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Old 14th July 2014, 16:27   #1
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Default Building a Willys CJ4A

Year 2012

One fine August morning, mom wakes us up with a paper advt in her hand. Its a auction of old jeep by Commissioner of police, Madikeri. Registration number says MYZ, being a automobile freak, dad is of the opinion its a Willys.
Roadking bike roared as we rode across the ghats to view the jeep. It was a Willys alright, but none like the ones we had seen earlier. It was 1976 WILLYS CJ4A – 2WD, the jeep was only used twice a year, on Aug 15 & Jan 26, it was the parade jeep. The in-house mechanics from police dept said its been 5 years since fired up, the good aspect was the jeep was parked in a closed place and looked after well. It had a hurricane engine, white in color, without a hood nor frame, two seats in the front.

Internet threw very few minuet details on CJ-4A, not much was available as of the make or history of the jeep. After a lot of discussion from various sources, we were able to come to a conclusion, that it was the first batch of jeep, produced by Mahindra, before they replaced the name Willys

So, thus we decided to sit for the auction which was a good 15 days later. The auction itself was big hungama, some GOOD police wanted to make some GOOD money to fill their pockets. Was successful in outbidding the competition of 15 people and the GOOD police. Paid 25% of the auction amount, took the receipt, grinned at the good police and looked at the CJ with a I LUV U smile and headed home.

Then was the usual hassles of police dept to get all the documents in order took another good 90 days to release the Jeep, got the call to collect the jeep, armed with a tow rope, some petrol and our trusted monster 540, we wound up the ghats to woo the CJ home. The jeep was parked outside the shed with all its parade jewels removed, still without a hood or frame. We tried starting the jeep, no vain, meanwhile paid the rest amount, got all the documents in order and started searching for the hood. Finally after 2 hrs, the hood was sourced and fixed to the jeep with the help of 4 nuts n bolts.

Daylight was fading, Dad, who had accompanied for the grand tow, suggested we just tow the jeep back instead of trying to waste our time firing her up, no sooner than he finished his sentence, rain gods decided to give us a visit in all glory.

There we were, with 35” Monster 540, hooked on to a nimble CJ, on our way down the Ghat section, with heavy rains and 6.30 Pm on the watch. Dad drove the 540, while I manned the CJ, at our first decent, I realised a De-ja vu fact.. The CJ has been standing for a few year, which means the brakes are jammed and we were going down the ghats, in rain. It took us 2 hrs to come down a ghat section of 30 kms, legs were aching with all those standing on the brakes manoeuvre and dad was tried with all the towing.

Reached Virajpet, a good 45 kms from madikeri at 9 pm. We started again, only this time, we were towing on the roads of MARS, apologies, no roads actually, just some bits of tar here and there. Reached home at 10.00 pm. Mom was laughing herself out and was quiet impressed with the CJ. The big brother 540 was given some good rest, while we polished of dinner and hit the sack.

Next morning realised we have dropped a brand new battery from the jeep on our towing episode somewhere in the ghats or the road of mars. CJ was given a good bath, inside out and pushed into the garage.

Few calls later the electrician turned up at home and got into the bonnet for a quick analysis. The started motor needed a through attention, while the distributor was missing a rotor. Few days later with the rotor sourced and starter shining with new parts, the CJ fired up beautifully on the 3rd crank. We hadn’t even cleaned the carb till then. While the Jeep settled down to idle purring like a kitten, we did a quick check on the works to be undertaken. Next day, CJ was left in the hands of a trusted mech, who handles our 540, he cleaned up the brakes, filled her with new fluids and air to the tires and said, “Anna, I do not do petrol jeep, as I cant understand its working”.. Well am left laughing at myself now, in Coorg, the heaven of jeeps, this guy knows his wares well, if he says he cant understand the nuance of petrol jeep, then am screwed. Took it to a petrol mechanic, who was able to clean the carb and say its a rare jeep.

In the first few days , slowly we get to know the reliability of the CJ, first hand. it used to just stop anywhere and everywhere. We have never pushed, towed or being embarrassed like this in any of our vehicle. It had a firing problem, fuel was being guzzled like butter milk, and it had a mind of its own. The first few months, it was an achievement, if any of us returned back home with the CJ, without being towed. Meanwhile got fed up of running behind the jeep and kept it for sale, had a few enquires, but thankfully none were ready to come to coorg to see the jeep.

Break thru happened finally in the beginning of 2013, saw a old gentleman driving an even older LHD Willys in a battered condition, followed the jeep in order to talk to him and Vo-lia he drives right into a small familiar garage. The garage guy recognises the Monster 540 and come to ask how he can help. This garage was visited by us umpteen times to get the our vehicle leafs re-cambered, not until now did anyone mention there was a Willys expert residing amongst them. The CJ mech is even older than the gentleman I saw. Introduced myself and told him he needs to see our CJ. The very next day, CJ is at the expert hands and nearly an year after we first Bid for the Jeep, we got the taste of the hurricane engine. The jeep flew like a bullet and purred like a cat, but reliability was an issue again. It used to mis fire after running for 10 kms and more. After few more months of misery, changing half a dozen rotors and distributor caps the problem was diagnosed, when the mech saw the Ignition coil. All this while the jeep was running on a 3 cylinder maruti 800 coil, which couldn’t take the load once the engine heated up.

After haggling and running around getting in touch with numerous contacts for a month, was able to procure an original made in USA ignition coil for Willys, it was heavy duty, the only salt to the wound was that the spare was available with another hoarder, next door near my CJ mechs garage. With this update the juices from the engine ozzed well and for a month there was no problems at all, until suddenly one day CJ decided to spring another surprise, stopped in a middle of now-where.

Again back to the towing, pushing and embarrassing stuff, this time the problem was diagnosed due to failed mechanical pump, it was suggested electrical motor be fixed to tackle this problem. All was well until, we screwed 4 such electrical motors, each time the motor deciding to fail, not while parked at home or while on joy rides, but while we are jeeping around for some imp stuff’s.

In all these mele, we decided to shorten the jeep, the work was executed flawlessly by our trusted 540 mech. It took them 15 days and a close supervision by my younger brother ( a mechanical engineer himself) to get all the necessary work done. Right from shortening the chassis, tub, shaft etc. We threw the old hood and customised a new design scissors frame
While the in-house ME took charge of the sprucing up the Willys, it slowly started taking the shape of a SWD. The jeep now looked like a WILLYS and ran like one too, with almost no niggles. Engineers are engineers, He brought life into the SWD with details thrown into it, all the frills, bits and pieces which makes a willys stand out was sourced, ordered and fixed under his supervision.

In the course of 3 years, other than the engine and the radiator, almost all the parts have been replaced. The below are the parts added, changed and re-furbished in the order
• New battery
• Brakes liners and master cylinder
• Alternator – maruti esteem
• Ignition Coil
• Carb – fixed the later model carb from Amby
• Electrical fuel pump
• New seats and floor mats
• New hood and custom made frame
• Full re- wiring with fuses for all the components
• All the lights and indicators
• Starter motor – Tempo trax (heavy duty)
• Frills, bits and pieces

For now the Willys has become a great reliable vehicle, fun to drive and gathers attention wherever it goes. Planning to upgrade the tires to 7.00 NDMS and is possible plonk in a pair of Militiary grade rims, also on the plot is to convert it to 4WD – 3 lever GB with both diffs changed. Some pics from how it was and its transaction to how it looks today.
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Last edited by GTO : 15th July 2014 at 13:16. Reason: Rule #11
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Old 14th July 2014, 17:49   #2
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Default re: Building a Willys CJ4A

The Photos are Jumbled up. The reflection pic is the latest avatar.
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Old 14th July 2014, 20:31   #3
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Default re: Building a Willys CJ4A

Quote:
Originally Posted by nanju View Post
Daylight was fading, Dad, who had accompanied for the grand tow
Finally somebody got some time to put up the story of this wonderful machine. Dad's are always the Superman for kids like us. The way he handles the vehicle even to this day, is still a mystery.I rememeber during the initial days the Willys used to start only when he cranked it up and towing in vehicle on the gradient slops of Coorg just by using a two strap I still do not know how you guys reached back home in a piece.

Here are the pics of the Home Grown Mech engineer and The Graduated Mech Engineer who got back the life to the Willys.
Building a Willys CJ4A-img_0037.jpg

The Jeep as in today
Building a Willys CJ4A-img_0044.jpg
Building a Willys CJ4A-img_0055.jpg
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Old 16th July 2014, 23:34   #4
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Default Re: Building a Willys CJ4A

CJ 4 A ? I think there is only one Proto type ever built.,

What is in the picture is an extended chassis CJ3B derivative.
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Old 17th July 2014, 15:46   #5
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Default Re: Building a Willys CJ4A

Quote:
Originally Posted by desertfox View Post
CJ 4 A ? I think there is only one Proto type ever built.,

What is in the picture is an extended chassis CJ3B derivative.
Nope, there are a few CJ 4A which are in use, couple of ones in India itself. The data plate mentions it as CJ 4A.

Agree with the extended chassis bit with a re-badged version of the product line
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Old 14th January 2015, 17:24   #6
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Default Re: Building a Willys CJ4A

Re-visiting the thread and dropping down few issues which was sorted with the Hurricane engine

Coil Overheating: Fixed it with an electronic kit from www.autoescorts.in, its a DYI kit and can be fixed at home by someone who knows a thing or two about electronics. Took me half a day to fix it up and get the Jeep running.

Carb: Changed the present one to that of an OLD Ambassador (Not Isuzu), was lucky enough to procure one in mint condition from Shivajinagar gujai, BANGALORE. Mileage has increased to around 10-12 kmpl, no blockages, no frills whatsoever. Runs pretty smooth and the Carb is a direct fit without any modifications.

Brakes: Upgraded to the new standard non-booster pump, seems a lil better improvement in the braking

Bentex & Starter: Changed the complete starter unit to that of TEMPO Trax. Quiet a heavy duty starter, not sure on the model and type. Was able to source the same in Bangalore after showing the present starter as a sample. Fixing and aligning of the same took a few R&D, alignment is a main issue, needs some grinding of excess metal from the Trax starter. Once fixed, it works like a charm.

Radiator leak: Two spoonful of saffron powder and haven’t heard from it from past one year

Fuel pump: Fed up with the mech pump failing due to over heat, fixed an electronic fuel pump. Easily available at any good spare shop, keep a look out for auto cut off units. A must fix is a fuse box for this pump, as most of them do not survive a shock beyond 12 volts. Once fixed with fuse, they last long enough. Burnt 3 such pumps before realising 12 volts fuse is a saviour.

Alternator: Direct fit of maruti baleno, has been supporting the 12 volts Jeep battery for 2 years.

Tires: Upgraded to JK Sandgrip – 7.50 x 16 on stock rims. Good road presence, had plans to change the rims to the military disk, but was sceptical on the weight issues bearing the load on the differentials, as the Willys diffs aren’t strong as the 540 nor 550 units.
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