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1946 CJ-2A Resto: Seats and Windshield

Posted in How To: Body Chassis on September 28, 2018
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With this last installment on the project CJ-2A, we’re nearing completion of the Jeep, and we finally got it running with a fuel delivery system and a vintage-looking OE-style wiring harness. However, in order to actually cruise the fine-running 2A, we still needed to get the minimalistic interior, seating, and a windshield installed. Once again, we looked to Kaiser Willys Auto Supply (KWAS) for the seat cushions and canvas-style covers that have the look we wanted, fit well, and come in a variety of colors to complement any paint color on a Willys. We went with Tan for the canvas seat covers, as that was the factory color that would have accompanied Pasture Green paint back in the day, and we also like the idea of a light color when out on those sunny days. Vinyl material and various color options for the seat covers are also available through KWAS if you don’t prefer canvas or Tan.

Luckily, the one-piece glass that was in the M38 military-style windshield frame was still in great condition, so we only needed a new rubber weather-stripping/lock strip (also available from KWAS) to mount the glass in the frame. Some may choose to install the glass at home, but we’ve heard more than one horror story ending with a broken piece of glass or damaged frame, so we thought it would be worth letting an experienced professional help us out. With all the necessary parts in hand we headed to see Steve, our auto glass expert at Auto City Glass in Oxnard, California. Once we arrived with the windshield frame off the Jeep, he made quick work of the task, installing it with a clean look with no damage at all.

Even our dog had grown weary of the old vinyl seat covers that were previously in the Jeep and gave us a hint to replace with the sniff test. With rusted springs and signs of previous moisture, we made the decision to use high-quality, new foam cushions and canvas seat covers available from Kaiser Willys Auto Supply (KWAS).

In a previous article we had prepped the new aftermarket rear seat frame from KWAS with proper seat cover mounting holes, and then had all three of the seat frames were powdercoated. Since we do try and stick with the DIY ideology most of the time, we handled the installation of the cushions and canvas seat covers on our own with great results. We also wanted to incorporate a rear seatbelt, but without drilling large holes to accommodate, so we figured out the best way was to modify the rear seat legs. Keeping the same underbody pivot bracket mount, we simply cut off both of the rear leg tapered tabs and welded on flat mounting flanges that also had a seatbelt tab and hole. Check out all these installations along with a few other items, like leather shift boots and data plates, as we show you how we finished off this CJ-2A project.

We decided that Tan was the right choice, and it was also the OE color with Pasture Green paint. Test-fitting the seat cushions and covers beforehand to make sure everything will attach correctly is always a good idea. Vinyl and canvas materials are available from KWAS in a variety of colors.
If your hardware is questionable like ours was, make sure to order the hardware kits, shown here, along with the seat bottoms and seatbacks of your choice. Starting with the two pre-assembled front seat bottoms, they simply bolt onto the frames using two longer and two shorter machine screws and washers for each seat.
We found that the best tool for making the holes in the canvas for the screws was an old-fashioned leatherworking awl like this one shown.
As you move along, have someone stretch and hold the material aligned with the frame, and then carefully poke the hole through the canvas and into the seat frame screw hole.
Once the hole is made and awl is removed, have someone continue to keep the hole alignment while you the install the screw with the washer.
Here is the finished product after the canvas rear seat bottom and seatback cushions were installed. As mentioned, we had to pre-drill the holes in this replacement rear full back frame about 4 to 4 1/2 inches apart to match the factory holes that were already in the front seat frames.
To make things go easier with the windshield install, Steve at Auto City Glass started by lightly sanding the edges of the glass. This helped knock down any sharp edges and let the glass fit and install into the rubber weatherstrip a bit better.
Next, the weatherstrip was taped to the center bottom of the frame and slowly installed around the frame using the smaller groove, and then cut with slight overlap that allowed the corner edges to work in fully as installed.
Once the rubber was set, Steve used glass cleaner as a lubricant, and then he dropped the glass in from the top with the help of a suction cup handle, slowly working his way around with a plastic lever tool to get it seated into the larger opening of the rubber seal.
Once the glass is completely into the rubber seal, using a tool of the trade like this lock strip installer makes easy work of this last part of the glass installation.
With the glass cleaner used as a lubricant once again, the front lock strip was installed carefully around the rubber seal and frame using the special tool. Once finished, the remaining strip was cut to end where it began.
Here is the newly installed M38 windshield at Auto City Glass with a centered bottom seam that is barely noticeable without any gaps—a sign that each piece of rubber was cut to the perfect length.
Moving on to a few cool interior items, we pulled the leather mount flap into place and aligned the holes with a pair of needle-nose pliers so the screws could be installed.
With both leather and rubber shift boot options available from KWAS, we chose the timeless look and went with the more expensive leather option. We did think it was worth the cost as it will get minimal exposure outside and should last a very long time.
Next on the short list of interior items in the CJ-2A were the data plates. Factory for a ’46 is a one-piece longer plate, but with a previously installed custom glovebox in the dash, we had to go with a three-piece later-model data plate set and arranged them to our liking as shown. As a finishing touch, we had the serial number engraved at a local trophy shop.
Another non-factory item we needed to figure out was a rear seatbelt option. By using the stock “quick removal” rear seat clip-in mount and holes, we fabricated a “mirrored” top plate that would sandwich the body with the underside factory pivot bracket with pinch rollers. Then at this point we simply welded tabs on the flat edge with large holes where we could mount the seatbelt.
This custom setup shown deletes the quick removal of the rear seat, but the factory pivot bracket remains lying underneath, and it only takes the removal of four Grade 8 bolts to remove the entire seat. At some point when a rollcage gets installed, it will be nice to know the rear seat has a safer solid mount on the rear legs and a working seatbelt all ready to go.
Even though this CJ-2A has a few optioned parts that were not available in 1946, like a one-piece M38 windshield frame, glovebox, and now a full back rear seat, they were are all flatfender (Military or Civilian) options at some point and help to keep this nicely restored CJ-2A a classic Jeep.

Sources

Kaiser Willys Auto Supply
888.648.4923
www.kaiserwillys.com
Auto City Glass
805-278-6780
autocityglassca.com

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