Return To Main Menu


Restoration/Rebuilding Start

Jeep Fleet Van By Willys

Truck Decals

Value Of Maintenance And Parts Manuals For Your Particular Vehicle

Removing Broken Studs

Good Mig Welder

Flat Towing

Autodark Helmets

More On Welding And Welders; Best Ways To Learn To Use A Stick

How do I get it back on the road


Rick Stivers wrote: JR, First thing you are going to need to restore your Jeepster is an uninterrupted place to work. Many people will start a project expecting it to take around 3 months to complete and by the time they get done they have put in 3 - 5 years and thousands of dollars. In my many junkyard visits I find numerous vehicles that people started and were never able to finish. Many of them had to go to the junkyard because they couldn't keep them in the location they started them in.

The second thing I recommend is an air compressor that can deliver at least 8 CFM (cubic feet per minute). This will allow you (providing your neighbors don't mind the dust) to sand blast, primer, and possibly paint your project as you go. A friend of mine was using a chemical stripper to take off multiple layers of paint on a 73 VW Thing. What they found was by the time they got around to priming the parts they had to go back and remove a fine coating of rust that had developed because of the humidity. It is important to at least primer seal the metal as soon as you can. Note: Sandable primer does not seal the metal. If you are going to use your air compressor to sand blast, primer and paint you should set up a forced air paint booth. This can be constructed with a simple frame, plastic and a blower/fan. If the blower or fan is set up to draw air from the booth instead of forcing air into the booth the motor must be isolated from the air to prevent accidental combustion of the fumes. This work can be farmed out to others, but it isn't as satisfying and it quickly gets expensive.

If you do have the space and the tools to work on it with, you should begin by doing a full inventory of your vehicle. You should take everything into account. Start with the interior, look it over for as many flaws as you can find. Find out what it is supposed to look like and see how many of the parts you can find and how much they cost. Include the window seals, window tracks, knobs, switches, carpets or floor mats, seats, door panels, handles, pedals, and steering wheel, with trim.

Next check your body. A badly rusted body can be devastatingly expensive to repair. Take off the trim, lights, bumpers, door handles and badges to inspect for damage. A trip the local high-pressure car was is in order if possible. Inspect all windows for cracks, scratches, delamination and bad seals. Clean off all of the mud and grease from the undercarriage, wheel wells, suspension components, and drive train. Remove the tires and brake hubs to inspect for wear, damage and missing parts. Closely inspect all brake lines (both metal and rubber) from the master cylinder to the wheel cylinders for cracks, dents, rust, and leaks. Inspect all brake cylinders for correct operation, leaks, and deteriorated dust seals.

Check steering components for wear and damage. Check each tie rod for cracked or missing boots, looseness and insure the toe in/out adjustment is operable. Check the steering box for play and inspect where it bolts to the frame for cracks.

Inspect the drive train for completeness. What parts are missing and what parts will have to be rebuilt or replaced. Since you said your engine is blown you can plan on that expense. Have you determined just exactly what is wrong with it? Sometimes a hammered engine can be saved with the right care.

It is best to have a list of all needed parts, sources, and prices before you start. You might be surprised and how mush you will spend on cleaning and paint products. Spend at least 100 hrs surfing the web for parts and tech info. It's amazing how much money you can save this way. The most important thing is to have a plan and a budget at least twice what you plan to spend. My current project was expected to cost $200 and I'm now at $380 and I'm not through yet.

I hope this helps. I've tried my best to answer without specific questions. If you have more specific questions I will try my best to help.

Frank Wood wrote: Rick man you are wearing me out. Good advice though. JR, I'm waste deep in a frame off restoration on a '64 truck. First time for me to do something of this magnitude. My first piece of advice to you, whether you decide to take it down to the frame or clean it up and get it running, is to take it slow and document as you go. Take hundreds of pictures. I take a bunch and still wish I had more. And notes. Get a notebook and write down stuff you might think is silly at the time but later on you'll be glad you did. And I continually remind myself that I don't know what the hell I'm doing. Its working for me so far, with a bunch of help from WT.

Glenn Dudley wrote: My reaction to Rick's advice was that it was dead-on but also intimidating to someone new to this sport. Frank and I are in the middle of similar projects and I must second his advice. I've taken pictures and have my notebook with copious notes and sketches but I'm sure I'll wish I had more before the project is done.

A few more suggestions:

Depending on finances, you don't have to do it all yourself to be proud of the restoration. There are some things I have no interest in doing and I farm that out. It really should be fun, not work. If you don't need this vehicle as your daily driver then, taking the Beatles advice, let it be... when life gets hectic let the project rest. If it gets frustrating, step back from it and focus on something else. Again, this is suppose to be fun. At least that's my approach.

Finally, it's your Jeep. We've all got advice for you but in the end you're the one who's doing the work (or paying to have it done). Do it your own way, make your own mistakes and when it's done (if it ever gets done, there are no guarantees in life) hope the experience was a positive one. It's more attitude than aptitude.

Solsidan wrote: Thanks for the advice and encouragement. I've got a good place to work where I won't have to move the vehicle (bottom of a big barn, cement floor, net to my shop), will get a compressor (which I need anyway) and do the inventory. Are there one or two technical manuals or "how to books" which you have found useful?

Rick Stivers wrote: Sorry JR, I kind of left you hanging there on the manual. The manual you are looking for can be bought from Turner 4wd Part CO at:

Price: $32.95 USD Per Manual plus $5.00 UPS shipping in Cont. U.S.A. So far this is the only Jeepster Manual I've seen, so I can't recommend you go anywhere else. Sorry about the negativity in my previous post, I wasn't trying to discourage you from doing your project. I just want people to know what they are getting into. I didn't realize it read that way until I read it this morning. I guess giving advise is dangerous when you are in the middle of an engine rebuild. :-)

Glenn Dudley wrote: Shop manuals are available for all the models. They're pretty good but as someone (Ben Page, I think) once suggested to me, they were written at a time when mechanics bled engine oil, meaning that the manuals assume a level of knowledge that I, for one, don't have. But with all the pros on this list you should be able to gulf the gaps.

Return to Menu


Anne Bahl wrote: I have acquired this fleet van. It is a 1964 Jeep Fleet Van by Willys. Does anybody have any information on this Van? The person I bought it from said it was the only one sold in California. Nobody has any information about this vehicle?

Tim Branem wrote: I know of a fella in Norfolk who has one he is restoring. It's like a modern day cube van. I think this one was used as a milk truck. I'll get his phone number and send it to you.

Frank Wood wrote: Willys Brew Pub on Wheels That's about all I can think a Willys Fleetvan would be good for. Ugly suckers. But don't mind me though, beauty is ..... According to the "Standard Catalog of American Light Duty Trucks", Willys introduced the Fleetvan, FJ-3 and FJ-3A, in 1961. 80" wheelbase, 133" overall length, 4x2. Well suited for multistop delivery work and featured sit or stand driving accommodations. Four cylinder F-head engine. Three speed synchromesh trans., 4.56:1 rear, 9" drums brakes, 15x5 wheels. Looks like they skipped production in 1963 and resumed in '64, running through '66. Popular with the Postal Service. Payload up to 1000lbs. 70" sliding doors on each side. Double rear doors. P.S. My '64 truck has a metal plate in the engine compartment that says WILLYS product made by KAISER JEEP CORPORATION

Anne Bahl wrote:  I am curious to find out any information on production number for this Jeep Fleetvan.  Also where can I find the "Standard Catalog of American Light Duty Trucks"?

Frank Wood wrote:  No info on production numbers for the Fleetvan in the Catalog.  I bought mine at Barnes & Noble.  Or you can get it from 

Steven Dunlop wrote: The book is available from Krause Publications by calling 715-445-2214. You can also get it at bookstores, or List price is $29.95. In my opinion, this book is not as comprehensive as the publisher's related volumes covering cars, particularly where the lesser known manufacturers are involved. I was disappointed to find the coverage on Diamond T trucks to be rather sketchy. My copy is the 2nd edition (1993) which as far as I know is the latest.

Return to Menu


Dan wrote: Brad, Many moons ago a respectful young Willys owners asked you if you would consider doing a decal instead of a bumper sticker. I believe you experimented with that idea and found it to be a reasonable one. That man sent you his SASE looking forward to the day that he could affix a decal proudly to his rear window to show the world what his colors really were. If you are working your way through the SASE I will remain patient, but if some of them have become misplaced, could you let me know. I await word or the decal, and thanks.

Scott Little wrote: Brad, got the decals in the mail yesterday, they look great. Thanks for taking that project on.

Dan wrote: Allow me to publicly thank Brad Dyer for his outstanding Willys decals. Allow me also to describe them to those of you that didn't jump on the band wagon 6 months ago when he offered to make them. (Benjie, you jumped on the band wagon while you were in-da-bush,by default, through your homeys. Drop me a note and I'll send your allottment to you.)

There are two types of clear decals. Though not true decals as we oldsters call decals, they are printed on adhesive backed clear acetate, and show the front view of a late 50s utility truck. They measure about 4 inches by 10 inches and use a variety of font to spell out the message; " The Original SUV -- Willys" In the bottom right corner is a Willys Overland logo. Various shades of white to black are used to great effect. It is conservatively done, yet powerful in its message.

The second "decal " shares the same basic specifics, but measures about 3 1/2 x 3 1/2. The theme of this smaller one is more of an unofficial logo with meshed gears over our Willys Tech mailing list. It also is very professionally done and impressive.

Return to Menu


Keats wrote: I've been on the lists for about 9 months, and have enjoyed hearing from and helping other Jeep owners with their questions, reading others advice, and general banter. The one thing I do notice at times is that the answers for the questions asked are easily found in the parts or service manuals of the vehicle in question. I've restored 5 Jeeps so far, and the most helpful reference for all of these projects were the manuals. The second, seeing other vehicles, or pictures, to compare. I can't see trying to restore or fix a Jeep (or any vehicle for that matter) without them. If a military Jeep, the maintenance manuals as well as the ORD 9 (which describes and shows diagrams of "EVERY" and I mean "EVERY" nut, bolt, washer, screw, assemblies and parts of each assembly, that make up the entire Jeep) are indispensable. For civilian jeeps, the service and parts manuals. If can make a suggestion, before anyone spends a dime on a replacement part, or turns a wrench on a new project, spend the money and get a copy of the manuals needed. They don't have to be originals. It could and will save you money in the long run, and makes darn good bathroom reading.

Merl wrote: This brings to mind a quandry I've had on this subject. My M38A1 has had an engine transplant and a few other major modifications. The frame is still the same, the body parts are all still there...the T90 and S-18 are modified as is the steering from the column to the wheels, not to mention the brakes, overdrive, and AM/FM radio. Knowing this, would you still advise purchase of the military manual? If so, where might I find such an animal?

Keats wrote: Thanks Merl on keeping my feet grounded. I had restoration and originality in mind when I thought about the posting and wrote it. Still, when it comes to finding what's up, a manual is worth having as a reference as even modified vehicles utilize some original parts, wiring, etc. For manuals on all Jeeps try Portrayal Press 973-579-5781

Rick Stivers wrote: Merl, Your M-38 sounds a lot like my truck. But I still think the service manuals I bought are worth their weight in gold. Sometimes it helps a lot to see how it started life. Besides it's fun to look up other peoples problems in your books and be able to help them. It makes you look so smart. :-)

Merl wrote: I checked out and it looks like they have an extensive list of manuals on a WIDE variety of topics. I already see a couple of those that'll be on my "must have" list. Thanks to all for the tips.

Return to Menu


Sean R. Kerns wrote: Hi guys, How much of a pain in the A## is it to remove the exhaust manifold on the L-134? Mine's got a broken stud where it hooks up to the exhaust pipe, and I can't see any possibility of trying to extract this thing while it's still installed.

Also, I have no idea how long it's been like this.... How likely is it that I'll actually be able to get this thing out with a n extractor? Should I just try to find a shop to do it? The Jeep needs exhaust, but I'm guessing this is beyond the scope of what Meineke can handle.

Dave and Robin Samuelson responded: Sean - your best bet is to drill it out as close to the size of the stud as you dare ( how good are you with a drill and patience ) and then re- tap the hole to the origional size. It is quite time consuming and tedious, but it is possible. Or, soak it in penetration oil for 3-4 days straight, then heat the bolt as best you can to try to work it loose. Of course, theres always Monroe Mufflers....

keats wrote: You won't know until you try a few nuts holding the manifold on. I've removed two and one time on a M-38 it went without a problem othr than the manifold (intake and exhaust) needing to be planed for a straight sealing edge. On a CJ3A however, some nuts came off ok, but two studs backed out instead which in itself wasn't so bad. It can be a horror story but not always. It may be easier to have a good machine shop extract the stud however. When separating an intake manifold from the exhaust I broke two of the bolts. The machine shop made quick work out of removing them and retapping the holes where I would have botched it up for sure.

Rus Curtis wrote: This is the technique I'm familiar with- with a twist. My two cents: I've seen success with a lot of heat applied to the broken stud (metal expands-hole gets bigger). After sufficiently heating the area where the stud is, you then spray with WD-40 or liquid wrench on the stud to cool it and begin the shrinking. Chances are you'll be able to back the stud out with nothing more than vise grips.

Return to Menu


Chris Croyle wrote: I'm thinking about buying a MIG welder and am looking for any suggestions on a decent manufacturer/model for a hobby type occasional user. It would also be helpful to know a good bargain retailer to purchase from (i.e. mail order or chain store). I plan on owning it for a long time so I want it to be fairly versatile to do other small projects and (enough to re-restore the old Willys 30 years from now

Theodore Parshall wrote: Lincoln makes a pretty good MIG welder that is suitable for light work. It draws around 15 amps of 120V so is reasonably portable. It is most portable with flux core wire, but can be converted to use solid wire and an argon tank. Century also makes, or sells, a similar unit. Miller makes one but I think it is a little more robust. Make sure you buy one that has a continuously variable wire feed, vs a few discreet steps. Northern Hydraulics sells them mail order, sometimes they are in Harbor Freight.

Chuck Pedretti wrote: I have one purchased from Northern Hydraulics called a Hobby MIG 100 manufactured by PRO-ARC. It is gasless and is not convertible to use gas cost about $170. I've had no problem welding up to 3/16" stock as long as I take my grinder and create a V grove at the weld point and use 2 or 3 passes for the weld. The unit I have draws 20 Amps @ 120V and is a 2 speed, works pretty well but I have had occasions where an infinite speed adjust would have been nice.

One work of advice, buy a self darkening mask and throw away the crappy one that comes with most of these small welders. They are usually handheld and have a shade 10 lens which is necessary for eye protection but makes it nearly impossible to see before you arc.

Jeff Gent wrote: I can only offer up my solution, half executed thus far. I got Lincoln's 225/125 AC/DC stick welder (about $400) for med-large stuff and hope to get soon their bottom of the line wire feed welder for the small stuff (ie, body work and the like. Their web page shows this as the SP-100T but I believe that you'll find that they also make an even smaller unit that they only sell through places like Home Despot, Jegs, and farm supply stores at a much lower price ($300 for flux core + $100 for the gas setup for true MIG). This will give me the ability to go from thin sheet-metal up to 1/2" plate and the ability to use the little welder when I only have 120V available (a bit of an issue I'll be facing this weekend, actually). This should give me far more performance than what I would get out of the same money spent on a med-range MIG.

I've been told by moderately reliable sources that Lincoln outperforms Miller in the low end but at the high end the reverse is true, but then at the high end there are other brands as well. I've heard little good about Century and little at all about Sears' offerings. Go with Lincoln or Miller and expect to be giving it to your children to maintain the Willys after your gone.

Since you've brought up the welding topic I'll also pass on a curious bit. You can get a TIG setup that is powered off of a stick welder. A dealer here would sell me one for $400 but didn't expect me to be very pleased with it, however my father, a pipe-fitter, claims that several thousand miles of stainless pipe in the mills around here were all welded with this setup and that if there was a better tool they'd use it. With some creativity I should be able to put something together at a much lower price.

Merl wrote: I've got the Lincoln that Theodore spoke of, I can honestly say that its the best tool investment that I've ever made. Don't know how I got along without it. It was a little more $ because its convertible to use gas (which is in my plan one of these days), but it works well for me using the flux core wire. A really good way to compare and figure out what you want is to go to Sears and get the tool catalog. It has specs and comparisons of all the different kinds (and a few different brands) of welders. I really like this Lincoln though (I think its the WeldPak-100), its 120V, portable, storable, and upgradable. I got it at Home Depot, but I've seen them a little cheaper (not much though) at other places.

Jay Welch wrote: Hi, Just a few words on MIG welders. A friend of mine is an experienced body-man, had his own shop for years. He had a small convertible Century he bought for his home shop and had trouble making quality welds with it. After being frustrated with it for a while he went out and bought a Hobart. He sold the Century for $50. I don't know if this is an isolated incident but this guy knows welding principles and the proper materials to use for different applications.

A lot of guys with similar hobbies contribute to a "tool pool" to split the cost of tools and materials. Of course you would have to do this with responsible people but it does make the tools available for a fraction of the cost.

Theodore Parshall wrote: TIG welding is done by creating a high frequency arc by modifying the output of a DC welder. The pulses are all on the same side of the zero voltage line - ie, not plus and minus like an AC arc welder. As the parent metal is heated by the arc applied by a non-melting pencil, the filler material is fed in from the side, creating the fillet. TIG welding is often used for exotic metal, like stainless, and in the past, was frequently used for aluminum. MIG is much quicker and requires less skill (I'll get flamed for that). I looked at buying a TIG attachment for my Miller AC/DC stick welder, but found as you did that the attachment cost as much as an inexpensive MIG welder that would better suit my needs.

TIG certainly has its place, but MIG has made inroads in the last several years, that make it a better choice for most hobbyists.

I agree with you about needing a decent mask, but I prefer to purchase a good, wide window, conventional mask for less money than an auto darkening mask. Even out of position, a good mask will drop with the nod of the head, and the darkness of the glass can be changed to match your aging eyes, and the glass is easily and cheaply replaced when it gets spatter on it.

Richard Saro wrote: Chris, I have a "Millermatic 120" with the gas setup and am very satisfied. Miller and Hobart merged, so there is no more Hobart product line. The Miller was a little more money than the Lincoln, but the Miller has a metal wire feed mechanism and the Lincoln has some plastic components in the feed. Other than that they appeared similar. A big consideration is the availability of service and replacement parts.

IMHO it defeats the purpose of a MIG welder to not use the gas setup, especially for body panel work. The gas eliminates the slag and lowers the temperature of the weld, which reduces the possible metal warpage.

And, a MIG welder (with gas) allows a novice, like me, to produce professional looking welds. As I always say, "Superior equipment can compensate for marginal ability."

Jeff Gent wrote: A simple question has gotten a rather long answer, but I'll add just a bit more in case I was misunderstood.

I didn't mean to imply that the TIG setup I mentioned would be a good substitute for the MIG, but that the potential for TIG capability plus that ability to handle thicker material makes the stick welder hard to beat with a MIG, except for when doing thin material like body work (assuming you get a MIG that can be turned down low enough, some will sacrifice the ability to do thin material in order to be able to do thicker material). Thus my recommendation to get a low end MIG for thin stuff and a stick welder for other stuff, which can be done for the same cost as a quality mid-range MIG.

Also consider that the stick welder allows you a wide selection of rods for different applications, something you can't get from a MIG (I've been told to forget the claims of aluminum without a special gun, more $$$, but that stainless has some potential). When strength is critical you can get low-hydrogen 7000 and 8000 psi rod as well as rod for stainless, aluminum, cast iron, hard facing, and more (I've yet to try these last ones). The stick can also deal with dirty and painted metal and can lay down a lot of metal to build up material and fill large cracks.

I do agree that from all I've heard the MIG is the easiest to use but it starts to become an auto vs manual tranny argument. I'd also prefer the big window to the auto darkening hood though if you gave me one I'd take it. In any event, do take the time to find a hood with a good head band so that you can adjust it and it stays put

Ron Cox wrote: Chris I am totally satisfied with my Miller. If you plan on keeping it, get one with a variable voltage? switch instead of the one that has four click settings. Mine is infinitely adjustable and I (and my neighbor) love it. He has the other kind. I would also stay away from the 110 welders.

Jerry Adams wrote: I guess I'd better get in my 2 cents worth (I wish they had "cents" sign on the *^&$%^$ "standard" keyboard!)... I did production TIG welding for about two years when I could not find a decent job in my chosen field (Electronics Engineer). My father raised both his boys with the adage "There is not such thing as no work to do... Only someone too proud to do the work at hand.", so when I got laid off from Raytheon here in Goleta, I decided that any job that paid enough was better than unemployment.

I did TIG welding for a small company that made chassis boxes. Very simply, a sheet of metal was cut to the proper dimensions, the corners were notched out, the sides bent up, and viola! one chassis as issued. My job was to weld the corners to make a solid box. Yes, it was boring as all get out. But, I treated it as a chance to learn something new. I had some experience in stick arc welding, as I have a Sears "buzz box" at home, and my father taught me the basics of oxyacetylene welding. I had to teach myself TIG, with the help of the regular welder (they got a big order, needed another welder. I went to the same church as the owner, he knew I needed work, so there I was).

TIG has several *big* advantages over MIG or stick welding. You can control the "arc flame" in the torch with a foot pedal, you add the rod by hand *when* and *in the amount needed*, and you can protect the weld until it is cooled down by holding the torch over it with the weld current off. Because the weld flame and the rod are separate operations, you can move both around to get the desired results. One of my special challenges was to weld 0.020" aluminum to 0.062 aluminum. Both parts were made of 5052 alloy, which helped. I was able to do it because I could concentrate the heat of the torch on the thicker part until it started to "get silvery" which meant it was about to melt, add a dab of rod, then move the flame over to the thinner part. I also used Helium instead of Argon, which conducted the heat at a slower rate. I don't think this particular job could have been done with anything other than a good (Mine was made by AIRCO - the other welder had a MILLER - both worked about the same) TIG unit. TIG is best for the really difficult work, as you have the maximum degree of control.

Also, while it is true that you use DC for steel in TIG work, AC with the high frequency to start the arc is better for aluminum. With most steel you want a pure tungsten electrode sharpened to a needle point. With aluminum, a tungsten electrode with 2% thorium added will melt to form a small ball, which creates a softer, more "bushy" arc.

With full control over the type of gas used to protect the weld, how high the flow rate is, how long the gas is on, the heat range, foot pedal control of the heat within the range, the type and size of the electrode that forms the torch, the size of the ceramic nozzle directing the gas against the work, the type and duration of the high frequency start current, the rod added separate from the weld flame, and a wide selection of rod, TIG is by far the most versatile welding method I know about.

TIG has the big disadvantage of being pretty expensive to set up and operate. For small shops, and definitely home use, a MIG welder makes a lot more economic sense. I don't think a simple unit that would work off of your basic stick arc machine would make an adequate TIG unit, but I understand that the small MIG units work well. I have never worked MIG, as the type of work I did at the chassis plant was best suited to TIG, and I have an old stick arc machine and an oxyacetylene rig at home. I find that stick works well for anything over about 1/16 inch thick... I have often thought of buying a small MIG unit for use on thin work. I use oxyacetylene for sheet metal, but it warps the work pretty badly, so a MIG unit would probably be a good addition to my home equipment.

Return to Menu


Steven Dunlop wrote: For the sake of you, your Jeep, and those around you, you really should trailer instead of flat towing.

The CJ-2a has the Ross cam and lever steering (unless you've modified it) which has too much friction for the front wheels to track well when flat towing. Plus you can't stop very well, with a trailer you would have electric or surge brakes. Unless you have a really heavy tow vehicle, the Jeep will tend to steer the rear end of the tow causing another set of safety problems. For $1500 you can get a brand new flatbed trailer, used ones are far less, money better spent there than on axle hacks.

Dirt Man wrote: I agree with the trailering. One time I was towing my GPW just a few miles and took an old familiar route only to find that the road had been changed to accommodate the widening of a major highway. I was going 35 when a "25" flashed by and so started to slow. Suddenly I was in unfamiliar ground and there was a down hill "S" curve added that ended at a stop sign at a major highway (2 laner with 55mph posted/65 driven), at night and in a sleight rain. My one ton PU was light in the rear end so when I hit the brakes the wheels locked up and I jack knifed towards the highway. As the jeep pushed me around I hit the gas to the shoulder. After checking my heart rate I checked the set up. Nothing hurt except my pride. Luckily there was no traffic at that brief moment to see me go stupid. Any one of the above conditions, by them selves are nothing. But when you get three or more together you're headed for deep do do.

Also my uncle when "flat towing" his jeep, had the wheels lock into a turn. When we got to the shoulder the tires were smoking! We put a bungie on the wheel to counter the tendency to want to lock up and hold it in the straight.

Tom Jacoby wrote: I had planned to trailer my '61 Utility back from New Mexico, but the gross weight of the trailer plus the Willys exceeded safe towing capacity on my '93 Exploder (which has the factory towing package). So, I used a U-Haul dolly to tow my '61 Utility Delivery from Alamogordo, NM to Houston, TX. I took the Willys to an auto repair shop in Alamo to have the rear wheel bearings serviced, but they couldn't get the hubs off! I disconnected the rear drive shaft and wired it up to the frame, and used the front wheel drive to get the Willys up onto the dolly. In retrospect, I should have waited until it was on the dolly to disconnect the rear drive shaft :-(

At Sierra Blanca (east of El Paso) we stopped for lunch. It was then that we noticed that the left front spring had broken at the rear eye - the Willys was angled about 5 to 10 degrees from the dolly 's track, but I10 was so rough that we didn't notice. Anyway, we chained the front axle to the trans crossmember and pulled everything back into approximate alignment. The rest of the trip was uneventful. But I sure was nervous thinking about how that rusted hunk of metal could have dropped off the dolly minus front axle and done a one-and-a-half gainer with twist into the oncoming traffic! But hey, that's life on the edge. I'd do it again, but I'd chain the axle to the frame BEFORE starting the tow.

Dirt Man wrote: Jerry, a tow dolly works great. They range in price around $1100 to $1300 new. Used ones are hard to find. They do come with brakes and without. Canada I believe requires them to have brakes. I'm even thinking of setting up the jeep lights so that they are plugged into and a part of the tow system. So that when I brake the jeep brake lights come on especially for extra night vision when towing.

You also hinted at the need for garage space when not towing. If you have a trailer why not make a canvas top for it with alum. tube hoops and tie downs? Make the side curtains rollup under the top piece with tiedowns and strapping. Make the front of the trailer out of alum. sheet. curved like a horse trailer. Put a tool box, spare parts and extra gas stowage inside and have a front access door so the winch could be accessed when loading a disabled vehicle. When the trailer is not in use it could sub as a carport. And the jeep is always out of the weather, loaded and ready to go.

Chet Atkins wrote: Keith, How about getting the magnetic turn signals they U-Haul sells for towing vehicles? They hold horizontally (truck mounted) or vertically (side of rear fender), magnets a very strong. Also, I can verify that Canada does require some type braking system. I was towing my 67 GMC from California on my way to Eagle River, Alaska and got stopped, ticketed, and had truck impounded half way through Canada. I was 1,200 miles from the US/Canada and Alaska/Canada border. Since no U-Hauls were available it cost me $1,600 (Ouch!!!) to have it delivered to Eagle River. I could have bought a tow dollie with brakes for that much. How does that saying about prior planning go again?

Return to Menu


Merl wrote: Hey, where can I get one these? Anyplace short of a Welding supply place? I've looked for them at my Jeep parts outlets (Lowe's and Homey D's) and they don't have them.

Frank wrote: Auto darkening Helmets can be had from Eastwood ( or 1-800-345-1178. They range in price from $124 to $259 (pg. 27 of the current catalog). Chuck Pedretti wrote: Northern sells them, as do most supply houses here's a couple at Harbor Freight

Return to Menu


Steven Dunlop wrote: As long as we're off down a rabbit-run on welding... I kinda inherited a big old stick welder that came with the shop I bought. I used one years ago in high school shop, and know how to use it safely. But I can't make a weld with it that's worth a hoot.

So do I just need to practice more? Read books? Take a class? Get lessons from someone who Really Knows? Or what? I'm almost frustrated enough to blow a bunch of money on a MIG, which I understand will confer the ability to weld even upon people who have no skill.

Theodore Parshall wrote: There may be any number of reasons why you are having problems - low open circuit voltage, wrong size rod, old (damp) rods, AC vs DC, reversed polarity, wrong type rod, etc. Practice and a good book will help, but there is no substitute for a class at a tech college. The ones around here have a general class that gives an overview of the three main types of electric arc welding, and a series of classes thereafter that hone the skills of the type you prefer. Saying that MIG gives the ability to weld is similar to 4WD keeps you from getting stuck.

Jeff Gent wrote: The best way to learn is to have someone teach you, of course. If you don't know anyone you can always pay the instructor at the local community college. Around here there are night and weekend classes. A co-worker took the class and I saw his text which I would really like to get. It may be worth just picking up that at a minimum. You can also get a lot of good info from Lincoln off their web sight, they will mail out a lot of good literature to you.

The first thing to figure out is what type of welder you have, AC or AC/DC (I prefer the latter). The type and thickness of rod, the current and polarity (if DC) setting and the condition of the rod are all important. Rod should be stored in a warm dry area or the coating will absorb water from the air which will greatly reduce performance, mine stays in a box under the bead and I don't buy more than I need for the short term. Then there's the question of the condition of that welder. They aren't very complicated, just a transformer with multiple taps and some sort of rectifier for the DC but they do get tired after a while. Don't forget duty cycle, by the way. Few welders are meant to work non-stop all day. A 20% duty cycle machine should only be run for 2min out of every 10 with the machine on and the fan running between breaks to cool that thing down.

Jerry Adams wrote: Damp flux is a big problem. I bought several plastic tubes with screw on lids and gaskets to store my various rods. It made a big difference. Also, the wrong type of rod will make welding difficult, especially vertical work.

Return to Menu

How Do I Get It Back On The Road?

I have just bought a Willys that has been setting in a field for the last 20 years. Can you tell me step by step what should I do to get this thing back on the road?

Rick Stivers wrote: Let's start with the wiring. I've seen people put a lot of work getting a truck to run, only to have it catch fire and burn, due to deteriorated wiring. You should inspect the entire wiring harness prior to installing a battery. Look up under the dash and hood, inspect light fixtures (Don't forget the old dome light wire running up through the ceiling post), and switches for damage. Check every place the wire harness passes through a panel, to ensure they haven't chaffed through the insulation.

Now let's take a look at the engine. Many people have had success just dropping in a battery, pouring a little gas in the carburetor and turning the key. Odds are that you won't be that lucky and you could do some damage to your engine that way. I recommend spraying some lubricant into each of the cylinders before your ever try to turn it over. Kerosene actually works pretty well for this. Now try to turn the engine by hand, using a socket and breaker bar. If you have to use more than about 70 foot pounds of torque to move the engine, then it is probably going to need a little more help to break loose. This is not the time to get a bigger breaker bar. It is the time to let it soak. I've seen where some people will drain the oil and then fill the engine up to the top with kerosene. Then they would let it soak for a week or two before trying to break it loose again. Some times they are rusted to the point that the engine must be pulled and the pistons hammered or pressed out.

However, if the engine turns freely by hand you are probably in for a much easier time of it. The first thing you are going to want to do is slap in a battery and try to crank it up. Resist the temptation and wait. This engine has been sitting for a long time and the oil passages are dry. If it starts with the passages dry, then you stand a good chance of damaging the bearings. The oil in the pan is old and useless to your little engine so perform an oil change prior to cranking it up. You will want to crank this engine with no spark for a while to get the oil moving. A preferable way would be to use an oil passage pressurization tool. You can hook it up to one of the oil passage plugs or where the oil pressure-sending unit is connected.

Ron Cook has a great way of doing this. "I made a pre-oiler from a discarded freon canister. I welded a one inch weld bung on the bottom for a pipe plug through which to fill the canister about 3/4 full of oil. A one-inch by 1/4 inch pipe bushing was used for a bung. A 1/4 inch pipe tee was threaded to the bushing with a pressure gauge on one side and a tire valve on the other.(actually a Schroeder valve from an oleo strut). Attached the proper hose and fittings to the original valve on the canister, air it up and go. Cheap-Simple-and it works. I use it on the Pratt every spring." ... "I use a 20 lb canister, so I think I probably have a little over a gallon of oil in there. The original freon valve becomes my oil shut off valve. The canister is inverted so the oil covers the outlet and my filler is in what used to be the bottom. You just need enough pressure to move the oil into the engine, so 50 to 60 lbs would be plenty I would think. I usually air up to 100 lbs. It goes fast that way and you are dealing with a small volume of air in this small container. Also it seems I am never near my compressor when I am doing this, so I take along plenty of air in the can."

This is a great way to preoil the engine prior to cranking it. I would recommend you weigh the tank prior to filling and then weigh it again as you fill it to prevent running out of oil.

Unless the carburetor was run out of gas prior to being parked, the old gas has turned to varnish. The carburetor will need to be taken apart and cleaned. You can rebuild it at this time but the main goal is to evaluate the engine so just a taking it apart and cleaning it good will probably be sufficient at this time.

Since the gas in the carburetor has turned to varnish, then you can count of the fuel in the gas tank to have done the same. Also, after being parked for so long you will find that the gas tank has picked up a lot of condensation from just contracting and expanding. Pull the tank and blow out the lines. If there are any rubber hose connections, you should replace them at this time. We have spent a lot of time on this list helping people track down problems that could have been quickly eliminated just by doing these few steps. The tank will have a lot of rust in the bottom of it. You can clean up most of this by putting a couple of pounds of gravel in it and shaking vigorously for a log time. Make sure that you get all the gravel out. The temptation we be there for you to use a gas tank sealer while you have the tank out. That's fine but make sure that you don't let it restrict the fuel outlet line. Check the routing of the fuel line to make sure that it isn't in an area where it can be crushed. Any place that it runs near the exhaust, make sure that it has a thermal blanket or heat wrap.

This is Vern's favorite subject. If the engine was running when it was parked then the distributor shouldn't be too much trouble. If the vehicle was parked because they couldn't get it to run, then this could be a problem. The distributor has a tube that fits into the engine block. The tube has a tendency to rust into the block. When this happens, it makes it very difficult to get your timing adjusted. The only way I know of to get it to turn, is with a lot of lubricant and a pipe wrench. Be careful because too much force can crush the tube or break it off. If you don't need to turn it, then leave it alone for now. Check the points and change the condenser, cap, rotor, wires, and plugs. Make sure that with the key on, you have voltage to the coil.

Is the vehicle 6V or 12V? If the battery is still in it, you can look to see how many caps it has. If there are 3 caps it is 6V, if there are 6 caps it is 12V. This will only tell you what voltage battery they last tried to start the engine with. They could have used a 12V in a 6V system. The best way I know of, is to have the generator checked by an alternator/generator repair shop. Once you have the right battery installed, then check each of your electrical connections for the engine. Make sure the battery cables are clean and well connected. Make sure the engine is grounded to the battery. I have seen a lot of times where the negative terminal of the battery was connected to the frame or fender and the ground strap from the body to engine was broken. Main battery ground should always go directly to the engine.

Do not attempt to start the engine until you have serviced the transmission. If it is dry, and you start the engine, you could damage the front main bearing and mainshaft pilot bearings. Drain the transmission and transfercase and fill them with oil. Look for water in the oil when you drain it. If there is water in the oil, the odds are pretty good that you have gear damage due to rust. This is a good note you guys with spare transmissions. Do not store them outside. The top of the shifter for all but the M-38A is designed, so that water can run down the top of the shift column, and leak into the case.

At this point you can put the tranny in neutral and you should be ready to start the engine. Do not try to drive it until you have the next items fixed, but you can start the engine.

The steering knuckles will need to be disassembled and serviced, but for now, all you will need to do is fill them with 90W oil. This will leak out slowly, but it will keep the knuckles from being chewed up when driven. Later you will want to service them properly with some Willys Tech "Knuckle Pudding", or another suitable substitute.

Check the steering box and it's mounting to the frame for cracks. Inspect each of the tie-rod ends to determine if they are worn out. Make sure the steering wheel turns completely from right to left and back without binding. Check steering wheel play and repair as needed. Verify that the four nuts or bolts on the top and bottom kingpins are tight.

It's possible that the differentials are dry. Drain them and remove the covers. Inspect for damage. Rotate the pinion gear to see if it moves in and out of the differential. If it moves on the ring gear, the differential will need repair. Reinstall the covers and service with 90 oil. Running these gears dry can damage them quickly. While you are down there check the universal joints to determine it they are bad.

Now let's look at the brakes. It's quite possible that this is where I should have started. This is the most important system on your vehicle. It's easy to get going but it's much more important to get stopped. All Willys came with a single reservoir master cylinder. The 9" brakes on the jeeps are just enough when they are working properly, so if they are in need of repair they will be inadequate. Jack the vehicle and put it on 4 jack stands. I can not stress the importance of using jack stands enough. Bricks and wooden block are not suitable for holding a vehicle. Make sure the jack stands are not used on dirt. That's enough for the public safety announcements. Remove all four brake drums and inspect the wheel cylinders. This is a good time to rebuild them. I rebuilt all four of them on my truck for about $20. I normally recommend people replace the wheel cylinders, but Willys wheel cylinders are not cheap, so if yours are rebuildable, then I would rebuild them. Inspect all of your metal brake lines for rust, cuts and dents. Replace the rubber brake lines at this time. Even if they look good, they are probably bad. They deteriorate from the inside out. Since you've got it this far, it's time to rebuild or replace that master cylinder. Now purge all of the brake lines and blow them out with compressed air. Now put it back together, service, bleed, and adjust the brakes.

Hot dog, it's time to put everything into motion. That's right, while it's still on jack stands. This way you can listen for grumbling gears and other weird sounds. Make sure the brakes work well enough to kill the engine in second gear. Along about here is where you will probably find that the clutch plate has rusted to the flywheel. This can usually be cured by putting the tranny in 2nd gear, and leaving the engine off, depress the clutch pedal, and tow the jeep. This will usually break the clutch plate loose. You can change to a lower gear if the engine is turning too freely.

This should be enough to put most old Willys back on the road. Motor on and enjoy your Willys.

Ron Cox wrote: In all seriousness, if this is the case, as it was with mine, go look for another one unless you want to use it as a parts vehicle. There was a reason why the vehicle was parked in the field in the first place. Secondly, the chances of getting it running to check out the drive train are slim to none. This leaves too much to chance as to what is good and what is bad. In my case, almost everything was bad and therefore not a good investment. I ended up doing a frame off out of necessity. Everything I looked into was bad. The vast majority of the bearings were bad, the seals were bad, parts were frozen, parts were missing totally, and the list goes on. This may be a horror story but if I had to do it over again, I would look for one running and driveable. Sorry if this doesn't fulfill your question. It is only one opinion and yes... I do enjoy working on my basket-case Willys.

Puttpirate wrote: The first think i would try and do is get as much history from the Previous Owner as possible. This may or may not be feasible, and memories can fade, but in my case it was invaluable. I found out the Willys was parked when he bought the new rig ( a 1971 wagoneer) it had been just had new brakes and tires installed (one tire was flat) but tread was new, that for the first few years he would go out and dump marvels mystery oil in it and hand turn it over, ( coating the cylinder walls nicely) and the darn tree that grew up between the bumper and grill holding it in place had 27 rings on it when we cut it down. I found out the springs had leaves added when the Sudebaker repower went under the hood, that it would pop out of second from time to time on a down hill run, and the front drive change had been swapped when he blew up the front diff.

When i got it home, I looked at the wiring, was cloth insulated but in ok shape, the motor turned over by hand, easily, so i did the full tune up, oil change, new points, plugs, plug wires, condenser, coil, oil change, filter change, battery, battery cables, and turned it over,, didn't fire, but turned over well, ground a loose strand on the condenser grounding out and not letting it spark, took care of that and it ran. Adjusted the timing by ear first, then with a light when i found the stude timing mark... Motors been running ever since. Flushed the brake system fully, and new fluid. Drained and filled, tranny/transfer, front and rear diffs. Lube job and inspection from below... drove it. still driving it.

Return to Menu


This page last updated 18 September, 2000

[Hit Counter]