Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: New 1959 Willys Wagon

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    21

    New 1959 Willys Wagon

    Hi guys (and maybe a gal or two)

    As the title suggests, I am a new papa to a 1959 Willys wagon that I adopted out of a farm field This is complete and totally original.

    I'll give you the short run down... I could easily go out and buy about any SUV or 4x4 and have the instant gratification and all would be ok and it would look like hundreds of other cars in town but I like being different. I've done my mental home work and thought about what it was I wanted.

    1. unique
    2. daily driver
    3. medium off road for camping (not doing major 4x4)
    4. be comfortable at 70 mph on the road


    I'm good with 1, 2, and 3. What I don't know about is #4. I have heard of some replacing the chase and engine with '80s S10 or something like that but I do like the idea of keeping this original if possible. So my first challenge is to determine if my new baby can live up to my #4 without having to resort to major surgery. Please let me know what you have, if your ride is original (if not what did you replace it with), and if there are any issues running at 70.

    cigars for everyone

    Thank you
    David
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Super Moderator gmwillys's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    1,676
    Welcome David,

    Excellent choice all around. Anyone can buy a new rig, but then you need to spend a pile on aftermarket goods to make it what you want it to be..... I too have a Willys wagon that will end up being similar to what you have envisioned.

    The stock frame is beefy enough to handle what you are foreseeing. Some folks are determined to box the frame, and add gussets. Mine has been set up with a SB chevy since the early '80s. The frame has not shown any signs of weakness, outside of the cross member at the shock mounts. The front has carried the extra weight without issue, and no cracks were found when the paint was removed. In my opinion, the body is sturdy enough, that the frame doesn't flex all that much. One upgrade that is recommended, would to convert to power steering. A rack and pinion, or Saginaw steering gear, mounted on the front frame horn. Food for thought.

    You may want to look into an axle upgrade as well. A Dana 44 out of a Scout II is a common choice. There are more gearing choices from the aftermarket is one of the main reasons, along with the heavier duty axles and hubs. Our Willys has a Woodruff key that keeps the hub turning with the axle and are pretty rugged, but it is the weakest part of the drivetrain.

    As far as cruising at 70 mph, that will all depend on the drive train that you want to use. The stock I6 could get you to 55mph in stock trim, but it won't last. A Saturn overdrive can help you to get into the 60s, but then there will be durability issues on a long run. Axle gearing will also improve these totals. My 63 wagon has a 350, but original axles and transmission without overdrive. The 350 turns around 3500 rpm at 55. An overdrive is on the agenda, because I do not want to change out the transmission. (I still like changing gears). What are your plans?

  3. #3
    Super Moderator LarrBeard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Ft. Wayne, IN
    Posts
    1,130
    I concur with gmwillys.

    The Ross steering gets squirrely at 70 MPH (even at 55 it can be an adventure if things are worn).

    To reliably and comfortably run 70 MPH, drive train rebuild will be necessary. Lots of people have dropped little V8's in Jeeps and ended up with a a high-rev, low speed gas hog; not what they intended.

    Check the tag on the differential to see the ratio, then do the arithmetic to figure out engine RPM at 55, 60 and 70 MPH. That gives you an idea of what axle you will want vs. RPM.

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    21
    Thank guys

    My intent is to be able to drive the wagon as a daily driver, to take it on the highways, and off-road camping. I have all original engine/trani and wanted to do find out if my #4 is possible with original but because #4 is on my list of priorities I don't want to push durability/reliability on something that was never designed to handle. My next thought then would be to put in an inline 6 and manual trani from something like my old jeep (i had an '89 jeep that ran 100+ w/o any problems). I realize that the axle gearing will have a lot to do with it all. I really don't want to put in a V8 as it is a bit of an overkill.

    What are the things that need to be considered when digging the salvage yards for axles? width, gears?? Other model choices? Scott II, Jeep maybe?

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    21
    Daily driver (original equip ok), off-road camping (original equip ok), take it on the highways (original equip big question). I want to be able to safely drive on the highways and most in this area are 70 mph. I could throttle it back a bit and do say 60 mph and be safe.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator gmwillys's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    1,676
    Episode 66 of Dirt Every Day on you tube covers a build like you are talking. They pulled the body off a Wrangler chassis, and modified it to fit under a wagon body. This may be the easiest way to get what you are after. Then you can use you fabricating skills to message the body to fit the frame.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ILUCASgvO0

    Salvage yard axles can be hit or miss. The optimal situation is that you find a CJ Jeep with a Dana axle. AMC hade their own axles, and they are alright, but to find aftermarket support for lockers and gear sets are a bit harder. The following link is something you can use to be a quick reference to spotting axles.

    http://www.differentials.com/technic...dentification/

    A cigar would be nice right about now.

  7. #7
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    21
    thanks gmwillys and LarrBeard.

    The other day i was rooting around inside and i found GOLD!!! there it was, under the seat, nicely preserved... the original owners manual!!!

    For those of you that have a Willys Wagon, is your ride original and can you comfortably drive at 60 mph?

  8. #8
    Super Moderator gmwillys's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    1,676
    Good find! Original owners manuals are hen's teeth rare.

    Original drivetrain past the engine, 60 is twisting it pretty hard. 3,500 rpm at 55 mph is about it.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •