My M135 story

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Torque

New member
3
4
3
Location
Iowa
Thought I would tell about my old truck. Needed a truck to haul corn with in the early 80's and wanted an army truck so found an x fire department M135. Put a bed and hoist on and built sides for it. Used it that way for several years and then decided it needed more springs and tires so bought M211 wheels and put them on. Also bought 4 more long springs and removed 4 of the short springs and added them. This made it much better as it normally weighed 38,000 lb loaded. After a couple more years I added a REB shift kit and that helped too.

But it lacked power as you can imagine so I decided to turbo the old 302. So went to the junkyard and bought a turbo off a Buick V6 Grand National and rigged it up. Was easy to do, U pipe off the exhaust manifold to mount the turbo to and a pipe out of the turbo down to the original exhaust flange down from the manifold, no modification to the original exhaust pipe. For the intake side I made a 3" tall divided spacer under the carb, turbo sucks out the upper half and blows back under the lower half into the intake manifold. Again no modification to anything except had to shorten the hose to the air cleaner a little. All the linkage, cables and fuel line worked as is. Bypassed the original oil filter and ran the line to a remote spin on filter on the fender and then to the turbo and the drain into the side cover.

I knew I could not use the 12 lbs of boost the waste gate was set at and ended up putting a spring on the linkage to get the boost down to 4-5 lbs. Had to set the timing to zero and block the centrifugal advance and run 89 octane fuel to keep the detonation down.
The thing worked good, way more power. Hills I had to crawl up in 3rd low I could now climb in 3rd high because I had enough power to get a good run for them. Millage was under 3 mpg but I didn't haul over 15 miles and gas was cheaper back then...

There is much more to the story I will continue later...
 

m1010plowboy

Well-known member
Steel Soldiers Supporter
3,243
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Location
Edmonton, Canada
Hey you're new here! Welcome aboard!

Post military service M135 stories are awesome. Thanks for sharing.

The guys with the long term use adventures can still teach us a lot about maintaining the trucks to get a long life. Adding a turbo needs a youtube 'how to' video. Did you take pictures?

Do you have any tips on getting a long life out of the air-pak and transmission?
 

Torque

New member
3
4
3
Location
Iowa
Thought I would tell about my old truck. Needed a truck to haul corn with in the early 80's and wanted an army truck so found an x fire department M135. Put a bed and hoist on and built sides for it. Used it that way for several years and then decided it needed more springs and tires so bought M211 wheels and put them on. Also bought 4 more long springs and removed 4 of the short springs and added them. This made it much better as it normally weighed 38,000 lb loaded. After a couple more years I added a REB shift kit and that helped too.

But it lacked power as you can imagine so I decided to turbo the old 302. So went to the junkyard and bought a turbo off a Buick V6 Grand National and rigged it up. Was easy to do, U pipe off the exhaust manifold to mount the turbo to and a pipe out of the turbo down to the original exhaust flange down from the manifold, no modification to the original exhaust pipe. For the intake side I made a 3" tall divided spacer under the carb, turbo sucks out the upper half and blows back under the lower half into the intake manifold. Again no modification to anything except had to shorten the hose to the air cleaner a little. All the linkage, cables and fuel line worked as is. Bypassed the original oil filter and ran the line to a remote spin on filter on the fender and then to the turbo and the drain into the side cover.

I knew I could not use the 12 lbs of boost the waste gate was set at and ended up putting a spring on the linkage to get the boost down to 4-5 lbs. Had to set the timing to zero and block the centrifugal advance and run 89 octane fuel to keep the detonation down.
The thing worked good, way more power. Hills I had to crawl up in 3rd low I could now climb in 3rd high because I had enough power to get a good run for them. Millage was under 3 mpg but I didn't haul over 15 miles and gas was cheaper back then...

There is much more to the story I will continue later...
Thought I would tell about my old truck. Needed a truck to haul corn with in the early 80's and wanted an army truck so found an x fire department M135. Put a bed and hoist on and built sides for it. Used it that way for several years and then decided it needed more springs and tires so bought M211 wheels and put them on. Also bought 4 more long springs and removed 4 of the short springs and added them. This made it much better as it normally weighed 38,000 lb loaded. After a couple more years I added a REB shift kit and that helped too.

But it lacked power as you can imagine so I decided to turbo the old 302. So went to the junkyard and bought a turbo off a Buick V6 Grand National and rigged it up. Was easy to do, U pipe off the exhaust manifold to mount the turbo to and a pipe out of the turbo down to the original exhaust flange down from the manifold, no modification to the original exhaust pipe. For the intake side I made a 3" tall divided spacer under the carb, turbo sucks out the upper half and blows back under the lower half into the intake manifold. Again no modification to anything except had to shorten the hose to the air cleaner a little. All the linkage, cables and fuel line worked as is. Bypassed the original oil filter and ran the line to a remote spin on filter on the fender and then to the turbo and the drain into the side cover.

I knew I could not use the 12 lbs of boost the waste gate was set at and ended up putting a spring on the linkage to get the boost down to 4-5 lbs. Had to set the timing to zero and block the centrifugal advance and run 89 octane fuel to keep the detonation down.
The thing worked good, way more power. Hills I had to crawl up in 3rd low I could now climb in 3rd high because I had enough power to get a good run for them. Millage was under 3 mpg but I didn't haul over 15 miles and gas was cheaper back then...

There is much more to the story I will continue later...
so
Thought I would tell about my old truck. Needed a truck to haul corn with in the early 80's and wanted an army truck so found an x fire department M135. Put a bed and hoist on and built sides for it. Used it that way for several years and then decided it needed more springs and tires so bought M211 wheels and put them on. Also bought 4 more long springs and removed 4 of the short springs and added them. This made it much better as it normally weighed 38,000 lb loaded. After a couple more years I added a REB shift kit and that helped too.

But it lacked power as you can imagine so I decided to turbo the old 302. So went to the junkyard and bought a turbo off a Buick V6 Grand National and rigged it up. Was easy to do, U pipe off the exhaust manifold to mount the turbo to and a pipe out of the turbo down to the original exhaust flange down from the manifold, no modification to the original exhaust pipe. For the intake side I made a 3" tall divided spacer under the carb, turbo sucks out the upper half and blows back under the lower half into the intake manifold. Again no modification to anything except had to shorten the hose to the air cleaner a little. All the linkage, cables and fuel line worked as is. Bypassed the original oil filter and ran the line to a remote spin on filter on the fender and then to the turbo and the drain into the side cover.

I knew I could not use the 12 lbs of boost the waste gate was set at and ended up putting a spring on the linkage to get the boost down to 4-5 lbs. Had to set the timing to zero and block the centrifugal advance and run 89 octane fuel to keep the detonation down.
The thing worked good, way more power. Hills I had to crawl up in 3rd low I could now climb in 3rd high because I had enough power to get a good run for them. Millage was under 3 mpg but I didn't haul over 15 miles and gas was cheaper back then...

There is much more to the story I will continue later...
Thought I would tell about my old truck. Needed a truck to haul corn with in the early 80's and wanted an army truck so found an x fire department M135. Put a bed and hoist on and built sides for it. Used it that way for several years and then decided it needed more springs and tires so bought M211 wheels and put them on. Also bought 4 more long springs and removed 4 of the short springs and added them. This made it much better as it normally weighed 38,000 lb loaded. After a couple more years I added a REB shift kit and that helped too.

But it lacked power as you can imagine so I decided to turbo the old 302. So went to the junkyard and bought a turbo off a Buick V6 Grand National and rigged it up. Was easy to do, U pipe off the exhaust manifold to mount the turbo to and a pipe out of the turbo down to the original exhaust flange down from the manifold, no modification to the original exhaust pipe. For the intake side I made a 3" tall divided spacer under the carb, turbo sucks out the upper half and blows back under the lower half into the intake manifold. Again no modification to anything except had to shorten the hose to the air cleaner a little. All the linkage, cables and fuel line worked as is. Bypassed the original oil filter and ran the line to a remote spin on filter on the fender and then to the turbo and the drain into the side cover.

I knew I could not use the 12 lbs of boost the waste gate was set at and ended up putting a spring on the linkage to get the boost down to 4-5 lbs. Had to set the timing to zero and block the centrifugal advance and run 89 octane fuel to keep the detonation down.
The thing worked good, way more power. Hills I had to crawl up in 3rd low I could now climb in 3rd high because I had enough power to get a good run for them. Millage was under 3 mpg but I didn't haul over 15 miles and gas was cheaper back then...

There is much more to the story I will continue later...
So on with the story...

After 7-8 years running this thing I had no problems with the tranny or turbo but finally broke the crankshaft between the front main and front rod journal. Pulled the engine out, flipped it over and pulled the 2 piece crank out. Ordered a used crank and put it in, didn't even change the bearings. Ran it quite a few more years but always had a rear engine oil leak (quart a day) I could not stop, changed the rear seal a couple times but no fix.

Finally got sick of the oil leak, 24 volt system and mileage and decided an engine swap was the way to go. Had a 454 Chevy from a pickup and because the 302 tranny never caused any problems decided to connect the 2. This was not easy, had to use the 454 flywheel, connect the 302 flexplate/flywheel to it to mate with the fluid coupling. Then had to build an adapter from the Chevy to the hydromatic case, this was not fun.

The next problem was the fan did not line up with the fan shroud, ended up raising the water pump up on the 454 with square tubing, worked fine. Then there was the exhaust, used 427 truck manifolds and had to cut and rotate the one 3 bolt flange to clear the driveshaft. The air compressor was not bad, just made brackets.

The thing worked pretty good but surprisingly had no more power than the turboed 302, the millage did double to about 6 mpg. Still no problems with the tranny, worked fine. One thing I should have done was to balance the flywheel flexplate setup as it vibrates above 2500 rpm, supprised it hasen't broke the crank or tore it's self up yet. It sure was nice to have one 12 volt battery and common lights.

In the early 2000's it got put on limited use as I bought a newer truck (only 25 years old) and in the last 5 it has not been used at all, just sets in the shed. Would like to do a tranny swap, maybe an AT 545, not sure low is low enough, or would really like to adapt the 302 reduction unit to a turbo 400/475. Low gear would be plenty low with the torque converter but I have not measured to see about length.

Well that is the story.... this old truck is not dead yet and has done a lot more work for a lot more years than it was ever designed for. Thing is...I am afraid I will give out before it does.... we will see...
 

DUUANE

Member
339
17
18
Location
Vancouver BC
What an awesome story. Thanks for sharing. The more stories i hear the more i think a chrysler 413 industrial would be a great choice for repower. I saw a single axle shunt tractor for sale on the island a bit ago that had a 413 hooked to an allison,but i have yet to see the parts to do it on the scrap pile anywhere. I have a chrysler Sae#2 gas flywheelhousing but if anyone out there has or knows of allison flexplates please let me know.
If the RustyStud see's this..i have 2 weeks off..i moved the crane into its spot to get at your power pack. The teardown begins this week.
 

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