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Daan

World War Willys Jeep - from 1990

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Hi,

 

First day of the new year, and i thought it was fitting to start a topic about my new Project. Yes, Shock horror, after 28 years on my Landy, I decided it was time for a change. My new project is a 4x4... but it is not a Land rover...

No, I thought there are other cars about that I fancy having a go at (not many, but still). I fancied a classic car. And the one that started of the whole 4x4 scene, a willys MB Jeep. They just look right and there is so much history to them that that is the one car that always had my interest.

They are a bit spendy though, in recent years even complete rust buckets won't go for less than 5K, usually incomplete and without V5, to a running one for about 10K, up to well over 20K for a minter. That was not what I had in mind, and added to this is that in reality, a willys jeep is not much of a car:

They tend to have their spec stencilled on their hoods in the uk:

stencil.jpg.ff2f13be337899df0a97ea114576e070.jpg

And that pretty much says it all; Although added to this should be no heater, manual wipers and almost no brakes.

The general advice for these is not to enter a motorway which makes sense, but if I am going to get one of these, I want it to be able to get along with normal traffic. Which is 70 MPH in the UK and ideally a bit in reserve as well.

So then my mind goes into modifying ideas, but the problem is that this devalues the car, which just does not make sense to me if you spend a lot of money in the first place..

Like most iconic cars, people had a go at imitating it, most notably the Jago Jeep, based on an escort MK2. Many people have done home grown replicas, usually based on suzuki chassis. 

Neither of these interested me much, as it is just too far away from the real thing. There is, for us in the Uk an alternative though: the Mahindra Jeep.

Generally overlooked by most people, due to having a bad name, they were sold in the UK between 1990 and 1995. They were license build Willys jeeps, build in India with the blessing of Jeep. Their spec is based on the Willys CJ3B Jeep, which is the latest and greatest Willys jeep ever build; They have a 4 speed gear box (as opposed to 3 speed of the original Willys), hanging pedals with a brake booster, a Peugeot Diesel engine, A dana 44 rear axle (very strong) and a chassis made out of thicker material.

They tend to be overlooked as they were withdrawn from the UK market due to quality problems and a following dispute between the importer and the mahindra over who was going to settle the bill. Problem is of course that if you try to sell a car 50 years after it was originally was designed, you will have to deal with different expectations. I suppose it didn't help that Top Gear did a feature on the worst car ever made, and guess who came out on top...

Anyway, Having looked at this option, I decided it is worth looking into. The rolling chassis is basically identical to the MB, so a replica MB body bolts straight on. The only real difference is it being RHD, and there is no such thing as a RHD Willys MB. So a bit of modding will be required here.

It is also possible to lower the bonnet and bulkhead and replace the wings, grille and screen to make it look like an MB.

 

Anyway, A mahindra it is, and this is what I bought:

 

m8.jpg.fc5d881f766b6a04d8ba9572a68f0ab7.jpg

From 1990, with a V5 on diesel and a body falling apart from rust holes, it was ideal for what I want with it. And it was very cheap. Engine did run, but the clutch was seized solid. 30K miles on the clock, these things don't travel far, as they aren't very quick.

with a bit of work I dismantled it into this:

IMG_6440.JPG.ec6e6c4532930747800cf8903d30eec4.JPG

Into this:

IMG_6487.JPG.1b5e4cac2499bdb8ebca58e217058a91.JPG

I didn't expect chassis were riveted together in 1990, but this one certainly is:

IMG_6489.JPG.83fc6d635bf454a711a38d5700943b08.JPG

 

So that is where I am now. Plan is to fit a newer engine, I bought a VW 1.9 TDI from a Pasat for it. Disc brakes, PAS and overdrive, and topped of with a Willys jeep replica body, this is going to be my modern day classic car.

Daan

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Interesting Project Daan !!!!!

Looking forward to the various solutions you'll have to find - like welding the chassis together ?

Goed Gedaan !!

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Yippee !  You said you were wanting a new project in my thread and I’m delighted you have 😊

I saw you’d uploaded the pictures to your gallery, and clicked your name on here to pm you and it said your status was ‘creating topic in modified build forum’ - I was beside myself.

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I am looking forward to this...

Dana 44 or similar axles aren't they?

I played with a couple of Rocstas in my time, good fun, but similar problems to the Mahindra... And twiglets for axles.

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Subscribed! I didn't know anything about them till I read your intro, looking forward to it.

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Good luck with the new project. Should keep you busy!

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Riveted construction is interesting! Probably more reliable than welding in a low skill environment. 

Brilliant project, I'll be looking forward to updates. 

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Interesting project Daan. I have encountered two Mahindras in my time, both of which were just a couple of years old. One was body rusting at an alarming rate. The other's front axle fell apart. Now I think about it, I am talking over 25 years ago. How old is your new purchase?
If you are replacing the body shell I guess the rust isn't an issue for you.

 

9 minutes ago, lo-fi said:

Riveted construction is interesting! Probably more reliable than welding in a low skill environment. 

When it went on the LR Experience tour a few years back they explained how much the RRS et al are now riveted construction. It saves them on huge energy bills vs spot welding.

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That makes sense; I'd not really thought about it that way. I'm guessing they're using aero style cold worked alloy rivets, though? I think what we can see on that chassis are old school hot rivets! 

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The riveted joints also help with designed in flex ( twist ) when off road , similar to HGV 's , also higher quality (carbon)  steel can be used as there is no HAZ from welding , leading to lighter construction making for the light tough design of the original Willys .

Great project Daan , it will be an interesting daily drive when done , I'll be following this - thanks for posting it up .

cheers

Steve b

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Subscribed. Looking forward to seeing updates Daan. TBH I wish I'd never sold my last MB.

Front right.jpg

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Is that what you get when you drive it more than half an hour, HOG?

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22 hours ago, Bowie69 said:

I am looking forward to this...

Dana 44 or similar axles aren't they?

I played with a couple of Rocstas in my time, good fun, but similar problems to the Mahindra... And twiglets for axles.

The front axle is a Dana 27 or 25, not sure which one it is, the rear is a dana 44. The rear axle would benefit from a floater kit though.

 

7 hours ago, JohnnoK said:

I don't know how compatible they will be with your Mahindra, but this crowd do replica bits..

https://www.mdjuan.com.ph

These are the manufacturers of the bodys, They make chassis, bodies, and just about any other parts for the willys, except drivetran and axles. Parts are very cheap actually, but the quality varies.

6 hours ago, mickeyw said:

Interesting project Daan. I have encountered two Mahindras in my time, both of which were just a couple of years old. One was body rusting at an alarming rate. The other's front axle fell apart. Now I think about it, I am talking over 25 years ago. How old is your new purchase?
If you are replacing the body shell I guess the rust isn't an issue for you.

 

When it went on the LR Experience tour a few years back they explained how much the RRS et al are now riveted construction. It saves them on huge energy bills vs spot welding.

Indeed the body needed very little persuation to come off, and is now mostly in the scrap bin. Chassis is much better, as it is hidden unde rthe car and a Uchannel, so no trapped water in it like a landrover.

The MDJuan stuff is made out galvanized steel I believe, so that should improve things. The age of my Mahindra is in the tittle....

Not sure of the axles, I will rebuild them with good quality seals and bearings.

 

2 minutes ago, Bowie69 said:

Is that what you get when you drive it more than half an hour, HOG?

😎.

 

Thanks for the replies chaps. Time will be my limiting factor, so bear with me.

 

Daan

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Didn't take long to pull that apart then, interesting to see a riveted chassis.

will be keeping a follow on this.

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I've always wanted to revert a Mahindra to Willys pre hurricane engine style bonnet.

Good luck with the project, not tempted by a stainless steel body from the Philippines?

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Well, there is progress to report, not much physically to show, but a lot of hours have gone into it. The main focus has been on the Chassis; It is structurally sound, however, the front spring hangers were twisted, so a bit of jigerry pokery with my neighbours portapower was needed:

IMG_2745.JPG.f38e828a0feac3396b2c06cd3f41be9a.JPG

 

Also, there is a strip spot welded to the bottom of the chassis rail, and this formed some rust sandwich of about 5mm think in places:

IMG_2627.JPG.9f398917cd5e6d4819804c20b8f07196.JPG

 

I removed the strip, by drilling off all the spotwelds. This also meant all the spring hangers had to be removed. This means drilling off 2 rivets and grind through 2 welds.

After all this, I replaced the rear crossmember and front bumper.

IMG_6676.JPG.e510a4878e4a219f9999958ea4435c13.JPG

 

IMG_6665.JPG.b8d86e47097d1139e44b889a87bcad05.JPG

IMG_6664.JPG.727ae6da4b0baf1dfe6d9ad609a0cba6.JPG

In jeep world, replacing a cross member means drilling of the rivets, and bolt on a new one, which costs £50.

All good,

Daan

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Somehow I missed this thread.  It looks a great project.  I'm glad to see you taking it to bare bits and doing it from the ground up, though - I'm familiar with the workmanship and quite interested to see what you find.

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Looks like a mix between a MB and a M38A1... Kinda CJ2 from the fifties.

I saw a lot of the original ones last week in Normandy: Willys MA & MB, Ford GPW and GPA (amfibious), and quite some  pre production variants (slat grill etc.)..

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