Thought on M35A2 AM General "Deuce and a Half", 2 1/2 ton Cargo Truck

   / Thought on M35A2 AM General "Deuce and a Half", 2 1/2 ton Cargo Truck #11  
I would say that it depends on your intended application. If you are going to be doing a lot of long distance hauling, I would say no - go with a more modern truck. If it is going to be shorter trips, more at your leisure kind of thing, I'd say go for it.

I started looking for a dump truck in the winter and couldn't find anything in my price range. I ended up with a 1970 Kaiser Deuce and half that I am going to install a hoist on this fall (if I get around to it). I can tell you, from my experience, there is some truth and some misconceptions that have already been posted in this thread. If you are serious about getting one, check out Steel Soldiers, and it will have all kinds of information about the deuce, 5 tons, and other military vehicles.

I drive mine around the farm and relatively short trips. I drove it home (about a 2 hour trip) and I personally wouldn't want to drive it a lot further at one time. However, I expect for about a 30 to 40 mile trip (one way) to be about the furthest that I am going to drive on a normal basis.

Don't get discouraged about it, but don't go into it blindly either. Very good trucks can be had for very low dollars, but you may have to contend with weeding out a few bad ones (just like buying any other used vehicle.

Good luck and take care.

That's great advice. I didn't mean to put these trucks down in any way, they're tough as nails or the military wouldn't use them.

I had to pass on one because my trips were pushing the limits of my comfort level and I just couldn't deal with the extent of the parts/repairs/modifcations needed to get it to suit my needs.

I'd love to own one for occasional use, but would go with the 5 ton if I ever bought one. The automatic one would be really nice. I love the super singles on all axles on them over the duals on the rear.
 
   / Thought on M35A2 AM General "Deuce and a Half", 2 1/2 ton Cargo Truck #12  
Couple thoughts.

One, the reason dump trucks are so high is that they are setup that way.
You want them set up way high, with lots of ground clearance. Because with a 240" + wheelbase, it doesn't take much to high center it. (trust me :rolleyes: ). most all dumptrucks (built from factory that way) are set up with tall frames and 24.5 tires. You just have to get a bigger loader.

Also, almost all "real" dump trucks have spring/chalmer/hendrickson suspensions. No air rides here. Know why? (I didn't either). Because air rides won't really take the off roads, plus you'll end up pushing the truck the wrong way.

Think about getting into a strange off camber situation. In a spring suspension it stays pretty much level with the road. Air bags won't really do this.

Trucks that sit for even a while have huge problems. DAMHIK. Springs rust, air canisters go, seals go bad, etc. A good running high mileage unit might not necessarily cost less, but less annoying stuff will go wrong.

A dump trailer in a bad road would be terrible. IMHO And a fully loaded dump trailer on a bad road going downhill (even really slowly) is scary. The tires just slip on the gravel/bumps and it continues to push you downhill. BTDT got the dump truck to replace it.

Lots of trucks have true lockers. (both rear axles drive together and they have diff locks with the flip of a switch). Not impossible. You can still get stuck in worse places though, you just chain up and drive it out.

dump trucks (built from the factory dump trucks, not converted OTR tractors) are built with real low gears. 25:1 or better as first gear, where OTR tractors are typically 10 to 15:1 and usually have a low rear end and a real low hole. Typically dump trucks come with either an 8LL or a 18 spd transmission. Both of those give you a another low range below regular low range.

I have an 8LL in my Mack. It's got 4.88 gears and 24.5 tires. I almost never start in actual Low, I almost always start in 1st, even loaded. And Low-low is amazing low (it also gives you a low-low reverse). in Low-low it just putters along at like .5mph. It's great for getting into ugly areas without having to feather the clutch (which is what I bet it's really for). And the spring suspension while BRUTAL on the highway unloaded, is great offroad and in articulation areas. (and it's much better loaded. Put 25,000lbs in it and it rides quite nice. :) )
 
   / Thought on M35A2 AM General "Deuce and a Half", 2 1/2 ton Cargo Truck #13  
I hope you didn't think I meant "air ride springs (bags)".

I meant air ride seats. :)

My dump is double framed, has low range and high range, 5.38 rears and 12R 22.5 rubber.

Not a Mack with a camelback suspension by any means, but it does pretty good off road. :)

 
   / Thought on M35A2 AM General "Deuce and a Half", 2 1/2 ton Cargo Truck #14  
I'm curious on feedback on actually using the "deuce and a half" for heavy work, hauling trailers and dirt and the like. They seem fairly cheap to buy and I would guess there are Mil surplus parts available (tires, axels etc).

Just curious regarding how much time is spent working vs fixing and if it is at all worthwhile in this role.

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We just had a huge swap meet and show of them in my home town last week. There were several hundred here in all sorts of conditions. Some were works of art and some were clearly just for parts. I bought one about 8 years ago with the intention of using it as a dump truck on a few hundred acres of remote property I own. It turned out to be more than I wanted to get it working as I wanted.

It seemed that every time I got an area nearly restored I discovered that some seal or ring gear or pinion was bad. Then was the issue of the lack of real power. There are a million options to add power but, like everything else, it just costs more money. I bailed on mine when a guy offered me enough to cover all my costs and he was going to make a "monster truck" out of it. He had a line on some tank engine and had all sorts of ideas (hmm, sounds like me when I bought it) of what he was going to do with it.

I don't regret buying it, but I don't think I'd do it again. If I'd have been in the military and had a sentimental attraction to one I can see going all out on one. As it is, I'm now still keeping an eye out for that Pinzgauer or Unimog for my 'ultimate' drive to Alaska vacation vehicle. For some reason I still think it would be really cool to have a great vehicle to take the wife along with me and just go see what our beautiful country has to offer. Now I'm being told that the way to go would be to import a diesel Land Cruiser and have it customized for the trek. Oh well, a guy can dream... :)
 
   / Thought on M35A2 AM General "Deuce and a Half", 2 1/2 ton Cargo Truck #16  
I hope you didn't think I meant "air ride springs (bags)".

I meant air ride seats. :)

My dump is double framed, has low range and high range, 5.38 rears and 12R 22.5 rubber.

Not a Mack with a camelback suspension by any means, but it does pretty good off road. :)


I was actually replying to the OP about air ride, and i did think he meant bags, not seats.

that thing is a beast!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :eek:

How often do you use 4x4? Does it have low and high range 4x4 or what?

My wimpy little Mack. I'm 6'1" tall to give you some scale.
 

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   / Thought on M35A2 AM General "Deuce and a Half", 2 1/2 ton Cargo Truck
  • Thread Starter
#17  
I wasn't thinking of a restoration at all, but one does need a working vehicle to be reliable. I've read the adventures of the King of Obsolete Welcome to the King of Obsolete's Website and working on vehicles while floating in mud or buried in a snowdrift has no appeal to me. The area I am looking to go is quite a commute from anywhere with jobs and facilities and I figure I will need to provide many things for myself (sand, gravel, cement, block etc) as well as maintain roads and with a little equipment, one can have a source of income fixing roads for other residents. One subdivision I looked at spends 50k a year maintaining their gravel roads and if you drive out there it is hard to even see any homes...

Last time I was out there was in May and the roads were really bad from the spring melt. There were several places where we were passed by people on horseback. Of course the further off the beaten track, the cheaper the land gets and the less neighbors you have...

I agree, Builder, that truck is a beast. Sure it would do the trick, but I'm sure you had to pay the price too. Justifiable if you are using it all the time.
 
   / Thought on M35A2 AM General "Deuce and a Half", 2 1/2 ton Cargo Truck #18  
I wasn't thinking of a restoration at all, but one does need a working vehicle to be reliable. I've read the adventures of the King of Obsolete Welcome to the King of Obsolete's Website and working on vehicles while floating in mud or buried in a snowdrift has no appeal to me. The area I am looking to go is quite a commute from anywhere with jobs and facilities and I figure I will need to provide many things for myself (sand, gravel, cement, block etc) as well as maintain roads and with a little equipment, one can have a source of income fixing roads for other residents. One subdivision I looked at spends 50k a year maintaining their gravel roads and if you drive out there it is hard to even see any homes...

Last time I was out there was in May and the roads were really bad from the spring melt. There were several places where we were passed by people on horseback. Of course the further off the beaten track, the cheaper the land gets and the less neighbors you have...

I agree, Builder, that truck is a beast. Sure it would do the trick, but I'm sure you had to pay the price too. Justifiable if you are using it all the time.

It wasn't as bad as you think. :)

You might be surprised how little I have in it. :)

The King of Obsolete is a great guy. He's given me quite a bit of help.
 
   / Thought on M35A2 AM General "Deuce and a Half", 2 1/2 ton Cargo Truck #19  
I was actually replying to the OP about air ride, and i did think he meant bags, not seats.

that thing is a beast!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :eek:

How often do you use 4x4? Does it have low and high range 4x4 or what?

My wimpy little Mack. I'm 6'1" tall to give you some scale.

Oh, that Mack isn't wimpy. I've driven enough of them to know the older ones were THE site truck. I was this close (fingers 1/4" away from each other) to buying a MACK 4WD from a guy in Michigan. It was a 300HP with super singles all around, but the sheetmetal had too much surface rust.

I use the 4x4 often enough to justify it, that's for sure. One of my first jobs was running fill down into a swampy area to build up ground for a nursery. The nice thing was not having to be pulled out like the 4x2 trucks. I still take fill down there, but there's plenty of dry ground to turn around.

The 4800 has both high range 4x2, high range 4x4, low range 4x2 and low range 4x4. It has an airshifted Fabco transfer case to give you the high/low range.

I really want to upgrade to a tandem all wheel drive, but I can't find a buyer for my 4800.
 
   / Thought on M35A2 AM General "Deuce and a Half", 2 1/2 ton Cargo Truck #20  
What i still dont get is why you guys buy long nosed dumptrucks with a huge wheelbase: You'll need more ground clearance to get over the same hilltop, a longer frame is heavier which means less payload, and a long wheelbase takes a lot of space to turn it around.

On an even shorter frame than the muck hauling 3 axle Mack dumptruck, the Dutch special truck builder Ginaf places 5 axles and takes 55 ton offroad: Ginaf: X 5460 S

This is Hollands most popular dumptruck for urban areas: Ginaf: X 3236 S
Its legally allowed to 36 ton GVW here.
 
 
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