Willys M38

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Willys M38
Flickr - DVS1mn - 53 Willys Jeep (1).jpg
A restored Willys M38
Type 14 ton (227kg)[a] 4x4 Utility truck
Place of origin  United States
Production history
Manufacturer Willys-Overland
Produced 1949–1952[1]
Number built 60,000 produced[1]
Weight 2,625 lb (1,191 kg) Empty
Length 133 in (3.38 m)
Width 62 in (1.57 m)
Height 62 in (1.57 m)

Engine Willys Type CJ3A
51 hp (38 kW)
Transmission 3 spd. x 2 range trf. case
Suspension Beam axles on leaf springs
220 mi (354.1 km)
Speed 60 mph (97 km/h)

The Willys M38 United States Army Jeep, also known as the Willys MC,[1] replaced the World War II Willys MB and Ford GPW models. It was a 1/4 ton 4 × 4 utility truck manufactured between 1949 and 1952 with a total production of more than 60,000 units.[1] The M38 was military version of the then-current civilian Jeep CJ-3A. The M38 differed from the CJ-3A 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. Approximately 2,300 M38 Jeeps were manufactured by Ford of Canada for Canadian Armed Forces in 1952, designated as the M38-CDN jeep.

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.[2]


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[edit]

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[edit]


  1. ^ Off-road load rating


  1. ^ a b c d Brown, Arch (2001). Jeep: The Unstoppable Legend. Publications International. p. 64. ISBN 0-7853-5562-6. 
  2. ^ M38 Jeep Reference Guide, Miller 2009

Technical manuals[edit]

External links[edit]