Posts Tagged ‘Jeep’

Welcome to Classic Military Automotive

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

Classic Military Automotive specializes in the sales, restoration and maintenance of 1941 to 1954 military jeeps and light weight trucks. We are located in the Sonoma County Wine Country of the greater San Francisco Bay Area.  Our customer base is primarily in California though we have sold vehicles to customers all over the USA and abroad.  We have a wide range of experience from complete frame-off restorations to regular maintenance services.

If you have any questions, or other needs, please don’t hesitate to email us at or call (707) 542-4353.

Here are a few links to some favorite pages on the old site:

Jeep Flathead engine L-134

Sunday, October 31st, 2010



1) The first thing you should take into consideration is the warranty of the work performed on your L-block motor. Does the warranty start after the machine shop says to come pick it up or does it begin after you start it up for the first time? Also, how long does the warranty last? Most machine shops are good about giving you some leeway on this question but it’s still an important one to have clarified before you start any engine work.

2) It’s always best to start the motor project last because, having it done early, only delays the inevitable. If you put the motor in and there is a problem, you want to know that the warranty is intact. If possible, have your motor pre-run on an engine test stand for a period of at least 12 to 30 hours and run at various RPM’s. This should give you a good overview of any problems that may come up. If a test stand is not an option, then put the motor into the vehicle but leave as much of the front clip off of the vehicle as possible.
Some of the common problems are usually improper or defective oil pump or oil pump installation. We have found that some, if not most, of today’s oil pumps need to be taken apart and checked for slight malfunctions where by you need to make small modifications to prevent the pump from seizing up during your run-in period. INSTALLATIONS IN RELATION TO THE PROPER TIMING OF YOUR DISTRIBUTOR, REAR MAIN SEAL LEAKAGE AND IMPROPER VALVE ADJUSTMENT are also common mistake-prone areas.



a) Before bringing your short block over to the machine shop, it’s always best to break down as much of the motor as you can by removing the following components:
b) Bell housing clutch and flywheel
c) Head and head studs
d) Manifold and studs
e) Timing cover plate & timing plate studs followed by removing the timing gear sprocket & chain or gear (CJ style)
f) Freeze plugs
g) Cam and cam bushing.
h) Oil pan, bearing caps and crank
i) Valve cover, valve springs and valves (Leave the guides to for the machine shop)
j) Piston rods and separate the piston heads from the rods
k) Oil pump
l) If you can, try and remove the valve guides with the proper tool. These should be pressed out on a press and not hammered out by hand. (Leave them for the machine shop if you don’t feel comfortable about this procedure)

2) By removing and or breaking down as much of the block, this will save you plenty of money in the long run. Be careful not to break or damage any of the studs or GUIDE HOLES as this will only cost you money. If anything is tight or unforgiving leave it for the machinist. Bring your machinist everything related to the basic short block. A large painters bucket is always handy when bringing all of your engine parts to your machinist. Make sure to mark in felt pen the serial number of your motor on the surface of the bucket so that they won’t confuse your parts with someone else’s, while they inspect every component for ware or damage.
Tell them that you don’t want the motor to be more than 30 over on the cylinder holes. It’s always best to consider re-sleeving the cylinders back to factory standards when ever possible.

3) Be prepared to replace tappets, piston rods and piston heads. Many engine re builders will try to re-use your old parts in order to save time and money. Used parts are usually the reason for motor break- down within the first 5,000 miles.

4) Take close attention to your engine head thickness. The factory head thickness from the flat spot above the valves to the gasket surface was approximately .500. Preferably, one should not go below .275 as this may cause problems when test running you’re freshly rebuilt engine. Too much metal taken off the head can and/or will cause higher compression which in this case, is not a good thing. The 6-volt system lacks the power to turn the motor over when higher compression is evident. Your valve clearance is also an issue when over shaving the head surface. Take a moment to ask your re builder if they think the stud hole threads look strong enough. Sometime it is wise to have the thread holes re welded and re drilled then tapped for extra strength. Most machine shops think helical coils work well enough but if you ever have to remove a stud later it may cause a problem with a helical coiled hole. Note: Head shims are available through Classic Military Automotive if you need to bring the thickness up to an acceptable specification.

PART 3: Assembly and Prep of Motor and Motor Components

1) Machine shops do not usually paint your basic engine block however they do bake and clean most engines. The cleaning process is fairly thorough however residual metal shavings can be found in the oil galley’s and small passageways. The best way to remove these excess materials is by performing a simple high-pressure steam wash by using any conventional and portable, high-pressure washer. Place your nozzle firmly up to all of the orifices and blast any debris and grinding oils out of each hidden passageways wherever possible. This will lessen any chances of material damaging your crank bearings during the break in period.
At this point your casted block will begin to lightly rust. Simply wire wheel your blocks outer surface off as best as you can and then apply a strong primer base. (CMA suggests the DP Concept 40 LF or 50LF catalyst primer). After the primer is thoroughly dry apply whatever color best fits your factory color. The DP 40 gray primer is very close to the Ford GPW gray and should not need any additional gray topcoat. DP is sufficiently strong enough and the color will last a long time.

2) Your original head studs are usually not a good replacement for effective head torque and extended use. If you plan on driving your vehicle often, original factory marked bolts may look good but they can also start to leak coolant. The best engine stud is one without the hex head. It is better to use a headless stud (preferably temper coated studs) because when torquing it only puts pressure on top of the head and does not tend to pull up on the machined threads in the top of the block. A high temperature sealer is also a good product to use on your threaded studs. Toyota makes a high-strength black sealer called Seal Packaging 102 (fipg). Use of this product will lesson you chances of coolant leakage around the base of the stud. Wipe away any residual when using this product. Use gloves with this product for it will stain your hands and the wife may tell you to go away for a few years before she lets you touch her ever again!

3) Make sure your manifold is thoroughly restored and resurfaced before reassembling it to your motor. Improperly rebuilt manifolds will cause vacuum leaks and your engine will not run to its optimum potential. Use of the DP primer is also good for items like manifolds because of its high resistance to heat. Your timing chain cover, pulley wheel, valve cover, water pump, oil pump, thermostat housing, bell housing, throttle body etc. may also be coated with DP for extended surface life.
Installing as much of the bolt on components before installing your motor will be easier on the bench. Take the time to save your back!


1) Now that your motor is assembled, you can begin starting your engine. Make sure your radiator is full of water and your engine has the required amount of oil. When breaking in a fresh motor, it’s always good to use good quality motor oil. CMA suggests using the Chevron Delo 400 for your breaking in period.

2) After staring your engine keep the idol up to around 2,000 rpm for about 8 to 10 minutes. This will help seat the rings in the cylinders. Lower your idol down to about where you’re idol position should be and check your fuel mixture and proper idol range. Sometimes L-block engines have a distinct miss after the warm up period. This can be due to your fuel mixture and the fact that your valves have not seated totally or your distributor is insufficient or worn out.

3) Driving your jeep for about 500 or more miles may cure most of the miss however the W/O Carter carburetor is usually the main reason for extended ruff idol. If the distributor is found to be the problem then a Pertronic’s electronic rebuild kit may help this problem. These kits allow for a hotter spark resulting in better ignition.


Thank you for your interest in Classic Military Automotive, a division of CMA North Bay. If you have any questions, comments, or just want to drop us a line, please feel free to e-mail Terry at Prefer talking to someone instead of typing? Give us a call at (707) 542-4353. We are typically around seven days a week, so don’t hesitate to contact us to make an appointment.

The First Step: Do the Research

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

The first step in purchasing a WWII military Jeep is the same as purchasing any classic, or vintage, vehicle - Do the Research! Find as much literature as you can about the vehicle you are considering investing in. Look at all of the aspects of purchasing, restoring, repairing, maintaining, registering, insuring, and owning the vehicle. Become as intimately knowledgeable of the vehicle as possible before you start looking.  This way, you will be ready to look at the vehicles with a more realistic outlook and make an informed decision.

In the case of a WWII military Jeep, the first step should be to buy a reproduced manual. Reproduced manuals are available through Portrayal Press ( Order the standard TM 9-803 WW2 Jeep Manual. Read the whole book from front to back. Become familiar with all of the parts and tools involved. This will greatly enhance your knowledge of how the Jeep operates. There are also a lot of pictures and exploded diagrams of the components. This is beneficial when looking at a Jeep for purchase since it will help you make a mental inventory of the parts you are purchasing and the parts you will need to purchase to complete your restoration.

Buy a copy of the All American Wonder, ISBN 0-910667-20-9, by Ray Cowdery.¹ This book is available on, and other similar websites, or can be ordered at a local bookstore. It will give you a better perspective of the whole story of the Jeep, its evolution and the production differences between Ford, Willys-Overland and the first manufacturer, Bantam. Continue to buy as many reference books and manuals and collect as much information as possible.

Find a current owner, or a collector’s club. Inquire about the pros and cons of owning the vehicle. Better yet, test drive one. Remember that during WWII, young, thin and mostly shorter-built GI’s drove these jeeps. You may find it is somewhat uncomfortable to drive one. There are subtle changes that can be made to a seat that will make it more forgiving to drive. Knowing how the vehicle feels and handles will help you determine to what degree of authenticity you would like to own.  Do you need to have the perfectly formed original seat, or would you rather have a modified seat that allows for some extra movement?

After you have done your research, it is time to move on to our next installment: Second Step: Finding the Right Jeep.

¹ Ray Cowdery’s All American Wonder books actually come in three volumes, so be sure to read customer reviews of each book before purchasing one of them.  Although it is more expensive than the others, our recommendation is Volume III, which provides the most comprehensive overview of the history of the WWII military Jeep.

Introduction to the Military Jeep Buyer’s Guide

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

The Military Jeep Buyer’s Guide is Classic Military Automotive’s suggestions on things to consider when looking to purchase a WWII military Jeep. The focus is primarily about WWII military Jeeps; however, it really applies to purchasing any classic, or vintage, vehicle.

A buddy of mine once asked: “Do you have more money than time or more time than money?”. The real questions should be: How skilled are you at restoration or repair?” and “How badly do you have to have it?!”.

Some say that the word Jeep stands for Just Empty Every Pocket. Throughout my life, the original Jeep has always been appealing because of it’s ruggedness and compact design. Veterans that drove them were amazed by it’s capabilities, both on and off road. That feeling still holds true with many owners that drive them today.

Unfortunately, almost all of the Jeeps that you find, regardless of price range, are in need of some degree of restoration or repair. In the “old days,” one could find a running Jeep in somewhat descent shape for an affordable price; however, today, with the latest surge of activity in the collector car market and the “baby boomers” becoming closer to retirement, the WW2 jeep has escalated in value.

Thankfully, for to those who have carried on the love of this vehicle, some collectors have gone to great lengths to expand the industry. These vendors have made new old stock (NOS) and reproduction parts more obtainable for almost anyone - though these parts are not necessarily less expensive. Almost all of the parts are available now, right down to the frame. Some of the original parts like the transmission and transfer case housings, as well as the motor blocks, are not as easily obtained, and need to be found before you can say the vehicle is completely reproduced.

Stay tuned for the next installment of the Military Jeep Buyer’s Guide entitled: The First Step: Do the Research.

Second Step: Finding the Right Jeep

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

Searching for the right jeep can be quite a lengthy process, but armed with all of your research, and newly acquired knowledge, you should start by looking in your own back yard! Start with the classified ads section of your local newspaper. Call your local off-road clubs or supply outfits and ask if they know of jeeps for sale. Over half a million jeeps were produced during the war, so you never know what may be lurking near you.

Within the United States, the few states that massed surplus in depots are typically where the greatest concentration of jeeps ended up in the private civilian sector. For instance, in California (where we are located), the San Francisco Bay area was a huge production, supply, and shipping center during WWII. After the war, a great deal of military surplus ended up in both the rural and suburban areas around the state. Pennsylvania and Virginia were known to have large military depots as well. Many military bases around the US, in highly populated areas, have had more of these vehicles liquidated in surplus sales. They are now in the hands of private collectors.

The Military Vehicles Magazine is another good place to look for vehicles in your area. This magazine is circulated worldwide, and has a classified section towards the back of each issue. Once you obtain a copy of this magazine, look to see where the next military swap meet is being held and go to one. Many collectors sell their military vehicles at these events as well as other unique hardware for the jeep.

Another good source is to find the nearest WWII reenactment group, or club, closest to you. These groups often use vintage military equipment in their events. Sometimes they have vehicles for sale or know of someone who might be thinking of selling.

Of course, you can always refer to the Vehicles for Sale area on our site, or refer to our Military Vehicle Resources area on our homepage for other notable classic military resources.

In our next installment, we will be discussing everyone’s favorite topic - pricing! Stay tuned for: Step Three: Making Your Purchase Decision