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post #1 of (permalink) Old 02-15-2001, 12:46 PM
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cj-5 or m-38?

OK, so my postal project has taken a twist. As unique as my 4x4 postal would be, the body is turning out to be in worse shape than I originally thought. If I understand correctly, the postal frame is the same as an early (pre 1976) cj-5. Isn't that the same as the m-38? It looks like I might end up buying a new steel body tub and building it from the frame up-reinforcing the frame, doing the front axle, engine swap, t/c addition, etc. all at once. I realize that this probably isn't the most cost effective way of doing this, but I'm new to jeeps and 4x4's, so the education might be worth the cost. Isn't the m-38 a flat fender jeep? That's definately cooler than a postal. Ideas anyone?

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post #2 of (permalink) Old 02-15-2001, 01:46 PM
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Re: cj-5 or m-38?

I don't know whether the postal has the same frame as the cj5. If so, it would be the pre-1971 cj5. m38 is indeed a flatfender, but it sounds like you're thinking of the m38a1, which is the military analogue to the pre-1971 cj5 -- not a flatfender. An m38 body would almost certainly not fit a cj5 frame right out of the box, although an m38a1 MIGHT (I'm not sure). The m38a1 would be cool, but I'm pretty sure the gas tank is under the driver's seat; not a great setup in my opinion.

*IF* you have a cj5 frame, I'd say use a cj5 body.


post #3 of (permalink) Old 02-15-2001, 02:48 PM
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Re: cj-5 or m-38?

thanks for the info. I've been told on this site that the postal (dj-5) has the same frame as an early cj-5. I guess Ill probably go with the cj5 body, unless anyone else has info for me.....

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post #4 of (permalink) Old 02-15-2001, 11:28 PM
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Re: cj-5 or m-38?

Jeepfiend here. I haven't looked that close at the DJ frame, but if you send me some measurements, I could pull a tape on my pre-71 CJ, and check some of the dimensions for you. I think there would be some crossmember differences due to the lack of transfer case, but the spring hangers and body mount positions might be the same. I am pretty sure that the wheelbase is the same. You might just check and see if the wheelbase is 80". If you will check your spring lengths, I will measure the distance on my CJ5. I will be going to Idaho this weekend. If you get the measurements to me before tomorrow night I can check them for you.
Cage Up, Wheels Down

post #5 of (permalink) Old 02-16-2001, 04:02 PM
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Re: cj-5 or m-38?

jeepfiend, thanks for your help. I'm not exactly sure what you normally use as reference points, but here's what I got. Wheelbase-80" (rear of front hub to front of rear hub)
Frame length- app. 129" (bumper mount to bumper mount)
Frame width- 29" (outside dimensions)
Axle width- app. 44" (Inside of brake drums)
Rear springs- 43" (spring over from the factory)
Front springs- 39" (mounting bolt to mounting bolt)
all of these measurements have a small margin of error since I 'm swinging a tape by myself, but I'm pretty sure they're all within about an inch. Thanks again for your help.

post #6 of (permalink) Old 02-17-2001, 05:28 PM
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Re: cj-5 or m-38?

Some things that haven't been mentioned yet....

*The DJ frame is fully boxed! so its a whole lot stronger than an early CJ-5 frame.
*The rear springs are set out-board of the frame, and may interfere with running a large tire

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post #7 of (permalink) Old 02-17-2001, 07:01 PM
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Re: cj-5 or m-38?

I read a few years ago that CJ5 running gear is a direct bolt in on a DJ. It makes sense but the out of frame spring holders puts question that. Maybe Jeep went to the out of frame springs on later models to combat the roll over issue?

Good Luck!

post #8 of (permalink) Old 02-18-2001, 10:30 AM
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Re: cj-5 or m-38?

Does anyone know if the body mounts are the same"? If not, would it be too difficult to remedy? Sorry, I'm new at this sort of thing.

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