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TOPIC: Wild Willy M38 LWB basket case rebuild

Wild Willy M38 LWB basket case rebuild 6 years 11 months ago #11111

Some of you may or may not remember this inheritance from another topic.
Although it's not quite finished yet, I've decided to start the rebuild write-up whilst I'm stopped & waiting for some paint.

After being a victim of the football season (Rubbish sale prices on Ebay cos football was on telly), I thought I could make the situation work for me, to try to make up for the amount it had worked against me, & went bargain hunting. Managed to pick up a reasonably complete-looking M38 for 23GBP. (I say complete-looking, it looked like the important stuff was there, just needing a body & some TLC). Like a lot of things Ebay related, it was a bit of a shock when it finally turned up!

Normally, when faced with this kind of scenario, I would strip the car for parts to resell, but in this case I thought it would be an ideal candidate to demonstrate how bad something can be, but still end up a reasonable-looking model with some time & effort, but not a huge amount of cash. It's also a good practice exercise to see what you are capable of, if you've just got the front to have a go. One of those that doesn't matter if you badword it up, but is a good learning experience.

Below are some pics that were in the original Ebay ad:


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Re: Wild Willy M38 LWB basket case rebuild 6 years 11 months ago #11113

After plucking up some courage, it was time to have a proper look at it, to see what exactly would be needed, what I could fix, what I could make & what would have to be bought-in, then some quick sums to decide whether or not it would be worth doing. To keep or to sell is a big question with anything like this - "To keep" usually means it doesn't matter too much if you spend more than it's worth if you sold it.
It's also worth bearing in mind with any second hand stuff, the wise words "For every 1 thing you find/know about, there'll be another 3 you have'nt spotted..." - Yep, this applied (In the extreme) to this!

Things spotted:
Bolted king pins

Split tyres & damaged wheels (Oooo nooo!)

Holes, splits & bits missing out of the radio box lid & chassis (But the radio box lid lugs are ok?!)

I also suspected a hard front-end smash, given the lack of front body, the replacement ally bumper, an ally front-tube-plate thingy & a pair of ally caps on the top front spring mounts. Front springs looked wrong too. Oh, & the lack of a front body post

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Re: Wild Willy M38 LWB basket case rebuild 6 years 11 months ago #11114

Next, it's time for some disassembly & more looking to find bits for my shopping list.
I have a habit of not starting something until I can see I can definately finish it, & know exactly where all the replacement bits are going to come from &/or how much they'll cost. It's a plan, I assure you! - Idea is, once you know where you're going with it, you can order the bough-in bits, then get stuck into the making/repairing, to make best use of the time waiting for the other bits to arrive.

Wheels off & say "Hmmm". Ok, tyres on hold, hoping some will turn up before I finish the build. Might try repairing them, there's also been some discussion about moulding some replacements, but I haven't got the spare cash for potentially throwing away if it goes badly. Maybe another time...
At this point, I decided that 3 of the rims could be tidied up, & the 1x really poorly rear might be repairable (Replacement rim & a bit of machining & paint)

I knew the gearbox was unhappy, because the gears were slipping & locking up, & this being something that might involve difficult-to-source (Or make) parts, put the gearbox in the firing line for next lump to come to bits. I thought I'd found the problem when I discovered the motor screws were loose, & nuts fitted in place of the missing motor spacing bushes (Motor bearings were incredibly worn too, possibly the worst I've ever seen, with about 0.5mm play in the front one!). Further dismantling showed something I wasn't expecting - a piece of card to replace a missing diff bearing! I call this pic "badword"

Gearbox dismantling also highlighted the fact I was missing the 2x anti-sway bars & their fittings (2x long screws with half-ball seats, rubbers & rose joints, that tie the rear swing-arms to the chassis). It was also fitted with the wrong back springs & seats, no adjusting collars, not to mention a selection of wrong & chewed fasteners, but this applied all over the car, so I wasn't that shocked

As for the rest of the car, I was also missing an MSC, resistors, & the ally plate that holds all the electrics. The servo saver was a home-chewed replacement (Worked well though), front body mount plate had been flattened out, for reasons which still elude me. Only 2x original rose joints on the car, the rest were an un-matching selection of cheap plastic plane (Or Mardave) ones.
Everywhere I looked, there were non-standard fasteners, chopped out bits of plastic, & original parts that had been hacked about to do a different job in a different location - eg I found the rear spring bottom seats, they were holding the wheelie spring assembly together(?!), & the funny looking front springs turned out to be 1x rear one, cut in half.
For those of you who like to look at Willys & dirty bits, this was the result of "Further investigation", ready for cleaning. I have to say, I was rather disheartened at this point & was seriously considering not going any further with it & writing it off as a bad job

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Re: Wild Willy M38 LWB basket case rebuild 6 years 11 months ago #11118

eddrick wrote: ...Further dismantling showed something I wasn't expecting - a piece of card to replace a missing diff bearing! I call this pic "badword"


A cardboard bearing? That has to be the worst RC bodging I've seen :ohmy:

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Re: Wild Willy M38 LWB basket case rebuild 6 years 11 months ago #11119

Right, after some spirit-enhancing medication (Beer), I decided it would be best to fix the chassis first, after all if this didn't go as planned, I knew I stood very little chance of doing the rest of it in a sensible time-span, in anything like withing budget. Plan was to weld up the crack in the rear/battery tray/left body mount, as it was likely to be under more stress than glue would be able to cope with (Welding was done with a low-wattage soldering iron with a clean tip). Holes & cut-outs were to be filled with Plasticard (Styrene sheet) as it bonds well to ABS chassis parts with normal model-making styrene cement. Any filling with styrene would be done to a level above what was required, then scraped back with a scalpel blade, where I could easily get to it, or left shy & filled where it would be a pain to get to for sanding/scraping (I hate filler, mainly due to the number of rusty real cars I've worked on, & I really don't want to be lumped into the catagory of people that I've sworn about in the past, as that would make me a hypocrit. I'm a "New metal, welding & body lead" person...). Painting your repairs on chassis parts can be an awkward decision too - you're unlikely to get a good finish-match with what's already there by brush painting, cutting/polishing can be difficult due to lack of accesibility to the various locations, leaving only a "Spray the whole lot" as a viable option, & I don't like doing that to the vintage stuff. SO, I thought I'd try using black printer ink, applied with a cue tip. Not a perfect match, but loads better than the paint options

Whilst the various glue, filler & paint was drying, I turned my attention to a spot of cleaning & making up some of the missing bits -
Clean gears

Gearbox/axle bearing holder

Rear suspension shafts & collars, anti-sway screws, kingpins

Anti-sway half-ball seats

Wheelie bar bits

Rear springs & upper seats (Springs were a pain to make due to their odd shape)

Radio/MSC frame

Also made some motor-spacer bushes, but I don't appear to have taken a pic of those,
same goes for the replacement front motor bearing

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Re: Wild Willy M38 LWB basket case rebuild 6 years 11 months ago #11120

Yes Jonny, I was kinda beyond surprised or angry to find that, I mean, you go to the effort of dismantling the gearbox (Or assembling it from new, after lashing out loads for the kit) but can't be bothered to spend a quid or something to put the proper bearing in?! OR, if you're that incapable, why attempt a gearbox repair in the first place, how do you manage to lose the bearing holder?! Despair, that's the word I was trying to think of earlier....
Forgot to mention - the home-made rear suspension shafts & anti-sway screws are black because I'd heat-treated them (To prevent bending/breaking). Such long 3mm screws are a pain to machine, especially out of high carbon steel, there was no way I was going to attempt it in stainless!

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Re: Wild Willy M38 LWB basket case rebuild 6 years 11 months ago #11121

eddrick wrote: Holes, splits & bits missing out of the radio box lid & chassis (But the radio box lid lugs are ok?!)

nice :y: , I hate it when these lugs are missing or are cracked :unsure:

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Last edit: by waterbok.

Re: Wild Willy M38 LWB basket case rebuild 6 years 11 months ago #11122

Turned my attention to the servo saver. A second look highlighted that it was complete & original, except for the (White nylon) drop-arm front portion, that had been skillfully mutilated out of something non-willy related. No chance of finding the proper thing to replace it with, & I've put masses of time into trying to make these things in the past (For my Hilux), so given that this one appeared to work well despite its looks, I opted to just tidy it up & use it. Perhaps a replacement might come up in the future....
Next "Unimportant" (In my mind anyway) bits to attack were the front body mount bits, resistors, MSC etc.
I got lucky & scored a pile of manky old-style black MSCs on Ebay for 2 quid. Sorted the best one, had it apart for a clean & wire replacing session. Bent up a new operating rod out of 16swg stainless TIG filler rod, pukka. Resistors were generic components of the right electrical value (0.3ohm, can't remember the wattage.... cost pence rather than pounds for the proper ones) & fitted them with "Faston" spade terminals to look like the proper thing.
Front body post plate thingy was giving me nightmares thinking about it - once bent, aluminium has a horrible habit of stres cracking/breaking if you try to bend it back, sooo many bad experiences of this in the past.... I decided it was a simple enough bit to remake if it went pete-tong in the re-bending process, so I thought I'd have a go, just on the offchance it might save some time/effort. To start with, I thought I'd anneal the ally, to lessen the chance of it breaking (To anneal(Soften) aluminium, smear it with soap, then gently heat it until the soap turns dark brown, then let it cool. Aluminium doesn't get red hot, so you don't see the point at which it's ready to melt, the soap is your heat indicator). Stuffed the bracket in the mill vice (It's a solid one with smooth jaws to prevent marking), lined up the rements of the original bend, & surprisingly I managed to bend it back into shape without problems. That's done then....
Next, have a measure & look at pics of the front body post. I'd assumed it would be the same as the Quattro, but it's not. Pic is of the first version, I had to make a taller one after discovering it didn't work with the WW2 body (I didn't have that at the time of machining the first post). Don't know what happened there, there's too many variables to say for sure - WW2 body different? Mount plate bent wrong? Front tube plate different? Spring cut back? Manual pic of post not accurate?

Next was bumper (Thanks Jonny for the info). Decided not to go Jonny's alloy route, there's a strong chance mine will get used, so I thought polyethylene would be a more resilient option. Made the holes in mine different too, those produced by the numbers looked too small to me, so I thacked them out bigger until they looked right

Did some assembling - front suspension & gearbox stuff. Found some approximately right springs for the front, & some rubber gaitors that fit (Advertised as bait boat radio box seals on Ebay, were 3 quid for 5x or something like that). Discovered top spring mounts were busted, so opted to repaint the ally caps & refit them.


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Re: Wild Willy M38 LWB basket case rebuild 6 years 11 months ago #11124

Waterbok - If they'd have been missing, I'd say it would be easier to cut off the remenants & remake them (Include gussets for extra strength). Model making styrene sheet, styrene cement & these ABS chassis parts all work well together & you get some really good bonding going on. Have a look at the radio box lid I did for my Quattro - it's since had a hiding & has survived it

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Re: Wild Willy M38 LWB basket case rebuild 6 years 11 months ago #11125

Wheels & tyres next, I couldn't put it off any longer....
Tyres are proper fubar & I want to replace them. Needless to say no sensibly-priced ones came up until I was out of spare cash, so I bit the bullet & attempted repairing them so "they'll do for now". As much as I didn't want to use CA glue for such an extensive amount of splits & cracks, no other products I tried worked as the rubber is too far had it.
3 tubes of CA smeared all over the sidewalls attended to most of the damage (Only the outer walls that are bad, from sunlight? - plan was to mount them bad-side-inward, but it turned out that idiot numpty boy hadn't paid any attention to tyre direction, so at least one of them will be bad-side-out). After the CA was dry, I grabbed some P80 sandpaper & roughed off the excess CA, which came out surprisingly well. Not perfect by any means, but definately better than they were & definately better than not having any!

Wheels... Had another, closer look, & other than the "yellowing" & "Kerbing" marks, it was really only the 1x rear outer that needed major surgery. Kerbing marks were pressed out with the side of a flat-blade screwdriver - theory says that kerbing only deforms the material, it doesn't remove it. I'd rather put the original material back where it belongs & have it original but used-looking, than remove it by sanding etc to make it look posh.
Decided that the 4th outer could only sensibly be repaired by replacing its rim completely, so I lobbed it in the lathe chuck & machined off all the tat & busted/powdery plastic, back to good material to work with. Then, I machined on a register (Nose) to mount a new rim

New rim started life as an oversized round cut-out from Plasticard. I machined the OD to make it accurately round, then found a lump of polypropylene bar & machined a pocket in it to hold the styrene disc (The disc would become too floppy to hold once it's had the middle removed, so I needed a better way to keep hold of it). Bored the middle of the disc out to be a good fit on the register on the wheel, & rough machined the rim shape whilst I was at it

Glued the new rim to the wheel, & once dried I finished machined the whole wheel to blend new with old & get the thing the same size/shape as the rest. Next job was to spray all the wheel components with white automotive spray to get them all looking the same (Automotive paint attacks the plastic, providing a better "key", meaning there's no chance of it flaking off in use)

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