Curious about the title to this blog? This writer had been having a difficult time restoring the Checker A3 until making an interesting discovery. While sourcing parts for the Checker, it became clear that many of the parts Checker used between 1946 and 1964 are compatible to Kaiser and Willys Jeeps!
Below is a list of the core Checker components that are consistent Kaiser and Willys vehicles.
The Continental 226 Jeep Super Hurricane
The 226 engine had been incorporated into the Jeep lineup as the Super Hurricane in 1954, and it had an enviable reliability record. It made 105 horsepower, and when it was introduced it was a welcome addition to the horsepower-starved Jeep engine lineup. Like all flatheads, it had breathing and cooling difficulties, but the Continental-sourced engine became almost legendary for durability in Jeeps and the many other applications in which it served until 1973.
Warner Gear T86 Transmission
The Borg-Warner T-86 is a three-speed manual gearbox manufactured by Borg-Warner. The T86 is a top loaded, top shifting, three speed transmission and is fully synchronized in the second and third gears. The T86 is very similar in appearance and build to the Jeep T90, and these gearboxes can be confused with each other on first glance. The T86 will typically be cast with “T86AA” on its case. Also, upon internal inspection, one can confirm it as a T86 in that all gears are helically cut, including the first mainshaft gear.
Borg & Beck Clutch
Flywheel – The flywheel provides a friction surface for the clutch disc, a torque buffering mass, a mounting surface for the pressure plate, a mounting for the starter driven gear, and on some engines the flywheel is a factor in engine balance.
Pressure Plate – mounts on the flywheel. It consists of four main parts and is more correctly called a clutch cover assembly. These parts are the pressure plate itself, the springs (or spring, if a diaphragm type), the clutch cover, and the release arms. There are two basic designs of clutches usually referred to by the spring type
Clutch Disk – This is the “driven” part of the clutch. It has a friction material riveted to each side of a wavy spring (called a marcel). This is attached to a splined hub that the transmission input gear protrudes into.
Clutch Release Bearing – As its name implies, this is the bearing that releases the clutch. It is often referred to as a “throw-out” bearing. They come on a number of different style carriers. The carriers, in some cases, vary considerably with the particular engine.
According to ICTA member Doug Klauck his Checker A8 uses both the Borg-Warner and Borg & Beck clutch.
Other Major Parts
This writer has discovered that the radiator used for the 1950 Kaiser Manhattan will fit the Checker Model A2-A3! This past weekend, I was able to insert a new Kaiser Aluminum radiator into the A3. (see headers photo)
The A3 currently has a 1963 OVHD Valve Continental engine sourced from Lawrence, Mass. The Kaiser radiator water inlet and outlet are both on the driver side of the radiator, this is different when compared with Checkers standard center mounted radiator inlet.
By simply reversing the Continental engine water outlet from facing right to left, the engine water feed can easily meet up with the Kaiser radiator. Grinding the radiator opening in the cross member a small quarter of an inch on each side of the member allow for bolting the radiator right into the A3.
This writer just procured a Jeep 12 volt starter, it mates perfectly to the 130 tooth Jeep Station wagon flywheel. Fuel pumps and carb for the Kaiser and Jeeps should also work for Checker Continental engine applications. Pretty much, any part for the Jeep Super Hurricane Six will work for a Continental equipped Checker.
The good news is that all these parts are readily available at Kasierwillys.com! Restoring autos are both fun and challenging. Restoring a Checker is very challenging given most retail outlets no longer list Checkers in the systems. Tough too since all third party Checker supplies have exited the business. Thankfully, Checker owners whose Superbas or Marathons are equipped with Continentals still have a source for drivetrain parts!
Here is a direct link for Kaiser-Willys parts
Willys Jeep Parts | Kaiser Willys Jeep Parts and Restoration