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Old 09-13-2012, 10:16 PM   #1 (permalink)
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1952 M38 Build/Mods

Alright, I guess its time I start my build thread. Ive read most all of the threads in the willys forum, so I feel compelled to share my story as it unfolds.
Sometime last year i found a M38 on craigslist, so I loaded up and went and took a look at it. Later that evening, this beauty/turd made its way to my house.


After removing 7,412 sheetmetal screws and the patch panels that the PO installed, I was left with this.


Next step was to remove the swiss cheese floors and put in some healthy metal. New floors and hat channels made from 1x2x(1/8)




After that I started working on the brake system. I adapted front disks from a 77 CJ5, very easy upgrade. Also, I installed swing pedals from a CJ5 and the MC and prop valve.




TADA! Here it is mostly put together. Notice the cooler as a drivers seat and the gas can bungeed to the front frame horn.


Next up was the cage. Measure, measure, measure, bend, notch, tack...over and over.




Ok. As all of the stuff was getting done I was browsing craigslist for other rusty gold and stumbled across a 71 CJ5 with a Buick 225, T14, D18, 2.5" lift. So I loaded up and went to take a look. It was a train wreck. Not salvageable at all. So, I gave the guy $250 and drove it onto the trailer. When I got it home the tear down started immediately. I kept the 225, T14, D18, the lift and the offset 30 spline rear Dana 44 with one piece shafts. Then I invited a few buddies over for beer and barbeque, started the oxy-acetylene torch, and the rest of the 71 was made into bite-size chunks.

Fast forward to a few days ago. I pulled the tub and was gonna start the engine swap. Took a few measurements and realized that the frame was tweaked...BAD. More than an in off square and the drivers side frame rail was trying to go horizontal. So, redneck ingenuity to the rescue.
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Old 09-13-2012, 10:17 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Well, it almost kinda worked. Not really at all. A trip to the local steel supplier was on the agenda. After making some crude sketches and taking some measurements i had my list. The guys at the steel shop cut everything to length and all the right angles. Rails are 2x4x(1/8) and plating is 4x(3/16) flat.


Tacked it all together, checked for square and it was less than 1/16 off. I can live with that. Laid some welds down and stuck some fishplates. I left the fishplates long so I could integrate the spring hangers, like on Mieser's build.




Started doing some plating for the power steering box area and got a little crazy. Its BEEFY. Also got the front shackle hangers burned in.










Front end is in and steering box is mocked up. The shackles are way to frickin long, Ill probably go down to 4.25" center hole to center hole on the shackles. Just dont know yet.
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Old 09-14-2012, 06:02 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I don't know shit yet I think it is coming along nicely. I like the way you tied the shackle mount to the plates.

Last edited by Country69; 09-14-2012 at 11:21 AM.
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Old 09-14-2012, 06:18 AM   #4 (permalink)
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nice build!!
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Old 09-14-2012, 07:00 AM   #5 (permalink)
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You've got some awesome fab skills. That rear end you got is the ultimate side drive.
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Old 09-16-2012, 03:54 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I likey
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Old 09-18-2012, 09:41 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Made a little progress over the past two days. Decided to make my own engine mounts. Made of 3/16 flat bar, some 2" DOM, and poly bushings that I had laying around.




Next I sat the tub on the frame and check for clearances. It fits pretty well, but I think Im gonna stretch the tub about 4" in the door. Dont really wanna lose the shovel indention but Ive already lost the axe indention, so we will see.




Preliminary numbers suggest:
87" wheelbase
67" wide
19" to the belly
76" to the top of the cage (educated guess)

Last edited by lurch9; 09-18-2012 at 09:50 PM.
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Old 09-30-2012, 05:39 PM   #8 (permalink)
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This might be kind of a naive question, but what power steering box are you running and what bracket are you using to mount it?
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Old 09-30-2012, 06:31 PM   #9 (permalink)
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This might be kind of a naive question, but what power steering box are you running and what bracket are you using to mount it?
The steering box is from a wagoneer. Its just a 4 bolt mount saginaw box, fairly common box found on many makes and models, iirc. The mount is from advance adapters, its pricey but saved tons of fab time. Saginaw Power Steering Box Mounting Plate for Jeep | Advance Adapters
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Old 10-10-2012, 10:08 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Really nice start!
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Old 10-10-2012, 07:17 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Hell, 60$ for that mount ain't bad at all. I'll probably get one for myself.

The build is looking awesome man, keep us posted.
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Old 11-25-2012, 12:45 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Its been a while since I've updated this thread. I've been slowly making progress. Took a few pics last night to show my progress. I decided to ditch my old cage and start fresh. I also wanted to make my bender vertical mount so I started with that. Heres a pic of the new bender mount.


Once that was done, I started bending some tube. Still alot more to do on the cage, but my steel supplier was closed most of last week.


From the back.


My helper decided to take a break. He's spoiled. A bed, a bone, and he's hogging the only heater in the garage.
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Old 11-25-2012, 01:08 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Nice welder. I love mine.
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Old 11-25-2012, 05:44 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Thanks. I love that welder. I also got my swing pedals in. I plated the firewall and got to work on the pedals. It's a xj clutch/brake pedal assembly. I copied Meiser's pedals and they should work great. Also got the gas pedal in, its from a late 70s cj5. Next up is the steering column, then the clutch master.




Here's a pic from under the hood. The xj booster/master fits, but its tight. Should have room for the clutch master, but I will have to get creative to get the steering shaft in there.

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Old 11-25-2012, 06:03 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Seeing your build has me itching to get out in the shop and work on mine. Maybe after Walking Dead is over.
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Old 12-21-2012, 06:27 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Ive finished up the cage and seat mounts. Also finish welded the floor. Heres a few pics:





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Old 12-30-2012, 06:33 AM   #17 (permalink)
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nice build. i thought all the M38 models had reverse shackles on the front.
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Old 12-30-2012, 09:08 AM   #18 (permalink)
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great build. it's coming along very nice
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:28 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Nice build. Making great progress man.
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Old 12-30-2012, 11:30 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hotrod351:15159760
nice build. i thought all the M38 models had reverse shackles on the front.
M38s had shackles in front, but the A1 had them reversed.
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:35 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Great project! What kind of front seats are those?
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Old 01-15-2013, 05:21 PM   #22 (permalink)
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The seats are racetrim suspension seats from jeepswag.com
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Old 01-15-2013, 05:33 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Ok, got an update. On to the pics!

Fabbed up a trans/t-case skid. Will build a bolt on engine skid after I run my exhaust.









I also ditched the advance adapters in-frame headers for a set of manifolds off a 231. Steering column just clears



Also got the clutch master installed and made a bracket to hold my proportioning valve.

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Old 02-22-2013, 05:06 PM   #24 (permalink)
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What steering column did you use?
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Old 02-23-2013, 12:52 PM   #25 (permalink)
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What steering column did you use?
I got the column off ebay. Made my own mounts for dash and firewall. If I could do it again I would just get some 14gauge 1.5" tube, some flanged bearings from tractor supply and some 3/4" cold rolled for the shaft. If you have a steel supplier local, the column could be made for around $25
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