FC-tour-jeep Research Archives

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FC Tour Jeep Update – Driver’s Seat

• CATEGORIES: Builds, Features • TAGS: This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

It continues to be a busy month. Yesterday felt like a 2-step-forward, 1-step-back kind of day. The new raised garden is about done, as seen below. Still some details to complete, such as adding some plastic sheets at each corner of the raised beds, because, as it turns out, the corrugated sides create gaps at the corners, which allows dirt to fall onto the ground. So, we will need to dig up each corner and add some plastic sheets to stop that. Once we get all the plants in and gravel laid, I’ll take some final pics.

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Yesterday morning I spent some time working on the FC. My goal had been to create the cover plate for the mini-gauges and power switch that will sit on the angled area of the dog house.

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I cut a raw piece of 14 gauge steel, rounded the edges (not shown), then, to test the size and look, placed the plate on the dog house. That’s when I noticed the plate didn’t lay flat. After testing some flat edges, I eventually concluded that there’s a slight twist in the dog house at the very spot I want to put the gauges. It’s not undoable, but I’d rather the plate sat flat (passenger side is flat).

This pic shows the angle. You can see the slope increase as the angled portion moves to the front.

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That problem led to me removing the driver’s seat (for the first time) so I could better evaluate my options.

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I eventually concluded that it will take some clamps and braces to straighten it (if even possible). Since i didn’t feel like tackling that project right now, I turned to the driver’s seat.

First, I installed an original driver’s seat just to see how it fits vis-a-vis the steering wheel, which proved to be a comfortable angle (whew).

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I removed the seat, then pondered the areas where the seat originally mounted. It was immediately clear that the original driver’s side seat mount areas had been patched and welded. My guess is that the area had been fatigued over the years. In addition, a portion of one seat mount bolt remained in it’s original hole, while the other mount area holes had been filled entirely.  Continue reading

 
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Removed the FC Tour Bed

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

Only a couple updates this morning, as I spent all of Friday building a framework to remove the FC’s bed. Unfortunately, my tractor isn’t quite bit enough to lift the bed, so I had to develop an alternative strategy. The framework is mostly made from wood that was formerly a dove coop, so it’s nice to put it to some use after storing it for a couple years.

Of course, the plan went sideways when the FC wouldn’t start. I eventually figured out that the electric fuel pump had stopped working. Once replaced, the jeep started right up (didn’t really want to push the FC around).

With the bed off, I will start with working on the FC’s mechanicals. For example, the transfercase low range was never connected, so that is something I need to address. In addition, some working needs completion and the brakes and break pedal need some attention.

Here are a few photos:

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Happy New Year 2024!!

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

Welcome to 2024!

This upcoming year of the Dragon marks the seventeenth year of eWillys; it continues to be the longest ‘job’ I’ve ever had. The site seems to have its own inertia that pulls me along. Despite all the posts, approaching 65,000, interesting new stories still appear, which keeps me energized, as I think it does you all.

To that point, in 2023 I spent more money on old docs than ever before, mostly in the form of Willys and Jeep News issues. I’ll be publishing more issues throughout January, into February. Most of the issues are early to mid 1960s, so you’ll see more full-size jeeps, but most still contain information on the older jeep models as well.

My goal for 2024 will be to continue on the every-two-day or three-day-update schedule. Now that I have so many Willys Jeep News issues, my hope is to weave together interesting stories that span across the various issues. Two post that I know I will do are 1) a post on the range of custom campers built from FC-170s and 2) the wide range of ice cream jeeps. I also hope to create more of an index, so that jeep news, brochures and other documents can be arranged along a timeline. Again, we’ll see how things go.

With the chaos of family illnesses and death behind us for now (fingers crossed) over the last six years, I had more free time to read in 2023. At six hundred pages, “And The Band Played On” by Randy Shilts, a book about how HIV and AIDs unfolded in the 1980s, is one I just finished and proved the most interesting book of the year, even though it was written in 1987. Another fascinating book is a new one by Kashmir Hill called “Your Face Belongs to Us”, which highlights the scary way in a company called Clearview can locate your image in videos based on the company’s ENORMOUS database of video and still images (I can guarantee it is worse than you think it is). Big Kibble was another interesting book, this one covering the history of dog food (I like history-of-food books). Other books I read include Deluge, Zoobiquity, Paradise: One Town’s Struggle to Survive and American Wildfire, Sedition Hunters, Angle of Repose, among others.

Speaking of books, it’s crazy that this year will mark thirteen years since I published my first book, Finding Virginia, and seven years since my last one, Slag. I have returned to researching my next book about Rossiter Raymond, once the pre-eminent mining engineer in the world. I’m still looking for the right narrative to tell his story (maybe I can sneak in a jeep?). We’ll see how things go.

On the jeep front, work has begun on the FC Tour Jeep. I’ve removed all the rear seating and carpet. Given I want to raise the rear bed to a point that more closely reflects the original tour bed, I must decide whether to build atop what’s there or remove all the rear bed and build a new rear floor altogether, then reimplement the existing sides and rollbars. Also, I was able to secure a set of original FC-170 seats (thanks to Craig) that can be reupholstered, so that’s one less thing to worry about!
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Meanwhile, the race jeep gets started and run once a week. It still needs some graphics, but that’s pretty trivial. I hope this spring to take it somewhere local to give it a few workouts. When I was driving it around our pasture last fall, it seemed to be missing slightly in the high end, so I want to test it a little more to explore that more once the weather warms.

As for 2024 trips, Ann will likely be in DC at some point in January. She has spent the last two months working on a bill for the existing victims of state sponsored terrorism, which attempts to fix and tighten an original bill passed by Congress in 2015. Later in the year we may be in Sea Cliff, New York, so that I can give a presentation as part of a museum exhibit related to my family’s history in Sea Cliff. Of course, we also plan to attend a few weekend jeep races here in the Washington State this summer. Depending on what happens over the next couple of months, we are considering a trip to Europe, but we’ll see how that goes. If we don’t go to Europe, and if the FC Tour Jeep gets done in time, we may take it to one or more summer events. However, finding someone to stay and manage our property, and especially our dogs, is our biggest hurdle to travel.

That’s all for now. Stay safe and have a wonderful 2024.

 
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Three Scenic Jeep Tour Slides

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images • TAGS: , This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

I bought these three Scenic Jeep Tour slides off of eBay, supposedly from 1964. The pic with the FC *might* be ours. I am waiting for the slide to take a better pic.

With the racer near done and the nice weather, I plan on tackling a couple outside projects, then begin work on the FC Tour jeep.

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Postcard of FC-Tour Jeep in “San Juans”

• CATEGORIES: Advertising & Brochures, Features, Postcards • TAGS: , This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

I just bought this postcard. It was mis-listed under “Jeeping on the San Juan Islands, Washington”. Now, Mt. Moran is a pretty good sized mountain (for the San Juan Islands), but pales in comparison to the San Juan Mountains in Colorado, where this photo was obviously taken. This is a 4×6 card and I’m hoping I can identify which tour jeep the is once I get the card. Given the red cage and red bar up the center, I’m leaning towards this being mine.

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Finally Home!

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

(Joe-in-Mesa took this video and most definitely earned his ride in the Tour Jeep)

After 3200+ miles of driving over the last 9 days we finally arrived home on Tuesday. Yes, we are tired and exhausted. It has been a LONG three days.

After Saturday’s rescue by Joe and Jan, we loaded the Tour Jeep onto Joe’s trailer and renewed our trek north, but within twenty miles we realized the brakes on his trailer still weren’t working well for us. After testing out some different truck towing modifications (more gain, more effort). We decided it was time to go to Joe’s place and see if we could make the other trailer work better.

Joe, meanwhile, had towed the trailer back to his house. Along the way his truck alerted him to a brake fault. So, it wasn’t us that was having a problem.

By the time we reached his house Saturday night, we were tired and frustrated. Two trailers weren’t working correctly, a heavy jeep needed to be Brough home, and the future weather forecast meant we needed to get home by Wednesday or risk the passes getting bad again. Thankfully, we had Jan and Joe to share some drinks, eat some food. and forget about life for a while.

On Sunday morning, Joe and I tackled the trailer issues. Our first task was to debug the running light issues. Why were some lights working and some not? After trial and error we learned it was a combination of grounding and loose wires. It was a big win when we got all the lights working!

While completing that task, we discovered the trailer wasn’t wired correctly for either of our trucks. That’s when we both learned that 7 blade plug-ins have at least two different wiring options (there could be more, but I haven’t deep dived on the topic). So, rewiring the trailer for OUR trucks, helped solve additional issues.

Once all that was done, the trailer brakes worked correctly. By Sunday’s sunset, we’d completed the work and done a half-hour test of the trailer (with FC aboard) around Phoenix.

Monday at 5am we left for Salt Lake. It was a long, somewhat nerve wracking drive given what happened on Saturday. Thankfully, things went smoothly despite encountering rain, snow, and some hail. We arrived just at sunset to and an-all-too-short visit with my sons.

Tuesday morning, again at 5am, we hit the road again. This time we were less worried about the trailer and more worried about the weather, as we had at least six passes to summit. At about 6:30am we reached Snowville, where we ran into fog an 0 degree temps.

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The moon was bright at 7am, while the world around us was frigid!

I wondered just how long of a day it was going to be, but once the sun broke over the mountains, the temps improved, as did the road conditions. It was smooth sailing after that.

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We must thank Jesse and Andrea for their “most excellent” hospitality and their support for buying the Tour Jeep. And, we can’t thank Joe and Jan enough for their incredible selflessness in coming to our aid, entertaining us, boosting our moral some, and helping us get the trailer road-worthy again. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Unsure if there will be updates on Thursday morning or not, but Friday for sure.

 
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The Army Engineers Rescue the Air Force (and Me)

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.
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A huge thanks to Joe and Jan for saving us.

After years of successful trips, this trip seems to be a payback for all the lack of trouble we’ve had. Thankfully, we have made friends all over the country.

On Saturday morning we left at dawn. We’d driven northwest about an hour, just passing Sun City by a few miles. At that point, we found Shell station that had room for us to pull in and check over the the trailer (check hubs for warmth, lights, etc). Of the six hubs, two were hot and one was warm. In addition, the truck was showing a trailer light fault, so, we found out, the turning lights had stopped working.

Hmmm .. not good.

After checking things over, we didn’t have a firm understanding of what was happening, but knew we didn’t want to go any further with the trailer as is. After a few calls, including checking with U-Haul, which didn’t have a trailer that could carry the FC, we called our good friends Joe and Jan. Joe is a former Army Engineer, so it was fun to say that Army was rescuing Air Force.

They immediately changed their plans and came with their trailer (capable of carrying two jeeps), offering to let us take it home (and then I’d return it and come back with our trailer).

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After swapping trailers, we put the FC back onto their trailer. To celebrate what looked like a victory, and to wait one of Ann’s former Khobar Tower colleagues (who wanted to make a quick visit to say hello), we enjoyed a beer in the FC, just hanging out and talking: our first group event! What great fun that was!

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David, Joe and Jan having a drink in the FC.

Eventually, Joe and Jan had to leave, so they took our trailer home, testing it along the way (during which they found the electric brakes were having an issue.

Meanwhile, Ann’s Khobar Tower friend arrived, so we spent a few minutes meeting with Tim. It turns out that Tim had grown up in a jeep club near Pismo Beach, and his dad still had a built CJ-3A. So, Tim shared pics of the FC with his Dad, which of course both thought was cool.

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Once Tim left, and with Joe’s trailer in tow, and the FC atop to it, we drove to Wickenburg, but our truck was having some problems talking with his trailer brakes. They would work, but not as good as we expected. We experiment with the “gain” and the “braking effort”, but that didn’t seem to do enough to make the brakes work like I wanted.

By then it was 3pm. Long story short, we decided to return to the Phoenix area to stay at Joe and Jans and fix our trailer. So, I’ll be going through all the wiring and working on the brakes. So, that’s the task this Sunday morning.

What a crazy trip!

 
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Our ‘New’ San Juan FC Tour Jeep

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

This is the big surprise… Jesse and Andrea have agreed to sell us the San Juan FC Tour Jeep that Jesse built from the cab up, along with the trailer. You can see more pics from the build here: https://thefcconnection.com/jesse_ybarra’s_tour_jeep_journal.htm

We consider this a great honor and can’t thank Jesse and Andrea enough! Jesse was instrumental in encouraging us to visit the round-up for the first time in 2012. Ever since that first visit I have wanted an FC tour jeep, but given there are only three of them, I never thought it would be a possibility.

Much more about this later, as we have a long drive home in front of us!

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