Re: 58 Willys Wagon
Different motor than the current 1957 sbc283 that is in it now....this is an early 70s sbc350 (I think). It will have more power - possibly to the detriment of the current transmission (any v8 is pushing the oem transmission near its limit). I like the old 283's - they sound awesome when revving, and they are very durable. But as a short stroke engine, they don't have much low end torque and need some rpm to find the sweet zone. Mine is a bit worn, but it really has no guts below 1500rpm, and you got to get above 2000rpm to start to feel it pull. My comment the other day was that it won't idle over a speedbump - you gotta rev it up and burn some clutch just to get around the grocery store parking lot. While there are some open road conditions, and also other, sportier, zippier applications that suite the 283 well, I am not sure its the best option for an old 4wd jeep. If the engine had no issues, I wouldn't worry about it, but as it needs a rebuild, it just wasn't worth the cost to rebuild something that isn't all that well suited for jeep use. But I do think think there is a cool factor with old 283s, and maybe it will stick around, get a rebuild and the proper application might be found.....32 roadster?
As for the 'new' 350, it is the classic, 'was running when pulled, rebuilt with low mileage" yada yada yada.....Price was right, and by all accounts from the friend I bought it from, it should be useable without any significant rebuild work. Yup....how many of those stories have you heard that turned out differently? At least in this case, I didn't pay much more than typical core price, so if it is as good as reported, it will be a great deal, and if it needs work, at least I am putting the rebuild money towards an engine with better low end, torquey use for the jeep. Anyway, I will do a basic disassembly: remove the intake, valve covers, heads, oil pan and timing cover. Will inspect the cylinders, rings, timing chain and gears for any significant issues, as well as check the crank. Will be reassembled with all new gaskets and seals, and possibly swap over the intake, carb and distributor from the current engine. I like that I will be able to keep driving the wagon as is while I do the once over with the new 350, and then it should be a relatively simple bolt in replacement....clutch will be replaced then as well, but otherwise, nothing else needed. In the long run, the 3 speed T90 may not stand up to the extra power, but it will work for awhile. I don't want to put any money into rebuilding the transmission - when it goes, it will be time for swap to something stronger. As a new cross-member will be needed at that time, that will also be the time to get the engine moved a couple inches forward in the engine bay (thus the included motor mounts are nice add-in). I kind of like being able to work on this project in smaller steps, and keep it mostly driveable between the steps.
1958 Willys Wagon
2010 Tacoma TRD