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Unread 12-19-2008, 07:25 AM   #1
AbsolutXJ
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1953 M-38 
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Farmville, Virginia
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M38A1 Build Thread (PIC HEAVY)

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

Bringing it home

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Email pictures sent by the PO before purchase

m38.jpg

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Willys M38A1 - project vehicle

Last edited by AbsolutXJ; 12-21-2008 at 07:28 PM..
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Unread 12-19-2008, 07:37 AM   #2
AbsolutXJ
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Tear down

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...

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Engine Out and Apart

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And the kicker...

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Willys M38A1 - project vehicle

Last edited by AbsolutXJ; 12-19-2008 at 07:44 AM.. Reason: Add pictures
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Unread 12-19-2008, 07:42 AM   #3
SuB8HaVeN
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I'll say you got a hella good deal. Looks very cool.
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1986 Jeep CJ7 4.2L I6 T176 (restoration in progress)
1961 Willys 4x4 Wagon L-226 I6 T90 (restoration also in progress)
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Unread 12-19-2008, 07:45 AM   #4
AbsolutXJ
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Couple extras pictures I found...

Fenders off

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Body off

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Willys M38A1 - project vehicle
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Unread 12-19-2008, 07:49 AM   #5
SuB8HaVeN
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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.
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1961 Willys 4x4 Wagon L-226 I6 T90 (restoration also in progress)
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Unread 12-19-2008, 07:55 AM   #6
AbsolutXJ
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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)

img00217.jpg

img00218.jpg
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Unread 12-19-2008, 11:04 AM   #7
UncleWally
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Looks like the cylinder wall is seriously cracked in that one picture. I'm doubting that block is going to be of any use for anything other than a boat anchor.

Waldo
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Unread 12-19-2008, 02:41 PM   #8
mjfitz99
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Looks like you have a great platform to start with!!! Besides the crack in the cylinder wall she looks really solid.
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Unread 12-21-2008, 08:26 AM   #9
Binford
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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!
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Unread 12-21-2008, 08:37 AM   #10
fastas69
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Sweet jeep, are you going back stock with it?
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Unread 12-21-2008, 04:19 PM   #11
AbsolutXJ
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THE PLAN

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.
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Unread 12-21-2008, 06:49 PM   #12
bfr
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you don't want to keep it 24v, be better to convert it to 12V.... let me give you my address so you know where to send those annoying 24v parts.....

BTW, I Vote for grey/black
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Unread 12-21-2008, 07:02 PM   #13
bfr
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too bad your not closer, I have a f134 that's block might be suitable as a core (it is stuck right now) it is still wearing the valve cover, exhaust manifold, and water pump...
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Unread 12-21-2008, 07:06 PM   #14
AbsolutXJ
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Pictures of the first coat of Master Series Rust Preventative:

Before prep work

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After loose rust removal (flapper wheel and grinder)

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After Rust Prevetive Coating

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Tomorrow will be the construction of some type of dolly to wheel the frame and body around on. Having two people haul this thing around is getting old. Especially with wet paint.
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Willys M38A1 - project vehicle

Last edited by AbsolutXJ; 12-21-2008 at 07:14 PM.. Reason: One more picture
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Unread 12-21-2008, 08:03 PM   #15
Binford
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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!

Keep us posted with the progress!
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