Willys Pickups?

Discussion in 'Jeep Utility Tech' started by colojeepguy, Oct 22, 2016.

  1. Nov 2, 2016
    commanlerwrangdo

    commanlerwrangdo Member

    Cleveland, Ohio
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    Wow. So many comments raising absolutely valid points. Being a man who owns and drives YJ's, a 61 modded CJ, three different Commandos and currently working on getting one of my wagons and one of my pickups to driveable status, I found this discussion most interesting. So, my two cents....

    1 - Depends on what you want the vehicle to do. All three Commandos can keep up with modern traffic speeds with the stock drivetrains since the Dauntless is a 160 HP powerhouse. My CJ keeps up with modern traffic because it's heavily modded to do so with a 89 TBI system.

    2 - Handling. Highway speed handling is certainly not optimal on any of them when compared to modern suspensions, with the 71 Commando being the best of the bunch with the stock Saginaw steering. The Willys truck or wagon just by the nature of a longer wheelbase will be better at highway speed handling..
    Many in the Old Willys Forum who want daily drivers with power, better fuel economy and improved braking/handling are using Suburban frames under wagons and extend the cabs on pickups about 8 or 9 inches with panel parts from a donor wagon to use the Suburban under a pickup.
    Then there's the purists who enjoy the simplicity of an original drivetrain and travel just fine understanding the maintenance level is more often with the old vehicles.

    Ideally, I'd like a stock drivetrain pickup and wagon and a modernized pickup and wagon and utilize all 4 Willys I've acquired. Right after I win the lottery.....
     
  2. Nov 21, 2016
    Long&Low

    Long&Low Active Member

    Geauga County, OH
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2009
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    My vote, a Willys wagon on a TJ Unlimited frame, suspension and driveline. (yes just like the one they did in JP magazine).

    As for a Willys truck, I'd keep it stock looking but update the driveline, axles, motor, transmission. At least discs on the front and fuel injection, and an updated wiring harness. As for motors, and anything else depends on what your gonna do with, as has been repeatedly stated earlier.
     
  3. Jun 23, 2017
    teletech

    teletech Member

    Live Oak, CA
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    Aug 20, 2016
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    67
    My mom got nostalgic for her grandfather's pickup some years ago and I found her a very clean and mostly unmolested 1957 PU.
    I did change it to 12V w/electronic ignition for reliability and later put a TBI system on the flat-head motor mostly because the carter had no fast-idle with the choke and mom was having a hard time in the winter. Other than that, the truck was surprisingly usable as a daily driver!

    I would just suggest that given how rare uncut ones are, it should be easy to find something already modded to get you at least close to your goal.
     

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  4. Jun 23, 2017
    Glenn

    Glenn Kinda grumpy old man Staff Member Sponsor

    Apopka, Fl
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    I don't drive my wagon in traffic now because of insurance, but as far as being usable as a daily driver I agree it's not that much different than driving any other vehicle. Having said that any vehicle that isn't an automatic isn't all that great to drive in heavy traffic that is stop and go, traffic lights to deal with etc.
     
  5. Jun 23, 2017
    commanlerwrangdo

    commanlerwrangdo Member

    Cleveland, Ohio
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2014
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    Yes, It's amazing how even a few "early modern" updates, like TBI and an internal regulated alternator, can really enhance the original driving experience. Peppy, the 67 Commando is my current daily traveler. GM alt and a few circuit improvements are the only mods really done to it and it does an hour on the highway like nothing. Also been amazed at how well the Ross steering works in Peppy - you truly have a feel for the road with no looseness. Guess it helps I keep it greased and it just rolled 61,400 onto the clock during my last trip to the storage/shop. :)
     
  6. Jun 23, 2017
    teletech

    teletech Member

    Live Oak, CA
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    It's true, actually the clutch was why we finally sold her truck. We didn't want to modify it otherwise with an automatic she'd still be using it.
     
  7. Jun 23, 2017
    PeteL

    PeteL Member Sponsor

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    These vehicles were considered absolutely normal as daily drivers, within recent memory.

    In the '70s and '80s my only vehicle for ten years was a 1950 F-head pickup.
     
  8. Jun 23, 2017
    Glenn

    Glenn Kinda grumpy old man Staff Member Sponsor

    Apopka, Fl
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    Sep 21, 2002
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    Up until April '08 the main thing I drove to work was one of the Jeeps. Traffic around here was the main reason I retired them.
     
  9. Oct 10, 2017
    txtoller

    txtoller Member

    Weatherford, TX
    Joined:
    May 28, 2014
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    I know that I am late to the game, but you can get a salvaged JKU...then you can run all modern, just need to cut 2" out of the front of the bed...grin
     

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