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Thread: New member with 56 CJ-3B

  1. #1
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    New member with 56 CJ-3B

    Hello- new owner of a 56 Willys. This Jeep belonged to my sister in laws family for at least 50 years. Was used as a hunting buggy until her brother died at which time she had it cleaned up and has “donated” to me to keep at our farm where she visits frequently. I took it to a mechanic to get it running and she had it painted and had the entire inside sprayed with a Bedliner. Runs good for a farm buggy and we are excited to start playing with it. Already had a couple of issues which is why I found this forum. I’m fairly mechanical and like troubleshooting. 12 volt electrical systems are not my strong suit but already had to trace all the wiring to figure out why my alternator quit working. After taking it off to go buy a new one I had them test first and found out it was good. A couple of hours later and several dings on my head trying to check everything under the dash I finally figured out the ground wire from the fuel Gauge to the fire wall was corroded. Always find the easiest fix last!! Anyhow, looking forward to learning more and thanks in advance for your help!

  2. #2
    Senior Member 5JeepsAz's Avatar
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    Pictures, man!

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    Super Moderator gmwillys's Avatar
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    Great job on your troubleshooting efforts. Simple things first is a great motto, unless it involves going under the dash of a Willys. We have all been there, putting off diving under the dash, just because it is such a pain in more ways than one.

    We appreciate you taking ownership of your families heirloom Jeep. Not many folks these days are willing to take on the responsibility of keeping up such a task. Please post some pictures when you get a chance.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator bmorgil's Avatar
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    What a great start. I really envy you guys who get the "good ones". I think you will find the electrical is as basic as it gets. Your Jeep is on the "cusp" of the 12 volt era. Sometime 56' to 57' the switch to 12 volts from 6 volts happened on your year or shortly there after. From 1956 through 1957 some were 12 and some were 6 volts from the factory.
    Last edited by bmorgil; 01-02-2021 at 09:09 AM.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator LarrBeard's Avatar
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    12-Volt System

    Quote Originally Posted by Mchambers View Post
    Hello- new owner of a 56 Willys. 12 volt electrical systems are not my strong suit but already had to trace all the wiring to figure out why my alternator quit working. After taking it off to go buy a new one I had them test first and found out it was good. A couple of hours later and several dings on my head trying to check everything under the dash I finally figured out the ground wire from the fuel Gauge to the fire wall was corroded.
    If you're being owned by a Jeep (they own you - not vice versa), I'd suggest you go ahead and buy the shop manual for it. You will find answers to questions in the Manual that you didn't know you needed answers for.

    If you had to go get the alternator checked, someone has probably done a generator to alternator conversion on it - I think the first 12-volt Jeeps were generator systems. But, I've been wrong and we've learned not to say "Jeeps never ____________ " or "Willys never ____________".

    And - pictures! It didn't happen if there wasn't a picture of it.

  6. #6
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    Here are some pics. They did a good job painting and with the bedliner. Everything under the hood is untouched. It does have an alternator and 95% of the wiring is the old cloth covered looking wire. It has either a voltage regulator or reducer on the firewall. I think it is a reducer...at idle the output was around 5-6 volts... but I’m open for guidance. Glad it’s charging now. I’m okay with 12 volt wiring when I start from scratch...like wiring my boat etc.. but having multiple relays, bunch of wires coming off a switch etc. gets me confused. I’ll definitely find a manual as I have no idea about this oil bath air filter and several other things for normal maintenance. Thanks again!
    BFD60C7C-8D25-45E2-B52E-D878651FF3C0.jpg7D133966-E35A-4919-BB0F-D37AFEA9EA69.jpg798DE36E-40A4-46ED-B65A-8FF1D1706C7A.jpgAttachment 7369Attachment 73691A0E226D-1D56-4DED-B85D-A1C4CEB56712.jpg
    Last edited by Mchambers; 01-02-2021 at 01:30 PM.

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  8. #8
    Senior Member 5JeepsAz's Avatar
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    Great jeep! Thanks for the pictures. Those seats look comfortable...

  9. #9
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    Thanks! The passenger seat is fine. The drivers seat needs to be worked on. Feels like your falling out of the Jeep. Not a big deal. The main thing is the steering wheel stays jammed in my gut! I’m 6’2” and weigh 240. This will let me know when I’m getting fatter!

  10. #10
    Super Moderator bmorgil's Avatar
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    I am 5'7" and not that heavy and the steering wheel is right there! I stare right at the top of the windshield. I think it's safe to say people were much smaller back in the day.

    When you say you are getting 6V I am not sure where you are measuring it but, suffice it to say you may have a 6 volt system. For the year, that makes sense. The "thing" on the firewall by the air cleaner is the starter solenoid. I cant quite "eyeball" that battery but It looks like it might be a sealed 6 volt. Measure the voltage right across the two battery posts with the engine running. Measure it at idle and at about 1500 rpm or so and let us know the two readings. For sure get the reprint of the service manual. It is excellent for what it is. Take pictures of what you are writing of and it will help everyone on the forum. When you hook up your meter post a pic and the guys will know where you are, and can help. The electrical is basic. You will be comfortable with it in no time.

    There is a lot of information on the "Sticky's" and throughout, in the tech sections.

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

    https://willysjeepforum.kaiserwillys...Answers-How-To
    Last edited by bmorgil; 01-03-2021 at 06:43 AM.

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