First Willys

1952 - 1968, M38A1, M170, questions, discussions, regarding anything related to the M38a1 series.
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AmmoX
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First Willys

Post by AmmoX » Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:51 am

Ok, guys. Been lurking and finally have some time to look for something new to wrench on.

Picked up what is titled as a 1953 M38 Ser. # 37928 runs, drives and yes it even stops. Idles a little rough so a tune up to start with. Been reading enough to know a handful of things to look for.

- has hinged grill.
- has angled front fender seem
- outboard floor pan drain holes
- no radiator supports
- thumb screw battery box cover
- no tailgate
- Dash Tag lists MC (this is a little confusing, shouldn't it say MD?)
- Dash Tag Date Del. Date - Blank
- Dash Tag Inspected Date - Blank
- Patent Tag Serial # matches Dash tag
- First picture is passenger side front fender, undercoating?
- Second picture has the name of a mining company barely visible

It looks like an early M38A1 but that dash tag is confusing, I get that it may have been swapped out 100 times just figured I would ask the experts. Other numbers to follow as soon as I do some scraping to find them.

Sorry about the pictures couldn't figure out why they rotated when I uploaded them.

Many more questions to come.

Thanks in advance
Attachments
engine bay.jpg
dash tags.jpg
front fender mining co.jpg
pax side fender.jpg
grill hinge.jpg
headlight.jpg

JMZ421
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Re: First Willys

Post by JMZ421 » Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:17 am

You have a M38A1. The tags are incorrect as they are for the M38. It appears the serial number stamp is not like the original and/or the tags are reproductions. M38A1 is MD and M38 is MC. There is no inspection stamp and no dod. You can also tell reproduction patent plates. John

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Re: First Willys

Post by AmmoX » Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:21 am

That's what I was thinking. Either that or an A1 tub on a M38 frame. Either way, thanks for the confirmation, something to wrench on so all good.

Date range based on the existing serial number?

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Re: First Willys

Post by Joe Gopan » Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:49 am

Your M-38A1 has all the features of an MD produced in mid 53. Also, the long front bumper appeared mid 53 along with the clamp down battery box . The late or early features make little difference in driveability or serviceability of your JEEP.
Take a look at the front of the RH wheel house to the right of the front passenger seat to see if the Chassis Serial Data Plate is still there, it's attached with 4 round head sheet metal screws.
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Re: First Willys

Post by AmmoX » Thu Jun 25, 2020 11:33 am

It is and certainly looks like it's newer than the jeep :) But... the numbers do match that incorrect dash tag.
patent tag.jpg
Picture below that I mentioned in the first post showing the undercoating and one of the frame rail.
undercoating pax fender.jpg
frame rail tie down.jpg
I have the stock distributor and a second stock starter along with the wires and plugs. Currently running an aftermarket distributor. If I ever find the engine number I'll add it to the post.

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Re: First Willys

Post by Joe Gopan » Thu Jun 25, 2020 12:50 pm

Not the original Chassis plate, too new) also, the plate is crudely stamped, wrong screws, etc.
Most USMC M-38A1's were undercoated under floors, fenders and Wheelhouses, there will be a lot of USMC Green on the body if this were USMC.
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HONOR GRAD-WHEELED VEHICLE MECHANIC SCHOOL 1960 - US ARMY ORDNANCE SCHOOL(MACHINIST) ABERDEEN PG 1962 - O-1 BIRD DOG CREWCHIEF - 300,000+TROUBLE FREE M-38A1 MILES
LIFE MEMBER AM LEGION-40/8-DAV
7 MIL SPEC MAINTAINED MV'S
COL. BRUNO BROOKS (ARMY MOTORS) IS MY HERO

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Re: First Willys

Post by Kendall » Thu Jun 25, 2020 3:12 pm

The engine serial number will be found on the flat of the engine block near the thermostat housing. If correct for the M38A1 will start with MD or RMD.

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Re: First Willys

Post by Joe Friday » Sat Jun 27, 2020 8:30 pm

the repro dataplate on the wheel well looks to be good quality, but stamped with wrong font, and should have had MD suffix, not just 6 digit.
Brand new shiny screws of the wrong size and type a giveaway.
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Re: First Willys

Post by AmmoX » Mon Jun 29, 2020 4:55 am

Ok, here's the latest.

- 12 v pointless distributor
- Autolite 847 plugs
- 24 volt alternator
- 24 volt starter
- 24 volt battery(s)
- no generator
- no voltage regulator
- couple of dash switches for headlights, taillights, etc...
- stock light switch "kind of" works.

Looks like a pieced together 12 v / 24 v hybrid conversion but I do have the original 24 v distributor, wires and plugs just no generator or voltage regulator. I may just keep things as is for now as this will be driver at least until the snow flies. May look at correcting the 24 v wiring though since it's already a mess.

Installed plugs we're gapped to .050+ , gapped to .030 and now starts right up and no longer need full choke. No choke when warm.
Distributor is set at full rotation clockwise, no more play. Having a heck of time finding the timing marks on the pully. Did enough cleaning to find the 5 and T marks on the cover. We'll find TDC and hook up Vacuum gauge today.

Question: Any hints on using stock 24 v electrical system with a 12 v distributor and getting power to the stock harness for now? Hope I asked that right.

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Re: First Willys

Post by AmmoX » Sat Jul 04, 2020 7:08 am

Reclocked the oil pump a couple of teeth and tightened up the vacuum line running from the fitting below the carb over to the pump. Mixing screw on carb reset and now idles nice and low with the idle screw set to one or two turns at most. Not bad for no timing marks on the pulley. Did cheat though and used a test scope to look at the cylinders and valves and find TDC :D

Those pipe plugs on the intake must have been welded in (joking) having a heck of time removing either of them for a vacuum test. Starts and runs like a champ though.

Pulled the speedo and bench tested it, it's inop even with a square drive and a drill. Pulled the speedo cable and transfer case end had twisted itself to death. The actual cable, not the fitting so was able to pull it without any issues. New speedo and cable on the way.

Bench tested the rest of the 24v gauges and they all work, spider cable was shot but the gauges are good. Need to find the best way to power them as we have a 12v distributor but 24v everything else.

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