Here’s an update on the restoration of our Febuary 1944 Willys MB Jeep. For background, this Jeep was deployed to the Australian Army and served in the Pacific Theatre in WW2 then later had a tough life in agriculture. A sympathetic restoration is being undertaken retaining as much of the original vehicle metal as possible with the aim of recreating a safe and reliable and most importantly original wartime Jeep. 

The original chassis has had corroded sections repaired and replaced, the original body tub has also been repaired and any rusted areas of the under floor reinforcing ‘top hat’ channels has had new steel welded in where needed (rather than replacing complete panels or even using a repro replacement tub!). The original body and chassis have been primed and painted in period Olive Drab Matt 1. Axles have been overhauled and fitted with refurbished road springs and new dampers the vehicle now sits on its rebuilt wartime original split-rim wheels with new authentic style military “Firestone” bar grip tyres and as such is a rolling chassis. 

Many other items such as, fenders, front grill , carburettor, distributor, starter motor, generator, steering box/column and prop shafts have been restored and new parts fitted where needed. A new wiring loom has also been installed (easier to do with the body off of the chassis). 

The Willys Go Devil engine (from a donor jeep also from Australia dating from May 1943) was found to be seized and on strip down it was discovered that one of the four pistons was of a different design to the others and had badly corroded, but this was eventually extracted. To be expected for an 80 year old engine it had been rebored and crank journals reground more than once in its life. The block and crank were sent to local experts (Automotive Machining Services of Ditchling) who advised fitting liners and reboring to standard size with new pistons, rings, valve guides and hardened seats (safe for unleaded fuel). The crank required only light polishing and new bearings. 

Next tasks are to reassemble the engine, clean and inspect the gearbox and transfer case, fit new parking brake shoes and shaft seals and mate the engine and gearbox and lift it into the chassis. Then the body tub can be fitted, wiring completed. The original radiator needs re-coring and new rubber hoses throughout. The project continues, more news to follow. 

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