Tune up

I started thinking about the Jeep cutting off on me yesterday and being hard to start for the last few months. So today, I decided to give her a complete tune up. I replaced the plugs yesterday, so that much was done. I pulled the valve covers even though I couldn’t get a side cover gasket locally. The last time I adjusted the valves, I replaced the valve cover gasket with a rubber one, so I knew I could reuse it. I checked all of the valves and found that most were too tight. Most of the intakes were around .014″ and all of the exhaust were around .012″! For those of you that don’t know, the spec is .018″ intake and .016″ exhaust. I adjusted them all and cleaned the existing gaskets (the side cover gasket was cork and still in one piece on the block, so I left it in place). I put a light coat of Form a Gasket on the covers and the block (top cover). I also put a little on the PCV bell and the bolt head contact surfaces. I reassembled the rest of the parts I removed. While I was in the engine compartment, I noticed a pretty heavy drip coming from the fuel cutoff valve to rubber hose connection. I tightened the hose clamps and stopped that leak.

I fired her up (a little easier starting), and she idled quieter than before! I jumped in and took off up the driveway. I could IMMEDIATELY tell an increase in power! I got out on the highway and she ran up to 50 pretty fast – and I still had some pedal left. I drove about 5 miles down the road and came back to set the timing and carb.

I backed into the shop and shut it down. I pulled the battery cover off and opened the hood. I grabbed my spark plug adapter and installed it and hooked up the timing light on #1. I also hooked up the vacuum gauge to the tee under the carb and loosened the distributor. I fired her back up and checked the timing – it was around 10 deg BTDC and the vacuum was about 14. I adjusted the distributor until I got my highest vacuum reading of 16. The timing was showing around 5 deg BTDC at that point. I adjusted the carb, but the needle adjustment didn’t do much on the lean side – so I just adjusted it for best acceleration.

I unhooked everything and took another test drive. Power was slightly down, but the hesitation when you blip the throttle and the miss at idle are all but gone. I was able to cruise at 50 without sounding like she was going to come apart, and hit 58 a time or two during the run!

When I got back to the shop, I checked for leaks one last time – everything looked and ran good, but it was a little noisier when it warmed up.


All shined up and ready to show!

I picked up some new plugs for the ‘a1 that I ordered Saturday from O’reilly Auto Parts. When I got home and started changing them, I looked at the number on the old ones – Autolite 2243. These plugs are for the M38. I think they are colder(?) plugs, since the ceramic is recessed farther into the base of the plug. The correct plug for the ‘a1 is an Autolite 2245. O’reilly (and others) sell these plugs for around $7 each, where as the surplus parts houses are asking about $15 ea!

Anyway, I got the new plugs installed and fired it up – no change in the hesitation, but did idle a little better. I think I need to adjust the timing again to get rid of that hesitation and the hard starting issue I have been having for a few months now. Maybe I will do that tomorrow,

I hooked the car hauler up to the deuce and loaded the Jeep on it. I still HATE the straps I have for it. Fortunately, I picked up some chain and 1 dog from my Wife’s Granddad’s shop over the weekend. All I need to buy are 8 hooks and 3 more dogs – then it will be MUCH simpler to secure the Jeep on the hauler!

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I hauled the Jeep up to my Brother’s shop to drop the deuce off for them to get it ready for the car show this Saturday. I was going to drive the Jeep back home. The drive went pretty smooth until some idiot slammed on brakes in front of me – my plastic console went flying to the floor and about 3/4 of my drink was gone before I could get it!

I got to the shop and unloaded the Jeep and backed the deuce and car hauler into the fence. After a few words, I took off back to the house in the Jeep. After about 5 miles or so, it seemed to loosen up and everything smoothed out. About 20 minutes later I came up to the road going to my house, but decided to keep on going – surely the Jeep needed to be filled up after the ride! I pulled into the only gas station around that sells ethanol free gas about 5 minutes later. I shut her down and checked the level with a flashlight – about half empty! Mind you, I filled up before we went to the Denton rally last month and only drove about 15 miles up there. I put about 25 on it today – that would be 5 gallons for 40 miles (8mpg). There’s another reason to check the timing! After I filled up, since she was running so good, I decided to go to my Mom’s house about 12 miles down the road. I started to pull out onto the highway and she died! After a few nervous seconds of cranking, she fired back up – in those few seconds I decided that I had better head back to the house instead of risking being stuck somewhere. I didn’t have any more running problems.

When I got to the house, I pulled up and started to give her a bath. I sprayed Super Clean (that I got from Walmart) under the fenders and frame and running gear. I washed that off and it did a very good job with one application (this was the first time I had used this brand – I usually use Purple Power). I opened the hood and sprayed down the under side of the hood and entire engine compartment. After a few seconds, I started rinsing it down – it cleaned extremely well, actually TOO well. Paint came off of a few things like the dipstick cap, radiator in a couple of places, and engine block! There was no mud or oil/grease anywhere though!

I closed the hood, and to my horror, I saw that the cleaner had left streaks and splatters all over the cowl, fenders and edge of the hood! After a little more inspection, I found that everywhere it hit, it changed the color to a light green. I had spots on the rear wheel wells, wheels, bumper, the whole frame, etc. I just sat there wondering what I was going to do. Finally, I grabbed some good car wash and washed the Jeep – no luck. Then I grabbed some wax and hit the bad places. This made it less obvious, but I didn’t want to wax the whole Jeep, because you really can’t wax a semi gloss paint job! Then I remembered an old motor pool trick that I had heard about that was used for inspections – wiping the whole truck down with diesel fuel! I didn’t want to use diesel, so I grabbed the WD40 and tried a small spot – that did it! I polished the whole Jeep with it – made took the surface scratches disappear too! She polished up to slightly more than a semi gloss, but looks real good. I know that when I wash her again that all of that stuff will reappear, but what other choice do I have – repaint it before the show this weekend? NO – not going to happen for a while. I guess the WD will have to suffice for a while!

Anyway, I reinstalled the top and cleaned the glass – now she is ready for the show! I will have to take my spray bottle of magic mist and a towel to shine her up again before the show – I know I will get some dust on her on the drive over.

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Done with the 2014 Denton rally

It was a pretty good rally – ended up with about 45 total vehicles and trailers with spectators coming in Friday through Sunday when we left. I gave a few rides in the Jeep and, I think, inspired a few people to continue, finish and start their own M38a1 projects. I also talked to a few veterans and helped them relive their pasts. My Brother and I took a little road trip into the town of Denton before breakfast this morning to stretch the Jeep’s legs before loading up for the ride home.





Springs changed and brakes adjusted

I started off by pulling my old front springs off and installing my NOS ones. It was a pretty easy and quick job.



It sits a little more level now, but I measured before and after (floor to fender lip) – I actually LOST 1/4″ of height!


After I finished the springs I went for a drive around the field (ACROSS the old corn rows) to settle the springs. I pulled back into the shop and checked all of the nuts again – glad I did, because most of the spring plate nuts were loose! I torqued everything back down to 60#.

Next, I turned my attention to the driver side rear brake adjusting eccentric.  It was the only one that I couldn’t get to move the last time I adjusted the brakes. I ordered one off of eBay months ago, just never got around to installing it. I tore that side down and changed out the eccentric. It looks like I will be changing brake shoes and hardware before long too.


I put the drum back on and adjusted the brake shoes (these brakes are NOT self adjusting!). I went around the rest of the Jeep and adjusted them all. Before I adjusted them I read the instructions in the manual – adjust the front shoe until you feel scrubbing and back off slightly, then tighten it down. Then do the rear shoe the same way. Lately, I would have to push the brake pedal down to about 3″ from the floor before they would stop the Jeep. Even then it wouldn’t stop fast enough. After I finished adjusting them I felt the pedal – 2″ travel and it stopped the tire from spinning! I adjusted the pedal free play to 1/2″ by adjusting the pedal rod. I went for a road test and it will literally skid the tires on pavement now!

Last but not least, I installed the chains on the front shackle pins. I wanted to use the “correct” drive screws, but nobody around here carries them and I wasn’t going to order a box of 100 for just the 2 that I needed! So, I looked through my screw drawer and found a very small Phillips head screw, drilled a hole slightly smaller than the screw in the original drive screw hole and forced the small screw to thread into the hole. I think it turned out well – not many people will know the difference!


I guess all that I have left to do before the rally is take the top down and wash it, overall cleaning, check all the fluids and check the tire pressures. The rally is only 12 days away!

VRC-8 finally installed!


I  finally got around to installing my radio set! I made the sc-c-28600 spacer blocks last year, but never got around to installing the radio set. I have been doing a LOT of research on how the MT-299 mount should be installed, but couldn’t find a drawing that showed exactly how (how far from the seat back, how far the blocks go back on the wheelwell, etc) to install it. I had the drawings and measurements for the blocks, but nothing showing me how to install them.


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So I went out and set the blocks on the wheelwell and set the mount on top of them. I drew a line in pencil on the wheelwell to mark where the edge of the block would be after testing to see that the seatback would not hit the top of the radio. I marked the edges of the wheel well ridges on the blocks. When I looked at the mount feet, the holes in them were too far over to get good contact with the wood. I ended up moving the blocks so that the inside edge of the mount feet were flush with the edge of the wood. I used a circular saw to cut the channels and used a forstner bit to counter sink the holes 1/2″ and drilled through with a 1/2″ bit. I assembled everything and positioned it on the wheelwell. I had to re mark the edges of the wood. Then I disassembled everything and marked the position of the wheelwell holes on the blocks (half way between the ridge and the side of the body and half way between the edge of the wheel well and the 1st ridge). I counter sunk these holes 1/4″ and drilled through with a 1/2″ bit. I put a T nut in each of these holes.


I re assembled everything again and checked the fit on the wheelwell. Then I marked the center of the wheelwell holes and drilled them out. I applied 2 coats of OD24087 (I know this isn’t the correct color, but I wasn’t going to order special paint for this – I’m not putting this in a show for judging) on the blocks and let them dry.


I reassembled everything one more time and set the completed mount on the wheelwell. The holes lined up! I tightened the hardware down and admired the work.


I hooked up the power cable and installed the power supply, RT-67, LS-166/U speaker and HS-22/PT handset. It’s looking like something now!


I turned the power supply on and then the radio. The lights came on but I didn’t hear anything. I adjusted the squelch and volume – still nothing. I turned the power supply to “Receive and Transmit” and key the mic – I heard a clicking in the radio, but nothing in the handset. Oh well, at least it is installed – I’ll leave the troubleshooting for another day! I went ahead and installed the speaker under the radio set.

I picked up my CG-330/G cover from the Post Office this morning. After I had everything installed, I installed the cover – the finishing touch!



Tomorrow I am planning on changing out my front springs, changing the left rear brake shoe adjuster and adjusting the brakes, I also need to go ahead and take the top off and wash the Jeep.

H-33/PT Handset arrived today

Well, a little disappointment this afternoon. I had agreed to buy a 1955 (title and plates) USMC M38a1 this weekend and was to be delivered today. The guy showed up with the Jeep and we unloaded it. He handed over the title and I checked it against the data plates and it matched – flipped it over and it was titled in someone else’s name! Apparently it had been sold in another county in 1989. The buyer never titled it in his name. Some way or another the original seller got the vehicle back and sold it to the guy trying to sell it to me. I told the guy that I couldn’t do anything with that title – if he wanted to get it straight, I am still interested. He took the Jeep back home with him. Bummer! The Jeep was in decent condition. It needed the passenger floor and side panel, battery trays and battery box bottom replaced. The fenders weren’t great either. Other than that, it was pretty much complete down to the spare tire and carrier. It ran and drove good and the gauges even worked! Oh well, I guess it was meant to be!

No work has been done on my Jeep since the last post – just a new piece delivered today.

I got my H-33/PT handset today. I found it on eBay last week. Most of them are either well used pieces of crap or NOS priced at $70! I didn’t need anything that is perfect, so I waited. My speaker is used, but not worn out. Anyway, I ran across this auction last week – it said used/vg condition. I won the auction for $26.50! I received it today in a vacuum sealed package, wrapped in paper, inside a peanut packed box – excellent packaging! I opened it up and couldn’t believe it – if it isn’t NOS, I don’t know why it isn’t. This thing has some rub marks on it but that’s it – the cord even still has the talc on it! I am very impressed. So now my VRC-9 is complete except for the cx-330/G cover and mounting it – and maybe getting a shorter antenna cable.

NOS H-33/PT Handset