Most CJ-3Bs carry numbers stamped into the frame, and in many cases (other than 1953 models) this can be a way to find the Willys serial number, if the serial number tag is missing from the firewall. Unfortunately serial numbers were apparently not stamped on frames in 1953.
This photo of Jamie Carter's frame indicates the most common location of the stamped numbers shown in the photographs below. They are visible just behind of the slope down from the battery tray.
Another possible place to look for a stamped number is on top of the rear of the right frame rail, near the rear spring hanger.
If the body is on the frame, you can still see the number by peering down just in front of the edge of the body tub (toe gusset). Some wire brushing will probably be necessary. There will normally be five or six digits approx. 3/8" high.
VIN 454GB2 28240
Rus Curtis says, "These are the numbers from my '54 CJ-3B. There was enough crud on the frame that I had to get it blasted before I could easily read the numbers." See also the matching VIN plate on the body (40K JPEG).
1954 CJ-3B: Ed Wilson reports the five digits stamped on the frame of his 1954 Jeep are the same as the last five in the VIN on the body plate, 454GB2 37884. He did not find numbers stamped in the top of the frame on his other (very early) 1954 CJ-3B which has an OB54-prefix serial number.
1954 CJ-3B: Robert C Connor, Jr. reports that on his VIN 454GB2 35022, "frame number is also 35022, stamped very clearly."
1956 CJ-3B: Rob Tate reports that the last five digits of the VIN 57348 26812 are "stamped on the frame above the hanger for the rear spring (actually about four inches in front of it). They are also stamped directly above the rear hanger for the front spring. Both on the passenger side."
This Jeep is registered as a 1958 and has an engine number consistent with 1958. A VIN similar to 57348 47140 would also be from 1958. Photo by Tony Yuma. See a photo showing a larger area (23K JPEG).
VIN 57348 54852
The number stamped on my 1959 frame matches the tag on the firewall (200K JPEG).
1961 CJ-3B: Mike Tollett has his VIN 57348 80225 in both places: "During my frame cleaning I found the last five numbers of my serial number on the frame, on the passenger side on top of the frame up near the front axle, and at the rear behind the axle."
Dirk Thiermann's Jeep in Chile is registered as a 1962 and has a frame stamping consistent with a 1962 VIN of 57348 87408. An interesting feature of this stamping is the 9 in the middle, overstamped with a 4.
1962 CJ-3B: Kevin Gerckens says that on his VIN 57348 93379, "I checked the frame for a stamp and found that the stamp matched the I.D. number."
Stephen Heape has found what seems to be a very complete set of numbers on his thoroughly sandblasted 1962 frame. He has taken detail photos (50K JPEGs) and describes their locations: "My '62 CJ-3B has '176R' stamped just behind the bumper mount on the right frame rail. Mine also has the number '176L' stamped in the same area of the left rail. These numbers must correspond with the part number for the two frame rails during frame assembly."
(See also the outside of the same area on the frame of a 1963 CJ-3B, stamped 176R on the right side (40K JPEG) and 176L on the left. Photo by Adam Charnok.)
1962 CJ-3B: Stephen says, "The last five digits of my Jeep's serial number (87800) occur in two places on my frame. First, it is stamped about 6 inches behind the rear mounting point of the battery tray. The other place that the number is stamped is just in front of the rear cross member on the top of the right frame rail."
"The next number is 7-D-25 located just in front of the first protruding body mount on the right frame rail." (The significance of this number is unknown. Other examples with different digits are described below.)
VIN 57348 40632
The last five digits of the VIN, lined up with the rear spring mount. Photo by Paul DuBois. See a photo showing a larger area (30K JPEG).
Nearby on the outside of the frame, just a little bit behind the rear spring mount, are the numbers 4-D-22 arranged in a triangular shape (30K JPEG).
VIN 57348 39368
Prefix of the VIN (used on most post-1955 CJ-3Bs). Photo by Paul DuBois. See a photo showing a larger area (40K JPEG) with the body lifted slightly off the frame, revealing no additional numbers before or after 57348.
On the outside of the frame, a few inches further back, are the numbers 1-D-14 arranged in a triangular shape (50K JPEG).
1957 CJ-3B: Ryan O'Neill has no VIN plate for his Jeep, but says "the number on the top of the frame rail is 37854; on the side of the frame rail it has 11-D-16 in the triangle formation." (If 37854 is the serial number, this would be a 1957 model.)
VIN 57348 66510
The numbers are close, but not identical, to the last five digits of the VIN. Possibly a factory error. Photo by Jamie Carter.
1963 CJ-3B: Rene Rodas in Puerto Rico has the serial number on the frame about 18 inches from the battery tray, and the following numbers stamped on the frame in triangular shape: 3-547-12. This is different from the examples above, with "547" rather than "D" at the top.
VIN 57348 117914
These are the last five digits of the serial number, but by 1965 the serial numbers had six digits, so perhaps the missing first digit is a mistake.
The same 1965 Jeep has a triangular 7-547-15 stamping on the right side. Photos by Harry Clark.
1964 M606: Federico Cavedo's military Jeep in Argentina (SN 8105-130129) shows the triangle 11-586(?)-25, plus "N" at the bottom to create a diamond pattern. Apparently more than one set of punches was used to stamp these numbers; notice the two different shapes of "5".
VIN 454GB2 20348
Owner Larry Sayre says, "Engine number (left frame member -- stamped in) is 4J51990. I have looked for the numbers that are supposed to be stamped into the right frame member just behind the battery box but find nothing. I presume the engine number that was stamped into the engine block (front-top) must have been removed at some time during an operation called "decking" -- the number boss is there, it is just clean and shiny like it has been re-machined sometime since the block was manufactured. Perhaps that is when the number was re-stamped into the left frame member." (See a photo showing a larger area, 90K JPEG).
This is the only example we have seen so far where the engine number appears on the frame. The style of the digits is different from the presumably factory-stamped examples above, although the style of the factory stamps is not entirely consistent either.
Turk Sierras found this number on his early 1954 CJ-3B, below the driver's door. Possibly a military marking rather than a factory stamping?
Nidhin Kurian found this stamping "57348-CJ3B-79919-P" on the side (rather than the top) of the frame rail on his 1961 CJ-3B in India. It's not clear whether this unusual stamping was done by Willys or by Mahindra in India when it was assembled.
Shifar Shiyamudeen found a similar example in India.
Ray Spudz has a 1958 CJ-3B assembled in Australia and delivered to the Air Force, with the complete serial number on the side of the left rear frame rail.
Thanks to all the contributors. Additional information or photos are welcome. -- Derek Redmond
For more details on VIN's, see CJ-3B Serial Numbers and Production Figures.
CJ3B Home | Contents | History | Photos | Toys | Links | 3A and 3B Community