1959 Willy CJ5 Renovation

As you are now reading, I now own a December 2016 project.  Thanks to Craigslist, I was easily able to trade my Seadoo straight across for this 1959 Willy’s CJ5.  Short term – he got the better deal!  Long term – I get the better deal!

This Willys is already equipped with a “crate” small block Chevy V8. No need to add one.  Crate as in that is what the engine came in; it is not from a donor vehicle.  Also, the front hood and fenders are a one piece fiberglass unit.  The entire unit comes up.  The last owner also gave me a stack of receipts going back to 1997, (two previous owners also added receipts to this stack) showing every $$$ spent from shocks to bearings.  Woopeee!  And now I get to add $$ to this stack as well.

So, this is a 1959 Willy’s, serial number 57548 85297; presently equipped with a Chevy small block V8; Mallory Uniflite SPC Pro Master Ignition; Edelbrock fuel, carburetor, also a Cagle feedback fuel control, Edelbrock manifolds; mated up to a THC 350 automatic transmission three speed, connected to a Sprinter 18 transfer case.  It has a four-inch lift kit; warn premium manual locking hubs and a Warn M6000 winch with the Warn fairlead to keep the cable from wearing.

The Willy’s also has headers, and it is too loud, as soon as I can drive it to the muffler shop it will get quieted.  One of the previous owners spent a little $$ and added a new dash and Auto Meter competition instruments; they all work, 160 mph speedometer, fuel, water, amps, oil and even a transmission gauge.  The gas tank is under the drivers seat; not a large tank so, a new tank will be ordered and placed below the rear bed – like newer Jeeps.

I am having the 4 Wheel Supply street seats upholstered and they should be ready tomorrow.  Sommers Brothers did the axles and someone added rancho springs and a Con-Fer Mfg. spring shackle lift kit. Says so in all the receipts.

Also, MD45 Lockers – LOC 2413 purchased from 4 Wheel Supply, out of Phoenix.  The chevy heads were rebuilt in 4/18/1989; and sometime later spent $$ on a HD Dodge Radiator at a cost of $338.00.  The overdrive kit – M3329-3SP TH350 autoshift kit cost $995.00

The LM1 engine may have originally been purchased for a cost of $1426.46 on 7/13/1996 at Chapman Wholesale, Tempe, AZ

There is a 2″ bar tubing that was constructed for the roll bar.  The Rancho Springs lift kit is 4″ and the current BF Goodrich tires at 33″ mud-terrain tires; preceded by a set of Yoko tires back in 1994.  So there you have it!


And now here you have it!  So far, we have disassembled the following:  removed the headers; tires and wheels (the front left tire needed all studs cut as they would not come off); the front axle also needed attention as it was already twisted.  Custom Axles has this piece; Nunez Upholstery has the seats.  The Sandblaster gets the entire tub soon.  4WD parts has already overnight delivered the shocks and I did not have to pay shipping.

The Willy’s already has power steering but, we are now waiting on delivery of master brakes and overhead pedal from Sumitt Racing.  Can you imagine trying to stop a V8 with a single master cylinder, it just won’t do.  Safety first.  Address brakes, noisy mufflers, driveline, fluids, then simultaneously cosmetics.

Yes, a stack of more receipts is starting to pile up.  Blew the December project budget.  First I needed to start with a compressor and tools.  Also part of the budget.


Also no – don’t confuse me for a mechanic, having mechanical skills, maybe.  I just know how to read manuals and watch YouTube.  Besides, a CJ5 Jeep is less complicated than one might think.

Seriously.  UTube saved my butt on two occasions and taught me lots of other things.  1)  The front differential pinion nut would not come off.  Turns out I needed either a metric 28 mm or a 1 1/8″ socket.  Purchased both and voila, one end was 28mm and the other US Standard.  I ended up grinding through the u bolt clamp to get the twisted differential off.  2)  How to add power steering or upgrade from a single master cylinder.  3)  What are those two gear shift levers to the right of the transmission shifter?

Much, much, more to follow.

The how to books supplied and small stack of the large stack of receipts.  And I also forgot the soft top, brand new rear seat etc, etc, etc

More to follow – 1959 Willy’s Jeep CJ5 rebuilt project.

About trawlercat

Retired and now moving on from the cruising life jeeps, adventure bike, gardening, and travel. Always in search of the next great adventure!
This entry was posted in 1959 Willy's Jeep Project and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to 1959 Willy CJ5 Renovation

  1. Pingback: ’59 Willy’s Project Update V1.0 | "Western Flyer"

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