Glen Wiley's Jeep CJ2A Blog

This page is intended to provide a record of the work that I am doing to repair and restore my Jeep CJ2A. I purchased the jeep on November 14, 2016 for $2700. The vital stats are:

This is a 1947 Willy's Jeep CJ2A that was converted to 12V before I bought it. There are a few "repairs" that are not original but most of this Jeep is original equipment for the CJ2A. The frame and sheet metal were in great shape, there are a few holes in a few of the side panels but it has remarkably little rust. 1947 Willy's CJ2A In My Shop

Title Date
Transmission, Round 2 2016-12-20 12:44
Transmission, Round 1 2016-12-20 12:26
Fasteners 2016-12-20 13:46
Clutch Replacement 2016-11-30 12:14
Lifting the Body off the Frame 2016-11-28 16:58
Brake Master Cylinder Upgrade 2016-11-21 17:59
Willy's Jeep CJ2A TODO List 2016-11-30 15:46

Transmission, Round 2

updated 2016-12-18

The mainshaft bolt was really stuck on both of the transfer cases that I have. I resorted to brute force multiplied by a 4 foot cheater bar. I have a picture of what it took to loosen the nut on both of the mainshafts. Note the small length of aluminum rod sticking into the transfer case. That was wedged into the gears to hold them in place while I applied force to the lever. The aluminum was impressively smashed afterward but it did its job with no damage to the gears.

CJ2A remove mainshaft

The next problem was a bolt that a PO had broken off in the transmission case. The bolt was about 1/8" below the top of the case and I wasn't sure how hard it was stuck. I decided to build it up with some 3/32" 7014 electrode - here is the before shot:

CJ2A T-90 case with broken bolt

I had a few tough starts, had to grind off a little weldment that oozed onto the case and had the bolt break off twice when I tried to wrench it. Third try was a charm and the bolt came out really easily.

CJ2A T-90 case with broken bolt

Transmission, Round 1

updated 2016-12-03

I have disassembled the transmission with the exception of the transmission mainshaft which is stuck in the transfer case until I get my hands on a 1 1/4" socket. The transmission case has been mostly scrubbed but needs a good wipedown and then painting with engine paint. I also have to remove a bolt that the previous owner broke off in the case that secures the transmission cover.

CJ2A T-90 Transmission gears on the table

I removed the crossmember that supports the transmission and transfer case and serves as the rear engine mount as well. This had a bunch of bogus fasteners holding it on so I am replacing them with legit grade 5 bolts. I also had to take the cross member out to my anvil to hammer it back in shape where it looked as though it made contact with something hard! It is mostly straight now.

While I was meditating on how to unstick the transmission main shaft I started pulling tires off and found the drivers side rear lug nuts are not bugding - broke a 3/8" drive extension using my 4 foot cheater bar. I hit those with some liquid wrench and will try again in a few days.

And that is how one learns about left hand threads on the driver side of a jeep CJ2A. I jut earned myself the privelege of replacing all of the wheel studs on the driver side with right hand thread studs.


updated 2016-12-20

Getting together a list of the fasteners that I need to order so that I can save some money on shipping. Since this takes some research I decided to capture the work in a separate table in the hopes that it might help someone else rebuilding a CJ2A.

With a 70 year old vehicle many of the bolts are lost, replaced with inadequate parts, badly worn or corroded or in many cases broken. Many of these will be "close enough", meaning that I can either trim the length from a longer one or change the specification based on the situation I have on my particular jeep. I am opting for grade 5 bolts in most cases, they are only twice as expensive as the standard steel bolts.

Application Description Qty Notes
Bolt Depot, bolt, hex, grade 5, 3/8"-24x1 1/4, $20.96/100
Transmission cross member to frame bolt, hex 3/8"-24x1 1/8" 4 use 1 1/4" length
Bolt Depot, bolt, hex, 3/8"-24x1 1/2, grade 5, $0.31
Flywheel housing to cylinder block bolt, hex 3/8"-24x1 1/8" 4 cut from 1 1/2" length, check body length
Flywheel housing to cylinder block bolt, hex 3/8"-24x1 5/8" 2 use 1 1/2" length, check body length
Bolt Depot, bolt, hex, 5/16"-18 5/8, grade 5, $0.10
Transmission, cover to case bolt, hex 5/16"-18 5/8" 6
Bolt Depot, nut, hex, grade 5, 3/8"-24, $5.31/100
Transmission cross member to frame nut, hex, grade 5 3/8"-24 4
Flywheel housing to cylinder block nut, hex 3/8"-24 8
Bolt Depot, washer, USS, flat, grade 5, 3/8", $6.95/100
Transmission cross member to frame washer, USS, flat, grade 5 3/8" 8
Flywheel housing to cylinder block bolt, hex 3/8"-24x2 1/8" dowel 2
Body to frame TBD TBD TBD

Clutch Replacement

updated 2016-11-30

With the body off and the transmission removed it only makes sense to service the clutch. I watched a few good videos on the procedure before I dove in. There is a three part CJ3B clutch replacement video that helped me understand how to approach this.


Lifting the Body off the Frame

updated 2016-11-26

Richard and I were driving the jeep around the yard and the clutch gave out so I decided to turn this into a body off frame rebuild. The wiring harness was very, very simple so I labeled the wires with masking tape and numbered each wire on each side of the cuts I made. There might have been about 12 wires (not counting the tail lights). The pedal linkage, steering box and dashboard connections (like the speedo cable and the temperature guage) were all pretty quick.

The CJ2A is based on the M38A which was designed to be field serviced by enlisted soldiers in the field. This means that everything is pretty easy to get to. Almost all of the body/frame bolts broke as I tried to remove them, they just torqued in half under the influence of a box end wrench and a 3/8" sock driver. No power tools or cheater bars required. Either I am from Krypton and didn't realize it or the metal in these bolts was just done.

I connected wratchet straps to the body and to my engine hoist and lifted the body after a total of about four hours of work. Much of that involved me sitting there and meditating about the violence I was doing to the Jeep so it is fair to say that if you plan on this you should allow about four hours for one person to separate body and frame.

Here is a picture of the end result of Saturday's work: 1947 Willy's CJ2A with
body lifted from frame

Brake Master Cylinder Upgrade

updated 2016-11-21

I decided to upgrade the master cylinder to a dual cylinder using one from a 1982 Ford Fairmont. The part was available on Amazon (new) for less than $30. The original MC is a single so if there is a break in a line or a wheel cylinder goes out then you lose all brakes. With a double MC you can still get braking on the wheels whose line has not been broken.

I am also replacing all of the brake lines and the wheel cylinders. I decided to stick with the original equipment wheel cylinders for now since the consensus is that they work fine. In the future I will upgrade to the 10" drums and might replace the wheel cylinders then.

All of the brake lines and hoses will be replaced as well, they aren't leaking but look pretty rough so I figured now is the right time.

Willy's Jeep CJ2A TODO List

updated 2016-11-30

As I dig into the jeep I am making a list of the work that I am going to need to get done, the goal is to have a safe, reliable, running jeep. A secondary goal is to restore the Jeep to something that looks close to the M38, however I am not trying to be strictly historically accurate. I really enjoy being able to drive this around our property so I am keeping fun running as first priority.

Some of the smaller maintenance tasks:

Replace battery cables
I am using a pair of vice grips to hold the negative wire to the negative terminal. I'd like to be able to use those pliers for other things. I expect to spend about $10 on this. I have some 3AWG stranded copper in chemical resistant insulation that I can use.
switch to coil, 12"
positive battery terminal to switch, 24"
negative battery terminal to engine, 20"
alternator to battery, 14"
Battery tray
The battery was being held in place with a bungee cord, this needs to be replaced with a rigid retaining system.
Add an air filter
The jeep was being run with the carburetor open to the world, I think it would be good to put something there to keep particles smaller than 2" across out of the carb. I expect this to cost about $40 since I will use a simple paper filter (and case) that slips on over the carb.
Windshield cushions
The rubber stoppers currently in place on the hood need to be replaced with longer bits of rubber to protect the windshield frame when the hood is raised. I think I can cut some rubber off some old golf cart tires for this. 3 7/8"x1 3/8"x1 3/8", holes 3/16" with 1/2" countersunk 1/2"
Gas cap and tank leaks
The gas cap leaks when you drive. It looks as though the cork seal needs to be replaced. The fuel level sender is leaking as well - leaving liquid gas under the driver seat.
Tune Up
  • New spark plugs seems like a good idea, J-8, gap to 0.030"/0.76mm, temp rating?
  • Points Gap to 0.020"/0.51mm, temp rating?
  • Ignition timing
  • Valve tappet clearance to 0.014"/0.356mm
  • Clean fuel pump screen
  • Set carb idle screw to idle at 600rpm
  • Set carb low speed idle so that engine idles smoothly
I am almost certain that I need new shock absorbers. This isn't a top priority since the transmission needs attention before I can do much driving.
D rings
Add D rings to the front bumper and rear hitch assembly for better tie down points when trailering.

Transmission Rebuild

The transmission slips out of second gear and occasionally sticks in third gear which requires that you remove the shifter cover and use your finger to put the gears where they belong. This is not optimal. I plan on rebuilding the transmission myself (what's the worst that can happen?).

The Novak T-90 rebuild kit is priced at $255 and seems to be highly recommended. I have read that I should take the transmission apart to get a better idea of what replacement parts I will need and order them before beginning reassembly. The seller that I bought the Jeep from included a spare transmission and transfer case that were both fully disassembled.

Brake system upgrade

The brake system has a single master cylinder and looks pretty rough. I plan on replacing it with a dual master cylinder and 10" brake drums.

Replace Alternator

The alternator doesn't really fit - it has no rear bracket (I could make one) and the pully is too narrow for the belt. I need to change the pully or replace the alternator completely since it is chewing up the belt.

Steering Box Rebuild

The steering has a LOT of play. It looks like this is between the steering column and the steering box, I suspect that the steering box will need to be rebuilt.

Parking Brake Reassembly

THe parking brake was not attached to the transmission when I bought the jeep. I need to put it back together because using wheel chocks is hard when you are by yourself trying to park on an incline.

Tail Pipe

The muffler has no tail pipe so it vents toward the right rear tire. A tail pipe needs to be added.

Body panels

Some of the body panels need to be repaired. They are mostly in good shape, but the side panels have some rot and large holes in a few places. My current plan is to cut the sections out, fabricate patches that match the original design and weld them in place.

  • Driver side floor is rusted through in places.
  • Left rear fender (top of the wheel well) has been cut up, needs to be replaced.
  • Driver side step is rusted through, replace when the driver side floor is done because the hat channel under the floor that supports the step is also rotted away
  • Right rear quarter panel is pretty mangled.
  • It would be nice to replace the side panels with ones that have notches for the pioneer tools.
  • The glove box under the passenger seat is rotted through
  • The dashboard is pretty cut up
  • One of the POs went crazy with a drill and put holes all over the body panels. I need to break out the OA torch and fill all of those holes.

Tires and rims

The tires that were on the jeep when I bought it were badly cracked. I don't expect them to last very long, my hope is that I can keep air in them until I get a little more money in the first quarter. I am currently planning on putting bias-ply tires on since they are cheaper and I don't plan on putting this Jeep on the road. I like the look for the non-directional tread (that is what I remember being on the Jeeps when I was in the army). I expect to spend about $800-$900 since I also need a rim for a spare.

Looking for a 16" or 15" wheel with a 5x5.5" blot pattern and a center bore of 4.25".


It looks as though there are no electrical fuses. It would be nice to put either in-line fuses in place or an actual fuse box.

Carburetor rebuild

The carburetor looks rough and the engine runs rough, I am assuming that it needs to be rebuilt. This website looks like a good place to start: Carter WO - 101

Spare Tire Mount

There is no spare tire mount - not sure what happened to it. The stock CJ2A had the spare mounted on the right side rear to provide easier access to the tailgate. I like this idea and will probably build the spare tire mount on the right side where it should be.

Rear Seat

There is no rear seat, however I really like the idea of adding a seat so that I can take a few passengers around more comfortably. Remember that the goal is to be able to scoot around on our property and between the houses out in our part of the woods. We often use a golf cart or a car, but this would be a nifty alternative if I had a seat there. The frame is usually about $280 and that still needs upholstry for about $200.

Front seat frames

The front seat frames are in pretty bad shape, it would be good to rebuild them.

Leaf springs

The leaf springs look as though they are done. A new set of 10 leaf springs costs $145 each at Walcks. Also need U bolts, shackles and bolts. Watch out for left hand threads on the springs on left front and right rear.

Dashboard Panel Replacement

The dashboard has been cut and drilled in a number of places, I suspect that I will need to replace it. I might be able to patch it but need to look at it more closely. It would be nice to get a replacement shifter diagram plate to mount to the dash, walcks has them for about $15.

Fuel Can Holder

I'd like to add a mount for a 5 gallon fuel can to the tailgate or to the left side. Haven't decided whether I want to impede the use of the tailgate, it really isnt very important given the shallow depth of the back. If I decide to put a rear seat in then a functional tailgate is even less important.