So I've finally decided to turn this project into a build thread. I've asked this forum millions of questions so why not just concentrate them into one post.
I picked up this '53 M38A1 for $500 outside of Glouchester, Virginia and immediately started the tear down. Most of the work is being done in the back yard and at a friend's garage. I have a small shop that I built but not big enough to put the Willys in. Any thoughts or help along the way is MUCH appreciated as this is my first experience into the Willys/CJ era. Enjoy
Sorry for the back log of pictures. This has been in progress for about 3 months on and off. The Willys is completely torn down to the frame, motor is pulled and I plan on digging into that with a friend this weekend. I managed to get the frame cleaned up enough that it can be sprayed with some anti rust paint. Pics follow...
Wow even better than I thought. That tub looks great considering, and the frame looks to be totally solid. You might be able to get that block machined and sleeved, but I wouldn't be the one to say. You could probably find a F-134 donor motor pretty cheap if you keep your eyes open. Usually they fetch a small fortune, but if you find the right deal you can get one for nothing.
1986 Jeep CJ7 4.2L I6 T176 (restoration in progress)
1961 Willys 4x4 Wagon L-226 I6 T90 (restoration also in progress)
Yeah i'm pretty excited about the body. The odometer is only showing 27,000 miles and the diffs show no signs of ever having the PM done (no grease fittings) which leads me to believe this is original mileage. Typical rust in the gas tank well and a little on the floor pan but other than that it's VERY solid. I've got a friend coming over this weekend to help pull the crank and everything out of the block so I can take it to the machine shop for an opinion. We'll see...
Oil pan's off...everything looks great. (Sorry, pictures off the Blackberry)
Get in touch with your local military vehicle preservation association (MVPA) group. They would be a fantastic network source to turn to. Generally they tend to be more restoration-minded though. You didn't say how you were planning your build--restoration or refurbishing. If the former, they'll be able to help you a LOT. If you want to update a lot of the components, they can help with some. But from the sound of it, you want to keep the F-head, eh?
I think you got a fantastic deal. There aren't any good shots of the tub floor, but it looks fairly sound from what can be seen. And the mileage is probably original. The military really doesn't put too many miles on them before they end up getting auctioned off. My M715 had 13,900 or so when I got it. About the same with most of the others I've seen, too.
I'd love to hear more about what you intend to do--keep it stock, 24V, military restoration for parades and such? Build it into a reliable daily-driver type Jeep you can take 'wheeling? Or some hybrid of the two? Either way you go, enjoy!
As of right now, I'm planning on keeping this vehicle "stock looking". It will not be a military resto. rather a weekend cruiser of sorts. 24 volt electrical will stay in place because I think this is a really neat feature (also I have most of the components), stock drivetrain, axles, wheels and tires will stay for now. Color scheme in my head is either a gun metal grey over black wheels/accessories or a maroon over black accessories. I am debating heavily on a spray in bedliner for the tub although I'm not 100% decided either way. Suggestions are always welcome! I'm also having TONS of title problems. This vehicle has been through 3 owners since the gubment with no title. I only have a bill of sale. Looking for any DMV title help that I can get. More pictures later tonight of the frame as I finally found my camera cord to download pics.
24V isn't too bad. Light bulbs are spendy as hell though. Other things such as replacement alternators and such are common enough. Are you keeping the 3-lever switch? Blackout lights? That really makes these old military vehicles unique and fun!