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Home :: My M38 A1 Jeep Project

My M38 A1 Jeep Project

From the time I remember I always wanted a military Jeep. A long time before I was interested in military radios.

Jeep No. 1
About 3 years ago when I saw an advertisement in Exchange and Mart for 2 military Jeeps for sale, I had to go down and have a look.
The place turned out to be a films prop company, and among many other military vehicles there were the two Jeeps kept in open storage and both in pretty bad condition with plenty of rust.
I bought the best one out of the two which had a canvas top with a HF whip Antenna. It also had a MOT test certificate "vehicle safety test certificate" dated just a few days before. On the way home I noticed that the brakes didn't work and that I couldn't drive in a straight line, also most of the lights didn't work, but at least it started first time. "where they had the Jeep tested I shall never know"

Picture taken at Leap near Portsmouth. Isle of White can just be seen on the other side.
First thing I did was to order work shop manuals for it and while I waited for them to arrive I fixed the electric's by cleaning the light switch, and did a little rewiring. When the manuals arrived, work on the steering and wheel bearings started, all the wheel bearings were worn along with the steering linkages which were all changed with new ones. New brake shoes were fitted and the braking system was reconditioned. Gear box and transfer box were leaking oil badly so I took them apart replaced all the seals and gaskets also at the same time changed some worn gears. The engine was next serviced and finally I cleaned out the rust and welded new metal here and there.
I could see all along that I needed to restore this jeep from ground up, but as warmer days were here and the jeep safe and drive-able I started using it during the summer months with the intention that come winter I would strip the whole thing down and completely restore it.

Enter Jeep No. 2
During the summer months I met a man which said that he had a scrap M38-A1 Jeep for sale going very cheap.
It was almost complete, the wings on it were like new. The gearbox and  transfer box were missing and the floor was rotten. But it was otherwise complete and in good condition. Now since the cost of the scrap Jeep was lower than the cost of two new wings and at the same time I was going to get all those extra parts I bought the Jeep. The man even delivered it to me. I think he was happy to see it go!
On receiving the Jeep I immediately started work and soon had a large pile of bits, most of them in good condition.
I started thinking why did I want two sets of Jeeps all in bits in my limited space garage in north London, so I decided to restore the scrap Jeep instead and drive around with the first jeep.
I managed to find the missing bits from another scrap Jeep and started work nearly 2 years ago. Back then I didn't have a digital camera or a scanner and was more interested in the Jeep so I don't think I have any pictures of it before I started work on it. But below this are some "during" pictures.
The project "some people call it madness" is still going on, lately with more enthusiasm I am hoping to have it ready for May 1999 complete with a radio set. I will post more pictures as work progresses.

I had a hard time finding details of markings and painting for my M38-A1 so here for all to see is the Technical Bulletin TB 746-93-1 for all military vehicles and construction equipment dated October 1964.

Also big thank you goes to Graham and Amanda of Jeeparts UK. Without their friendly help and advice and a vast supply of new parts not only for the M38-A1 but for all sorts of other military jeeps, I would have had a very hard time so far.

Graham and Amanda of Jeeparts UK at Bletchley Park 1998 next to the Jeep they restored for a customer.

As you can see the chassis is nearly complete, all that is left is the brakes and to make a new wiring loom. All bearings and oil seals have been replaced along with other worn parts. Engine and gear box were stripped down and rebuilt with new parts. Every thing you see here was sand blasted and or wire brushed clean to bare metal, primed and then applied two coats of olive drab.
Rear cross member was rotten beyond repair and had to be cut out. After a lot of searching I found one in America which was a USMC modification cross member and bolted over the original cross member. It has the hooks on the ends and is made of heavier gauge metal providing more strength for air lifting.
The USMC add-on was welded with spacers in between the chassis and the cross member to make up the gap of the missing original cross member.
The dog in the pictures is my new dog called Rosie we got her from Dogs Home Battersea and she has been with us for a year.

When the Chassis is ready it is going out side under cover, so that I can bring in the body tub. It has already been sand blasted and primed and had a new front floor pan welded in place. I still have to fit the new tool box, straighten the metal work and generally prepare it ready for under-seal and painting. Most of the body parts I had to get from Holland.

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