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Thread: Need help with Identifying a Willys Serial Number

  1. #1
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    Need help with Identifying a Willys Serial Number

    I am looking at buying an old willy's pickup truck but when I research the serial number on the title it does not seem right. I am going to look at it tomorrow and I am trying to get this figured out. The ad is for a 1946 Willy's 2wd Truck but the title shows 4WD32269. Every place I have looked says that the Willys truck did not start production until 1947 and that serial number is really high. Any help would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator gmwillys's Avatar
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    Welcome RMBillings,

    According to the serial number breakdown, the truck in question was built in 1948, but the prefix should be 4T instead of 4WD. There are some possibilities to why it might be on the title like that. The most common possibility is as follows;
    The original serial tag may have been removed for body work/or the like. The serial tag is affixed with screws, so it is easily removed. If so, the DMV may have issued a new serial number that differs slightly from the original, i.e. 4WD instead of 4T.

    https://www.kaiserwillys.com/tech-gu...-general-specs

    https://www.kaiserwillys.com/willys_jeep_serial_numbers

    Willys Truck Serial Number Location

    Serial Number Location(s):
    Plate on rear entry area of the step on drivers (left) side. Sit in the drivers seat, put your left arm down and check by the tool bin. Also check under by the glove box. Another possibility is under the hood, on the dash near the right hood hinge

  3. #3
    Super Moderator LarrBeard's Avatar
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    2WD/4WD and Year

    Quote Originally Posted by RMBillings View Post
    I am looking at buying an old willy's pickup truck but when I research the serial number on the title it does not seem right. I am going to look at it tomorrow and I am trying to get this figured out. The ad is for a 1946 Willy's 2wd Truck but the title shows 4WD32269. Every place I have looked says that the Willys truck did not start production until 1947 and that serial number is really high. Any help would be appreciated.

    If the truck is a 2WD truck, the original serial number would have been 2T XXXXX. As GMWillys says, Willys pickups trucks of the 46 - 51 era had serial numbers with 2T or 4T prefixes. "4WD" was never an official prefix. In 1951, with the shift to the F-134 engine, prefixes went to "451" series.

    I also agree that someone has swapped or miscopied the serial number. If we assume the "32269" is correct, if it is a probably really a 4WD truck since the 2WD serial numbers stopped at 2T27787 in 1950 when the 2WD model was dropped. I'd bet it's going to be a mid-'48 4WD truck when you get to looking. (Or – it could be just about anything if someone just assigned a serial number).

    Willys-Overland was notorious for reassigning title information at model year changes. If a ’47 sat in the dealer at the model year change, WO would reissue papers showing it as a ’48 since nothing changed. They were also very careless with serial plates. My ’48 has a ’49 serial number, but it is unmistakably a ’48 if you look at the details.

    Although a lot of sources say that you can find truck serial numbers in various places, when we took my '48 down to the bare bones, there was not a sign of a serial number anywhere else than on the serial plate.

    You are at the First Rule of Jeep right now:

    “What you see is what you have. Trust nothing written down or told to you until you verify it with your own eyes”

    Then there is the Second Rule:

    “Never say Willys wouldn’t have __________ “ (fill in the blank – they probably did).

    Let us know what you find and what it turns out to be. Post a picture or two.

  4. #4
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    After looking at the truck it appears that when they put in the Chevy 350 engine that they converted the 4wd truck to 2wd. I am trying to figure out if they used the correct parts to convert. I can't seem to find a picture of a 2wd front axle and how it should look. Can anyone point me in a direction to see what a factory 2wd front end setup looks like.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator LarrBeard's Avatar
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    2WD Front Axle

    Quote Originally Posted by RMBillings View Post
    I can't seem to find a picture of a 2wd front axle and how it should look. Can anyone point me in a direction to see what a factory 2wd front end setup looks like.
    Here is a scan from the '48 2WD/4WD Truck Parts Manual. It's a fairly conventional I-Beam axle.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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