Kaiser-Willys Jeep CJ5
In 1953, Kaiser Motors purchased Willys-Overland and changed the name to Willys Motors. One year later, the Jeep CJ5 debuted, a civilian version of the M-38A1 military model. Improvements over the CJ-3B included a new frame, 12-volt electrical system, new instrument panel, larger windshield, and optional all-weather top. External differences from the earlier Jeeps were more rounded fenders and a larger frame windshield.
Kaiser-Willys Jeep CJ5
A new frame for the CJ5 was longer, wider and used a boxed cross-member. Flanged, overlapped sheet-metal gave more strength. The CJ Jeep used semi-elliptic leaf springs both front and rear. The front axle was a full-floating Dana Spicer 25. In 1966, a Dana Spicer 27 was fitted. The rear unit was a semi-floating Dana 44, with available gearing of 4.27. In 1967, gearing was changed to 3.54.
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The short wheelbase and narrow frame of the CJ Jeeps allowed them to fit into places where full-size 4x4 trucks could not go. Their ability to maneuver over rough terrain made them ideal for park maintenance vehicles, forest fire protection, and transporting equipment and supplies to hard-to-reach places. Also helping them gain popularity was their low cost of repairs and operation.
Hurricane 4 Engine
The 134 cubic-inch Willys Hurricane engine, in use since 1950, continued to be the only motor available. Known as the F-Head motor, the "F" represented the valve configuration: the exhaust valves were in the block, and intake valves were in the cylinder head. This allowed the intake valves to be larger. With a compression ratio of 6.9:1, power output was 70-horsepower.
The Perkins four-cylinder diesel engine was available in Jeep CJ's from 1961 through 1969.
Produced from 1956 until 1965, the two-wheel-drive DJ-3A was the first Postal Jeep, and was flat-fendered similar to the CJ-3A. In 1965, the DJ-5 was introduced. Jeep also produced a long-wheelbase version, the DJ-6, from 1965 until 1968. The DJ-5 was produced into the early seventies and continued production under AM General.
In 1963, the Willys-Kaiser name was changed to the Kaiser-Jeep Corporation. Most Jeep historians agree that 1964 and prior Jeeps will have a script "Willys" stamped across the top of the firewall VIN plate; models produced after 1964 will not.
The CJ Jeep's first real competitor, the International Scout, was being offered with V-6 and V-8 engine options for the 1965 model year. Kaiser-Jeep's four-cylinder Hurricane motor now seemed under-powered by comparison. In the Fall of 1965, Kaiser bought the casting rights to Buick's 225-cid V-6 motor.
Dauntless V-6 Engine
Producing nearly double the horsepower of the Hurricane engine, the Buick-designed "Dauntless V-6" made 155 horsepower at 4000 rpm. Net torque was 235 at 2400 rpm. The engine's firing order, 1-6-5-4-3-2, is known as the "odd-fire" pattern. A heavier flywheel was used to increase torque, and also help dampen vibrations of the odd-fire design.
The compact V6 configuration fit well into the tight Jeep engine compartment, and proved to be a very popular option. Another new option was power steering. By 1968, more than 75 percent of CJ Jeep's sold were ordered with the Dauntless motor. Side-marker lights were added in 1969.
1969 Jeep CJ Camper
In 1969, Kaiser-Jeep introduced three new RV's as part of their "Great Jeep Escape" campaign. The Camper was mounted in the bed of a CJ5, and extended beyond the back and carrying it's own axle and brakes. It also extended above the front roof of the CJ5, where the main bed was located. The camper had room to sleep four.
The camper, manufactured by the Honorbuilt Division of Ward Manufacturing, was an option that could be added to any factory CJ5, but it was recommended for Jeeps with the Buick V6 Dauntless engine and 4.88 gearing. Standard items included a propane stove, 100-pound capacity icebox, 20-gallon water tank and pressure system, stainless-steel sink, and marine-type toilet and holding tank.
Kaiser-Jeep also sold these campers separately, as they would fit any CJ5 made since 1955. There were only 336 Jeep CJ Campers built in 1969. When AMC bought out Kaiser-Jeep in February 1970, the camper option was discontinued.
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1969 Jeep 462
The Jeep 462 package was the forerunner to the Jeep Renegade series. Included in the 462 package were the V6 Dauntless engine, heavy-duty frame and springs, a locking differential, bucket seats and a rear seat, oil pan skid plate, rear swing-out tire carrier, full wheel covers, padded visors and a padded dash. Upgrades from standard models included larger wider off-road tires, extra gauges, a hood stripe and a roll bar. The following year Jeep would release the first of the Renegade packages.
Kaiser-Jeep was bought by American Motors Corporation in 1970, and became Jeep Corporation.