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First frame off restoration - 1952 M38 - Here we go!
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Zartoon
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Joined: Jul 23, 2022
Posts: 27

PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2022 4:43 pm    Post subject: First frame off restoration - 1952 M38 - Here we go! Reply with quote

Greetings,

I'm new to military vehicles, but not new to Jeeps. I ended up purchasing an M38/CJ3A about a week ago, without much research, and am now trying to learn and plan the restoration/bringing back to life.

The jeep was a barn find, and had sat for years under a small cover outside the barn. It is registered as a 1952 Willys. Serial number is 32xxx.

From what I can tell, it has civilian lights, civilian wheels and tires, an F-head engine, an overdrive, the large opening gas tank fill, one piece windshield, and fuel tank only under the drivers seat. It is missing the hatch for the battery by the windshild, looks to have been converted to 12V, but it isnt running at the moment. The front grill is hinged and the turn signals have the military lights in there.

My question are:
1. How do I identify if this is a repro hybrid tub of M38/CJ3A?
2. what literature do I need to buy to help me in getting this thing back on the road as at least a replica military jeep?
3. is there a prescribed plan on how to do frame off re-build of these jeeps?
4. Wheels and tires - where, which?
5. where do I get parts from? reproduction parts? since this isnt going to be an authentic restoration.

I am going to add a list of parts I need for this project here, to keep track of it and also in case anyone has extras of these parts that they want to sell (Please PM me).

1. set of 5 M38 wheels & Tires
2. Rear Seat Frame
3. Data Plates (complete list including one on wheel well aft of passenger seat)
4. A pair of M38 tail lights (preferably two left hand lights)
5. M38 Light switch and connector
6. Axe and Shovel and straps
7. hood blocks and straps
8. Jerry Can carrier and strap
9. Front recovery rings
10. A set of straight rear bumperets
11. rear pintle hitch
12. blackout headlight (Driver side fender) - Dont need the guard though
13. Instruments
14. Wipers (pair) with arms
15. Pads/cover for all three seats in OD
16. Reflectors
17. Trailer/tow electrical connector on driver side rear corner
18. windshield rifle carrier
19. rear view mirror
20. Top
21.


Last edited by Zartoon on Mon Aug 15, 2022 3:51 pm; edited 10 times in total
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mdainsd
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Joined: Oct 20, 2017
Posts: 444

PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2022 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First off, get the "Green Book". It is cited here on this site, it will be immensely helpful. To bad most people don't know about it when they are in the buying stage. It could save so much grief.

1a) What shape is the glovebox door?
1b) does it have a removable instrument panel?
1c) where is the emergency brake handle located?
2) In addition to the Green book, the TMs (Technical Manuals), which are provided here under downloads.
3) People do them in different ways. But the books "All American Wonder" outline it pretty well. Disclaimer, AAW was written about WW2 Jeeps but will be applicable to an M38.
4) The book again. And search through the posts here. 16"
5) There are the usual suspects for parts. Google military jeep parts. eBay has been a great source for me. Join a club, go to meets.

That should get you started.

Mark
_________________
'52 Dodge M37, '42 GPW, '48 FrankenJeep CJ2A/M38, '50 CJV-35(U), '51 M38, '42 WC-57 Command Car, '44 WC-51 Weapons , (2) M1941 Sperry 60" Anti-Aircraft Searchlights, John Deere M-gator, '44 White M3A1 Scout Car
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Zartoon
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Joined: Jul 23, 2022
Posts: 27

PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2022 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mdainsd wrote:
First off, get the "Green Book". It is cited here on this site, it will be immensely helpful. To bad most people don't know about it when they are in the buying stage. It could save so much grief.

Roger - Wilco

1a) What shape is the glovebox door?
Its a small opening, shaped like _| (backwards L)

1b) does it have a removable instrument panel?
Yes

1c) where is the emergency brake handle located?
Left side of steering wheel

2) In addition to the Green book, the TMs (Technical Manuals), which are provided here under downloads.
Copy. Will DL.

3) People do them in different ways. But the books "All American Wonder" outline it pretty well. Disclaimer, AAW was written about WW2 Jeeps but will be applicable to an M38.

Copy

4) The book again. And search through the posts here. 16"
5) There are the usual suspects for parts. Google military jeep parts. eBay has been a great source for me. Join a club, go to meets.
Good idea about the club.
Any good clubs in southern california that people here are a member of?

That should get you started.

Thank you

Mark
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mdainsd
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Joined: Oct 20, 2017
Posts: 444

PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2022 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Where in Southern California? In the greater Los Angeles are there is active club membership, including regular meets.
Down here in San Diego its a little slower but we just managed a show yesterday. Trying to get it going again. There are actually younger folks getting interested in MVs down here.

Up by Sacramento the biggest military vehicle meet in the west gathers up in the hills at Plymouth. Two meets a year there. Spring (in March (the larger of the two). And a fall meet in Sept or Oct?

Oh and judging only by the basic questions, you have at least a M38 body tub. Read the tutorials about posting pics here, you know the saying...A single picture is...
_________________
'52 Dodge M37, '42 GPW, '48 FrankenJeep CJ2A/M38, '50 CJV-35(U), '51 M38, '42 WC-57 Command Car, '44 WC-51 Weapons , (2) M1941 Sperry 60" Anti-Aircraft Searchlights, John Deere M-gator, '44 White M3A1 Scout Car
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RonD2
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Joined: Oct 02, 2014
Posts: 1627
Location: South Carolina, Dorchester County

PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2022 7:39 pm    Post subject: Re: Help in trying to identify a new project (M38) Reply with quote

Zartoon wrote:
I'm new to military vehicles, but not new to Jeeps. I ended up purchasing an M38/CJ3A......

Hi Zartoon,
Welcome!
No doubt the M38 Reference Guide (a.k.a. "Green Book") is a GREAT resource for restoring or bringing a M38 back to life. But it's no substitute for the military manuals. It's the icing on the cake.
Best price I've ever seen for a Green Book is $65 plus postage.

Maybe I missed it or am confused about the description of what you bought......M38 or CJ3A is still a question? Photos of the frame looking for the M38 specific differences from the CJ3A can be a good sign of which bones you have. And swapping motors back from F134 to the L134 can be expensive.

If you actually have a CJ3A and restore in that direction then spending $65 for the Green Book might be a nice addition to your library but has limited utility for a CJ3A (better spend the $65 elsewhere?).

Making a CJ3A look like a M38 can be done, but doubt you'll fool anybody here! Same for making a M38 look like a CJ3A (but who wants to do that?). Laughing

Just my 2 cents.
You came to one of the few great jeep forum resources.
Good luck!
_________________
Ron D.
1951 M38 Unknown Serial Number
1951 M100 Dunbar Kapple 01169903 dod 5-51

ďThe only good sports car that America ever made was the Jeep."
--- Enzo Ferrari

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Mike_B
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Joined: Dec 10, 2017
Posts: 311
Location: Southern Maryland

PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2022 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome!

Is there a hood on your Jeep? If so, is there a hole in it for the F-head air cleaner to stick up through? All M38's had the L-134 flat head motors.

The M38A1 got the F-head motor, but it looks like a CJ5 with rounded fenders...

What's the engine serial number. (it's stamped on top of the block right behind the water pump)?

Mike B Smile
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Mike B
1953 M38A1 Brush Truck
1952 M38
1951 M100 Trailer
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Kendall
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Joined: Feb 25, 2006
Posts: 328
Location: Wichita, KS

PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2022 8:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is the serial number from the title or the data plates? Are the data plates affixed to the large plate screwed to the dash? Is the small data plate still present behind the passenger seat? These data plates would help determine if it is an M38.
_________________
1951 M38
1952 M38
1952 M38A1
1942 Dodge WC-55
1951 M100 trailer
1942 Ben Hur trailer
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Zartoon
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Joined: Jul 23, 2022
Posts: 27

PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2022 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for all the replies.
I will figure out a way to post pictures.
Data plate behind passenger seat is missing.
It only has the single data plate with the shift pattern and it is riveted to the dash directly. The holes for the other plates are visible but plates are not there.
The hood ridge (center weld line) has been hammered flat to accommodate the F-head engine.
Also has an overdrive installed. (4 sticks).
Iíll do some More recon before work tomorrow and try to post pictures too.
Iím in the Los angeles area. Closer to Glendale/Pasadena.

I guess the question is if I have an M38 modified and converted for civilian use or cj3A with an m38 tub. I have no Intension of fooling anyone. Just want to get it back on the road and enjoy the vehicle around town with the kids. I do realize restoring it to M38 authenticity at this point is probably foolish.
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4x4M38
Member


Joined: May 30, 2014
Posts: 3371
Location: Texas Hill Country

PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2022 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The big gas filler hole is a giveaway. M38.
Frames are boxed in in the M38 up front to attach the optional winch.

Restoration:
Three ways to go.
Factory resto - everything that came on it from the factory. Nothing else

Motor pool resto - still a military vehicle, but with additions, changes done by the motor pool guys to get it back in service.

Daily driver - your vehicle, your rules.

The first two will entail a motor swap. And lose the overdrive.

The third, again, your rules, but if the F head is running you may find someone that wants it. Sale/trade? Just remember, these guys were never designed to roll 70 down the interstate.

The 80Ē wheelbase, drag link and Ross steering are impediments to safely cruising the highways at high speed. If you can live with 50-55mph max, you really donít even need the OD.

Just my two cents.

And welcome to the party!
_________________
Brian
1950 M38
MC11481
http://www.willysmjeeps.com/v2/modules.php?set_albumName=album372&op=modload&name=gallery&file=index&include=view_album.php
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4x4M38
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Joined: May 30, 2014
Posts: 3371
Location: Texas Hill Country

PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2022 7:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Photos of the inside of the frames where they attach to the front bumper.
Photos of the left and right sides of the firewall.
_________________
Brian
1950 M38
MC11481
http://www.willysmjeeps.com/v2/modules.php?set_albumName=album372&op=modload&name=gallery&file=index&include=view_album.php
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STXM38A1
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Joined: Jul 25, 2009
Posts: 139
Location: Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas

PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2022 10:54 am    Post subject: Photo Gallery Request Reply with quote

On the Forum Index page, go to "Photo Posting and Gallery Requests" and post a request to have Wes establish a Photo Gallery for you.
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Warren
M38A1 12/54 MD 78343

PHOTO ALBUM:
http://www.willysmjeeps.com/v2/modules.php?set_albumName=album33&op=modload&name=gallery&file=index&include=view_album.php
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Zartoon
Member


Joined: Jul 23, 2022
Posts: 27

PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2022 11:38 am    Post subject: Re: Photo Gallery Request Reply with quote

STXM38A1 wrote:
On the Forum Index page, go to "Photo Posting and Gallery Requests" and post a request to have Wes establish a Photo Gallery for you.


Just did.

thank you.
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Zartoon
Member


Joined: Jul 23, 2022
Posts: 27

PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2022 11:47 am    Post subject: trying a free photo posting service... Reply with quote

https://ibb.co/KyS00pD

here is a picture of where i found it.

Here's that picture in your www.willysmjeeps.com photo album. Wes K

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Zartoon
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Joined: Jul 23, 2022
Posts: 27

PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2022 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think at this point, I'd like to keep the engine and overdrive intact.
Probably paint it to look like an authentic M38 but it will clearly not be an authentic M38 with the engine, overdrive, 12V system and no second battery box by the windshield.
in fact, I may even move the spare to the side to be able to use the tailgate.
So I guess I'll be making up my own rulers as I go.
I think this thing maybe to far gone to restore to authentic M38, or it may even not be an M38 (though the serial number says otherwise).

Also, there are no serial number plates anywhere i can find.
The one behind passenger seat is missing (there are 4 holes about the size of a plate), and the one in engine bay i cant find either...


4x4M38 wrote:
The big gas filler hole is a giveaway. M38.
Frames are boxed in in the M38 up front to attach the optional winch.

Restoration:
Three ways to go.
Factory resto - everything that came on it from the factory. Nothing else

Motor pool resto - still a military vehicle, but with additions, changes done by the motor pool guys to get it back in service.

Daily driver - your vehicle, your rules.

The first two will entail a motor swap. And lose the overdrive.

The third, again, your rules, but if the F head is running you may find someone that wants it. Sale/trade? Just remember, these guys were never designed to roll 70 down the interstate.

The 80Ē wheelbase, drag link and Ross steering are impediments to safely cruising the highways at high speed. If you can live with 50-55mph max, you really donít even need the OD.

Just my two cents.

And welcome to the party!
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STXM38A1
Member


Joined: Jul 25, 2009
Posts: 139
Location: Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas

PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2022 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another suggestion that will be made at some point is to create a Signature Block with pertinent information about your vehicle(s), your actual name, etc. Look at a variety of other members' postings and you'll see the general protocol.

On the FORUMS summary page, look in the block above the listing of various Forums and you will see 6 choices horizontally, the last of which is "Log Out". Select "Profile" and you will see a multitude of choices pertaining to your profile. Select the one for "Signature" and input the info you desire. At the bottom of the Profile page is a section for setting up an Avatar, if you desire one. Again, look at other members' postings for examples.

Above where you enter your Signature info is a spot to put your location, which again, helps to personalize your postings and maybe find other members close by.
_________________
Warren
M38A1 12/54 MD 78343

PHOTO ALBUM:
http://www.willysmjeeps.com/v2/modules.php?set_albumName=album33&op=modload&name=gallery&file=index&include=view_album.php
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