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Thread: Jumping into Jeeps...

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    Junior Member CJ3eh's Avatar
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    Aug 2022

    Jumping into Jeeps...

    Hi all – checking in here first time. Picked up this ’49 CJ3a close to home, promised my wife it wouldn’t sit more than a week in the driveway....going on 8 months now..... just too much fun tinkering to send off to storage....

    It’s a one family machine that was purchased new in ’49 for a Canadian farm out west. Passed down from grandfather to PO via perhaps some other branches of the family if I understand right.

    I’m lucky that aside from some surface rust, the frame and body are in good shape structurally. Myself I like all the scrapes, dents, dings and scratches - places where the paint has worn through etc. A life lived to the fullest and – hopefully – for a good many more years under my turn caretaking. The single seat has what I think is the original upholstery, stuffing and springs. Ventilated in a few places by helpful mice. No passenger seat although it came with a frame so I got the KW vinyl ordered to build it out.

    Had zero involvement with Jeeps previously so I’m learning as I go, getting the hiccups out. Non running condition wasn’t helped by cracked fuel lines and a gummed up carb. Compression was pretty low first check but now that it’s had a few dozen miles on it I’m going to check again. Does go through a lot of oil though so I’m not expecting miracles. Got the trans and t-case drained and filled with some good vintage spendy yellow-friendly lube.....only to come out the next day and find a lot of it on the garage floor. Guess the goop n grunge that was in there before was plugging some serious leaks at both yokes... an expensive couple of puddles... ☹

    The soft line between the master cylinder and diff was full of crud keeping the brakes from releasing. In troubleshooting that I discovered the last person with the drums off put the shoes in backwards which probably didn’t help. Tried to rebuild the carb and discovered the jets were badly damaged by a previous attempt to remove them so ended up getting a repro carb. It’s got a plastic fuel tank that doesn’t hold the gas cap on none too well but the original rusty tank came in the deal so I may try to resurrect that. Looks like the fuel and water pumps were replaced in the not too distant past.

    There are a couple of interesting aspects to this machine. It’s got a governor under the hood (disconnected), a radiator protector screen (with some wheat chaff still evident), and also came with a huge honking chunk of iron designed I'm told to sit between the front frame rails to provide a couple hundred pounds of additional traction weight over the front wheels. All of the above perhaps some kind of “farm package” I guess? No PTO though which I thought might be a must for anyone wanting to use this as a tractor.

    Speaking of which...that’s what I bought it for. Currently use a ’52 Ferguson TEA20 up at the family cabin in the woods to haul junk to the dump, gravel for various projects, and boat trailers to the local lake down quiet back roads. As much as I love old Fergy after ten years of travelling at 5mph everywhere I wanted to do the chores at a little faster clip as well as be able to take a passenger along. Now, though, after some jaunts around the local roads I’m hooked on just jeeping around and the chores can wait! Sure, it rides like a grocery cart full of boulders but what a blast. Stops traffic literally and figuratively around town so I’ve explored all the low speed roads in the area.

    Would like to get an overdrive to increase its utility on the faster secondary roads. I’ve been up to about 50 mph (as indicated on the wildly fluctuating speedo) and it’s definitely not loving those rev levels.

    It came with repro fifties style street tires which I’ve replaced with light truck radials that still retain some of the tall narrow look I like. Much better handling, grip and a slightly improved ride. Some repro shocks have helped a little too.

    It's still sporting the 6 volt system which I had originally planned to upgrade to 12 as a matter of course. I have since decided to reconsider as I've seen some info about 6 being just fine if you have good clean contacts, grounding etc. Makes accessories a challenge and the uber slow cranking takes some getting used to til you realize it will indeed start if you give er a chance...

    In the smallest nod to safety I’ve installed a 4-point harness in the hopes of keeping my teeth and steering wheel distant acquaintances should an abrupt stop be in my future while behind the wheel.

    OK, well that’s me and Rosie (so christened by my retired neighbour when she saw the CJ and said she was reminded of the Rosie the Riveter posters of the war years.)

    I’m looking forward to learning from all you experts and hopefully contributing some too.

    And now, if you’ve read this far....first two questions...

    1. Those leaking transfer case yokes. I’ve seen some guys use Speedi Sleeves to increase the diameter a touch without replacing the seals as I hear they can be a real bear to remove without the proper screw-type seal puller. Thoughts or experience on this plan of action?
    2. I don’t plan on beating the hell out of this machine off road or anything. Is removing a leaf or two at each corner an option for a slightly less jarring ride? I’ve got some back and neck issues getting in the way of full enjoyment motoring around.

    All for now and thanks for the ears n eyes folks.


    Last edited by CJ3eh; 08-08-2022 at 08:41 PM.

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