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Jake’s 1947 Willys CJ2A

Build

By JJ

 0  1

Editor’s note: Jake Johnson’s little red Jeep may have all the aesthetics of a vintage off-roader, but he’s built it into a capable machine perfectly at home on trails modern Jeeps tackle.

 




Growing up, my dad always had a Willys around, so naturally, I loved them. As soon as I got to an age where I could reach the pedals, I was driving off-road and loving it. I loved wrenching on the old rusty Jeeps my dad would bring home, and I wasn’t the only one to get hooked in my family.  My two older brothers both have Jeeps and International Harvester Scouts.

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This Jeep came from my dad. He and I purchased and resurrected it together. The L-head engine was seized, and the T90 transmission was full of water when we got it home after purchasing it. After about a year of work, it was back on the road. I ran it stock for a few years until a fellow coworker came across a little Kubota engine for a great price. Being a diesel technician for a local Caterpillar dealer, my wheels began turning, and that’s when the modifications really started.

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I purchased an engine adapter from Overland Diesel to connect the transmission to the engine. Swapped in a later model Dana 30 front axle with factory disc brakes. The rear Dana 44 was modified to be a full float, then installed disc brake brackets from Brennan’s Garage. This little 2.2L diesel averages 25-30 mpg with impressive power.

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Here’s a full list of my modifications:

  • Kubota V2203T 2.2L diesel
  • T90 transmission
  • Spicer 18 t-case w/tera low
  • Warn overdrive
  • Dana 30 front w/disc 5:38 gears
  • Dana 44 full float rear 5:38 gears
  • Spartan lockers front and rear
  • Brennan’s Garage disc brake conversion
  • R&P Dual master
  • Saginaw power steering
  • Rancho Springs 1.5” lift
  • Daystar shackles
  • Warn 8274 winch
  • 5” DOM roll cage
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After those modifications, I needed to source a set of tires. After hours of reading reviews and looking at pricing, BFGoodrich® Mud Terrain T/A KM2 tires were the choice. Taking into account suspension and overall vehicle size, I chose 33x10.50R15 sized tires. They are mounted on Cragar 15x7 wheels. The tires perform really well on- and off-road. The Jeep lives in Utah so it sees many extreme conditions, including sandy desert, snowy Rocky Mountains, the slick-rock of Moab, and everything in between. When the tires are aired down for Moab they flatten out nicely, even though the Jeep only weighs in around 2300lbs. 

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My Jeep sees regular outings, including Easter Jeep Safari every year. It also travels 1000 miles, once a year with Novak Conversions War Hero to Trail Hero event. The Jeep is about where I want it to be, but of course, no project is ever finished.

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To see more of this Willys, follow Jake on Instagram at @theredwillys

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