How to identify WWII
Most unrestored WWII jeeps have long
since lost their original wheels. This page is intended to help
the restorer identify the correct Willys MB and Ford GPW wheels
and lug nuts...
Pictures and data provided by John Barton
All Willys MB jeeps built after vehicle serial
number MB120700 and all Ford GPW's were equipped with 2-piece
split-type "combat" rims. Combat wheels are easy to spot by the
eight bolts holding the two halves together.
Very early Willys MBs (the so-called Slat Grill
MBs built in late 1941 and in January 1942 through serial number
MB120700) were equipped with a standard 4 inch drop-center "solid disc"
wheel. All WWII jeeps used 16 inch diameter wheels. The
standard tire was a 6.00X16 NDT (non-directional tread).
This picture shows
4 inch wide solid disc rim (left, gray) and a combat rim (right,
olive drab) side by side. The solid disc rim got it's name
it's center part lacked the vent slots we typically see in other
rims. The heads of the eight bolts that hold the halves of the
wheel together can be seen.
Solid disc wheels of this type are
found in two widths, 4 inch and 4.5 inch. The 4 inch wide solid
disc wheels were supplied on prototype jeeps in 1941 and on the
early MB's as
The 4.5 in wide solid disc wheels were supplied with early civilian
just after WWII (cj2 and early cj2a jeeps) and also on a few
MB's that were equipped with 6.50X16 tires through serial number MB120700,
but there are differences...
This image below shows a 4 inch and a 4.5 inch solid disc wheel
side-by-side. From this vantage point they are nearly identical...
But in this side view some differences can be
The wheel on the left is the 4 inch; on the right is the 4.5 inch
The 4.5" civilian wheel above has a "square"
and a sloping shoulder just below the tire bead seat. The
version of the 4.5" rim has two square shoulders as seen below...
The rims are stamped. This stamping
shows the markings on a 4.5 inch rim dated 1946 from an early civilian
Many times the original combat rims or solid disc rims that
came with a WWII jeep have been lost and later jeep wheels have been
installed instead. The wheel in the picture below represents what
is often found. This is not a "solid disc" type wheel as the vent slots
are clearly visible. This wheel is from an early cj5 jeep.
These type wheels come
in both 16" and 15" diameters.
The wheels are mounted to the hubs with both left-hand-thread
and right-hand-thread (RH) lug nuts. The right side of the
vehicle has RH threads; the left side utilized LH lugnuts. The
studs are normally stamped with an "R" or "L"...
The lugnuts themselves were normally marked
some way. Most of the right-handed ones have no markings or
R's. The left-handed ones have three L's or small notches around the
as visible in this image...
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