Willys Restoration Shop List

(updated 12/15/2020)

Here is a list of restoration shops around North America specializing in vintage Jeeps and military vehicles.  If you know of ones not on this list please let me know to add them.

The shop list:

  • Army Jeep Parts. George Baxter.  Levittown, PA. (215) 269-5014 Not only are they my favorite parts supplier, but George has a restoration and repair shop as well.  They do work from highly detailed restorations to repairs.  www.armyjeepparts.com
  • Brian and Carl Cessna. Hanover, PA.  From big to small, if it’s OD green Brian and his father work on them all.  Email Brian at stingaroo499@yahoo.com
  • East Coast Vintage Vehicle, Jason Meade. New Brunswick, Canada.  +1 506-440-1266  Jeeps and other military vehicles. Parts sales and fabrication.  Fantastic sheet metal restoration work. https://eastcoastvintagevehicle.wordpress.com/
  • Hanson Mechanical Restorations. Merlin Hanson. Littlestown, PA (just south of Gettysburg). Willys and Kaiser Jeeps and related vehicles.  Occasional Aircooled VW Beetles. Contact information and our websites are on the top menu of this blog.
  • Henry Welch. Lancaster PA. 717-285-3931 Civilian Willys vehicles, top notch restorations. Also makes parts that are available through Walcks 4wd. http://www.hwwelch.com/
  • Jim Lurba. Northern Neck, VA. 804-529-5192 From motorpool to show pieces he can do anything on wheels. He also has a large stock of parts. Jim has been doing this for well over 20 years and is one of the best out there.
  • Jimmy Strauss Jeeps. El Dorado County, CA. www.jimmystraussjeeps.com I hear nothing but good things, and his customer service is legendary.
  • Mil-Spec. Bob Rabino.  Belvidere, NJ. (908)-475-2799 Long standing top restoration shop doing everything from tanks to Jeeps.
  • Parke Oehme/ Keens Services. Lititz, PA. (717)-629-5844.  parke can work on a wide array of antique vehicles.  I have personally seen difficult restoration work he accomplished on a WW2 USMC Holden type ambulance.  I cannot recommend him enough.
  • Vintage Jeeper : Specializing in Willys/Kaiser era Jeeps. Transmission , Transfer Case , Carburetor and Axle repair/rebuild and parts. We also focus on vintage off-roading with fabrication and welding services. Sal Consalvo ,Perkiomenville,Pa 765-409-9684 , Email: Info@vintagejeeper.com , www.vintagejeeper.com
  • Vintage Jeep Specialties. Brad Gates, York. PA. (717) 846-1963 Longstanding shop.
  • Willys Restoration. Toledo, Oregon.  Everything Willys restored.  (541) 336-5869

Turn signals on your WW2 Jeep

There are a variety of ways you can add turn signals to your WW2 jeep.  My favorite involves hiding them in the front marker lights and behind the rear reflectors. My next favorite method is to incorporate them into rear brakelights if you have one on each side (swapping out the passenger side blackout for another brakelight).


A customer recently wanted an entirely different design so we set out and came up with another style of turn signal, this will work only on WW2 Jeeps converted to 12 volts.


The parts we used were a standard 8 wire turn signal switch available from places like Walcks 4wd, bullet style motorcycle led turn signals that we found on ebay, and an led compatible flasher relay purchased from Napa. Make sure to ask for the flasher relay I photographed, standard flasher relays will not work with LED lights as LED do not draw enough current.



Wiring incorporated vintage style reproduction cotton wire where it would be visible, and standard modern wiring underneath and in areas not seen.  All connections were soldered and sealed with heat shrink tubing.  Alot of this  is available at almost any auto parts store.


The creation and installation of the system was simple but took a few hours.  With the turn signal switch comes a basic set of instructions that show you where all the wires and the fuse connect.  You need only to find a 12 volt source to connect to (like on the ignition switch) and the rest of the wiring is independent of anything else on the Jeep.


The nice thing about the motorcycle lights is their wiring runs through their threaded base, so once you drill mounting holes these lights are easily attached without having to make any brackets.



In the end the most difficult parts of this design were finding the right flasher relay and seeking out LED signal lights that looked vintage (ebay is the only place I can find these).  After that it was alot of soldering and running wire and voila, an unobtrusive turn signal system made from modern items.  This is a system simple enough for most folks to be able to install without any particular level of inventiveness required.


Fixing your new CJ7 Speedometer gauges

One of the issues I have found in restoring CJ7’s is the electrical.  There are so many more little whizbangs and doodads than in the early flat fender Jeeps.  The most common issue I have encountered has to do with the temperature and fuel gauges.  Working on a current CJ7 project I finished the wiring and found that both the fuel and temperature gauge were pegging all the way to Full and Hot.  This can happen on the old gauges when a resistor blows out and it can fry the gauges. Obviously something was wrong and to save some time I asked the customer to just order a whole new speedometer cluster.

That was a bad idea…. hopefully what I write here will save you some time should you find the need to replace your gauges or speedometer in your CJ7 (and I assume there can be similar issues in Cj5’s)

First off, here is the spiffy looking new gauge:


And note their commitment to Jeeps on the side of the box:


With how nice and complete the gauge looks and all the nice packaging you might figure,”hey, this is great!  Let’s install this and everything will work well and be happy again!”  That’s what my mechanics thought when I went away for Thanksgiving and they decided to help me out by installing this gauge for me.

When I came back from visiting family for Thanksgiving and found the gauge was installed I was all excited that this Jeep could go home.  I did not foresee this turning into the engineering adventure it became.

I started the Jeep and took it for a test drive.  The dash lights did not work anymore, neither the temperature gauge or fuel gauge registered anything, the brake warning light was dead…. all I could think was what the heck happened?  First I pulled the Jeep back into the shop, loosened the dashboard and checked the wiring.  The gauge was wired correctly.  Having run into other bad after market parts I pulled the gauge to check it.

Problem 1)  This is yet another part I received with an internal short.  From what I understand both main parts companies have issues with their gauges so check for shorts before even installing the gauge.


First problem I found using my voltmeter was a short in the fuel gauge.  The ignition terminal (I) showed zero ohms resistance when I connected the other test wire to the case. No resistance means a short.  12 volts straight to the body of the Jeep… not good.  This short that not only blew the gauge fuse, but also fried our new fuel sending unit I had just installed.  I opened the case of the new speedo, removed the fuel gauge, wrapped it in electrical tape, reinstalled it and now the short was gone.  The fuse stopped blowing and all lights kept working.

Problem 2)

Next I reconnected all the wiring, and immediately found that the fuel gauge and temperature gauge pegging all the way to Full and Hot again…. but why?  This is a new gauge!! Shouldn’t it work????

Well, the answer is no. NO.  Reading forum after forum I could not find a single person who had installed a new speedometer cluster and had the gauges work.  This disgusts me.  Apparently the manufacturer is fine with making and selling something that does not work, and the suppliers are fine with selling this garbage.  As long as things are being sold apparently nobody cares about the guy or girl in their garage going nuts because the new parts doesn’t work.

So I set about making this right.  I did alot of research and testing, and consulting with my retired engineer father, and we found a way to make these gauges work.


The original gauges were designed with resistors in them.  The resistors dropped the voltage down to about six volts for the gauges.  When the gauges keep pegging all the way to the top its because their resistors are blown on the original ones.  On the new gauges the problem is that THEY HAVE NO RESISTORS.

Old gauge:



New gauge:


First off your new gauge will have a wire going from A on the gas gauge to A on the temperature gauge.  Remove that.  We will wire these gauges separately now.

Second, go to Radio Shack or order resistors online.  At Radio Shack I was able to pick up packs of 100 ohm 1 watt resistors (the small ones in the photo below) and 50 Ohm 10 watt resistors (big white one)


Just to show you how to check resistance take a look at the following image, and the settings on the voltmeter:


Third, you will wire the four 100 ohm 1 watt resistors side by side (in parallel is the technical term) and connect them to terminal I on the gas gauge.  You will connect the 50 Ohm 10 watt to terminal I on the temperature gauge.

Fourth you will split the 12 volt ignition wire that normally connects to I on the gas gauge.  Solder or otherwise connect two wires to the end terminal of the ignition wire, and run a wire to the four 10 ohm resistors, and another wire to the 50 ohm resistor.  This will provide proper resistance and make the gauges measure fuel and temperature correctly. My father designed a small plexiglass pane to make a secure attachment for all the wires.





I will add more images as I refine this process, but you must add these resistors for at least this version of the aftermarket gauge to work.  This is all setup to make the Omix gauge work.  I have not tested a Crown gauge yet but I understand that they do not function correctly either.

For information on proper resistance for the gauges here is one of a few good web pages:

CJ Gauge Specification Chart

First Annual Southeast Willys Jeep Get Together


2016 was the first year for the Southeast Willys Jeep Get Together.  Will Springer, contacted me a bit ago and asked if we had any ideas for promoting it, spreading the word etc.., and if we could attend.  I think he did the promotion quite well on his own as attendance was solid and sponsorship was quite good.  Will also did a good job of convincing my wife and I to make the trek south for the show.  Of course as soon as Brittany heard “North Carolina” she was ready to go.  So we loaded up the JKU with camping gear and shovels and rakes and implements of destruction….. oh wait that would be a VW microbus (ten points if you get the reference! If not you are a sad and uncultured heathen.) attached the trailer with the new running engine on the stand and we headed south.

We took our time driving South, and realized that the vast majority of our trip was going through Virginia, we ctennelebrated when we reached Tennessee.  Of course non stop rain drove us stir crazy as well.  We did a good enough job taking our time that we ended up having to take a hotel room for the night rather than camping as planned.

Little did we know there were two Ramada’s in Asheville.  I just grabbed one on an online booking site.  The first one we went to became flustered when they could not find our reservation.  I jokingly said, “maybe there is another Ramada,” and found out that indeed there was!  So off we went to find it.  Happily at our new Ramada I learned that we had escaped the “murder Ramada” where there had been a few deaths and a desk clerk had been stabbed. Fun. At least we had a clean bed to sleep in and I was only missing a license plate off of my trailer when we woke up in the morning.

Saturday morning we fortified ourselves at Waffle House (I truly and deeply love Waffle House.  We need more in Maryland.) and we set off to the show.


The show was hosted at the Grace Arts Center South of Asheville and was a beautiful location with a big parking lot, nice facilities, a pavilion and plenty of surrounding trees and shade.  As all varieties of Willys wandered in Will opened the show with a welcome, a prayer from their pastor, and a beautiful rendition of the national Anthem on violin by Will’s daughter Olivia.  It really was a family affair with Will’s wife and daughters helping as well as folks from the Church and community.


As more vehicles drove in we got the prototype L-head engine running on its stand.  I did a tech session on the new blocks a little after 11am.


There were other presentations as well.  Dustin Wylie of C and D Auto Repair and Restoration in Saluda NC did a session on t84 and t90 transmissions.  Dustin covered, development, basic parts, differences to watch out for and more.



The owner of the wagon to the right above gave a great lunchtime presentation as well about driving the wagon park to park around the United States.  He covered issues like maintenance, repair, where to go etc..  The wagon on the left belongs to Will and has been in his family since new.


Lunch was fantastic and the afternoon was spent doling out door prizes and trophies (we seem to have taken home a handful of prizes which was a nice surprise.) Overall this was a wonderful show that gave us a chance to meet many new folks form another part of jeep land.  After the show we visited Dustin’s shop then headed to Lake Powhatan to set up camp and rest a bit.  Thanks Will for running a wonderful show and starting a new annual tradition!



Who carries the new Go-Devils?

Since we introduced the prototype L-134 engine blocks to the world there has been quite alot of interest.  Production begins shortly and if all goes well they should be in your dealer’s hands by January.  These blocks are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the product line being worked on.

Now who are your dealers?

For Europe, the UK and Scandanavia exclusively through:


For Australia exclusively through:


For North America:










And we are happy to receive inquiries from other North American dealers.  As of this point introductory pricing is officially over and dealer prices will vary depending on quantity.  Retail pricing should be around $2,100.00

For sales and dealer inquiries contact Merlin through  merlin AT hansonmechanical.com


Wonders never cease, a new L-134 flathead has arrived

(Continue to check in for updates which will be posted and dated at the bottom of this article. Happy Jeeping! -Merlin)

Note: I was effectively cut out of this company after helping promote it and doing sales for the first production run, if you have any questions on the engines contact the company owner directly.  The engines are good, I just am out of the sales and communication loop now apparently.  Kaiser Willys appears to be carrying them.  Not sure if the owner is allowing other companies to carry the blocks.   Was not ever told why, I assume it’s a money thing.  Perhaps the company owner just wants to keep all the sale commissions for himself.   The company owner is John Lampl: jrlampl@jrlasia.com    He can answer any questions for you.

We are not talking about a rebuilt engine here, we are talking about a brand new fresh out of the foundry L-134 engine block. Yes, really, they now exist. Commence celebrating.

In a story reminiscent of the old days of Jeep an enthusiast has done what he was told was impossible.  New L-134 flathead engines have left the foundry and the first prototype is undergoing testing.

L-Block - Prod - 1

A man with extensive manufacturing experience, John, began wondering a while back about the availability of the flathead engines that drive our ancient Jeeps.  From experience in our restoration shop I can say I often have concerns when a vehicle arrives with a questionable engine.  Many can be saved, but there are many with cracked blocks or issues that require extensive time with a machinist to bring them back to reliability. And I know we all have seen the bumps in the hoods where F heads were installed for lack of a flathead.


Noting the lack of replacement engines, and the passion in the community for keeping these old flat fenders alive John used his experience and resources and set about doggedly pursuing the goal of making new L-134 blocks again. Having extensive experience with manufacturing overseas he set about looking for a foundry that had the capability to produce this engine in the quality that Jeepers need and expect.

Like any good adventure John was told that his quest was impossible (reminds me of many of our inventors back in the early 20th century!).  No foundry could make the quality engine needed in low numbers.  Factories said the same, they couldn’t do it.  But John worked on and convinced a foundry they could do what he wanted and then set about the backwards engineering of an L-134.

In this process John contacted me and told me of his plans.  To say I was initially incredulous is putting it lightly.  I have met so many people with great ideas but bringing them to fruition is rare.  John came by my shop with an old flathead compressor set up he bought for a testing bed for his engines and I could see he meant business. The result is in the video below.

Test results so far have been the following (from John’s test logs). The engine has been both run on its test bed, and tested under loads in Johns CJ5.


So far things look good with the new engine!  Now we need to find people to sell it.  When we get enough orders then production can begin.  Pricing will be reasonable and should save you time going to a machine shop, finding out your block has hairline fractures and then searching for a new block.  Any parts dealers who are interested please contact me at merlin@hansonmechanical.com for more details.

To say this is exciting is an understatement.

Update 8/21/16: 

L4-134 Engine Block – READY TO ASSEMBLE – is cast in hardened gray iron. All machined surfaces are milled to original design specifications. Block includes: Valve guides; hardened valve seats for intake and exhaust valves; NPT threaded oil galley plugs, freeze plugs and camshaft expansion plug. Blocks are coated with a rust inhibitor wrapped in protective plastic and are packed with assembly preparation instructions. Each block is individually serialized with the number stamped into the machined deck surface.
– Cylinder Bore: 3.1255″ +/- .0005″
– Valve Guide  Bore Diameter (In & Ex): .374″ +/- .0005″
– Valve Seat Surface Width: .09375″ to .125″ +/- .0005
– Tappet Bore Diameter: .626″ +/- .0005″
– Oil Galley Taps/Plugs:  NPT 1/8″ & NPT 3/8″ – Oil Galley Taps – Tapered.
Update 2 8/21/16
On metallurgy.  The cast iron is upgraded grey iron with higher chromium and copper content and with higher grade iron than the original.  John had an original block sampled and tested.  New is harder and more durable. Seated intakes and exhaust. Nice tolerances on valves straight out of the crate.
On production location.  The engine is being produced in China.  Please note that there are high quality ways and cheap ways of making items in China.  This engine is made in a region that produces many engines for the Japanese auto industry.   Machining is done on CNC machines with tolerances of 10,000th of an inch.
On the process.  The development of this engine has been a hands on process, John has been to China 6 times in the last year working on development of this engine.
L-Block - Prod - 3

The M151 distributor mystery

In the 1970s and 80s my father worked for RCA in Massachusetts.  He started out in the “Jeep barn” designing testing equipment for Jeeps and other military vehicles.


During this time the Army noticed discrepancies in the motorpool procedures for the M151 and M151 variants.  They ran a study that found an excessive amount of distributors were being replaced in the M151 vehicles.  There did not seem to be a flaw in the distributors though so they were in a quandry.


My father was visiting a base motorpool one day and talking with a Sergeant.  Dad asked the Sgt. why so many distributors were replaced rather than just replacing the common wear items like the points.  The Sgt. asked my father to follow him to the supply desk.

When they reached the parts desk the Sgt. asked for points for an M151.  The soldier at the desk checked and said they did not have any.  Then the Sgt. asked for a distributor, the soldier ran back into the shelves and brought one up for him.  “This,” explained the Sgt. while holding the distributor,” is why so many distributors are replaced instead of points.”  The issue was not training or laziness, it was what parts were stocked at motorpools.


(Images are of an M151A2 restored by Hanson Mechanical Restorations.)

April 22 Craigslist finds

image 1


1950 Willys Jeep Pickup Truck. $4,250 obo Has xx,xxx miles on the body. Engine has been swapped to more reliable Ford 302. Currently runs and drives. Body was recently resanded and prepped for Black Epoxy Primer. Bed has been done in “Rhino Liner” type material. Lift Kit. New gas tank. Brand new mud/snow tires. Great piece of history. Email me for pictures. I have title.




1963 Willys Pickup $2,900.00, has the original 262 6 cylinder super hurricane. Truck runs very good, no smoke, transmission, clutch and 4 wheel drive is good. Needs break work and need floor pans and rocker panels also need door handle mechanisms.


$400.00  Hobart gas Welder
300 amp dc welder 4 cylinder jeep engine
Runs great everything works as it should Willys Go Devil engine
NEW Welding leads included

“For Pete’s sake”

I recived an email a while back from a fellow with a very low mileage CJ3B and a WW2 Jeep.  He wanted me to come and look over the CJ3B with an eye to making it roadworthy again and look over his WW2 Jeep just to let him know what he had.  The result was meeting a wonderful fellow who has inherited a Jeep and a passion for Jeeps from his father.


The story of the jeeps began back in 1943 when the father, Pete, shipped out with the merchant marine delivering cargoes of Jeeps to Italy.  When they had shore leave Pete would keep a spare rotor in his pocket (in WW2 Jeeps did not have keys so the men would take the rotors out of the distributors to keep Jeeps from being stolen) and he would seek out a Jeep for his weekend on the town.  Pete became very fond of Jeeps during the war.


When he returned from WW2 Pete bought a 1947 CJ2A, and then in 1960 purchased the CJ3B pictured here.  The 1959 CJ3B came from a quarry where it saw few miles, and it moved to Pete’s 60 acre farm where it roamed the woods and made occasional forays into town. Pete’s sons grew up driving the Jeep around the farm when it was running.


Over the years the Jeep had many periods of downtime and so with mainly driving on the farm and then sleeping for periods the CJ3B only racked up 1,795 miles.

When Pete passed away his son, Jonathan, spent alot of time sorting out the estate.  The jeep went to him.  As Jonathan put in long hours a friend suggested that when all was said and done he should buy something nice for himself.

Jonathan already had a plan, as his father loved WW2 jeeps so much Jonathan wanted to buy a WW2 Jeep and name it something like “battling Pete” or “For Pete’s Sake.”


It turned out the owner of his favorite gun shop had just acquired a WW2 Jeep.  Jonathan and he chatted about it and the owner brought the Willys MB to the shop for him to see.  Jonathan said he teared up because the Jeep already said, “for Pete’s sake” on the side.  It was like his father was talking to him he said.

Jonathan offered to buy the Jeep then and there but the owner wanted to keep it a bit longer.  As it goes when things are meant to be Jonathan received a phone call four months later that the Jeep was his if he wanted it.  And you can see how that went!


The 1943 Willys MB is the nicest I have ever seen.  The restoration was impeccable and it retains its original tub.  Jonathan is the owner of two real gems and I am sure his father is proud of how he carries on this family tradition.

We will be working on the CJ3B to make it roadworthy and reliable and I will post more when it comes to the shop.  I was honored to hear such a wonderful story and see such examples of Jeep history.

9th Mason Dixon Willys Jeep show and Gettysburg tour

Nine years now……nine!!  Thanks to Mike Hardesty for arranging this show 9 years running, almost the entire time I have lived in Westminster, MD around the corner from where the show takes place.  This year the weather was great for us again, both days.


Saturday we gathered at the outlets in Gettysburg, PA for a battlefield run.  A handful of Willys Jeeps representing the array of models from the 1940s to the 1960s, and a couple newer models, traveled the battlefield for an artillery tour arranged by Mike Hardesty.


It was a great time to catch up with the regulars and meet some new folks including a couple fellows from North Carolina.  While I have attended the Sunday show for years I never was able to drive in the Saturday tour.  I had fun following a Willys Wagon owned by Bruce Kieta, we overhauled everything mechanical in this wagon last year for him.


As we drove around the battlefield we made various stops to learn about the type of artillery scattered all around Gettysburg.  And of course this made for some great photo ops.

20151024_134424[1]20151024_143353[1]The tour went on until 3:00 and folks gathered later at 6:00 for craft beer, food and jeep stories.  The weather sounded better and better for Sunday as we kept checking updates. Sunday morning dawned and I pulled our 1941 outside, was met with a quick light rain and then that was it.  With the help of friend Richard Bleser we packed the 1941 Willys and picked some items for sale to load in Richard’s truck then off we went.


There was the usual wide and colorful array of early jeeps.


And some new and different ones including this 6 wheeler, number 9 out of 13 prototypes made.  It was brought by Oliver Davis who is interested in selling it.


Another neat vehicle for sale was this 1959 CJ5 with 8,000 original miles.


We had “Mortimer”, our 1941 set up with British equipment and tools beside other military Jeeps. (this shot was before everyone else rolled in)


And among the military Jeeps was this midget built and brought by Bill Shaw.


A really interesting piece this year was the Empire tractor, these were built with Willys engines and drivelines.



In the words of one of our North Carolina visitors, this is a “down home” type of show.  And it is a wonderful way to wind down the Jeep season.  Thanks to everyone who organised the gathering, and everyone who came.  I am already looking forward to next year.