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Thread: The Frankenjeep

  1. #1
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    The Frankenjeep

    I bought this thing a few years back thinking I would restore it but I don't think it is worth the trouble anymore. I didn't know anything about the flat fender Jeeps other than I wanted one. This will be my toy/hunting vehicle. Not sure what it's future holds but a diesel engine and a full body replacement are possibilities. Someone opted to overlay the rusted out floor instead of replacing it and the rear fenders are in pretty bad shape. The jury is still out on the engine and drive train. It runs decent now but it blows blue smoke. The transfer case leaks at both output shafts and has seen quite a bit of river fun. So far all I have done to it is rebuild the carb, install an electronic ignition distributor (with a basic tune up), replaced the brake master cylinder and the brake light pressure switch. I also installed a boat seat so a person could slide in and out of the jeep and borrowed the windshield from my CJ2A because the glass in the CJ3A frame was badly cracked from contact with the bumpers on the hood. It is titled as a CJ3A.
    http://willysjeepforum.kaiserwillys....php?albumid=96
    Last edited by 51 CJ3; 01-26-2018 at 12:44 PM.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator gmwillys's Avatar
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    Almost nothing is too far gone, it just depends on how much time one is willing to give to rebuilding it. On a M38A1 build a few years back, the only thing keeping the cowl attached to the rest of the body was the door sill. It took a lot of man hours to square everything up, and replace the sheet metal. I was supplied with three donor A1s, so I had a descent amount of original sheet metal, plus one to take measurements from. Still, there was a lot of time invested into the project.

    A diesel would be a good fit. I've read about an outfit that has done some Kubota tractor engine swaps, with much success. I would possibly look toward a 4-71 Detroit 2 stroke....Why, that I can't answer. I like noise and leaks.

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    Initially I was thinking Yanmar myself but Kubota is good and there is kit available. I had a friend who installed a Cat engine in a CJ5. He was pretty happy with it.

    With regard to a restoration. I agree just about anything can be restored but what would a person restore it to? I see CJ2A (body), CJ3A (frame and windshield) and M38 (hood) plus some custom "one off" items and I am not sure I have everything identified correctly. I would have to pick one major component and pretty much discard the rest to do a restoration. I am thinking keep the frame and dump the body since it is titled as a CJ3A if I went that route. The firewall has data tags for both the CJ3A and CJ2A.
    Last edited by 51 CJ3; 01-26-2018 at 02:23 PM.

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    I took a couple of pictures while I was under the jeep today. I added them to the gallery.

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    Super Moderator gmwillys's Avatar
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    The good thing about Willys, you can take the best parts, and combine them together. One never knows exactly what you have until you tear it apart and examine all the parts. A CJ3A tub has slightly more room for the driver and passenger, with the wheel wells set back further. The windshield is taller, and one piece. Some of the early foreign made bodies were a hodge podge of parts. The pictures below are of a early MD Juan M38 body and frame, compared to an original M38. The only real difference is that there is no provision for an in cowl mounted battery box. The quality of the steel used for the tub was crap too. The replica Jeep did spend it's life in the rust belt, but it was only driven during fair weather. It shouldn't be that rusty.

    What size Cat is in his CJ5? The only small engines that are branded Cat are actually Perkins.... Perkipillar if you will. Good little engines. I keep thinking that for what ever reason, I would be up to putting in a Detroit 4-71 two stroke screamer.
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    Last edited by gmwillys; 01-30-2018 at 06:03 AM.

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    I wish I had more info on his CJ5. He died in a plane crash a couple of years ago.

    Thanks for the tip on the replacement tubs. I saw an aluminum tub for sale somewhere. It would be better but it doesn’t remove the possibility of corrosion and this long time Ford fan is considering a change just because the F-150 is aluminum now. I would like to have a tub that fit the frame but all I really want out of this Jeep is a reliable hunting vehicle. It may even see some fire fighting action. Having it pretty will only make me sad when I abuse it.

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    Your jeep looks like it turned out pretty well. I don’t think I could tell the difference between a replica and an original. I bought this CJ3A thinking it was an original CJ3. I am a little better educated these days but I have a long way to go.

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    Treated my girl to some new shoes today. It drives a lot better now that all the tires are the same size
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    Super Moderator gmwillys's Avatar
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    The fitment of the fenders, grill, hood, clutch and brake pedals were off on the replacement tub. The red Jeep was purchased as a kit in the early eighties, so it probably wasn't licensed per AMC's specks. A knock off if you will. I have read where Willys Overland out of Toledo Ohio makes what's called a Repli-tub. https://willysoverland.com/ They take a MD Juan replacement tub, and place it on a jig. They correct the issues of fitment, and make it into a direct bolt on replacement. The prices were fairly reasonable. They used to handle parts much like Kaiser Willys, but according to their web site, they have shifted their focus on nothing but the replacement tubs. On ewillys site, every once in a while there will be a stainless steel body come up for sale. They look good, but it puts you in mind of either looking at the kitchen sink, or a DMC 12 Delorean.

    In my opinion, you have a good starting point. The floor reinforcement hat channels are available, and fit well. The areas where the wheel wells are torn out can be welded up fairly easily. If you took out the heavy roll bar, and switched to a lighter tube type, (I might know where there is one that would part with cheap). You would have something that would be nice, but not afraid to use. Speaking of fire fighting, the following are a couple of retired fire fighter rigs. The M37 was purchased by my father. The CJ belonged to a local VFD, that put it up for a sealed bid auction. We didn't win the bid, but it went to one of the firefighters who had been with the department all of his life. He grew up with the Jeep, so it was a fitting home.
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  10. #10
    Super Moderator gmwillys's Avatar
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    Let me try this again. I hate being censored on here. The red jeep was purchased as is, and was a kit car more or less. I believe the body and frame was an MD Juan, fabricated in the very early eighties. The tub was alright except for where the pedals go through the floor board. The holes did not line up at all. The fenders and hood did not line up at all. The fenders didn't sit flat, and the hood was a couple of inches too long. The quality of the metal was Chinese garbage. The Jeep was a seasonal runner, so it was parked during the winter. The floor had rust holes around the hat channel supports, and the fender "steps" on the tub. The fenders were rotten at the rear of the flat, into the downturn. There is an outfit, (Willys Overland Toledo, Ohio) that takes an MD Juan body and repairs the flaws to be guaranteed to fit on your frame. They call their version the Repli-tub. To look at their web site, type in Willys Overland, since I can not share the link with out being put off until the moderator can check it out....
    There are some stainless steel bodies out there, that don't fit too bad. The stainless bodies put you in mind of a kitchen sink, or a DMC 12 Delorean. They can be painted, but it would be a lot of prep to get the paint to stick well.

    It is nice to have a full set of matching tires. It makes a world of difference in the handling of these old heeps. Switching to a radial from a bias ply makes the most difference. The only set that I have where all four match are a set of seventy year old 16" snow tires. They are hard as can be, and the side walls are just about non existent. They all hold air, and I have driven to town on them. They follow every divot and crack in the roadway, so you are constantly sawing back and forth on the steering wheel. Now I have two matching bias plies on the front, and two radials on the back. Somewhat better road manners. Just need to break down and spend the money on new shoes.
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    Last edited by gmwillys; 02-01-2018 at 08:34 AM.

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