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I found an 1953 M38 A1 in the local paper for $1100. I was thinking about going to go look at it but I have no idea what to look at/for. It's the military equivelant to the CJ-5 right? I know it has the 134ci 4 banger, 3 speed stick and a soft top and new floors. What axles does it have? Transfer case? What should I look for? Frame rot? Anything mecanical? Any place too look for body rot? Is it 6,12 or 24 volt electrical system? Is this worth $1100 bucks? Are parts hard to get? Thanks a lot, Andy 89XJ 4.0 5-speed

 
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This should be a lot like looking at any Jeep, either military or civilian. The military frame is stronger than the 'same-year' CJ, so unless someone has really hammered (jumped) it, the frame should be ok. Look for breaks, bends, cracks around the spring perches, especially the front spring shackle perches. Look for rust, anywhere.... floors, cowl brace-to-body, floor braces, fenderwells, back crossmember, frame rails, etc. Rust is fairly normal, and you have to decide what is acceptable to you. If is still has the stock drive-line, it is the 134 F-head, T-90 trans, Dana 18 transfer case (probably 'medium-size', 1.125-inch shaft), model 44 rear axle, and model 27 (?) front axle, 5.38 gears, with 9-inch Lockheed-type brakes. You have to decide for yourself if this is something for you. In stock form, 45 mph is about the top comfortable cruising speed. I drove one of these to work, for several years. But I never had to drive it on freeways. I added 11-inch brakes, and a Borg-Warner overdrive, and it made it a little more highway-friendly. I believe you have to evaluate all of this for yourself, and look at it like any vehicle, as to condition. (It was originally 24 volts, easy to convert to 12, if you wish. Parts are a 'cinch'. Subscribe to a magazine called 'Military Vehicles' to find the numerous vendors. You will find MV Magazine in Hemmings, or post back and I will get the address.)
Best wishes.

bob
 

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Just as a side note, I was searching for info about military auctions and found a site that allowed you to do a search of surplus for sale at various bases around the country. One listing found at the naval shipyards in Portsmouth, NH had about 17 M38A1's listed for sale. They all were listed as "canabalized" so I'm sure many parts were probably missing, but you could probably pick one or two up cheap for replacement parts. I'll post the link tomorrow...its at work.

-Chris

'79 CJ-7
 

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We have one up the road for $3300 and it is a total basket case, if you really want a m38a1. You got to take what offer, $1100 is really agood price if it runs. No matter what the body looks like, but if you are just looking for a jeep, any jeep. The really good looking, good running deals are going to start close to $3000, Oh they might be one out there but not that many. It really depends on where you at. Up north they seem high price. Here in the deep, deep south I can put you in a good running model for $900. There not that many in the low prices range. We still find sh%4 models in the $1000-$2000 range.

I say four tire, move under own power, clear title Buy It.

brownbagg </font color=red>
 
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