Author Topic: Yep, another truck, but this one's different...  (Read 710 times)

Offline WEBellSystemChristian

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Yep, another truck, but this one's different...
« on: February 25, 2018, 06:21:16 PM »
My family has been toying with the idea of getting one of these for about 8 or 9 years now, and we finally bit the bullet over the weekend and ordered to have one built. ;D ;D ;D

It's an M35A3, or a Deuce and a Half, in Layman's Terms. The A3 is an upgraded and refurbished version of the more common M35A2 Military cargo truck. The upgrades include hydraulic power steering, an automatic transmission, Caterpillar Turbodiesel, and several safety features. It was refurbished by the Government in 1999 from an M35A2, and since the program to refurbish Deuce and a Halfs was stopped that year, we ended up with one of the last rebuilt Deuces!

Ours is going to be built by a company in Indiana as a bobbed truck. Bobbing involves shortening the frame and removing the rear axle to make it less like a military cargo truck and more like a conventional pickup truck...a very, very big pickup truck. :) The full-length box and canopy are going to be replaced by a military trailer box, which fits the space left by the troop bed perfectly. It's also being media-blasted and repainted in the original color scheme.

I don't typically like 'custom' trucks, but this is one exception. On pavement, the rear axles are known to 'fight' each other on the stock 6x6 trucks when making turns, which puts a lot of strain on the axles and driveshaft. The bobbed conversion trucks are vastly easier to maneuver on the road, plus they look better IMHO.

It's not mine, but it will be a family truck. It's also going to be LOTS of fun to drive in the Summer! We were told that it should be done in a couple months: One month of them completing trucks for other customers, and one month of work on this truck.

It should be completed around the same time I get my '88 F150 out of Winter storage. One thing that hasn't really entered anyone's mind is where we're going to park the new addition! Still, I'm really, really excited for this Summer! ;D

The first pictures are of the truck as it sits, and the last two are how it should look when it's done (minus the gimmicky stars on the doors).
« Last Edit: February 25, 2018, 10:20:23 PM by WEBellSystemChristian »
Christian Petterson

"Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right" -Henry Ford

Offline Pourme

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Re: Yep, another truck, but this one's different...
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2018, 06:26:39 PM »
That's a Bad Assed toy!
Benny

The Internet is a telephone system that's gotten uppity

Offline WEBellSystemChristian

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Re: Yep, another truck, but this one's different...
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2018, 06:29:37 PM »
That's a Bad Assed toy!
I couldn't have said it any better, Benny!
Christian Petterson

"Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right" -Henry Ford

Offline Dan/Panther

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Re: Yep, another truck, but this one's different...
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2018, 09:50:36 PM »
Great truck.  How much ?

D/P

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Offline WEBellSystemChristian

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Re: Yep, another truck, but this one's different...
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2018, 10:15:00 PM »
Great truck.  How much ?

D/P
About $27k for everything. It's also getting LED lighting all around, full engine/transmission service, and new wheels and tires. The A3 variant is fairly hard to come by, and considering the fact that non-running A3s with all flat tires, mice nests in every crevice, sitting parked in the middle of a field are selling for $11-15k lately, it's a pretty good deal. Ours will be pretty much new when it's done, as close to new as you can get with military surplus.

They can also build a crew cab (4 door) version by stitching two cabs together, but those cost around $60k. I'll sacrifice a back seat in the cab by sitting in the bed for that price difference. :)
« Last Edit: February 25, 2018, 10:32:08 PM by WEBellSystemChristian »
Christian Petterson

"Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right" -Henry Ford

Offline Pourme

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Re: Yep, another truck, but this one's different...
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2018, 10:20:12 PM »
That would look good going down the highway pulling a big fith wheel camper!
Benny

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Offline WEBellSystemChristian

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Re: Yep, another truck, but this one's different...
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2018, 10:29:21 PM »
That would look good going down the highway pulling a big fith wheel camper!

I wonder how well it would do pulling a camper? It still has the military hook-type trailer hitch, but there are upgrade kits available. It can pull 10,000 lbs I believe, but the ride quality wouldn't be very enjoyable long-distance.

It would definitely dwarf any trailer it could pull... I'm 6'2", and I'm just barely as tall as the hood!

Besides, why pull a camper when you can be the camper? Weenie roast, anyone? ;D
« Last Edit: February 25, 2018, 10:34:09 PM by WEBellSystemChristian »
Christian Petterson

"Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right" -Henry Ford

Offline oldguy

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Re: Yep, another truck, but this one's different...
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2018, 11:27:06 PM »
Wow, now that's a cool truck. Congrats Christian.
Gary

Offline Babybearjs

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Re: Yep, another truck, but this one's different...
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2018, 12:22:04 AM »
I keep telling my room mate he needs one like that....
John

Offline WEBellSystemChristian

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Re: Yep, another truck, but this one's different...
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2018, 10:59:27 PM »
My Dad got an email today...the truck is almost finished!

They're a couple days away from finishing the build, and then it'll be shipped our way! :)

Here are some blurry shots they sent in the email:
Christian Petterson

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Offline WEBellSystemChristian

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Re: Yep, another truck, but this one's different...
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2018, 10:56:24 AM »
Sorry I haven't been around as much guys...I've been busy with this!

The company we bought it from simply shortened, media blasted, and painted it. Since they did no real maintenance of any kind, it's been pretty hard work getting it totally roadworthy.

*BORING DESCRIPTIVE STUFF AHEAD* ::)

First, we noticed it wouldn't accelerate past 35 MPH. It was pretty scary thinking of all the possibilities of what it could be, but it turned out to be the simplest problem of all: old fuel. This engine is pretty finicky with fuel quality, and sure enough, when we looked in the tank, the diesel was a very murky yellow, when it should be clear green. There was a lot of sediment in the bottom of the tank, which was also found in the filter, probably causing a fuel restriction. The fuel filter was also 20 years old and pretty dirty, so after replacing the filter and draining/refilling the fuel, the problem was fixed, and it now runs smoothly.

The ride quality was also horrible, and, fortunately, was a relatively easy fix. My Dad in particular noticed that the truck bounced up and down going down the road, and the bouncing became more rapid the faster you traveled. I noticed that the wheels didn't look like they were seated right.
Since we have larger-than-stock wheels that have a 10-lug bolt configuration, we need adapter plates so the wheels can be properly mounted to the smaller 6-lug axles. These plates are 1/4" thick steel, and have holes cut out for the axle lugs, and holes around the outside that bolt to the original lug holes on the wheel. The company that built ours plasma cut these themselves, which is a fairly crude technique for something this precise. None of the lugs lined up with the holes, causing the bouncing, since the wheels were neither centered on the axle, nor were they seated properly.

After taking it to the right guy to have the adapters replaced and ordering laser-cut replacements, the truck rides very smoothly.

We also made some lighting and electrical upgrades, as well as changing engine oil and transmission fluid.

----------------------

Since most of the issues are now out of the way, we've been having some fun with it. The latest was being part of the Waukesha July 4th Parade. The guy who invited us is also head of the Midwest Military Vehicle Association, and is the same guy who changed out the adapter plates for us. There were only 4 other MMVA members there with 5 vehicles total, but it was pretty fun nonetheless.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2018, 11:10:40 AM by WEBellSystemChristian »
Christian Petterson

"Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right" -Henry Ford

Offline WEBellSystemChristian

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Re: Yep, another truck, but this one's different...
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2018, 11:05:09 AM »
Here it is, just before the parade. We stood around for an hour before the parade started, but got lots of attention from bystanders who were also waiting. The Humvee behind it looks pretty small by comparison... ;D
Christian Petterson

"Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right" -Henry Ford

Offline Pourme

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Re: Yep, another truck, but this one's different...
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2018, 11:21:58 AM »
Thanks for the update, Christian....

That is such a cool truck! I know you and your Dad are having a blast with it.
Benny

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Offline Butch Harlow

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Re: Yep, another truck, but this one's different...
« Reply #13 on: July 08, 2018, 12:06:04 PM »
Wow! That's a beast. A beautiful beast. Oh, the fun I could have in that. Super job, it really does look awesome.

Offline compubit

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Re: Yep, another truck, but this one's different...
« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2018, 11:05:11 PM »
Looks great! Glad you were able to get the gremlins worked out!

J
A phone phanatic since I was less than 2 (thanks to Fisher Price); collector since a teenager; now able to afford to play!
Favorite Phone: Western Electric Trimline - it just feels right holding it up to my face!