Where did the jeep name came from?

Where did the jeep name came from?

In the book, “Jeep – Its Development and Procurement Under the Quartermaster Corps 1940-1942“, Rifkind briefly explores where the name “jeep” came from and how it came to be applied to the jeep.  He said:

The origin and meaning of the word “jeep” are not too certain.  Writing in reply to a query on this subject from the Editor of the Winston Dictionaries, Philadelphia, Pa., the QMC Motor Transport Division on October 30, 1941, stated:  ”The word ‘jeep’ has no official military status, but over a long period of years has come to mean to Army men a new type of military motor vehicle.”  The editor was informed that until the advent of the 1/4-ton truck the word had been generally applied to the 1/2-ton, 4×4, used for command reconnaissance and general cargo purposes.  When 1/4-ton made its debut, it was variously dubbed “jeep,” “baby jeep,” and “peep.”  During the 1941 maneuvers, it was said that the Army mechanics and others generally came to refer to it as the “peep,” to distinguish it from the 1/2-ton “jeep.” QM 095 M-A (Winston, John C.,  Co.), Major G. H. Vogel to Thomas K. Brown, Jr., Editor, The Winston Dictionaries, October 30, 1941.  Other names attached to the 1/4-ton about this time were “jeepie,” “son-of-a-jeep,” “blitz-buggy,” “bantam,” “puddle jumper,” etc.

How did this truck come to be called the "jeep"?

How did this truck come to be called the “jeep”?


Another explanation of the word “jeep” is that it originated from the slurring of the initial letters of the War Department’s vehicle classification, “general purpose” (G.P.), under which the 1/4-ton was listed, into a single monosyllable.  Credence is lent this theory by the fact that an early spelling variation of the word was “geep.”  Regardless of how the name originated, after a 3/4-ton model was developed late in 1941 to replace the 1/2-ton truck, the title of “jeep” was settled permanently on the 1/4-ton, apparently by common consent.  On February 19, 1942, Lt. Col. Edwin S. Van Deusen, MT Chief of Procurement and Engineering, speaking before the Metropolitan Chapter, Society of Automotive Engineers, New York City, said that the 1/4-ton was “affectionately know to millions now as the “jeep”.

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You might also be interested in finding out more about WW2 jeeps:

The early history of the jeep!

The early history of the jeep!

Jeep – Its development and procurement under the Quartermaster Corps, 1940-1942

Authored by Herbert R Rifkind
Introduction by Robert V Notman

If you are interested in the history of the development of the jeep there is little substitute for the effort undertaken by Herbert R. Rifkind while World War II was still raging. This book was written from the Quartermaster Corps’ perspective but draws on numerous resources and documentation to put together a pretty good picture of what happened. The other thing in its favor is that Rifkind’s work was written in 1943. But even by that time the jeep story was clouded over who did what and when.

Rifkind covers Bantam’s involvement, Willys-Overland and Ford companies developments, the contracts and other details important to the student of the WW2 jeep!

What makes it even more valuable is that Rifkind actually lists the sources he used. So if you can figure out the record system used by the government back then and determine where to find them, you will find a gold mine of information to research.

This book includes a reproduction of the original manuscript created by Rifkind. You will even find some pen and ink changes.

Publication Date: Aug 02 2011

ISBN/EAN13: 146370917X / 9781463709174

Page Count: 228
Binding Type: US Trade Paper
Trim Size: 8.5″ x 11″
Language: English
Color: Black and White
Related Categories: History / Military / World War II
You can find Rifkind’s book here.
I just love that "Go-Devil" Engine! But what I really love is all the little details about the jeep--check out this book!

If your WW2 jeep transmission is noisy then maybe it needs some tender lovin’ care! Sure that transmission is not going to be as quiet as a modern Caddie tranny but it shouldn’t be a screamer.

Many times on this website we have had questions asked about “is it normal for the jeep (T-84J) transmission to be “noisy”. I have asked this question myself. It had been too long since I “rebuilt” my transmission…about 15 or so years, so I couldn’t remember what it sounded like when it was “new”.

Some claim that the jeep transmission is normally noisy…or it’s cousin the transfer case. So according to them it’s no big deal. Perhaps it is all a matter of degree. One man’s noise is another’s music?

Before I rebuilt my transmission last year I was deeply concerned over the noise coming out of the transmission. To be fair to those who responded, it is difficult if not impossible to diagnose sounds that have been translated into the written word. I had right to be concerned as it turned out, the cluster gear was about 1/3 gone! And still Frankenjeep(tm) lived! It clung to life even as I pushed it to 55mph (with an evil non-sacrosanct or is that synchrosanct? over-drive) for a final round trip of about 138 miles before the rebuild. The tranny never let me down.

When I disassembled the T-84J that when I discovered the damage. Not knowing what other damaged might have been caused by bits of metal “floating” around in the case, I elected to buy all new gears and shafts. For this project I purchased most of the parts from three vendors. I repurchased some parts because the brand new synchro from one vendor turned out to be brand new junk…could not get it to slip. Some parts I purchased from Europe through Ebay.

While many of my parts were likely re-usable I felt it best to use all new gears and shafts. I did re-use the shift forks, the case and the tower. Pretty much everything else was new. I figured that if their were any problems with the tower, it’s an easy to replace item while the transmission is still installed in the jeep.

Assembling the T-84J is really not difficult. There are about 58 parts, so it isn’t brain surgery, just following the steps and asking for clarification when the steps aren’t as clear as they could be. (That’s why I am writing/editing/filming a how-to rebuild the T-84J) So anyone with basic tools can do the job.

After assembly and installation in the jeep, I have now driven it for over a year…not as many miles as I would have liked…but I can tell you that the transmission is NOT noisy at all. Sure it’s no coup de’ville caddy quiet. But there are not loud whines or any grinding noise…., except when I misshift.

Why would anyone think that the T-84J is a noisy transmission. After all, you purchased a rebuilt transmission for respected dealers. Perhaps all of you know this but I didn’t. Rebuilt can be a misleading term. I was told by a dealer that I respect that basically a dealer rebuild consists of new bearings, synchro, new shafts, gaskets, seals and small parts kit as I remember it. The gears aren’t replaced. This doesn’t mean they wouldn’t replace a broken tooth gear but also means that the parts could be just inside of their wear tolerances (like the bushings).

Of course this all could be my imagination. I distinctly recall that my transmission was very loud prior to the rebuild. I even tried synthetics (okay) and higher viscosity lubes (don’t do it!). I drove it this morning without the top and I couldn’t hear it, perhaps just a quiet hmmmm but nothing more.

So if you don’t know the condition of your transmission and it is noisy perhaps it isn’t “normal” and is begging for a rebuilt. My latest T-84J rebuild included about $600 worth of new parts from Richard Grace. Very reasonable. Sure the fellow I rebuilt this for could have purchased a “new” rebuilt transmission for that but it would have had all new guts for that price. I put it together for him and that might have been worth about $400 of my time, if I had been charging. So for about grand you could have basically a new transmission. It took me several weekends to take the transmission apart, order the parts I needed and to assemble the transmission. I discovered other parts (shift rails) that failed to clean up, that needed to be replaced. Also, I was filming the rebuild. All of this added up to delays. It more than likely wouldn’t take a shadetree mechanic, more than a weekend to rebuild the transmission, assuming you pre-ordered all the parts up front.

If you assemble it yourself instead of having someone do it; you would save a lot and learn a lot.
While I enjoy driving my jeep much more than working on it…sometimes working on it can be fun as well.

Trouble Shooting And Rebuilding The T-84J

by Robert Notman
Do you own a WW2 Willys MB or Ford GPW “jeep”? Or are you interested in owning one someday? These vehicles are pushing well past 70 years old and will need maintenance and repair. At some point your T-84J transmission will need trouble shooting or rebuilding. The purpose of this book is twofold, to show just how “easy” it is to rebuild the T-84J transmission and to perhaps allow the novice to decide whether it is better to have it rebuilt by a pro. The process of recording the rebuilding of a T-84J transmission will hopefully help others who might want to rebuild their own. Assembling the T-84J is really not difficult. There are about 58 parts, so it isn’t rocket science. It’s just following the steps and asking for clarification when the steps aren’t as clear as they could be. So follow along as we tear into a T-84J transmission…you can do it!
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While the photo below does not show a jeep, it does show a Dodge that is receiving its’ registration number

The additional pictures did not show the detail of the connectors being removed but I suppose they were.

Notice the square dots between the USA.


By Robert Notman

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The 1/4-ton, 4×4, truck of World War Two started out in the hands of the Infantry and a little company called American Bantam Car Company. Bantam worked with the Army’s Quartermaster Corps to produce the pilot model that was accepted and then fulfilled their initial contract for 70 trucks. During testing of the pilot both Ford and Willys-Overland were invited to check out this new vehicle. The vehicles were studied in great detail. Soon, at their own expense, Ford and Willys-Overland submitted pilots for testing too. This book covers the production prototypes–Bantam BRC-40, Ford GP and the Willys MA.
If I can work on the WW2 jeep transmission, so can you!

If I can work on the WW2 jeep transmission, so can you!

If I can work on a WW2 jeep transmission, then you can too! Why not give it a try!
You are right to want to work on the T84J yourself.  For the most part it is very easy.  It doesn’t contain so many parts that you can’t do it yourself.

At a minimum you would normally want to replace the bearings at each end, gaskets and the small parts kit, oh, and perhaps the cluster gear shaft. However, if there is rust everywhere on the gears, you may find it necessary to replace even more. If you read the TM 9-1803B, it will help you by providing required tolerances.  The last transmission I worked on had parts supplied by Richard Grace. His prices were very reasonable.  I believe that all the parts come to under $600 (2003 prices). I’m not sure he is still in business.  But you can get a rebuilt tranny for the price of the parts?  Right?  Well, apparently the secret is that you aren’t getting all new gears only what’s “necessary”.  So for the same amount of money you will know what you have. Of course, if you mike the gears for tolerances you may be able to get off much cheaper.

The two screws are likely bristol types. Though apparently T-84 WW2 Jeep transmission.other types have been used since the war.  If you have already mucked them up as I had done, I used a 3 piece tool set from Sears that is designed to remove mucked up screw heads.

No amount of fooling around with the mucked up screws allowed me to get them out…but less than 30 seconds with the Sears tool and I was done.

I wrote a book about the T-84J transmission called Trouble Shooting And Rebuilding The T-84J that you might find helpful.

Your oil is important…use the right stuff!

Stay away from non-detergent oils. Stay away from high viscosity oils like 20w50. Stick with 10w30 or plain oil 30wt oils. 10w30 is kinda nice because you don’t have to remember to change your oil in the cold times. The engine was designed for 30 wt oils at normal operating temperatures. Colder temps called for 10 wt oil. You can use the synthetics if you like but maintain the proper wt and wait till after say 500 miles (a break-in period for the engine).


If anyone asks, keep the oil filter. Those that tell you to remove the oil filter or to block it off are sorely mistaken.

Oil pressure is going to vary. Consult the manual for details (although as I remember they are fairly vague and not detailed). But I think you should see 50-60 lbs of oil pressure at start-up. Once it is warm and at idle it will trail off perhaps as low as 25 to 30 lbs. When you accelerate the oil pressure should of course go up.

If you have my book, Military Maintenance for MB/GPW Jeeps 1941-45, ( or the old wartime Army Motors ) you can read about oil and petroleum from the WW2 perspective (and most of that information is just as true today!) starting on page 137.

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