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Thread: 51 M38 - over my head

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  1. #1

    51 M38 - over my head

    Greetings I am new (I guess 65 isnít that new) and a want be mechanic - still working so I have limited time and less knowledge

    51 M38 - not started in 25 years - wiring shot but the motor turns, the fluids seem good - my first goal is to see if I can get it started

    Has 24 volt alternator, starter, generator, voltage regulator - all to be waterproof, someone has changed the distributor and coil to 12 volt - so I got the 24 volt coil and distributor - that come as one unit and installed that along with the water proof plugs and wires ( hopefully got that right - firing order correct - the timing is probably off)
    I have gerry rigged power the coil - from the voltage regulator

    Still not getting power to the plugs - (as far as I can see)

    My next move is to get the voltage regular harness as well as the connection the coil - just in case my connection to the coil is bad

    Too much info yet?

    I would love any tips -

    I am in Chapel Hill NC - and still working - I would also like to conscider finding someone in this area or even in NC that could work on this - sort of get me a jump start - no sure how much that would cost -

    Thanks for any info

    Have a Blessed Easter!
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  2. #2
    Super Moderator gmwillys's Avatar
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    We have one member on the coast of North Carolina. He is finishing up on his M38A1, and has become an expert in 24 volt distributors.

    If nothing else, we can discuss some options to get you up and running. I'm currently starting a two year contract, and will be working 6 or 7 days a week, so time is tight. As a group, we can walk you through this project!

  3. #3
    THANKS!
    any tips would be great-
    don't work to hard - which is my problem as well

  4. #4
    Senior Member bmorgil's Avatar
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    Love your Jeep Will! I am not at all familiar with the 24 volt system. This forum definitely has two Gent's that I have read, that know the 24 volt G.I. system. gmwillys and LarrBeard for sure.

    For starters (no pun intended) I would UN-hook the Gerry rigging. Run a nice clean wire from the battery to the + terminal to the coil. Don't leave this wire hooked up for long periods of time. It will burn up your points. The ignition is now on and hot. With a GOOD spark plug well grounded and hooked to a spark plug wire, turn it over. A better choice is to use a good timing light. No flashing no spark. Let us know how that experiment goes.
    Last edited by bmorgil; 04-22-2019 at 04:46 PM.

  5. #5
    thanks -great stuff - my gerry rigging was getting power off the voltage regulator - but I wasn't getting spark off the new plugs when I hit the starter - I might not have grounded the plugs enough though I was touching them to the block
    I think after reading another comment, I need to get the votlage regular harness and wire for the coil, the distributor lead and give that a try

  6. #6
    Super Moderator LarrBeard's Avatar
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    Big Job

    Quote Originally Posted by Will Johnson View Post
    THANKS!
    any tips would be great-
    don't work to hard - which is my problem as well
    You have a bunch of little jobs, don't let them overwhelm you.

  7. #7
    thanks - I am going to see if I get a hold of your article

  8. #8
    Senior Member bmorgil's Avatar
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    Will, LarrBeard and gmwillys have a good direction to take. Get a voltmeter and the factory manual. Some studying and,that will prevent any more problems introduced by "quick" methods. I want to take back my "hot" wire comment. Get a Multi-meter and check for the correct voltage at the coil. A much better way to go about it.

  9. #9
    Super Moderator gmwillys's Avatar
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    As a good relevant read, check out Pelagro's "the darn thing is out" series on this forum. The M38A1 and the M38 both use the same military ignition systems. As a collective group we brainstormed through his issue. He figured it out, mostly through trial and error, but he has it down pat now. He kept a good record of what he tried, and what worked and didn't. LarrBeard composed an article in this year's Kaiser Willys catalog that covers bringing a hibernating Jeep back and ready to run. It's a step by step way to cover your bases.

    As a piece of advice, I would look into purchasing the complete wiring harness, minus what you have already have purchased. It is expensive, but with all the headaches that come with trying to figure out a cobbled harness, it's worth every penny. Test lights are useless, because the bulb will be 12 volt, but a descent multimeter will serve you better.
    Last edited by gmwillys; 04-22-2019 at 08:16 PM.

  10. #10
    thanks - I took a look -that was a project! I feel a little better about what I have - but the appears to the same motor
    I think I see if I can get the first part of the harness - I think it's called the volatage regular harness and the distrubor lead and give that a try -

    it is really a neat machine- the starter is foot activated - hopefully I can get her started - Lord knows where I can go from there

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