1949 Nebraska Tractor Test of the CJ-3A                                   

"In 1918, Nebraska farmer W. F. Crozier from Osceola in Polk county bought a tractor. When that tractor—the Ford B— (not made by the Henry Ford Co.) didn't live up to its advertised claims, he and fellow State Senator Charles Warner decided to ensure that all farmers would get a fair deal when buying any model of tractor sold in Nebraska. Under their leadership, the Nebraska Tractor Test Law was passed in 1919 to ensure that tractor manufacturers met their advertised claims of tractor performance. At the same time, the legislature established a facility for tractor testing on the campus of the University of Nebraska." This summary of the origin of the Nebraska Tractor Test comes from the Lester F. Larsen Tractor Test & Power Museum web-site. The  Nebraska Tractor Test Laboratory continues to test tractors to provide agricultural tractor users with unbiased information about tractor performance. The test data allows the user to make meaningful comparisons between tractors.
CJ-3A Test1949 was the first model year for the new CJ-3A and a Willys Universal Jeep CJ-3A was tested by the Nebraska Tractor Test Laboratory October 25 to November 2, 1949. See a copy of test report No. 432 by clicking here. The tested CJ-3A had a serial number of 108196 according to the report. This number is interesting since CJ-3A serial numbers started with 10001 and continued up to about 54000 in 1950 when the serial number format was changed. Could the number be a misprint? Was the actual serial number 10819, making it an early 1949 model? Perhaps the vehicle was a factory prototype test mule made from a modified CJ-2A with some new CJ-3A parts added. The tested vehicle engine serial number was listed as J226916 which is clearly a CJ-2A engine number. If the actual vehicle number was 208196 the engine number J226916 would make a likely combination for a 1948 CJ-2A. Maybe a replacement engine was needed  for the CJ-3A and the only thing immediately available was a CJ-2A engine. A CJ-2A engine can easily be adapted to fit in a CJ-3A. The test photo to the left shows a Jeep with distinct CJ-3A characteristics. We will probably never know for sure the history of this test vehicle. This Jeep also utilized the optional 15" wheels with 7.00-15 NDT Goodyear tires instead of the standard 6.00-16 tires. The 15" tires probably provided more floatation in loose soil.

The Nebraska Tractor Test consisted of 10 tests which are grouped into two general categories: belt horsepower tests and drawbar horsepower tests. Horsepower, speeds and fuel consumption are recorded during the testing to provide data for comparison with other tractors. During the belt horsepower test a wide flat belt is connected between the tractor drive pulley and a dynamometer that supplies the load. On the farm the tractor provided a mobile power source via the belt drive. It could be used to operate hammer mills, silo fillers, buzz saws, corn shellers and many other tools. Drawbar horsepower is the amount of pull exerted by the tractor on the test car. This simulates the ability to pull bottom plows, disc harrows, spring tooth harrows, spike tooth harrows, and other equipment. Working hard soil required high drawbar pull numbers.

The following chart compares the CJ-3A test results to other small tractors of the same era.
Test E, Belt Horsepower varying load average                                                             Test H, Drawbar Horsepower for ten hours                      

Belt HP Gal./hour Drawbar HP Drawbar Pull Slip of drive wheels
Ford 8N
Farmall C

Farm Journal AdThe CJ-3A compared favorably to other tractors and Willys was proud of this. Click on the Willys ad in the March 1950 Farm Journal magazine to the right for a larger view. Willys avoided references to cultivation in their ads since other agricultural tests of the Jeep indicated that it did not have enough ground clearance for row crop cultivation. The Nebraska Tractor Test did not include subjective testing such as this.

Also see an article about CJ-3B Farm Jeeps on The CJ-3B Page. This article includes information about Nebraska Tractor Test No. 502 in which a 1953 CJ-3B Farm Jeep was tested.

Special thanks to Harold West for providing information about CJ-2A serial numbers. See the article  CJ-2A History on the CJ-2A Page for more information about the CJ-2A.  

Find out more about Dating a CJ-3A here.

More information and comments are welcome,
Bob W.
Click here for contact information