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Willys M Jeeps Forums :: View topic - Classic rear floor and lower cowls and MDJ lower cowls
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Classic rear floor and lower cowls and MDJ lower cowls

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Joined: Sep 28, 2008
Posts: 345
Location: Caldwell, Texas

PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 12:36 pm    Post subject: Classic rear floor and lower cowls and MDJ lower cowls Reply with quote

I have finally made some progress on reconstructing my body with homemade panels and some purchased premade re-pop panels.
I purchased a rear floor, valence and inside rear body mounts from Classic Enterprises. I did not purchase the rear floor with the valence and body mounts attached for a couple of reasons.
1. I didn't know if I would be able to maneuver the floor with the valence attached around without interfering with the rotisserie stand mounts.
2. It was $15 or $20 cheaper to weld them all together myself rather than let classic do it and I felt I could get a better fit doing it all myself.

The valence went in perfectly with no fit problems. The rear floor went in very cleanly also. I had to drill holes for the body mounts, notch the side where the floor goes over the front body step at the rear of the front floor and do a little bit of grinding where the middle of the lip at the rear fits over the curve in the center of the valence. The main criticism I have is that the front hat channel was a few inches off but that may be because the indents in the floor are not in exactly the same place on a M38 as they are on a CJ3A. I guess that would be my other criticism is that Classic doesn't make a separate M38 floor board or the right lower cowls with tool indents.

I have also been working on installing the lower cowls to the body, Floor pan and firewall. I have compared the Classic and MD Juan lower cowls in other posts and I think that MD Juan has made some changes. But I was at a position that I was (and still probably will) going to use the front half of the Classic right lower cowl and the rear of the MD Juan lower cowl due to the lack of tool indents in the Classic lower cowl. But I decided to try and fit the MD Juan lower cowl one last time in it's entirety. I cut the top lip of the cowl to allow for the firewall and for later fitment to the upper cowl and the assorted windshield brackets etc. When doing so I immediately noticed that the attached upper gusset where the wiper line comes out of the engine compartment is 3/8" or so too long. This means that the firewall must be bent a good ways back for fitment which will impact upper cowl, battery boxes, glove box panels and the like. I also noticed that the lower cowl support that is attached to the MD Juan lower cowl is bigger and differently shaped and that causes the cowl to be too far forward. (MD Juan has said that in new cowls they have changed the appearance of the lower cowl support but I donít know if they changed the size of the support)
This picture of the original gusset and the MD Juan gusset, I injured both in removal but the MD Juan is longer where it meets the firewall.

These two pictures are the removed MD Juan lower cowl support and a Midwest Military lower cowl support. The one from Midwest is a twin to the original lower cowl support. You can see the Midwest Military one fits inside the MD Juan lower cowl support. The second picture shows some other differences that MD Juan said they would correct to make them visually the same as the original.

As a result I decided to remove the gusset and the lower cowl support from the lower cowl panel and see if I could get a decent fit and then reattach the more accurate lower cowl support from Classic and the original upper gusset. After doing so the fitment problems became more apparent. Because of the shape-placement of the step on the lower cowl I couldn't fit the lower cowl to the body pan without making substantial changes to the hat channels. My floor in NOS and the hat channels are correctly placed and the length is correct. I hope that the changes MD Juan said they were making in their lower cowls in another thread work to correct some of these problems correct the problems I have noticed with the gusset, lower cowl support and the step.
1st picture is gap of right lower MD Juan lower cowl, 2nd picture is fitment of left Classic lower cowl. The right side lower cowl from Classic fits similarly as the left but doesnít have the tool indents.

I was hoping that by deconstructing the MD Juan lower cowl I could get a good enough fit to avoid combining the Classic and MD Juan cowls but the conclusion I came to before seems to hold true even with the offending parts removed. The MD Juan lower cowl is not made very accurately. Maybe the newer ones will be better but for those of us stuck with the old ones or having to buy out the stock of old ones before the new ones get in the pipeline the fitment problems are a real drawback. I appreciate that MD Juan tries to make a lot of the parts that are not readily available, I just hope their most recent campaign by Rommel Juan ends up with a comprehensive quality review for replacement panels in the future.
I also understand the body tubs they make have greatly improved but I would guess that their replacement panels are made to the specs for the body tubs which makes exact replacement parts when reconstructing an original tub a problem. It appears that the few parts Midwest Military and the parts made by Classic are by far superior to the MD Juan replacement panels but Midwest and Classic don't make all the parts to construct a tub and they don't make a tub.

R G Mutchler
M-38 MC13312
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