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
Email me at goodwrench@CyberRanch.org
Y'all please come back soon.