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Thread: 1952 Willys M38 build

  1. #1

    1952 Willys M38 build

    Project "Ole' Blue"

    1952 Ford M38CDN. Military version of the Willys CJ3A built by Ford of Canada, the M38CDN was only built in 52'

    Been sitting for a few years when I got it, but everything is there and what doesn't work looks repariable.

    The original power train has been replaced with, 4.3L 262 V6 from a 88' truck, munchie 465 4 speed from a 69' 1 ton, Dana 300 with twin sticks, Dana 44 rear with locker, Dana 30 front with locker and Crome moly shafts, power stearing from a CJ. Leaf springs front and rear from a YJ.

    What's needs to be done, first a good cleaning, sort out the electrical first, then the fuel system then engine. After that move to the gearbox, t-case and diffs, followed by the suspension. The body and interior will be done a bit at a time as I move forward.

    What I need, set of 33" tires on 15" rims, new shocks and springs front and rear. And to rebuild the throttle body and either build an intake or figure something out. Then a set of seats and rear fender flares, and if possible a full cage, but that's a winter project. ( not sure which winter )

    When finished in about a year, the goal is to have a capable trail rig that is street legal and has good road manners, which won't scare the wife. The jeep will be towed to the trails, but driven around town.

    So far I've only started the cleaning phase, hope to get more work done this weekend.

  2. #2
    I like the old flat fender Jeeps. They will always be cool. I have a 1971 M38A1 working on. Currently the frame and wheels are out getting blasted and painted.
    I have a 1999 Ranger consisting of mostly Ford parts ranging from 1979 to 2005.

  3. #3
    Did some cleaning today, removed the front fenders, ten bolts in total 5 minutes tops to get to the engine, this jeep was ment to be worked on.

    Need to rebuild the TBI, anyone know of a local shop that won't drag me over the coals?(see last pic)

    Starting on the wiring next while I look into a rebuild kit for the TBI

    P.s. I have no idea how to make the pictures smaller.

  4. #4
    Mike, I'm thinking I have another TBI for it - I just have to find it. Keep up the pictures - I can see every place I skinned a knuckle or lost some blood on that Jeep LOL. I expect that you'll do the same.

  5. #5
    So far no blood has been drawn. But I'm sure that won't last too long.

  6. #6
    No pictures this week.

    Got the Throttle body off and cleaned up, good thing I work where I do makes a lot of this cheap and easy, some new gaskets and should be good to go. Water pump has a flat spot on the bearing, cant decide what do do, new pump ready to go $60 or new bearing and seals $40 with a hour of labour? May do both and have a spare. Belt tensioner was seized but a trip to napa solved that. Also removed and cleaned up the gas tank, long story cut short, old gas + iced over fire pit+ a match = squeky bum time.

    Picked up a sealed battery box and plan to relocate the battery to behind the passengers seat or under the seat in the storage bay. will use the engine bay battery shelf/space to mount the OBA system with the tank between the frame rails. that task will be done when I tackle the electrical system. but first i have to put everything i took off back on.

    Hope to be ready to fire her up by the end of april, then ill tackle the brakes, drive train and suspension.

    more pictures next week. maybe.

    Big thumbs up to Repete for knowing how and where to correctly use copper kote. Making this so much easier.
    Last edited by Iron Mike; 03-23-2014 at 05:41 PM.

  7. #7
    Got some work on the Willys done this past week. Rebuilt the water pump, new belt tensioner and rebuilt the TBI . The TBI was and is still a royal pain in the buttocks. I bought a 'rebuilt' TBI of ebay from a company that had a good rep, 1 year warranty, and the claim each TBI is rebuilt and tested.

    What I got was a TBI that had been sand blasted o look new, the only new parts were a cork gasket and 3 new screw, the pressure regulator housing was cracked and fell apart in my hands and the unit was full of sand, there is no way this was rebuilt or tested. Fighting with PayPal ATM, as the seller will not stand behind his product or warranty. But between my old TBI and the POS one I was able to build a unit which I hope works.

    Thats enough about my lesson buying quality parts of ebay.

    Back to the willys, the air cleaner is a temporary one till I can make a carb hat/plenum and figure out a snorkel. And I still need to give the power steering pump a going over, then change all the fluids before attempting to start which should be in a month or so.

    And now for some pictures.

  8. #8
    Past President stevemoores's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    West Edmonton
    Sorry Mike, it sucks getting ripped off like that. There's lots of good sellers on EBay, but a few bad ones as well.

    Looks really easy to work on the engine like that though

    2015 JK Sahara 'Pavement Princess'

    2005 TJ Rubicon (sold)

    My Build Thread


  9. #9
    N.A.S.A. Jeep Launch Commander Toy Jeep's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Penhold, AB
    Looks really good a couple of steps closer to being a runner.
    Not all who wander are lost

  10. #10
    With the rad and grill being able to pivot forward and the fenders a easy 5 bolts to remove, working on the engine is a snap. Got myself a full summers worth of work ahead of me. Looking forward to firing her up for the first time, but that's a few weekends away, don't want to rush and burn something out.

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