Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Jeep Willys MB Water Fording Kit

Sometimes I visit eBay to see what Jeep items folks out there are putting up for sale. This gem came up from someone in the Toledo area. It's the original artwork used for the Willys MB Water Fording Kit. Thankfully the shots were of decent quality as I was able to clean up the image and fill in the frayed edges and soiling.

An unmodified Willys MB was able to water ford about 21 inches of water before the transfer case vents and fuel pump have issues. Troops in the field were modifying their Jeep 4x4s to survive deep water in their beach landings. This included sealing the distributor and ignition system, and adding an intake snorkel and extending the exhaust system among other things. Willys-Overland engineers were tasked with coming up with a kit to distribute to the troops.

This is just one example of the many ways the Willys MB Jeep 4x4 was modified for use in the field during World War II.

Jeep Willys MB Water Fording Kit

Original art for the Willys-Overland Water Fording Kit. Currently selling on eBay for a buy now price of $1,999.

According to cj3a.com it looks like the kit is a MX-735 Waterproofing Kit: "This kit was designed for the Navy and supplied by Willys-Overland for use on Marine Corps CVD radio jeeps. The kit also fit on the G503, W.W.II jeeps. It consisted of numerous parts to be installed on the jeep to make it waterproof. Everything from a new dipstick to a new speedometer were included in the kit. The distributor was replaced with a waterproof metal clad unit. The spark plugs and wires changed to waterproof "aircraft" type. A waterproof Carter YS carburetor replaced the standard WO carburetor. Fittings and vent lines were included to allow an atmospheric vent system to be attached to the transfer case, master cylinder and fuel tank. Two valves activated by a control on the dash allowed the engine crankcase to be naturally pressurized slightly while fording. The electrical system was upgraded with waterproof generator, regulator, starter, switches, horn and wiring. This must have taken a considerable amount of time to install, but when completed, the jeep was always ready to ford, unlike the earlier WV-6 kit."

Friday, February 15, 2013

Ariens 832 Snow Blower with Clarence Impeller Kit

Took a video of my "new" Ariens 832 snow blower. The blower has an eight horsepower (HM80) Tecumseh engine with a 32-inch bucket. Bought it from a retired gentleman, a precision grinder by trade, who posted it on Craigslist a few months back. He said he purchased it new in 1975, used it a few years and then winterized & stored it in his walkout basement after his neighbor gifted him a 1979 Ariens 1032 when moving south.

The 832 starts up on the first or second pull if I do my part. Replaced the muffler with a New Old Stock part found online (originally for a minibike - I took off the deflector). Also rubbed cross-country ski wax on the inside of the chute. Snow just glides off.

I also installed a Clarence Impeller Kit as it was just dribbling out slush when first purchased.  Now it throws about 40% farther and I haven't had to clear it yet. I'm guessing it's throwing about 25 feet, haven't measured it. Guessing it will throw farther with some heavier snow. Fresh fuel has Sea Foam added for good measure.

The original owner followed the instructions meticulously and took off the fuel tank every spring for storage. He also put on a new scraper bar and skid shoes. The Ariens is a model 924016  / Serial No. 00404 with matching numbers. The teardrop bucket is model 924012 / Serial No. 010030. This thing is built like a tank and works like a Swiss watch. Hoping to get many good years of service out of her.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Cave-dwelling Brothers are Billionaires

UPDATE: Usually when a story like this comes up - you find something on the Web to support it after the fact. I recently did a search and could not find any follow up stories to this fanciful tale. Wondering if they actually found the documents or were able to have DNA testing to secure the inheritance. Or was it a hoax? Post in the comments if you find anything in your own research.

What a crazy story. Two brothers, Zsolt and Geza Peladi, living in a cave on the outskirts of Budapest, are in line to inherit a cool 2 billion each from their long-lost grandmother. According to United Press International, the two men knew their mother came from a wealthy family but, according to Geza Peladi, "she was a difficult person and severed ties with them, and then later abandoned us and we lost touch with her and our father until she eventually died." The brothers got by selling scrap metal.

But who was the grandmother? Take a look at Forbes Millionaires list and the only profile that fits as not having any family is Liliane Bettencourt, the principal shareholder of L'Oreal and the wealthiest woman in Europe. She is estranged from her daughter, is of ill health, has ties to Germany, but has French citizenship.

The Daily Telegraph (Britian) reported that the Zsolt and Geza's grandmother recently died in Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany. This is the same region where German billionaire Adolf Merckle hails from. Merckle committed suicide after his fortunes evaporated with risky bets on the share price of Volkswagen. Merckle's empire ranged from pharmaceuticals to cement. But he is survived by three sons and a daughter.

Geza is said to be 43 years old, birth year around 1966.

Merckle's family came from the Sudetenland. In 1945, after the end of World War II, the Potsdam Conference and creation of Czechoslovakia - Germans were forced to leave their homes in Sudetenland. According to Wiki, the Sudetenland was resettled by many Czechoslovakians, including many Hungarians. But these Hungarians were forced into the resettlement and later returned home. Many of the returning Hungarians ran into conflicts over the ownership of their original homes, since Slovak colonists filled the void and took over the vacant property.

"Born in 1934, Merckle fled in 1945 with his family to Blaubeuren, a city with about 12,000 people in southwestern Germany, from the Sudetenland, the historical border region of the Czech Republic long inhabited by ethnic Germans and seized by the Nazis in September 1938."

Why would these men be homeless - with no property? According to Virtual Tourist, Budapest has well over 200 caves located under the city, more than any other capital in the world. The remarkable hydrothermal caves were formed from thermal springs. The 25 km long Baradla cave in the Aggtelek National Park, outside of Budapest, has "the morphological diversity, richness of formations, characteristic fauna, as well as archaeological and historical value, make this cave system one of the most complex underground karstic phenomena in the world."

"The people who were dwelling in darkness have seen a brilliant light." - Matthew 4:16

These two men living "Underground" have been thrown into the limelight. Now if we can just find that crevice where we hid mom's birth certificate ...

Friday, February 1, 2013

True Craftsmanship - Wooden Jeep 4x4

Check out this wonderful wooden flat-fender Jeep found in a Museum on holiday by photographer Spottendlaurel. The photographer added this fine shot to my Museum Jeep Group on Flickr. According to Spottendlaurel, "There was a ruined Chateau just outside the village near where we stayed, and in one of the beautifully refurbished buildings there was a museum full of life-size things made from wood. F1 car, tractor, motorbikes, all sorts of things. The bonnet lifted up on this to show a wooden engine inside." Talk about craftsmanship - this is rich!