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What the Bell Crank?

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I made an puzzling discovery about bell cranks the other day. I ordered a rebuild kit for Rusty’s bell crank. When I began assembling it, I discovered the original and new bolts were different. So, I had to use my old bolt (which fortunately was in good shape). Going back online, all the bell crank rebuild kits show the left hand bolt below (anyone need a new bolt .. I don’t). Do any other jeeps use the shorter bolt in their bell cranks?

Both of the DJ-3As have the same setup. The bolts they use lack an indent (used to secure the bolt to the bell crank mount). They are slightly shorter and 1/16th larger in diameter than the replacement crank. The DJ bolt lacks the hole at the end.
2017-05-22-bell-crank-bolts2 2017-05-22-bell-crank-bolts1

Here it is reassembled. The horizontal bolt clamps the unit together, but does not anchor the bolt.



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Fixing Patterson’s Seat Mounts And The Extra Channel

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UPDATE II: Add are some instructions (thanks Terry!) for installing DJ-3A seats:

1956-06-15-dj3a-seat-install-directions1-lores 1956-06-15-dj3a-seat-install-directions2-lores


ORIGINAL POST UPDATE MAY 2017: I’ve added a couple pics at the end and included a discussion on the extra channel DJ-3As have.

Last fall, when disassembling Rusty, I thought it was odd that the 2/3 1/3 seats had been mounted on wood blocks. I assumed this had been done by the previous owner to raise the seats.

Yesterday, I discovered that Patterson’s passenger seat was loose. When I examined it more carefully, I learned that it was loose because one of the wood blocks under the seat had broken. I can only conclude that all DJ-3A’s with 2/3 1/3 seats were mounted on wood blocks? Or maybe only the early ones?

The photo below shows the passenger seat tilted forward. The front of it is mounted in a way that allows it to pivot forward. The mounts are bolted through a piece of wood, then through a piece of cloth, through the body, and into a welded bolt. The rear of the seats rests on the two mounts at the back of the well. The long piece of wood is a well-seasoned (at least 45 years old) and stained piece of oak that will work perfect for replacement blocks.


Unlike the passenger seat, the rear of the driver’s seat rests on two posts; slide onto the ends of the posts are rubber feet. Those rubber feat sit on blocks of wood also. 2017-05-20-seats7

A close up of the rubber foot. The hole is 1 inch in diameter, so I ought to be able to find rubber feet to replace these tired ones.2017-05-20-seats8

This shows how great the floor on this DJ is.


Another angle. Blocks 1, 4, 5, and 6 were the same size. Blocks 2 and 3 were larger and screwed down to the body. The rear 2/3’s seat rested atop those blocks.


I’ve drilled cut and drilled the blocks. They are ready for installation. I plan to add a thin piece of rubber under the blocks. Once I remove the rusted end of one bolt that broke, I’ll be able to reinstall the seats.

If you take a look at wood block #1 and block #6 there’s something curious. While the body area under wood block is similar to a CJ-3A, the body area under #6 has an additional channel (btw, we’ve yet to document any under DJ-3A body channels with wood in them).

This is the passenger side with the extra channel and a welded bolt.

No channel on the driver’s side even though there is a bolt welded there. patterson-dj3a-underside3

Finally, the DJ-3As used wood blocks between the frame and transmission crossmember.



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Rusty’s T-96 Transmission Rebuild

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Another thing I got accomplished recently was the rebuilding of Rusty’s T-96 transmission. It’s been a couple decades since I’ve rebuild a T-90, but I think a person could follow a T-90 side shift guide when rebuilding the T-96 (I didn’t think of this until after I was done — instead I used an old rebuild manual from the late 60’s that has rebuilds of 35 different styles of transmissions). Once again, I thought I had more pics, but I didn’t. So, this isn’t a step-by-step overview.

I took this photo at the beginning of the tear-down to remember which way the speedometer gear should face. The lack of a transfercase is part of what makes this rebuild different from most other jeep transmissions. 

Here’s the transmission with the input shaft pulled forward. My first gear and second gears were a bit worn. 2017-05-20-transmission2

Once I removed all the gears, I discovered the reverse gear had a broken tooth. 2017-05-20-transmission3

Close up of broken tooth. Thankfully, Charles Tate had sent me a box of T-96 parts that included a reverse gear. I was also able to replace the entire bottom cluster, first gear, and second gear. That saved me some money!


To remove the side shifters, a pin has to be tapped out. I was able to remove the 2/3 gear shifter, but not the first/reverse unit. Since there was no critical reason I could see for removing the first/reverse mechanism, I left it as is and cleaned up the housing.2017-05-20-transmission4

Normally, I’d paint the housing before assembly. However, with time being an issue and lacking enough warmth on the rebuild day to properly paint it, I will paint it at a later date. 2017-05-20-transmission5

One other unique thing about the T-96: it requires the use of a special speedometer cable that is also used for Jeepsters and wagons.


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Assembling a DJ-3A Column Shift

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Yesterday I assembled Rusty’s column shifter. In my head, I took all kinds of photos. One in particular I took (again in my mind) showed the layout of all the parts prior to assembly. Alas, somehow that photo never made it onto my phone!

The DJ-3A shifter is slightly different from a VEC CJ-2A shifter. I can’t say how much it differs from a Jeepster or wagon column shifter. But, i can say that following these VEC CJ-2A instructions were very helpful.

After laying out the parts (and not taking a photo) I began the assembly process by learning how to install the horn wiring. After looking up how to do it on a 3B (thanks CJ-3B Page!), it turned out to be quite easy.

Step 1) Thread some of my grandfather’s wire through steering shaft.


Step 2) Attach the wire to the horn wire end. In this case, I ran it through wire connector and then bent it so that the wire would not pull back out of the connector. 2017-05-20-column-shift-assembly2

Step 3) Pull the wiring carefully through the end of the shaft.  2017-05-20-column-shift-assembly3

With the wire installed, next on the list was assembling the shifter. The first step involved installing a washer, a spring, and a second washer onto the column shift tube Next, the interior shift lever must be screwed onto the shift housing. Then, slide the shift housing onto the column shift tube, pushing it far enough up so that a special metal pin can be inserted. Once that is done, you have to weld the end of the tube to the pin to secure it.2017-05-20-column-shift-assembly4

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Fixin’ Patterson’s Windshield

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Another item I tackled yesterday was Patterson’s windshield, specifically the twisters and a rear view mirror.

It wasn’t until yesterday that I realized Patterson didn’t have a rear view mirror. Fortunately, I had the mount from Rusty and a nearly correct mirror thanks to Chris McKay. This is before I added the mirror:


And after the mirror. 2017-05-20-windshield2

Next I addressed a couple of broken twisters. These are one of the unique features of a DJ-3A Convertible. The windshield is nearly like a CJ-3B, accept for the way the convertible top is supposed to attach to the windshield. Instead of a sliding mechanism, it uses those twisters. Two of Patterson’s twisters were broken. I had a few that I removed from Rusty (most of Rusty’s were broken), so I installed two of those onto Patterson. 2017-05-20-windshield3

The windshield is now complete and ready for a convertible top.

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Modified Hardtop on Tim’s M-170

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Tim’s been working on this M-170, bringing it back to stock. One feature he really likes is the Metro Engineering and Manufacturing Top, which was extended to fit his M-170. Tim’s searching for some M-170 seats (probably the same as M-38A1 seats?? Can someone clarify this??).

“I’ve converted the engine back to 24 volts. The unique thing with this M170 is the top. It’s an M38a1 (I think) top that was cut and stretched 20 inches next to the door. Who ever did this did a great job. I like this better than canvas tops. If some one needs measurements contact me. One photo has the tag info on the top.”

m170-tim-0 m170-tim-1 m170-tim-2 m170-tim-3

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Getting Tanked

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During my brief visit to Seattle the weather was most uncooperative. Today it was rain and hail, intermixed with sun. Two days earlier it was thunder, lightening, and downpours. So, I wasn’t as productive as I would have liked. Still, I managed to clean some more parts, order some parts, and work on the gas tank.

Not surprisingly, there seems to be no aftermarket replacement tank for the DJ-3A. I’m pretty sure a DJ-5 or rear CJ-5 tank would fit just fine, but I didn’t have one readily available and, besides, I was trying to stay with the DJ-3A tank. After some searching, I found one with all the parts, but it was a bit dented.


This tank took a pretty good hit.

Today I decided to get the dents out. With nothing to lose, I started by drilling an access hole in the good side so I could pound out the worst side.


My tool of choice was a 20 pound pry bar that had a round surface at the top. So, I inserted the bar upside down into the newly drilled hold and began working out the dents. It worked surprisingly well.


I also had a small sledge and a smaller bar with a rounded end that helped remove some dents. Continue reading

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Frame Is Painted!

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2017-04-24-david-ann-sand-blastingThis weekend my lovely helper and I blasted and painted the frame. Now, we are both tired. So, here’s a recap in pics …. First the dirt and scraping. Yuck!



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Rainy Days Go Away!

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Ann is not afraid to get dirty!

Unlike our sunny Friday, today was a rainy day, so any thought of blasting the frame was put on hold. But, we did get nearly all the parts removed from the frame and the engine/transmission ready to pull out. The more we removed, the more we could see that poor Rusty had come from an abusive home.

Case in point: the transmission cross member. Both sides of the frame where the transmission crossmember normally attaches have been beaten, suggesting that the jeep was often bottomed or high centered. That would also explain the need to install a custom cross member:


You can see the wave along the bottom rail. I play on straightening it and then added an extra piece of metal to about a foot long to add additional strength along the bottom of the frame.

This net photo shows the rear passenger spring. The front portion of the bottom leaf is bent down quite a ways. This is slightly problematic in that there aren’t off the shelf springs for DJ-3A convertibles (that I know of anyway).


I don’t know which year this image was printed, but it highlights the different springs among models.


Note that the hardtop version had different numbers of springs on the left vs. right sides. From the CJ-2A Page.

To make it more confusing, I have five leafs in the front and four in the back (on both sides). I think I should have only 3 leafs. Perhaps the previous owner broke them and installed heavier ones? Or, the number of leafs was changed after 1956? I don’t know.

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Having a Blast

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Just a few updates for today ….

Friday was another day of blasting. And, with Ann’s help, there was plenty of scraping, too. This photo describes my day:


But, all that work wasn’t for naught. See the much cleaner steering box:


ross-steering-box-rusty-cleanAnd, some of the blasted parts … clutch linkages, pedal levers, column shift parts, and more:
more-blasting-done2 more-blasting-done1

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One Part at a Time …

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All work and no noodles makes David grumpy! Good thing I found a new Ramen noodle place just a few minutes away from my parents. I had them add some pork belly. It was awesome!

More progress on Rusty, one part at a time. I wanted to remove the u-joints so I could sand blast and paint the driveline.


To remove them, I used my favorite vice, something that’s been around longer than me. Using two different sized sockets (one to slide through and one to catch the u-joint as it slides through, I pressed it through. Make sure the grease nipple is NOT on the side you are pressing or it will cause you problems. This shows the u-joint after the springs are removed, but before I began pressing.2017-04-14-driveline5

This shows the u-joint after pressing it through. 2017-04-14-driveline6

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Bends, Cracks, and Mud

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There’s nothing like disassembly to reveal all the problems that remained unseen. Once the body came off, the realities revealed themselves.

The front cross member is cracked on the driver’s side (no surprise there — funny how I didn’t notice it with the body on it). The transmission is so packed with muck that I doubt any oil could leak through it. There are also some odd bends, like the mid cross member, which had something hit it with enough force to bend one side. Maybe the driveline broke at some point and flew up into it? Of course, there were rusty bolts, too, some which not even PB Blaster could save. At least it is getting closer to being disassembled.

The first big event was the removal of the body. I used a block and tackle to pull the body off:


2017-04-10-rusty-remove-body2 2017-04-10-rusty-remove-body1

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Working Away

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With the rain staying away for a few days, I booked it over to Renton for a few days to work on Rusty. Here are a few of the things I did today.

I did a little more straightening to the body. This time I wanted to remove a bow along the top back. I’ve mounted a board as a straight edge. You can see the cancer in the rear.

2017-04-09-rusty-body-work2You can see there’s a gap between the board and the back.

2017-04-09-rusty-body-work1After some clamps and some sweet talking with a 5lb sledge, I coaxed the back into line.

Then I played doctor and removed the cancer.2017-04-09-rusty-body-work4

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Paul’s Trailer Update

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Paul’s continuing to make progress on his trailer.

I can’t remember if I explained about the lunette thread damage and what it took to get it repaired so here’s the brief story. Before I began disassembly of my M100 trailer I liberally sprayed all the fasteners with penetrating oil numerous times in hopes of easing the removal process. Most of the nuts and bolts unscrewed with normal effort (including the castle nut on the lunette) but I was disappointed to see some of the threads on the lunette were damaged by the nut when things came apart.

Once the lunette was cleaned and bead blasted I took it to a local machine shop to see what could be done to repair or replace the damaged threads. Because I didn’t know if the lunette was cast or forged the machinist said welding was out of the question and suggested I just buy a replacement lunette. I returned home and made numerous phone calls to military parts sellers, Jeep parts sellers and anyone else I thought might possibly have an M100 lunette for sale. Not only did I come up with a big fat nothing for a replacement lunette I also learned these things are harder to find than unicorns. I made a trip back to the machine shop and had another conversation with the talented folks about the lack of replacement lunettes before we brainstormed about the possibility of thread repairs.

After I answered all their questions about the M100 trailer weight, load capacity and the type of use it will be subjected to a solution was suggested. The plan was to carefully remove the damaged threads and then cut new threads on the slightly smaller diameter of the lunette. The thread pitch would be an uncommon type so they would have to make a castle nut of the correct diameter with matching threads but very little strength would be lost with this repair. I wanted one change made with their repair plan, instead of making one castle nut I wanted them to make four nuts. That way if I ever lost or damaged a special nut I’d have spare nuts on hand.

The attached photo shows the thread damage on the lunette, the focus is poor but the missing threads are still visible.


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David Tracy’s 1948 CJ-2A Update

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David has run into problems with his starter and generator. Read more about the update on his build here:


Photo Credit: David Tracy

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David Tracy’s 1948 Project is Ruining Him

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How many of us bought that first project flat fender knowing it would be an easy restoration. After all, they are such simple vehicles, right? Well, David Tracy got an introduction into the hazards of purchasing a “fixer-upper”. He documents some of his trials and tribulations on Jalopnick. It’s a reminder that when picking your first jeep, choose wisely!


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Maury’s Foot Pedal Cure For His CJ-5

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Maury shared this cure for his foot pedal:

Like some others who have mid-60’s V6 CJs with the hanging (suspended) type accelerator pedal, I’ve found my ’67 CJ5 to be somewhat uncomfortable to drive over long, and even not-so-long distances due to the awkward placement and size of the original stock gas pedal. It’s no problem for me to reach the gas pedal with the front part of my foot when my heel is on the floor, as I wear a size 13 shoe. Even so, I’ve found that the muscles in the front of my shin frequently begin to ache from having to constantly hold my foot up at the angle necessary to depress the gas pedal.

Read more and see all the photos here:


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Paul’s Putting on Powder

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Take it away Paul ….

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been disassembling, cleaning, bead blasting and repairing parts for the little Willys and the M100 trailer so they would be ready to be powder coated.  I still need to install new wheel studs in the hub flanges along with pressing in the new bearing races but that task should be finished tomorrow.  The driveshafts need one to be shortened and one to be lengthened before they’ll go to the powder coater but progress is being made.


The blast cabinet is 48 inches wide overall and the axle is slightly over 53 inches long so I had a bit of a problem fitting the axle in the blaster and still having room to clean the rusty steel.  My solution was to leave the side door open and block the opening with multiple layers of cardboard (taped to the cabinet)  with a hole cut slightly larger in diameter than the brake backing plate mount on the axle to allow movement of the axle during blasting.  

Before I began blasting I added two more pieces of cardboard (cut to fit snug around the axle tube) to cover the larger hole in the cardboard end cover.  With this cardboard and duct tape combination I was able to carefully blast two thirds of the axle without filling the air with glass bead dust.  Once the axle section in the cabinet was clean I removed the axle, turned it end for end and inserted the rusty end into the cabinet to finish cleaning the metal.  This photo shows the low tech cardboard and cheap duct tape alteration of the blast cabinet so the axle blasting could begin.


The air compressor was blowing lots of air but the glass beads still had to work pretty hard to clean all of the rust off this 65 year old axle.  The metal is lightly pitted (especially on the forward side) but I don’t feel the original strength of the axle has been weakened in any way.  I checked the axle and the spindles with a straight edge and a level every 90 degrees of rotation to see if it was bent but the axle tube and the spindles are straight.


Here’s the axle just out of the blast cabinet ready to visit the powder coaters where it will receive a nice satin black coating.


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Jason’s Dually Truck Project

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Jason Potts, out of Burnettsville, Indiana, shared a couple photos of his Willys Dually project, so I asked him where he found his adapters and how he got into jeeps.


Of the truck adapters he wrote, “The adapters came from Hank himself. With the original bed rusting out on me, I bought the flatbed knowing someday the original would go bad. I had a local welder cut the length of the bed down 22 inches. The black locust was cut out of my family’s woods and milled at a relatives mill. I live in an apartment and the truck is currently stored in an enclosed metal barn and will see a garage again in the spring to continue work. The motor is a 232 out of a 70’s CJ and is being rebuilt.”


Then he shared his jeep history. “Originally my dad bought a 63 Cj5 at an implement auction and we used it to get around on county roads for fishing, hunting, and for other adventures. I was in my early teens at the time. In the early spring of 2004 (Junior in high school) a culvert washed out down the road from our house forcing myself and my dad to find alternate ways to work and school. His route took him past a place that had the 54 Willys and knowing I wanted a truck he told me about it. I bought the truck for $1500 and had to buy an electrical kit for it as its wires were all the same color and no lights worked. After about 2 months it became road legal and I started driving it to school.

Senior year of high school I was still driving it. Ever since owning it, the truck always smoked and was burning through oil at such a fast rate I eventually had to put the hottest burning spark plugs and plug extensions on just to keep up, in the end I resorted to using used tractor oil. The truck got 27 miles to the quart of oil. For a long distance football game I burned through 9 quarts of oil and $27 in gas.

Through the years since I have owned/or still own a 92 Jeep Cherokee, 66 Cj5, 75 Cj5, and a 95 Wrangler. Not to be outdone my older and little brothers also bought Jeeps. Older brother bought an 88 Wrangler and little brother has bought 2 Cherokee Country’s (both were previously rolled and used as trail rigs), a 47 Cj2A and a 65 CJ5.”


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Ben & Lil’ Joe, an M-38A1

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This is a great story form the Winston-Salem Journal about a teenager named Ben Zenger who began rebuilding an M-38A1 named Lil’ Joe at age eleven. Learn more here:


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Brian Hainer’s Restoration of Vince’s CJ-3A

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Brian Hainer will be restoring Vince’s CJ-3A. In this video he is beginning the restoration. Tires are removed from their rims and a stubborn steering wheel is removed.

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Paul’s Restored 1963 FJ-3

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UPDATE: Paul shared some additional pics.


paul-fj3a-6 paul-fj3a-8

paul-fj3a-7 paul-fj3a-9

Paul bought this FJ-3 back in 2014. He’s restored it beautiful. He wrote: “Her new home is in Orange County, California. This FJ3 is now a daily driver and is used both in my business, and as a fun vehicle to take to shows and cruises. It is looking a little different now. It is still running the original engine and transmission. The rear end is now a freshly rebuilt Dana 44 with taller gears so it can do a decent highway. On the exterior, all the rusty metal has been replaced and the rear side windows have been removed. The rear door is still a wood roll-up, but it is now clad with aluminum sheet to make it maintenance free.”

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Teardown of a CJ-2A L-134 on Jalopnik

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David Tracy wrote a story for Jalopnik, about his L-134 engine tear-down.


Photo by David Tracy

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The DJ-3A “Wire Gauze” or “Dry Air” Filter

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A pretty correct looking dry air or wire gauze filter from a 1954 Kaiser Darrin. Not the diagonal wire mesh on the exterior and the two prominent lips on the lid. The rubber piece on the top is unique to the Darrins. The DJ-3A did not use the rubber top piece.

UPDATE: This modification of the Oil Bath system into a dry air system by installing an air filter inside the oil bath canister might interest some readers:

On DJ-3As, the stock air filter is a  “Wire Gauze” or “Dry Air” filter type. The oil bath filter commonly seen on earlier L-134 engines was an upgrade option on the DJ-3As. When I looked to see whether my firewall had the holes necessary to mount the oil bath filter, I found the firewall had not been drilled. So, Rusty must have been equipped with a dry air filter.

As far as we know, Willys Motors only installed the dry air filter on the DJ-3As. This same filter appeared chromed on some 1953 & 1954 Corvettes and some 1954 161 Darrins (perhaps other years, too). It’s likely that if someone has one of these lying around, they probably don’t know what it is. If you happen to have one, I’d be interested in it.

Below is one example of a filter about to be restored with a modern mesh in the middle. Charles explained how the NOS filter material can be reproduced: “A NOS corvette, Darrin, or DJ filter core is rare and expensive. Once in a couple of blue moons they show up on eBay. However, they can be made easily . The inner and outer ring are made of extremely thin expanded metal. Make the inner ring, wrap around some air filter grade copper mesh wrap (eBay) and then wrap the outer ring and secure. Unfortunately, the copper would deteriorate over the years and has been talked about badly. Even though they were called dry air filters they were supposed to be kept oiled.”

According to Bill Brown, there’s a K&N filter that can be used. He couldn’t remember the part number, but the “OD of it is 6 3/8″; the ID is 5 1/4″; and the height is 1 1/2”. This is a filter with an accordion fold all the way around with a molded “rubber” top an bottom. Molded into both the top and bottom are a pair of K & N marks the Identification AO62B4 and the words Oil Type.”


This photo shows some of the parts to build a custom dry air filter. The bottom is original. The mesh left and right should be criss cross in diamond shapes rather than circles. The air filter at the bottom is meant to replace the shredded copper originally between the circular mesh. The felt circle helps seal the top lid to the tops of the mesh. The item on the lower right compresses the felt onto the mesh.

Here are examples of the filter installed. The diameter of the top lid is about 6 3/4 inches:


This rebuilt unit has the incorrect mesh and an aftermarket filter.


This one could be original. I can’t tell what kind of mesh surrounds the shredded interior.

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Rusty / DJ-3A Questions & Needs

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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.


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