Tuesday, September 27, 2022

5 reasons why it's somewhat curious that no early Jeep version ever featured a Ford Model T engine

Many circumstances can be accounted while considering the involvement of United States in the World War II, which was prompted by the Japanese attack to Pearl Harbor in December 7th, 1941, leading to a war efford which influenced other aspects of ordinary citizens' lives life in the aftermath, and the Jeep is one of the most noticeable icons of that period. Considering the Ford Model T engine was still produced until August 4th, 1941 for special applications which included not only its usage as a replacement part for the Model T which had a production run extended from September 27th, 1908 to May 26th, 1927, it could've sounded eventually simple to resume production of this engine for the war effort and adding a few improvements to keep it up to the task. Among many reasons, at least 5 sound quite curious when it comes to no version of the early Jeep to have ever featured the Ford Model T engine...

1 - technical features of both engines: while the Willys L134 "Go Devil" with its 2.2L displacement, a higher compression ratio and a more rev-happy (well, sort of) nature could seem quite obvious, instead of trying to upgrade the Model T's 2.9L engine with a slow-revving nature and a somewhat pathetic (for our modern standards) compression ratio, it's also worth to notice there are some resemblances. It's also worth noticing there are similarities, such as both following a very similar water-cooled 4-cyl sidevalve layout and featuring a 3-bearing crankshaft, which could render a Willys MB suitable to feature a Ford Model T engine with high-compression head and pistons, a stroker crankshaft, a camshaft with an optimized profile, a better carburettor, among other improvements which were already tried and proven by early hot-rodders way before the V8 craze took over;

2 - familiarity of the military personell: even though the Jeep featured a cockpit layout more similar to a modern car, many of the military personell of the United States and other Allies during WWII had their first experiences with motor vehicles on a Ford Model T and its very own arrangement of pedals and levers. While the Jeep revolutioned the market rendering 4-wheel drive a more common feature on utility vehicles, it's worth to notice the Ford Model T retained its foothold as a workhorse among some people who eventually refused learning to drive something else well after WWII, given its influence on a worldwide basis. Sure there were those soldiers unfamiliar with driving at all, who could easily stall while trying to drive a Jeep for the first time because of the clutch pedal, so the setup of the Ford Model T with its automatic clutch could've been a blessing to say the least;

3 - suiability to harsher environmental conditions: the Jeep featured a more conventional ignition, so it was a quite critical aspect while fording (no pun intended) a creek for instance, as a distributor is way more sensible than the commutator of a Ford Model T. Both a distributor and a commutator follow the firing order, but the distributor gets high voltage from a single ignition coil fed by the battery, and then feeds each spark plug cable according to the firing order, while the commutator feeds low voltage from the magneto to individual coils also according to the firing order, and then each coil feeds high voltage to the spark plug cables;

4 - technical suitability of 4-wheel drive regardless of engine: featuring a different engine wouldn't render 4-wheel drive unsuitable to the Willys MB Jeep, just like many modern retrofits have proven, yet an almost forgotten experience of 4-wheel drive conversions to the Ford Model T such as those done by Jesse Livingood have already proven a seemingly ancient engine design was not a problem at all. While the all-around drum brakes of the Jeep were better suited, in contrast to the Model T which resorted to a bands setup at the transmission for the main braking and drums at the rear wheels for stationary brake only, it's worth to remind the Rocky Mountain brakes which resorted to the stock drums to supplement the weak transmission brake on the Model T;

5 - the Jeep had been also made by Ford during the war effort: considering other military vehicles which had different engines according to the manufacturers who provided them during the war effort a reasonable circumstance, and Ford having also made the Willys MB Jeep yet renaming it Ford GPW, it would make sense to use one of its own off-the-shelf engines.

Thursday, September 01, 2022

Why is the Asia Motors Towner still interesting to say the least?

Definitely underappreciated nowadays, the Asia Motors Towner was a Korean license-made derivative of the Daihatsu HiJet, and had its fair share of commercial success in the '90s on export markets such as Brazil for instance. Against all odds, once in a while I still see well-preserved examples of the Towner in my hometown Porto Alegre, mostly of the passenger versions which seem to be taken better care of than their cargo counterparts. Undeniably underpowered even for the standards of the "popular" cars in Brazil in the '90s, with its 3-cyl 0.8L engine, it's quite uninviting to go on a highway, yet it's possible to eventually rely on one as the only motor vehicle of a household due to its interior volume and the ease to find parking spots even on a crowded street.
Finding suitable tires due to the small wheel wells turns out to be the major hardship when it comes to maintenance, even though mechanical components or even the entire engine may also be replaced by something out of some other small car or even motorcycle engines can be adapted, as long as keeping one functional is more relevant than retaining fully-stock features. While the solid-axle rear-wheel drive layout may seem outdated, and a 5-speed manual transmission may seem unappealing for most modern drivers, it's still easier to repair than an automatic transmission or CV half-shafts. Maybe wouldn't be so bad to get one, as it's convenient for city traffic and could eventually also go occasionally on highway with plenty of space for luggage...