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jeep dilemma

Posted: Sun Sep 08, 2019 6:09 pm
by roughneck20
so im having a tricky time trying to wrap my head around what i should do

ok so i started out buying a 1950 cj3a for 500 bucks (awesome) i rented a truck and trailer and towed her home and then spent a couple hundred bucks to get her running again and she runs nice so my next step was to take her apart to the frame and so i bought an m38 tub with no floor/hood/windshield/tailgate for 700 in my attempt to convert my 3a to an m38 look alike so far so good so today i took the windshield off and broke bolts etc but then i got to the fenders and based on the condition there in id be better off getting new ones as my skill level isnt good enough to fix them however the price of new fenders is stupid high and i still had a floor to put in plus other pieces that need replacing on the tub and possibly pay someone to weld and fix the tub so that sparked my thinking of why bother with this when i can spend a bit more (3500) for a whole new tub/kit and not have worry about rust or have to do anything to it except paint it cool im in the right direction of making it easy or so i thought my father starts to tell me that i shouldve just bought an m38 jeep so i told him there was none available for the price i got this 3a for and so i then began to remember that i saw a couple of m38's for sale in the 5k-6k price range and they need minimal to moderate work much less than what mine would need and is a true m38 not a conversion and so here i am trying to figure out the direction to go in as 6k would take some considerable time to save up and then id also have to sell my 3a to make room for the m38 or do i buy the 3500 dollar tub/kit and continue the conversion

Re: jeep dilemma

Posted: Sun Sep 08, 2019 6:50 pm
by W. Winget
IMHO (you asked)
Get the 3a running, painted with local paint, enjoy it for what it is....learn how to do minor required replacement/upgrades on it (Mig welder is cheap and teach yourself a great skill) DO NOT try to convert it any further, just enjoy it and work on it a while...meanwhile saving your funds and looking for the M38 you always wanted, then save just a little more :( for the upgraded condition M38 you can find and now sell your CJ3 to someone at a reasonable rate for what it is (sells quicker that way) :wink:
Finally now that you have gained experience with the CJ3, your skillset in operating and owning the M38 will be that much better.
IMHO
V/R W Winget

Re: jeep dilemma

Posted: Sun Sep 08, 2019 7:32 pm
by roughneck20
my 3a is running amazing for sitting since 79 and the tub is shot and would be cheaper to just buy a new tub than to try and fix mine but i understand what you are saying

Re: jeep dilemma

Posted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:10 am
by W. Winget
Consider buying a 3A body. There are plenty of buyers for a real jeep, not a wanabe (which is what you'd be creating) and the CJ-3 offers ability to embellish with a heater, top, doors, stereo, power outlet (Cigarette lighter socket or VAPE charger) , 12V system, cushioned seats, seatbelts....all sorts of things that make it a 'better' driver/play vehicle VS a plain Jane collectible, which the wanabe would really never be..

You would be surprised at how many heads get turned at the sight of a regular rather stock antique CJ-3 or CJ5 jeep that has no-super aggressive muders, NERF and roll bars and not jacked up high, etc.
Why does every jeep East of the Mississippi look like it's ready for the MOAB?

Bottom line it's your jeep, but they can all be fun if done with taste.
V/R W Winget

Re: jeep dilemma

Posted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 8:39 am
by dpcd67
Dude, buy a period. Or 50!
Welcome to vehicle restorations. Here is my first rule: Never add up all the costs for anything. You will just be frustrated and your wife will kill you. Just have fun with them.
Now, as for your situation; you need to get out from under what you have before you can buy an M38 is what I am hearing. I just remembered; I have a set of fenders I will give you that aren't terrible. From a 3b. But they are still attached and it is not with me, so it will be months before I being it here. You buy a floor and weld in; you are out a few hundred $.
Either learn to weld, or keep searching for cheap fenders.
Or sell it now, as is, to another ambitious newbie restorer. That is how I get a lot of my projects.
Unless you want to go and remove them.
Most of all, have fun; that is what they are for.

Re: jeep dilemma

Posted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 1:02 pm
by Kendall
Keep looking and you can find a true M38 for a lot less than 5-6k and you will end up with a true M38 and not a hybrid.
Gook luck,
Kendall

Re: jeep dilemma

Posted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:54 pm
by signsup
IA wise man once told me, "you can take a civilian jeep and make it look military, but it will never be military". If that is your end goal, then skip the mud crawler, ranch rumbler, prarie pusher, desert fueler stuff and get an M38 or MB/GPW if you want the flat fender look. I'm taking two CJ3A's and one CJ3A and making a "Sarge" jeep salad. But it will always be just that.

There is a perceived benefit to having something right now to keep your interest peaked, I get that. So, like some have said, do something on the cheap, but don't try to fool yourself or anyone else. It will always be jeep salad. And keep your eye out for the real deal and be in a position to react quickly. Chances are you can always sell your salad to someone for what you have in it. Plenty of the "next generation" looking for exactly what you have to break into the hobby.

No one buys a mansion as their first home. They start small, create sweat equity, and then trade up and up and up. I suggest you consider this approach with your jeep hobby as well. We have all purchased someone elses project that has been sitting around their garage for 15 years while they try to get the time and money to create the Factory Class award winner. Instead of enjoying their jeep for 13 of those years.

Re: jeep dilemma

Posted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 6:13 pm
by Ron D
Before I spent money on my M38 I did a lot of research and decided I wanted a M38 --- and nothing but a M38. Then I was patient enough to wait for one I could start with. The first jeep of any kind I ever owned and I was 60 when I bought it.

If you want a M38 then buy a M38 (as much of one as you can afford, titled as a M38). Go from there and take it as far as you want.

If you want a CJ then buy a CJ (as much of one as you can afford, titled as a CJ). Go from there and take it as far as you want.

This hobby isn't cheap. Mistakes will be made. Great advice not to add up the cost, especially around a wife if you have one (because you might not for long). In my opinion, spending bucks trying to camouflage one into the other will be hard all-around and won't fool many (neither will the title) --- and it doesn't do much for the hobby in general. Are you aware that the M38 frame isn't the same as a CJ frame?

While you might end up with a nice, driveable, and enjoyable jeep "hybrid" (I wouldn't call it that), if that's what makes you happy --- then that's what makes America great! But if you end up with a Bubbafied mess that you can't sell for 25-cents on the dollar for what you put into it because it's neither a M38 or a CJ (just a bolted together collection of parts) --- don't say I didn't tell you!

My 2 cents (you asked). Good luck!

By the way, I second the advice on buying periods! (Beverage out the nose when I read that). Your post has to be the l-o-n-g-e-s-t sentence without one that I've ever read in my life. Real stream of consciousnes stuff flowing on that one........ :)

Re: jeep dilemma

Posted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:29 am
by Ron D
Hi roughneck,
Have you seen this original unmolested M38 for sale? It's been listed for a long time, and I heard the seller is pretty firm on the price (which is too high for it's condition), but it shows there's still some out there!

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1952-Willys-M3 ... Sw3Jxcol7p

Good luck!

Re: jeep dilemma

Posted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 7:56 am
by Ron D
Wow...somebody bought it yesterday.

Re: jeep dilemma

Posted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 5:39 pm
by mdainsd
That one was way too much money IMHO. I have driven M38s home for less than that.

I have both! One original military issue M38 that has suffered a 12 V conversion, a roll bar and a paint job, other wise as original.

I have a CJ3A chassis with a M38 bone stock body on it. Almost all of the differences between the CJ chassis and M38 chassis have been addresses. Tie downs, regulator mounts, frame plates, engine compartment. It will always be a salad and I would never offer it as anything but. But I have had several offers for serious money for the salad.

The True Blue M38, as I got it:

Image

And the Salad:

Image

I drive the Salad or as I refer to it as the "Patina Jeep" the most, by far.

Re: jeep dilemma

Posted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 7:08 pm
by signsup
If a M38 is what you want, then go for it. But a word of caution. . . the last two jeeps that I had come through our shop were both M38's. Both first time military jeep owners. The 24v and the fording kit with all the vacuum lines and vent issues is a learning curve for the most advanced owners. It's a tough nut to crack for your first military vehicle, IMO. The GPW/MB is very forgiving and in either 6v or 12v form, a very basic vehicle. The M38A1 in either the 12v or 24v variant is also an easy jeep to restore and maintain. The M38, to me, is a nice jeep and not as common as others, but it would not be my first choice for my first jeep.

Again, we all have our opinions. This is just mine . . .

Re: jeep dilemma

Posted: Thu Sep 12, 2019 10:53 am
by JMZ421
I could not agree more with the prior post. At minimum you need to start a M38 at least once a week to keep the carb in good condition and you need to purchase a battery maintainer to keep the batteries from going dead. You cannot have any vacuum leaks. One look at all the questions I asked over the last few years should explain it all. But,it's fun and I enjoy it and I would do it all over again. If you can find the money to purchase a more complete M38 then all the stock components should be there and it becomes more of a maintenance issue and not a guessing game to how things are supposed to be. Hope that makes sense. John

Re: jeep dilemma

Posted: Thu Sep 12, 2019 5:41 pm
by mdainsd
"Your results may vary" Both of mine undergo weeks if not months between being run. No issues here with starting, batteries (un tendered) or anything else. They are in SoCal in garages though.

The M38 is arguably the best of the flat fender Jeeps. The only flat fender, or any type of Jeep for that matter, to be awarded the Industrial Art award.

I can't rate the 3B above the M38 due to it just being plain fugly. :lol:

Re: jeep dilemma

Posted: Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:36 pm
by roughneck20
i want to thank everyone for there input and thoughts about what to do but i think i know what my plan is gonna be and thats to make my cj3a/m38 hybrid jeep as close to an m38 as possible and ill save up for the brand new tub kit instead of spending more trying to fix my current m38 tub and hopefully get it sold to someone who can use more skill to make it whole again