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Old 11-18-2023, 05:49 PM
805maker 805maker is offline
MetalShaper of the Month Dec. 2023
Join Date: Nov 2023
Location: Ventura, CA
Posts: 5
Default 1957 CJ5 Stretch - A Learning Project

I picked up this CJ5 for my dad a couple years ago. It was really a pile of RUSTY parts with a valid title. I figured it would be a good opportunity to learn on - even if buying a new tub would probably be cheaper. We complicated things when my dad asked if he could put an automatic in it as he's getting older which required stretching it quite a bit to make room.

I drew it up several times before deciding to stretch it 4" in the door and 4" behind it as it gave us the space we needed and it looked closest to the original without standing out as being modified.

This first post has less shaping and more patching, but in the next couple of updates I'll post photos of the floors, firewall, and transmission tunnel I've been working on to squeeze a 5.3L/4l60 and a dana 300 into this old Jeep.

This is how bad the floor was when we got it home:
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Here's the stretch on the passenger side:
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The bed and wheel wells weren't much better (plus firewall/floor spoilers):
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Cab corners and panels made to fit 4" stretches:
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Ryan Reynolds
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Old 11-18-2023, 06:02 PM
805maker 805maker is offline
MetalShaper of the Month Dec. 2023
Join Date: Nov 2023
Location: Ventura, CA
Posts: 5
Default 57 CJ5 - New Floors and Firewall

I started with some cardboard aided design:
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Added flanges and cut on my bead roller. Cutting dies are nice for bigger panels.
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I did the same for the firewall section:
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I couldn't use aftermarket floor supports since everything has moved around - so I welded these up and they seem stiff enough as I add more sheetmetal back to the car.
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Once the floor sections and sides of the firewall were in place, I needed to frame the motor and finish the center section out. I used strips bent on the brake and a stretcher to get the profile I wanted (making sure both sides were identical). Once that was in place, it was just a matter of filling the rest in.
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Ryan Reynolds
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Old 11-18-2023, 06:17 PM
805maker 805maker is offline
MetalShaper of the Month Dec. 2023
Join Date: Nov 2023
Location: Ventura, CA
Posts: 5
Default '57 CJ5 - Transmission Tunnel - Part 1

The transmission tunnel has been by far the most difficult part of this project (so far). We wanted access to the back of the motor so we decided we'd like to make it split as well as removable.

I started out with a wire frame using TIG filler rod as a template. This lets me get the general shape and see clearance - it also gives me something of a buck to go back to and test fit while shrinking/stretching.
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Once I had the wire frame, I started with the flanges. They aren't straight - because I'm a glutton for punishment. For this reason, I made them separate from the rest of the panel and used the shrinker and stretcher to get it close to the lines on the floor.
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Once those were done, I created a paper template of the center section and cut it out. I used the english wheel with a rubber upper wheel to get the general form of the curves, then the shrinker/stretcher to get any shape I needed.
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I used a bead roller to get the curve on the upper section (over the motor) started, then bent the flange and used the stretcher to get it to match what was already on the firewall. I made additional flanges the same way and made a frame to attach to the floor/firewall I could then attach my other shaped panels to.
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The hardest part of this was the inset I needed to squeeze the accelerator pedal and a foot in. It created some reverse curves which I hadn't done before. I added one to the other side for a sense of symmetry, but they aren't identical because the heads are offset on each side, so I had to work around them.
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Once I was fairly happy with the shape, I ran a test fit, then trimmed and tacked the panels so far into place for a test fit.
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Ryan Reynolds
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Old 11-18-2023, 06:25 PM
805maker 805maker is offline
MetalShaper of the Month Dec. 2023
Join Date: Nov 2023
Location: Ventura, CA
Posts: 5
Default '57 CJ5 - Transmission Tunnel - Part 2

I haven't been super strict at fitting each panel to the buck - the thickness of the TIG rod can cause issues as the project goes on, so I decided for the last two panels, my life would be easier if I made some new wire frames and templates to match what's been built so far.
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Once that was done, it was fairly quick and easy to fit the corner pieces
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I probably should have done this sooner (I did it with the wire frame, so my confidence was high) - a boot test to make sure I could press the pedal.
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I then made a flange for the split between the tunnel pieces as well as a flange for the rear attachment point. I didn't do this before on the wireframe because I wasn't sure where I wanted it at the time.
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Finally - it's welded and fits well. I need to do some more finishing work, but I'm a bit tired of looking at this right now, so I'll be working on something else for a week or two.
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Ryan Reynolds
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Old 11-18-2023, 07:33 PM
steve.murphy steve.murphy is offline
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 646

That’s an amazing job you’re doing Ryan. Well done!

ærugo nunquam dormit
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Old 11-18-2023, 08:45 PM
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Gojeep Gojeep is offline
MetalShaper of the Month March 2015, March 2020,, June 2022,Aug 2023
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Eastern Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 2,977

So great to see another Jeep on here!
Loving how the transmission tunnel is coming out especially, as it is not easy to make at all.
Looking forward to see how it progresses.
aka. Gojeep
Victoria, Australia

Invention is a combination of brains and materials.
The more brains you use, the less materials you need.
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Old 11-19-2023, 07:21 AM
Larry4406 Larry4406 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Northern VA
Posts: 137


What a cool build!
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Old 11-19-2023, 07:54 AM
dwmh dwmh is offline
MetalShaper of the Month May 2018, July 2022
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Nr Oxford UK
Posts: 657

That's mighty impressive work Ryan.
David Hamer
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Old 11-19-2023, 09:03 AM
rockable rockable is offline
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Oak Ridge, NC
Posts: 73

Wow! Great job! You are basically building this body from scratch.
Rock. Able
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Old 11-19-2023, 01:09 PM
Hotflint Hotflint is offline
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 81

I really like how that turned out! I will be doing a similar firewall for my engine, nice to see it come together how I was thinking!
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