New Project

1952 - 1968, M38A1, M170, questions, discussions, regarding anything related to the M38a1 series.
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53a1
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New Project

Post by 53a1 » Mon Dec 22, 2008 3:23 pm

I picked this up a few months ago and the last couple weeks I've had time to start checking it out.

It's a '53 converted to 12v with most of the original stuff taken off. I spent a couple days just stripping stuff off. It has it's share of bubbafications like the steering conversion. Someone cut through the front cross member and ran the linkage through. Pole mounts were welded to the rear corners of the tub. A spare tire holder was mounted to the center of the rear of the jeep it tore holes in the sheet metal. A trailer hitch was welded on and tons of wiring that did nothing. Most of this stuff is stripped off now. Spent lots of quality time with the grinder cutting off crappy welds which is not that hard to do.

It runs great. Oil pressure is 10 psi at idle warm and 40+ at higher RPMs. Compression and leak down check out great. Tranny works great and I've been driving the thing out in the desert. Looks like the engine was out of a Willys truck judging by the configuration of the F134. Serial number is gone so it must have been rebuilt once. It accelerated up 40 mph no problem.

I've been following Al's post on his sheet metal work and plan on doing allot of body work on this one. I want to take a top down approach and address the most obvious issues while driving it. I have another Jeep I'm doing a frame off and I don't want two vehicles down.

It's amazing how much damage someone can do with a cutting torch and a welder! :twisted:

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Post by Jeeps4Brains » Mon Dec 22, 2008 3:47 pm

Your Jeep body looks not too bad to me. Yeah the rear panel was hacked but you might be able to save that one if you can cut that out and weld in a new piece. It also would depend on how the inside of the rear panel looks.

The rear shackles look like they have been swapped out at some point.

Correcting the steering can be done if you collect all the right parts.

Try to keep those fenders as they are the older style that matches the year of your Jeep.
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Post by petesilfven » Mon Dec 22, 2008 4:37 pm

The Saginaw steering gear was a very common modification. It sure made the vehicle steer better, and eliminated the slop and free play.
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53a1
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Post by 53a1 » Mon Dec 22, 2008 9:37 pm

I'm thinking I'm going to try to weld in a piece to repair the back panel.

I'm going to replace the steering with original and try to repair the front cross member. The steering currently has issues with the tie rod getting stuck on the spring when doing a sharp turn. Besides, it just looks like crap.

Both front and rear shackles have been replaced by after market 4" ones. The rear springs have more arc than the front so it rides high in the back. I actually think a little lift looks good with the stock tires. I think originally M38A1s used 2.5" 'U' looking shackles.

I'm currently trying to figure out the best way to make the repair pieces to weld into the cross member. I'm going to remove the grill and radiator and transfer the shape I need to cut out of metal plate. I think a plasma cutter is the way to go but don't have one yet. Maybe I'll try to flame cut the shape and grind to fit.

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Post by Cuz » Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:20 pm

It's probably a better idea to transplant a used good cross member. Try the various web sites for a rusty or bent CJ5/6 or M38A1/M170 front frame section. Try to get the whole frame or at least the cross member still welded to two pieces of side rail. Makes it easier to duplicated the cuts at the side rails.
Try the wanted page here, here http://www.willysmjeeps.com/v2/modules. ... wforum&f=5 , here http://www.earlycj5.com/classifieds/showcat.php/cat/6 , and here http://www.willystech.com/parts/board.shtml
Cuz (AKA Wes K)
45 MB, 51 M38, 54 M37, 6? M101A1, 60 CJ5, 76 DJ5D & 47 T3-C

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Post by GIJOE » Tue Dec 23, 2008 5:40 am

Congrat's! 8)

She got any (dash plate, wheel housing, engine) serial numbers on it?
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Post by 53a1 » Tue Dec 23, 2008 12:40 pm

No dash plates. The serial/vin number is MD44125. When I sand down I'll try to unearth some other numbers. It has a clear title which is nice but the title has the wrong year and it says it's a '62. I think it is actually a '53.

Cuz, I'm really hesitant to swap the front cross member because of the rivets. I don't know how to replace those. I'm not even a very good welder and I'm having my friend weld in the replacement pieces. Perhaps if things get too complecated I'll then swap out the front cross member.

I'm off until Christmas so I'm headed out today to grind off the rest of the crap. I found a junk yard in fontana that may have the original steering. I'm going to start cutting the sheet metal to cover up the holes in the rear panel.

I like this Jeep because just pulling stuff off is an improvement.

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Post by 53a1 » Wed Dec 24, 2008 11:20 am

I managed to cut out the bad sheet metal. It was in pretty bad shape as you can see. Cracks ran in all directions and poorly repaired at some point. I used a seven dollar grinder I got on sale from Harbor Freight. It pushed the limits of my compressor so It took way to long to cut the metal - maybe 30 minutes. I'm not going to use the same method to cut the new piece. I'm thinking I need to find a small shear. The rest of the sheet metal looks good.

I was going to ask you guys if you can use hand shears to cut this gage sheet metal? Will the Harbor Junk bench shear work as well?

Thanks.

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53a1
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Re: New Project

Post by 53a1 » Sun Jun 07, 2009 8:03 am

Just an update. Made a frame repair part on my mill. Anyone doing bodywork?

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Dave
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Re: New Project

Post by Cuz » Sun Jun 07, 2009 8:56 am

Just a note to say it looks like you are clearly making progress. I have found that leaving my email address displayed on my posts and using a real first name garners me more help and info in responses off this site by folks who don't like to post publicly. :wink:
Cuz (AKA Wes K)
45 MB, 51 M38, 54 M37, 6? M101A1, 60 CJ5, 76 DJ5D & 47 T3-C

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53a1
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Re: New Project

Post by 53a1 » Sun Jun 07, 2009 9:27 am

Got it. Thanks Wes.

Dave
Kern Co. CA.
Dave
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Re: New Project

Post by 911rsq » Sun Jun 07, 2009 9:40 pm

Looking very good. I'm a little jealous...

Why is it that eveyone paints these YELLOW!!!!!

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Re: New Project

Post by Cuz » Mon Jun 08, 2009 8:31 am

Why is it that eveyone paints these YELLOW!!!!!
So you can find it at 0430 in the morning at deer camp! :wink:
Cuz (AKA Wes K)
45 MB, 51 M38, 54 M37, 6? M101A1, 60 CJ5, 76 DJ5D & 47 T3-C

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53a1
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Re: New Project

Post by 53a1 » Mon Jun 08, 2009 3:12 pm

Thanks for the encouragement. Body work is TIME CONSUMING. The rate I'm going it should be ready to paint by next year.

And about the yellow paint, I think folks in the past didn't care too much about keeping these jeeps original. They were only interested in going hunting in them.
Dave
Kern Co. CA.

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Re: New Project

Post by 911rsq » Mon Jun 08, 2009 11:26 pm

I think Wes probably has it right! Easier to see in the dark!


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