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Thread: Hello from Tennessee 1953 M38A1 owner

  1. #1
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    Hello from Tennessee 1953 M38A1 owner

    Hello. Just bought a 1953 M38A1 Willys Jeep. The previous owner had stripped it down to the bare frame and cleaned and repainted the chassis and suspension and drive train. The fenders will need to be replaced and the wiring refurbished.

    The PO said that it had one stripped head bolt that his mechanic had tried to repair with a helicoil. So I pulled the head and actually found three head bolts that had been repaired (or attempted) with helicoils. So I have removed the helicoils and will have a machine shop repair them with Big-Serts. I'm pretty sure the helicoils wouldn't effectively seal since the head bolts go into the water jacket anyway.

    Since the engine only had 34,000 miles, the cylinder isn't worn, but I'm unsure of the condition of the rings so I'm going to pull the engine completely apart to replace the seals and rings and maybe the rod and main bearings if they have excessive clearance. I'll go through the rest of the mechanical and electrical as I decide what it needs to run. My plans are to semi-restore it so that it will be a great farm vehicle to putter around in

    Lastly, I got to looking at an 1959 Motors manual that used to belong to my father-in-law and photocopied the Willys Jeep and Carter YF sections and saved them to a pdf format. Is there a place where I can upload the pages? The Willys Jeep section is 38 MB and the Carter section is 8 MB.

    Other questions surely to follow.

  2. #2
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    Not a very friendly bunch here.
    Last edited by Patriot; 11-01-2020 at 08:13 PM.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator gmwillys's Avatar
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    Welcome Patriot,

    Thank you for your limited patience.

    The Big-Sert will definitely hold better than a traditional helicoil. The Big-sert will seal much better on the wet head bolt.

    The Carter YF information will make a welcome addition to the items that Bmorgil and crew have put together. The link is as follows.

    https://willysjeepforum.kaiserwillys...3-Tech-Library

  4. #4
    Super Moderator bmorgil's Avatar
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    Patriot, easy on us old folks... sometimes it takes us a while!

    As gm has stated the inserts are the only way to fix the head bolts. I have one in mine. The head uses studs for a few reasons. The cracked block at the head bolt stud is a common failure from using bolts instead of studs. The bolt has to be perfect in shoulder and length. If the shoulder bottoms in the block before it pulls down the head, it always cracks the block. If the blind hole isn't thoroughly cleaned out it will also crack the block if a bolt is pushed down into the crud. I would have the shop epoxy or "irontite" the inserts in and then, deck the block and mill the head slightly just to be sure the surface isn't distorted where the damage was done. It does not sound like a particularly good torque procedure was followed. A great opportunity to warp a surface. Do not use bolts. Only use the factory studs and washers.

    I would agree it should be fairly good with just 34K on it. A quick hone and some new rings should be good if there is no taper. I would touch the valves and seats just to bring the seal back to brand new.

    You may have to send Miss Amy a PM on the attachments. If you have trouble uploading because of the size, just drop her a PM. https://willysjeepforum.kaiserwillys...p?do=newpm&u=2

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  6. #6
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    The end gap on the rings was greater than I thought. The rings that came out had an end gap of 0.11" and the oil rings would fall out of the cylinder. It all adds up to zero or very little compression. And if it started, it would smoke like a freight train.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator gmwillys's Avatar
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    Glad you followed your better judgment to tear down the engine to see what you are working with. For some reason it sounds like the last rebuild must have come out of JC Whitney.

  8. #8
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    Nothing wrong with JC Whitney if you fit the parts. Whoever put the rings in didn't bother to test fit them. I doubt the engine has run in a long, long time. The bearings are great and look new and plastigage fine.

  9. #9
    Super Moderator bmorgil's Avatar
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    I think gmwillys is referring to a complete rebuilt engine supplied by J.C. Whitney which would scare me also! As has been discussed the fit of the pistons, rings and bore condition, leaves little room for error in a GOOD running engine. Something I would only trust to a good machine shop. I have had good success with some stuff from J.C. Whitney. I would be cautious with critical parts. You could always order them and send them back if they don't prove out.

    Like I said earlier, the pistons are going to be Silvolite's no matter where you get them. As for the gaskets, you can get some very cheap China stuff if you are not careful. As gmwillys is warning of, you will run a big risk of getting China Gaskets. In particular the China head gasket which is known to fail. I have seen three of these head gaskets. If it is not marked made in USA, it is a China. They look identical. The paper gaskets from China are in general, not a good "Gasket Paper". They are prone to leak. Sticking to as much USA manufacture as you can is good insurance that is for sure.

    As long as you are aware of the quality you are purchasing, a good price is always attractive.
    Last edited by bmorgil; 11-05-2020 at 08:41 AM.

  10. #10
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    I ordered a Felpro gasket set from OReillys and a set of Perfect Circle rings from ebay. I'm confident both will be good.

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