61 Wagon coming back from comatose for 7 years

SanJuanDigger

Sharpest Tool
Apr 5, 2016
293
Ridgway, CO
First Name
John
Willys Model
  1. Wagon
Willys Year:
  1. 1961
Hey guys: Just to be plain about it; I bought a fully complete older rebuilt '61 wagon that wouldn't start (odd for a 6-226?), and am now into $1500 with a mechanic just to get her home! It starts and runs with lots of choke but still very low power (not enough to make it home, which includes a 9,500' pass). The entire fuel system (except carb) is new, it has plenty of spark and compression, but the timing was way off. It turns out the timing chain and gears on this "rebuilt" 226 are really worn out (very sloppy chain). Would that be enough to rob it of power?
We are going to install a new timing kit (Walck's has the best deal: $135 for the whole set vs. $215 buying the separate pieces from Kaiser), which I hope does the trick.

Any ideas or suggestions about this? I plan on buying a better carburetor (mine is rebuilt but seems to leak air in), and am amazed at the prices ($300-350) for a rebuilt one. Any suggestions about carburetors and sources?

I guess we all have to get used to "delayed gratification" when it comes to restoring old vehicles. I haven't even driven mine yet (didn't think it would be so hard to get a old flathead six to fire up, like my past experiences with 1950's Chevy 235 sixes). Especially you folks with real rust bucket projects: I admire your optimism and determination. Part of the fun reading about your projects is the feeling of "I'm glad that isn't my project" (been there, done that). Very cool to see your progress.
Thanks for any help or advice you can give regarding this relatively simple problem.
John
 

SanJuanDigger

Sharpest Tool
Apr 5, 2016
293
Ridgway, CO
First Name
John
Willys Model
  1. Wagon
Willys Year:
  1. 1961
Carter- Yes; we are thinking that. So going to replace the whole timing kit. Then on to valve clearance and cam condition. Can I measure tappet rise while hand-turning the engine, to check cam lobe condition? Haven't found any specs on what the correct rise should be: do you know?
I'm hoping to not have to go through the whole rebuild procedure, like you have so well documented :). I'll let y'all know how the new timing kit affects performance. It certainly has helped on other sixes I've worked on.
It appears that earlier Willys models (early 1950's) had timing gears, not chains. Can anyone explain the advantage of the chain (more separation between cam and crank gears, higher rpm?).
Thanks!
 

Lookout Ranch

Well Oiled
All-Star
May 9, 2015
5,835
Sierra Foothills
First Name
Kurt
Willys Model
  1. Wagon
Willys Year:
  1. 1957
I don't have access to specs on cam rise or know if it can be measured accurately without pulling the cam. I'm sure someone here has that info.

There were two types of chains used on 226. The earlier style, which is wider and heavier, appears to have been much more durable and resilient. The early type I pulled off my old well-worn "blue" engine was still very tight, whereas the lighter chain on the newer, less-worn "red" engine was quite loose. The sets seem to be interchangeable, so if someone really wanted to, he could spend the money and install the heavier, old-style gears and chain.

I haven't encountered the chainless set-up, and I haven't come across replacement parts for that.
 

TinkerToyII

Well Oiled
Aug 16, 2010
1,334
Grand Junction, Colorado - Ivins ,Utah
First Name
Randy
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
Willys Year:
  1. 1956
Wish I had advice or guidance for you, but am very curious to hear what you find. By the way Welcome to the forum John just down the road from Grand Junction... Pictures, Pictures we love Pictures.
 

SanJuanDigger

Sharpest Tool
Apr 5, 2016
293
Ridgway, CO
First Name
John
Willys Model
  1. Wagon
Willys Year:
  1. 1961
Hey Randy- Your pick up looks pretty sweet. Love the forward tilt hood. I posted a couple pictures in my intro, and will repeat now, but the '61 is really dirty. I can't wait to get her home for a serious detailing and polish. It wasn't cleaned in 7 years!
Looks like I'll know how the new timing set works out next week. I hope Walcks has fast delivery! Hey; what would I need to do to raise the rear end up 2"?
Cheers, John
 

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TinkerToyII

Well Oiled
Aug 16, 2010
1,334
Grand Junction, Colorado - Ivins ,Utah
First Name
Randy
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
Willys Year:
  1. 1956
John, thanks for the pictures, I bet you are excited about the day when you can actually drive that rig. I like the paint. Is the front suspension stock? I can see that the back seems to be low. I wonder if the rear suspension has been modified? Front looks good. The rear springs could be fatigued, Air shocks is an option till you come up with something else. Before you do anything you need to see if anything has been modified... There are several other options to consider after you determine what you have. Would love to visit with you if you come to GJ.
 

TinkerToyII

Well Oiled
Aug 16, 2010
1,334
Grand Junction, Colorado - Ivins ,Utah
First Name
Randy
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
Willys Year:
  1. 1956
John, thanks for the pictures, I bet you are excited about the day when you can actually drive that rig. I like the paint. Is the front suspension stock? I can see that the back seems to be low. I wonder if the rear suspension has been modified? Front looks good. The rear springs could be fatigued, Air shocks is an option till you come up with something else. Before you do anything you need to see if anything has been modified... There are several other options to consider after you determine what you have. Would love to visit with you when you come to GJ
 

SanJuanDigger

Sharpest Tool
Apr 5, 2016
293
Ridgway, CO
First Name
John
Willys Model
  1. Wagon
Willys Year:
  1. 1961
Randy- The suspension looks completely stock to me (comparing it to other ones I looked at). There were air shocks at some point (dead ended air hose), but now has newer conventional shocks. I won't know how the springs function until I drive it. Do you guys get springs "re-sprung" or get new ones? It actually sits more level on level ground, but I would like a little more tire clearance in back. Thinking mud.

It has a new (plastic) fuel tank: why are they so small (12 gallon, I think)? The original steel tank is not rusted or leaking, so I want to get it cleaned and coated (inside and out); hoping to mount it under the drivers side back seat as a secondary (seen others like this). I'd rather not have to take jerry cans of fuel on longer drives into the back country. What is your tank capacity?

I want to drive over McClure Pass and down past Paonia and Hotchkiss on the way home, to avoid being a target on the fast-moving freeways. I'll install the LED tail light kit I've ordered to be more visible. Expecting 55 mph max, in overdrive. Sound right? Sometimes I'm wondering if I should have bought the 327 V8 powered 1951 for sale in Southern Arizona: much better highway speed. I wanted to try a stock rig first. How fast is yours?
Cheers-
John
 
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