Military Vehicles, November 1996,: RE: Differences between a CJ-2A and a MB

RE: Differences between a CJ-2A and a MB

Todd Paisley (
Tue, 12 Nov 1996 11:09:30 -0500

>Would someone please tell me the difference between a CJ2A and a MB, in
>the engine, frame and the body. I would like to see a side by side
>comparason between the two. I am having an engine of the the CJ2A
>rebuild and it should be ready by December 1st and would like to do in
>military style. I have already done work on the springs, the brakes and
>the steering system. The frame and the combat wheels has already been
>sand blasted, primed, undercoated and painted OD. It looks great.There
>is not one nut or bolt that my hands have not touched yet. I would
>really like some help on this.

There are a lot of difference between the CJ2A and the MB. They may
look similar and have some parts in common, but they are 2 different
animals. You might be better off selling the CJ-2A and buying a MB.

Frame differences:

1) Front frame horns - CJ-2A cut straight across, while the MB is angled
at 45 degrees.

2) Bumper - CJ-2A used heavier gauge steel.

3) front cross member - CJ-2A had the steering bell crank on the front
cross member.

4) body mounts - CJ-2A had body mounts on the outside of the frame
rail, while the MB had one on the inside and one on the outside.

5) intermediate cross member - The intermediate cross member on
the MB had a plate for the machine gun mount.

6) rear shock mount - the rear shock mount on the CJ-2A was different
to lay the shock back so the rear floor didn't need to have a cut out.

7) rear cross member - CJ-2A had provisions for a PTO.

Drive train:

1) Transmission - MB had a T-84, while the CJ-2A had the T-90.
2) radiator - CJ-2A had extra tin to aid in more effective cooling.
3) rear axle - CJ-2A had 5:38 gears, while the MB had 4.88s. Your
'48 had a semi-floating rear, while the MB had a full floating axle.
4) front axle - Same differences as rear, but MB had provisions for
the bell crank on the axle.
5) Engine - If you just want functionality, the engine are quite similar,
but the accesories are different.


1) grille - CJ-2A had 7" headlights, while the MB had 5" lights.

2) front fenders - The MB had reinforcements for the voltage regulator
mounts on the passenger side front fender.

3) windshield - MB had a lower windshield.

4) hood - CJ-2A had "WILLYS" stamped into the hood, while the MB
as plain.

5) body tub - Lots and lots of differences

a) dash - CJ-2A did not have a glove box, while the majority of the
MBs did have one. The CJ-2A had a cutout for a column-shift
mechanism. The holes for some of the things like lights and
cables are different.
b) front floor - The MB had a sump in the floor for the gas tank, while the
CJ-2A did not have this cutout. The hat channels under the front
floor is different. The CJ-2A had a hump in the center for the PTO
shaft. CJ-2A had a toolbox area under the passenger seat, while
the MB did not.

c) Rear floor riser - The CJ-2A had a straight across rear floor riser while
the MB had a semi-circle in the center to make room for the
machine gun plate.

d) driver's side rear side panel - MB had the gas tank filler under the driver's
seat, while the CJ-2A had a cutout in the panel for an external
gas tank opening.

e) rear floor - The rear floor on the MB was flat metal, while the CJ-2A's
floor was ribbed. The MB had little shock covers with a cutout
for the rear shocks.

f) rear panel - MB had a fixed panel in the back, while the CJ-2A had a

f) wheel houses - MBs had tool boxes in the back of the wheel houses
while the CJ-2A did not.

g) seats - MB seats are lower than CJ-2A seats.

There are a lot more differences, but I think you can get the picture. You
can probably convert a CJ-2A to a MB, but why. It would be much,
much easier to just start with a MB.

Todd Paisley

'41 Willys MB "slat-grille" (restoration in progress)
'42 Ford GPW "script" (very rough)
'44 CJ2 Agri-Jeep (#12 of 12 prototypes built for testing
whether Jeeps had a civilian use!)
'45 CJ2A (68th CJ ever built!) (Just a pile of parts...)
'46 CJ2A (early column shift)
'46 CJ2A (late)
'47 CJ2A (Farm Jeep with 3-point Monroe hydraulic implement lift)
'48 CJ2A (trencher)
'64 CJ5A (Tuxedo Park Mark IV) (column shift with front bench seat option)
'64 Wagoneer (with IFS option) (39,000 original miles)