Willys Diesel Truck Update! ( Or I’m Blogging while I Recover from Back Surgery)

Ok, Not like I’m really getting anything done as I am mostly not allowed to lift anything but here is the state of things for my Willys pickup named ZIP. About 3 years ago I installed a Mercedes OM 617 turbodiesel in this particular Willys. Since that time, I have managed the installation of a AX-15 5 speed, a NP231Teralow Transfercase and some wiring goodies. The axle in the rear of this Willys is a Timken  style axle. These are essentially impossible to find parts for and as well, not very reliable. In a trailerload of Willys stuff I bought a few years ago I found a Dana 53. These also are pretty obsolete but I noticed this little tag on it: USE LIMITED SLIP OIL.  Oh yes! Another Powr-Lok differential! So after I freshen it up with new seals and whatever it needs It’ll be getting slung under the back of the Jeep. For a front axle I’m going to use a Dana 44 from a ’60s era Ford truck. These have the high pinion feature although, small 260 sized U Joints. No worries, this I can upgrade later. I’ll have to regear it to 4.88 to match the rear but gears are the easy part to get. For anybody thinking of why I’m gearing this at 4.88-1 the Mercedes diesel likes to be right around 2400 rpm. Run ’em slower and they are doggy cause the turbo isn’t doing anything….faster and it’s just going too fast to do any mileage. For all the scoffers who say 135 hp isn’t enough don’t forget those 5.9 Cummins were only 160 hp when they came out. Sure, It ain’t winning any races but it’ll do 30 mpg and use 2 gallons of fuel to wheel all day. Really. My brother is still amazed with the Comanche I built years ago. I mean seriously, this truck gets Hybrid car kinda mileage. I expect the Willys to do similarly. Oh, and look a bit cooler too!


2 responses to “Willys Diesel Truck Update! ( Or I’m Blogging while I Recover from Back Surgery)

  1. I put a lot of miles on a couple of 617 turbo’s, the first was a 79 300SD and the second, an 82 300 CD coupe. Absolutely gutless at low rpm. However, once spooled, there is enough torque to take either of those cars at 80 mph over a 6 to 8% grade without ever shifting down. That said, do I want one in any of my Jeeps? Nope. I have to relate one episode: Mudd Creek trailhead, Beartooth Plateau (8500′ elev). Small parking lot, maybe close to 20% grade on access ramp. Almost had to be towed out of there.

    • I have also had a number of Mercedes sedans. These engines are a whole ‘nother animal when mated to a properly geared manual transmission. But yeah, these engines are not the torque monsters people think of when talking diesels. They will rev up to 4800 rpm stock so again, in a Jeep with 4.88 gears, overdrive and a Tera-low transfercase I have gearing options aplenty.

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