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M38a1 Turbocharged L134 Build Thread

Discussion in 'Builds and Fabricators Forum' started by Mturbo8A1, Oct 16, 2019.

  1. Oct 16, 2019
    Mturbo8A1

    Mturbo8A1 New Member

    Pittsfield, Illinois
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2019
    Messages:
    21
    I've been wanting to make a record of my progress for a long time now (about 10-11 years, honestly)
    on the '55 M38a1 I've got, and I think this is as good as any. As I upload photos, I'll explain everything that happened, why I did it, what I would do different, etc... and hopefully get some good advice and or help someone else on their project.

    It all started sometime in 2008 when my neighbor offered to sell this worn out old jeep to me and my brother as a project, to the tune of $500. We split the cost, fired it up, and drove it the mile home. We had no idea what we had, we just new it was an old jeep, with no brakes, awful sloppy steering, no wiring, and a flathead. But it did have a title!

    Yes. It is indeed covered in brown latex house paint, with black spray paint camoflauge.
    It had a bullet hole through the passenger windshield, and the gas tank was sitting in the back seat area on some pretty awfully made brackets. It also came with the original military M38A1 arctic top as part of the deal (no doors though).

    But we didn't care, we had a jeep, it ran pretty good, so we did a basic wiring job (not a pretty one), hooked up some lights, a generic turn signal, put in a new master cylinder, and drove it for a year or so.

    Also torched out some basic rock sliders out of bent 3/16" treadplate to cover the major rust holes under the door openings.


    Not having much money to invest in it, we bubba'd a few things, and being just a teenager, I didn't have a lot of experience anyways. So, in that year, I blew every single steel brake line (rust), realized every steering component was completely worn out, and that this thing was gonna need serious investment of time to be safe.
    So into the barn it went to sit for another year.

    In 2010, we decided that we were going to do something about it. My brother wanted restoration, I wanted resto-mod, we talked about V6 swaps... but the flathead ran so well and without problem that we kind of hated to part with it. And we couldn't find an F134 ANYWHERE locally and at a reasonable price. So since restoration was out, I thought modern brakes and steering would be an easy start.

    And then it went back into the barn to sit for another year or two.

    In the meantime, we picked up a 1971 DJ5D and a 47 CJ2A for free (parts)
    I stripped the front axle, rims, dash, steering column and shafts, master cylinder and bracket, grill, hood, fenders, air cleaner, carburetor, switches, electrical parts, and all manner of things off of the DJ5D, then scrapped it. The basket Case 2A donated a spare l134, t90/d18, d25/d41 and some more wheels.

    And in the meantime, the M38A1 sat some more.

    Then in 2015 we pulled the body off, sent it to be sandblasted and primed, and then went to work over the next couple of years, gathering parts slowly and assembling as cash was available (we were both in college).

    When the body got back, it was pretty revealing. The hat channels were gone, as was the factory m38a1 gas tank well, toolbox bottom, and basically the whole floor. So being the cheapskate that I am, I had some 10' x 10' sheets of 10 ga. cut from some crude oil storage bins from a local oil field salvage place. I picked up some 1" x 2" x 1/8" rectangle tubing and started cutting out and replacing the floors.


    Most of the retaining nuts for the bolt in tunnel were either gone, or had bolts broken off, so I replaced them all with 3/8" x 16 nuts welded in place, followed up with a cheap tap to clean the threads.

    Afterward, I bought a bedliner gun, and bedlined the entire underside to seal everything up nicely.

    More Pics and Progress coming soon!

    To be Continued...
     
    47v6, 73 cj5, jeepstar and 6 others like this.
  2. Oct 16, 2019
    Rich M.

    Rich M. Shoe pusher

    Maryland
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    Messages:
    598
    Welcome :watch:
     
  3. Oct 16, 2019
    jeepstar

    jeepstar Sponsor Sponsor

    Sheboygan
    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2006
    Messages:
    1,360
    Awesome! You ever go jeeping in pittsfield? I see you are from There in your signature. I used to go all the time with the old jeep club, legendary civilian jeepers (now defunct due to internal politics). That place was wicked awesome to jeep!

    Still talk to those guys on both sides of the fray, because I'm not much for caring which way things go.....but I digress....love the story, and cant wait to see the jeep!
     
  4. Oct 16, 2019
    Mturbo8A1

    Mturbo8A1 New Member

    Pittsfield, Illinois
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2019
    Messages:
    21
    Two rivers Jeep club is still around, I've never wheeled with them, but I know a lot of the guys and a lot of the property owners are good family friends. Mostly since this thing has been apart or broken until this year, I've only done wheeling on the farm. It's honestly only been in running, driving, stopping and steering form for the last month and a half in the last 6-7 years.
     
  5. Oct 16, 2019
    jeepstar

    jeepstar Sponsor Sponsor

    Sheboygan
    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2006
    Messages:
    1,360
    That's the group that hosts us, the 2 rivers jeep club!
    Maybe we can meet and wheel this coming spring!

    Get going on that jeep!
     
  6. Oct 16, 2019
    Mturbo8A1

    Mturbo8A1 New Member

    Pittsfield, Illinois
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2019
    Messages:
    21
    Alright back at the build.
    Toolbox repair, while I was at it, and because I had it, I threw a piece of 1/8" treadplate over the back area... makes it looks slightly better. Function over form, I suppose.
    Since the frame was by itself, I removed the entire suspension (10-leaf factory pack was all frowny faced). Factory springs were so bad, that the bump stops had all gotten knocked off, and the axles only sat 2" from the frame, with no passengers...

    So in goes the 2" Pro-Comp lift kit.
    Cheaply priced, comes with all the shocks and hardware, and decent reviews.

    It's just 2", right?

    Yes, but no. Extreme sag plus 2" lift equals about a 6" altitude increase on this.
    Also replaced the C shackles with worn out bushings with some I made at the place I was working at then. Threw them on a rack to be powder coated there and walla
     
  7. Oct 16, 2019
    Focker

    Focker That's what I do, I know things and I fix stuff. Staff Member Sponsor 2019 Sponsor

    Tri-Cities WA
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2014
    Messages:
    6,192
    :confused:
     
  8. Oct 16, 2019
    Mturbo8A1

    Mturbo8A1 New Member

    Pittsfield, Illinois
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2019
    Messages:
    21
    Still working on it, I've got 5,000 photos on my google photos cloud I have to sift through, still uploading photos from 2015.
     
  9. Oct 16, 2019
    ITLKSEZ

    ITLKSEZ Volvophilic

    Post Falls, ID
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2015
    Messages:
    3,389
    Are you seeing pics? I’m not.
     
  10. Oct 16, 2019
    Focker

    Focker That's what I do, I know things and I fix stuff. Staff Member Sponsor 2019 Sponsor

    Tri-Cities WA
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    Aug 18, 2014
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    I see them.
     
  11. Oct 16, 2019
    Focker

    Focker That's what I do, I know things and I fix stuff. Staff Member Sponsor 2019 Sponsor

    Tri-Cities WA
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2014
    Messages:
    6,192
    You must not be "sharing" them here. Check the settings in your media albums.
     
    ITLKSEZ likes this.
  12. Oct 16, 2019
    Mturbo8A1

    Mturbo8A1 New Member

    Pittsfield, Illinois
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2019
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    21
    More photos of lift kit and associated parts.


    While I had everything in various stages of apart, it was a good time to do a front disc conversion.

    My neighbor had Chevy dana 44 caliper brackets on an axle out behind his house, and trading some tractor parts snagged them and a couple calipers as a core.
    So:
    Dana 44 caliper brackets,
    Scout 2 rotors (New, pretty cheap)
    80's Chevy 4x4 calipers, new from Oriellys ($30 each!!!)
    Brake hoses from same year Chevy truck.
    New brake pads, whatever's cheapest.
    Longer wheel studs
    Flush mount knuckle fill plug

    The install I got off of Vernco, and that page has been dead forever, but four wheeler or JP magazine has write-ups on it.

    I plumbed in an inline 2 lb. Valve from speedway to the front lines, installed a full hard line set from Kaiser Willys, and put the DJ5D drums on the back.
     
  13. Oct 16, 2019
    Mturbo8A1

    Mturbo8A1 New Member

    Pittsfield, Illinois
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2019
    Messages:
    21
    I still haven't uploaded all of them, trying to go through the build steps and add them in that order, maybe when I'm done I'll make them viewable to everybody.
     
  14. Oct 16, 2019
    Mturbo8A1

    Mturbo8A1 New Member

    Pittsfield, Illinois
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2019
    Messages:
    21
    Sorry did I need to have them set as shared to view them in a forum post? I didn't realize.
     
    Focker likes this.
  15. Oct 16, 2019
    Focker

    Focker That's what I do, I know things and I fix stuff. Staff Member Sponsor 2019 Sponsor

    Tri-Cities WA
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2014
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    6,192
    Yes
     
  16. Oct 16, 2019
    Mturbo8A1

    Mturbo8A1 New Member

    Pittsfield, Illinois
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2019
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    21
    Alright I've switched privacy of my album to shared.
     
    Focker likes this.
  17. Oct 17, 2019
    jeepstar

    jeepstar Sponsor Sponsor

    Sheboygan
    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2006
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    1,360
    I'm still not seeing pics..
     
  18. Oct 17, 2019
    Fly Navy

    Fly Navy Member

    Emerson, IA
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2014
    Messages:
    324
    You and me both:(
     
  19. Oct 17, 2019
    Mturbo8A1

    Mturbo8A1 New Member

    Pittsfield, Illinois
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2019
    Messages:
    21
    Alright, album has been switched to Member's Only.

    In addition to the 2 Lb. Inline RPV I plumbed into the front line, I put a 10 lb. valve on the rear line, and removed the rubber baffle inside the factory master.
     
  20. Oct 17, 2019
    Mturbo8A1

    Mturbo8A1 New Member

    Pittsfield, Illinois
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2019
    Messages:
    21
    To finish off the changes on the front axle, I had to come up with a solution for the steering tie rods and rod ends.
    I hated the factory Y-shaped drag link, I wanted something simple, that wouldn't change toe-in as the suspension cycles.
    There are tons of off the shelf options to make a one-piece drag link for a CJ5, however they come typically with 11/16" rod ends. (standard cj5 size)
    M38 and M38A1 use 3/4" rod ends. Although I can use a CJ5 end, I wanted the beefier ends. So, I fabbed a drag link.
    I made hardened inserts on the lathe in both left hand and right hand threads, then bored the ID of some 3/4" SCH. 80 Seamless pipe, and then TIG welded the inserts in place.

    After that, I switched the larger rod end with the tapered hole to the passenger side, and ran the other two links to the tie rod and drank. Bought some jam nuts from McMaster Carr in Left and Right hand threads, and my new drag link was done.
     
    iharding, jeepstar and Fly Navy like this.

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