Thinking about pulling the Deuce Trigger Again

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71DeuceAK

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As the title says, I may find myself ready to take the plunge before much longer. Work is picking up and I may be somewhat well funded by the end of next month. Of course there are always much better things to blow my money on, but the green fever generally results in depleted bank account balances.

I in no way intend to make this a wanted ad, but I'm wanting to have my memory jogged on what to look for, be prepared to fix, and run from. Brakes of course come to mind when looking at any Deuce...batteries, air pack, what else? I still need some mentoring.

I've become somewhat familiar with the M939 series 5 tons, but the Deuces and M809s are still a little bit unknown to me when it comes to things like brakes, etc.
 

HDN

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Having recently bought an M35A3 myself, I started looking at it like any other potential car purchase. The main stipulation my wife gave me was that she had to be able to take a ride in it the day I brought it home.

So I was looking for a truck that could start, stop, drive, and pass a vehicle inspection. A friend of my dad's had this M35A3 sitting for years, and let me drive it around his back yard. But I had trouble verifying whether the transmission worked properly mostly due to not knowing that the tach didn't read right and that the Allison transmission needed a little more finagling with the gas pedal to shift than my Chrysler 200.

Once we got it on the road, though, it came to life and I was able to really see how well it drove. Fortunately, it drove really well! It accelerated quickly, stopped as well as I expected, and I learned how it shifted.

I recommend doing on off-road test to make sure the truck drives and stops to a point you feel confident enough that you won't crash it when you take it on the road. Then take it on the road. I had the owner drive the truck first so that I could see how he drove it. Then we swapped seats and I took it around the block.

Check the condition of the frame. See if it's well-rested, bent. See if any new paint is hiding corrosion. Check fluids, instruments, etc. You're probably familiar with all this, but that's been my experience with my first MV. Some of my tips I got from the MVPA's History in Motion publication.
 

Ajax MD

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As you live in Alaska and will probably purchase a truck located in the lower 48, have you worked out how you will pay to have it transported up there?
Has Wes expressed an interest in visiting the Great Frozen North? ;)
 

98G

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Things that add value -

Hardtop adds $500
PTO winch adds $1000-$1500
Dropside bed adds $500
Dual circuit brakes add $1500-$2500
C turbo adds $400
Spin on filter conversion is desirable (fuel and oil)

Air shift transfer doesn't so much add value, but a sprag transfer detracts from value and makes it very hard to find a buyer.

Going from 9.00 NDTs to super singles is about a $3000 process.

Figure you're going to disassemble the hubs, inspect the brakes and pack the bearings on any deuce you get.

Anything less than a firm pedal and it's likely you'll be replacing a $400 air pack.

Super singles and slow offroad driving makes power steering an absolute necessity. Hydraulic to be preferred, as the air assist steering runs out of air in short order.

You're going to want a block heater in any of these trucks.

An M54 or M809series 5ton is very very similar to a deuce. The advantages to a 5ton include power steering. Disadvantages are the weight and also the weight rating might trigger regulations in AK (I dont know).

Note that I have two 809series trucks in the classifieds. I also have a buddy with an 87 air force deuce with the dual circuit brakes. I'll deliver any of these for $1.50/mile and a plane ticket home....(if this last paragraph comes too close to being a for sale ad, please delete)
 

davidb56

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personally, I would drop the PTO winch for a 24vdc Sherpa winch if you work alone. Also the C turbo acts like a "deer whistle" and runs the game away from you, so you need a "D" turbo, so you can run them over and put them in your smoker. ( I made the turbo part up, but sounds good!)
 

HDN

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Finger Lakes, NY
If you want a deuce with an automatic like your M928A1 along with super singles, dual-circuit brakes, and air-assisted steering, an M35A3 comes with all of that stuff installed from the factory instead of you having to mess with installing all of that stuff yourself. I guess it depends on how much work you want to put into the truck versus the first cost of the truck, and whether your want an automatic. CTIS may be a boon or a curse. YMMV.
 

HDN

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You guys are forgetting a critical component- cab heat!
Totally true! The M35A3s all came with cab heaters with windshield defrost dampers. That's not to say you can't install some kind of heater kit in an A2 or just get one of those 12V ceramic space heaters to wire into your truck.

OP, have you considered a LMTV? I'm not entirely sure how much you care that the truck is a classic deuce or if you're just looking for something that's a little smaller and lighter to drive around than your 5-ton. At least the LMTVs come with air brakes, which you'd already be familiar with on your M928A1.
 

98G

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I've definitely considered an M35A3. I always figured they would be costlier upfront, but maybe I really need to just wait...
I strongly recommend just waiting until the right truck comes along. You want something that's roadworthy from the word go. Something you can more-or-less trust to make the drive.

Not a massive project. There will always be things you can do to it, but you want a solid roadworthy truck to start with.
 

snowtrac nome

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western alaska
Watch your alaska's craigslist, There are no shortages of m35's up here, I can rattle off locations of about 6 I know of around nome right now. There was a nice one on the matsu craigs list a year ago for $2500 with a frame boom,also search alaskas list. Now that said after working on a few civilian owned trucks look at the knuckle boots, if they are torn expect to do wheel bearings in the front a failure is imminent because you know its drove across a stream or two, brakes are another thing to look at and if it has a 10530 sw heater, plan to replace it with a more reliable plainair heater made in Russia. If the truck has the arctic kit, it will have defrost ducts installed, and a diverter box for floor heat. Some of the old akng trucks had dual heaters one fuel burning heater, and a aux hot water heater. If you want truck real bad I can likely put you in touch with some one who might have one, or know where you can get a good one. A visit to his place out at the bute should be on the bucket list for any green iron collector.
 

71DeuceAK

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I'll keep that in mind! Gary's Truck in Anchorage also comes to mind. Perhaps my intuition of M35s being cheap and plentiful in Alaska was indeed founded at least partially on reality...
 

montaillou

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Don't know OP's age, but after driving a few thousand miles, I've really gotten used to the armstrong steering even at slow speeds, I just need the truck to move any speed and I can turn the wheel. I don't feel that power steering is necessary unless everything else is done and you've got an extra $5k or $1-2k+time/skill.

Also, if you're gonna drive the truck a lot, you might consider getting a vehicle a decent fuel mileage. This is the main reason I considered a deuce over a 5 ton.

If OP is a good mechanic, a3 seems like a good idea, but one of the reasons I bought the a2 was for the simplicity of the vehicle. Also the a2 is cheaper to get into, by about $10k (give or take).

Could always buy one from Canada, I mean, they were all retrofitted with heaters and bumper platforms I believe. Kijiji is the Canadian equivalent of Craigslist it seems. If you got one from the lower 48, it'd cost about $2k (just for the vehicle), one way, Bellingham to Wittier if you shipped it on the AK ferry. $2500 for you and the truck (you can't sleep in the truck). I once looked at buying a couple of older BMW's from AK, but the price to get them to me just didn't work out.
 

Jbulach

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Canadian deuce, now there’s an idea! Don’t they have a lot more desirables than just the heater and bumper over the US version? And closer to Alaska, wonder what kind of import issues you’d encounter?
 
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