 'rings' the taper bearings run on. Clear the grease away and you have two 'cuts'. Put in a large bolt to act as a die and hammer... drifting back in is easy - just make sure they sit correctly/ flush when new ones put back in.  If you are changing bearings do change them completely - don't just replace the rotating part - it's false economy.. PS remember to well grease the bearings - they usually don't come packed in grease these days.  I work in the grease whilst wearing an old pair of wasking up gloves! sexy..

New brake cylinders were fitted all round. It's not really worth rebuilding the old ones as you can get new ones at only 10 - 15 each and in the end 'your brakes are your life'. Top tip here - some times at the back - when you start to undo the brake pipes, the male union join (the bit you are turning) binds to the pipe and can some times twist the brake pipe and it shears - pain in the arse to replace..

To avoid this, remove the brake shoes - take out the holding bolts (two small ones) that fasten the cylinder in place and the bleed nipple.  This means you can hold the brake pipe (and male union) static with a spanner and manually turn the wheel cylinder by hand - therefore unscrewing the entire unit - and it comes away easily. Do the reverse to fit the replacemant - nipping up the brake pipe male union when its in place and held by the locking bolts/ nipple.  Easy!

Some pictures to the right of the current reassembled jeep - next thing, setting the brake shoe gaps - bleeding the brakes and chase the rebuild of the engine with the engineer shop!

Picture 1 - all resprayed and greased ready to have the clutch bearing replaced

Picture 2 - Nearly new klebers sourced and fitted - makes for a very comfortable ride on long journeys

Picture 3 - Refurbished french shovel and axe - finishing touch (all this area was rotted through when I bought the jeep.. hours of welding and griding have sorted this)

Picture 4 - In the rear I have put back in the single radio seat and attached a MP50 radio mast base.  Finished off with a correct VHF ceramic mast base. (all french of course!)

Picture 5 - Couldn't resist putting on finishing touches - before fitting the engine,,, a period decontaminator and correct machine gun post - ready to finish this jeep off as a 'fully loaded' example..

Next - the engine refit and tuning..

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