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Kaiser Supersonic VS The Willys L-226

Lapping Valves

General Valves

Engine Dating

Timing Marks

F-Head Cutting Out At 3/4 Throttle

Positive Crankcase Ventilation

Compression Test

Engine RPMs

Engine Swaps

Small Block Change

L-226 Rear Oil Seal

F-134 Engine Oil Capacity

Stuck L-226

Pulling The Old L-226

L-226 Electronic Ignition

HEI in 134


Air, Fuel, Spark?

Purolator Oil Filter

Low Oil Pressure Engine?

Compression Meter, Etc.

Engine Cleanup

Cracked Block

F4-134 Engine Problems

Rebuild Costs

F-Head Weight

Coolant Flow

It Won't Start

Electronic Ignition On L-134

Rebuilding L6-226

Bell Housing Bore Runout?

L6-226 Timing Marks

Over Heating L-134

Overheating L-226




? wrote: I originally wrote a message for information abour the possible differences between the Kaiser Supersonic and the Willys L-226. The only response I have found was in answer to Joseph Dante who had a similar question regarding his CJ2A (and about 40 messages about the difference between left and right hand threads...DUH). Seriously, in answer to Merl's attached question regarding S/Ns and the possibility of Sears parts replacements, the S/N on the block of my engine is FW17036. NOW, can I possibly get some serious answers regarding the information I have to give the folks at the parts counters when I ask for a re-build kit for the beast???

Bernie Daily responded: If your engine is a flathead six with the distributor sticking right up through the head, it is the Continental 6, the L-226, same as the Kaiser. If you can find a copy of "The Last Onslaught On Detroit" it has a great history of that engine. Walck's and Mendetz have all the parts you need. NAPA also has them, as well as most fork truck dealers. Prices are pretty much the same so support the hobby guys if you can.

Rick LeBlanc responded: Testy, testy. You'll have to be patient with us as we're all here to learn as well. Unbelievably, I have a '58 Chiltons manual. It appears you have a transplant form a 1950 Frazer car (of Kaiser-Frazer) as those engine serial numbers started in '50 at F-M1001 ("K" prefix for Kaiser, "F" for Fraser). These numbers should have been located on a pad on the left front corner of engine block and on a plate on left side of the block. Kaiser engines didn't interchange from '51 to '54 so I believe these to be different then the '50. Also, rebuild kit numbers are different between the Willys 6 and Kaiser-Frazer 6's. I have an exploded pictorial of the engine assembly, I scan it and send it to you if you like. BTW, the '54 Kaiser Manhattan had an optional McCullough supercharger developing a whopping 140hp@3800 rpm. Wouldn't that look cool in your Wagon, eh? I would keep that engine you have if for nothing more then maintaining your Grandfather's legacy and with a little patience and research, you should be able to find the correct parts for it.

Jim Bartley? wrote: Looking at a 55 Willys pickup, and since I already own a 53 Kaiser Manhatten, I contacted the Kaiser Fraser Owners Club International (KFOCI) --seems that the 226 flatheads have many similarities, Super Sonic almost= Super Hurricane. They sure sound similar. They have a NAPA parts list for some surprisingly cheap parts readily available for K-F-Willys cars if you know the right part number to ask for--after all, K-F-W bought a lot of parts from other suppliers rather than produce them themselves. With some research, you might find that they fit the Jeeps too. The KFOCI site would be useful for Willys owners as lots of people are interested in both--and yes, some people have swapped the L-226 SS/SH engines both ways it seems. You can look in at: scroll down on the left gets you KFW Chat, also KFOCI has some interesting links

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Richard Grover wrote: I readily admit, I'm no master mechanic. I didn't take auto shop in high school, and while other guys were fixing up their 57 Chevy's, I was singing in the choir, taking advanced math, and in general being a nerd (except lettering in track). I assume many of you know more than I do about auto mechanics, and this is frequently borne out by responses to my posts and other notes. But I have lapped my valves with considerable benefit, so for those of you that are unfamiliar with the process, let me explain. (Anyone else with knowledge is welcome to jump in and correct me or fill in the thin places.) My engine was running very rough. A compression test showed 90, 115, 60, 50, so basically it was running on 1 1/2 cylinders. I had adjusted the intake valves about a year before, but didn't do the exhaust valves because I didn't dare pull the exhaust manifold (on account of the badly rusted studs and nuts). Someone has since told me he adjusted his exhaust valves without pulling the manifold, but he admitted space was really tight.

I removed the head from my F4-134 to find mildly burnt valves, with the exhaust being a little worse than the intakes, as I would have expected with my neglect of them. If a valve doesn't seal tight, a small amount of hot combustion gases will escape. This high-pressure, hot gas erodes the surface of the valve and seat, leading to what is called burnt valves. Burnt valves don't seal tight, so the condition compounds itself. Looking at the beveled edge of the valves, I could see irregular dark blotches, not smooth shiny metal.

I got a lapping kit from Checker for less than $10, which consisted of a wooden stick with suction cups on each end and two tins of abrasive compound: coarse and fine. With the valve springs removed, the valves are free to come out. It takes a valve spring compressor tool to relieve tension of the springs so you can remove the clips that hold the springs to the valves.

I scraped off carbon deposits from the valves. I put a little lapping compound (about the consistency of toothpaste) on the valve surface, then put it in the head (or block for exhaust valves). I used a suction cup on the flat face of the valve and by twirling the stick between the palms of my hands, spun the valve in its seat. I used coarse first and then fine on the exhaust valves, but only fine on the intakes. I checked the surface of the valve and matching seat from time to time and repeated the process until each valve looked good.

When I got the engine back together, the compression was 112, 115, 115, 80. Number 4 cylinder has some bad scratches, perhaps made by a broken ring or a wrist pin that came out. Now I'm running on 3 1/2 cylinders. Some of the improvement could have been accomplished by a valve adjustment, but the lapping polishes the valve and seat, eliminating minor irregularities in the mating surfaces, leading to a tighter seal.

The 134 engines originally had a valve seat cut directly into the cast block. This metal is too soft and wears rapidly, especially with unleaded gas. My engine had been fitted with hardened valve seat inserts. Any machine shop can do this for you if your engine has not yet had this done. A seat insert cost about $5, but you have to cut a land in the block and press the seat in. I was glad to learn that someone had already done this on my engine.

The lapping could be done in a day, except in my case I broke a stud, then broke a screw extractor, then broke several carbide bits, and eventually put a helicoil and new stud in. I spent several days. Lapping valves is as old as the internal combustion engine. I've been told the owner's manual of the Model-T recommended lapping on a regular schedule, maybe once a year. A valve job at a machine shop puts a precise bevel on the valve and seat surfaces which is superior to what you can do with lapping. After you lap the valves a few times, you will have a groove in the seat which is not desirable, so you'll have to have them ground and or replaced.

If a valve is seriously burnt, it must be replaced. Lapping is the least costly, least effective and easiest repair to burnt valves. I'd guess (and this is only a guess since I haven't done it) that if you adjust your valves regularly (once a year?) and lap them when compression indicates it is necessary, you can go quite a bit longer between valve jobs.

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Bernie Daily wrote: I replaced the two adjacent exhaust valves on my '56 Pickup. It wasn't hard to find a local garage that would make a house call with the valve grinder. He wanted ten bucks, I gave him twenty. he liked looking at the old car stuff. Lapping valves leaves a wider seat than machining so the valve will run hotter and require servicing sooner. Remember when I said not to take your truck apart. Here's an example. Rather than take the engine to the shop I brought the shop to the engine. If I had removed the engine the whole thing could have snowballed and I might not be driving it today.

Jerry Adams Responded: Very interesting approach. I use to see a guy driving around in a 3/4 ton pickup who advertized that he was a mobile automotive repair shop, but I haven't seen him for several years. I never had need of his services, and I don't know what happened to him. It sounds like a good way to get some simple stuff done, or something like a valve job that needs special equipment. I agree that hand lapping a valve tends to leave a wider seat, and, yes, it can cause valves to run hotter if they have a wide seat. I think that the practice developed at a time when engines didn't produce that much horsepower, and the valves tended to run cool anyway. Interesting post, thanks for the idea!

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Ken wrote: Does anyone know how to figure out what year an engine is? I have a L 134 in my 50 stake body that I know is not original (because I have the original in itty bitty peices). (Merl) responded: Since nobody else responded about the engine thing I'll give it a try. Remember though, I'm not a pickup guy... Conventional wisdom on engine # and serial # matching for early CJs is that the L-head engine serial #s for CJ-2As started (at least in mid '46) out close to the same as the vehicle's serial #, then as replacement engines were shipped the spread between the CJ's serial # and the engine's # got wider and wider. For early CJ-2As the numbers should be fairly close (within a few hundred), for late 2As the spread should be wider. I don't know if ANY of this applies to the Willys Pickups, but here's a quote from Todd Paisly on L-head engines as they were put into the CJ-2A in reference to the same question about a mid '46 CJ-2A...

Ken Also, another guy I talked to that is not on this list said to ask anyone if they knew the correct part number for the 1946 CJ2A engine. Was it WO-A1534 or WO-641049D ?

Todd Paisley A-1534 is a part number for the MB cylinder head. But it is not marked A-1534, so don't bother looking for the number on the head. (It is cast 639660.) 641049 is a Camshaft Gear Thrust Plate Spacer for a 4-63 wagon. This information is from the actual lists used by the factory. Your serial number is in a transition period and at this moment in time, it is not known for certain what your engine casting should be. The engine number should be within a few hundred of your serial number of 41XXX. (I'm not going to post the skew rate (the rate at which the engine number deviates from the Jeep's serial number) at this time because that information is still being assembled and I don't want to "taint" any current research by posting premature numbers.)

There were at least 4 versions of the engine in your time frame. Casting numbers of 638632 (MB mold) and the 641087 casting. Engine serials numbers for the CJ-2A started out being stamped on the side on the block like the MB. These blocks (other than having "CJ2A-" instead of "MB-") are identical to the MB blocks. At some point very early in '46, the serial numbers moved to the top of the engine block. The area on the top of the block between the cylinder head and the water pump was enlarged to accept the new engine stamping method. But the engine numbers remained "CJ2A-XXXXX". The next generation block is what Jeff and I call the "clock block" because of the clock casting where the month/day casting is. This had a pointer pointing to a semicircle of circles to show the time of day it was cast, with the month/day underneath. This block was short lived because at some point, this block was discarded in favor of the 641087 casting. This is what Jeff and I call the "J" block, because around this time period, the engine serial numbers changed from "CJ2A-XXXXX" to "JXXXXX". To add even more confusion, Willys changed from a timing chain driven cam to a fiber gear also in this time period. There also exists engines with combinations of the raised oval areas (like the MBs) with the small top area, but still stamped on the top. Also, the old 638632 castings intermixed with the new 641087 blocks for a time period. It is rather confusing until after mid -1946 when things were ironed out and became more standard. Right now until more research and data is collected, your best bet (if you are going for the 100% correct restoration) is to find an engine with a engine serial number as close to your Jeep's serial number. If I had to be a guessing man, I would say it would be 638632.

Cylinder head is easy. It should be a 640161 without the raised ribs. Heads also have date castings, so you have to get a better feel for the time frame your Jeep was made. The axle assembly dates can give you a rough guestimate within 3 months when your Jeep was made. If your Jeep has its original transmission, it also has a casting date and assembly date. Bell housings also have a casting date...... P.S. If anyone wants to send their engine number and casting information to me, that would be great. The more data collected, the more accurate estimation can occur!

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Rick Stivers wrote: Hi guys, I borrowed this posting from "Jeep+willys" news group because I didn't know the answers to his questions. Since I'm always on the search for new info, I thought maybe you guys could enlighten me. Where are the timing marks on this motor and how do you find them?

Jerry Adams responded: If you have a '46, they are on the flywheel. Look on the passenger side. Just over the starter there will be a hole in the sheet metal cover of the flywheel. In the original configuration, there is a metal cover over the hole. Move the cover, and have a friend "bump" the starter. Eventually, you will see the timing marks. They are a line with the letters "TDC" near it, and a second line with the letters "IGN" near it. The timing is correct when the mark on the fly wheel cover lines up with the "IGN" line (use a timing light, or course).

Merl wrote: I would think that on a '57 F-134 the timing marks would be on the

crank pully and timing chain cover. The L-heads had them on the flywheel (at least the early ones do).

Richard Grover wrote: On my F4-134, there are timing marks on the flywheel as described by others. These are not visible due to minor obstructions, like the starter motor, distributor, generator, oil filter, air filter and battery which are on the right side of the engine compartment. With the battery, air filter and starter motor out of there, I can see them just fine, but of course I can't start it to adjust the timing with these missing. ;-) I think I took a picture of the timing marks on the flywheel. If I can find it, I'll scan it for others to see. My engine has no timing marks on the front pulley, except the one I made myself. :-)

Rick Stivers wrote: If anyone is interested, this procedure will allow you to create accurate timing marks on the front crankshaft pulley/harmonic balancer of any overhead valve engine. Providing you have a visible place to install a timing marker. You will need to buy or create an accurate piston stop tool. To make one you will need the following items:

One old spark plug from your engine

One 3/8" course thread tap (Fine thread will work)

One 5/16" Drill Bit

Power Drill

One 3/8" flat washer

One 3/8" X 3" all threaded bolt

One #/8" Jam nut (threaded to fit bolt)

Break off the electrode wire from the bottom of the spark plug and grind or file smooth. Break, chip, or drill the ceramic center from spark plug (CAUTION The ceramic can and will break off and chip with extreme force, therefore I recommend wearing a full face shield if available. Goggles will do in a pinch but be very careful.) Once the ceramic is removed drill the center of the spark plug using the 5/16" drill bit and tap using the 3/8" tap. Grind the sharp edges off the end of the bolt. Screw the jam nut onto the bolt all the way to the head and install the washer under it. Screw the bolt into the top of the spark plug and adjust the jam nut so that the bolt extends from the bottom about 3/4". You now have a fully functional piston stop. I suppose the next question would be, "What do I want this thing for?" To stop the piston of course.

First to prevent possible catastrophic failure to your engine disconnect the battery. Accidentally engaging the starter motor would be very bad so why take the chance.

Locate a place where you can permanently mount a sheet metal pointer over the pulley. It must be mounted so that you can see both it and the pulley with all accessories installed and the engine running. Determine which cylinder is the number one cylinder. And remove the spark plug. Rotate the engine by hand to lower the piston in the cylinder. Install the piston stop and snug the jam nut. The piston stop must be firmly mounted to prevent erroneous readings. Gently rotate the engine clockwise until it stops (do not force it). Mark the pulley at the pointer with paint or chalk. Rotate the engine counter clockwise until the engine stops again. Mark the pulley again. Measure the distance on the pulley between these two marks. The point on the pulley half way between them is Number one TDC (It does not matter which stroke you are on). If the marks are too close together or too far apart (should be about 1" to 2") you can adjust the jam nut and bolt for a better reading. (CAUTION: Make sure the piston is down before making any adjustments to the piston stop) Take your readings 2 or 3 times to ensure you did not make an error. Clearly mark TDC so that you will have it in the future.

Once TDC is determined a simple protractor can be used to mark any additional degree marks (like the proper time) you wish to add. CAUTION: (Can you tell I screw up a lot?) Remember to remove the piston stop and install the spark plug immediately so you don't forget and cause serious damage to your precious engine.

If you already have timing marks you can use this to check them for accuracy. I first used this technique on a 350 Chevy to determine if the harmonic balancer marks were correct. It was 13 degrees off because the outside of the balancer had spun. Took me a while to figure out what had gone wrong on with my tune up. Since the spark plug is not located over the piston in a flat head, this will not work for the L-head engines. However, this will work on these engines if the head is off. You would need to create a piston stop plate that would bolt on over the cylinder with a stop bolt. Just in case somebody out there thinks I created this wonderful technique forget it. This is the first part of the procedure for dialing in a cam shaft.

Sean R. Kerns wrote:  Hi all, Trying to time my '48 -2A with the L-134. There are no marks or notches on my crank pulley. No problem, I'll just pull off the little cover and look in the hole by the starter. Problem is, I can't see any there, either.

Dr. Vern wrote: Dear Sean, Ah yes, the joys of the L134 timing marks. On my L134, it took me a while to find them. The trickiest part is that my flywheel was previously installed 180 degrees out, so the marks aligned with either #2 or #3 cylinders. (PO!) That one had me stumped for a while. After figuring this out, I saw no need to pull the engine to reindex the flywheel. I just set the timing using #3 cylinder and things are groovy.

Does the F134 engine even have the timing marks on the flywheel? The F134 has a pointer on the timing cover plus a notched pulley, so I don't know if it also kept the flywheel marks. That makes me wonder if your engine is a FrankenWillys, with an F134 flywheel. During the last 50 years or so, a PO may have swapped in an F134 flywheel if the original L134 flywheel with timing marks was shot. This is assuming (Danger! Danger!) that the flywheels are interchangeable other than the lack of timing marks.

The service manual has a good picture of the marks on page 51. Adam's suggestion to pull the starter is a good idea for better visibility to mark them. You gotta love the list for all the things a guy can learn.

Even if you find your the flywheel devoid of all marks, don't despair. You can make your own marks easily where ever your little heart desires. You could paint them on the flywheel like original or put them up front so you don't have to hire a contortionist to read them.

Let's go on the premise that you have a flywheel devoid of any marks. It is more vacant than a Mensa booth at a Country Western music festival. With a little ingenuity and fresh coffee, you will have easy to read timing marks in no time.

Pull all the plugs to make the engine easy to turn. Turn the engine in the direction of normal rotation with one hand. Place your thumb or digit of choice over #1 (front) spark plug hole. When you feel pressure building, that means #1 piston is rising with both valves closed. That is the compression stroke, after which the ignition will fire near Top Dead Center (TDC). When you feel the pressure stop building, you should be pretty close to TDC.

Here I must respectfully disagree with Jerry's suggestion to check the piston's position with a thin screwdriver in the spark plug hole. The L134 engine has the piston offset towards the passenger side away from the spark plug hole. You cannot see the piston, nor can you reach it with any sort of straight object.

But more importantly, IF you could, a guy could break off the screwdriver or do other damage as the piston rises. We won't go into how I know this. Let's just say a good, very close and personal friend did a similar thing years ago. Only at least it was a dowel that my close personal friend broke off inside. My close personal friend luckily was able to retrieve all the pieces without pulling the head. Since then, my close personal friend has made me promise to only use a soda straw or soft copper wire for finding TDC.

But enough of that. We can't reach the piston directly through the spark plug hole. That is where you need the Vern-O-PistonFinder(tm). Granted, that name is not quite as catchy as my other inventions, but I'm digressing again. Bend a piece of soft copper wire into a stairstep shape. You will feed this into the sparkplug hole and over to the piston. The wire is bent is such a way that one leg hangs down over the piston. That leg only needs to be .25" long or so, as the piston comes nearly flush with the cylinder block when at TDC.

Insert the Vern-O-PistonFinder(tm) into the spark plug and carefully fine tune the crankshaft. As the piston reaches TDC, you will feel the Vern-O-PistonFinder lift up. Rotate the crank back and forth slightly to find exact TDC. If you feel the Vern-O-PistonFinder(tm) binding, it means the piston is pushing it against the cylinder head. The leg over the piston needs a smidge of trimming.

Should you really want to get precise, you can fill the combustion chamber with oil from a turkey baster. As you fine tune the crankshaft position, the oil level will rise and fall at the sparkplug hole. Then suck the oil back out when done. (Thanks to Nate Steiner for that tip.)

Either way you do it, you have now determined that #1 piston is precisely at TDC. If you want to duplicate the marks on the flywheel, I'd suggest a quick dimple from an automatic center punch followed by a dab of paint.

If you want the marks up front, carefully file a small, rounded notch in the crankshaft pulley and you are almost done. Fabricate a little bracket that can mount to the timing cover bolts. Make it just like the timing mark pointers found on newer vehicles. I'd suggest making the pointer adjustable, with elongated mounting holes for example, so you can fine tune it. Or if you don't want to make a bracket, you can line up two fixed points on the engine. Line up these two fixed points like a rifle sight aiming at the crankshaft pulley, and place the pulley notch accordingly.

One last thing, as we are not quite done. We found exact TDC, but not the 5 degrees before TDC where the ignition fires. Think back to how you didn't pay attention in math class, thinking you'd never use that boring (Sorry David) stuff. Well, now, your math teacher is getting the last laugh. Measure the diameter where your TDC marker is, either the pulley or flywheel. (Maybe a fellow WT member has a flywheel they can measure for you. You'd need the diameter just inside the ring gear teeth) From that diameter, convert 5 degrees into a linear measurement around the cicumference and make a second mark. Figure 68 on page 51 of the manual shows which side of TDC to place the mark.

Voila! You're done. It sounds complicated but really isn't.

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Rick Stivers wrote: Do you think the cut out at 3/4 throttle is the carb? I'm interested in at what RPM it is cutting out.

Jerry Adams responded: I would check:

1. Bad fuel pump.

2. Clogged fuel filter.

3. Float level too low in carb.

Merl wrote: If its not timing or another ignition related problem (plugs, points, condenser, etc), I would think it would have to be fuel delivery. My 2A/L-134 w/stock carb had similar problems due to a clogged fuel filter caused by a rusty tank. As someone else mentioned it could also be the carb's float. In my garage its "try the cheap and easy thing first" which would be to put on a new fuel filter, and if that doesn't work move to the more complex solutions.

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Merl wrote: Took the 2A for a long drive yesterday (about 100 miles all together). My oil leak situation has vastly improved and now I'm down to taking care of the minor leaks. Current setup:

My air filter isn't stock. Its a paper filter mounted to the driver's side fender, smallish chrome (yuck) top and bottom with the filter element exposed and a hole for mounting the crank case vent (which is a 3/4" heater hose coming from the top of the oil filler neck). The problem is that after a long drive like this at high RPM I get a noticeable amount of oil coming up into the air filter from the vent hose, dripping down through the paper and onto the fender.


-Could this indicate that my oil pressure is too high? I have no idea if my oil pressure gauge is stock (though its old enough to look it), but it reads about 20 at idle and about 60 between 2500 and 3000 RPMs. -Or is this a normal situation that going back to the oil bath air filter would eliminate? This couldn't be the oil-bath filter's method of replenishment...could it?

Another question:

How is the oil filler tube secured into the block? I'm getting some leakage there where the base of the filler tube goes into the block and the tube tends to rotate on its own a bit as the engine vibrates it.<<

Tom Lee responded: Hi Merl, It sounds like your PCV system is not drawing air correctly. Yes, the L-head engine had one of the first PCV systems. The suction begins at the threaded port on the front of intake manifold. Filtered air is drawn through the oil bath air cleaner and then through a hose attached to the top of the oil filler neck then through the crankcase and then through the tube that comes out of the side of the valve cover and attaches to the port on the intake manifold. The oil bath oil cleaner is not replenished by the pcv system.......although that is an interesting concept. I have a diagram of the PCV system I can scan you later.

Jerry Adams wrote: I think that your problem is related to a clogged, defective, or missing PCV valve. It is probably "blowby" from the engine. It is normal for a motor to have some blowby pass the piston rings, and this gas has to be vented somehow. Your motor should have a PCV valve in a metal line that runs from a special fitting on one of the push rod covers to the intake manifold.

Another question:

How is the oil filler tube secured into the block? I'm getting some leakage there where the base of the filler tube goes into the block and the tube tends to rotate on its own a bit as the engine vibrates it.

It is just a slip fit. The end of he tube could be bent out of round. Mine was. It is fairly easy to straighten it out with a hammer and a large wood dowel I used a chunk of an old closet pole. I put the piece of closet pole in my vice, and used it as an "anvil" to support the inside of the tube. A little judicious tapping with a hammer and it came out looking pretty good. The excess oil you find around the filler tube could be the "blowby" trying to escape. I definitely think you need to check your PCV valve. Oh, one more thing - the top of the tube should be secured to the engine with a metal bracket - it's too weak a joint to support the filler tube by itself..

Merl I have no idea. I've had that PVC valve off before, and I know that I cleaned it out to the point that it'd pass air. That was probably 1000 miles ago. It wouldn't surprise me if you were right about the worn rings. Here recently as a part of my anti-oil leak campaign I shot a little RTV around the inside edge of the oil filler cap on the dipstick. It was very loose, clattered around a lot, and I had been noticing some oil accumulation on the under side of the hood directly above it. That's probably what caused so much oil vapor condensation in the air filter, I effectively *lost* my vented oil filler cap. I'm going to forward the image Rick LeBlanc sent me showing the PVC and vent path to those that asked for it (don't want to clutter the list).

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Joseph wrote: Please allow me to join in. The engine in my CJ2A also has a name tag that says "SUPER SONIC" is this not a stoke engine? I am about to haft to rebuild it as well. I preformed the wet/dry compression test that was posted a couple of weeks ago and discovered that I have burnt valves on 2 cylinders and worn or stuck rings on the 2 with any compression.:-( Thanks in advance.

Rick Stivers Wrote: Joseph, has your engine been running for a while? If not don't be so ready to toss in the towel. Many times the rings in these engines that have been setting for a long time will be sticking and giving you false reading. If it has been sitting I would give it at least 500 miles to work it's way free. Is this an L-head motor (Flat Head)? If so the standard wet and dry compression test may be invalid. Of these engines the spark plug sets over the valves instead of the cylinders. Putting oil in the spark plug holes only dumps oil on the valves. This can cause a burnt valve to seal, thus giving you the indication that you have bad rings (pressure goes up). The only way I know of to ensure you get the rings oiled on these engines is to only put the oil into the cylinders at TDC for each cylinder and even then it can require a fairly large amount of oil. It might help to raise the left side of the vehicle so that the oil can run down hill into the cylinders. All of this is from memory on my L-134 over 11 years ago so if someone thinks I'm wrong feel free to say so. I don't get my feelings hurt easily.


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Merl wrote: Once again, Rick Grover has made it easy on us all and has a *very* cool graph representing speed vs. RPM in both direct drive and OD. Go to the chart is at the bottom of the page. According to his chart 30 MPH should be about 1800 RPMs in 3rd, or 2700 in 2nd. Just as a side note, I've got a little tach tie-wrapped to my steering column and have found Rick's graph to be very accurate.

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James Roney wrote: I think that you have all of the best pieces to build an awesome four wheel drive truck that can be both reliable and powerful.

So many of my peers remove the wimpy jeep engine to run the vastly superior small V-8 engine. Hey...sometimes driveshafts twist off! I wrote earlier of my twisted axle, broken tranny, blown up Willys days, and loved every one of them.

I really think that you should borrow or ride in a bone stock one. 55MPH comes at great expense to the little engine, and they wander like you can't believe. Big tires and small brakes make it even worse.

Since yours will NEVER be a showpiece in the stock class, I recommend that you consider a personalized Willys that is "improved" over the stock one. I think that keeping a stock appearance is crucial in maintaining the correct "look and feel" of the Willys. A huge lift is also not necessary. The pickup engine compartment is sufficiently large to accommodate the small v-8, and an adequate radiator. The purist will want an F-head, or maybe the I-6, but a very tame SBC (small block chevy) is the most reliable, easiest to maintain and cheapest power-plant you will find. I don't like my distributor in my lap either, but that's a symptom of a poor installation. If you measure the SBC with an early short water pump, and accessories, I think that there is sufficient room if you relocate the radiator.

You need a new radiator anyway, and the front cross-member is hardly necessary if you reinforce the frame for the vastly better Saginaw steering. Putting in a deeper cross flow radiator will help to center the fan. Do NOT think about an electric fan. The best on the market today will pull 2700 CFM. A bone stock 4 blade 17" fan will do at least 4000 at idle. Invest in a good fitting shroud.

The stock brakes are a disaster, and a new tandem master cylinder is a must. If you choose swing pedals, the ones from a late CJ are a good choice. The stock pedals suck. They squeak, rattle, and bind, and require servicing. (that seems to be true of most of the stock components...) The service interval on a stock Willys is 1000 miles. get your grease gun, your brake adjusting tool, and be ready to spend a couple of hours on your back. Valve adjustments are no picnic either.

Sure, I'll take some heat for these vile words, but sometimes we Willys owners tend to romanticize the original vehicle. The FACT is, that many Willys pickups are around today, not because they are indestructible, but because they were parked in a barn (or field) because that's where they were towed to. (or quit)

Build a vehicle that you can enjoy, but not one that is going to be a burden. Spend the money, but spend it once, and spend it wisely. Many of the guys on this list LOVE their trucks, so listen, but not too closely. (not even to me!)

I worked for two months last year pulling the 289 V8 out of my 1946 CJ-2a. I went to excruciating pain to replace the firewall, and found the original engine mounts, radiator, grille, and L-head engine. I found a factory t-98 four speed. I pulled the custom disc brake Dana 60 rear, and replaced with a full float Dana 44, pulled the Dana 44 front and replaced with a model 25. I put original 7.00x15 tires back on, and replaced the power Saginaw with Manual Saginaw. I gave it to my dad, because he said that's what he wanted. I can't stand to drive it.

In my garage now, you will find a 1952 Willys M38 with a 1992 Mustang 5.0 SEFI stuffed under the hood.

My 1953 Willys Pickup is currently powered by a 1974 Ford 6-300, T-18 four speed, Warn OD, Dana 44 front, 60 rear, 4.88 gears.

...I think I'll drop a big block 460 in it.


Steve wrote: Hi I was wondering what it takes to put a small block in? I have a 55 4wd with a 226 in it now.

Rod Smith wrote: A lot of work and patience! I did a ground up restoration on my 59 PU. While it was stripped down to the frame, I converted to Saginaw steering and installed the 283.

Some tips:

I had to move the radiator over to be centered with the fan. The six has an offset fan. This can be done with flat iron spacers. You can use the old fan shroud if you rotate it 180 degrees and make new brackets.

Set the engine so that the fan is centered in the shroud. I had to move the transmission forward 2" and use a 2" spacer on the fan.

The engine will be on a tilt to the rear but this has not been a problem. If you try to keep the engine level you will have the fan hitting the cross member, the front axle will hit the fuel pump, and the front drive shaft will hit the starter.

I had to cut out the fire wall to make room for the distributor. I did some sheet metal work and it looks original now. I can take the cap off and get to the points but to remove the distributor, I have to remove the bushings on the motor mounts and lower the front of the engine.

Lots of work but very rewarding! If you want to see the finished product check out the January 97 Classic Trucks or May 97 Off-Road magazines. My truck was featured in both magazines. It is the Yellow 59


Let me know if I can be of more assistance. The truck is currently in storage as I am living in Moscow Russia.


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Dan wrote: Still am not recovering the M1A2s out of the Hood muck, we can not seem to stop a class 3+ leak coming out of the rear main seal. Tried the original rope gasket seal, but was slinging oil out to the right. Then bought a neoprene kit from Carl who didn't think it would work on my early serial 6-226. He was right. Carl suggests using the rope again, but where the ends meet at the 3 and 9 o'clock positions, put a few dabs of Brill creme.

Frank Wood wrote: Captain Dan, the brill cream must not have done the trick.

Dan wrote: Tech team, Need some wrenching help. Has anyone broken the code on effectively installing the early series 6-226 (54-60?) rear main seal? So far we have tried installing the lovely ropes twice, and have tried a late series neoprene seal kit (which is designed to work if you have installed a crank from a 230).

Rick Stivers wrote: Dan, What kind of end play does your crank have? What is the condition of your crank bearings? Have you mic ed them? If your crank isn't jumping around, the rope seals should work. Do the ends of the seal overlap. If so, the direction they overlap could be the problem. The directional rotation of the crank could be forcing the ends open instead of closed. I've never changed this seal on an L-226 but I have changed a couple of rope seals on other engines without problems. I don't know if I've helped. Just my 2 cents worth.

Ben Page wrote: I would suggest that you "plastiguage" your bearings and ensure that you are using the correct caps on the correct journals. Hope you marked them when you removed them<giggle> Does this help?

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William Cunningham wrote: I have dumped 6 quarts of oil into the F head engine in my 57 FC 150 and it still is not registering on the dip stick. The service manual said that the capacity is 4 qt. (with filter change). there is no visible oil leak on the engine. Some oil is leaking from the air filter. No oil in the coolant. No smoke. Could I have some sort of high capacity oil pan? A short dip stick (easy there! we don't know each other that well yet ;-)) Should I just keep pouring oil in until it shows on the stick?

I have run the engine for a total of 5 minutes in 30 second sessions. Can anyone recommend some sources for fuel pump/vacuum pump rebuild or replacement as well as electrical wiper conversions for FC 150's?

Richard Grover wrote: In the F4-134 in my pickup, the dip stick virtually touches the bottom of the pan. If there is oil in the pan, I can see it on the dipstick. When I pull the oil pan, the dipstick is sticking down below the bottom of the block about 6" or however deep the pan is. I think I may put a little over 4 quarts in mine, but I can see the oil on the dipstick after a quart. The level rises about 1/2" with each quart. Either your pan is different, or your dipstick is different. Did you put the oil down the dipstick tube or into the vent on the rocker cover? It shouldn't matter, since the oil from the rockers drains down to the pan. If you put it in the rocker cover, I suppose it is possible it didn't get down to the pan, but I've never seen that happen and have a hard time imagining what could cause it. All four drain holes would have to be plugged. Maybe the wrong head gasket? The oil in the air-filter is separate, not part of the engine oil. PS. Sometimes really clean oil is hard to see on the dipstick, like after using flushing oil. It takes a few hours of running to blacken the oil.

Rick Stivers wrote: I have seen oil return holes plugged to the point they would not allow oil to return without a positive pressure applied. This caused the valve cover gaskets to leak but they had apparently run the engine for quite some time. This was on a Ford 289 V8. There was so much build up of carbon that when we took off the valve cover you could not see the rocker arms. They were covered to the point that it looked like the valve cover was still on. I don't know if that's what your problem is but I sure hope not.

William Cunningham wrote: Thanks for all the suggestions! Would you believe that it had the wrong dipstick! I grabbed the stick out of the non-running (yet) FC 150 and its about 3 or 4 qts. longer, what would that be in inches? <g>. With the new dip stick it's over full, which it should be given that I put 6 qts in 4+ system.

Rick Stivers wrote: Make sure you remove the extra oil. It can cause you problems.

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William Bigelow wrote: Dear Fellow Members, I hesitate to do this (my hard drive is only 1gb), but I'm going to solicit advice from the collected Willys "brain trust" on this site. :-)) Anyway, here goes.

I finally got my 58 cj3b (purchased three months ago) home this past weekend. I know, I know I should be disbarred from the Willys club for waiting so long, but its a long story so don't ask. The body is solid and straight, no cancer, very little surface rust and even has a solid tool box. It has all it's parts and pieces to include the original drive train and the remains of three-point hitch it had during its farm days. Only things missing are the side-view mirror and a spare tire mount. ...and so on and so on.

Bottomline: I can't get the engine to turn manually.

The guy I bought it from (a LTC in financial difficulty who owned the jeep for many years) assured me it was running when he parked it three years ago. I pulled the plugs and three of the four chambers look good. The fourth one is rusty and contains what appears to be the remnants of some varnished gasoline. I remember a string awhile back that said moisture can seep in through an open exhaust valve. I didn't want to try any of my novice shade tree approaches till I spoke to the pro's.

Question: What is the best way to approach this problem--starting with the least obtrusive/labor intensive solutions first. I'm not afraid of bustin' knuckle, in fact I like it, but I'd rather be spinning the distributor for an hour, whilst sippin' a cold one, than be pullin' the head and throwin' wrenches at my kids.

Brad Ethington wrote: Bill, I remember an old timer telling me that the easiest way to unfreeze and engine is to pour kerosene into each plug hole and let it sit for a day or two. This advise was made prior to the availability of WD40. You may want to try a mixture of both. It certainly won't hurt. Good Luck.

Mark Peterson wrote: Hi William Bigelow, How about some Automatic Transmission Fluid in the cylinder. I've never had to do it on the junk I drive around but there are many claims that it works.

Rod Smith wrote: I had this problem with the flat head six in my 59 PU (it has since been replaced with a 283 chevy). I poured some automatic transmission oil in the plug holes and let it sit for a day or two. Then I turned the engine over a few times without the plugs installed to insure that there was no liquid remaining in the cylinders. Put in the plugs and it fired off! It had a miss which I could not cure until I took the head off and found one of the valves frozen open. I poured some more ATF around the open valve and let it sit another day or so. When I cranked over the engine, with the head off, it still stayed in the open position so I hit it with a rubber mallet. The valve moved and the cam took over. Put on a new head gasket and the engine ran fine until I replaced it.

By the way, the conversion to the 283, with a Saturn overdrive, and cruise control allows the truck to cruise at 70 mph and it still has plenty of low end gearing.

Ben Page wrote: I hate to correct my colleagues here Bill but this isn't a good idea. Transmission fluid is VERY hard to wash away and isn't the least combustible. So when you start your engine you'll end up with transmission fluid everywhere. That's why good mechanics use diesel and kerosene. Because it'll burn. Sorry Mark. I just wanted to save him some heavy cleaning <chuckle>.

Robert Stewart wrote: I have used the old standby "Liquid Wrench" with great success. Put it in, let it soak, repeat, break it loose by hand, beware of the liquid out the plug hole if you really soak it.

Ben Page wrote: Bill, Check your compression on each cylinder. It can be done manually with the crank handle or the starter. If one cylinder is down (possibly no 4.) then check with compressed air to see if the valve is stuck open. Done that? OK, now it's time to get out all that varnished fuel so we'll do it the easy way. Empty the crankcase completely and fill the engine with diesel (right to the top). Yep, I do mean the top. Let it sit for about a day. Put in your crank-handle and turn it over slowly. Go and have a coffee and a sandwich. 2 hours later come back and repeat the process. Get the picture. Do it until it gets free or a couple of days have gone by. Now drain all the diesel and flush your motor with kerosene. Repeat the turning over trick for about a day with kero. Fill the crankcase with oil again. Ensure your electrics are good and you have white spark from your coil and to your plugs. Ensure your plugs are all firing. (Out of the cylinders). Put them in. EXCEPT for the low compression cylinder. Fire up your motor and run it on three cylinders for about ten minutes at about 1000 revs. Shut it down. Put in the last plug. Fire it up again and run it. Be prepared for a lot of smoke from the diesel. It'll clean everything out and if the motor is in good order (as the guy said it was) then the old fuel will wash away, the valve will come free and the rings will free themselves up.

Oh. Forgot to say. Take off the carby, strip it down and thoroughly clean it. Preferably in an acid bath. Then put it on just when you wish to fire it up. If there's varnish on your pistons, then it's all the way through your blast jets and galleries in the carby. So you need to pull the gallery plugs and thoroughly clean that sucker. Ya dig? The worst than can happen is that you may bust a ring or snap the stem of a valve if it's REALLY, REALLY stuck. Then you'll have to strip the motor down anyway. This method is cheap and has worked lots of times in old motors. But you've got to take your time.

Maybe in between turn-overs you can sit and make a list of what you need to do?<chuckle> Always helps me pass some time<grin> Good luck buddy. If you've got any questions. You can mail me direct if you wish. Hope this helps. All the best.

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Steve wrote: It looks like I am going to have to pull my 226 out of my 55 4wd P.U. Any words from the wise? Tips? Tricks? Just thought I would ask.

Bernie Daily wrote: The best tip is --DON'T. I may have missed the string that led up to this decision but you don't "have" to pull the engine. You can do a very good overhaul with the engine in the chassis. The biggest problem with pulling the engine is that car nuts tend to go overboard on the disassembly. Suddenly the whole damned thing is scattered all over the place in no time. It doesn't cost anything to tear it all apart, but the hundred dollar bills fly left and right on reassembly. The cold truth is that it may never get back together again. In today's hobby market preservation rather than restoration should be the key word. You can re-ring, put in new valves and bearings for about $400 in parts. Even if you pay $50 one way to haul it to a shop to have the machine work done while the engine is still in it you will be way ahead. If everyone had to post a $5000 bond before they took their car apart there would be a lot more driving around.

Whichever way you go two things are very important.

1. Double check the valve keepers.

2. Thoroughly clean the head bolt threads.

Richard Grover wrote: You can replace the rear main seal with the engine in the vehicle. I replaced the crank and all crank bearings without pulling the engine. The seal is two part so I think you could replace the rear main seal without dropping the crank. You push the top half in from below, then put the bottom half on. I've done it on other vehicles, but not my Willys.

Steve wrote: Thanks for the tip. I sure would rather not pull it, that is for sure. Is there a way to replace the rear main seal with it in the truck? Thanks again for the info.

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Michael wrote: I have the 226 engine in my '60 wagon. Has anyone out there tried installing electronic ignition in this engine? I know Whitney sells several different types but I have no knowledge base to go on as to which works best (if any).

Jack Harrison wrote: I used a GM HEI in my '60 226. If you don't have a problem with so-called originality, the multiple spark of HEI makes a flathead run and start like nothing you've ever seen. The easiest conversion for a 226 is to get the HEI from a Chevy 292 straight six. Use the old distributor adapter and drive key. Saw off the GM shaft to the correct length and pin the drive key on. (shaft is same size as old one) Drill and tap the old adapter housing for a set screw. Replace the adapter on the block, slide the distributor into the adapter (I forgot to mention that it is a perfect fit) and plug the coil wire into the distributor. Set the timing and you are in business. You now have a 226 with a new personality. I have done similar conversions on 134's but you need to do some machining. These use HEI from a Chevette or other 4 cyl.

Jack Starcher wrote: I'd be interested in hearing more on converting the 134's. I got a Kaiser SuperSonic that came out of my '46 that I'm planning on reworking for another project and is a likely candidate for this conversion. Could you shed some more light on what vehicles/motors to get the parts from and what machining is needed? Thanks

Rod Smith wrote: You might want to consider a IGNITOR solid state ignition system instead of replacing the distributor. I put one on my 283 chevy engine in my 59 Willys PU. It is an easy installation. Just remove the points and condenser and install the unit. All the parts are internal so from the outside all looks original. The units are made for most distributors, cost between $50 and $100, and can be obtained through most mail order performance parts houses.

Ronald L. Cook wrote: I put one of these type conversions(I don't recall the brand name) in an International truck about 10 or 11 years ago. I believe they had just come on the market. I have not been able to find a source since then. The distributor had gotten worn enough that it was impossible to hold a steady dwell. Had to constantly adjust the points as there was such a small range in which they would operate satisfactory manner. I had to make a few small modifications as the kit wasn't for the exact distributor, but it was installed, the air gap set, and the thing is still going and hasn't had the distributor cap removed in all that time. The truck gets about 400hrs a year on it.

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HEI IN 134

Ted Robinette wrote: Good day Jack Just read your Willys Tech bit about the HEI into 226 and mention of same for the Willys 134 and it prompts a question.

During a visit to LA and Pick A Parts in 1986 I collected a few Chev 6 and Pontiac 4 HEI's. Combined the longer Chev 6 housing with the 4 cyl guts to bolt into a locally made GM Holden 4 cyl. The Holden 4 cyl uses a clockwise rotation distributor same as the Chevs 6/V8 and Pontiac 4 vacuum advance type distributors I got. I played with fitting it to the Willys L134 but its distributor rotates counter clockwise and the drive shaft is much longer.

Is the Chevette distributor the same rotation? Or did you just remove the vacuum advance mechanism and use it as a mechanical (only) advance counterclockwise distributor?

How did you lengthen the distributor drive shaft so it would engage the oil pump drive slot?

The HEI is a great distributor, very compact and self contained, I have also adapted a 350 Buick V8 unit to the 4.4 ltr alloy V8 in my Leyland V8 road car.\

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Rick Stivers wrote: Does anyone know how much an L-266 weighs. I think I saw something once that said it weighed 1,100 lbs. If that's true I think it weighs more than a smallblock V-8.

Richard Grover wrote: I wouldn't be surprised if the 226 weighs as much as a V-8. I've seen other old-time straight sixes that were a big hunk of iron.

Rod Smith wrote: I replaced the 226 with a 283 chevy in my 59 PU. My hoist had no problem lifting the chevy but it strained with the 226! The 226 with bell housing is much heavier than a 283 with bell housing!

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Dan wrote: Howdy mechanical marvels, After replacing the starter solenoid on my 6-226 (probable not needed), and recharging my 6 month old 6 volt battery (probably needed), I was cruising along enjoying the state of the art in 4 wheel drive pickupping from 1955.

That same night, returning from a trip to one of Sam Wall's outposts, Willy cut out on me, not to be revived. Here are the symptoms, I await your diagnosis.

1. Gas tank level reads 1/2 full (as seen by optimist)

2. Starter spinning like a well healed 12 volt, and continuously. It doesn't seem to get slower.

3. Battery tested at 6.75 volts.

4. Gas poured in carb had no effect.

5. Starter fluid in carb had no effect.

6. After sessions of cranking, no noticeable gassy/flooded smell.

7. Pushed the old girl home with stalwart CJ-5.

Willys pals, what do you think? Thanks, respectfully, Dan

Keith Dewey wrote: Check for spark by pulling #1 spark plug and ground plug to hole. Hold so u can see electrode gap and remember to hold by insulated wire or better yet insulated pliers as these bite (electrically). Crank over and if no spark check wire connections to/from coil etc. Not sure where to go from there but u got the idea "air, fuel, spark". Process of elimination.

Ronald L. Cook wrote: Dan--Dirtman beat me to the punch. I agree with him completely. You have lost spark completely. Probably have no current to the coil from the switch.

OhioJeepr wrote: Check your points, Dan, are they welded together? That would cause a 'no spark' condition like you describe. It happened to me one time when I was on the highway, she just quit and would not restart. And of course I did not discover it until after I paid for the tow home. Good luck!

Dirt Man wrote: When u get the prob figured out could u let us all know where the prob was? Trouble shooting long distance is tough and if u and others have had same probs like th points welding than I'm going to carry a spare set when on the road. Also why are the points welding together? Excessive heat, bad condensor, speed?

Rick Stivers wrote: Dan, You seem to have eliminated the fuel by priming the carb. That's a good first step. I agree with everyone else to check the spark next. Verify, as was stated before that you have a spark. If you don't have spark, follow the procedures described by the others. If you do, check to ensure it is firing at the proper time. I had a distributor jump time once while going down the interstate and it gave me a great spark but at the wrong time. I temp fixed it by rotating the plug wires one cylinder and adjusting the timing again. I don't know if it is possible for this to happen on this engine but you can check this with a timing light or if you don't have one you can check the timing with a circuit test light (for this test a circuit test light is probably better). You can hook the light in series with the coil and rotate the engine by hand. As you come to the timing mark for the number one cylinder (and actually it will for each cylinder) the light will come on. Check to make sure the rotor is pointing to the number one cylinder.

If all of this checks good, check for compression. If the timing chain jumped you will have poor/no compression. I think that's enough to get you started. I always end up remembering some obscure thing that happened to me before. In your case it's probably just the points stuck. Good Luck.

Tom wrote: .....reminds me of the time I was midway across a river crossing and my distributor decided to strip the teeth off the bottom gear. Circumstances were such that I had to leave it there and make the repair in the river. I had wet feet for three days.

Ben Page wrote: Only can be bad condenser. Oh, and a certain lack of maintenance. (No disrespect intended)

Rick Stivers wrote: Ben, Converting to a 12V system without installing a ballast resistor can also cause this. I know this is not the case here because he is still running the 6V. However, lots of people out there convert without the resistor and don't figure it out until they burn out their first set of points. Been there, done that. :-) If there is a mistake that can be made due to ignorance or impatience I've probably done it in my past. :-) I'm learning.Dan wrote: Willys Friends, I am pleased and proud that I got my 55 pickup running today. Two members visited me on Saturday, and in the pouring rain, we put in new points, condenser, switched out coils, checked for electrical flow, dumped the fuel from the carb, and boom! Nothing. On Sunday, I replaced the Atlas spark plugs with AC Delcos and made sure the wires were dry, and boom, she was running like a sewing machine on steroids again!!!!

She needs to be fine tuned, and I'm not sure why she died on me originally, but it feels great to fix your own stuff! Thanks go out to all helpful suggestions from you all, and especially to members Rick Gray who talked and taught, and to Frank Wood and his Daddy Bud.

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Scott Little wrote: This may or may not be an isolated incident so beware. I just took a Purolator L30001 oil filter off my truck to find the rubber ring is 3 times thicker than it should be. The result is when I tightened it up the rubber flexed and lost the seal and the engine lost 4 qts of oil. Leaving town for a week in the morning so I haven't been able to assess any possible damage. Maybe Purolator can buy me a new engine.

Bernie Daily wrote: When you restart the engine after an oil change ALWAYS look under the vehicle immediately for drips or leaks.

Scott Little wrote: oil filter... oops Looks like I am the goober, not Purolator. Apparently the rubber seal from the previous filter was stuck to the engine block and I put the new filter on top of it, guess I should turn on the lights when I change the oil. Dang I hate when that happens.

William A Tomlinson wrote: It's always a safe idea to start the motor after installing the filter and checking for leaks before heading out. hope there's no damage done.

Rick Stivers wrote: Scott. It's been 20 years ago, but I've been there, done that. It happened to me on an old GMC pickup. The first thing I thought of when I read your post was, "I wonder if he took the old oil filter gasket off". I hope things are ok.

Tim Lankins wrote: Just remember the only stupid mistake is the one you don't learn from .

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Marcelo wrote: Anyone can tell me which is the normal oil pressure on SLOW MARCH the engine having my Kaiser jeep stopped? (engine Continental model 4 L -151 compression: 6,86: 1 - cylinders: 4 (2,48 liters) When I run the engine in the morning (cold engine) the oil pressure instrument (scale 0 to 80 lb) shows between 40 -45 lb. without acceleration

Some minutes later, when the engine is hot, the instrument shows 25 lb without acceleration (the idle oil pressure instrument is very closed to the RED PAINTED SECTOR!!) and 35 lb when accelerate the engine

The weather temp is around 77 deg Fahrenheit (going to summer) and the temp engine instrument shows the engine is good refrigerate The oil engine (SAE 40) is new and level is Ok ; the engine do not smoke oil and do not spend it. 25 lb is low oil pressure without acceleration the engine?

William A Tomlinson wrote: The oil pressure on you r jeep can be as low as 8 lbs, according to the factory manual at a hot idle,

Ben Page wrote: Marcello, Your oil pressure is fine. Or as we say in OZ. No problems mate<grin Take no notice of the red painted area. It's for show.

Sean R. Kerns wrote: I've read this in several magazines, but I don't know what factual or scientific basis it has: The formula for figuring out "acceptable" oil pressure that I've seen is P= 10Psi per 1000 RPM. Thus, at an idle of 600 RPM even 6Psi might be okay. I notice on most modern cars, even though they might have a gauge, it won't have numbers on it -- just Low and Normal Ranges. In my (Ford) truck, which has both the standard factory gauge, and an aftermarket gauge, I can tell you the oil pressure would have to be pretty low to be in the Low range on the factory gauge. Even down around 15-20 Psi, it's still in the Low/Normal range.

I think most of us would feel better if our engines would hold at least 40Psi, but it doesn't seem to be necessary. I for one get a little nervous when it gets around 80 Psi or higher at startup.

If Marcelo's holding 25 Psi in a warmed-up engine, he's got nothing to worry about.

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Solsidan wrote: I bought a six volt battery today. Does the positive terminal go to the starter and the negative to the generator? That's the way the cables seem to lead. Does anyone have recommendations about what compression meter to purchase. I thought I had one among my father's old tools but don't see it.

Ron Cook wrote: Whoa, there. Positive to terminal on starter relay and negative to ground. The ground will be the cable fastened directly to the engine. It may be fastened in the area of the generator,(mine is on one of the water pump bolts), but do not connect a battery terminal directly to the generator.

Richard Grover wrote: Negative cable goes to the block (mine is on the starter motor mount). Positive goes to the big terminal on the starter, with a smaller wire (maybe 8 or 10 gauge) to the key switch. From there, power fans out across smaller wires (10, 12, 14 gauge) to everything else electrical. Remember that many wires in a 12 volt system are only 16 or 18 gauge. 6 volt systems need bigger wires with size depending on amperage. The generator has two large wires (field & armature) and one smaller wire (ground) to the voltage regulator. Make sure you get it hooked up right. Crossed up connections may damage the battery, starter, generator, etc. There is a wiring diagram in the Service Manual.

The compression gauge that works best for me in one with a flexible hose that screws into a standard spark plug, and has a pressure relief valve on the side. You can check the engine compression by yourself, but it is still better with a helper. I have a compression gauge that you just hold on the spark plug hole. IMHO - It is inferior to the screw in type.

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Mark_Sanders wrote: Anyone out there with opinions on the best way to clean up 35 years of engine compartment buildup? Steam clean, pressure wash, handbrush w/lye solution, etc? Assuming I pressure/steam clean, are there any precautions I should be aware of (i.e. parts to remove, wires to disconnect, etc.)?

Mark C. Johnson wrote: Oven cleaner works well, but you need to be careful that it does not come in contact with your skin

Rick Stivers wrote: Mark, I agree that oven cleaner does a great job of cleaning that stuff off because I used it on the gas tank for my Bar-B-Que. However, It also does a great job of removing paint. If you aren't planning to repaint don't use it.

Keats wrote: never had great luck with steam or pressure without alittle hard work first. Wire brushing ,putty knifes, even toothbrushes help. Some engine cleaners also help with the caked stuff along with the brush. If you plan to remove engine soon, then that is a great time to clean it up right.

Tea Herb Farm wrote: I used this concoction called 'Coastal' Power Clean ($6.88/gal @ AutoZombies) You put it in a spray bottle, apply, and then use wire brushes, toothbrushes (use your wife's), and a rotary wire-brush wheel/cup attached to a electric drill (use eye protection and rubber gloves), then wash off with forced-water spray hose. Seems to work best if the engine is warm, not hot. It might be a good idea to cover the distributor cap with a plastic bag and avoid direct spray contact with electrical components. Let us know what type of engine you have when you get all the crud removed. ;-) My neighbor claims this product does a terrific job of cleaning dirty linen diapers, although he is a little old to still be at this stage in life.

Tom Jacoby wrote: I saw a warning in someone's material (Advance Adapters ?) about using a wire brush to clean your Dana/Spicer axles. They claimed that you can brush hard enough to destroy the axle's production date code, making it nearly impossible to identify and find certain internal parts.

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solsidan wrote: Also ran into the mechanic who checked it out for us last year and tried to get it running. Between him and a brother in law who drove it last, the suspicion is that it may have been laid up due to a cracked block. Compression was bad...don't know more how can I tell if I have a cracked block..that means a new engine right? >> Rick Stivers wrote: Low compression is not the usual indication for a cracked blocked. Water in the oil and oil in the water are better indications for this problem. This is not to say that these indications only mean a cracked block. They can also be caused by a cracked head, blown head gasket and on some engines even a blown intake gasket (Note: not on a L or F head engine). If low compression is the only indication of trouble you have, then you probably don't have a cracked blocked. Lets take a look at some more likely causes of your problem.

1. Poorly seating or burned valves.

a. If the engine has been sitting for a long time the valve stems have a tendency to stick in the open position. The force of the cam is usually enough to force the valve open but the spring isn't strong enough to force a sticky valve closed.

b. On engines with high mileage and sometimes poor maintenance, valves can become burned and pitted to the point that they don't seat anymore. I believe Rick Grover had a problem with poorly seating valves on his engine this year. He remedied the problem by lapping the valves.

2. Stuck, worn or Cracked rings

a. On engines that have sat for long periods of time or ones that are seldom run the rings have a tendency to stick in the piston groves and no longer seal properly in the cylinder bore. This can usually be remedied by running a low viscosity oil for a while and using fuel system cleaners. Carbon deposits for a too rich carb can cause the rings to stick also. Some people even pour automatic transmission fluid into the carb while the engine is running to clear these problems. (Note: I have never tried this and therefore cannot prescribe it)

b. Eventually the rings, piston and cylinder walls will wear to the point that the rings can no longer properly seal the cylinder bore. When this happens the explosive gasses begin to leak past the rings and this is known as "blow by". The oil also leaks into the combustion chamber causing the blue or white smoke in the tail pipe. The only remedy for this problem is to resize the cylinder bore install the next size up piston. I believe the maximum recommended cylinder over size is .040. Once the cylinder has been worn out on a .040 (Could be .060 but I'm not sure) piston, I believe the only alternative is to re-sleeve the cylinders.

c. Cracked rings are usually caused by predetonation or obstructions in the bore. On my engine it was a nut and washer that broke the rings and hammered the pistons. Sometimes, as was the case with my engine you can hone the cylinder walls and install new rings and you are done. It will all depend on how much damage the rings did to the wall. Finally, even if you do have a cracked block there are many companies out there today that can do a wonderful job of welding cast iron. As you can see most of these repairs will require rebuilding the engine to one degree or another. I hope this helps.

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Richard Grover wrote: Rick (TX) mentioned that I lapped my valves, so I thought I ought to chime in with the rest of the story. I lapped the valves in my F4-134 in the spring and brought the compression up significantly. Soon thereafter, someone asked about lapping valves, and I described the process. At that time, I said something like "lapping the valves is the cheapest and poorest fix for bad valves", acknowledging that lapping valves does not produce the same quality as grinding the valves. Well, about 8 months later, my own words come back to haunt me. #3 exhaust valve is burnt past all hope of repair. My engine is in pieces and I have been calling machine shops. I need to sleeve #4 due to damaged walls, and obviously need new exhaust valves, maybe intakes too, and bore the cylinders, and rind the crank, etc. I got a few more months on my engine by lapping them, and while I am disappointed with the failure of my engine, if I knew then what I know now, I would have done the same. While I'm talking about my engine rebuild, has anyone had their engine balanced during a rebuild? One shop says they'll do it for $125, and that it will make the engine run smoother and longer. Another shop says it is not necessary. Any other opinions? And as long as I'm fretting over the $800 to $1200 I'm going to spend on rebuilding this engine (and I expect that it will be nearer the top than the bottom of that range ;-), does anyone want to confess what they've spent on rebuilds or swapping in a different engine?

Matt Phillimore wrote: Just be glad you don't have 2 more cylinders. I was going to rebuild the 148 from the wagon, but it was going to cost me about 900 for the machine shop work, and then about 700 more for parts, gaskets, etc. And I would have to do all the work myself. No way I could afford for someone else to do it. Just my (one) experience. Anyway, good luck with your decision.

Richard Grover wrote: What'd you do instead?

Rick Stivers wrote: Rick, I weep for you my friend. Having just gone through an engine rebuild, I feel your pain. I'm curious about your resleeving job. You say that the #4 needs to be done. How far oversized are your cylinders over stock? Are the rest of the cylinders stock or will they need to be bored out also? Will a rebore handle the #4. If you decide to sleeve the block I would recommend resleeving all 4 back to stock so you could then rebuild the block at least 2 more times. Having all cylinders the same size would be more effective at keeping the block balanced than a balancing job. I would recommend buying the used engine someone offered you and then rebuilding the old block a little at a time. That would give you lots of time to do it, allow the funding to develop, and give you the opportunity to photograph, video, and document the entire job so the rest of us will be able to read and watch at out leisure. I'm really free with your money and time. :-) Let us know what you decide and keep us posted.

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Jerry Adams wrote: Hi Rick- It cost me a little less than $1,300 for parts and machine shop work to rebuild the motor in my '2A in 1987. This did not include the cost of disassembly or reassembly, which I did myself. The work was done for me at a local machine shop that specialized in the big block motors used in drag boats. Our neighbor at the time was the then West Coast champion in the unlimited class, and asked the machinist to do my motor as a favor. It included hardened seats and valves to run unleaded gas. I did not recognize the combination of seats and valves he used, buy my neighbor assured me that they would "run all day on alcohol, but probably would not last too long on nitro-analyne (sp?)" whatever that is. I guess that means they will work OK with unleaded gas. The man insisted on buying all the parts for me, and when I got everything back, he told me that the pistons, bearings, valve guides, etc. were all numbered (masking tape), and to be sure to get them back in the right places. Roy said he routinely "blueprinted" everything when he rebuilds a motor. The crank journals looked like the mirror on a telescope, so he must do good work...

This is probably the upper end of what it cost to rebuild a motor back then, and I probably got a good deal, as he and my neighbor were really good friends. I don't know what you would pay for an average job today. The fellow who did the work for me has moved on to take a job with some racing outfit, so I don't have any way of doing a comparison for you.

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Richard Grover wrote: How much does an F4-134 weigh? Anybody know? I've heard a lot of people say the Jeep engines are heavy for a 4 cylinder. This is not an academic frivolity, I'm going to be moving and/or shipping one.

Chuck Pedretti wrote: Hope you can read this, I'm sending directly to you. My reference manual says engine without accessories is 365.15 lbs. and with accessories is 499.65 lbs. and the power plant (engine, tranny, xfer and radiator) is 680.81 lbs. I'd say that's pretty heavy, but it's tough. I believe mine is the original engine and I know of only one rebuild in it's 45 year life.

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Glenn Goodman wrote: Anybody? On the F-134 there is a heater hose connected to the top of the water pump and another connected to the upper rear of the engine. One runs fluid to the heater and the other picks it up from the heater. Which way does the coolant flow? From the water pump toward the heater, or from the heater to the water pump? Thanks.

Arne Anderson wrote: The hoses on mine works that the coolant flows from the back of the engine to the heater and then back to the water pump. I hope this helps.

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Skip wrote: It was running fine until it ran out of gas. So I took this opportunity to tighten some hose clamps on the fuel line, added gas and it wouldn't start.(Not even with starting fluid) IT is getting fire and fuel and has plenty of air suction over the carb. Any suggestions? >>

Rick Stivers wrote: Hi Skip, Let's start at the basics. You say you have fire but how do you know it's enough? I've seen engines that seemed to have good spark with a burned out rotor. What is the actual condition of the ignition system (Plugs, wires, cap, rotor, points, coil, dropping resistor and condenser). I had a VW golf last week that wouldn't start in the cold until we changed the rotor and plugs. Even then it took a while because the girl had previously saturated the cylinders with gas and starting fluid. We had to crank it 9 times for about 15 seconds with the throttle held full open before it started. Just in case you don't know, holding the throttle full open usually allows enough air into the cylinders to dry them out and start a flooded engine. Her original problem was caused by dirty battery cable connections. These prevented the engine from turning fast enough to build sufficient compression for a cold start. The cold start fuel injector in the mean time was dumping a ton of fuel into the cylinders. Anyway if you know the ignition system is in good condition then you need to move on to the timing. If it was running before, the timing should be good, but I remember back when I first got my L-134 running. I had forgotten to tighten the distributor and it ran great until I turned it off. Then it wouldn't start back up because it had rotated. It took me about half a day to figure that out. Let me know if none of this works and we'll move further into the problem.

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John D. Ballard wrote: The second project was to install an electrical ignition kit I bought from Genesee Products. The web page I believe I got off this list, is The e-mail is I worked with Andy, he was very helpful getting the correct kit to me. I installed the kit in about 30 minutes and it is a great improvement over what I had. Before the install the engine would not idle very well until it was warm, also it had a chug when you gave the engine gas. I have an autolite 12 volt system. This was installed by the previous owner in my M-38. I think it has also help in the total performance of my engine. It goes up hill a lot better and it has better control of the rpm with the throttle. The L-134 has not run this well since I have had it.

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Tom Jacoby wrote: I'm thinking of rebuilding my "Super Hurricane" so that it will last many more years. For the sake of argument, let's say it needs the works: .060-over pistons (it's already got .030-over), all new bearings, etc. Kanter ( quotes a list price of $820 for rebuild kit. How much should a decent shop charge for the labor? Anyone have any experience to share on this topic?

Dan Koozer wrote: Tom, Can't help you on info as to cost but I did want to pass on a tidbit that I heard about years ago. I was told of someone that wanted to retain the stock engine and gain more power. He used standard speed shop procedures, balancing, polished ports, etc, and gained a very noticeable improvement in performance.

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Morris G. Hill wrote: Also, use a dial indicator to check the bell housing bore and rear face for misalignment, which can result if regular bolts were substituted for the special snug-fitting bolts between engine block and bellhousing on this particular engine (not an issue in 4-cylinder models).

Merl wrote: Could you elaborate on this? I've seen references to using a dial indicator to check bell housing bore alignment, but how exactly do you do it?

Reed Cary wrote: Merl, This would be a pain with the engine in, I would imagine. But you'd mount a test indicator, in a mag base, on the flywheel - with the bellhousing bolted up (minus tranny, of course). . . have someone turn the engine over by hand, and watch the readings - first in the bore, then on the face.

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Kendal Jackson wrote: It seems as if my timing marks are off. When timed to them the engine runs like sh*t and all kinds of bad things happen. While looking through the archives I noticed that others have had this problem however, one question was not answered for me. Can this condition cause harm?

I don't remember right now if it was 90 or 180 off but I think 90. This would mean missing dowels(?) according to some post. Is this a big problem? Are there other reasons that this could happen(being 90 degrees off)? The guy that I bought it from told me that he had pulled the timing chain cover off, could he have put it back on wrong? I have the L6-226. Can I time it by "ear" and just mark it there or is there a better, more accurate way that does not involve taking off the heads.

Landen Schooler wrote: Your harmonic balancer (rubber mounted pulley) has will come clear off over time. I know!

Kendal Jackson wrote: Sounds like a good story. I am afraid to ask but morbid curiosity has the better of me. What can I do before this happens to me?

Landen Schooler wrote: Get a harmonic balancer that has good rubber in it. All that happens is the outer pulley drops off and the fan belt flies off, or it works it toward the timing cover and grinds a hole in it.

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Leo Dutilly wrote: Hello Listers, I am new and would like to introduce myself. My name is Leo, I'm 50 years old and I own a 1946 Willys CJ2A. My wife drives it more than I, (Must be her jeep then !!) though I repair it more than her.

We got the Jeep 3 years ago from a dealer in Grand Junction, CO for $1,400.00. We live in Moab, UT and towed it home using the already attached tow bar.

The inspection cost us over $1,400.00 as it needed a windshield, 4 bearings, 4 wheel cylinders and brake linings all the way around. Not to mention a new front wheel locker, alternator, and battery. It overheated the first time we drove it. In the shop it went for a radiator cleaning/rodding and a shroud.

We drove it again, it overheated again. In the shop it went, water pump tested OK, new radiator cap, new thermostat.

We drove it again, it overheated again. In the shop, no one could pinpoint a problem. An old timer thought it might be worn crank bearings or thin/worn cylinder walls. He suggested we remove the thermostat and try 'er again.

We drove, it overheated. At the shop he said it would cost us $500.00 to check the crank bearings since the engine must be removed to do so. Instead, we opted for an engine rebuild to the tune of $2,600.00 complete with a 5 year 50,000 mile warrantee.

We drove, it got hot, but didn't boil over. Had the temperature checked at the radiator, 170 degrees even though the gauge read 220 degrees. Installed a new temp. sensor, it also read 220 degrees, no overheating and still 170 degrees at the radiator.

Replaced the starter, (got tired of it locking in the flywheel) and put a vinyl top, rollbar, spare tire/gas can carrier and a rear seat on.

The engine temp. varies between 180 degrees on straight aways or downhills to 220 degrees on uphills. (Does anyone think I need a radiator like my wife does?)


PS Some one told me a Jeep is a hole in the road that you put money into. Is this true ?

Ronald L. Cook wrote: Leo, Welcome to the list. Good people here with loads of good information and entertainment. All ages. I'm 55 myself. I think Rick has given you a pretty good rundown on cooling. I would be suspect of the radiator and/or the temp gauge. Temperature sensing bulb immersed in a container of water as you heat it and comparing readings with a candy thermometer in the same container(same method as is used to check thermostats) will tell the story there. Good luck. Reed Cary wrote: Welcome Leo, About your overheating problem, good advice has been given. I would just add a couple of things. I would second the idea of checking the temp. guage. (Also, if you are using the boiling as a reference, remember your altitude - at 6000 ft. water boils at 201* F, and the radiator pressure cap is only 1.5-2lbs.) Another thing not mentioned, but not to be over-looked, is your ignition timing. Either too much advance or retard can give overheating.

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Overheating L-226

LYNN E. GAHRINGER wrote: Can anyone help with my overheating problem. I have a 1954 L6-226 completely rebuilt. I also have installed a new radiator and water pump. The radiator pressure runs about 8lbs. The engine temp gauge continues to climb after a few minutes at idle.

Dr. Vern wrote: Dear Lynn, Here I am, a day late, trying to catch up with my mail. You have received a lot of good advice so far but I'd like to muddy the waters if you don't mind.

Read my thoughts at your own risk. I'll spend a whole weekend troubleshooting and waste lots of money to avoid a 2-hour project that might cost $20.

If you are averse to troubleshooting, do you have a leafblower? An electric one will work, but a gas powered one has the extra horsepower to get the job done quicker. What you need to do is rig up a hopper at the air inlet, plus add some chopping blades that spin in the airflow. Take some model airplane propellers and sharpen the edges to act as chopping blades. Fill the hopper with large denomination bills, preferably $20's and $50's, or use $100's if in a big hurry. Now turn the leaf blower on, and watch your money get shredded and blown to bits all around the garage. <g> Your engine is no closer to being fixed, but you have not made it any worse and it was far quicker than throwing a bunch of parts at it hoping the problem will go away.

The point I'm trying to make is how wasteful it is to try anything and everything to fix a problem without a plan. Your original post lead me to believe you were asking how to confirm whether you have gauge trouble, or an actual overheating problem. I have a close personal friend, won't mention his name, who wasted a lot of time and money on a thermostat, water pump, radiator, etc., before he finally figured out the gauge was the problem. Boy, I sure felt, I mean he sure felt silly afterwards. My wife, I mean his wife, still teases him about that.

Other than looking around under the hood for obvious clues like a loose fan belt, no radiator, coolant sprinkler on the side of the block, etc., before spending a dime you need to know whether you have an actual overheating problem or not.

Like previously mentioned, a candy thermometer in the radiator neck will tell you all you need to know. Pull the cap when cool, and clip the thermometer in place with a clothespin if needed. Fire up the engine, and watch the thermometer reading. It shouldn't go more than 10 degrees or so above the thermostat rating. I think you said you pulled the thermostat for troubleshooting. I don't think you should see more than 150 or 160 without a thermostat.

How do you know that candy thermometer is accurate? If the poor thing has been bouncing around in the kitchen drawer behind the cheese grater and ice cream scoop, it might be little more than a paperweight by now. Sometime when you wife isn't home, check the accuracy with a pan of boiling water. If it doesn't read within a few degrees of 212F (I'm 23' above sea level, so apply any local correction needed) it is time for a new thermometer.

Tangent: Don't buy the new thermometer yourself. Write it on the shopping list so your wife picks one up at the grocery store. That way she mentally computes it as a routine kitchen expenditure, and not a Willys related acquisition. It is only a few dollars, but every bit helps. You might even come out ahead, as she will think you are interested in culinary skills. Don't overdo it or she might actually expect some results at dinnertime.

Hey, I've digressed again. Just promise me before you do anything else you will confirm whether or not you have an actual overheating problem.

If you can beg, borrow or steal one, try a handheld infrared thermometer. I bought one last year from my friendly Snap-On dealer. I have no idea how I ever lived without one. (I mean the thermometer, not the Snap-On dealer, although if you think about it...) You can find a cold spot in a radiator indicating a blocked tube. You can find a cold runner on an exhaust manifold, meaning a dead cylinder. The possibilities are endless. My son spent an entire afternoon comparing light bulb temperatures around the house. What a nut! I think he gets that from his mother's side, but I'm digressing again. With an infrared thermometer, you can read the temperature at the thermostat housing and see whether you have an actual overheating problem.

Or for a low buck approach, go to a welding shop. Buy the heat sensitive crayons that they sell. Get one for maybe 160, 180, 200 and maybe 220 degrees. Make crayon marks on the thermostat housing. As the surface reaches the crayon's indicated temp, the marks turn glossy. Welders use them to monitor the temperature while welding. You can use them to see how hot the engine really is.

Well, I think I've driven home the importance of confirming whether or not you have an actual overheating problem. Here the troubleshooting path splits off in several directions:

1) Gauge problem. If the engine was recently removed for a rebuild, was the ground strap reinstalled? It is often missing, or gets left out during an engine replacement. I think the extra resistance in the circuit from a missing ground strap would make the gauge read cold, but am not positive. For a few pennies worth of troubleshooting, run a temporary ground wire between the case of the temp sender and the battery's (-) terminal. Thread sealer between the sender and engine block (head?) could interfere with the ground path, too. The jumper wire test would eliminate both problems. There was a link yesterday to a member's page covering troubleshooting for the '51-56 gauges used on wagons and pickups. A gauge problem could be as simple as a defective Instrument Voltage Regulator.

2) Actual overheating problem. I'm guessing, but I don't think a newly rebuilt engine should run more than 10 or 20 degrees warmer than normal during the break-in period. If you have an overheating problem, there could be two types of trouble. You could have a cooling system in good working order, but due to a mechanical problem more heat is generated than can be dissipated. Or the engine itself could be in good shape, but a defective cooling system is not doing its job. Or it could even be a combination of both.

So once again I'm forcing you to troubleshoot. Replacing the radiator won't cure a leaky head gasket that is allowing too much heat in the cooling system. Nor will a new head gasket help if a slipping, glazed fan belt is the culprit.

This is where the infrared thermometer or welder's crayons come in handy. Compare the inlet and outlet temps on the radiator. I don't remember the exact figures, but you should see at least a 20 or 30 degree temp drop across the radiator. You might want to compare with another vehicle (doesn't have to be a Willys) to get a good ballpark figure.

If you see a reasonable temp drop across the radiator, then the radiator, fan and water pump are probably all doing their job. In a moment I'll get back to other scenarios if the radiator is okay, but let's look at some things if it isn't cooling correctly.

If the radiator isn't dropping the coolant temp, check the airflow first. With the engine running, hold a piece of tissue in front of the radiator. There should be enough suction from the airflow to hold the tissue against the front of the radiator. (This doesn't apply to a newer vehicle that has a thermostatically controlled fan, of course) It has been a while since I've done this test, but I think it should even hold a sheet of typing paper. If you don't have the airflow, you won't have the cooling. Another way to confirm a lack of airflow is by going for a drive. The forward movement pushes air through the radiator. If a lack of airflow was the problem, overheating will only occur at slow speeds. The thermostatically controlled fan clutch failed on my F250 last summer, about 200 miles from home on a very hot day. As long as I drove above 30mph, the engine stayed cool. If I slowed down, the temp shot up. A new fan clutch restored the airflow and fixed the overheating problem.

I don't know if your radiator was supposed to have a fan shroud, but one will make a HUGE difference in airflow at slow vehicle speeds. However, if the engine didn't overheat without a shroud before, then that is not your problem. But still, if you find a lack of airflow is the cause, consider a shroud whether it had one before or not. Shroud design and fan blade placement is more involved than it looks, so duplicate a stock shroud if Willys ever used one. Silly things like a glazed fan belt or incorrect replacement fan could also cause airflow problems. If you have airflow problems with a replacement fan, try reinstalling the original and see what happens.

Let's move on to the premise that your radiator isn't dropping the temp, but the airflow is fine. With the radiator cool, remove the cap. Fire up the engine and watch for coolant flow. Don't worry about bubbles or anything else at this point. You just want to confirm that coolant is moving through the radiator. To get an idea of normal flow, compare with another vehicle. If you have normal coolant flow, normal airflow through the radiator, but not enough temp drop across the radiator, the radiator may need a good cleaning at a radiator shop. Scale can build up inside the tubes and act as insulation and limit heat exchange, so little or no cooling takes place. Flushing a radiator with a garden hose has no effect on the scale. It needs to be chemically cleaned or rodded out professionally.

Now what if you see little or no coolant flow through the radiator? Well, either the radiator is almost completely clogged, the water pump is not pumping enough, or the cooling passages in the engine are clogged. If the radiator is clogged, coolant will be forced out the open radiator cap by the water pump. If my old nemesis Mr. Silicone Gasket Maker was used indiscriminately, the passages on a fresh radiator could suddenly be clogged. (I think a mechanic should be required to have a special license to use that evil stuff, but that's another story) If the coolant is stagnant, the block passages are clogged or the pump is not working. I think you said you have a new water pump and the engine was freshly rebuilt, so those two things should not be at fault, but assuming (Danger! Danger!) something is good just because it is new or rebuilt has tripped up many mechanics. Those things are less likely, but not impossible.

Now I didn't say to rush out and replace your water pump. But if you match these conditions of no coolant flow, it is something to consider. Also, if the wrong gasket was used between the block and water pump, it could restrict water flow. Look at this image, lifted from the WT store, showing the water pump on the block. If the hole in gasket #13 were too small, it would restrict coolant flow:

A strong possibility restricting flow through the block is an incorrect head gasket, or is it possible to install it upside down? (The gasket, not the head) The gasket might then be misaligned at the head-to-block passages, restricting coolant flow. As an example, Ford Windsor V8's are well known for this potential problem. (No, I didn't do that one myself, for once...) Did you by chance replace the cylinder head? I wonder if the coolant passages could be different?

Keep in mind that a slipping fan belt would slow down the water pump and the fan, giving a double whammy of poor air and coolant flow. Another possibility is if the pulley were to spin on the water pump shaft. It looks like the fan bolts directly to the pulley, but the water pump shaft could be slipping either at the pulley or the impeller and it would be hard to tell, other than low coolant flow. You might be able to make a witness mark with a magic marker between the shaft and pulley and look to see if there is slippage.

I'll mention one last hard-to-spot cooling system problem, but I don't think it applies to your overheating at idle. The lower radiator hose can collapse under the suction that is present. Most suction (lower) hoses have a spiral wire inside to prevent this. A collapsed lower hose is more common at higher engine speeds. While driving at high speeds, the hose collapses, restricts flow and the engine heats up. It normally takes a while at high RPM to collapse the hose, so everything looks fine when you slow down and pull over to inspect under the hood. I suppose you could rig up an underhood video camera to try and confirm this while driving, but making sure the hose has the spiral wire is probably more cost effective. I mean, the video camera idea sounds spiffy, but underhood lighting might be a problem, too. I'm not saying you can't do it...

Now let's move on to the third realm of possibility. Let's say you have determined the cooling system is up to snuff. There is normal coolant and air flow through the radiator. The cooling system is capable of dissipating any NORMAL amount of the heat energy that the engine can supply. There could be an engine mechanical problem that is overwhelming the cooling system.

Before you wet yourself thinking about a cracked head or block, double and triplecheck the ignition timing. Set it exactly to specs as called out in the manual. Verify the centrifugal advance is working by turning the rotor in the normal direction of rotation and letting it go. You should feel slight spring tension and it should snap back to its original position. If it doesn't, it could cause your timing to be very early (broken advance springs) or very late (jammed advance) Either condition will lead to overheating, as the combustion energy (increasing pressure in the cylinder, lots of heat) is release at the wrong time (relative to piston travel) and not being converted well enough into useful work. You enter a downward spiral, where the engine must work harder to maintain a certain RPM, but more energy is wasted and must be dissipated by the cooling system.

Another recommendation is a pressure test of the cooling system. If the system cannot hold pressure, the boiling point is lowered and it will not cool like specified. Unless you find an external leak, this points to a mechanical problem that potentially allows hot combustion gas into the coolant, depending on the location of the leak. The tester has a pump that fits on the radiator cap and pressurizes the system. If it leaks back down, that points to a problem that must be corrected.

Still, don't fret about a crack in the block or head just yet. Rob explained how to check for that, but I'd like to respectfully add one more important detail. Remove the fan belt as cavitation from the pump can cause misleading bubbles. Of course you can only run for a few minutes with the fan belt removed, but if combustion gas is getting in the coolant it will be readily apparent. The coolant level must be all the way up to the radiator neck to see any bubbles. Snap the throttle open for a brief instant to aggravate any potential faults. With the fan belt removed, if coolant gushes out when you snap the throttle, that is a sure sign of a combustion leak. Another option like previously described, Blok-Chek is a simple chemical test that reacts to combustion gasses in the coolant. It is available at NAPA and other good parts stores.

Should you find combustion gasses in the coolant, don't despair. Hopefully the block or head is not cracked. You say the engine was rebuilt so hopefully it was magnafluxed or pressure tested. Before assuming a crack is at fault, I'd retorque the cylinder head and try again. If that didn't help and you can't pin down the source, gamble on a new head gasket. Call me Mr. Vegas, but I'm willing to spend your money on that. Note I didn't say to rush out and replace the head gasket right away. What I am saying is if you find a leak in the coolant system but cannot isolate it, the head gasket is the most likely culprit. While you have the head off, check the mating surfaces for flatness per the manual. You will need a long precision straightedge for that. You might have to hire a traveling machinist to bring his straightedge and verify the necessary precision. If the warpage exceeds limits, there is no way the head gasket will make a satisfactory seal.

Well, I guess I've rambled on long enough. You did ask what we thought, and it was a slow day at work. Any additional comments are welcome. Keep us posted.

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This page last updated 25 February, 2001 [Hit Counter]