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Thread: 61 CJ5 Resto Restart Info

  1. #1
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    61 CJ5 Resto Restart Info

    I'm new here and starting a project to restore my Dad's old 1961 Willys CJ5 that has been parked since 1988. I'd like to ask all here to provide the steps you would take to get the engine started again so that I can get it on a trailer and transport it to my garage to start the real work. I haven't tried to turn the crankshaft just yet, but my Dad did try to put oil in the cylinders periodically over the years. I guess we'll see if that helped any. Everything seems to be intact and as we left it. I removed the front wheels/tires and the wheel cylinders look like they have leaked. The brake pedal doesn't go down very far and just hits a hard stop when I step on it. The clutch feels about like I remember it. Neither of those concern me much since I can work on those later. I just want to get the engine going so I can get it on a trailer. I've thought about flushing the gas tank, gas pump, and lines to remove the old gas. Any other suggestions of things to do before I try to start it would be appreciated.

    Here are a few pics of it.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Super Moderator bmorgil's Avatar
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    That's a great start test1328! I love the top on that thing. A lot of history in the tops. The paint appears to be original judging from the decals on the back. That thing looks pretty complete under the hood. I would say the oil in the cylinders was a great idea. It might make it a little hard to start but once it clears out it will be fine. The protection for the cylinders is paramount. Change out all the fluids trans engine and all before you run it or try to start it. You don't want to drag any contaminates that may have collected through it.

    There is a great article on start up that Larrbeard, gmwillys and the late Pelago of this forum put together. I will add the link below.

    https://willysjeepforum.kaiserwillys...ighlight=start

    https://www.hagerty.com/media/mainte...long-dead-car/
    Last edited by bmorgil; 07-28-2021 at 08:14 AM.

  3. #3
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    Thanks, bmorgil! That is really helpful.

    Yes, this Jeep has been in my family since my Dad bought it in 1966 and is all original. He four-wheeled the heck out of it and I did as well through my teen age years. The engine had lost compression in one cylinder back in 88 so he decided to park it and buy a newer 1983 CJ5. This 61 is complete and the paint is original. The top is original, too, and came from the factory with it. Being at high altitude, having a hard top is crucial to not freezing to death in the fall and winter!

  4. #4
    Super Moderator LarrBeard's Avatar
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    That is a good starting place. There are some rust throughs and several character marks from rocks, trees and bushes - but the top is a real bonus..

    There is a great deal of satisfaction in bringing your Dad's vehicle back to life. I've been driving my Dad's '48, legally or illegally, since I was 12 years old - almost 65 years now!

    Work through the fluids and try to keep any more crud out of the carburetor.

    A lot of engines that needed a little work have been turned into major projects by trying to start them too soon. Patience Grasshopper.

    You may just end up pulling it onto the trailer with a come-along or a pack of teen age boys.

    Let us know how it goes!

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    I've made a bit of progress. I was able to try to turn the crank (I finally got the correct socket!) and believe it or not, the engine turned beautifully, with little effort to crank it around several rotations. Obviously, the oil in the cylinders made a difference.

    The radiator is mostly dry, although I didn't try to drain it yet. However, there is nothing in sight when you open the radiator. I took the thermostat housing off and at first it appeared that the thermostat was encased in crystallized coolant, but when I went to try to remove the thermostat, it popped right out. It still seemed to open just fine so I put it back in for the time being. There was no coolant in the engine, though, so obviously everything has evaporated over time. I plan to drain the radiator and then refill it next time I'm working on it. Hopefully, I don't get a bunch of puddles underneath when I refill it!

    Next, I moved to the gas tank. First I tried to drain it by removing the drain plug. When I did, I got about 20 drops of old gas out of it and that was all, so obviously, the gas has evaporated as well. It does smell a bit like varnish. I went to remove the tank to clean it but couldn't get the gas line fitting loose, so I can't remove the tank just yet. I need to get a flare nut wrench on it and can hopefully break it loose. I did order some Star Tron Gas Tank & Fuel system cleaner that is supposed to dissolve old gas varnish. I'll pour some of that in the tank and hopefully that will help loosen up the gas line fitting. Then I can clean it all up.

    I also found out that the tires will hold air, at least for a few days, so I don't need to worry about buying new tires immediately. My Dad was a big believer in having tubes in the tires in case you broke a bead while four wheeling. Therefore, all tires have tubes in them and I suppose the tubes are protected from the UV and weather, so they seem to be able to be inflated without any heartache.

    All in all, things are going along pretty smoothly so far.

    Next steps are to remove the various gas lines from the fuel pump and carb and make sure they are cleaned out. I should probably look at cleaning the carb as well, but I'm not sure exactly what I need to do there. Maybe just squirting Carb Cleaner all over would be sufficient? Any suggestions are welcome. I'll also open the distributor cap and make sure the points are cleaned up a bit. And, I'll put in fresh plugs. Once all of that is done, I might be ready to try to fire the ol' girl up. We'll see, I suppose.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator LarrBeard's Avatar
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    Well , so far you have not had an "Oh - Shux" event.

    Kudos on waiting to get the correct tools to unscrew fittings and such. Bubba and Junior would just "get on that sucker with a pair of vise grips". and booger them up.

    You've not mentioned draining the oil pan. That will tell you a lot about things. Nasty, dirty oil is good - kind of clean is better. Milky is bad ju-ju. The cooling system is dry, let's just hope coolant hasn't ended up in the crankcase. Assume that the water pump will leak around the shaft - it's been dry a long time but it will be OK for start-up.

    Before you crank it, pull the valve covers off and lubricate things liberally. Those lifters are dry and they won't get oil for a while once it starts turning over.

    Do an oil and filter change and as part of the first start, pull the plugs and crank it through a pretty good number of times to get oil moving around. A mechanical oil gauge would be a good idea just to make sure you are getting oil pressure when you start it. While you are cranking it with the plugs out, check for spark at each plug.

    AS for the carburetor, at least make sure the float is free and that the needle will close off the inlet. Gas fountains are exciting.

    You are getting to the exciting part - keep us informed of progress (and setbacks as well).

  7. #7
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    LarrBeard, thanks for the advice. Much appreciated.

    I haven't drained the oil since when I checked the oil via the dipstick, it is full and looks relatively clean. It is not pristine, some blackened oil, but it smells good and looks good. No sign of water or milky. I also checked the filter and the oil in the filter housing looks good as well. I suppose you are right, though, that I should just drain the oil and change it and the filter to just be sure. Is just standard 30 weight oil what I should use? I hadn't heard anyone mention pulling the valve covers to lubricate things before, so I appreciate that. Sounds like a good idea. The jeep does have an oil gauge that always worked, so I'm hoping I can use that to indicate if I am getting pressure.

    For the carb, how do I make sure the needle will close off the inlet? I'm not familiar with carbs in the least.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator bmorgil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by test1328 View Post
    For the carb, how do I make sure the needle will close off the inlet? I'm not familiar with carbs in the least.
    Unfortunately there isn't an easy way I can think of to see if the needle and seat will seal until the float bowl fills with fuel, lifts the float and closes the needle valve.

    When the fuel flows from the pump it fills the float bowl which "floats" the float up and closes the needle valve. If you take the carb off you can turn it upside down and see if you are able to blow air gently into the the float bowl. That still isn't fool proof. It is the pressure of the float, floating in the fuel that closes the needle. It works just like a toilet!

    The best bet here is to keep an eye the carb when you are cranking it. If the needle sticks closed you will never get fuel to the engine. If the needle is stuck open the engine will flood. You will smell and see excessive fuel in the carburetor. If it starts and the needle is stuck open, it will start to run rich and will probably stall out in a spurt of black smoke.

    I would expect a little carb trouble. When they set until the fuel evaporates out of them, a lot of junk gets left behind. Often a carb rebuild is in order. If you are living right, it will fire right up and clean itself out. That has also happened! I would be prepared to do a carb rebuild however.

  9. #9
    Super Moderator LarrBeard's Avatar
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    "Is just standard 30 weight oil what I should use? "

    For the clean out, just 30W non-detergent would be a good choice. That was the oil specified for Jeeps as original fill at normal temperatures. After several hours of running, drain that oil and change the filter because they will have all of the storage gunk in them.

    Now, for long term use, this is going to sound like a strange recommendation. Most modern oils do not have much zinc in them as an additive. Lifters in older engines benefit from zinc. One of the best choices for a zinc rich oil (sounds like a vitamin pill or diet supplement) is Valvoline VR1 10W30. VR1 is a good 3000+ mile oil (or 2-year oil if you don't drive much) so the extra cost doesn't add up very fast.

    I'd wait a bit to load it with really good oil - you may have a lot of oil running through the engine either as burning oil or seal leaks until things get settled down.

    Good luck ...

    And there are no dumb questions.

    And you probably won't discover a new mistake either - we've made them all - most more than once.

  10. #10
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    Thanks, guys. That answers my questions. I'll let you know how it goes this weekend. I have to travel 2 hours to my parents place where the Jeep is parked, so I have to plan out my activities and take everything that I need with me when I go. I'm also trying to paint their house, garage, and shed while I'm there, so my time with the Jeep is limited. Thanks again for the assistance!

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