Monday, 13 June 2022

Jeep m38 proving that things don't always go as planned.

If you've been around a while, you may have read my last update from April. (Right here

I outlined how I discovered antifreeze in my oil and decided a new head gasket was in order. A job that should take a couple hours at best on a flat head turned into a multi-week ordeal. Not being my full time job, meant I had to tackle this as time permitted, and like more things on Jeeps, it kinda snowballed. 

I wound up purchasing a stud remover, and asking the stuck stud to come out nicely with it. Which it did, so that's a win, and I did get the head removed. Much to my surprise, the pistons looks great, the block had no surprises, and everything was generally in order. Well, except when I drained the oil. 

The drain opened and started with green, followed by milkshake brown, then some actual oil, and then sludge. Lots of sludge. As much as I didn't want to, the oil pan was coming off. In it, I found a 1/4" of goo. It took a bit of time and some brake cleaner to get it to come out. Followed by cleaning up the pan and getting it spotless. 

I had to order in some more gaskets (note to future shade tree engine rebuilders, order the full gasket set at the start). 

Ultimately, the oil pan went back on, the valve cover got a new gasket, and the head went back on with it new copper coated Fel-Pro gasket. 

I have a set of new spark plugs, and we're just about down with that easy head gasket replacement. Next I need some high-zinc oil, some engine flush, and that should be it. Hopefully. 

The tunnel is a long one, but I can see some light twinkling at the end. 

As a small bonus for making it this far, here's the open engine turning over in all it's four cylinder glory. Something about being able to see everything running with the head off. Must be a flat head thing. 

Sunday, 24 April 2022

The Best Laid Plans...

After my attempt to start the old Jeep, and my discovery that there was coolant coming out the oil pressure port, I started sourcing a new head gasket.

Everything arrived over the past week, and I found a local source (NAPA) for copper head gasket spray.

Knowing that it's supposed to be pretty easy to swap out a head gasket on these Go-Devils, I dove in. Surprisingly, it went smooth through removing accessories and head nuts/studs (some studs came out, as expected). 

It was when I went to pull the head that I ran into troubles. It simply didn't want to move at all. Queue three hours of prying, hammering, heating, and using copious amounts of PB Blaster. Still no go, but there is movement now. The head is stuck to one stud that refuses to release it's grip. 
After exhausting my arms (they feel like wet noodles now), I decided to call it a day. I got the head nice and hot around the stud, and tried to get as much PB Blaster down the stud to try and get it to release. I'll spend the week heating, spraying, prying. I'm sure I'll win, eventually. 

Sunday, 10 April 2022

Make sure it's in neutral

I had a few minutes out in the garage this weekend. My son was hanging around with me on Saturday, and he enjoys playing in the Jeep. Anyone with a kid will understand that keeping them occupied is the secret to getting things done. 

The agenda item was pulling the fuel pump and replacing it with a new unit to see if I can fix my fuel issues that I encountered during my attempt to start the Jeep

Yeah. Not good.

It's easy enough to swap a fuel pump the Go-Devil, pull the hoses, two bolts, and off it comes. Well, off it came, missing half of the pump arm. I can only assume that the arm is somewhere in the oil pan. Sigh. regardless, I setup the new pump and test fit it, but did not install it. I wanted to check the cam to make sure the lobe for the pump was still good. I popped my starter battery on the charger (I really need to buy a real battery) and called it a day. 

So Pretty.
Fast forward to Sunday. The battery is charged up, I have a few more minutes to myself, so I get ready to bump the starter and watch the cam turn through the fuel pump port. I pull the starter trigger and the Jeep lurches forward. Fortunately I have wheel chocks in the front and rear, so no damage was done, and it was in 1st not reverse, so my foot was spared. Also, no fuel, and the ignition was off. 
Evidently Nate decided that while playing army man, it would be wise to play with the gear shift and ended up leaving in gear. I didn't think to check. Totally my fault, and not a mistake I'll make again. 

So there you go, some freebie advice for the day, always make sure it's in neutral before bumping the starter. 

Sunday, 13 March 2022

Test firing the m38 Go-Devil engine

Why was it 2022 before I learned about how
great these are?
Today was the day, the Jeep m38 was finally at a point where I was ready to try and start it up. I have spent the past few (cold) winter months slowly rebuilding the carburetor as I had time. This weekend we shipped my son off to his Grandparents, allowing me much more time in the garage. I fired up the propane and electric heat, plus the overhead halogen lights, and got to work. 

I started by finishing off the carb build, and plumbing in enough fuel line to get a small tank hooked up to the pump, through a filter, and into the carb. Sadly, the pump seems to be shot, but I have a new in box one to go in. 

The carb took a bit of work, being 70 years old and all. The metering valve and needle did not want to come out. It involved a lot more drilling than a carb rebuild should require. 

Some wires were run to hook up the starter with a trigger start and a makeshift switch to the distributor. 

10 Gauge wire is recommended for all wiring except for the battery to starter, that should be 1 gauge. I went a little overboard (See my battery cables here: The Jeep Garage: Slow and steady Jeep m38 Progress)

I put a bit of two stroke fuel into the carb, and used some starting fluid to get it to pop off once. It was enough to convince me that we have a viable engine. It needs some work to button it up, and probably a head gasket (coolant in the oil), but it turns over, has spark, and enough compression to pop. 

And without further ado, a VERY short video of me pulling the trigger... so to speak.    

Monday, 6 September 2021

Slow and steady Jeep m38 Progress

 The longest journey begins with the smallest step. In my case, several small steps. Each one getting closer to a the goal. 

The m38 has been getting some work here and there over the past few months, as I have time, and as parts arrive. I have confirmed that it has been converted to 12v from 24v, the Canadian Tire Motomaster 12v distributor helped confirm that. 

The work has been minor, meaning, I haven't been too inclined to update here. So here's an update with a lot of small things. 

Parking Brake

I knew the existing parking brake needed to be replaced. The backing plate was bent, and it was no doubt worn right out. In the very least the cable was cut. Using the brake off the spare transfer case, I tried out some evapo-rust. Colour me impressed. The drum, backing plate, and salvageable parts, came out looking like they just came off the shelf. 

Battery Cables

With a rebuild of the electricals required, the ancient, rotted, battery cables just wouldn't cut it. Using some 1/0 welding cable, lugs, and marine style clamps, I build a fresh set of cables. Fully soldered together at both ends. Along with building the cables, I stripped out all the wiring on the passenger side of the engine, as it was a mix of old, brittle, and corroded. It's ready for a new wiring harness. I've also installed some brand new spark plug cables in preparation for first fire up. 


The m38 didn't have a fuse panel, but I want one. I feel it's a worthwhile upgrade, and in terms of longevity, it just makes sense to go with something a bit more modern. I'm not aiming to make this Jeep a factory original restore. I want a reliable restored Jeep that I can enjoy. Being said, I ordered a 12 circuit universal fuse panel. I don't need 12 circuits, but it gives me some future proofing, should I decide to add a radio, CB, etc. 


Can't go all in with all this fancy electrical and not replace the gauges. I sourced some out that had the elusive (at least it was for me) km/h markings on the speedometer. The kit included fresh gauges, wiring, and lights. I know the m38 originally had blackout/low light dash lights. Again, with modernizing, I want to be able to see my gauges while driving at night... that is, if I end up driving at night. 


Given that the frame was in good shape, I wanted to keep it that way. I returned to POR15 to make sure that I could seal the frame up, and protect it for as long as possible. I used an engine hoist, with some questionable riging, to lift the tub about 8" off the frame. It gave me more than enough room to treat the frame. I have a few places to still get to when I remove the fenders, but overall, it was one of those small things to knock off the list. 

Thursday, 24 June 2021

1952 m38 CDN

While browsing for old, affordable(Ha!), Jeeps, I came across an ad for Jeep m38 CDN (A Ford built, Canadian Jeep). It included a bunch of tools, spare parts, and had been partially restored, only needing brake lines, electrical, and a fuel system (yeah, right). The price was too good to pass up. The downside, it was around 3.5 hours away from me. 

After approval from the CFO (my wife), and a few messages back and forth, a deal was struck. I had agreed to buy a sight unseen, 69 year old Jeep. Next I had to figure out how to get it home.

Originally, I was going to rent a U-Haul truck and trailer, however my dad stepped in and offered himself, and his F250. 
This in of itself worked out well. It gave me a day to catch up with dad, enjoy some good music, and the open road. Due to the ongoing pandemic, I've practically never left my home, and have really only been interacting with my wife and son. It was nice to have a days break from that routine. 

Two days after the deal was made, we were on the road at 7am to get my Jeep. We picked up the trailer near the sellers location, and made our way down to meet the him. He was an incredible person to deal with, and felt like a guy I knew for years right off the bat. 

I fully underestimated the amount of extra "stuff" that was included in the deal. It worked out to a full workshop worth of tools, spare and new Jeep parts, a second engine and transmission. To sum it up. It took about two hours of loading parts and tools, plus a Jeep, before we were back on the road. 

Dad's truck had no trouble with the load, and comfortably cruised home without breaking a sweat. I had much more confidence in his truck, than any U-Haul truck I would've rented.

We were back in my driveway around 6:30pm. The Jeep was unloaded and man handled into its temporary parking spot, another hour of us unloading parts and tools followed. 

With that, I'm the proud owner of one of only 2300ish Ford built m38's. It's originally from New Brunswick, but registered in Ontario now. 

I guess it can be said, that I'm into my mid-life crisis, and this is my "little red corvette". Is it a practical vehicle, no. Is it a wise outlay of money, hell no. Does it make me smile ear to ear, absolutely.

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Mid-life Crisis


Short post, and yeah, it's been ages. 

Got some planning to do, and some work to do, but I'd like to introduce you to a yet to be named new Jeep in my life. 

This is a 1952 Jeep m38 CDN. One of 2300 built by Ford for the Canadian military. 

As it sits, the body has been mostly restored. It needs brake lines, fuel lines, and an electrical harness done up for it. 

Keep checking in for updates, and hopefully some YouTube videos, as I bring this piece of history back to life.