Willys 4x4 Page

Hi, I'm a 1951 Willys Station Wagon.

I've got 16" wheels, but I'm basically stock, very much as I left the factory over 45 years ago.

1/3/99 Speaking of projects... It looks like I have a new one. A couple friends and I drove up to Keller TX yesterday to look at a 1951 Willy's Station Wagon. This is one of the vehicles that has been on my Want List since I first put up my web site. This one is 4 wheel drive, and has the 4 cylinder F head engine. That means the intake valves are in the head and the exhaust valves are in the block. Looks like it was rebuilt right before the present owner got it for his son a couple years ago. Present owner restores Studebakers and his son is going on to something with better over the road capabilities. This wagon has 5.38 gears in the differentials, and with the very long stroke 4 cylinder red lining at 3200 has a top speed of from about 50 to 52 mph. Now if I'm able to get that International KB-11, I'll have a great match for a top speed race;->)
While I'd thought enough to take the trailer with me, I only took about half the cash and my checkbook. The owner decided he wanted to assemble a couple more little things like the bumper ends and the spare tire carrier, so he took a $100 deposit and said I should come back for it. This morning I finally found the key to my fire proof lock box that I hadn't been able to lay my hands on since I moved to Texas. Turns out the key was hanging right on the main key ring to Gus the dually. That means I now have all the cash I need and I'm going to give the owner a call and see if I can go back up and get it today.
Not only does this truck run, but it's licensed and inspected until 11-99. The outside has a quickie repaint with a flat gray and beige. Inside the floor and walls are repainted gray. There are supposed to be 11 strips of wood on the floor and 10 of these are refinished, plus the deal includes another complete set of 11 strips in even better condition. The only non original parts are that someone replaced the seats. Using a 60/40 Chevy Silverado seat, the 40 was used for a drivers seat, and the 60 was placed right behind that. There's nothing where the original passenger seat would have been. The vent windows have new glass and have been replaced with ones from a 1947 because they were stainless rather than painted. The originals are in his parts box. There are lots of spares in the parts box, such as a new rear hub, rear brake shoes, some chrome trim pieces. He also has a good set of parts and shop manuals, as well as a reproduction owners manual and a number of catalogues of reproduction, salvage, and NOS parts. In the papers of records he's kept is everything he's done to the vehicle since he and his son have owned it. This is down to the price of each piece of replacement rubber. He has assembled part numbers and descriptions of all the parts and rebuild kits for all the common maintenance items such as carburetor, ignition, wipers, brakes, etc. Though the doors and hinges are pretty good, he's including a spare pair that are even better.
The front end has been rebuilt with new seals and new bushings where the spindles pivot on the ends of the differential. The steering box is original and he can't remember if he adjusted it to take up play, but the steering is surprisingly tight. He had a body shop repair the bottom of the tailgate which is one of the top rust areas for these vehicles. The top glass and bottom tail gate now work nicely. Neatly, the taillight and license plate can swing down so they still face to the rear if one drives with the tailgate down. All the glass in this vehicle is flat, but there is really only piece that needs to be replaced. That's one of the fixed windows on the passenger side. Each side also has a sliding window. The head liner is gone, but all the bows are in place. The door panels and sides of the interior are covered with gray cardboard type panels that are held on by replaced stainless steel screws. The 4 chrome pieces on the front grill have been rechromed. The trim piece on the hood is the nicest of three that he has. There is even a stencil to repaint the "Willy's Four Wheel Drive" on the rear of the tail gate as original
Currently, the brakes are probably the worst feature. They really work pretty well after one or two pumps, but that could be a little scary. I found out there are kits that put newer style, star adjuster shoes that are wider on. The original brakes adjust with an eccentric. This kit contains new backing plates, wheel cylinders, drums, shoes and all the hardware, and doesn't cost much more than rebuilding the stock pieces would. One of my first projects will be to try this brake upgrade at least on the rear. I choose the rear first so the parking brake will grip a bit better.
There is a small amount of rust through above both rear wheel wells, but this is on metal that is flat and shouldn't be too difficult to replace. The floor had a bit of rust from where the roof had leaked for a while. New metal has been riveted over them and they're solid. The owner found where the leak was occurring and repaired it with putty. I'll keep an eye on it and redo it with epoxy if it recurs.
My goal with this truck is to keep it running and on the road so that goodwench and I can enjoy it during the long times the other projects are so torn apart that they don't even look like vehicles. Additionally, this truck makes three generations of Jeeps on the CyberRanch. It really isn't too hard to see how the Cherokee evolved from this truck. Willys had a lot of money from war contracts right after WWII, and really put some of it to good use developing products of types that would still be extremely popular 50 years later. It's so nice to own a piece of history that can be driven

Since there are no pictures of me yet, here are some of a sales brochure.

1/4/98 The Willys got loaded on Tanya and hauled to the CyberRanch. Didn't get back until about 9:00 pm, so it sat on the trailer all night. This morning I went out to take pictures and unload it. My camera was so cold that the light for the light meter didn't come on. If I don't get the meter back when it warms up, it will need new batteries. Using the choke, he started right up and drove down off the ramps. I then drove out to the shop to unload the spare parts. I just now got off the phone with my insurance company to add him as a "pleasure use" fifth vehicle. Now I'm getting up the nerve to go to Falls County Courthouse to do the registration thing. I also have to take care of an agricultural exemption for the CyberRanch as well renew Erica the Buell and re-register Gus as a Texas Farm Truck. Gus still has his PA plates. I know Falls County is a lot nicer to deal with than McClennan County where I had such trouble getting Jeep and Henry the Harley registered.
1/10/99 Had Willy out for a nice ride today. The registration went much better than I had feared.
4/1/99 Poor Willy. He's been sitting on the lift for over a month now. I had been just doing a general check underneath and seeing if I could do anything to improve the brakes when I spun the right front wheel around. There was a real grinding sound, so I dissassembled the front hub and pulled the bearings out. They each looked to be exactly the same on the inner and outer side. When cleaned up there was much pitting. AutoZone couldn't even come close to matching them up. I went to a bearing supply house in Waco and they were able to match them up. Turns out they are two different part numbers. I'm not sure how I'll figure out which is inner and outer. I was able to find a new grease seal at an older auto parts store in Waco. Unfortunately I cut my left hand pretty severely before I was able to get the new bearings greased up for reinstallation. I'll need a little more healing before I can even get a rubber glove over it to do the greasing. Meanwhile, I'll probably try a posting to the Willys list to see I can get help on figuring which bearing goes on the inner and outer side.

Email me at goodwrench@CyberRanch.org
Email me.

Y'all please come back soon.

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Updated 4/1/99
Created 1/3/99