What to check for?


Gear Grinder
Dec 19, 2010
Willys Model
Willys Year:
Im interested in buying a wagon and i have found one. But what are some of the things i need to check for? and how do i know how much it is worth?
What to check for?..................where to start....................
I think first you need to determine what is your budget & your mechanical skill level.

What are you going to use it for, that in many ways will tell you how much you're going to spend up front, or down the road

what part of the world do you live. depending where you live will determine price range and general condition. Midwest, East Coast US expect some serious rust. Everywhere else expect rust just not as bad.

There was a great thread that posed the same ? with some great answers. I'll try and copy the link on this thread.

PETE, this might be a "sticky" subject. With the traffic we're seeing these days it might be nice for a newb to get a rough idea without worrying about getting flamed like you would at other sites.
my budget- well im a high school student so my budget is small. My skills- I'm in my second year of Auto tech and my second year of metals. so i have a small budget but lots of skill.
There's all sorts of potential scenarios you could find. I would say, for someone in your shoes, try to find something that is at least complete and running. Sounds like you might have the skills and interest to put some time into reviving a Willys but it can get very pricy if you have to acquire a lo of parts along the way. Overall, I'm pretty sure lots of people can give you examples of what they got for their money, and it will vary greatly from person to person. I started with a $350 purchase price and got a mostly complete but not running and in very bad condition wagon. The resto is costing a lot, but admittedly, I'm having a lot of the work done for me.
Theres a guy who lives next to the school and he has an old wagon in the backyard i was going to see if i could pick it up cheap then just put the body on a bronco or K-5 chassis? has anyone done this?
Just putting the body on another frame isn't always easy. there are a lot of things to making a body swap succeed. A body swap with a Willys can be even worse as the factory didn't dp a lot to protect the underside from rust so there are possibilities of rotted out body mounts and supports. Most any Willys will have rust or completely rusted out floors where the driver and passenger feet would be. There are likely to be rust issues around and above the rear fenders. If it has been around a salt water location there can be rust EVERYWHERE making the body unstable taking it off the frame.

The Willys trucks and wagons are pretty simple machines to work on so if you have the skills and knowledge they can be a great project to work on. But repairing an old car is going to have some costs that may make it hard on the budget. They also can take a good bit of time to get to run and drive safely. Look it over carefully or you will start working on it and find your enthusiasm may have blinded you from seeing big issues that will need repaired.

Also depending on the year of the wagon, the early ones had very low gears and will not drive hiway speeds without spending $$$.