1946 CJ2A - mostly stock cruiser and mild wheeler
Edit for posterity: Purchased January 15, 2019
I've been wheeling and building a full size bronco for years and we all know projects are never "done", but its pretty built and I have found myself thinking about something a little different. A few of my buddies have picked up post-war Willy's and I really liked them. The style is as about as iconic as can be, they are stupid simple, pretty reliable as a result, and cheaper than an EB, FJ, etc...
So... I recently drug home this 46 (yes I know it has the wrong windshield, its a 3A or B - I'm sure one of you will chime in :flipoff2: )
It's been on a ranch in Northern California for something like 25 years. It's definitely rough around the edges including rust in the body (still good where it matters like floorboards) but its solid where it matters. Rebuilt original L134 that fires up fast and runs strong, trans shifts good, t-case seems good, axles are good. It needs brakes, but other then that its a pretty solid mechanical runner. And importantly for CA - clean title and up to date registration which makes the DMV trip way easier!
A few pics of day 1 before I did anything to it, off the trailer, and into my driveway...
Pretty sure that's not how the engine mount is supposed to work...
Looks much better with the tow bar and roll bar out! That roll bar was pretty fugly... I spent a lot of quality time with this pressure washer, I don't think this thing has been cleaned in 25 years.
So here's the plan...
This thing is pretty darn close to stock and I want to leave it that way. There's plenty of modified flatties out there which are awesome, nothing against that, but I want to try and preserve what this was. I want it to more or less ride and drive like it did new in 1946.
I'll do small upgrades that make life easier, 12 volts, a decent wiring harness, a 1 wire alternator, solid state distributor, tubeless tires, etc. as long as they don't really affect the looks and have mostly unnoticeable affects on day to day drive-ability. Sorry not sorry to the resto guys - this is not meant to be 100% faithful to the original.
Most of all the plan is to actually use the thing. Home Depot runs, light wheeling trips, drive to work once in a while, etc.
Saturday Jan 26 - Tuesday Jan 29
These pics are about a week and a half ago... I'm planning on going on a trip the weekend of Feb 15th with it so times ticking... And as these things go it snow balled a bit... There were some cracks in the frame at the front crossmember under the radiator and then I was wondering how the rest of the frame looked and things escalated.
Despite the thing being driveable, its clearly been neglected a bit. The more I tore into it the more parts I ordered... Pedals have seen better days...
Ready to pull the body
And with the help of a friend we lifted the body off. This is one of the things I've really been enjoying about working on this thing, it's so small, simple and all the components are so light! I can lift axle assemblies by myself. The body is movable with the 2 guys, etc. I think the trussed 60 in the front of my bronco is over 500 pounds. Totally different animals.
I rolled the frame outside for some pressure washing. Normally I would've pulled the motor and trans but as I said I'm on a timeline here and need to pick and chose my battles...
After a few cans of degreaser and a tank of gas through the pressure washer it was much cleaner. Something I could actually work on.
Rear crossmember had some rust issues
Not structural but to be fixed
Front crossmember crack
The rest of the frame was pretty solid so I was feeling pretty good about it on the whole. Time to get to fixing!
Thursday January 31
Skip the next few pics if you're a purist... My frame work centered around 2 ideas... repairs where needed, strength for front and rear recovery, including provisions for a winch (I want to put an 8274 on it - dig the look even if not totally period correct). So with that and a loose regard for originality, I got to work with the torch, grinder, and welder.
The rear crossmember got braced all the way through with angle iron
And I added some strength to the rear hitch mount deal, this steel was just so thin I couldn't see doing real recovery off it
The rear all done and ready to rock
The gray looking paint in places is weld through primer, so there is paint on the bare metal where surfaces hit each other.
I plated the front frame horns since they seem to like to crack at the crossmember
And then apparently put the camera down for a few hours and got to work. Ready for that 8274!
Painted the frame with POR
And officially started putting parts back on the thing :grinpimp:
That brings us pretty much up to date. Now I just gotta put the whole thing back together with some new parts along the way...
Willys actually made a part to solve your engine mount dilemma. They are tough to find though. But with a little creativity you could create your own.
Some picks here:
I canít wait to see how this turns out!
I took the easy way out on the engine mount, welded a chunk of angle iron and used a replacement 2A mount.
Damnit Dan, I don't need another one of your projects to drool over :flipoff2:
Sub'd to see where this goes!
the fun has begun!!!
Monday Feb 4
Replaced the trans mount today, the one that was in there was missing a stud into the trans crossmember and the one stud that was there... didn't have a nut on it :homer:
This thing had more loose and/or missing hardware than it did properly installed hardware...
Rebuilt the clutch and brake pedal assemblies. Bought replacements for the 2 pivot bar deal-y-o's, cleaned up and painted a bunch of old parts, new master cylinder, I think its all back together right and ready to rock.
Apparently its common for these clutch pivots to come out looking like this...
Supposedly going to drive this out of the garage Friday...
Can you help me out with a dimension? Can you get a dimension from your shock mount to the grill mount?
I'll reply in your thread.
Wednesday Feb 6
Well if it doesn't run, at least it'll look... better (good would've been a stretch) :grinpimp:
Whole mess of parts to rebuild the front axle
The steering box had a bunch of play so I ordered parts and got to rebuilding. The pitman arm was in pretty rough shape. I watched this video and it was pretty painless.
Then came time to remove some wheel studs.. Man I've done this a bunch of times and never had studs fight me like this. Holy Hell. The press got most of them out but literally started separating the drum. A few of them took grinding, hammering, and heat, but got them all out and didn't run the hubs in the process.
Rear end coming together, new drums, with new studs and old hubs waiting to go on. I'm putting standard thread wheel studs all around. The left hand stuff on the passenger side was sure to cause problems, if not with me forgetting and wailing on them with the impact, then someone else.
Good thing these things are so simple because I'm kinda screwed on my timeline!
Thursday Feb 7
Replaced some worn out Spicers with some cheap Chinese stuff. I need to figure out where to get some decent parts for this thing, lots of omix-ada and other cheap stuff floating around.
Rear end all buttoned up and ready to party
Is this clearance due to measuring or dumb luck? Probably dumb luck since with the skid plate on it'd create a fine mess running down the skid...
There couldn't have been more than 6-8 oz in the transmission, fortunately there was not water in it and the fluid that came out didn't look terrible.
Can't see a single photo. :(
What you're doing has been on my bucket list since I ever set eyes onan MB...
Any ideas if it runs?
Love what you're got going on.
Yes it runs, I drove it into the garage! Supposedly has a rebuilt engine... runs strong so its a possibility. Shifts through all the gears, the twin stick t-case works. Brakes were real bad, 3-4 pumps yielded something vaguely resembling brakes. Fortunately with 60HP its hard to get the thing moving to quick :grinpimp:
As I was looking for a Willys I got pretty clear on criteria...
- Stock drivetrain (this is tough, so many have all kinds of engine, trans, axle, etc. swaps)
- Needed to run and drive to prove at least the vast majority of the components are in somewhat working order. I wasn't looking for a total rebuild
- Not a total rust bucket, I expected things like the toolbox under the passenger seat to be rusted out but I didn't want to get into major frame repairs. This body is a little worse than I originally realized but its salvageable for the driver I want it to be. It'd be a lot of work as a restoration candidate. And from welding on the frame its quite solid. All visible rust was surface.
- Clean title and current reg (or non op) as this can be a pain and $$$ in CA
For anyone interested, I paid $3,700. After a lot of craigslisting and talking to a friend that's been doing old Willy's stuff for 20 years (he went to look at this one with me) I think that's a decent price for what it is. You can get cheaper trucks but they don't run and drive, or you get into weird title and reg stuff. As I said I drove this thing into the garage and its got current plates and tags on it so (hopefully soon) I can drive it to home depot, the grocery store, or maybe even do some wheeling!
Friday Feb 8 - Saturday Feb 9
The steering bell-crank-thingy had a lot of slop so I bought a rebuild kit with the shaft and 2 bearings that press into the arm, was a pretty simple rebuild.
Buttoning up the front axle. The frame makes a good work stand!
rear end done, now with shocks!
Put in a thermostat since there was none. Ultra copper FTW!
Found this cool plate on the driver side of the engine block. Rebuilt in Japan in 1956. Imagine The stories the parts (and whole) of this truck could tell!
Got the tub back on. It's heavy for 2 people, but do-able.
New seat covers and foam on the original frames. Also added some lap belts for a slight increase in safety. Center console isnt mounted yet, the floor is far from flat there so I haven't figured that out just yet.
And here it is Sunday night around 9 PM. Supposedly I'm going wheeling with it next weekend :eek:
I bought this thing on Tuesday January 15th and didn't really touch it until the following Friday. Not bad for ~ 3 weeks work :grinpimp:
Hey the photos are back! :-) Looking good, and now I cam blame you for my random CL searches for Broncos and Old Jeeps :flipoff2:
Cool project. Refreshing to see a driver using all the original parts.
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