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Thread: 1953 M38A1 build

  1. #1
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    1953 M38A1 build

    I havenít been involved in the Jeep game in a few years now. I sold my JK and sorta turned my back on ever owning a Wrangler. I had death wobble in that Jeep and for the life of me couldnít get it fixed. Flash forward to a few days ago when this piece of American history was sitting on Facebook marketplace for 3500 bucks. This was built in the 90ís, and at the time was probably an awesome rig. However itís extremely dated and needs to be brought into the 21s century so of course I I decided Iíd be the one to bring her back to life.

    Itís a 1953 M38A1 tub, that has been v8 swapped to a SBF 302. It has a T18 transmission, Dana 20 t case, Dana 30 / 44 axles and manual hubs up front. They also converted it to 12v charging system. It even has the black our lights and data plates from its time in the service! Over the years the wiring harness has been been subject to the billy bob special treatment, so the first order of business is to buy a custom wiring harness, correct the damage and make it safe so no fires occur. After that itíll be adding power brakes and power steering. It currently has disk front drum rear but itís manual and running 35s with no brake booster is a spiritual event. Also not having power steering is for the birds. It has a Saginaw manual box, I need to do some research and see what my options are for PS. Lastly will be to re gear to 4.10s so itís more street friendly and I wonít be turning 3k RPMs at 60 mph. Thankfully this Jeep has spent its entire life in Arizona so i have zero rust issues, just minor surface. This should be a fun build. Stay tuned ! IMG_0279.jpgIMG_0280.jpg


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  2. #2
    Meme King WJCO's Avatar
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    That's awesome. Congrats.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by WJCO View Post
    That's awesome. Congrats.
    Thank you! It feels a little over whelming since Iíve never taken on a project like this before but Iím confident in myself to do her right.


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    IMG_0345.jpgIMG_0346.jpg

    Pics of the dash / old school gauges and the 302 under the hood.

    This is the build sheet. If anybody has ever seen this before and knows something please let me know
    IMG_0347.jpg


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  5. #5
    Hooked p38's Avatar
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    I too have a 1953 M38A1. Mine was stock Military when my dad gave it to me some 40 years ago. It had some body damage, which I repaired and sprayed it rattle can brown. I also converted to 12V. It looked like this:
    IMG_0611.jpg
    It was cool, had the little trailer, I drove it on and off for those 40 or so years.
    Now, it looks like this:
    UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_a22a.jpg
    Stretched, lifted, more HP, springs, shocks, coils, links, axles, brakes, steering - it has a fridge, a freezer, and an espresso maker. The guys put a pop out cigar drawer in it for me. The list goes on. It gets more mods than a Kardashian (can I say that in this forum? Can I?) As I'm typing this the guys are installing a Safari windshield - which looks really cool. You can't see worth a damn out of them - but they look cool.
    My point here is: you can do whatever you want and everybody has done something a little bit different than the other guy. Figure out how and where you're going to drive it and build accordingly. PM me and ask any questions about any components or mods; if I can't answer - I'll get the info from the guys.
    Good luck and have fun

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by p38 View Post
    I too have a 1953 M38A1. Mine was stock Military when my dad gave it to me some 40 years ago. It had some body damage, which I repaired and sprayed it rattle can brown. I also converted to 12V. It looked like this:
    IMG_0611.jpg
    It was cool, had the little trailer, I drove it on and off for those 40 or so years.
    Now, it looks like this:
    UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_a22a.jpg
    Stretched, lifted, more HP, springs, shocks, coils, links, axles, brakes, steering - it has a fridge, a freezer, and an espresso maker. The guys put a pop out cigar drawer in it for me. The list goes on. It gets more mods than a Kardashian (can I say that in this forum? Can I?) As I'm typing this the guys are installing a Safari windshield - which looks really cool. You can't see worth a damn out of them - but they look cool.
    My point here is: you can do whatever you want and everybody has done something a little bit different than the other guy. Figure out how and where you're going to drive it and build accordingly. PM me and ask any questions about any components or mods; if I can't answer - I'll get the info from the guys.
    Good luck and have fun
    Wow that is an awesome transformation. Iíll will absolutely be in touch with you.


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  7. #7
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    No new updates, just uploading pictures so I remember what it looked like at the starts. Here is that 302 from 1973


    IMG_0346.jpg


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