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Willys Oil Filter Brackets; Possible Design Flaw??
Topic Started: Jun 21 2017, 01:55 AM (279 Views)
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This picture of the engine bay on DJ3A #30 has stirred up quite a few questions among our research group. Specifically concerning the break in the oil filter bracket.

Posted Image

At first glance looking at a unbroken bracket to me it looks like it's plenty heavy enough for its purpose and should be plenty durable. Yet our groups combined experence and the examples we know about tells otherwise.

From Dave@Ewillys. "The oil filter bracket on Rusty was cracked in the same area. Patterson's cracked, also in the same area, was rewelded with extra supports, and then cracked AGAIN in the same area"

Rusty and Patterson are both 1956 DJ3A convertibles.

As for myself my own 1956 DJ3A Convertibles oil bracket was also cracked in that exact same location. I replaced it with a good one that I found in with a lot of dj3a parts but now I'm worried.

Other information

From SteveK. "I got mine out, it has been welded all the way across behind the holes, not thru the holes like I saw on one, and where I would think was the weak spot."

"From SteveK. "Where the weld is on mine doesn't make any sense from a manufacturing of the bracket point of view. Too irregular of a line, and more like an earthquake line."

Steves is a 1962 DJ3A!!!

From Colin Peabody. "Here are some photos of the bracket on our 60 Surrey. It has never broken or been welded. It appears to be a one piece bracket factory bent for the Willys application. The bracket on our CJ3A was identical. In looking at the bracket I think if the screws holding the bands around the filter housing were able to work loose, it would allow some flexing and vibration to occur and crack the metal near the downward bend.

Posted Image

And from more investigation from Dave

" I spoke with Chris McKay about this subject yesterday and he said he's seen all three types (triangle, oval, circle) broken in the same area. It's definitely a design flaw. He also has unbroken examples of each type.

With that information it seems as though this problem isn't confined to DJ3A's only. My searches on the web hasn't turned up much about problems with these Willys Oil Filter Brackets and us cheap guys had rather repair something that's broke instead of buying something new. Is it bad metal? A flaw in manufacturing. Stress from bouncing? Why are we finding so many broke after they've been repaired?

I'm hoping that maybe OLDTIME can shed some light on this subject and at the very least maybe tell us the proper way to weld the crack in these pesky brackets in such a way that we don't have to worry about them breaking again right through or beside the weld after repair.

Charles Tate....North Mississippi

1956 WILLYS DJ3A Convertible
Doing ground up nuts and bolt restoration by almost entirely reconditioning original used or a few NOS DJ3A parts.

1962 WILLYS DJ3A Convertible. (For research and parts only)
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Looking at the close up pic of Colin's bracket, there appears to be a 'rust line' developing exactly where the break occurs.  Is that a sign that it is happening in the early stage? Note it is just after the hole for mounting.
62 Dispatcher
South Florida
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After I sent Charles photos of my oil filter bracket, he made the observation that mine appeared to have a crack developing also. Today I ventured out in to the convection oven I call a garage(Its 115 outside today) and looked at my bracket again. Sure enough, it is cracking outward from the head bolt hole towards the front of the engine and also towards the rear. It is not totally cracked to the outside edges, but is about halfway. I know it wasn't cracked when we did the head installation a few months ago, but I am wondering if the re-torqueing of the head a couple of times after that didn't put extra pressure on that bracket and cause it to crack. There is no support under that bracket and the surface where the head bolts come through the head is a very small raised round surface for the washer and nut to tighten down on and that may be why these are cracking, along with the deterioration of the metal itself.

I hate to take the head bolts loose on that new aluminum head, but I may have to in order to repair the bracket. Even if I got one that wasn't cracked, I still have to do the head bolts. Dang!!!
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Credit goes to STEVEK and his extremely good eye for the closer look at the image of Colin's oil filter bracket. Good eye Steve!

I think there's a lot of stress built into those brackets caused by the cold forming process of the machine that cut out and bent the thing in the first place. Sheet metal can't really hold a temper like harder metals such as springs, knives, etc but it can be damaged and weakened from bending.

Further stresses like tightening the head bolts so tight as Colin suggests likely adds even more pressure within that metal where the cracks commonly form. After that I'm thinking that heating and cooling of the engine, vibration, and other factors likely continues to weaken the area more than it can stand until it eventually fails.

If my way of thinking is remotely correct then a extreme heating of that bracket with a torch (or forge) to just red hot and then letting it cool very very slowly may releve some of that internal stress by equalizing or softening the metal on these brackets so that they will be less likely to break.

Maybe this could be done on a yet unbroken one??? and for sure on a repaired after welding a cracked oil filter bracket so that it doesn't break back either through or beside the new weld in the future???


Charles Tate....North Mississippi

1956 WILLYS DJ3A Convertible
Doing ground up nuts and bolt restoration by almost entirely reconditioning original used or a few NOS DJ3A parts.

1962 WILLYS DJ3A Convertible. (For research and parts only)
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First off... out of the dozen or so Willys engines I've owned I don't recall ever seeing one with a broken filter bracket.
But then most of my Willys engines except 3 or 4 have been F heads.

Yes Steve is right on.
That's simply the early stage of what's normally called a "stress crack".

I do believe Charles is correct in that these brackets were cold formed.
Cold forming of mild steel will effect the area directly at the bend site.
Metal grain structure is stressed and damaged in the area directly surrounding the bend.
With mild steel it is acceptable to cold form it one time since only minimal damage should occur.
Cold rebending or "acute"bending ( beyond 90*) of mild steel is generally is very harmful.

Note: in Steve's pic that this stress crack does form at the bend.
That implies no over stress directly from at the bend itself.
Normally signs of stress fatigue always begins from a very small / minute crack or other grain defect.
In this case the crack emminates from the mounting hole.
That implies the mounting hole was likely punched and was not drilled.
Punching of holes will induce some grain damage.

Stress relieving should help yet that alone may not solve the problem.
Apparently these brackets are receiving a tremendous amount of additional stress from engine vibrations.

When stress relieving the mild steel it is brought up to a certain temperature does not need to be anywhere close to red hot.
Though a mild dull glow is acceptable but is overkill.

To stress relieve the unpainted mild steel should be heated till the surrounding area turns blue color.
The blue color is immediately followed by a thin gold band.
Additional heating will not be of any advantage unless you are bending the steal.
Then a bright orange glow is typically best.

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Other Willys Jeep forums:

The CJ-2A Page has a CJ-2A Message Board.
There is also a CJ-3A Page Forum.
For CJ-5 and Dauntless V6 postings, see the Early CJ-5 Bulletin Board.
The Old Willys Forum is dedicated to wagons and pickups.
Surrey Gala and Dispatcher Jeeps are under DJ-3A Dispatcher Posts.
The M38/M38A1/M606 Preservation Group has a forum.
For other CJ and military Jeeps, see the g503 Message Boards.
See the Forward Forum for Forward Control Jeeps.
To post ads for other Willys parts or Jeeps, see the WillysTech Buy/Sell/Swap Message Board.
For tech problems with other Willys models, try the WillysTech e-mail list.
The Bantam Trailer forum covers Jeep trailers.