View Full Version : Restoring Ham's 48 Willys; The Story Gets Close To The End

03-02-2016, 10:10 AM
Well, what all happened to get the truck running? You would expect it to be one little thing we missed, but it turned out to be three things that all contributed, and sure enough - pure blind luck accompanied by just keepin' on is what worked in the end.

By the end of January we were at the peak of frustration. The truck would start, run for about a minute or two, then just 'bog down". I had made arrangements to take the truck to another mechanic since it had whipped us so badly. We suspected everything. We had arrived at the "let me try one more thing" stage.

By now we had bought a rebuilt carburetor (and sent it back once), a new distributor (the old one really did have a lot of wear) and had put a fuel pressure regulator in line with the carburetor to bring down the pressure from the new fuel pumps (two of them). As you can see from pictures I had posted, we pulled the head off the engine to check valve timing, It was proper.

As we were putting the engine back together, there was one of those "Hey guys, come look at this.." moments. If you look at Figure C-59 in the Willys Mechanics Manual (the figure that shows the head bolt tightening sequence) bolt #5 is UNDER the carburetor throat in the intake manifold! (Look at the photos! Who would hide a head bolt there?) BOLT #5 WASN'T THERE!

When we got the engine back from the rebuilder, the carburetor throat was covered with a piece of cardboard to keep stuff out of the intake. Shame on us, we never looked, we just set the engine in the chassis and at the right time, set the carb too. After that, we never looked... Go figure - you assume (there is that word again) that your engine builder will put all of the parts in. (He says "It's not my problem...). Not real good feelings there...

So, once that was found, we rounded up a 'good-enough" head bolt and put things back together. This time the engine started a lot easier than it had before and - it kept running! In fact, it ran smoother as it warmed up - things cleaned up a bit. We let it run long enough to get up to operating temperature, shut it down - restarted it. Shut it off. Restarted it. Son of a gun, it kind of acts like a Jeep motor now.

Well, "kind of" was the proper term. It still ran rich and it had a tendency to miss a bit on acceleration. As we looked into the carb throat, we could see a small trail of liquid fuel running down the wall at a place where we should not see liquid. Something wasn't right just yet. Poking around in the rebuilt distributor, we found a pinched and nicked wire. Well, we didn't want to fool with the carburetor, so the shop that rebuilt it agreed to look at it (again), so we pulled it off and sent it back. Since we had the carb off, we decided to return the distributor as well.

When the carb came back, the rebuild shop apologized - there were wrong parts in the accelerator pump and a wrong size ball in a check valve port somewhere. Oops... . The distributor shop sent a different distributor back to us. When we installed this one, the drive shaft engaged the oil pump drive slot with the rotor at 10 o'clock instead of 4 o'clock. The drive shaft was pinned 180 degrees out. By now, this was an easy fix - pull the oil pump and turn it 180-degrees instead of fooling with the distributor. OK, things are back together - again.

Start 'er up. This time, it acts like a Jeep engine should. Idles well, not too rich, no liquid fuel seeping down onto the throat, no miss on acceleration. Let it come up to temperature, shut down, restart.. etc. Looks good. It just took 10 weeks to get it to this place.

After that is when it went over to the exhaust shop to get a tail pipe. In the video the hood is off because after the trip to the exhaust shop we re-torqued the head bolts, then buttoned it up.