230 Tornado OHC rebuild in for a Gladiator in Montana

Offthebeatenpath

Bigger Hammer
Sep 15, 2020
25
Montana
First Name
Josh
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
Willys Year:
  1. 1965
Hello everyone!

I'm new to the OWF, but hopefully I can contribute some small fraction of what I've learned from this site.

I found OWF while looking for info on rebuilding the Tornado 230 that's in my '65 Jeep J200. I know it's not a true Willys Overland rig, but it has the heartbeat of one, which is where it really counts.

I bought my truck a year and a half ago, drove it home, and it hasn't moved since. I'm not new to Jeeps, the first rig I owned was an '85 CJ7, and my wife and I have had a bit of everything over the years. I'm not a mechanic by trade, but I enjoy the process. We've got four kiddos and a house to work on, so the 'ol Gladiator hasn't been a big priority of late, but we're making traction.


I pulled the motor just over a year ago, knowing it had to be rebuilt, and that's where things got dicey. I decided the best path forward for me was to remove and replace the OG Tornado, rather than head down the slippery slope of engine swaps. I had no idea what I was signing up for...


I'm in Montana, which, if you're not familiar with the map of the US, isn't close to anywhere. Except the Big Sky. Parts are hard to come by, apparently so are good machine shops. After quite a bit of digging, I found a local machinist who was the right man for the job. I initially took him my cylinder head, and he knew exactly what it was when he saw it. That's when I knew Wes was my guy.

To make a long story short, my block is currently standard bore, but worn. Wes recommended .020" over pistons. I searched high and low, I chased down every lead I had. Here's what I learned:

-Egge Machine in CA would make me custom pistons, for a small fortune. $1400 for the set, plus rings. I know that this truck is going to cost me some cash, but I don't have that kind of coin to put into this.
-The website for Willys America says they have pistons, but it's a lie. Kanter Auto in NJ could get me new pistons, but only in .060" over, for about $600.
-There's a forum member on here @Hiki in South Africa, who has offered to ship pistons from there to here, but we've been unable to get specs on them.
-After a year of looking, I purchased a set of .040" over pistons and rings from "nos4jeeps" on eBay for $300. When I got them, my suspicions were confirmed, they are in fact the low compression pistons, I assume 7.5:1, instead of the stock 8.5:1.

After Wes and I talked, he was pretty confident that we could perhaps get a half point of compression back by shaving the block or the head, and I'm not going to race this truck anyway, so I'm good with that. It's still going to be less than the $1400 pistons from Egge.

So that brings me up to today...

I've been doing my reading, making notes from the Service Bulletin data in the OWF Library...
I've been taking notes from the fantastic @Ken Parkman thread on OWF...
And hopefully I can add to the "Save the Tornados" movement and get one back on the road!
 

cwdtmmrs

Well Oiled
Jul 19, 2012
2,992
First Name
Tim
Willys Model
  1. Wagon
Willys Year:
  1. 1952
If you do sha
Dont shave the head, it will crack...Phil
If You do shave the head (not recommended), You will need a shim under the cam deck to bring the center-to-center spec correct for the timing chain or use a thicker HG. The only composite HG I know of available now is from BEST gaskets in SoCal.
 

Ken_Parkman

Sharpest Tool
Oct 28, 2013
374
Ontario
First Name
Ken
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
Willys Year:
  1. 1962
The stock gaskets are shim steel and quite thin, and are part of the math to set up the spacing between the crank and the cam; which is important for the proper timing chain tension. Milling the head or block reduces the space and makes the chain looser. It stretches in use a does that anyhow, but you don't want start out already loose. The looser it gets the more bad things happen as it can start to rattle around and damage stuff.

BTW that Morris gasket is an M715 one from the later military engine; it has extra tabs on the front. It'll work fine, cut the tabs off where they stick out of the side of the engine.

The composite gaskets are thicker, typically .045" or so but I have never seen the Best. That can be used to bring the timing chain spacing back into line if you had to mill the block or head for other reasons.

Can you post the engine number? If you have been through the Tornado build thread you can see where they improved the plate support on there drivers side of the head - do you have that one? Also the improved dowels?
 

cwdtmmrs

Well Oiled
Jul 19, 2012
2,992
First Name
Tim
Willys Model
  1. Wagon
Willys Year:
  1. 1952
Best Gaskets for a 6-230:

Fel-Pro quit making their no-re-torque HG for the 230OHC years ago, but is was the best.

I wouldn't use the Crown shim gasket period. I wouldn't stack gaskets either. Get the BEST gasket. Changing HG's on these motors isn't a 5 minute job.
 
Last edited:

Offthebeatenpath

Bigger Hammer
Sep 15, 2020
25
Montana
First Name
Josh
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
Willys Year:
  1. 1965
Best Gaskets for a 6-230:

Fel-Pro quit making their no-re-torque HG for the 230OHC years ago, but is was the best.

I wouldn't use the Crown shim gasket period. I wouldn't stack gaskets either. Get the BEST gasket. Changing HG's on these motors isn't a 5 minute job.

No it definitely is not a five min job!
I bought the Crown gasket when that was all I thought I needed, before I knew I needed to rebore the block. I was hoping to just rebuild the head, slap a new gasket on, and cruise on down the road. Boy was I wrong!

It does look like the Best Gasket head gasket is the same profile as the Crown, am I missing something or are they both military profile? Clearly, it could also be trimmed.
 

Offthebeatenpath

Bigger Hammer
Sep 15, 2020
25
Montana
First Name
Josh
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
Willys Year:
  1. 1965
The stock gaskets are shim steel and quite thin, and are part of the math to set up the spacing between the crank and the cam; which is important for the proper timing chain tension. Milling the head or block reduces the space and makes the chain looser. It stretches in use a does that anyhow, but you don't want start out already loose. The looser it gets the more bad things happen as it can start to rattle around and damage stuff.

BTW that Morris gasket is an M715 one from the later military engine; it has extra tabs on the front. It'll work fine, cut the tabs off where they stick out of the side of the engine.

The composite gaskets are thicker, typically .045" or so but I have never seen the Best. That can be used to bring the timing chain spacing back into line if you had to mill the block or head for other reasons.

Can you post the engine number? If you have been through the Tornado build thread you can see where they improved the plate support on there drivers side of the head - do you have that one? Also the improved dowels?

I’ll measure the thickness on the Crown gasket tomorrow, just to add the numbers to this thread.

At this point, I’ve got enough invested in this that I don’t want to cut corners, so I’ll probably spring for the Best Gasket kit. I’ll try give them a call tomorrow. If/when I get my hands on one of those, I’ll add the thickness of that too.

Ken, your build thread has been super helpful! I’m definitely up for adding my block and cylinder head info for posterity...
My block is at Wes’s shop, so I’ll have to swing by there to get the engine number. With my truck being a ‘65, I’m optimistic that it’s the later designs, but I’ll confirm that when I can.

Here’s the best photo I’ve got, but this should help.

https://flic.kr/p/2gjLtcs
 

Ken_Parkman

Sharpest Tool
Oct 28, 2013
374
Ontario
First Name
Ken
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
Willys Year:
  1. 1962
Hard to tell from the picture, but the chain looks pretty good and tight. I don't see any rub marks on the plate. Check the inside of the timing cover, there is likely a bit of chain rubbing on the aluminum bolt boss which is pretty normal. It also looks like the engine has been apart before.

You have most of the good stuff! That is the later cylinder head with added bolts on both sides, and should be casting number 938028. You also have the later plate that has proper alignment dowels, and the 3rd large drain hole back to the block. This is all excellent! Curious, did it seem to leak much oil? This upgraded engine should be a lot more oil tight than the earlier ones.

One upgrade I do not see is the improved timing chain guide on the drivers side. That one has an extra block of rubber between the plate and the chain. But it looks fine, the plate is in good shape. While it is off check the lower passenger side of the plate for cracks; it's easy to weld repair. Maybe if I get to it this weekend I'll do a build thread update on my plan to strengthen that area.

Yes, I'd love to add this engine to the data base. The engine number is on the passenger side front stamped on the boss, and should be prefix TS, with the suffix being the compression, either 7.5 or 8.5. The casting number and date are on the drivers side rear, and the block should be 928790. Date codes are in the form of 1 letter and 2 or 3 numbers, example G345. The head casting number and date code are somewhere on the top, not consistent. The truck number would be cool as well!
 
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Offthebeatenpath

Bigger Hammer
Sep 15, 2020
25
Montana
First Name
Josh
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
Willys Year:
  1. 1965
you are short a tightner on the left side...Phil

Clarification- this photo is not current. This was mid-process of putting the front engine plate back on after cleaning it up, but before I realized the head gasket was shot. The tensioner spring was broken and laying in pieces at the bottom of the timing cover when I pulled it off, so I'm pretty sure this photo was before the replacement arrived.
But it should help identify which bosses and dowels are there or not.

I have a second parts motor that I have disassembled as well, but it had already been rebuilt once. It could probably be re-sleeved, but it's currently bored at .040", and the #5 piston had abandoned ship. I'm hoping to use the head from that motor, it is in much better shape than the original out of my truck.
 

Ken_Parkman

Sharpest Tool
Oct 28, 2013
374
Ontario
First Name
Ken
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
Willys Year:
  1. 1962
The M715 tensioner spring fits with a little rework of the pins, and is a lot stronger looking piece - you might be able to find one from a M715 supplier. These guys list one, down a way.


Interesting the spring was broken and there does not seem to be any plate damage from the chain flailing around - you are very lucky! The engine I took apart that had the spring broken had significant damage. It actually ran not bad, but you could hear bad things from the engine as the chain smacked stuff.
 

Offthebeatenpath

Bigger Hammer
Sep 15, 2020
25
Montana
First Name
Josh
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
Willys Year:
  1. 1965
Seems like Walcks 4wd has the best price going on the Best Gasket full kit at $300. I called them to confirm that is in fact the brand they carry. I already have a few of the other gaskets, but I may order the whole show just to make sure I have what I need. I have a NOS intake and exhaust manifold gaskets, plus oil pan, valve cover, and a few others. I’m sure they’ll come in handy for someone, they may end up on eBay when this is all together.
I stopped by Wes’s shop to grab a photo of the block casting number, but got distracted and only took a photo of the serial number. Doh!
Here’s the casting of the cylinder head I’m planning on using, and the spare block I have which I’m not using. They came out of a different truck together.

https://flic.kr/p/2kzEvhL
https://flic.kr/p/2kzEvdY
 

Ken_Parkman

Sharpest Tool
Oct 28, 2013
374
Ontario
First Name
Ken
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
Willys Year:
  1. 1962
The 928790 block is the normal one, and that date code K92 is Nov 9, 62 (K=11th month, 9, 2 for 62), but that head is much later.
 

Offthebeatenpath

Bigger Hammer
Sep 15, 2020
25
Montana
First Name
Josh
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
Willys Year:
  1. 1965
Does anyone know if the bearings in the cam deck are replaceable?
Or would I have to buy a new cam deck altogether? Surplus City and Willy's America both have the cam deck on their website, but Surplus City is waaaaay cheaper- $75 vs $245.

I had Egge Machine re-grind my cam last summer, it was actually pretty reasonable. $100 plus shipping, I think it wound up being $120. Ken, just to add to the info, I've asked them for the specs & profile of what they re-ground it to. Just for comparison to the other info you've got.

Walck's 4wd and Surplus City are the only places that I've seen that sell new rocker arms. Egge said they would not regrind them.
I've got a pretty sweet sharpening system set up for all of my woodworking tools, and two engines worth of rocker arms, so I'm going to try my hand at cleaning up and polishing a set of 12. I may have to freehand the radius, if I can't figure out some kind of jig to do it for me. But I've got abrasives up to 1200 or 1500, which should be adequate.
 
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