Willys-Overland Automotive Repair Manuals

Interesting Facts About Willys-Overland You Probably Don’t Know – Common Problems – and PDF Manuals for Download…

Willys-Overland is an American automobile manufacturer best known for designing and producing MBs (military jeeps) and CJs (their civilian versions) all through the 20th century.

Willys came into existence in 1908 when Overland Automotive, a division of Standard Wheel Company, was bought by John Willys in 1908. This company was renamed in 1912 to Willys-Overland Motor Company.

During the timeframe 1912-1918, Willys was the second largest automobile producer in United States. F. B. Stearns Company of Cleveland was acquired by Willys in mid 1920s.

In 1914, Electric Auto-Lite Company was acquired by John Willys who in the year 1917, formed a holding company, Willys Corporation.

Willys was growing and several other acquisitions were done till 1919 until the recession brought Willys corporation on its knees.

It required cash to pay off debts, so many of Willys corporation assets were auctioned. To make the vehicles for war, Willys was amongst the several bidders.

Then in the year 1941, the production of Jeep or Willys MB began and before the end of war the company produced 359,851 units.

A total of 653,568 Jeeps for military were produced and Willys-Overland was ranked 48th amongst the United States’ WW II military production contracts.

There have been many debates about the origin of word Jeep. Some believe that It was the short of “General Purpose” GP used in military and some related it to one of the comic character.

Amid all these speculations, in 1943, Willys-Overland filed for the word “Jeep” in the US patent department but the company had to face several denials.

Finally, after appealing for many years, the trademark “Jeep” was awarded to the company in the year 1950.

Post war the production of commercial vehicles was not resumed by Willys, instead it chose to keep producing Jeep and other vehicles based on Jeep.

After the war, the first production was of CJ-2A which was rich in many military features. Willys was struggling to sell it and tried that it should take the place of tractors which were short in the market because of no production during the war, but the Jeep was too light for farm usage.

It was considered the right vehicle for farmers, ranchers, hunters, and others who required a light vehicle to be used on unimproved roads and trails.

Later, Willys served U. S. Army and produced M38 Jeep for it. The company also continued the production of its civilian jeep series CJ.

Willys participated in racing also and the best known was 1933 based Willys 77. Not many vehicles of this model were sold and its pricing was neither cheap nor high.

Over the years Willys produced many vehicles which includes the following.

Cars: Willys- 77, Four, Six, Eight, the very famous Willys Knight, Americar, and many other cars.

Overland: Baby Overland, Overland Four, Six, 90, 91, 93, 39, etc.

Aero-Willys: JT, Wings, Scout, Lark, Ace, Falcon, Eagle, etc.

Willys-Overland: Willys Dophine, Willys Gordini, Willys-Overland Crossley, etc.

Jeeps: MA, MB, CJ2, Wagon, Pickup, Jeepster, CJ5, Corvo, etc.


Common Willys-Overland Problems

The great benefit that automobiles from Willys provide is that the consumer on his own can do most of the repairs. One does not need to be a trained mechanic.

The reliability and durability factor has always been the important part of their success. These features besides performance were the main reasons it served the military so long.

In commercial world also, people liked the vehicles very much, and jeep resulted in being a hit amongst military as well as civil society.

There are certain problems that are common in the vehicles of Willys-Overland.

Some of you might have faced same after enjoying the ride for several years and those who have not faced any issues can keep a note of these issues for future references.

  1. Arm problem: This creates a common problem because CJ pitman arm that come fitted from factory is made up of ductile cast iron and there are chances that it will bend when you ride roughly.
    Timely inspect the nut of pitman arm and make sure that it is tight and do not put heavy load which can lead the pitman arm to bend.
    To get rid of it, look for and change the same with a 1970s GM car, if found somewhere. Otherwise, look for heavy-duty replacements offered by many suspension manufacturers.
  2. Shaft: In the vintage CJ, the problems with steering box’s steering shaft coupler arise. If the problem is small, you will face sloppy steering input and wander.
    If the problem is big or in worst cases, you can get the shaft separated from the coupler when your jeep twists off from the road.
    The solution is a heavy-duty shaft with solid U-joints.
  3. Cracking Frames: There are some people who registered the complaints about cracked CJ frames.
    The frames around suspension mounts and steering breaks commonly cracks. It’s not all, the spring hangers or shackles can snap off the frame.
    This is a well-known issue and can be solved by complete replacement of the frame.
    In case, you cannot afford the complete replacement, then get some weld-in reinforcement plates as the solution.
  4. Ignition Problems: The problem is commonly seen in the AMC era V-8 and I-6 engines. These didn’t have a good reputation.
    To resolve the ignition system problems, you can get the ignition system control units replaced. These are easily available on most of the catalog shops and auto parts stores.
  5. Gauge: The problem with gauges is common with TJs and Cherokee model vehicles.
    The problem that users noticed was gauges functioning irrationally, sometimes gauges light comes on and while driving, gauges die.
    The cause for this problem can be loose or dirty instrument cluster plug. In most cases this problem can be easily resolved by cleaning the pins of the pulled-out cluster plug and reinstalling it.


These are some of the common problems that users usually report. You should note that these problems were common in earlier models but in the newer developed models, these problems are less observed.

However, for minor problems you can use the car repair manual for quick fixings.


Purpose of this is to catalog and include one of most comprehensive, useful and accessible “automotive repair manual” database on the web for all Willys-Overland models.

It’s your go-to source for learning all about Willys-Overland – when you can’t find it elsewhere.

To get started, select the intended car model below…

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