Discussion in 'Jeep Utility Tech' started by colojeepguy, Oct 22, 2016.
I'll second that emotion.
Keep It Simple as he learns the basics.
We'd like a stock-ish looking truck, but I don't think 60 year old mechanicals are up to dealing with modern traffic in a big city.
I definitely would want it to have power steering and disc brakes (front at least). I'm thinking a more modern small V6 or small V8, overdrive trans, and tcase.
buy a basket case. 4.3 FI mated to a 700r4 or equivalent with adapter for dana 300? Dana 30 up front and a dana 60 in the rear? Fab driveshafts and done?
This thread is really making me think. I have never been a huge fan of the willys pickups or wagons, but seeing the extended cab project and thinking about the drivetrain possibilites....
If a pile of parts with a title could be had for a grand or less......Problem is it still has zero modern safety systems, but I do drive an open jeep daily... hmmmmmm.
Just another crazy thought...
Drop the body on a Durango platform.
First generation (up to '03) had a 116.2" wheelbase and second generation was 119.2" (Willys pickup was 118"). You'd be set with fuel injection, AC, rack and pinion steering, optional antilock 4-wheel disc brakes, rear coils (on second generation).... and airbags? Haha
Complete, running donors are all over CL for $1000. One locally even has a factory 360 in it.
It sounds like a lot of work, but really, it's no more than what you have planned for a stock "build", just different, with a completely different and more modern outcome.
S-10 platforms seem popular too. I see Wagons dropped on them all the time on Craigslist.
Back in the day I had a '53 (IIRC) wagon with a 283 SBC and stock drive train. It was my only vehicle for a long time, great on city streets and a goat off road. I turned the back into a camper with mattress, curtains, cabinets and a fold down table. I'd love another but can't justify adding to the herd at the moment.
ITS ALL ABOUT THE RUST! Don't worry a second about the running gear in an old truck. Motors, trans, and transfer cases can be picked up dirt cheap for these things if you are willing to look. Axles donors for a pickup are limitless. Virtually anything will fit. Adding to Tim's line above, a mid 70's wagoneer can often be had in running condition for a couple hundred dollars these days as very few people want to deal with the rust issues most have. Think 258, t15, 20 with 44s front and rear. Makes a nice driver that will start and stop nicely. If you can dream it, you can build it. The day I got my driver's license, I got to go back to school that afternoon driving the M38 that we had drug home when I was in 4th grade and built it into a really cool Jeep. It's all about making lifelong memories.
Never been a fan of the Willys pickups, jeepsters or wagons. Always thought Willys/Kaiser should have ditched those ideas and instead spent $ and engineering talent on upgrading and generally perfecting the CJ and M-series jeeps. For example, why not a full floating D44 instead of the 2 piece tapered rear axle? The F-head all the way to 1971? And the steering? Gimme a break.
The Dodge, Chevy/GMC and Ford 4wd pickups were superior in every way to the Willys trucks. I've had one of each ('62 GMC/305V6/SM420/Rockwell TC/3-4 ton etc; '67 Powerwagon/383/NP435 etc- incredible rig and a '71 Ford 3/4 ton, 390, 4 speed etc). Completely stock all of them and absolutely driveable in any conditions, off road or on the highway. Very comfortable, great looking rigs. Every one of them a classic. Compare that to the underpowered 4/6 cylinder, T90, D18, Timken axle in rear and D25 up front in the Willys PU.
So here's a vote for ditching the Willys idea altogether and going with a properly engineered truck right away. No need to re-design by swapping bodies and complete running gear swaps. Just rebuild and maybe upgrade with power steering. Cheaper, easier and far more likely to not end up an unfinished project.
Sorry guys, I love the CJ and Mjeeps and have had them since '70. Let's see,
But Willys had some questionable ideas.
I'm a fan of the Willys Wagons over the pickups, only because the cab is short on legroom, though extended cabs fix that, but are a lot of work. Either wagons or pickups are way cool looking, but the mechanicals are archaic. Driveline swaps are easy, including engine, trans, axles, steering, ect.
I'm working on a delivery that will sit on a LR Disco coiler chassis with SBC/4L60.
Whatever you decide, spend the time to find the right body with no rust! Don't worry about the driveline. Stalled projects are sometime a bargain.
"Engineering?" "Upgrading?" Ford (for instance) didn't even offer four wheel drive until 1959.
When I was a kid every carpenter, mason, or builder I knew had a Willys truck or wagon. Anyone who plowed snow used a Jeep of some kind, most often the truck.
What about finding the body and making a frame? I would assume it would be similar to the CJ frames of the same times, more or less flat.
but to be honest, I like the idea of finding an existing frame and running gear and setting the body on it. I think it would be very cool and hope if you do it, you do a build thread here.
For years, Willys dominated an uncontested field, sure. But as soon as the others did offer 4wd, Willys' archaic design and performance couldn't compete and the end came quickly.
Virtually every vehicle ever made has been changed over the years......it has basically met the same fate you just described.
It comes down to what one considers "archaic design". I don't see any real difference from what Willys/Kaiser used for components and what others used at the time. Are D18's/D20's really that much different than 205's? The transmissions were just off-the-shelf items used by a bunch of manufacturers. And everyone used closed knuckle front axles.
The big difference between Willys/Kaiser and the others was the bodies after about 1955. The Wagoneers/Gladiators solved that-but 8 years late.
The only place I really see Willys/Kaiser lacking was engine technology. The 230 OHC should have rectified that, at least in the larger vehicles, but the oil leaks killed it here even though those problems were largely resolved in the first year of production. It did go on to see more development and success in Argentina.
The only real looser's in my mind were sticking to 1926 Whippet technology in the 134's and the silly Ross box through 1971. But guess that's what happens when you don't have any real research and development money.
I don't quite get comparing a Willys pickup to a '67 Power Wagon or a '71 F250. New Jeeps drove and handled fine even with the Ross box so I doubt the steering was really an issue until it started getting worn, plus quality parts were obviously available so I'd bet that repairing it was no big deal either.
Couple that with the lack of money as mentioned and one can imagine that Willys/Kaiser hung on as best they could.
Here's a willy's wagon / panel that's just what every teenage boy needs...
1944 Willys-Overland panel show car
Except wagons weren't made in '44. From the '50-'54 grill and pointed hood and fenders, I think they might have a '54 there. The 4" chop has a good proportion, not too much, but enough to visually lengthen the body and still make it so you can see out of it.
A pickup or wagon are the only two items I have a green light on getting. Almost got a truck a few years back, just couldn't make the funds work at the time. Basket cases or mechanical issues are the ones I look for as I will either put a V6 in for just a run around, or something like a 383 stroker / diesel if I'm going to pull a trailer with it... I've always thought about a small trailer with the '51 on it pulled behind a Willys PU would be a cool combo.
I would put modern D44s front and back with a 5 or 6 speed tranny and Tcase. It's long enough that you won't be limited on what to put there, but never been a fan of autos.
Just food for thought.
If I ever build another truck, I don't think I'd run anything less than a small V8. I ran a Buick V6 in mine, and I was always wishing it just had a little more power. Granted, it was rolling on 36s.
Edit: And air conditioning!! Those cabs get HOT! with very little air flow.
Wife likes some of the wagons. Something like this would be perfect with a 360.
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