Not your average 1970 M35A2 Military Deuce & 1/2...

Discussion in 'Off-Road Rigs' started by Henry Bell, Dec 16, 2012.

  1. Henry Bell

    Henry Bell
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    I created a thread last June to introduce myself and my rig here. Now I figure that the project has progressed enough that I can show others what I've been working on.

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    As stated in the intro thread I own a 1970 M35A2 AM General military deuce and 1/2 (2.5 ton) truck. I bought it from a guy in Georgia after he bought it from a military surplus auction site. The previous owner wasn't mechanically inclined, but he had a mechanic do most of the preventive maintenance for me. My wife and I drove over to Georgia, and after a very thorough inspection by yours truly I drove the deuce home 20 hours with my wife driving behind.

    I didn't really plan on bobbing the truck (removing one of the rear axles and shortening the frame), but the more bobbed deuces I saw pictures of the more I wanted one. The bobbing started in October 2011 and was finished in May 2012. I'm not a slow worker. The major hurdle was waiting on the custom lift kit and some other hard to find parts. My 8" lift kit was the first to hit the public after the prototype was finished by Kyle at BlackRockFab.com. I ended up building a website for Kyle to show off the kit. I also installed a bunch of Trucklite LED lights: hi/low beam headlights in brackets under the front bumper, off-road lights in the stock headlight locations, turn signals and brake lights. The 2 extra lights on the front bumper are hi/low beam fog lights from a tank (LOL). I will be relocating them to the rear for helping me back this beast up in the dark. I sold the factory deuce 12 ft long bed, sides, hoops and tarp, and I installed a M105A2 cargo trailer bed with sides, hoops, and tarp (stored). The trailer bed has fender wells that make the deuce look more like a pickup truck than military troop hauler. I did opt for a set of deuce front springs for the rear of my bobber because they are stronger and rated higher than the M105A2 trailer springs that most people install in their bobber. Some people will notice that I'm not running shocks at the moment on my deuce. I installed rear shock mounts for a single shock at each rear corner, but I haven't bought the required remote-reservoir shocks yet. The front will receive new mounts for 2 shocks per corner.

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    The reason for the 8" lift you ask? Well, if you want to fit 53" Michelin XZL tires on a deuce & 1/2 you need to lift it. The 5 tons don't need to be lifted. Once the lift was complete the next obstacle was to install power steering. The deuces have "armstrong steering" which means you better eat your Wheaties before you get behind the wheel to operate the manual steering rack. I advise driving "crab style" with your thumbs out because if one of the front wheels hits something it will transmit that shock straight to the steering wheel and break a thumb or 2. So, enter Waterloo Specialties with a power steering kit to install. And, yes, that's a 6 ft ladder next to the deuce.

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    Next up was to water proof the drivetrain. The axles, transmission, transfer case and fuel tank have vents that can plug. If an axle vent plugs then the path of least resistance causes the excess pressure to blow differential fluid out of your axle seals. What a PITA the front inner axle seals are to change. A simple fix is to convert all of the vents on the deuce to accept 1/4" poly tubing and compression fittings. All vent lines terminate at the large air filter housing under the hood. That housing is fed air from a 4" elbow and mushroom intake that is over 8 feet from the ground below. Since the exhaust pipe is even higher than that the limit for water crossing is my nose & mouth in the cab. To route the poly vent lines from each axle to the frame rails I simply attached them to the braided SS brake lines that are coiled for articulation.

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    A coolant filter is a must have with a large diesel engine. A visit to NAPA followed by Lowe's netted me a WIX coolant filter setup and valves to isolate the system for easy filter changing. You wouldn't believe the crud this thing cleans out of a cooling system. It is beneficial for a civilian vehicle too!

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    The deuce has a single hydraulic master cylinder for braking duties, and since it requires 1800psi at each hub a 4:1 airpack is used for mechanical advantage. To power the airpack the deuce is equipped with an on-board compressor. To keep the intake of the compressor from sucking water during those deep water fordings I connected it to the large air filter housing as well. There is a 1" pipe provision sticking out of the air filter housing for this use already. A lengthy search on the internet may turn up a "fording kit" for a deuce. It is cheaper to source the pieces & parts from Lowe's and knock it out in a few hours instead.

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    My latest modification was to ditch the factory drum brakes in favor of newer technology in disc brakes. Brake drums can actually get hot enough to swell away from the pads so braking efforts can become non-existent. Vented discs don't care about the heat as much, they have fewer parts, they don't require adjusting, and I can check the pad life without removing the wheels! Back to BlackRockFab where Kyle provides a kit utilizing 2001 F550 Ford rear brake calipers at all 4 corners and Ford 15" diameter vented discs that are 1.5" thick. The front caliper brackets use mounting points for the steering knuckle kingpins. The rear calipers are bolted to the rear axle flange after removing a boat load of rivets. Did I mention I HATE RIVETS?!? This entire project has been removing one rivet after another. Cut the head off. Drill halfway into the rivet. Grab a punch and use a BFH to drive the rivet out. Repeat eleventybillion times.

    At the same time I installed the disc brake kit I rebuilt the front and rear axles with new seals, silicone 1-piece boots, Timken wheel bearings, kingpin bushings, etc. Messy but definitely worth it in the end. It turns out the passenger side is a Bendix or Rezepa or Barfield type axle shaft. The driver side is a u-joint type. I got mixed reviews as far as which one is stronger. Kyle at Black Rock Fab said the monster truck guys say the Bendix is stronger, while the military vehicle guys prefer the u-joint type. Who knows... The wheel bearing races (cups) visibly had signs of wear on all, but a few had deep gouges from where the grease had been washed away from water or other contaminants and had metal/metal contact. The only place around that had USA made Timken was Motion Industries. All of the military surplus companies had chinese crap (Newstar). Not no, but HELL NO!

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    What's next? PAINT JOB! I am trying to decide on what color(s) to paint. Do I go back with desert tan on the body and chassis? Or do I test my paint skills on a 3-color forest camo? I'd like to hear from you guys/girls to see what I should do.

    Mods coming up next:
    1) Paint job - desert tan or 3-color camo?
    2) Dual 2" rear receiver and 28" drop hitch made from 2" solid bar stock.
    3) Install interior 18,000 BTU A/C + 45,000 BTU heat kit.

    Tons more photos and descriptions of modifications can be found on my website for the deuce. Hanksdeuce.com
     
  2. cajun01

    cajun01
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    Parking Lot

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    Great write up. Really nice rig
     
  3. Contender54

    Contender54
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    Jeff

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    You put a lot of effort into both this thread, and your rig.
    Great job on both.
    Keep the updates coming.
     
  4. alanevans10

    alanevans10
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    Parking Lot

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    This is a cool project, but what are you going to do with it?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  5. LA-Sahara

    LA-Sahara
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    Future Injuneer

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    How in the world did you get clearance to drive this thing in the plant?!
     
  6. rajincajintj

    rajincajintj
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    trail tampoon

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    Sick project man, I love these big trucks. Especially the bobbed ones.

    Great work. Looks like you're taking care of all the necessities.
     
  7. Henry Bell

    Henry Bell
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    My plans are to sit back and enjoy the damn thing once I finish the 2-3 year build of it. With knowing the amount of labor involved in maintenance of the front and rear axles I don't plan on attacking any mudholes anytime soon. Don't count me out if peer pressure gets the best of me, however.

    I emailed a picture of the deuce to our head of security at the plant. That was followed with a quick phone call where he approved me to bring it on site as long as I don't have the hoops in place and the tarp cinched down. It was funny the first time I drove it in to the plant. All the guards ran into the building. When I swiped my badge the gate arm picked up out of my way. I waited for a guard to come out so I could show my TWIC card to be on my way. They had to verify with the Sergeant I was allowed to drive in (which I was). Another funny moment was when I was pulled for a random search. I told them they need a step ladder to make it easier.
     
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  8. cajun01

    cajun01
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    Parking Lot

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    Survive the Zombie Apocalypse
     
  9. Henry Bell

    Henry Bell
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    Just got back from a 10 mile test drive. With the new power steering kit it is so much easier to navigate my driveway both forward and reverse. A few roads near my home have an angle that meets the highway where the road you are turning on almost doubles back on you. Effortless steering I tell you. One finger can turn the steering wheel lock to lock. I left 2 unique marks in my driveway where I turned lock to lock sitting still.

    I bled the new disc brakes until I saw purple Silicone Dot 5 and no bubbles. I can't believe they work that well without a proportioning valve on the rear.

    Lastly, I was worried about my hubs being too hot because this was my biggest axle/brakes/bearings job. After driving 10 miles the hubs are slightly warm. They are all pretty much the same temperature (felt by hand though, no IR gun).

    Next week is paint!
     
  10. cajun01

    cajun01
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    Parking Lot

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    I'm ready to see the new paint job
     
  11. uspcommando

    uspcommando
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    Jeeps, Bikes, Guns

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    Damn, now I want one of these. As for the paint I'm a firm believer that everything looks good in black.
     
  12. Henry Bell

    Henry Bell
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    I took the bed off today with help from a forklift. My buddy let me borrow his pressure washer. Over the next few days I will clean the truck, sand, and prepare for paint. Let's hope the weather cooperates for painting.
     
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  13. Henry Bell

    Henry Bell
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    Damn weather is not cooperating. I have to wait for the temperature to warm up slightly.
     
  14. jeepin tiger

    jeepin tiger
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    Finally got a chance to read the article and a good bit of the site. I'll have to keep an eye out around P'ville for the duece, gonna be hard to miss it.

    Put down two votes for black.

    If you need access to a IR gun to check the temps let me know, always have one around the house.
     
  15. Henry Bell

    Henry Bell
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    Sorry, guys, but I'm painting the entire rig desert tan. :D
     
  16. Henry Bell

    Henry Bell
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  17. Henry Bell

    Henry Bell
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  18. Henry Bell

    Henry Bell
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  19. rajincajintj

    rajincajintj
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    trail tampoon

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    nice, ill bet that power steering makes all the difference in the world on that huge beast.
     
  20. Proud Rebel

    Proud Rebel
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    Heavily medicated and intoxicated

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    Makes me miss the 525 rwhp beast I had!!!
     

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