Gun truck build questions

Sikorsky502

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So I think that in the future I may want to do a gun truck project and I'm curious what truck everyone recommends to start with. Also, is anyone out there making repro. Armor for these or does anyone have the plans for the armor that I could get to have all the steel cut? What else should be considered when doing a build?
 

dmetalmiki

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As gun platforms they were used in the 5ton and 2 1/2 ton trucks in vietnam. the older multifuel trucks.
 

frank scholer

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I am thinking of building an early war "tribute" gun truck and plan to start with a M35A2 deuce rather than a M54 5-ton. I visited the Army transportation museum at Ft Eustis a few years ago where I saw "Eve of Destruction". I recently bought two reference books about gun trucks, including the book "Gun Trucks in Vietnam" by James Lyles.
1. Regarding the construction of the gun box, some were made attached to the outside of the truck bed while others were made to fit inside the truck bed. I intend to do the later method. The walls look to be about 48" high. Details indicate the plate was attached to the bed by clips made from short pieces of angle iron. Any suggestions about this?
2. I am planning to add a door to the rear of the gun box for ease of entry, similar to a WWII halftrack. While this does not appear to be common, I think it will make the truck more useful for those of us that are less agile than the typical 20-something GI.
3. What I can't tell is how the armor was attached to the cab doors. Can anyone shed light on how the door armor was attached? By it's own set of hinges attached to the cab frame or directly to the door itself? I intend to make the top part of the plate fold down for better visibility and safety when driving on public roads.
4. Paint will be semi-gloss black with light trim paint. Does anyone have knowledge about the various hood stripe colors?
Any suggestions and info on details of construction from any gun truck crew members would be greatly appreciated.
 

turnkey

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Most gun trucks are M35A2 heavily modified.....Most reprod gun trucks use 1/4 steel plate as easy to work with and cut....Check out a local CNC metal shop in you r area when you have the plans for the rebuild up to that point....cheap easy and the work is done right there....Had some work on the farm gear done that way.....Way to easy and cheap...But dam good work...best of luck on this one.
 

vtdeucedriver

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Most gun trucks are M35A2 heavily modified.....Most reprod gun trucks use 1/4 steel plate as easy to work with and cut....Check out a local CNC metal shop in you r area when you have the plans for the rebuild up to that point....cheap easy and the work is done right there....Had some work on the farm gear done that way.....Way to easy and cheap...But dam good work...best of luck on this one.
Easy???? Yes but not cheap.
 

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vtdeucedriver

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So I think that in the future I may want to do a gun truck project and I'm curious what truck everyone recommends to start with. Also, is anyone out there making repro. Armor for these or does anyone have the plans for the armor that I could get to have all the steel cut? What else should be considered when doing a build?
Get the books by James Lyles............you can get the set off Ebay, tell Dan that Jeff send you. I have had the armor replicated and cut. It cost me a pretty penny. You need to consider COSTS!!! This has been a long road for me but nearing completion. I am still short on funding but part of that is my own fault but even then, I still would be short. What I will say, if your going to do it, don't half ass it. Don't do a "tribute" truck. Once in the circles of those who served on them, the reward is much bigger for following through with something that once existed................just my .02
 

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frank scholer

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Since I made my first post I've done more research and bought additional books about the GTs. The new Doyle book has great photos of "Eve of Destruction" and details of door and windshield armor, etc. Very useful. I'm waiting to get my plate fabed by a local steel shop and then start welding things together. I'm doing a full length box, inside mounted, on a deuce chassis. Does anyone know what kind of jump seats were mounted in the box? I have seen pictures of small round seats but don't know what they are from or where to get them.
 

bikeman

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There have also been gun trucks from OEF/OIF as well, using M939 series, M915 and M916, M1070, and FMTVs and HEMMTs, to include a PLS/LHS flatrack that someone made into a pillbox of sorts.
 

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jeffhuey1n

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I used Krylon Maxx(at least I think it was) satin black spray can. They advertise that you don't need to primer the metal because the paint is both the primer and the top coat.
 

frank scholer

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I just finished welding up all the plate for my deuce gun truck. I used 3/16" plate and had all the pieces cut per my dimensions at the steel supplier (approx 1400 lbs). It is a full length inside mount (12' x 7') box with a space in front for access to the cab and a door in the back, similar to a halftrack (too hard to climb over at my age). I had to make my own 1/4-turn latch for the rear door. Right now it is all in primer, final semigloss black will be done after all the bits and pieces are attached. I plan on a single 50 and two M60 mgs plus misc stuff like radio, seats, antenna, etc..
 

frank scholer

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It was about $1 per pound which included cutting all the panels (2 12'x4' sides, 4 2'-6"x4' ends, 1 2'x4' rear door, 1 windshield, 2 3'x4' cab doors), delivered to a local shop. I picked it up with my trailer. I also purchased some angle iron to make the corners and clips to attach to the bed. I did all the welding myself - for better or worse. :sad: I had to buy steel hinges for the door and fab my own door latch.
 

frank scholer

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Since my last post, I completed welding all the steel into the bed, including a door in the rear, similar to the old halftracks. Beats climbing over the sides. Have not done the door or windshield armor yet. Last Sunday, with assistance of fellow members of the Military Vehicle Collectors of Colorado and their military wreckers, we lifted the van box off the chassis and set it on cribbing. Next is some minor maintenance and prepping the chassis for paint.
 

frank scholer

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Yesterday I fabricated my M2 post mount from 2-1/2" dia pipe. The gun is on order. The gun box is complete on the bed, painted semi gloss black and the "Grim Reaper" name (from 4th ID, 4th /S&T, B15) is done in white, both sides, in the same script style as the original truck. The exhaust stack was repaired (replaced the rotted U-bend under the fender) and the extension added. The chassis is all done too and we will be mounting the bed on the chassis soon. Then it is a matter of adding all the little bits and pieces to complete it.
 

Sikorsky502

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What happened to your MRAP/Halftrack thing?
well, I've been in the process of trying to build a house on some acreage. That really started to look like it would take me some time to get everything done and I decided to go with a little less ambitious project first if I could find one. I found an M113 variant that needs a restoration, an M901a1 to be exact, and decided that all the money I was putting into odds and ends that would still need a large amount of fabrication could be better spent on just parts over time. I really hope to get back to the Halftrack project eventually, but the M113 has always been my dream vehicle and now I can just focus on this one for a while. Once I get it and start the restoration I'll post the process on here of course.
 

jeffhuey1n

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I learned a lesson over the weekend. Actually a couple. First off, the GI ladder for access to the bed is not the optimal choice. Not sure how to replace it yet but I don't want to chance someone breaking bones because the fell off the ladder. Second lesson, I've got to come up with a good tarp that's big enough to cover the entire bed. It rained real hard as I was driving War Wagon home this afternoon and there was standing water in the bed. Not much, just enough to create a corrosion problem. Temp fix is to stack all the ammo cans in the middle of the bed so everything touching the bulkheads get a chance to dry out. I know the good ole blue tarp won't work, it's to flimsy.
 
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