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Unread 02-05-2013, 07:46 PM   #1
taborjoshjlt
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Cj-3b

I'm looking at trading my pickup for a 1953 CJ-3B any ideas of what to look at? Also how hard is the maintaince?

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Unread 02-05-2013, 07:47 PM   #2
taborjoshjlt
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Unread 02-05-2013, 10:31 PM   #3
MoC
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Look for rust everywhere on the frame and tub with a flashlight. Bring a screw driver and and tab any spots you question on the frame. Look at the body mounts and below the door openings. Everywhere.

A lot also depends on your plans for it. If its been sitting for any length of time and you want to turn it in to a reliable weekend / around town jeep a couple days a week jeep expect to go through about everything before stuff stops breaking.

You will put more money and time into it than you will ever get out, but you will love every other second of it.

3B's are pretty cool. I see those around here sometimes go for around $3000 in that condition if they start. What kind of truck are you trading?
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Unread 02-05-2013, 10:51 PM   #4
taborjoshjlt
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1978 Chevy luv with a 350 and 2 speed power glide with 4:10 gears, also a 1981 Yamaha virago 750
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Unread 02-06-2013, 06:57 AM   #5
teh603
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoC View Post
A lot also depends on your plans for it. If its been sitting for any length of time and you want to turn it in to a reliable weekend / around town jeep a couple days a week jeep expect to go through about everything before stuff stops breaking.
(horrible shrunken head Jamaican accent) And mon, if its been settin' too long, den you'll probably have to go through everything BEFORE ye can break stuff! Bwahahahaha!

(end horrible accent)

The good thing is that these vehicles are incredibly easy to work on compared to anything made in the last twenty years. You won't have to mess with OBD II/III, tamper sensors in the engine, or anything like that.
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Unread 02-06-2013, 07:21 AM   #6
timgr
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Good advice above. I'd go for it in a second if the body is solid.

Flatties are spartan, but really fun to drive. The 3B has the higher hood to accomodate the F-head motor, so it's not quite as small-feeling as the low hood flatties. But they are very cool nonetheless.

Realize that this won't cruise on the highway in factory trim. A Warn overdrive is an option, but that gets you up to the 60 mph range before you start running out of power. The 134 is a very old design, originating in the 30s, and the stroke is wicked long compared to the bore. This makes the torque curve peak very low, and makes the piston velocity very high near the "red line" of 4000 RPM. So they feel powerful at low speed, and they run out of power quickly with climbing engine speed. Engine swaps are a very popular solution.

The original 9" brakes are very weak, by modern standards, and parts for them are expensive. 11x2 Bendix drum brakes are a popular upgrade. The Ross steering is usually worn out and sloppy. Manual Saginaw steering is a popular upgrade.

Most of these Jeeps need the front knuckles completely gone through - new kingpin bearings, shim preload to spec, new seals. Look for stripped spindle bolts. Lots of info on the net about fixing the spindle bolts with new studs. Expect a lot of maintenance, esp. right at first. And it's true, they are very easy to work on.

But if you are happy to putt around in it, it's fine with the factory equipment.

That's a great Jeep - I'd buy it. Flat fender Jeeps are getting increasingly hard to find.
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Unread 02-06-2013, 02:11 PM   #7
taborjoshjlt
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I've been wandering if anyone has ever put a 5 or 6 speed behind the original engine?
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Unread 02-06-2013, 03:13 PM   #8
timgr
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No. There's no room - the rear driveshaft would be too short. And it would be pointless with the original engine. And there are two transmissions that are compatible with the F134; neither of them are 5-speeds.

There is an overdrive available though. You can split the gears and get 6 speeds.

Just buy it, drive it, and enjoy it for what it is.

Or it may not be for you... I get the feeling you aren't understanding what it's about.
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Unread 02-06-2013, 04:02 PM   #9
danielbuck
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They are easy to work on if you are decent with a wrench. And they can be surprisingly reliable. I use my 1946 CJ2a as my daily driver since spring of last year. The factory "go devil" engine (which has less power than the engine in that 3b) is ok, but it's certainly under powered once you put taller tires on. I put an overdrive on it with the factory 3 speed, and I can keep up with traffic on surface streets no problem. Freeway, not unless you want to be the road block in the right lane as people pass you going 20-30 mph faster than you, haha! Comfortable top cruising speed is probably 50 on a flat (or down hill!) road. but I usually keep it down to 45. Mine has 5.38 gears, and a 'redline' of probably 3000rpm, not sure what yours will have. Although for cruising I keep the RPM under 2400 or so.

Go for it though, they are super fun vehicles. I drive the 2a every day now, and the TJ just gets driven offroad and on longer trips. But you must realize, these vehicles weren't intended to last 60+ years (probably not even 10 years, haha!), so you will be periodically replacing/fixing things. Consider it normal maintenance Fortunately, new parts are usually pretty cheap. www.walcks4wd.com is an excellent source for parts. And mechanically/electrically, there's not near as much stuff on these jeeps as your TJ. So that kind of simplifies things.

Honestly, when I purchased mine, I had no idea what I was getting into. But I expected it would be alot of work. Fortunately it was already in pretty good running condition. I replaced the ignition and some of the wiring, added overdrive, got rid of the hard-as-rock bias ply tires and put Radials on there, and new seats. It's quite a nice ride, although a slow ride Overall, it's been a great vehicle, and I have no intention of putting it out of daily-driven status any time soon

You WILL have to work on it though. Periodically I have to clean the spark plugs (probably because it's not tuned properly), you'll have to keep up on the oil and grease points more than your TJ. It's not difficult to keep up though, at least from what I've seen. I had to clean the speedometer cable, adjust the brakes, and constantly top off the engine, and transmission/transfercase oils. The differentials are the only things that don't leak, haha!

It doesn't look like a rust bucket from the photos, is it in driving condition? make sure you're up on your tetanus shot There's no such thing as a rust-free willys
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Unread 02-06-2013, 04:55 PM   #10
taborjoshjlt
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I was just cuerious, I'm wanting it to have a dependable jeep that's easy to upkeep, fun to drive and the occasional easy trail. I have my tj for hard trails but I've always wanted a willys. I plan on painting it with stars and bars style, redo the seats with memory foam, and I'm thinking of converting to the 70's truck steering. The only thing that needs to be done is some dents and wireing for the headlights, it is very driveable. Being on active duty navy I would definitely drive this to the base every day!
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Unread 02-06-2013, 06:17 PM   #11
danielbuck
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If you don't mind working on it occasionally, go for it! I have suspension seats in mine, and man they made a world of a difference in the ride quality. Doesn't feel like I'm sitting on a park bench anymore
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Unread 02-06-2013, 09:31 PM   #12
NateC
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The 3B is awesome! Hard to beat.

If you decide to purchase and it still has an old Carter carb, replace it with a Solex (or just convert over to propane). Also replace the OEM distributor with an electronic distributor. In my experience, that eliminated a major portion of the hassles.
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Unread 02-06-2013, 09:52 PM   #13
taborjoshjlt
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So I'm cuerious if I will need to put lead additive in with the gas sense the original engine is rebuilt? Is there anything special I have to do with the fuel?
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Unread 02-07-2013, 07:30 PM   #14
danielbuck
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I just put regular 87/86 octane gas in mine, with no additives.

Transmission/transfer case fluid, I had to get some special GL5 mineral oil (due to the types of metals in the transmission) that only comes in 1 or 5 gallon pails. But other than that, all the fluids seem to be just fine with regular modern fluids. I have green coolant fluid, I believe they used to have a water/alcohol mix, but the previous owner had converted it over to green fluid.
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Unread 02-07-2013, 07:44 PM   #15
teh603
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taborjoshjlt View Post
So I'm cuerious if I will need to put lead additive in with the gas sense the original engine is rebuilt? Is there anything special I have to do with the fuel?
Depends on if the PO did the necessary upgrades. I doubt he'd have an overwhelming reason to not update it to unleaded gas, but it never hurts to ask. You never know if the PO was that one guy who insists on keeping it needing leaded gas, whether out of wanting to keep it stock or just a belief in the superiority of vintage parts.
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