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Rusty / DJ-3A Questions & Needs

• CATEGORIES: Builds, Features • TAGS: This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

I’ve spent some time over the last couple of days assembling information on what I have/needwant for Rusty.  I’m throwing this info up for questions/answers/comments:

1. AIR CLEANER: Bill has hooked me up with an air cleaner. I just need the horn, seal, and tube – … cj3a looks the same to me? From 3A forum: Nice writeup on air cleaners here. Walcks has an air cleaner sticker, so that takes care of that.


2. IGNITION SWITCH: Early ignition switch I don’t know if this style was used on any other jeeps? It dishes inward with the word “START”on it.


3. PARKING BRAKE: I will need parking brake parts: Are the later 3B T-handle parking brake setups the same as the DJ cables and parts? I have a handle that is salvageable, but lack the rest. The image below is from a 1962 book. I’ve seen nothing to indicate this changed from early DJ-3As.


4. TRANNY CROSS MEMBER: I need a transmission cross member: (image Should be the same as a 3A/3B/CJ-5? Note the cross member does have the transfercase mounting hole (far bottom) so it may be the same as the typical cross member.


5. EXHAUST: I will need an exhaust: The exhaust doesn’t bypass the transfercase, so it appears to have a straight shot to the rear:


6. TAIL LIGHTS: I need tail lights right and left. Early DJ-3A are the same as early CJ-3B, early CJ-5, and late 3A tail lights (ALA): and


7. SPEEDOMETER:  I need a good speedometer cluster 8: OR just parts or just the needle. Mine appears restorable, but the needle broke and I haven’t tested the gauges yet.



8. GAS TANK: I currently have no gas tank. An original Dj-3A gas tank would be greatl, however these are hard to come by. The larger CJ-5 tank with its underneath plating is my second choice. But then, will I need to change anything with the six volt system vs. the 12 volt tank float and gauge? The first tank below is Fred Comer’s modified tank. The second one is my 1973 CJ-5 tank that’s in biscuit.


I can attest that the early DJ-5 tanks were narrower than the 73 CJ-5 tank. They may have been the same as a DJ-3A.

9 HOOD LATCH: I need a 1955 ish hood latch (i have one, need another). These have a stiffer springs and slightly different design than the modern types I’ve seen.


10. STEERING WHEEL: I think I’ll need a steering wheel, mid-late 1950s. Mine has large cracks and seems dehydrated. I’ve done research on fixing them. Anyone have luck with one has dried as this? I may be looking for a replacement.


11. FUEL PUMP: This early glass bowl fuel pump was what came on Rusty. It is incorrect.


Below is the fuel pump I should have, based on my owner’s manual. How standard was this one use on other CJs?


12 BATTERY TIE DOWN: I will need a battery tie down (not sure if/how this differs from other jeep models). Rusty’s passenger fender has the bolt down piece (see top pic), but I don’t know if the original battery tie down had the support piece that bolted to the fender. It seems those support pieces were no longer used on later CJ-3As (


12. FRONT FLOOR: Front floor & body channels will need replacing at some point. There are multiple rust spots. Ideally, I”ll replace the floor, but it could be patched for the time being.

13. FRONT BUMPER: Not sure what to do about the front bumper.  I hate to remove the original rivets to pull off the bumper, but straightening it won’t be easy either, based on my experiments so far.


14. REAR FLOOR: I might end up replacing the rear floor. There isn’ much rust, so patching might be sufficient. You can see in the pic below that the rust is minor.


The rust as viewed from the rear:


If you have any of the parts I need, feel free to email me ( and we can discuss!


29 Comments on “Rusty / DJ-3A Questions & Needs

  1. Ryan Henry

    I am restoring my dads 1965 dj3a and can tell you the only difference in his cross member and reproduction cj3a is the cup that the transfer case mount rest’s in is not on the original and the holes for the parking brake swing arm were not in it and 1 hole on the passenger side for the cable hold down was not drilled either. Other than that it fits and functions properly. I did end up ordering a cable for the handle to pivot arm for a wagon or truck if I remember correctly, it measured the closest to my original one.

  2. Joe in Mesa

    It is so great to read about you getting to work on Rusty… especially knowing this is for an upcoming adventure we’ll get to read about. My only contribution to your effort is work I did restoring similar bumper damage on (now Joel’s) ’48 CJ2A. I did have to remove it to get proper leverage and “anvil effect” but it pounded out nice… wear hearing protection! and hammer like heck. I did not know how to re-do lost rivets, but it’s easy to achieve a nearly identical look with carriage bolts (grind off any embossing)… OR you can get bolts online that replicate the rivet effect even more accurately and snap off clean at the correct torque.
    Good luck 🙂

  3. Dan B.

    Dave, is the speedo you’re looking for the one pictured – white letters, needles, and a black bezel? I might have one for you. I’ll check this week.

  4. Merlin Hanson

    I have the same ignition switch in the 1961 CJ5 “Pinky” the shop is restoring. If you end up pulling the front bumper you can replicate the rivets somewhat simply by using allen head carriage style bolts, tightening them and then welding in the allen head so it looks like a rivet.

    Email me about the ignition switch, I may have one in another old cj5 and I know a place that can make keys for it from the code.


  5. David Eilers Post author

    Bill: thanks again for the air cleaner!
    Ryan: I saw your email. I’ll check that out in a few minutes.
    Joe & Merlin: Good suggestions on the rivets. The jeep is hardly pristine, so I shouldn’t fret over the rivets. I’m sure that with it off I can press the bumper straight. I was just hoping I wouldn’t have to remove it. I’ll get over it.
    Craig: I wouldn’t be surprised if they were the same (though I was told I used the wrong tail light photo above).
    Dan: thanks again for checking on the speedo.
    Merlin: It looks like I have the ignition switch covered.

    Chris McKay set me up with a great deal on many of the parts I needed. So thanks to him. Also, John Burton has many of the brake parts I need, so that will help, too. And, Bob Bruck has a DJ gas tank, so we are working out a deal on that.

    Thanks to everyone for their help on this. It is greatly appreciated, especially as I sat in the hospital watching offers arrive in my inbox :-).

  6. David Eilers Post author


    I don’t know of any at this time. I have one, but have plans to fix and reuse it on a stock DJ-3A.

    – Dave

  7. David Eilers Post author


    The sending unit is not something I’ve had to replace. So, I can’t say for sure if the CJ-5 will fit or work properly. If the tanks are similar heights, it would seem like it would work. I did try a few searches and couldn’t locate the answer either. Locating an early DJ-5 tank sending unit might also work, as I think the tank was smaller than the later model rear CJ-5 tank.

    – Dave

  8. David Eilers Post author

    Hi Kaleb,

    As you probably know by now, they are very difficult to get. I’ve got a friend who has a machine/manufacturing shop and he is currently looking into what it might cost to build a few tanks. Another guy I know did some research and said the cheapest price he could find for a new custom built stainless tank was about $800.

    My 1956 DJ-3A has a custom stainless tank, but it came with my DJ-3A.

    If it turns out my buddy is willing to make a few tanks, I’ll let everyone know via eWillys.

    – Dave

  9. Sami

    Hello all,

    1. I’m a bit late to the party here, but I also am in need of a replacement fuel tank for my DJ3A. I have a 1961 DJ3A and mine has a leak in it. I know this because I cannot fill it more than halfway! Any recommendations on a replacement tank or if i should just pull it out and take it to a metal shop?

    2. My Sparton turn signal has stopped working! It still clicks and the light flashes, but the signals don’t work. I noticed this after cutting a few people off on the road and getting some angry honks. Any ideas here?

    3. My temperature gauge is showing cold even after a lot of driving. I’ve replaced the thermostat twice now, so I’m a bit confused here. I don’t believe the gauge is bad and the temperature sensor is new too. Could the thermostat be stuck?

    Any advice/suggestions/help will be much appreciated!

  10. David Eilers Post author


    No need to apologize. I keep these comments around for just this reason.

    1) There’s been some talk at manufacturing a few replacement DJ gas tanks for sale, but nothing has come of it yet. I ended up selling the DJ-3A above and bought a DJ in better shape with a custom stainless gas tank. I think you will need to get a custom one made.

    2) Perhaps it’s just some loose wiring? Here’s the wiring breakdown for the Spartan. Maybe that will help? .. other than that, you may find yourself needing to purchase a new one.

    3) I wasn’t sure temp gauge worked either, but after running it on the highway at 45 mph, it finally showed some life. After some searches, I encountered this thread on the early CJ-5 page. Apparently, the wiring can be tricky:

    I hope some of this info helps you,

    – Dave

  11. Sami

    Thanks Dave

    You’re always a great resource!

    1. I have a friend who is a metalworker. I may ask him what he thinks.

    2. I’ve diagnosed it to only the tail light blinkers! The indicator light on the Spartan blinks and so do the headlights! Now I need to figure out how to make the taillights works again.

    3. I am thinking it may be a stuck thermostat….we’ll see.

    ONE MORE QUESTION: Any leads on a DJ3A hardtop? 🙃

  12. David Eilers Post author

    Sami, I haven’t seen any available lately. Probably won’t see them reappear until ‘spring cleaning’.

  13. Sami W. Aziz


    I have an interesting update on the turn signals. They work, but only sometimes. I changed the flasher and messed with the stoplight switch and neither was the culprit.

    It seems that when I unscrew the Sparton top cover (with the actual turn switch still connected to the wheel), everything works! When I screw the cover back on, the back turn signals stop working and only the front ones work.

    Have you ever heard of such a thing?! I am trying to figure out what I can do, but something is being triggered when I screw the cover down.


  14. David Eilers Post author


    It sounds like a short to me. My guess is that something is causing the back blinkers to either short or the wiring is pulling just enough when the cover is secured to cause it to no work. Have you tried turning on the rear blinkers and then attached the cover to see at what point the cover causes the blinkers to stop working?

    – Dave

  15. Sami W. Aziz

    Thanks Dave!

    Yes, I have tried that! When I turn them on without the cover (lever all the way up or all the way down), I am able to screw the cover down without interruption. As soon I move the lever and try for any consistency, they stop working. At that point, if I move the lever only 50% up or down, they work. When I try and move it all the way in either direction, they stop working.

    I am scared to undo the turn signal screw and take the whole thing apart, but I fear it may be my best bet to see what’s going on.

    I hope this wasn’t confusing!

  16. David Eilers Post author


    No, not confusing. Unfortunately, I don’t have a signal unit here to work through the issues. I wish I could be more help.

    – Dave

  17. Raymond Robins

    Dave, this thread continue to have legs. I had communicated to you the cost of a cutom fuel tank at around $800. After a lot of thought and resistance for spending $800, I decided to cut out the bottom of the tank and weld in a new bottom. A few hours with 23 gauge mig wire and it was fixed. Treated inside with POR 15 for extra protection. Ray

  18. David Eilers Post author


    Thanks for the update. I’m glad you found a fix! There’s a number of other DJ folks hoping some new tanks will be made, but no one has produced them yet.

    – Dave

  19. David Eilers Post author

    Hi Alan,

    Let me dig through FB. I believe I ran across someone who had a tank made my a commercial outfit for what I believe was a reasonable price. I’ll see what I can locate.

    – Dave

  20. David Eilers Post author

    Hi Alan,

    I’ve been unable to find the Facebook post I mentioned. The person had a local fabricator rebuild a similar gas tank (DJ-5 maybe). That’s likely what you’ll need to do. Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful,

    – Dave

  21. Lee

    I know the thread is older. I am currently restoring a 1963 DJ3A with what I believe is the original fuel tank: I am in need of a sending unit. Information on this is hard to find. Anyone have any answers or suggestions?

  22. David Eilers Post author

    Hi Lee,

    No problem commenting on an older thread. It’s why I keep them around.

    Depending on the fuel gauge you have, you are best off getting a sender that sends the correct Ohms to that gauge (I’m *pretty* sure an FC-150 or 170 ought to work, but never tested it). If you are using the standard Stewart Warner 0-9 speedometer, which was used on MOST DJ-3As from late 1957 onward, then you’ll want to use a sender that emits
    73 ohms when Empty
    10 ohms when Full

    This issue is something I need to address on my DJ-3A, as the tank is custom, my gas gauge doesn’t read correctly, and the previous owner installed the sender, so I don’t currently know what Ohms the sender is sending. But, other projects are in the way.

    I’d suggesting contacting Barney Goodwin at Barney’s Jeep Parts in Ohio. He should be able to talk you through what you need:

    My current project is attempting to match a 2000 Ford gas tank sender to a SW 0-9 stock speedo gas gauge (both use very different OHM ranges). I’ve located a product called MeterMatch which might do the trick: I’ll update readers when I test it out.

    Best of luck!
    – Dave

    If you have other questions, feel free to email me directly at If you are on Facebook, there’s also a DJ-3A group that can be useful:

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