The 3A's Brother in Arms - The M-38


From the CJ-3B page:  "A direct knockoff of the CJ-3A, the M38 was upgraded for GI use by a stronger frame and suspension, a 24-volt electrical system, and a multitude of military accoutrements. These rigs saw combat in Korea, but production was low at 61,423 units from 1950-52. An export version was built from 1953 to 1955 for foreign military forces. The headlight guards, blackout lights, battery panel on the cowl and tool notches on the body (passenger side) are the way to ID them. Some were equipped with Ramsey winches."

Late M38 and CJ-3A visual differences

By Bob Westerman



Engine Cylinder head has outlet for coolant bypass hose .
PCV system has 2 valves to pressurize crankcase for deep water fording Common PCV system
Oil filter, Cuno non-replaceable cleanable element Canister with replaceable cartridge element
Bellhousing sealed .
All pulleys have 2 grooves for 2 belts Single wide belt
Lifting rings bolted to head .
Intake manifold has 2 plugs for optional primer jets .
Engine numbers MCxxxxx Engine numbers 3Jxxxxx
Clutch . .
Fuel Houdaille Hershey Corp., Oakes Products Div. air filter has fittings for deep-water vent system Donaldson air filter
Fuel tank filler is large, filler has retractable extension with filter screen, fuel outlet is on top, tank has vent line to the air filter, tank holds 13 gallons Fuel tank outlet is on bottom, tank holds 10-1/2 gallons
Waterproof Carter YS carburetor Carter WO carburetor
Exhaust Exhaust pipes are connected with flanges, bolts and gaskets. Slip fit exhaust pipe connections with clamps
Provision for deep water fording pipe. .
Cooling Larger radiator is frame mounted on the bottom with a rod to the firewall on the top. It also has 2 links connecting to the motor mounts for powerplant removal. Radiator is bolted to the grille on the sides
Grille is hinged at bottom to fold down .
Electrical 24 volt, all components and wiring is waterproof including ignition system 6 volt conventional
Large frame mounted voltage regulator Conventional fender mounted voltage regulator
Trailer plug receptacle on left rear .
Both 12v. batteries are mounted inside battery boxes Single 6v. battery without a box
Blackout driving light on left front fender .
Ignition switch doesn't require a key Keyed ignition switch
Headlights "bulge out" from grille and have a guard over them Headlights are more flush with grille and have chrome trim rings
Military lighting system with blackout lighting .
3 circuit breakers behind dash Single circuit breaker, part of headlight switch
Horn switch on steering box actuated by long rod from button Horn contacts on steering wheel nut
Instruments Gauges are mounted on a removable panel Gauges are mounted in the dash
Transmission The top cover/shifter has improved sealing, shifter is removeable from the top .
Transfer Case Has vent line to engine crankcase at fuel pump .
Propeller Shaft . .
Front Axle . .
Rear Axle Rear axle vent is a valve mounted in differential cover Rear axle vent is a hole drilled in the left axle tube
Steering Steering wheel green Steering wheel black
Brakes Emergency brake handle left of steering column Emergency brake handle right of gauges
Master cylinder cap has vent line to air filter .
Brake drums are mounted outboard of hubs Brake drums are mounted inboard of hubs
Wheels 1/8" hole drilled near one lug nut hole .
Lug nuts 3/4" across flats Lug nuts 13/16" across flats
Extra raised area behind tire bead similar to more modern rims."safety bead" .
Frame Tie down points bolted to frame .
. License plate holes in left rear
4 lifting eyes, 2 front, 2 rear .
Large M stamped on frame at front inboard reinforcements between bumper and round x-member. Also on mounting plate for underhood battery box and other locations. Military specific parts??? .
Reinforcements inside frame at rear axle rubber bump stop locations .
Clutch/brake shaft pivot mount is bolted to the frame Clutch/brake shaft pivot mount is riveted to the frame
Underhood battery mounting plate surface is closer to the frame. Taller battery mounting plate
4 holes in center of frame for rear pintle hook 6 holes in frame
Frame is boxed at the front and provides mounting points for a winch .
Springs and Shocks No grease fitting on spring pivot bolts Grease fitting on spring pivot bolts
Shocks are retained by nuts Shocks are retained by cotter pins
Heavy duty springs .
Bumpers 2 bumperettes on rear .
Front bumper attached with bolts Front bumper attached with rivets
Wood filler inside front bumper .
Fenders Right front fender has formed area at the rear inner fenderwell for an accessory .
Hood Right side cutout for auxiliary power receptacle and fording intake pipe  .
. Drain gutter bolted on with hood hinge
Not stamped Willys Stamped WILLYS both sides
Body 2 wiper motors have large manual hand actuators, each motor has 2 hoses vacuum and vent. Driver side motor only with 1 vacuum hose. Passenger side no motor, manual wiper
Glove box passenger side dash No glove box
. Rear seat mounting plates welded to floor at indentations
Body side reinforcement at fuel filler is located rearward to clear larger filler .
Windshield vent bolted on, doesn't open Windshield vent hinged and opens
Tailgate is reinforced and spare tire and gas can carrier is bolted to it. The tailgate is bolted closed. Not stamped Willys The tailgate opens and has WILLYS stamping. The spare tire is mounted to the passenger side of the body near the rear
2 top bow brackets are bolted to body 4 top bow brackets are welded to the body
Front marker lights and rear taillights are recessed into body Front marker light housings are part of the grille, taillight is bolted to the outside of the body
Notches in body side and mounting points for a shovel and axe on the passenger side .
Battery box and lid in right side cowl between the firewall and dash .
Soft top rear of door vertical rod locates in body hole Rear of door vertical rod bolts to body
Reinforcement welded to each rear corner of body near the top .
Large square hole with cover plate where wiring harness passes through the firewall on left side .
Removable plate in passenger toe board floor .
Center of the floor over the transmission is removable .
Dash has large rectangular hole for removable gauge panel and a round hole behind the data plates panel .
Guard over fuel filler neck and guard over each headlight
VIN plate behind passenger seat on wheelwell VIN plate passenger side of engine compartment on firewall
Footman loops not installed for half cabs Holes drilled and footman loops installed for half cabs
Multiple data plates on dash Single data plate on dash
4 reflectors, 2 on rear sides and 2 on the back 1 reflector right rear.
Rifle holder mounting brackets on windshield frame
4 round drain holes in floor, 2 each side, with covers 2 oval drain holes, 1 in each side of the body
R/F drivers seat leg is behind PTO lever hole in floor R/F drivers seat leg is forward of the PTO lever hole in floor.
Mount bracket for radio power receptacle to the right of passenger seat on body side
Special Equipment and Accessories Twist lock tool compartment lid Spring catch tool compartment lid


Folding rear seat is mounted on the sides to the wheel wells. Non-folding rear seat is mounted to the floor.