Invasion Star on the HoodA new Star, more axle work, and engine item upgrades!

At long last, the hood is finished! This is PART 2 of adding the stencil markings to the hood with a brand new star with a big unveiling of the finished Jeep with new markings and axles! After that, I start work on trying to figure out what the clackity sound is coming from the rear of the Jeep by re-opening up the rear axle and diving into the carrier. This includes replacing the spider gears, side gears, and more. I also remove the pinion and check everything out before putting it all back together. Finally, I re-add the heat shield for the master cylinder and work on enhancing the engine with some new items.

A preview of what’s to come… So let’s dive into this week’s update!

Last week, I completed putting together the axles and went on the first test drive. The drive went well, but a strange clackity sound appeared from the rear of the Jeep. Here’s what I know…
1) It happens only when in gear.
2) Press the clutch and the sound disappears completely when pressed or put into neutral.
3) It only happens when I’m not pressing the gas and above about 10mph.
4) It only happens in 2WD, 4WD the sound is gone.
5) Only happens under load as when on jacks, I can’t replicate the sound.
6) When the rear drive shaft is out, the sound is gone. Perplexing, to say the least, I’ll dive more into this in a little bit.

Before I dove into the rear axle again, I decided to finish applying the hood markings. Last week, I added the correct hood numbers (which came from wet sanding the original hood) with stencils from Military Stencils By Axholme Signs. This hood is another original GPW hood that I got last year in October and completely restored as my original hood is too far gone to repair. I’ve had a MD Juan repro hood on the Jeep, but I wanted another original GPW hood instead.

On the MD Juan hood, I had just a plain star. But, after researching Army Air Force Jeeps in June of 1944, I decided to change it up to the invasion star, which is a star with a broken circle around it. This star was added to vehicles after the invasion of Europe in June of 1944, and the one photo of a Jeep at RAF Horham in England (my Jeep is marked up as a 412th bombardment squadron from that base) I’ve seen has this star from what I can tell. This star is also from Military Stencils By Axholme Signs

To help with aligning the star on the hood, I used the top point of the star and the opposite inverse point to draw a straight line, which is center. I then used the center seam on the hood to make the star aligned. I also used the center of the center roller hinge.

I taped down one side with painter’s tape to keep it in place.

I went through the whole process of how to apply the stencils in last week’s update, so for this one, I’ll skip to the good parts! The star was a bit bulkier to remove the various layers because it’s so large. It’s best to take it slow and have a second person. One to pull the layers, one to press down on the stencil to keep it from peeling up. I found the large stencil had a tendency to get a lot of air bubbles because of the outer circle shape, so stop every now and then, work out the bubbles, then once it’s good, continue on.

Here’s the star with the bottom and the top layer removed and ready for painting. As you can see, there are several spots still that have creases in it. It’s really unavoidable with a stencil this large. One area of the circle had a large area where it wanted to fold up where two areas we pulled the top layer off met, for that I had to unpeel the corner and relay it down twice in order to get the curve shape to be the correct curve. Just be patient, and take care to keep an eye on all the lines. Then, I used the slick part of the rear layer I peeled off to rub over the entire stencil to make sure it’s down flat and stuck to the hood.

I then went to work masking off the rest of the Jeep. Some people like the WW2 style overspray, I’m not as much of a fan, I like something crisp as if the guy applying it at the USAAF depot took pride in his work, so I really masked off my Jeep. The white spray paint will get EVERYWHERE, so mask it good.

Since the star is in the crease on the hood, I found that it wouldn’t go down into the crease all that well since the stencil was stiff. So, I put some painter’s tape on the end to reenforce it, and I used a spreader to carefully stretch the stencil into the crease.

After masking and stuffing the stencil into the hood crease, I did the first layer of Rustoleum Professional white paint. This first layer needs to be light to get it going. You don’t want to stencil on the Jeep for too long, so I did three layers of paint (one light, two medium) about 7 minutes apart.

You really want to make sure you get all the corners of the star and all the edges of the circle segments. After the last layer of white, I did two light-medium coats of clear matte topcoat paint to seal the star, protect it from yellowing (the clear coat blocks uv light), and helps me to clean it when it gets spots on it.

After that last clear coat, I immediately start to take off the masking… moment of truth…

BOOM! A perfect invasion star! It came out great!

I was worried about the areas where the star and circle edges go into the crease on the hood, but stuffing it in there with the spreader worked perfect.

And here’s a look at the numbers and star applied. The stencils worked great yet again Military Stencils By Axholme Signs! Happy to have the correct hood number for my Jeep and a period-accurate star!

And it looks good with the hood up!

Because of all the layers, there might be a bit of a raised edge on the markings once you pull off the stencil. After it dries, take a cloth and gently wipe down the stencil, it will knock down the raised edge (on the right) to look more like the left image. It might leave little flecks of dried paint, but you can wipe again in the direction of the edges and it’ll smooth them out.

After they dried a bit (the paint dries very fast), I took it out for a quick drive just mainly to see that large star on the hood while going through the streets! But, that clackity sound was still there, so it’s time to figure out what that is. But before the Jeep goes back on jacks, I wanted to do a mini photoshoot now that she’s painted and has GPW axles!

And here she is! Correct GPW axles, correct markings on an original GPW hood, combat rims, and new Firestone replica WW2 tires! She’s looking pretty darn good right now.

It’s been one of those sore subjects with me and the Jeep having those CJ axles and rims, and it’s such a relief to finally have the correct wartime style on now!

Especially the Firestone tires, all five of the tires are Firestone 600-16 NDT Military tires, just like in WW2. These are the newer v2 Firestone tires made by Coker Tire Company.

The axles and rims look great, with the two completely restored 1943 GPW axles under the Jeep and combat rims! I also have the correct pointed style valve stem protectors and the correct style screw-type valve caps!

She’s really looking ‘Picture Perfect’ (as her namesake). Visually, she’s pretty much completely done at this point!

And here’s a look at the 1943 rear axle. With new brake lines, DOT 5 brake fluid, restored original springs and shocks, and correct F style U bolts, she’s looking great.

The 1943 restored front axle with the new wartime steering! So nice to be rid of the CJ steering system and have all this correct hardware!

And it’s nice to have a Torque Reaction Spring on the Jeep, which it didn’t have. Probably ditched when the CJ axles were put on, and I’m sure this is the first time in decades that the Jeep has correct axles and the TRS!

Another photo showing off the new markings and the blackout headlight covers on the headlights. From this angle, before, you’d see the bulky CJ steering attached to the front crossmember.

One last look before heading back to the garage. Aside from the clackity sound from the rear, she’s actually running well and driving better than before!

On the way back, I tried to listen for exactly where that clackity sound was coming from and also trying to figure out why it’s only in gear, in 2wd, when coasting and the clutch not engaged. Also note, it was a cold night, so that’s actually dew appearing on the star.

I went to work right as I got back to the garage getting the Jeep up on jacks again. The Harbor Freight 1 Ton crane to the rescue again, simple to lift the Jeep to get it high enough to put jacks under the Jeep on the frame just forward of the spring pivot bracket.

First step, draining all the oil in the rear axle to try and see if I can figure out where the clackity noise is coming from. I had just put the oil in last week. I’d only gotten maybe 5 or 6 miles on the Jeep since I did the first test drive. Not much driving.

I immediately noticed a lot of metal shavings in the oil. Here’s some on the top of the drain plug. Uh oh. Now, it’s a NOS ring and pinion in there, so there might be some shavings since they are settling into eachother, but this seems excessive for 5-6 miles.

Once the cover was off, I started inspecting the entire housing looking for any strike marks on the housing, wear on the ring, and any other abnormalities. I couldn’t see anything hitting the housing, but I did notice pretty significant wear on the inner left side of each tooth on the ring. It’s the same on ALL teeth, so not like something is warped. Hmmm. This must be where all the metal shavings came from.

Other than that, no other wear was seen. But I had to be sure, which meant I needed to take out the carrier so I could inspect the pinion and the rest of the housing. Also, inspect the bearings. Plus, since there is all the metal dust, I need to completely clean out the housing.

Here’s the carrier out of the housing. I was constantly on the phone with Roger Smith talking about ideas on things to change and inspect to try and eliminate the wear and that clackity sound. We decided to focus on the carrier, since that had to be the source of the issues, we thought.

I took the ring off, first, as I needed to clean it up and inspect it closer. Plus, I’ve read a few places to rotate the gear 180 if you have sounds from the rear axle, as it could be a out of round ring.

Inspecting the spider gears and side gears, I noticed two issues… there’s a large gap between the side gears letting them move out and in, and that (in turn) causes the spider gears to rock. Also, the gears are pretty heavily pitted. These are original gears in an original carrier.

I decided to take out the gears and inspect them all (and possibly replace some things). It’s pretty easy to take them out. You use a punch to punch out the drive pin (which you can only do with the ring off)

From there, you can push out the large pin holding the two spider gears. The pin has a nice F stamp on it.

From there, you can rotate out the spider gears, taking them out. Then you can just easily pull out the side gears. Here are all the parts. The two small spider gears on the bottom right have their unique cup-shaped thrust washers.

Here’s a close up of the spider gears. You can see the F stamps on them (I’ll point them out better in a few). They are in pretty good shape, though chipped and pitted. The thrust washers appear to be pretty worn.

Looking at the side gears, there are thrust washers on them (bottom photo). They also appear pretty pitted.

Here’s a look at one of the side gears on the other side. Not as bad as the spider gears, but still could be replaced.

And here’s a better look at where the F stamps are on the side gears (on the lip), and on the spider gear (on a gear tooth itself).

It was pretty clear I needed new gears and thrust washers. Thankfully, I had another carrier with gears that I had gotten some time ago on accident. The darker carrier up top is actually an early CJ carrier. Almost exactly the same as the wartime GPW/MB carriers, to the point they are completely interchangeable. So, I would take a look at the gears in that carrier…

And the gears from the CJ carrier were in pristine condition! The thrust washers will still need to be replaced, but the gears are in MUCH better shape. So I’ll use those gears, but get new thrust washers.

The GPW pin was pretty worn (not the cut groove area, but on the sides) and the CJ pin wasn’t worn as much, but still had some wear so I decided to replace that as well just in case. Also, you can see the CJ pin (right) has a bit more of that grooved area than the GPW pin (left).

And to summarize, I have actually three carriers… 1) The original GPW carrier that came from the rear thatwas damaged during the spider gear explosion long before I got the axle. 2) A take-off GPW carrier that I’ve had in the Jeep with all new Timken bearings.3) The early-CJ carrier that’s nearly identical and interchangeable with the wartime carriers. I got it via ebay thinking it was a GPW/MB carrier (as the auction stated), but when I got them I saw they were CJ. Sell was really cool, and refunded me the whole cost and told me to keep the carrier!

I placed an order with Willys Jeep Parts for a new pin and set of thrust washers for all the gears. I went with them only because Ron Fitzpatrick Jeep Parts didn’t have pins on their own at the moment. But, I want to take a note and say how disappointed I was ordering with Willys Jeep Parts. The person who took my order was incredibly rude, couldn’t answer any of my questions, and seemed to just want to get me off the phone asap. She was short with me interrupting me several times. I never got a total, and was told they ‘didn’t know when it would ship’ before hanging up on me. I called back two days later and spoke to a gentleman about a status update who was also very rude and also seemed annoyed I called. Safe to say, I will NOT be ordering from them again. Just makes me appreciate Ron Fitzpatrick’s incredible customer service just that much more.

Anyway, with the CJ gears in and the thrust washers installed, I went and cleaned the whole carrier with brake cleaner, especially the bearings to get out any metal dust. (note, this photo was taken before I cleaned it, so there’s some oil on the gears still)

Before putting the ring on, I popped the carrier back into the axle and tightened the caps down as if it was installed. I then measured the run out of the carrier, or how much of a ‘wobble’ it has from any warping with a dial indicator. It was showing about .09 runout. That’s a lot, it should be between .03 and .06. I was told by Tom Read to just put it all back together and drive it.

So, taking it back out, I reattached the ring back on the carrier and locked it all down with the strap locks. I made sure the ring was rotated 180 degrees from where it was before, just to see if it would counter the run out at all.

Before putting the carrier back in, I still needed to take out the pinion so I could clean it. I undid the cotter pin and then used the impact air gun to get the castle nut loose. Then I could pull out the yoke and have access to knock the pinion out.

With the pinion removed now, I was able to really clean the housing and get rid of all the metal dust. There were no chunks of metal anywhere, just the fine metal dust. One area, when you’re cleaning out the housing, to really pay attention to is the are between the two race cups for the pinion bearings. Debris can get trapped in that area between there, so it’s good to clean it out really good.

Taking a look at the pinion, still looks pristine, no abnormal wear or issues anywhere on it.

With not much I could really do, aside from replacing the carrier with a different one (I don’t have a bearing puller needed to not damage the bearings), I was told to just button her up and give it a try.

First thing was to put the pinion back in along with the yoke, castle nut, and cotter pin.

Next up I installed the carrier and torqued everything down. I then checked the runout, on the ring’s flat side. It was still about .085. Not really what I want, but it’ll have to do for now. We’re not really sure if it’s the housing that’s warped or the carrier.

Buttoned back up the cover, and put back in the drain plug with some thread sealer. I’ll redrain it after a few miles of driving and check for any more metal dust. Because of that, I’m not going to touch up the paint on anything just in case.

Same with the axle shafts. I had to slide them out a bit in order to take the carrier out. In case the carrier has to come out again, I didn’t want to mess up the paint again on the axle bolts, so I sand blasted the heads clean and will repaint them when I’m sure they won’t need to come out again.

Last step, filling the rear axle with gear oil! Instead of the hand pump, which took an insane amount of time and was a lot of work, I decided to get a longer tube and let gravity do the work putting the oil in. Still took a long time, but at least I didn’t have to pump 100 times.

After that, took her back off the jacks and she’s ready for another test drive…

So I took her out for a spin. Roger was really hoping the loose gears in the carrier were the source of the clackity sound. So, I put her in 2wd and started driving… and sadly, heard the clackity sound just as before. DARN. :-/ All that work wasn’t for naught, however… as the spider gears, side gears, thrust washers, and the main pin were all replaced. So they will last a long time and no more wear. But still, I was quite disappointed.

Moving on to other projects, I haven’t yet installed the heat shield back on the master cylinder. The shield is often left out of restorations but helps keep the exhaust tube heat away from the brake fluid reservoir. It doesn’t need any extra studs, it actually connects to bolts already there (yellow arrows).

Here’s how it looks once installed. You can’t see the lower tab bolted to the lower bolt of the steering gearbox, but you can see the small bolt on the forward master cylinder that holds it.

And a look from below, showing how it is a shield between the exhaust tube and the master cylinder.

Next project… my Jeep is 12 volts, as many of you following along know. I also have an electronic distributor, which was installed on my Jeep when I got it. It’s an exact replica of a real distributor (which I have the original one for my Jeep, came with it, but I’ve not put it on). Anyway, two things that need fixing, the electronic distributor has an awkward red wire coming out of it which is a dead giveaway. Also, the 12v coil on the engine is modern, as I haven’t found a WW2 style that’s 12v and a stud at the bottom for a bond strap. So, I decided to fix both problems.

I took out the coil, and I sanded the bottom of it revealing the metal. Then I roughed it up with 60 grit sandpaper. I then used JB Kwik which is a super glue for metal to glue on a stud that I sanded down the head flat. It’s not exactly like the WW2 style, but, it will hold a bond strap and look at least a little closer to the real thing until I can find something better.

I then repainted the coil. Satin Black.

After it was dry, I went ahead and put the bond strap on the bottom and put the not and lock washer on. Looking good!

And here it is installed! Plays the part, and another bond strap has been added! One day, when I find a good replica 12v coil with a stud on the bottom.

As for the distributor, I pulled the inner copper wiring out of some spare loom wire I used on the wire harness for the Jeep to use to cover the red white. With the loom wire now hollow, I cut the terminal end off the red wire, carefully fed it through the inside of the loom sleeve, and then soldered the end of the wire back together.

And here it is back on the Jeep! Looks much better than a bright red wire!

Looks so much better. One day I might put the original distributor back on the Jeep after the complete restoration, but I’m in no hurry! Plus, this one looks the part and I don’t have to worry about points.

From up top, it looks so much better now!

Another mention this week, another vendor with incredible service is Patrick Tipton from Portrayal Press. I ordered one of their lay-flat Jeep guides to replace my small jeep manual that’s falling apart with each use. They were out of the lay-flat ones, so he sent me a non-lay-flat version for free in the meantime until the lay-flat ones are back in stock! Super great service!

And the book is really great, better than the little green book with WAY more information and tech manuals! Pages are nice and large, and it’s over 500 pages! It’s hard to convey how thick this book is, the bottom photo shows a large axle shaft bolt to compare! So worth the purchase! You can get one here:

So as I wrap up this week’s update, the question is… where do I go next with the clackity sound? Well, we’re going to go through the transmission. The transmission and transfercase are the two last items on the Jeep that haven’t been completely restored. It’s possible that’s where the clackity noise is coming from, so I’ve just started taking it apart (as seen here) and will cover the whole process of taking it out of the Jeep next week. It’s going to be a BIG project, just like the axles, especially since everything is original to my Jeep and all GPW with F stamps everywhere. So look for that over the next few weeks.

And that’s it for now! I feel I’m so close to having a completely restored and finished Jeep. There will always be small projects to do, and repro parts to replace with originals as I acquire them, but it’s so close for the original restoration, which started in October 2018, is completely finished. Till next week!