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Thread: Key started, late version of a CJ 3A, february 1953

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    Key started, late version of a CJ 3A, february 1953

    Greetings to all,

    I have a late, key started CJ3A, delivered in Holland in february 1953. It never had a floor (pedal) start. I bought it a few years back with a casting number 641087 series 1 engine block. It cracked. I now have casting number 641087 engine block series 4 with a re-inforced rear flange similar to the engine block with the casting number 804380.
    The bell housing is the early CJ2A/WW II bell wit bushing. The starter is an Auto-Lite MZ 4113 (MB/early CJ 2A) and the generator is an Auto-lite GW 4801-D (early CJ 3B). The re-inforced flange of the engine partially covers the timing mark hole of the early adapter plate. I have a flywheel with a 97 tooth gear.

    I want to complete the full restoration of my late, key started CJ 3A as originally as possible. That is very difficult in Holland. Everybody knows about a MB but there is very little knowledge about a CJ Jeep and very few CJ-parts are available.

    For the restoration I need information about the following (correct) four parts that must stay together:
    1. Bell Housing, 2. Adapter Plate , 3. Starter, 4. Flywheel.

    Question: what parts did Willys-Overland use in late 1952/early 1953 for the late and key started version of the CJ 3A? The same parts as used for the (early or) late M38 or early CJ 3B?

    Bell Housing: The MB/early CJ 2A Bell housing is too small for a nose-starter. Is a early (or late) military M38 Bell Housing (also used on the CJ 3B) the correct part or another Bell Housing specially made for the late and key started version of the CJ 3A?

    Adapter plate: Is a military M38 the correct adapter plate or did Willys-Overland made a special version of the plate for the late, key started CJ 3A?

    Starter: I understand that the late and key started CJ 3A had a nose-charter, Auto-Lite MCH 6203, 6 volt (Also a 6 volt Prestolite 46-15 MCH 6207??). Question: Both, the Auto-Lite MCH 6203 and the Prestolite MCH 6207 needs a solenoid. Was it originally mounted on top of the starter as I see on some photos on the Web?

    Flywheel: In combination with a MCH 6203 nose-starter I need a 129 in stead of a 124 or 97 tooth Gear. Question: where are all types of the flywheel suitable for a MCH 6203 or a Prestolite 6207 starter or just the 129 tooth gear?

    Finally
    Was in combination with the MCH 6203 starter an Auto-Lite GW 4801 generator, as I now have, originally used for a key started CJ 3A?

    The early 3A version of the starter is the Auto-Lite MZ4137 (foot pedal). I found on the Web an Auto-lite MZ4173T 9K 6 volt starter with a solenoid mounted on top of it (NOS). Is that also a correct starter for a CJ (early or late 2A or 3A)?

    If possible, can you attache some pictures?

    I thank you very much for your answers.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator bmorgil's Avatar
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    Wow a list of questions there Seven, and all good ones. You have a rare CJ3A. From what I can find it was only the 1953 that got the "Key Start". I would guess that it is the 3B combination of parts but, I would definitely jump on the phone to Mike at KW and see what he knows about the correct part numbers.

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    Late version of the CJ 3A

    Quote Originally Posted by bmorgil View Post
    Wow a list of questions there Seven, and all good ones. You have a rare CJ3A. From what I can find it was only the 1953 that got the "Key Start". I would guess that it is the 3B combination of parts but, I would definitely jump on the phone to Mike at KW and see what he knows about the correct part numbers.
    Thanks for your answer. Please let me know what Mike knows about the correct parts.

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    Super Moderator bmorgil's Avatar
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    Here is the number Seven, 1-888-648-4923 I am sure they will be able to get you the right stuff.

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    Super Moderator gmwillys's Avatar
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    Seven,

    I'm going to have to sort this one all the way out to make sure I get you the proper information. My quick, gut answer is the MB/2A starter has a stud attached to the top of the starter. You can utilize a starter solenoid that is activated by a key switch, but I need to research to make sure that the tooth count of the flywheel matches up correctly.

    Please post some pictures of your Jeep, we would love to see it!

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    Late version of the CJ 3A, key started

    Quote Originally Posted by bmorgil View Post
    Here is the number Seven, 1-888-648-4923 I am sure they will be able to get you the right stuff.
    Hi,

    Mike says that CJ 3A's never had a key starter, only mechanical starters. I don't know of this is the case. Bob Wessel, who wrote a book about the CJ 3A, says that in 1953 there was a third starter, an Auto-lite MCH 6203 with a solenoid mounted to the top of it. He refers to a Willys-Overland manual 1965. The body of my Jeep ( and also another CJ 3A 1953 in Holland) have no traces of a mechanical starter. Both are key started.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator bmorgil's Avatar
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    Well Mike is seldom wrong... except this time. The CJ3A was available as a key start in 1953. I don't know what serial number or, if it came out of Kaiser both ways. We do know the CJ3B was launched in 1953. You have a 3B starter setup. The Auto-Lite MCH-6203 starter was used in most solenoid started Willys from 1952 until 1966. I would say that is it. In late 1953 you could have bought a CJ3A or a CJ3B, both with a key start. The CJ3A had and L head and the CJ3B had an F head. Same starter and Flywheel. The Auto Lite MCH-6203 as well as MDM-6005, MDU-7004, MCH-6207 are basically the same starter. They will interchange. Your Jeep has a 3B starter setup. Just buy the parts for the 1953 CJ3B.
    Last edited by bmorgil; 09-22-2020 at 01:43 PM.

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    Super Moderator LarrBeard's Avatar
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    Starter Mystery

    Quote Originally Posted by bmorgil View Post
    Well Mike is seldom wrong... except this time. The CJ3A was available as a key start in 1953. I don't know what serial number or, if it came out of Kaiser both ways. We do know the CJ3B was launched in 1953. You have a 3B starter setup. The Auto-Lite MCH-6203 starter was used in most solenoid started Willys from 1952 until 1966. I would say that is it. In late 1953 you could have bought a CJ3A or a CJ3B, both with a key start. The CJ3A had and L head and the CJ3B had an F head. Same starter and Flywheel. The Auto Lite MCH-6203 as well as MDM-6005, MDU-7004, MCH-6207 are basically the same starter. They will interchange. Your Jeep has a 3B starter setup. Just buy the parts for the 1953 CJ3B.
    Good run down BMorgil.

    One consistency (if we can call it that) at Willys-Overland was that in a time of model transition; for examples MB to CJ-2A; CJ-2A to CJ-3A and CJ-3A to CJ-3B; Willys-Overland would find a way to mix up and use parts in a way that really wasn't intended or often formally documented. Then send it to Europe or Australia and call it an export version!

    That is why have the Rules of Jeep:

    Rule 1. What you see is what you have. Believe nothing written down or told to you until you verify it yourself.

    Rule 2. Never say; "Willys would never have _____________ " (fill in the blank). If Willys didn't do that particular thing, someone else probably did as an after market modification.

    Good luck and we still would like to see a picture - or a lot of pictures - of the vehicle.

  9. #9
    Super Moderator bmorgil's Avatar
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    How very true your rules of Willys are LarrBeard. Here is a good example. Though there may be some who insist a 1950 CJ3A never had a CJ2A Motor plate and an adapter for a drivers side motor mount from the factory, they are dead wrong. We now know quite a bit from talking directly to those who are still alive that actually worked there, about activity at Willys production. In 1950 the introduction of the 3A in a relatively slow market, left more than a few CJ2A parts and truck parts laying about. You absolutely will find CJ3A's with 2A motor plates, motor mount adapters on the drivers side, model 41 rear axles and various other parts, including truck motors in CJ2A's and 3A's. The trucks weren't selling very well, and some were disassembled, or never assembled, and their parts showed up in other vehicles. I have an 1950 CJ3A. I am the second owner and know for sure it is the original motor, and it used to have a 4T truck serial number stamped on the block (now machined off). The previous owner rebuilt it a few times and replaced a rod (with the wrong one), so I know it is the original motor, adapter and plate.

    Whenever you find parts from a newer or prior year in a crossover model year, there is a very good chance that it came that way. Willys was definitely struggling after the war. They were incredibly frugal. As one old timer put it at the 2019 Toledo Jeep Fest, "when Korea ended, we used everything, nothing got scraped".
    Last edited by bmorgil; 09-22-2020 at 05:25 PM.

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