I bought the M35A3 sight unseen and uninspected from GL at a Barstow auction in September. I had been watching both A2's and A3's and reading the back and forth on the board for months since the Fiancee saw an A2 for sale at the Papago Park Mil Vehicle show back in January of last year and said "I want one!". (She's obviously a keeper! ). In the end I decided I wanted CTIS like my Hummer and the Cat/Allison combo for ease of driving.
The Deuce in my avatar is one of the GL auction photo's. No obvious issues like 6 flat tires from the CTIS, but missing bed rails, seats and cover. It was a hard top and while it didn't have the winch I wanted, it was within reasonable recovery distance and as an A3 might have fewer problems than an older A2. I posted to see if anyone could do a pre-pickup inspection for me. I received a reply from Hundy saying he was headed up to pick up some other stuff and would look for it.
Hundy later called and said that they had been unable to find it in the GL lot, there was one A3 and it might be mine but they weren't sure. It wouldn't start so I knew batteries were first on the recovery list. Hundy, armed with my auction and lot number was able to find it on the next trip and once my EUC cleared, and with paid invoice in hand, he and his son Brian drove up to see if they could drive it the 30 miles to his lot. It started with a jump, brakes worked and so they got it down to his place where it stayed for close to four months... I struggled with work and schedule to collect friends and drive the 370 miles from Scottsdale AZ to Hundy's to pick it up.
Thanks to my friends Rob, Matt (M35A2 and 5-ton tractor owner) and Rob's son Jake, along with my son Josh we were able to pull together tools, fluids, spare filters and belts and drive out finally two weeks ago.
We left Scottsdale at 5am and thanks to some enthusiastic driving by Rob arrived at Hundy's at a 11:30. We had a plan of attack - check all the fluids, change the batteries, bleed the brakes (which took the longest) and check the brakes/lights and signals. In looking it over, it's in good shape mechanically but so-so cosmetically. As a coincidence, CARNAC ran the reg number for me (Thanks!) and it was a 180th Field Artillery truck out of Phoenix AZ. The gov't hauled it to Barstow to sell and now me and my friends would be driving it back to Phoenix!
Only issues - a broken springer seat, worn serpentine belt, dead batteries, no working head lights, no working brake lights, a dented hard top, grease from one of the knuckle boots, a torn drivers seat, and a dead Tach. By 1:15pm we rolled out the gate and locked up behind us. Thanks to Brian and Hundy for letting us steal a three-level light switch, and a air-pack brake switch off one of the other deuces parked on the lot to ensure a safer drive back to Scottsdale. That got the headlights and brake lights working. Fluids were good except for the coolant which had a black/oily color. We got the brakes flushed - hard without a pressure bleeder - with a gallon of DOT 5, tightened a hose clamp on the surge tank that was leaking and put air in the tires.
The brakes have a pretty long throw before they start to work - but they do grab good! I need to check the brake adjusters and make sure the shoes are set properly. Truck ran cool and pulls away smartly! It's faster off the line than Matt's A2, but dies an early death at just over 50 MPH. 4th gear in the Allison 1545 tranny is 1.1 to 1, not even direct drive. These trucks need an overdrive.
I found out shortly after pulling out and driving a short distance to lube the seals (as per the dash 10) that the CTIS was inoperative. So we pulled over, hooked a hose to the gladhand and aired all the tires up. Interestingly one of the front-rear tires was effectively flat with 4 psi in it, but it didn't look like it. The tires were flat spotted from sitting for so long (see the video) - that smoothed out as the tires warmed up and after adding a bit more air to all the tires to take them 50PSI.
As we approached I-10 we stopped once more to check the truck over for leaks, a food break and fresh fuel. From then on it was drive at about 48 or sometimes 50MPH back to Phoenix. We swapped drivers every few hours and
drove pretty much non-stop. The truck is much quieter than an A2. With hearing protection you can talk almost normally and understand your passenger. You could drive it without hearing protection at need, I wouldn't do that in a A2 - it's much more painful on the ears. For this trip I bought and used an aircraft intercom setup which was nice).
About 100 miles from Phoenix during a check/swap of drivers at a rest stop, the knuckle boot that had grease was now showing light hub oil on the inside of the wheel. We pressed on.
We arrived home at close to 1AM, having completed about 750 miles in a day round-trip. The truck ran like a champ. The tach started mysteriously working mid-trip and then died again before the end. Coolant temps, tranny temps - all normal with almost no rise even up the long grade to Chiracho Summitt. Got passed by pretty much everything and anyone, but it was nice to travel at a slower pace. It was okay when driving the deuce, but a bit frustrating in the chase truck when following behind...
I'm really happy with the truck. The Fiancée is happy the the truck. My son Josh is REALLY happy with the truck and has been showing it to all his friends... The next weekend, we drove the truck (knuckle leak and all) to the AHMTA (Arizona Historic Military Transport Association) show at Falcon Field. It was a neat show with 58 military vehicles from jeeps to a B17 that was giving flight rides on Saturday for a donation towards upkeep.
Now I need to find a replacement drivers seat, flush the fluids, fix the dented roof, paint the truck desert tan, check the brakes, fix the CTIS and on and on.
Thanks to all here on SS that posted information about recovery, what to bring and what to look for. We had a smooth recovery thanks to that information and knowing what to look for when we ran into common problems.