Source of Supply, 226 overhaul stuff/kit?


Gear Grinder
Feb 2, 2011
Willys Model
Willys Year:
Hey folks,
Just got my new used L226 for my 55 wag, Mike at Kaiser helped me find it. It's all complete and looks really great, I grabbed the flywheel and she spun right around nice and smooth. Nothing like and old engine. So my old man, my neighbor and I man handled it up onto the engine stand and have been hounding me about getting it dropped in and operational ever since. If you read my "hi how are you, getting to know me" thread then you know my plan is to leave the V8 in it until I ship her up to Alaska where I will soon be living and do the engine swap up there over my long winter. Needless to say at the badgering of my friends and family I'm at least considering rebuilding the engine before I move.... maybe. First things first, i need to know the best source of supply for parts/kit etc or the best quality kits whichever, gimme what you got.
Most of the forum sponsors have rebuild kits, but if you are already dealing with Kaiser Willys and are happy....... ;)
cnsay said:
Most of the forum sponsors have rebuild kits, but if you are already dealing with Kaiser Willys and are happy....... ;)

definitely happy with kaiser so far, just doing some shopping looking for personal experiences.
There are many places that can order parts for the Willys motors, but there are only a few that specialize in Willys and can answer questions with more than what comes up on their computer screen. Several of those companies are forum sponsors and have very good reputations for customer service and proper parts. There are some items that have price differences so shopping around can save you some money. I'm not trying to be rude or anything, but your local car parts store is great for parts for your fairly new daily driver, but they don't know anything about fifty year old vehicles, and most don't have the info in the computer or catalogs. I recently needed a pilot bushing for my 63 Willys, the local CarQuest couldn't find it in the computers or books and couldn't even order a whole clutch kit for it as they showed it as discontinued, but several forum sponsors had pilot bushings in stock and ship fast.
I'm thrilled to see that you will be putting a 226 back in the wagon. What I want to tell you now though, is DON'T BE IN A HURRY. Unfortunately, these engines are famous for block cracks, so you definitely want to get the block and head checked out before ordering a lot of parts. People order the kits and do bench top rebuilds all of the time with these engines and are successful (sorta), but doing it right can be expensive. I'm taking mine to the machine shop at the end of the month. If all checks good, there is a lot to do and it's gonna cost me an arm and a leg, but i'm prepared. I will be assembling it myself, but still the machine work alone will be costly.
These engines NEED to be align bored and balanced. You've probably heard a lot about the Harmonic Balancers coming apart, or slipping on these. Anyone that has tried, but can never seem to get his engine timed correctly is probably suffering from a slipped HB and doesn't know it. They wern't too worried about it on the assembly line, but it is a fault with this engine.
Anyhow, I think they're great engines. Take your time with it and do it justice. :)
i might be in the same boat. I started getting large clouds of white smoke at start up. The engine runs good, I just had the carb rebuilt, so if I am lucky the white cloud is fuel related, but no one has really figured out what is up with it yet. This could get expensive! I am interested in hearing more about this line bored, and any other things that need to be done right on a rebuild.

I have never purchased anything from rigid steel so who knows?

4WD.COM is a reputable operation. ... rtID=11954 ... rtID=12014
Paul, I’m thinking two possibilities for your “smoking” scenario.
1. Possible worn valve guides. Usually, this would be evident by a puff of blue smoke upon first start, however; it could definitely have a “white-ish” hue with just a tint of blue.
2. If you are seeping any coolant in to the oil, this would show as a white smoke pouring out of the pipe.
The second explanation is what I found with my wagon. I was fumigating the weeds on the side of the road as I trundled along my merry way. Really embarrassing. :oops: When I pulled the manifolds off, I found coolant sitting in exhaust ports 3, 4 and 5.
At this point I had two choices.
1. Change the head gasket and hope for the best
2. Pull the engine and go for a complete rebuild

Since the poor thing was seriously lacking in power, I decided to pull it and wait for the rebuild. Granted, I didn’t expect to be waiting as long as I have, but life has a way of prioritizing things, for anybody that is making plans.

So now, more on your question.
I have spent a lot of time on the phone, talking to Paul Barry at Willys America. While he would never remember who I am, I have managed to squeeze a lot of information out of him on these engines. I also met him personally, while out that way on a work trip. (don’t tell the boss man). We discussed the engine once again regarding what a “proper” rebuild entails. Keep in mind, these were low budget vehicles. This meant the engines followed suit. I believe they are all good engines, across the board, but with budget in mind there wasn’t a whole lot of attention to detail, as with other vehicle companies.
Here’s what ya gotta take care of:
Balance, Balance, Balance.
These are externally balanced engines, but as stated, was not a huge priority at the assembly plant, which is why the harmonic balancers need to be addressed. They figured the HB would take care of business. They probably did, but now these things are 40 plus years old. You may not notice anything wrong with it, but chances are it has slipped from the rubber insert which causes two problems.
1. You can’t time the engine properly.
2. It doesn’t dampen vibration effectively
Things that need to be weighed and balanced:
Anything that is part of the rotating mass.

•Flywheel, Crank, Rods, Pistons; (even piston pins to be perfect). Some folks have trouble with rear main seals leaking. Over time, the vibration can have an effect on the seal and cause the leaking. Putting the wrong seal in will really give one a headache as well.
•The rods need to be sized on the Crank ends as well, to ensure proper bearing fitment.
•Align boring is critical. Once again, not a major thought when new, but 40+ years of time and thousands of miles of vibration, will wreak havoc. It HAS to be done. Align boring is essentially done by installing the bearing caps on and running a machine reamer all the way through the length of the block, to ensure the bearing saddles are perfectly straight in line.
•While it is overkill, I plan to have my fan balanced as well. I know, I know. I’ve already said to myself. ANAL.
•These blocks are prone to cracking between the 3 and 4 cylinders as well. Hopefully all checks good.
•Hardened valve seats are to be added, so that worry is gone.
Technically, one could get by with just the exhaust seats, but why play around. Do all, and not sweat it.

So, there ya have it. Probably more than you wanted, but running the risk of redundancy…
Have you finished doing all of this stuff to the engine?

How hard is it to find people capable of doing this stuff?

How much money are you gonna put into the engine?
Have you finished doing all of this stuff to the engine? Nope. Won't get started til' the end of this month. Everything has been research, research, research. I did however send off my Harmonic Balancer to be rebuilt. I just got a call this morning that it's ready and being shipped back to me. End bill for that alone is 160 bones. But now that I know it'll be right, I can take it with the engine for the balancing process.

How hard is it to find people capable of doing this stuff? Difficult indeed. Here's what I have found.
Tractor Shops: They are familiar with Flat heads overall, but are not in to the extreme tolerances that one would require for for these vehicles.

Standard automotive machine shops: Lots of them in these parts employ joe schmoe, or the local kid out of high school, which is absolutely great (how else will they get the experience), but I don't feel comfortable with them grinding on something they don't understand. (just me)

Speed shops: These guys are slightly familiar with flat heads and are all about Nth degree tolerances and balancing.

There are a lot of shops in the U.S. that specialize in Flat Heads; unfortunately, I don't live near one, so I have chosen the Speed Shop. I am comfortable with them because the owner says they don't believe in plasti-gage. They mic everything. I have all the pertinent data they need, so I just plan on keeping in touch while they have it. I would prefer to buy one from Willys America, but by the time shipping was paid for it would be rediculous. The last time I inquired of the cost of a rebuilt, it was $5,000.

How much money are you gonna put into the engine? After speaking with the machine shop guys, I fully expect the cost to be around $3,500 including the kit cost. Of course, that's with me doing the assembling. An extra $400 if I have them assemble it.

At the end of the month I'll be signing in as an All Star member and begin the posting process as much as I can. Hopefully, I'll get some pics of it during some machining too. The only obstical then will be work. They'll probably send me off to some place far away, right in the middle of it all.
So Willys America does sell rebuilt motors. 5k is alot, but the time saving could be worth it for me, I was planning on wheeling this summer!

At this point I am still in the process of figuring out what the deal is with my motor. From gut feeling, it is either a bad head gasket, best case scenario. Bad Valves and or guides, not so great, and or Piston problem. Or it could even be a crack in the block. The thing that sucks is most of these scenario's mean pulling the engine from truck, which royally sucks since I just put it in last year! The motor ran good when I pulled it and I didn't have the money to work on it, so I rolled the dice by putting it back in. It worked for a few months, it still actually runs good minus the smoke. I am wondering how much power I am missing, it would sure be nice to have a little more! :D
I just got my overhaul kit from Kaizer Willys. The research I did revealed this to be the most complete kit, it came with all new valves and guides. This is the only kit I found that came with a new valve train and for the amount of effort a rebuild takes it would be stupid to not install new valves and guides. Very good quality kit and it was in stock.