Where do I start to build my 47 CJ2a into a Farm Jeep?

JohnT 47 Farm Jeep
John’s 1947 CJ2a

John Thompson replied to a post on the Willys Jeep CJ-2a Facebook page:

“I am very interested in restoring my 1947 CJ2A to Farm Jeep status….it has a working PTO. Where do I start?”

We thought that would be a good question for “Ask Farm Jeep” and we will try to give John some advice – and a little history. Let’s start with what makes a Jeep a Farm Jeep. As we state in our opening paragraph : ” While the Farm Jeep was a specific model, we apply the term to any Jeep that performs the tasks of a tractor.” The farm tractor of the mid-1940s would be capable of pulling ground driven and powered (via the PTO (power take-off)) implements.

CJ2a with PTO
John’s rear PTO unit

Since John’s 2a already has a PTO, it is technically already a Farm Jeep. But to make it the equivalent of a 1940s light tractor, he needs to add items that would have come from the Willys factory, or could have been added by the dealer.

The Extra Equipment Section

We have reproduced a section of the CJ3a owner’s manual, titled “Extra Equipment.” It begins with this statement:

“Much of the utility of the Jeep is due to the extra equipment which has been designed to adapt it for farming and diversified occupations and industries.”

The equipment listed provides the basis for tractor operations. We will address them as they are presented in the manual


“Three different governors are used as standard in production: the King Seely, the Novi and the Monarch. These governors are similar in design, being of the centrifugal type which gives precision control of engine speeds.”

Of all the “Extra Equipment” items, governors seem to be the most difficult to find. A governor is NOT a requirement for a Farm Jeep, but it does help with the operations normally associated with tractor tasks. Governors do appear for sale, but have become very expensive. Single speed governors used on stationary engines (such as welders and generators) will NOT work for the farm applications.

Front Bumper Weight

As explained in the manual, the 265 pound weight is used to “equalize” the load between the front and rear axles when using the drawbar (or hydraulic lift). While the weight and size make shipping expensive, the bumper weights are available for about a dollar a pound. This is a simple and inexpensive piece of equipment to add.

Power Take-Off with Shaft and Belt Pulley

The rear PTO was, we believe, an essential part of what made an otherwise “Universal Jeep” a Farm Jeep. Any Jeep could pull a wheeled plow, but to run a mower or to power an elevator. common tasks for a tractor, you need a PTO.

A complete PTO unit consists of three parts. The shift unit mounts to the end of the transmission. Willys provide an access panel between the seats making for easy installation. The second item is a tubular shaft that connects the shift unit to the shaft drive assembly at the rear. Again, Willys provided access holes in the frame and bumper to make adding the rear unit a simple bolt-on affair.

Complete PTO units can be find, as well as individual components. For a number of reasons, the belt pulley attachments are a rare or at least a much harder part to find. As such, they command higher prices.

Hydraulic Implement Lift

The “Extra Equipment” section ends with a capstan winch. These are so rare we don’t even consider them a necessary item to building a Farm Jeep. Willys offered four “Jeep Approved” lifts, meaning you could have them installed at the factory, by the dealership or they could be field installed. We have whole sections devoted to the various lifts, so we won’t won’t go into a discussion of the merits of each. The engineering beauty of the four lifts is that they will fit any Jeep from 1945 to the 1970 CJ5.

If John wants a period correct lift for his 1947 CJ2a, he will want to look for a Love or Newgren lift. But a Monroe lift, which debuted in 1948 would make a great addition too.

John also wrote us “I started this project a year or so ago.  Most recently I have shown my cj2a at tractor shows and have won “Best of Show”….not bad for a farm jeep going up against show quality tractors at a tractor show.” It would seem that John’s 2a has already achieved “Farm Jeep status” and rightly so. We look forward to hearing more of his adventures.