My Willys truck as a daily driver????

mikec4193

Precision Fit
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Jan 18, 2010
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Mechanicville ny
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Mike
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Other
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Other
#1
Hi everyone, I have a question for all you more advanced willy guys than I (only owned my first one since 2007). I recently have seen a need for a spare vehicle and my old willys truck has been just been running around the back yard so far. What my questions is, is this; how practical would it be to make my smelly old willys jeep truck into a daily runner??? My Willys truck is all stock (6 cylinder 3 speed). I redid the brakes in 2007/08 and did floor boards and a cowl vent so it seems fairly weathertight. I have never driven anything older than a 1970 Datusun truck back in the early 80's. Will this truck be ok???...i dont have any interstates to travel to back and forth to work ( i have heard these truck have no top end speed) and it is about 10 miles door to door. Any help and insight would be greatly appreciated.
 

BioTex

Sharpest Tool
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Nov 15, 2009
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224
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Alpine, TX
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#2
Mike,
Welcome!

It is very doable to turn your truck into a DD. Here is what I would do. First you need good safety features. For under $300 you can install new front disc brakes. Not sure of your mechanical abilities, but since you own a Willys, now is a good time to learn. :roll:

With the disc brakes, you would want to consider a dual master cylinder upgrade also. Proper seat belts are a great idea. Not too hard to do.

Next, I'd install an overdrive. This will give you the top end you need. Check out "Herm the overdrive guy". He is the best in this department.

This will get you going, and then you can decide on other improvements like steering or suspension. The idea is to address the safety concerns first, then depending on your budget, go for the cool stuff.
 

62 OlllO

Well Oiled
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Oct 19, 2009
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1,821
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Georgia
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Kevin
Willys Model
Wagon
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1962
#3
Not everyone drives an old vehicle, those of us that do, seem to be in another world...driving a Willys down the road is like riding a carnival ride every-time you drive it....other words it's the journey not the destination...what's wrong with 45 mph if you don't have freeways...if it drives straight and stops...adding the what-ever's ( safety products)as you go. I on the other hand, have torn mine apart...new suspension, disc brakes, axles, transmission transfer case, engine, wiring...but that all takes time and friends that know more about doing it right than me. Safe travels and check your fluids.
 

cw pup

Gear Grinder
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Syracuse, Utah
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#4
I use my 61 cj5 for a daily driver. I re-powered with a Buick v-6 and added power steering. It is also equipped with an overdrive. I would much rather drive it than my cummins powered Dodge truck. It's just a much more enjoyable experience and, you get a lot of looks. It's just plain fun! The wagon I'm working on now will also be a driver even though I plan to go to much more detail on it than I did on the CJ. Go Willys!!
 
Joined
Sep 21, 2009
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#5
Mike,
I've been running Willys as DDs for many years. I acquired my current wagon back in 1996. After a year of fixing, installing a V8, big tires, etc...I drove it every day for about 8 years. I put it back to stock configuration in 2003 and drove it around every day. I'm not talking about back roads. This is regular busy traffic stuff. If you go a little slower, people will figure it out and get around you. Mine has the 6-226 w/ overdrive. I drove it on the highway all the time. Past tense because the engine is dead and awaiting replacement or rebuild; which ever comes first. I say do it up man!! By the way...mine is safe for 1954 standards. It has good lights, good brakes (all drum), a horn...but no seat belts.

Fix it, drive it, and have fun with it. Some folks like to cut em', chop em', flare em' and bend em'. Not much left to call a Willys after that, but to each his own. For me, it's not about power with these ol' girls. It's style and grace. Have a good time with it.
Steve
 

Old Willy

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Wi.
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Bill
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1954
#6
Drive It !!!

If you need another vehicle you already have one. No payments and a ton of fun. Just make sure it's safe and legal. I would drive my wagon to work every day in the summer, but I work in a retail store in a shopping mall. There's just no safe place to park it where some idiot won't ram a door into it or nail it with a shopping cart. However, on my days off, I use the Willys to run errands and go to appointments. Like one of the other posters stated the fun is the journey--not the destination.

Years ago I had a '59 Willys pickup with the same engine and trans as yours. It had an 8 foot Western plow. I drove it every day year round and plowed snow for extra bucks. I drove about 50 miles round trip to work each day. No problem.

Don't make it a yard ornament-----use it up!!!

Old Willy
 

germain

Precision Fit
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Bartonville, TX
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Gary
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#7
Drive it!!!! I took the long way to get there, 4 1/2 years, with total repower, changed suspension, added a/c, power steering....check my gallery.
I drive it, in total, about 5 days a month to work (50 miles round trip) and would drive it more except my commuting car, MX5, gets more than twice the gas mileage. Weekends I drive my wagon, even to pick up lumber, etc. I did put in seat belts.
For fun put in a radio with an ipod dock and Bluetooth for your cell.
 

BradW

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Oct 11, 2009
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Wenatchee, Washington
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#8
You could use it as a daily driver if it's what you like and is mechanically decent. What BioTex says is pretty much right on. I'm not using the disc brakes but would like to install them if I ever take it out of service long enough. I'm in a semi rural area and wanted overdrive for my 10 mile trip to work going 60 mph, overdrive is really needed for that, otherwise good engine/trans, good brakes, decent heater if you get cold weather and maybe electric wipers if rainy. Iv'e driven mine to Seattle (2.5 hour drive) no problems in town or out on the road.
 

64 Traveler

Sharpest Tool
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Northern AZ
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Kevin
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1964
#9
I've been using mine as a daily driver since 94. When I lived in WY, I drove it to southern Az and back at least 10 times. It's been from Naco, Mexico (across from the Customs>USBP port at NAco, AZ) to Coutts, Alberta, Canada (across from the USBP station at Sweetgrass, MT) and back to Naco. I have no idea how many miles it had on it when I got it, but I've put 137,000+ on it since I got it.
 

wally72

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Feb 21, 2010
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Indiana
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#10
I use my PU just about every day for running errands and general purpose use. The stock braking system in good condition is plenty adequate for the speeds that the truck is capable of, top speed 65 mph. I use it for short trips, 50 miles one way or so, no interstate since sustained speeds over 55 are not practical. I would recommend that the steering system, springs and shackles and driveline be in top condition for a daily runner.
 

papas34

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Ogden, Utah
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#11
wally72 said:
I use my PU just about every day for running errands and general purpose use. The stock braking system in good condition is plenty adequate for the speeds that the truck is capable of, top speed 65 mph. I use it for short trips, 50 miles one way or so, no interstate since sustained speeds over 55 are not practical. I would recommend that the steering system, springs and shackles and driveline be in top condition for a daily runner.
My dad drove his pu many years as daily driver, even pulled his boat and overcab camper. He did have small block Chevy.....I drove it and the camper to Yellowstone for my first honeymoon.....only thing I'd really worry about once everything is in good working order would be the brakes.
 

Jeep School

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Mar 19, 2010
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#12
I have thought about just basic safety upgrades too:
1. Brakes -- better drums or disc conversion
2. Seatbelts (easy, but I do have to get actual SEATS first!)
3. LED upgrade to brake LIGHTS--something with some real light, as tailgating is a big problem in Arizona. Anyone done or heard of this?
 

papas34

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#13
Nena
Just read some of your blog.... :D :D :D
I used to go your way as a truck driver about once a week....I would spend the night parked behind the bowling alley and deliver my metal roofing in the morning...sure wish I'd know about you then...retired now.....could have had a cup of joe in the morning :cheers: :cheers: :cheers: :cheers:
Lots and lots of pretty country over there.
 

64 Traveler

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#14
Jeep School said:
I have thought about just basic safety upgrades too:
1. Brakes -- better drums or disc conversion
2. Seatbelts (easy, but I do have to get actual SEATS first!)
3. LED upgrade to brake LIGHTS--something with some real light, as tailgating is a big problem in Arizona. Anyone done or heard of this?

I've got 11X2 brakes on all four wheels, mine came stock with seat belts (I upgraded mine) and I've got LED stop, turn and tail lights. I can shoot some pics tomorrow if you're interested (not the brakes though).
 

Jeep School

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#15
64 Traveler said:
I've got 11X2 brakes on all four wheels, mine came stock with seat belts (I upgraded mine) and I've got LED stop, turn and tail lights. I can shoot some pics tomorrow if you're interested (not the brakes though).
I would love to find out more about your LED conversion--please post or email pics! PM sent.

Thanks!
 

germain

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Bartonville, TX
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1961
#16
Any auto parts has the replacement bulbs that are LED. Mine 61 wagon worked ok with the stock flasher unit. On my Rubicon I had to change the flasher unit so it read the correct current draw, a $35 part.
 
Joined
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#17
On the other hand these old cars for DD are not all that bad. If you have a 1/2 ", 9/16 " and a screwdriver w/reversible phillups and flat blade you can almost fix anything on them.

If you have to battle freeways and a long commute I would certainly upgrade brakes and steering to power units. These things did not stop or steer well even for their day. I did not have AC/PS/PB in a car until '75 and these things stop and steer worse than our old ranch truck.
 
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