close search

1946 Jeep CJ 3A

Vehicle Stats:

Vehicle: 46 CJ-3A
Engine: Buick 231 V-6
Transmission: Ford T-98 4 speed
T-case: Dana 18 with Warn Overdrive, Tera 3.15 low gear kit
Axles: Custom WFO Dana 44 front with 5.38 and ARB Custom WFO 44 rear, full floater, disc brakes, Detroit
Tires: 35” Goodyear MTR’s
Other: Custom WFO 3/16 steel rear full wrap, Custom WFO rocker guards, Caddy tilt and telescopic column, swing pedals, spring over with Rubicon Express wrangler springs, powers steering, painless wiring harness


The Progress: (Click the icon for photos)

We started this project before we had the digital camera, so there aren’t too many early pictures. It started as a bare frame that was sandblasted and powdercoated. The body was also sandblasted and primed.

The Buick 231 V-6 motor was plucked out of a Jeepster, and attached to a rebuild T-98. The transmission case was changed, but the ford guts were kept.

At the same time, the stock long input was replaced with a short input. The stock Buick bellhousing was then drilled to bolt directly to the transmission. With the only adapter being the 1” adapter to the Dana 18 transfer case, this is a really short package.

With such a short jeep, it works great! Don’t forget, we also bolted a Warn overdrive to the back of the Dana 18 transfer case, and installed a Tera 3.15:1 low gear kit. This brought the overall crawl ratio to around 110:1. With the ability to split all gears with the overdrive, it makes the Jeep very user friendly.

Once the motor was checked out, and all of the gaskets were replaced, we hung it in it’s perspective place. Custom motor and transmission mounts were built. At the same time, a custom 16 gallon aluminum gas tank was built.

The tank under the seat was removed, and the new one was installed in the rear. Two new cross members were built, along with a custom 3/16 steel skidplate. A custom rear full wrap was bent out of 3 / 16 “ diamond plate steel. The rocker guards were fabricated from the same material.

Up front, the frame was sleeved and extended to accept the Saginaw power steering box and new bumper. A 73 Caddy tilt and telescopic column was bolted in, along with Borgeson steering linkage. In order to clear the exhaust manifold, a heim joint was used for a carrier.

After that, the Rubicon Express wrangler replacement springs were bolted on with custom mounts. Rancho 9000 adjustable shocks installed, using Ford F-350 shock mounts up front.

The front axle started as a Chevy truck 44 front. It was cut down to around 54 inches. At the same time, the pumpkin was rotated up around 10 degrees. Chevy flattop knuckles were machined and bolted on. Small bearing spindles from a 74 Chevy were also used.

This allowed for us to use 78 Bronco internal hub outers, along with the stock Chevy brake calipers and mounts. To finish it off, the axle received a WFO crossover steering setup, using big Chevy rod ends. The inside was stuffed with OEM Spicer 5.38 gears and an ARB air locker. Custom Dutchman axles equipped with Spicer 760X u-joints were also slid in.

The rear was already a full floater with 5.38 gears and a Detroit, so we decided to keep that. We put disc brakes on it with warn premium locking hubs and WFO 1.5” wheel spacers.

The rear axle was then turned up towards the transfer case, and a Spicer 1310 CV driveshaft from Tom Woods was installed. Tom woods also built the 10” slip front driveshaft.
After cutting the rear fender wells out, the Corbeau vinyl seats fit great. In between them, an 8” Tuffy console was installed. At the same time, a custom floor pan was built to accept the 4 shifters sticking up through the floor. While we working on the tub, we installed a custom build swing pedal assembly, using Wildwood hydraulic master cylinders, and a Wilwood “pull” style, slave cylinder. An electric line lock was installed for the e-brake.

The last step was wiring. A painless wiring harness was installed under the dash. The new gauges were wired up, and the Chevy style harness we ordered plugged right into our Caddy column.

Once the rock lights, electric fan, ARB pump, and extra air pump were wired up, we decided to use dual batteries. A red top Optima was placed under the hood, while a yellow top was mounted on its side under the Tuffy box. A solenoid was installed so that the yellow battery could be used as a backup.

At that point, we found the bottom of the pocket. We took the owner to Rubicon for the first time to try it out. He had no hesitation pushing his Jeep to the limit, and beyond!

I think Matt might have been a bad influence! The Jeep drives great!

After this season, the owner will be back for a new roll cage, a winch, and a paint job.