'49 Willys CJ-3A Project Trail and DD - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 40 Old 11-12-2019, 09:51 AM Thread Starter
TerryHowe
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'49 Willys CJ-3A Project Trail and DD

I just purchased a '49 Willys CJ-3A that I am going to build for trail and as a daily driver. The hardest trails I plan to run are trails like Golden Spike which by today's standards is pretty mild. I've built several Jeeps in my day, but I've been mostly out of it for the last 10 years, so I'm not up on the latest tech and I'm looking for ideas there. Some before pictures:

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post #2 of 40 Old 11-12-2019, 10:40 AM Thread Starter
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The general plan is to get a fuel injected engine and transmission upgrade in there along with some brakes that work. It depends on what I find, but most likely:
  • Chevy 4.3L V6 since they are easy to find, reliable and easy to work on
  • Turbo 350 transmission since I like automatics
  • Some kind of swing arm pedal brakes with firewall mounted master cylinder
  • Maybe Waggy narrow track axles if I can find some

Similar to a CJ-2A I used to own:
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post #3 of 40 Old 11-12-2019, 10:45 AM Thread Starter
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I have a couple days into it stripping it down. I removed the front bumper, engine and other parts. The F-Head 134 is not the original engine, they used those in CJ-5s and CJ-3Bs.
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post #4 of 40 Old 11-12-2019, 10:47 AM Thread Starter
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I bolted up the F-Head 134 I4 in my '54 M170 since it had no engine and they used that engine originally. The M170 was free with the CJ-3A and the guy thought it was an M38A1.
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post #5 of 40 Old 11-12-2019, 12:23 PM
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That's a might short wheel base for an automatic.

It's in good condition otherwise.


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post #6 of 40 Old 11-12-2019, 01:21 PM
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I'm In!

My roommate had a 350/TH350 combo in his '47. It's short, but it can be done (especially with the 4.3)

I like the stretch on your previous 2A.

What are the plans for the 170?

Hoss

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post #7 of 40 Old 11-12-2019, 03:55 PM
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I might be a bit bias toward the LWB, but build the M170. Fits everything including the driver better than the flatty.

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post #8 of 40 Old 11-12-2019, 09:38 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourtrail View Post
I might be a bit bias toward the LWB, but build the M170. Fits everything including the driver better than the flatty.
So true, but I've been planning on the flat fender build for several years. I did own a pretty cool CJ-6 years ago with a L98 Chevy 350/700R4/NP241.

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post #9 of 40 Old 11-12-2019, 09:44 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoonHoss View Post
I like the stretch on your previous 2A.

What are the plans for the 170?
Yeh it is tight with a TH350, but possible. My 2A was stretched only 2" or 3" as I recall.

On the M170, I'll either sell it or get it running with stockish running gear. Either way, the 3A needs to get done first.

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post #10 of 40 Old 11-12-2019, 09:51 PM Thread Starter
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I managed to pick up an '02 Blazer today for $500 with 145k miles on it. The 4.3L seems to run pretty well, but the brakes were gone which is why they were selling. I test drove it with the parking brake and the engine seems good. It'd be nice to get something with lower miles, but I'm trying to keep the cost of this project fairly low and I live in the rural area, so choices are limited.
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post #11 of 40 Old 11-13-2019, 01:25 AM
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Mileage is less important than oil changes. An auto also rarely sees high revs, you may take the head off and see honing marks in the bores.

the 4.3l is short enough for that CJ to avoid some of the issues at the firewall and the radiator, but I understand it is a bit tall so you may be raising the body on the frame.

Which transmission and transfer box are you going for?

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post #12 of 40 Old 11-13-2019, 02:43 AM
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A friend ran a 283 in a M-38 (like CJ3A) and had no problems with hood clearance. He rand a 4bbl carb and low profile chrome air cleaner. The dizzy was up against the firewall. He ran a mallory because it was smaller.
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post #13 of 40 Old 11-13-2019, 05:30 AM Thread Starter
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Mileage is less important than oil changes.
Yeh, you are probably right. The trans fluid looked like it had never been changed. The engine oil looked okay, but the previous owner didn't come off as particularly meticulous.


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Which transmission and transfer box are you going for?
Turbo 350 with stock Dana 18 transfer case.

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post #14 of 40 Old 11-13-2019, 05:47 AM Thread Starter
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Speaking of Turbo 350s, I need to get one and an adapter. It looks like Eric at Novak has really upped his game compared to A/A. Anyone have suggestions for a source for trans or adapter?

It looks like you could almost DIY the adapter install. Has anyone done that? Turnkey TH350 from Novak would be nice, but that is a lot of cheese.

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post #15 of 40 Old 11-13-2019, 10:07 PM
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DIY will need some high level machining skills, i believe the output shaft on the Turbo 350 does not fit the Dana 18, that is one of the features of the adapter.

However this is a well trodden path with some good support from vendors.

If it was me, with my limited skills and fleet of Jeeps, I would buy a used Turbo 350 from a 4WD application from a breaker, give it a short service and clean up before bolting on the adapter kit. It is unlikely i would ever see big enough mileages on the rig to justify a fully rebuilt transmission, but that is just me.

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