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Korean era Jeep

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#1 Gtractor ONLINE  


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Posted July 27, 2016 - 04:48 PM

President of our local museum has been wanting a WWII era Jeep for some time for a display.  Ones that old are hard to find and expensive when found.  

A military museum about an hour away is moving/downsizing and they wanted to let go of this one so the two museums got together for a deal to benefit both parties.   Pres. decided a Korean era Jeep would do the trick. 

I went to look at it a couple weeks ago with the pres. and curator.  They wanted me to go today and help pick it up but once again work got in the way.  I was off work in time to welcome this ole girl to her new home and to help push it in our storage building for safe keeping for the time being. 

Since I do all the upkeep on the museums vehicles, I have been elected to see if it will still run as my schedule allows.  Don't know how many years its been sitting but it has been quite some time. 

Gas tank is a ball of rust and brake pedal offers no resistance all the way down. 

Story is when the military got done with her this one went to the forestry service for another decade + of duty.  Then it got an amateur rest-O and was parked in the military museum.   

Its far from perfect but at least its not a rust bucket. 

Jeep 1.jpg ,Jeep 2.jpg ,Jeep 3.jpg

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#2 KennyP ONLINE  



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Posted July 27, 2016 - 04:51 PM

Have fun with it!

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#3 Gtractor ONLINE  


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Posted July 27, 2016 - 06:32 PM

It must have lockers in the axles because three of us pushed it easily as long as it was straight - even up a little hill into the building.  Turn the steering wheel and it was a real struggle to move. Just about gave birth I was pushing so hard.  :(

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#4 chieffan OFFLINE  

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Posted July 27, 2016 - 06:36 PM

Looks like you even got an extra nose piece for it, tho unpainted. 
Don't look bad at all for its age.

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#5 stiemmy OFFLINE  

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Posted July 27, 2016 - 07:39 PM


Sweet rig!
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Posted July 27, 2016 - 11:19 PM

I'm sure it's in good hands now.


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Posted July 28, 2016 - 04:16 AM

Article in our local news.


Broken parts and heart attacks, historic Jeep restored in honor of WW II vet
By Matthew Crane on July 14, 2016 in LIVING

Garry Hisel (right) collects and restores military vehicles. He and his son-in-law Jeff Kirkhoff (left) restored this Jeep and surprised Garry’s father, a World War II veteran, over the 4th of July weekend this year by bringing it down to Georgetown, Ky. for him to drive in the parade.

Garry Hisel had to race to get his 89-year-old father’s surprise completed in time for the 4th of July.

The 60-year-old Jasper resident and his son-in-law Jeff Kerkhoff where working as fast as they possibly could to finish restoring a 1954 M38A1 Jeep in time for his dad to drive it in the Georgetown, Ky., 4th of July parade.

Garry didn’t originally buy the Jeep to honor his dad. He is the president of the River City Thunderbolt MVCC, a military vehicle collectors club headquartered in Evansville, and a Jeep enthusiast. He wanted to restore it to add to his collection. A collection that includes a huge 5-ton military cargo truck easily seen while driving along Kluemper Dr.


The Jeep the day Garry picked it up. Garry declined to comment on how much money had been invested in the restoration. “I probably better not if I want to live,” he joked.

The Jeep he found on Craigslist was in pretty rough shape, but he was able to find another Jeep of the same model to strip for parts. Between the two, he and Jeff were able to piece together one working Jeep.

The years stretched on as he and Jeff completely restored the Jeep in their spare time. Other than the paint and body work, the two worked on most of the vehicle.

One day it occurred to Garry that the Jeep was originally issued for use by the U.S. Navy at Crane Naval Base and an idea began to form. “I decided to restore it to a Navy Jeep in honor of my father,” he said.

Garry’s father, Sidney Hisel, who turns 90 in December, volunteered at 17 years old to serve in World War II in 1944. He joined the Navy to follow his father who had volunteered and was serving in the Seabees (Construction Battalion) at the time. With his mother gone — she died when he was about six years old — the Lexington, Ky., native who had been raised by his grandparents decided it was his duty to serve.

After boot camp he was station on the USS Bellerophon, a landing ship, tank — or LST — that had just been commissioned in Chicago. He joined it in Seneca, Ill. and traveled down the Mississippi River to the Gulf and then to Mobile, Ala., where it was recommissioned as a landing craft repair ship.


Originally designed to carry 18 Sherman tanks, the Navy redesignated it as a landing craft repair ship with the hull number AR-31. With the new mission, the deck designed to hold the tanks was converted into a repair shop that, according to Mr. Hisel, could make parts for just about anything. By Official US Navy photo taken from http://www.navsource...19/10193101.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wiki...?curid=11961704

The Bellerophon steamed out of Mobile for the Panama Canal to serve in the Pacific Theatre. It headed up to San Francisco where her crew assisted in repairing ships damaged by the Japanese kamikaze fighters.

Mr. Hisel, a Signalman Third Class, remained on the ship in San Francisco until it was time for the Bellerophon to head out to Hawaii. By then, his enlistment was complete. “I remember crossing the Oakland Bay Bridge and seeing her leave as I was heading out to return home,” he said.

Later in life, Mr. Hisel volunteered aboard the LST-325 after it was converted to the LST Memorial Ship which is now located in Evansville. Garry credits his father’s connection with LST-325 as what influenced his love for restoring military vehicles. “When they moved the LST from Mobile to Evansville in 2005, he got the captain to allow my brother and I to be part of the crew to bring it up the Mississippi River,” Garry said.

As the ship made its way up the river, Garry and his brother performed various duties. When they were off duty, they would work on restoring the old ship. After it arrived in Evansville, he volunteered to serve on the board for the historic attraction on the riverfront. He became further enamored with historic military vehicle preservation and took part in the commission that brought the Military Vehicle Preservation Association International Convention to Evansville in 2009 beating out Los Angeles and Louisville.

This new hobby had brought Garry to that Jeep and he wanted to give his father a chance to ride in it. “The bottom line is that I wanted to finish this while my dad was still living,” he said. “I wanted to be able to take him rides in it and let him drive it.”

The two had thought they could get it completed in time for the Four Freedoms Veterans Parade in Evansville last November but a cracked engine block waylaid that plan. The two didn’t find a lot of time to work on the Jeep over the winter as it sat in Garry’s unheated garage but when the weather turned warmer, the two dug into the project with plans to have it done in time for the parade.

Then on May 18, Garry had a heart attack. “I was in the hospital and I looked at my wife and said I didn’t think we were going to make it,” he explained.

But after Garry got out of the hospital, Jeff, a mechanic at Uebelhor & Sons, told him he had some vacation days he could take and he would make sure the Jeep got done in time.

“Every waking minute, we were working on that Jeep,” Garry said.

It got done.

“I was putting on the finishing touches four hours before we revealed it to dad,” Garry added.

Garry had asked his father if they could wait till the 4th of July to celebrate Father’s Day the same weekend and he had agreed to wait.

“We did a big 4th of July dinner at my brother’s house,” Garry said. “Then we had a short presentation about the sacrifices of our family’s military service and the family history.”

He then presented the Jeep to his father. “We had it hidden and pulled it out for him to see,” Garry said.

DSC4975.jpgThe Jeep is painted in the traditional U.S. Navy gray and features the hull number of the USS Bellerophon on the front bumper. Sidney’s World War II service number is painted on the hood as well.

It was an overwhelming moment for Mr. Hisel. “They completely blindsided me,” he said. “To think that he thought enough of me to do that for me, well, I have trouble talking about it. I don’t have words to describe it. To have a son that thinks that much of me, I just can’t describe it.”

Sidney and Gladys, his wife of 67 years this month, rode in the back seat of the Jeep in the 4th of July parade with Garry and Jeff in front. “People were waving at me and every once in awhile someone would run out from the curb and shake my hand,” he said. “I accepted all of that in honor of those that never came back.”

The Jeep will be driven in the Strassenfest Parade in August.

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#8 tiretrx OFFLINE  


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Posted July 28, 2016 - 07:12 AM

History on wheels. Thank you both for sharing.

#9 crittersf1 OFFLINE  


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Posted July 28, 2016 - 07:30 AM

1942 Ford GPW046.jpg

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Posted July 28, 2016 - 07:44 AM

1941 Dodge troop transport116.jpg

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#11 Gtractor ONLINE  


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Posted August 19, 2016 - 11:22 PM



Had today off work.  Weather was noticeably cooler.  Cloudy all morning.  Figured with my big shop fan I might not melt trying to work on the "Heep.  Cancer took my thyroid gland 5 years ago so I'm ALWAYS in nuclear meltdown mode.  I seldom get cold but if its over 40 degrees, I'm suffering.  The MRS says its menopause.  :poke:

Wanted to be working on the Heep by 8am because I needed to get home and finish brush cutting pasture before tonights rain hit. 

Not gonna happen!

Got there just after 10.

The one 12volt battery left in by the previous museum was actually hot.  I figured on it being only a core battery.  The battery box is narrow!  Won't fit a regular battery.  I had already measured and knew there were space problems so I took a lawn mower battery.

There is a generac 12 volt electric fuel pump.  Don't ask me how the &%*)&% its supposed to run with a 24 volt system.  I pumped the manual prime lever on the mechanical fuel pump and its working fine.  Prolly do away with the electric job in the end.  Fuel tank is a ball of rust so hanging a portable can above carb for now.

PO also took one of the battery cables that connected the two batteries together in a series.  Took an extra set of jumper cables to use as the missing cable.  That worked fine.  1/2 the lights wouldn't come on in the building for some reason.  Lack of use I suppose.  Decent light from above but getting down into the nitty gritty I can't see squat.  There is always a flashlight in my toolbox so that was good. 

With 2, 12 volters in place I turned on the switch. Gauges came to life - good sign!   Couldn't find the starter button to save my life.  More flashlight time and found the manual starter button up under the dash.  You stomp it with the foot.  VERY unhandy for someone over 6 foot tall but so is the rest of the Heep.

Engine turns over fine on 24 volt but no fire. 

I'll prime it.   Removed the rubber breather tube and shot carb cleaner right in carb.

Still not a pop.

Remove distributor cap.  Points, condenser, coil all look brand new.  This thing has the waterproof ignition system.  Filed the points.

Intermittent spark.  File some more - cleaned them good too.  Good spark, at least at the points.  I know because I was leaning over the air filter, drenched in sweat, and had my first finger on the shaft of the screwdriver that I was actuating the points with.  At least there won't be any arthritis in that hand, arm, or shoulder for the next week! :(

If you think 12 volt will light you up pretty good,  try 24 volts!

Put the cap back on.  More carb cleaner - the flammable kind.  Still not even a pop.

Remove dist cap again.  Still had good spark.  Put cap back on

Museum president shows up.  He says "At least we know the engine isn't locked up"

A group of visitors strolls in.  One old timer I know well.  He's in our local tractor club.  He worked on flat fender Heeps when he was in the service just before the Korean war.  He went down a "usual checklist".  I said yep! - did all that.  I decide to pull a sparkplug.  Reach down and unscrew the #1 plug without a wrench.  I was actually trying to unscrew the bolt on waterproof plug wire but it was tighter than the plug itself. :wallbanging:

Plug is brand new.  This thing hasn't run since the plugs were installed.

Big light bulb went off in my head.  Everything is new on this and they never got it started. 

No wonder the previous museum told us "as is where is" and put no effort in getting it running before the deal went down.

Asked the old timer to watch for spark while I stomped on the starter button.

He says there's "nutin".

Just then it hit me why the previous museum couldn't get it to run. 


There is no rotor button in the distributor!!! :(


I'd had the distributor cap off twice and didn't catch it. 

Pulled the cap a third time and voila!  No rotor button.

We had a good laugh about that one.  Dumb mechanic was in there twice and didn't catch it.


The guy at O, O, O, OReilly's laughed at me even though I took the genuine military Heep service manual in with a genuine, obsolete, military only, part number.

We decided we'd order a rotor for a same year civilian Heep with the same engine, and if it don't work maybe I can:




Thanx for reading!  :wave:

Edited by Gtractor, August 19, 2016 - 11:53 PM.

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#12 bill3t OFFLINE  

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Posted August 20, 2016 - 11:21 AM

i had a cj5 when i was younger. did restomod. fiberglass body . 4speed truck tranz.  chevy 350. detroit locker. if you went around a corner and steped on it . it would want to  go straight!  b.

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#13 pick-to-stone OFFLINE  


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Posted August 22, 2016 - 11:35 AM

you cant beet a CJ5


i had a cj5 when i was younger. did restomod. fiberglass body . 4speed truck tranz.  chevy 350. detroit locker. if you went around a corner and steped on it . it would want to  go straight!  b.

#14 Gtractor ONLINE  


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Posted August 22, 2016 - 11:01 PM

Used some time from the last day of my 4 day weekend to tinker on the Heep some more. 

O,O,O, O' Reillys had the rotor I ordered.  Guy takes it out of the box and shows it to me. 

I said "looks like a rotor - but it never had one to compare".  We laughed.   I'm dealing with the same guy I had Friday.  He's GOOD!  Moves slow and you'd think he lacked ambition but he knows what he's doing so I usually try to get him. 

Some of the guys that work there....    :(

Got a new battery.  That was $133!  I didn't have a core battery to trade in so add $18 to that.  Some battery cable ends and one very short new cable to join the 2 batteries together and I have what I need to make-er run.  I could get a cable with both ends having battery post terminals but would have had to order it and it'd have been $33.  Picked out the shortest cable they had and a post style, cable end with a bolt on cable mount. [quick attach with wing nut like for a boat]  Just bolted it together and it was around $12 for the two pieces.

Also grab a quart of brake fluid.

Total was under $200,  but not by much.  I said "charge it to the so-and-so museum. 

Guy looks at me funny.  Branch manager is standing there and I was telling him what I was working on.  Guy looks at branch manager who shakes him head in the affirmative.  I've known the manager for many years. 

I passed the test.

Sign the ticket and out the door I went. 

Get to the museum. 

Take some measurements of the rotor against the inside of the distributor cap.  This thing fits like its made for it!    I'm happy about that.

New battery is slightly bigger but fits like its supposed to. 

Hook up the juice.

Tie a 2 gallon gas can to the front bumper with a bungee cord and power the 12 volt fuel pump with my hand-held jumper box.

Now we have a 24 volt system and a separate 12 volt system all in the same vehicle.

Shouldn't need a snort of carb cleaner with an electric fuel pump but I give it one anyhow.  Fires on the carb cleaner. 


Give it more carb cleaner this time.  Runs long enough to rev up a lil but still not running on my improvised gas tank. 

Sounds like its hitting on all four!  :angel:

One more time.   By now I know I'm not getting fuel inside the carb.

Take the line off at carb and its puking out the nastiest looking fuel. No way its gasoline!  From the look and smell I'd say kerosene.  Maybe fuel stabilizer but it don't smell like Stabil either.   Run some out with the electric pump and put the line back on. 

Same-ole, same-ole.

This time I remove the filter right at the fuel entrance of the carb.  Nasty black chunks but not enough to block flow.  Ran more fuel through the line.  Still nasty looking crap that I don't think is gas.  Finally down to good gas from my can.  Tap on the carb hoping to dislodge the float. 

She fires up and runs!  :rolling: I believe the float bowl is full of the kerosene-like stuff so I have to keep-er fully choked and still trying to shoot carb cleaner in to help it along.

Finally it runs on its own. 

Sounds great! No smoke!  Hitting on all 4!.

Let-er run quite a while.  Gauges all work.  Good oil pressure, its charging, temp gauge came up as it should.  Gas gauge is laying over past full so I figure its toast.  It has something like a 3 dia inch fuel neck with a huge gas cap.  Should be able to see how much gas it has without much trouble. 

Museum curator comes in.  I'm on camera with every move in this building and she saw me working on the TV in the main building.  I told her if it had brakes I'd take her for a ride. 

We chat some while the Heep is idling and I give her the receipt for the parts and apologize for the total. 

She leaves for the day. 

The massa sillinnah [master cylinder] is under the steering column, Just inside the frame. With a tiny access hole in the floorboard's heel panel, its very unhandy. 

The massa sillinnah has a plastic cap that someone put on with a one inch impact wrench hooked up to 500 lbs/sq/in air source - set on Blast-off mode that Cape Canaveral could use to launch the space shuttle!   :(  

Why do people do that?   I mean after all,  ITS NOT A LUG NUT!!    :mad2:

With my 1/2 inch drive S-K socket set I was ready.

Grab the inch and an eighth socket, a wobble joint, and several extensions to get me down to the problematic plastic.  I can get to the cap better from the engine bay although some idiot has ran the engine now and now the manifold is rather warm.  My 12 point socket didn't want to do the deed but I made sure it was all the way down and sat level on the cap.  That's where the wobble joint came in handy as the offending opening is directly under the firewall.

With some new brake fluid I pump the brake pedal like my life depends on it.  I saw in the receipts that came with the Heep that EVERYTHING was new on the brakes just about 5 years ago.  The pedal gets some resistance.  Bubbles are coming up through the reservoir. 

That's a good sign.   I pump more - more bubbles.  I know the brakes aren't road worthy but at least there is some way to stop from a slow speed.  All this thing is gonna do is low speed parade duty.

With some brakes I refill my portable gas tank that's strapped to the front bumper and take a short drive.  Everything seems OK except the brake pedal is very hard to push.  I'm used to power brakes and I doubt this has more than one wheels brake working without being bled. 


Hmmmm,  I wonder about sporting a dress and playing Cpl. Maxwell Q. Klinger in a parade.  :smilewink:

Edited by Gtractor, August 23, 2016 - 03:00 PM.

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#15 Cvans OFFLINE  



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Posted August 23, 2016 - 12:21 AM

Fun read. Keep up the good work. 

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