1963 J-300 Jeep Gladiator Daily Driver (front yard mechanic).

by Eric
(White City, Or, USA)

1963 230 Tornado Engine

1963 230 Tornado Engine

1963 230 Tornado Engine
Junk yard works in a pinch
Rhino grill my favorite look
Fabricated tail lights

No VIN# found on the truck, only serial number 3406B 10894 WILLYS MOTORS,INK. Toledo OHIO U.S.A.


My good friend is a contractor and found this truck in a field. He made a trade for labor and drove it home. It had sat for some time yet he enjoyed abusing it in the mountains around his home. I drooled over it and as he had a multitude of vehicles I often tried to get it from him.

Finally it gave in and no longer ran well. Five years passed and he called and said he needed room and I could have it if he towed it to my home. Yes!

It had one brake, no rear window which left the seats unusable, no gauges, bad carburetor, bad timing chain, oil pump, water pump, etc. I had to re-wire the truck and go through the entire drive train and plumb the brakes. I tore down the tranny and t-case, etc.

This was a project truck but after an accident in my daily driver I had to risk using it full time and I am happy that it has over 200,000 miles and is still going strong. My J-300 Gladiator has an all stock 230 Tornado engine, 3-speed transmission, t-case, DANA 53 rear axle, and DANA 44 front axle.

I hope to do a full frame off restoration some day. Until I have a new car this is my daily driver.


Editor's Comment: Nice looking truck, Eric. From your serial number it shows that your truck is indeed a 4-wheel drive J-300 model, chassis cab, with a 6,600 lb GVW.

The engine compartment and the interior look super clean in the photos. I also like the manual transmission. Does it seem to need overdrive to get up to highway speeds, or is the 3-speed transmission enough as is?

I have always liked the old full-sized Jeep pickup trucks. Nice to see that some of them are still running and being used by folks like you.

Comments for 1963 J-300 Jeep Gladiator Daily Driver (front yard mechanic).

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The HWY and Overdrive
by: Eric

Luckily I don't have to commute! I drive for short 20 min. highway trips in the valley. A 2 hour trip would drive me crazy-pun intended.

I like to keep it between 2000 and 2500 RPM to maintain a speed of 55 mph. I have reached 65 during a test at 3000 rpm. I have no idea of the rev limits of this engine gear box or diffs so I play it safe. Any info about this topic would be appreciated.

On another note; I have to admit I love the looks, and people giving the peace symbol
while hanging out the window when they see it on the HWY. Or asking me about it when I stop some place. They tend to want to see its original 51 year old Tornado engine as most haven't seen one. Your answer is (yes) I could use overdrive to keep up with the crowed but I enjoy standing out as well.

New starter and alternator
by: Eric

The last two weeks have put me in a bind. One vehicle needed a broken lock fixed due to the freezing temp, and a new battery. My Jeep broke a drive shaft in the starter-so I went to a reputable place to have it repaired (AA electric in the Rogue valley). Shortly after, My alternator gave up the ghost and I needed to make a choice to rebuild or new? I decided on a 105 amp chrome with a one year warranty (paid $141.00). It idles at 79 amps 900 rpm and maxes at 108 amps at 2500 rpm. I can now run head lights, spot lights , fog lights, heater, etc. all at idle...giving me room for a winch PTO and sound system with amp and capacitor included. It was well worth the money. I may even lose the engine block color theme and go with chrome? I have a chrome air filter as backup plus a stainless fan shroud on order and can cover any items with after market accessory accents with little effort. I will add pics.

Any comments or questions welcome.

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