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Willys-Overland M38
A Willys M38 on display in April 2009.
Production 1950-1952
45,473 produced
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door Military Vehicle
Layout Front engine, rear-wheel drive / four-wheel drive

M38A1 jeep

Jeep CJ3A
Engine 134 cu in (2.2 L) Go Devil I4
Transmission 3-speed T-90 manual
Wheelbase 80 in (2,032 mm)
Length 133 in (3,378 mm)
Height 62 in (1,575 mm)
Curb weight 2,750 lb (1,247 kg)
Predecessor Willys MB
Successor M38A1

The Willys M38 United States Army jeep, replaced the World War II models known as MB and GPW. It was a 1/4 Ton 4 × 4 Utility Truck manufactured between 1950 and 1952 with a total production of 45,473 units. The M38 and CJ3A shared a few similarities. Willys designated it an MC. The M38 differed from the CJ3A in numerous ways, including a reinforced frame and suspension, 24 volt, waterproof electrical system, sealed vent system for the engine, transmission, brake system and fuel system. Some M38 jeeps were assigned to the Korean theater of operations, but the majority of vehicles used in that conflict were rebuilt WWII vintage. M38 Jeeps were manufactured by Ford of Canada for Canadian Armed Forces in 1952, designated as the CDN M38 jeep.

A new redesigned fording ventilation system and a waterproof 24 volt electrical system were the major upgrades on the M38 (MC series). These features evolved from the many experimental configurations performed on the WWII Ford and Willys jeeps and postwar on the 2.5 ton Military trucks produced by Reo (nicknamed the "Beaver").

The M38 windshield could be folded flat for firing and the body was equipped with a pintle hook for towing and lifting shackles front and rear. The headlights were no longer recessed as on previous models, but protruded with a guard wire in front. The "pioneer" tools (axe and shovel) which were carried on the MB's driver side were transferred to the passenger side of this vehicle.



It weighed 2750# (3950# on road -gross) and had an 80" wheelbase. The M38 had a ground clearance of 9¼", a 74" height (top up) a width of 62" and a length of 133".


  • Bore/Stroke: 3.125" × 4.375"
  • Compression Ratio: 6.48:1
  • Displacement: 134.2 Cubic Inches
  • Torque: 105 Ft Lb @2000 RPM
  • Main Bearings: 3
  • Carburetor: Carter YS-637s


The whole air intake and axle system was fully vented to allow for proper operation under water. Its full floating front axle (Dana 25) was supported by the wheel hub, rather than the axle itself, and provided greater carrying capacity. The rear axle (Dana 44) was semi-floating. Its powerplant was the L-head 134* with a T-90 transmission and Dana 18 transfer case.

A few M38 jeeps were fitted with a PTO (power take off - powered by transmission) driven winch, which was not used in the regular production models due to increased front end weight and maintenance issues.

Electrical system[]

The electrical system was upgraded to a 24 volt system which required dual 12 volt batteries connected in series. Its ignition and electrical systems were waterproof; a handy feature in rainy environments and where deep river fording was necessary.

See also[]

Technical manuals[]

  1. M38 Jeep Reference Guide, Miller 2009

External links[]

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