Mighty Mite Questions

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hndrsonj

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So I am thinking about getting a mighty mite project (like I need another project). So what are the odd quirks about them and what parts are hard to locate, are usually damaged, or things not to do? (I heard jacking from the differential for example). Any common spots to check for damage on a mite? What is a base price for a complete but non running 422?
 

WillWagner

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I do know that the cylinders are electroplated. The plating likes to peel off. When that happens, the engine needs to come apart and be re plated. Get a bore scope and inspect the cylinders.

Don't have a clue as to how expensive/hard to find the parts are. We have one at the Museum, but it is Navy owned, so it is not a runner.
 

WillWagner

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Navy, Marines, same, same. There are a few things in USMC colors that came from USN at the compound.
 

WillWagner

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They are and were made for USMC. USMC is a dept of the USN. This is USMC but is on loan from the Department of the Navy. That's why we can't run it1580830629425746907013.jpg
 

hndrsonj

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Makes sense, I was thinking it was marked USN. Thanks for the pictures!
 

ODFever

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So I am thinking about getting a mighty mite project (like I need another project). So what are the odd quirks about them and what parts are hard to locate, are usually damaged, or things not to do? (I heard jacking from the differential for example). Any common spots to check for damage on a mite? What is a base price for a complete but non running 422?
Please read through my Operation Mighty Mite Miracle thread. I documented as much as possible during Jeannie's nearly 2.5 year long mechanical restoration journey. Thankfully she was running (sort of) prior to the restoration. These vehicles require deep pockets and plentiful patience to restore. Many parts had to be custom made or modified.

There were only 1100 M422's produced and only 2700 M422A1's produced. Parts suppliers: Surplus City Jeep Parts in Oroville CA (hit or miss on Mite parts), Daryl Bensinger in Narvon PA are the places I bought most of my restoration parts. ePay has a few, hit or miss.

Replacement body panels and steering wheels are VERY hard to find. Most hoods are crushed from the M38A1 windshields getting rammed down on them. The hood doesn't have the support strength to handle driving with the windshield lowered. Once aluminum stretches, it's very difficult to get it back into the shape it was originally stamped. Many other parts will cause immediate sticker shock. You don't want to know how much a set of wires costs {shudder}.

A few years back I called Daryl Bensinger and asked him what a complete replacement engine costs. My jaw hit the floor when he said $10,000 and UP!!! 😲

The entire vehicle is a hot mess of odd quirks! It's so small that it's difficult to work on. A relatively straightforward project becomes an ordeal when you have to custom make a tool to get to a bolt that's in a tight spot. Trust me - the vehicle is ALL tight spots!

A fully restored running Mite sounds like a cross between an air cooled VW and a Singer sewing machine. It's fun as heck to drive!!!

You're best bet is to find a complete Mite that - on the surface - doesn't need much work. I can almost guarantee you'll have your hands full even at that level.
 

hndrsonj

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That is exactly what I needed! Straight body panels (especially the hood) and check the steering wheel. Anything else hard to find?
 

ODFever

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Please call Daryl Bensinger. He will be able to better answer your question about parts availability. He could probably help you find a suitable candidate for restoration. :)
 

TAKPAK

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So I am thinking about getting a mighty mite project (like I need another project). So what are the odd quirks about them and what parts are hard to locate, are usually damaged, or things not to do? (I heard jacking from the differential for example). Any common spots to check for damage on a mite? What is a base price for a complete but non running 422?
Hi hndrsonj. OK, let me answer, and take exception to a few of the statements made here. First, I am on the home stretch of restoring my M422A1 MM that I acquired a couple of years ago. Yes, it's been a project, and sometimes a challenge, but I have not run into anything that would have kept me from doing it. My Mite had been sitting out in the weather for about 50 years. Being aluminum, it didn't rust. However, everything that was steel did. But, everything has come apart surprisingly easy. And I do like the fact that everything is light weight. After having had a deuce and a half, it's been nice. Regarding the $10K that was mentioned for an engine rebuild..........no way. Mine is completely overhauled now, and I had a local automotive machine shop do most of the work. Including rebuilding the starter, generator, regulator, having buying NOS cylinder jugs, pistons, etc., etc., and sending them out to be re-coated, plus new plugs, and on and on, I'll have somewhere around $5K into the engine. With everything else I'm doing, plus new tires, new windshield, and on and on, I'll probably have somewhere around $12K into the whole project. Would I do it again? Probably not. However, I am NOT sorry I did do the project. It is a VERY unique little vehicle, and everyone is anxious to see it on the road. They are out there, and fairly easy to find to buy, BUT most are in pretty sorry shape. If you want to buy one that is already restored, you'll pay from $15K to $20K for one. A MM is not that rare, but a RUNNING MM is!!!
As mentioned, Daryl Bensinger is a good source (I've gotten a lot of stuff from him) and also a couple of other guys, Robert Walsh and Paul Sanders have both been SUPER good guys with information and some hard to find parts for the MM. Parts are out there, you just have to "know people" to find them.

Feel free to PM me if you want pictures or more information on the MM. It is a great little rig. And, it goes very well with my 1942 NAVY GPW. And NO, the Mite is NOT smaller than the standard jeep, it's the same size......except for the front.
 

saddamsnightmare

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Navy, Marines, same, same. There are a few things in USMC colors that came from USN at the compound.



Odd thing about the Mighty Mite, original procurement and parts were through the the U.S.Army Ordnance Corps, but the Marines ended up with it. Almost every part on that truck was difficult to get 40 years ago, so much so I made new stronger front hub center bolts to get around the cracking through the cotter pin holes issue. When that happens, your front wheel is about to leave the room. Holley carb parts can be found in a very old crossover book, and watch the front "hat" member under the blower, they will rust out if the Mite was forded or brought in over a beach, and they almost all were. Again, do not jack via the front differential.... Mechanics will attempt it at inspection, and so you need to be there and alert. Also be aware of the "Fording" position on the fuel filler cap..Inadvertently push down and turn and shortly you will have a vacuum form in the tank and you will stall at the most in-opportune times. Spark plugs were dear in the 1970's, I suspect there are no conversion sets made to use civilian standard plugs. Other then that and Marine mechanics who were good at cutting corners, it is an interesting vehicle.

Have a Great Day!


Sincerely,

Kyle F. McGrogan
 

saddamsnightmare

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They are and were made for USMC. USMC is a dept of the USN. This is USMC but is on loan from the Department of the Navy. That's why we can't run itView attachment 789623
The term would be "Consumptive Use". I am pretty sure that the Navy would not want that one to get out on the road. Most were attempted to be sold to civillians after the fall of the Shah of Iran (The US was trying to get him to take the whole lot), most sold to civilians were painted US Post Office blue below the bottom of the windshield. Very few were sold to civillians, I suspect probably fewer then 200 survive outside museum hands.
 

TAKPAK

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Odd thing about the Mighty Mite, original procurement and parts were through the the U.S.Army Ordnance Corps, but the Marines ended up with it. Almost every part on that truck was difficult to get 40 years ago, so much so I made new stronger front hub center bolts to get around the cracking through the cotter pin holes issue. When that happens, your front wheel is about to leave the room. Holley carb parts can be found in a very old crossover book, and watch the front "hat" member under the blower, they will rust out if the Mite was forded or brought in over a beach, and they almost all were. Again, do not jack via the front differential.... Mechanics will attempt it at inspection, and so you need to be there and alert. Also be aware of the "Fording" position on the fuel filler cap..Inadvertently push down and turn and shortly you will have a vacuum form in the tank and you will stall at the most in-opportune times. Spark plugs were dear in the 1970's, I suspect there are no conversion sets made to use civilian standard plugs. Other then that and Marine mechanics who were good at cutting corners, it is an interesting vehicle.

Have a Great Day!


Sincerely,

Kyle F. McGrogan
To reply to what Kyle says above, all true. The blower housing will also rust out if the dang mice build a nest in it as well. For the jacking part, true. The manual actually says DO NOT JACK on the differential. Being bolted to the engine, the front engine mount is just a single rubber vibration pad which is designed for downward pressure. If you try to jack it up, it will rip the mount apart. Yes, the gas cap has two positions, normal and fording. It takes a bit of good hand strength to get it into the fording position (tight). On the spark plugs, amazingly my local NAPA dealer had four of them in stock, and relatively inexpensive. Around $13.00 each. He asked what airplane I had. Apparently, some aircraft use the same style plugs!! Also, regarding a "civilian" plug adaptation, I just saw an ad in the MVPA magazine for a new adapter that can be used to adapt a standard civilian plug to the threaded watertight military ignition wire system. Should be a good seller, I would assume.
 
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