cost of ownership (the real cost of a deuce)


Garfield, Washington
I paid 3000 for my truck from a private seller. It is a VERY fresh rebuild so it has given me little grief in the mechanical department at all. It needed all of its tires changed. I adapted an LMTV top and cage to it and tore it down and repainted it.

So far with all expenses I am into it 4200 dollars.

Add 200 more for special tools and my oil cleaning system for WMO.

It is worth every penny I have put into it and it gives us something to do on the weekends. Crystal (wife) is always parade hunting.


clio, mi
I bought mine just under a yr ago. I bid on a m109a3 and won it for $1550 but turns out its a M185. Same truck just a different name I guess. Tack on GL fees licence reg, ins. close to $1800 into it. The recovery was easy I pulled up to the yard and it was already running. I gave it a quick once over and took off. I went a couple miles to a truck stop pulled in and checked everything, filled up and drove 150 miles on the the freeway home. I need to do a oil change and I bought a block htr so I need to change the coolent also. I also just found 2 flat tires after I drove it from my new house back to my old house, and the stem got sucked into the tire.

I converted it into a camper and used alot of parts off junk campers I got really cheap. Oh I just built a deck off the back that cost me around $300. But all said and done I have around $2500-2700 into it so far. After the fluid change and the rest of the camper is done I'll have about $3300 into it and I can go anywhere I want and not worry about getting stuck lol.


Active member
Scarborough, ME
Mine arrived early January. I'm a tinkerer and not a large vehicle maintenance professional so I had to buy some new tools :). My truck runs great, supposedly it has only seen 40 miles of use since the 85' rebuild if records are correct. Paint and body work will be my biggest projects. Here's the tally off the top of my head so far.

  • Ft. Campbell GL M109A3 $1720 (Thank you to my brother on base for inspection)
  • 1200 miles shipping to Maine $1700 (Thank's Eric Carlson! Luckily I got a 1K referral bonus about the same time so this didn't hurt so bad.)
  • Taxes $170
  • Registration $100
  • Insurance through State Farm $25/month
  • Fresh diesel $80 (wanted a baseline, mixing free misc alternative fuels now)
  • New speedometer cable $40 shipped (Thank's OD Iron!)
  • New Brake Lines $100 (Napa for the steel, OD Iron for the hose)
  • New Dot5 Brake Fluid $30 shipped (Thank's Spruce Mountain!)
  • Home Made Brake Power Bleeder $30 (Thank's Recovery4x4!)
  • Spin on Oil Filters $150 shipped (Thanks Westfolk!)
  • New Bolts $20
  • Spin on Primary Fuel Filter $100 shipped (Thanks Westfolk!)
  • Replace missing van Window $80 shipped (Thanks Dug!)
  • Replace missing blackout cover $30 shipped (Thanks White Owl!)
  • RV Roofing Seam Sealants $40
  • Oil Change $50
  • Grease $10
  • New coolant hose clamps $10
  • Bigger Impact Wrench and Sockets $300
  • Pneumatic 20 ton jack $100
  • Air Hose, adapter, and regulator for safe inflation of tires. $40
  • 40" Breaker Bar $40
  • Aluminum boarding ladder shipped $115 (Thanks White Owl!)
  • Air Rivet Gun and rivet tools $100
  • 6 gallons, 2 spray cans of Gillespie paint $240 (not applied yet)
Labor with love = Priceless


Southbridge MA
Truck... $2500
Gas to get my pickup there and back... $150
Diesel to get the truck back home... $350-400
Tolls, temp tags, food... $100 or so
Stuff to get it working again halfway home after it blew all the belts and overheated... $100
Stuff I bought for it already... $510 (headlight bulbs, replacement marker light and temp gauge, tach cable, new belts of proper size, softtop, etc etc etc)
Oil and diff lube.. $150 or so (OW, I am not used to this)
Stuff I'm going to need to buy shortly... $150-200 (filters, new axle boot, spare parts)
Stuff I haven't figured out the price for yet... tie rod and TRE (for a 5 ton, gonna be pricey)
Tires... $2000-2500 (have not bought yet, not looking forward to it)

I am not even going to add it up. I don't want to know.


New member
Columbus Georgia
After several pm's from folks they were inquisitive as to a rough estimate of what we have in these unit - so I will kinda go through a breakdown for you.

Countless hours not recorded since last October and still finishing them.

In all the additional metal for fabrication - $1,000.00
Solid Oak - over $5,000.00
Oak sheeting - $250.00
Additional wood like 2x4's - 2x2's = $800.00
RV parts picked up - $2,200.00
100 am Vanner Equalizer = $784.00
Power Distribution panel 50 amp = $350.00
50 amp transfer switch = $250.00
4 - 105 ah deep cycle batteries - $600.00
150 amp circuit breakers - resettable - $150.00
Inverter/Charger = $2800.00
Fuse for the above - $ 150.00
2 rv 12v/24v refrigerators - $1,900.00
Microwave = $89.00
custom made shower/tub and surround (with shipping) = $500.00
On Demand Hot water heater = $254.00
Toilet (on sale) = $169.00
Holding tank w/shipping = $185.00
Total steel costs for fabbing = $2,360.00 (do not confuse this with the above first mentioned steel costs)
mattress - stole it from the house
14 gallons of Crown Royal and Coke (coke on sale) = $1,140.00
second 50 amp breaker panel = $79.00
Breakers for both panels - $63.00
GFI and elec outlets = $50.00
total elect wire and battery cable - ends - etc = $800.00
Onan generator = $3,200.00
battery for generator = $59.00
fuel tank for generator = $ 32.00
hardware for drawers - etc = $100.00
sink and faucet - stole it from something else and wife has not found it yet
formica - contact cement $60.00
aluminum for drawer slides - etc = $125.00
40 gallon water tank and pump = $200.00
4 LED foglights = $600.00
5 interior led lights = $500.00
(not going to include pm stuff it is operating costs)
spare tank fuel lines (stratoflex) = $125.00 TANK WAS FREE W?BRACKET
seats in the interior - free
gps with camera's - not telling ya
FLIR system - not telling ya
flooring = $150.00
stain & polyurethane & brushes = $125.00
Only did to one truck - complete flooring composite = $480.00

Roughly remainder of the misc stuff like welding wire - wood screws - flooring screws - bedliner coating - plumbing water lines - connectors for water lines - medical gauze wrapping and tape and bandaids - whatever else has to be over $500.00

If you do not believe the list - you can see for yourself at the Ga Rally Oct 20 - 24th.
Dinger65 is charging a fee to see his ac in his cab/under hood - so if you are planning a free look at it - bring some change with you.

PB - a long time ago on anotehr thread you mentioned a cost - you were really close


Active member
Bee County, Texas
The winch truck I paid $770 (plus $77 GL fee) for has so far cost me

~$120 in title and 5 year FMV registration (I think, don't have the figures in front of me). ~$160 for 6 months insurance through State Farm. Some people have even gone cheaper, like through a collector's policy with Hagerty for something around $50 a year.

3 WC rebuild kits. ($3 each?)
4 or 5 axle seals. ($20 altogether?)
Front axle engagement switch (take-off of parts truck)
Air activated Brake switch (take-off of parts truck)
Wiper valve (take-off of parts truck)
Fuel gauge (take-off of parts truck)
4 new cargo cover corners ($12 each)
3 new cargo bows (made out of scrap)
1 cab top ($125)
1 cargo cover ($180)
2 cans of bearing grease. I forget the cost of those.
1/2? tube of grease gun grease.
2 water pump/alternator belts.

Picked up 3 gallons of Gillespie OD semi-gloss. I forget what I paid, but I was up near Dallas at the time anyways, so I was able to skip the hazmat charge. Call it another $100.

A little bit of ospho and spray paint rattle-can to stop the corrosion until I can give it the proper paint job. I dunno... $10 or $15?

Didn't even have to replace the batteries. They took a charge and are still running strong!

Honestly, the cost of ownership for a deuce really isn't too bad. The fact that I've spent as little as I have on consumable maintenance parts on a 40 year old truck that probably hasn't seen much regular maintenance in the last 5 of those years speaks well for it.
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Rock = older than dirt , GA. MAFIA , Dirty
Steel Soldiers Supporter
In Memorial
gainesville, ga.
what is the TOTAL cost of ownership, this includes every nut and bolt, insurance, tags, going to get it, the preview,, every little bit , every tool needed that you didn't have, ect., everything but your time.

I kept a cost log for the 819, from my first deposit (brought it sight unseen, though would get the deposit back if I didn't like after I inspected when went to t pay the rest in person) till I quit keeping the tally sheet when the TOTAL COST was $26000+now this IS EVERYTHING from going to pay for it, reg, insurance, getting it here to filters, tow bars, winch, nuts & bolts, tires & mounting, ect., ect., ect, A $1 ,$5, $50, $100 here or there adds up quick. in another words EVERY PENNY spent with the name 819 attached to it.

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New member
Chesapeake, VA

1600 here after GL fee. 120 to register with permanent tags no yearly renewal. Drove it 100miles home no parts needed. 12k miles on the counter. Its a sprag tcase with soft top and heater. Has all the bows, troop seats, and cargo top in great condition. No winch however. The year was unknown on auction...still not sure what it is. 75 fee for title from GL. Fluids probably 100 a year as I don't drive much. 150 a year insurance.

If someone has an idea what year the sprag tcases were in please let me know:driver:


Senior Chief/Moderator
Super Moderator
Steel Soldiers Supporter
Mesquite, NV
I paid 1390 out the door with GL fees and tax. Needed two new batteries to start and misc fluids topped of to get her home. Less than 100 for registration, 225 a year insurance.

109 box was rusty, I bought a cargo bed, troop seats and bows from Hundy, but selling parts off the M109 box paid for it. My buddy Phil sold me a tan cargo cover cheap, I got a cab top (only because I wanted tan) and most of a winch fairly cheap off another board member.

I've repaired a wheel seal and boot and one wheel cylinder. Changed mirrors, added a tool box, vice, hose reel, new data plate, re did the seats and a bunch more. I repainted it tan one can of paint at a time. I installed all of Westfolk's spin ons, one kit at a time.

I haven't kept track, but it's been tons of fun and I haven't really noticed the costs adding up. It's the cheapest of all my hobbys. I don't think I have ever spent more than 500 at any one time other than buying the truck. Usually it's a few bucks to a couple hundred here and there.

If money is tight I would suggest you save up and get the cleanest private party truck you can in your budget. If you try to save and go the auction route the hidden costs will kill your fun quickly.

I recently got 11.00 x 20s for the truck (thanks AGAIN Phil) but they aren't going on until it fits my family budget. It didn't need tires, I just wanted them. So far that's been true about most everything on the truck. For me its a big toy. If I gave up all the hiking trips, the electronics, the 67 Chevelle, scouting, ATVs and a few other distractions I could have any MV I wanted, but the deuce fills the bill and leaves room for other fun.


New member
Pittsburgh, PA
someone once told me that a boat was a hole in the water that you throw money into....MVs can be the same way lol but I wouldnt trade my MV for anything

Never been on my boat then (Nauti Girl) had some of the best times/parties on the water (worth every penny). As for the truck its so funny when someone says wow that truck was only $3,000, I'm gonna get one. I laugh and say, "buying it is cheap, just wait."


New member
Alabaster, AL
I think I have a different perspective on cost than most of you guys. Yes I am new at this hobby and may well need a lesson. I looked for a long time for a flatbed for hauling my bees around. I am a hobbyist beekeeper but based on demand.. want to become at least the classification of sideliner. I want to be up to about 300 hives in the next couple of years. That being said.. The ONLY affordable flatbed truck in ANY kind of shape was the M35A2C. Adding a low bid 1.5 ton trailer for $170 gave me the same room to stack hive boxes as I would have with a commercial long flat bed. I know there will be items that require maintenance, replacement, etc. This cost would have to replace this truck three times over to just scratch the cost of a commercial flatbed.

This is a hobby but it is also a business expense and the whole shabang will be expensed on my income tax.

With this truck I can place bees ANYWHERE. Not just a few hundred yards off the main roads. I have already contacted the Department of Interior to place them in the National Forest in some areas not well traveled. Places not well traveled makes my wildflower honey bees very happy.

After expanding to 300 hives I will be in a position to sell pollination service contracts which is where the big money is in the bee business. Demand far exceeds supply for healthy bees.

My real question is if I feed them green food color sugar water, can I get me some camo bees out of it?:roll:


New member
Sevierville TN.
I purchased my truck from an individual, with prev tag and title, just had to transfer it.
1. M35A2C $3,900.00
2. Paint touch up and rust preventive. $200.00+
3. Exhaust Stack, Gskt. And Clamp $153.67
4. Cargo Bows. $120.00 plus hardware
5. Troop seats. $325.00
6. Pioneer Tool Rack (no tools) $35.00
Tools $75.00
7. Front Bumper Shackles $20.00

8. Seat Covers (Beachwood Canvas) $398.64
9. CAT Master Switch and wire $80.00
P/N 7N0718 $66.88 new from Cat.
10. New heater hoses. $45.00
11. Cargo Cover; GMA Covers
54331, Cover Assy, Cargo, 12',
Green 383 Medium Truck M35 $496.36

Total $5,848.67
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New member
I am about $23k into mine and that includes my flights to get it, 1900mile ride home, all NOS replacement parts ect…..And I am nowhere near done yet! J
Currently it’s in tip top mechanical shape
My wife thinks I’m an idiot! But then again I did tell her why doctor’s slap the babies ass when their born – so the ****s fall off the dumb ones! And even funnier! She doesn’t get it!!!!


New member
New Mexico
22,000.00 into my two M820 and I dont even have them home yet.

Already looking at another 20 grand in custom work on them for the RV conversions.

Billy Bobbed

Active member
Terre Haute,Indiana
I think what you have in it depends on the condition the truck was when you got it.I hear alot of guys say they got their truck for $1,500 or $2,500.But it my need a window or seats,top,tires,title,batteries,or a radiator ect,that adds up.I gave $4,000 for a winch truck with title from C&C that really didnt need much at all.I've had mine for over a year and with no problems.Almost everything that I've done is upgrades.It even came with manuals and tools.But being at the right place or bidding at the right time you might get a good truck for a decent price.
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New member
Baton Rouge LA
I have to add, research and decide what you want first. That winch, troop seats, heater or bows and cover could add a lot to an initially cheap Deuce if you want to add later.:-D


New member
angola ny
the little parts are adding up quick, fuel system parts, break system rebuild, axle seals, boots, bushings, and various upgrades. paints next...


New member
Port Huron, Michigan
Well, bought mine from Gl
Truck - 1858.33
Light switch - 79.00
Head Lamp - 32.99
Homemade radio box - 12.50
WMO filter setup - 39.61
Fuel - Priceless (^^ get it!?)
I roughly got 2k in it, and been driving for about a month and a half, every day!..

mark salanco

New member
Steel Soldiers Supporter
greenville sc
I bought my bobbed duce w/w and put over $3000 into it the first month i had it. then about another $1500 after that, but i love this truck and will continue puting money into it until i die or sell it..:beer:


New member
Bar Harbor, ME
I got into a wicked bidding war with a collector over the M36 I got off GL.... $9,600 ish all said and done. When I did the math and fabrication time to lengthen an M35 or buy a Civ truck and make it 6x6, I was fine with the end price - especially since the holding location was only 120 miles away and the truck was in fantastic condition!!!

Funny story - A mechanic I work with in the Gov't told me to go and see someone at the DRMO and get the scoop on a different M35 I had originally been looking at in another state. When I arrived to meet the head mechanic, he said "That was fast!!! Are you here to see our truck I just posted on GL???" - I told him, "I am NOW!!!". Not only did he give me the run down of the M36 they had, but he ran the VIN off of the truck I was looking at to see if it ran through his region. The M36 had just been overhauled in 96 for deployment to Israel, but was decommissioned for auction. Fantastic men to work with. When I got my EUC, we got it started, inspected and drove it for almost a year before mechanical things started popping up!

To date:
Log Loader $12,500
T-Case PTO $350
PTO shaft to hydraulic pump and tank with fittings/hose $1000
All the heavy steel to build 3 bunks in the bed, shorten bed 2 ft, fabricate a mounting plate for the log loader, extend log loader stabilizer legs $1000
Pre-bought 12 new torsion inserts for when the rubber starts to let go in the arms $750???
11 new Goodyear G177's installed with tubes $4,400
Extra lights, batteries, wiring, new soft top, radiator repair, brake system rebuild, front end maintenance, block heater, mirrors... $2000
and the endless nickle and dime-ing of fluids, fuel, grease, filters, new tools and time!!!!

I usually just tell folks I have about $40,000 in a mini logging truck.
I'm sure I'm missing something, mis-priced something above, or my mind has just suppressed the amount of money I've "invested" in things for it.... as my wife's eye's roll around shaking her head walking away....... :wink:
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