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Re: My new 1954 M38A1

Posted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 3:04 pm
by Maverick1701
Ben Dover wrote:Be careful not to buy any of those shiny silver aftermarkets, they are junk. If you pay under $100.00, chances are it will be one of the poor quality off shore coils. Your problems may not be as bad as you think. Double check your work (Don't wrench the spark plug wires too tight.

You called it , sir! Unfortunately these are the only coils I am seeing from all the military jeep parts sellers. Also, unfortunately I didn't see your post until it was too late

The saga (headache?) continues.
I went to install my new coil and it turns out my replacement coil is too tall and blocks the dist from properly closing/sealing against the housing.

Where have you purchased trouble free and well fitting replacement coils for you M38A1?

Also the coil I removed looks like it is an original military unit (based on the markings). I'm surprised it ran for this long. It looks to be in rough shape.
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Re: My new 1954 M38A1

Posted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 5:47 pm
by Joe Gopan
The late (shorter) coil you removed is installed with a resistor beneath it, is it still inside the distributor housing?

Re: My new 1954 M38A1

Posted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 9:11 pm
by Maverick1701
Ben Dover wrote:The late (shorter) coil you removed is installed with a resistor beneath it, is it still inside the distributor housing?
Once again, called it correctly (I wish I had your encyclopedic knowledge of all things Jeep)

it turns out the fix was (somewhat) simple once I figured out what the deal was.

Apparently there is a in-line resistor which sets under the original coil at the bottom of the dist housing. This resistor is not mentioned in ANY military technical manual I have in my library and is the same color as the housing. Also the new coils are not marked with anything explaining that the resistor is now internal (had I seen that I could have put 2 & 2 together to assumed there was an external resistor).

I only found ONE forum thread (on another forum) mentioning it which tipped me off as to what my issue actually was.

I was able to remove the old resistor & install the new unit...which now fits perfectly. I had to do some hacking of wires during the removal (the resistor wires are molded/melted into the unit). I thought about extending the wire to the new coil contact but I don't really want my vehicle operation to be reliant on my splicing (So I ordered a new capacitor/wire unit) which will solve that issue.

I also need to clean up some wiring hacks I did yesterday between the coil & the points. A wire broke yesterday during my work and I did a quick/temp fix. Once all that is taken care of I should be good to go *knock on wood*

Re: My new 1954 M38A1

Posted: Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:35 am
by Joe Gopan
These short coils and resistors are circa mid to late 60's on new production MV's with the PrestoLite water Proof Distributors. They will be found in M-151 and M-715 TM's and there may be bulletins or Changes to the G-758 TM's (I am not aware of them. PS Magazines will also note the change.
Got a long replacement coil, discard the resistor. That resistor set up was intended to allow the coil to run cooler. I removed the new style coil and resistors from some NOS M-151 units I parted out 20 years ago and kept some as spares should My M-38A1 Distributor need one.
Been lucky to have been at M-38A1's long enough (since the 50's) to anticipate needs into the future and lock some away.

Re: My new 1954 M38A1

Posted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:05 pm
by Maverick1701
There has not been much progress on the Jeep in terms of work. However, parts have been arriving in the mail.
The one thing I have done is install my top bow set on the Jeep. I don't have a top...yet...but I'll get one eventually.

My dual battery monitor arrived, a new capacitor (not condenser which I replaced earlier), and also some sharp looking 75 year anniv. jeep emblems (see attached pics). I also scored some 2002 & 2003 editions of military vehicle magazine off eBay. One has a main article about the M38A1 and the others main article covers the M35A2.

I ordered two sets of the 75 year jeep badges. One set in black and one set in brushed bronze finish. I am personally liking the brushed bronze look (it matches the data plates & stands out a little better vs the flat black). At this point I'm going to go with the bronze badges. What are y'alls thoughts?

Why has my progress been lacking? Well I have been pretty dang busy with work. On Tuesday I ended up driving to houston & back again in one day. The whole trip covered just over 1100 miles and we were in the car for about 19hrs.
I threw by GoPro camera on the dash of my patrol unit and played with the timelapse feature on the trip. I stitched everything into a video last night. If you have ever wondered what it is like to drive 1100 miles in 7 minutes I can put your mind at ease.
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badge 1
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Re: My new 1954 M38A1

Posted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:46 pm
by Maverick1701
4/20 update:

I am still dealing with spark issues. So far I have replaced my Coil, condenser, points (properly adjusted to .020), rotor, and capacitor. My spark still starts out strong and fades to a weak spark (I can still see spark but it's not the bright/strong blue spark I had originally). ***pulls out hair***

I'm going to check my coil & condenser w/a voltmeter to see if any issues show up there...maybe I bought a bad coil? What other tests/checks can I try to help me narrow down my "problem-child" ignition component?

Last night I did an oil change because I noticed my oil seemed a bit too light (I was running 10-30 vs my usual 15-40). I think it smelled of fuel but I couldn't really tell due to the other aromas all around. When I removed the filter I noticed A LOT of sludge in the bottom of the canister. I spent about 30min using a screwdriver & pick slowly removing 60-ish years of built up sludge. It was the consistency of 1hr old permatex. I'm going to replace the oil (this time w/my usual 15-40)& filter and closely monitor my oil status. I figure worst case scenario, I have a leaking diaphragm in my fuel pump which is pumping fuel into my crankcase. It might be time for a fuel pump rebuild if they still make rebuild kits.

This weekend I am off work and will be knocking out a few Jeep jobs:
1. replace all seals in the fuel tank (sending unit, pickup, and the bottom tank/body seal (they leak when tank is full)
2. install my lockout hubs (dualmatic 10-spline)
3. install my blackout drive light & bracket on fender
4. pick up my spare tire from the tire shop (when they originally mounted the tire, they apparently pinched the tube which failed when I installed it on the Jeep)
5. oil change w/filter change

Re: My new 1954 M38A1

Posted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 3:26 pm
by Maverick1701
Well I come bearing good news & some pretty disappointing news.

good news: I was able to get the motor running (for a few min) and my spark is solid.

BAD news: I was ONLY able to get the motor running after adding some oil into the cylinders to raise compression. Once compression was raised, the motor ran GREAT..but only until all the oil burned up and compression fell again. when I purchased the jeep I did a compression check and the numbers were...ok but not great.
I did a dry/wet compression test and the results are disappointing
Dry Results: 1-65 2-60 3-85 4-45
West Results: 1-120 2-140 3-155 4-100

This is telling me that my piston rings are probably tired (there shouldn't be much of a change in compression if the issue is valve related, right?).
What are y'alls thoughts? At this point is my only option a rebuild (or replacement of the motor)? What other options are out there?

Re: My new 1954 M38A1

Posted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:35 pm
by Maverick1701
Another Jeep update.

My Jeep news from the last post was a bit devastating. I was really pushing hard on the Jeep with a goal of having the jeep up & running before I leave for the state police academy (my last day at my sheriff's office is 5/1 & the academy starts 5/21). Obviously that won't happen at this point.

After doing some soul searching (long walks on the beach, reflecting on Jeep issues while staring at a mountain lake, laying in fields looking up at the stars, etc) I have decided on my new Jeep plan.

The state police academy is 11-ish weeks. During that time I won't be able to drive the Jeep and it will be sitting.
So the plan is for me to take the Jeep to my local mechanic before I head out for 11-ish weeks of pain/misery. During that 11 weeks he is going to blow apart the motor, send everything off for machining (if needed), and re-assemble. I'm also going to have him rebuild the transmission & x-fer case while everything is out of the Jeep. That way, by the time I return in mid August, all I need to worry about is driving & enjoying my Jeep.

Today on the Jeep I replaced some fuel tank gaskets (pump & sending unit). Tomorrow I am going to install my dualmatic hubs (if nothing goes too crazy with work). If I have time I might install my battery monitor as well...but it depends on the time.

Re: My new 1954 M38A1

Posted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:43 pm
by Joe Gopan
Working the bugs out of Jeeps and getting both the big and small stuff up to snuff is worth it. There is nothing like a turnkey Jeep. :wink:

Re: My new 1954 M38A1

Posted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 6:05 pm
by Maverick1701
Today I was able to knock out two jobs after work.

job1: I installed my new (to me) blackout drive light on the fender. this job was pretty straight forward. Just bolt it on the bracket, and attach the wire. The harness had an extra wire for ground but I was using a newer model (2004 model) BO light so I didn't need the extra grounding wire.

Job2: I installed my new (to me) dualmatic locking hubs. I LOVE the vintage look of the dualmatics vs the newer/cleaner look of warn/milemarker/etc. Seeing dualmatics gives me warm/fuzzy feelings of old jeeps/4x4s from my youth. The job went fairly smoothly (it was almost so easy I thought I was doing something wrong) and I had both hubs installed in about 30mins.
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Re: My new 1954 M38A1

Posted: Fri May 12, 2017 12:00 pm
by Maverick1701
I just placed my order for an engine rebuild kit (the mechanic will call KW once he breaks open the motor and knows what OD size pistons, bearings, etc), transmission rebuild kit (pretty much all the guts), & x-fer case kit (only snap rings, seals, bearings, etc). I'll be taking my jeep down to the mechanic sometime next week.

This will probably be the last post in this thread until mid August. I start the TX DPS academy next Sunday (5/21) and will be out of pocket for approx 12 weeks. I'll be sure to post pics/vids when I pick up my Jeep (with newly rebuilt drivetrain) in mid August

Re: My new 1954 M38A1

Posted: Fri May 12, 2017 2:17 pm
by Joe Gopan
The M-38/M-38A1 have an O-Ring under the front Hub Cap. :wink:

Re: My new 1954 M38A1

Posted: Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:53 pm
by Arnold43GPW
Very Nice! I just got my 1962 M38A1 last week!

Re: My new 1954 M38A1

Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 11:08 pm
by 70th Division

This is a great post, excellent work !
But what is the status of the jeep now ?
Did you ever get it running again, and the engine rebuilt ?


Re: My new 1954 M38A1

Posted: Tue Feb 26, 2019 1:36 pm
by Maverick1701
70th Division wrote:
Fri Feb 22, 2019 11:08 pm

This is a great post, excellent work !
But what is the status of the jeep now ?
Did you ever get it running again, and the engine rebuilt ?

Thanks Ray!
I still have the Jeep in my garage on the battery tender. I'm currently waiting to start the motor rebuild.
I'm getting married in June/19 so most of my disposable income has been ear-marked for that (and the honeymoon). After June I'll start saving and am planning on getting the motor rebuilt before the end of 2019. If all goes as will be back in action in late 2019.