A good jeep needs good maintenance.

Military Maintenance for MB/GPW Jeeps 1941-45 in Print! (front cover)Military Maintenance for MB/GPW Jeeps 1941-45 in Print! (rear cover)
This is a book that has been long in coming! I first started out creating this book in 1992. It was after reading an MVPA’s Army Motors article by Bryce Sunderlin concerning the availability of the wartime Army Motors magazine. When I obtained copies, it was only available in microfilm form. I wanted a copy that I could hold in my hands. Well with 1200 pages or more to choose from it would have been an exceedingly difficult task–so I concentrated on the World War Two jeep and articles that might be used to support it. My first attempt was very bad. The technology of the day was analog and either black or white, no tonal qualities.Flash fordward about ten years and then the technology was digital. So I had the microfilm converted to digital form on CDs. Next I edited each page, sometimes spending up to three hours cleaning up the stray marks on the page. I ended up with a projected that was approximately 440 megabytes. I couldn’t find a publisher that would take on the project. Even the print on demand outfit I normally use couldn’t handle the size. Finally, I found a publishing out fit that could handle the size. I hope you enjoy it.The book can be found at Amazon.com and Lulu.com. Military Maintenance for MB/GPW Jeeps 1941-45.
Wanna know what to do with an axle washer? Well..listen up, I ain't going to repeat myself!

Wanna know what to do with an axle washer? Well..listen up, I ain’t going to repeat myself!

Wanna know what to do with an axle washer?

You should bend the washer to lock the nut in place.  I wouldn’t depend on goo to hold (though I did drive around for 20 years without bending or goo and never had a problem).  I now always bend the washer. But how?

The secret is from Al in New Zealand.  Pre-bend that sucker!  All you need is a little bit of a bend.  Then I use the standard Irwin screwdriver to bend into place.  Using the hub as a pivot (but I use the thick wall not the thin wall of the hub for the pivot…just in case).  After I started pre-bending, I didn’t have any problems setting and locking the nut.

So it really is easy to get those heavy washers to bend…you just have to know how!

I just love a legend, do you have one of them? Bantam BRC, Ford GP or Willys MA/MB? My first love will always be the underdog - Bantam BRC!

I just love a legend, do you have one of them? Bantam BRC, Ford GP or Willys MA/MB? My first love will always be the underdog – Bantam BRC!

There continues to be disinformation concerning whether or not the Army called the jeep a “general purpose” vehicle or not.  Of course one has to know about military procurement in order to understand the answer.  The vehicle that became known as the “jeep” was originally procured by the Quartermaster Corps at the request of the using arms (Infantry, Cavalry and Field Artillery).

Under Army regulations the Quartermaster Corps could only procure “general purpose” and “special purpose” vehicles.  These were in the form of either Administrative (like a staff car) or tactical (the jeep would be one of those). It could also procure certain vehicle under the advisement of the Medical Corps (such as an ambulance).
Even the jeep like the Bantam pilot could get stuck!  Or is it!!

Even the jeep like the Bantam pilot could get stuck! Or is it!!

In fact, evidence of this is stated in AR 850-15 as quoted by Book 120 Field Artillery, Automotive Instruction, 1941 Edition:

“Classification: General-Purpose Motor Vehicles–All wheeled vehicles adapted for general hauling purposes including general cargo, ammunition, personnel, and equipment; and for towing trailers, guns, and other wheeled equipment. Examples: Cargo trucks, dump trucks, passenger vehicles, ambulances.”

“Estimates, Design, Development, Procurement, Maintenance, Storage, and Issue: By the Quartermaster Corps, except the design and development of ambulances, which will be by the Medical Department in collaboration with the Quartermaster Corps.”

The same Book 120 also defines “truck”. Trucks are “motor-propelled vehicles designed primarily for carrying cargo or equipment. They may be used for carrying personnel or for towing purposes.” Still further it provides a chart that lists the Truck, 1/4-ton, 4×4, Ford, 1941. The chart defines ‘purpose’ for us. “The purpose will be indicated by stating the general character of the body or the use for which the vehicle is designed.& The trucks maybe for “cargo, light repair, reconnaissance, dump, tank, cargo and dump, wrecking, or pick-up.” The jeep’s ( or Geep!) purpose is reconnaissance.

For more about the early WW2 jeep you might be interested in reading, “Jeep – Its development and procurement under the Quartermaster Corps, 1940-1942.”

Dang those stuck valves!

I had three stuck valves on my jeep.  I poured my oil lube of choice into the spark plug hole. You don’t need a whole lot as you are not trying to fill the crankcase!

Next I bumped the starter with a screw driver in the hole ( I think I would recommend a brass drift next time).  When I notice that the screwdriver wasn’t going up or down I would gently bump the starter and then gently tap the screw driver. If the screwdriver didn’t immediately begin to move I would bump the starter again.

I would do this until I could get the valve to go all the way down.  Then bump again and see if it would go up and down. Couple of times at this and it worked fine. I think in my case it was tired old gas that gummed up the works.

Just be gentle and don’t beat the hell out of the valve.  It worked for me but your mileage may vary!

Well,  I guess I'm going to have to put the top up--It's bound to turn cold before too long!

I would say hurry up and change the tire but I see the spare has a hole in it as well.

Tire irons are to break the bead away from the rim, NOT to remove the tire from the combat rim.

As mentioned elsewhere the entire detail can be found on my website -


And of course 50 or 60 years of rust does make it more difficult but not impossible to follow the instructions. It’s just one more adventure in jeepland awaiting an expenditure.

Changing a tire is one thing but changing the tire on the  rim-I hate it.

Changing a tire is one thing but changing the tire on the rim-I hate it.

I’m not crazy about changing tires.  But when AAA is not available you got to do it yourself, right?  But what about changing the tire on the rim?  The good news is that the rim comes apart to facilitate changing the tire.  The bad news is that not only does the rim not like to cooperate after being together maybe 50 – 70 years, it’s bloody dang dangerous, if done incorrectly.  When working on taking apart a rim there should be no pressure in the tube/tire before you begin.

When putting it back together you should use a tire cage so that if the bolts should suddenly fail the rims don’t fly apart and cut you in half!

Not sure why anyone has to cut the old tire off. Now granted mine were only rusted together for 50 some years as opposed to some which have been rusted together 60 plus years.  8^)

These are the only tools needed (beside a wrench for removing the nuts around the rim) to take apart the rim. Okay, I cheated and also used a tree to “hold” the rim while I separated the two pieces

But generally, I followed the instructions contained in this article, Handling the Combat Wheel.

And here is How to Demount Tires on Divided Type Wheels.

There is also another ingenious method thought up by American GIs during WW2. This involved a length of chain and a crow-bar like instrument. Basically it held one side of the rim with a claw and chain and the chain was attached to the crow-bar lever. Force would break the bead lock grip.

Well, actually to get my rims apart (still had the old tire on them) after the bead was broken loose–I had to take a piece of wood to use as a buffer and then beat the living hell out of it to get them to come loose.

 Army Jill pauses by the 42 Ford GPW

You know that sometimes people say life sucks.  However, a little vacuum in your life can help your diagnose what ails your jeep or provide confirmation that all is well.

The vacuum gage can tell you much more then a simple compression check.

See How to Master the Vacuum Gage

You may not have a port on an early manifold. Army Motors told the troops to drill a hole or the vacuum port. And I reckon to tap it for a plug as well. As an alternative you could fashion a spacer with a vacuum port for those jeeps that don’t have a port…and when you don’t want to drill a port.


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