What is the ideal Humvee for a starter?

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cameronsux123

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I've been looking for a good, affordable humvee on the east coast for a little while now, but there's just so many models and variants to look for. Honestly, I mainly plan on buying one as a side project and maybe as a fun off-roader. A/C and the 6.5L Turbo with the 4-speed is a must-have. I've heard that the M1123 is a pretty good one to look for but that they tend be pretty expensive compared to other variants. Now I know humvees aren't cheap, but I don't want to spend more than I really need to for one that's driveable off the lot. I really don't care whether I get CTIS or not but it'd be cool to have. Also, what websites should I watch and which ones should I avoid? I don't remember where, but I once saw a post saying that GovPlanet is the worst place to buy from but I've never seen that said anywhere else.

So what models should I look for and avoid? Please let me know if I'm being too specific. I am new to this afterall. Thanks in advance.
 

Coug

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If 4 speed and aircon are must haves, then there isn't really a "cheap" option.

Many of the M1123s will come with the red dot system (the add on aircon system, it's bulky and a little unsightly, but it works). It won't be hooked up and charged, but it will at least be there, and bringing it back into service isn't that hard.
By your requirements, you need an A2 or newer version. You might be able to find an earlier one that someone has already done a 4 speed swap into, but it's unlikely.
CTIS isn't usually installed in HMMWVs unless the owner did it, but A2 and newer will have the hubs that can do it if you want to add it later it's much cheaper/easier.

As of right now GovPlanet is about the cheapest place to buy one, as everyone else selling them has bought them from there (or the gov surplus auction site that had the contract before govplanet).
Benefit of govplanet, less expensive usually.
Downsides, truck is mostly unknown condition, they keep jacking up their rates (you're looking at 25-30% over the winning bid due to fees), it takes months for the EUC to clear, then many more months for the SF-97. If you want a truck you can drive out on the roads this summer, you won't do it with a govplanet purchase. A lot of them will still need things added to make them street legal/driveable, for instance my M1123 had no mirrors, windshields, doors, top, tailgate, etc. It also took me 7 months from date of sale before I got it road licensed, and that was before all the Covid stuff. Right now you might be waiting anywhere from 4 months to a year.

Your best bet is contacting someone like Retired War Horses here on the forum that does it for a living, and they will sell you a truck with the stuff you want, and you'll know it's been gone over thoroughly and be in excellent condition. You'll pay more up front, but it will be a faster/easier process and you'll get a truck you can depend on.
 

cameronsux123

New member
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Morris County, NJ
If 4 speed and aircon are must haves, then there isn't really a "cheap" option.

Many of the M1123s will come with the red dot system (the add on aircon system, it's bulky and a little unsightly, but it works). It won't be hooked up and charged, but it will at least be there, and bringing it back into service isn't that hard.
By your requirements, you need an A2 or newer version. You might be able to find an earlier one that someone has already done a 4 speed swap into, but it's unlikely.
CTIS isn't usually installed in HMMWVs unless the owner did it, but A2 and newer will have the hubs that can do it if you want to add it later it's much cheaper/easier.

As of right now GovPlanet is about the cheapest place to buy one, as everyone else selling them has bought them from there (or the gov surplus auction site that had the contract before govplanet).
Benefit of govplanet, less expensive usually.
Downsides, truck is mostly unknown condition, they keep jacking up their rates (you're looking at 25-30% over the winning bid due to fees), it takes months for the EUC to clear, then many more months for the SF-97. If you want a truck you can drive out on the roads this summer, you won't do it with a govplanet purchase. A lot of them will still need things added to make them street legal/driveable, for instance my M1123 had no mirrors, windshields, doors, top, tailgate, etc. It also took me 7 months from date of sale before I got it road licensed, and that was before all the Covid stuff. Right now you might be waiting anywhere from 4 months to a year.

Your best bet is contacting someone like Retired War Horses here on the forum that does it for a living, and they will sell you a truck with the stuff you want, and you'll know it's been gone over thoroughly and be in excellent condition. You'll pay more up front, but it will be a faster/easier process and you'll get a truck you can depend on.
Thanks for all the info. Now that I think about it, the 4-speed would be an extremely-nice-to-have, but I can take a 3-speed and swap a 4l80 into it in the future. I need the A/C because anything above 60*F outside feels like 100*F to me, though I am willing to do some work to get it working. Assuming registration takes maybe 5-6 months, I'd have time to get it ready for road use. In terms of condition at purchase, I don't mind sourcing mirrors and things like that to make it street legal, I just want one that is mechanically healthy.
 

Coug

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Olympia/WA
Thanks for all the info. Now that I think about it, the 4-speed would be an extremely-nice-to-have, but I can take a 3-speed and swap a 4l80 into it in the future. I need the A/C because anything above 60*F outside feels like 100*F to me, though I am willing to do some work to get it working. Assuming registration takes maybe 5-6 months, I'd have time to get it ready for road use. In terms of condition at purchase, I don't mind sourcing mirrors and things like that to make it street legal, I just want one that is mechanically healthy.
That's the same reason I'm installing aircon into mine right now. Just waiting on a bracket to install a condenser into the fender (stock location for the newer trucks) so I can still change the top on the truck when I want without worrying about hoses and stuff.

Buying from auction is a crapshoot for condition. The ones here on the west coast in Barstow/Yermo California have mostly been sitting in the desert for a long time (20 years for mine, with an overhaul at 10 years) so there is a lot that can possibly be wrong with them. Fuel doesn't like to sit that long. Retired War Horses (RWH) says that around half of the trucks he gets through have fuel system issues and need things like injector pump rebuilds before they will run.

So "mechanically healthy" is going to involve buying one from a known good reseller/mechanic that specializes in these. Not everyone that buys and resells these knows what they are doing. I was talking to someone in New York a few months back, we were going over the issues with his truck purchased from a reseller that had thrown on a top, done some accessories to make it look cool, but apparently didn't even know which way the soft back wall goes on, as it was facing the wrong way and not covering the seat belt mounts in the back (extremely simple to figure out with even a basic internet search)
 

Coug

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Turbo is only really a necessity if you're planning on the truck weighing 12k lbs and getting shot at. The 6.5 non-turbo has plenty of power. My truck is around 8k lbs right now and has a box on the back sticking up 2 feet over the cab, and no issues with doing 70+ mph if I want.
 

cameronsux123

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Morris County, NJ
Turbo is only really a necessity if you're planning on the truck weighing 12k lbs and getting shot at. The 6.5 non-turbo has plenty of power. My truck is around 8k lbs right now and has a box on the back sticking up 2 feet over the cab, and no issues with doing 70+ mph if I want.
Thanks, I'll keep that in mind.
 

Retiredwarhorses

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Your asking for a cheap truck and you have listed upgrades that will have you in the $30k range.
buy an M1123 or M1097A2, they already have everything you want minus the turbo engine.
Keep in mind, you can go it alone and venture into the auctions “good luck”, be patient and don’t post in 6 mos you don’t have your truck yet, as first time buyers will and can take some time.
you can always upgrade the A2 truck too a turbo motor later if you feel the need.
Or, you can buy from a reputable company, and I mean reputable, do your research.
 

cameronsux123

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Morris County, NJ
Your asking for a cheap truck and you have listed upgrades that will have you in the $30k range.
buy an M1123 or M1097A2, they already have everything you want minus the turbo engine.
Keep in mind, you can go it alone and venture into the auctions “good luck”, be patient and don’t post in 6 mos you don’t have your truck yet, as first time buyers will and can take some time.
you can always upgrade the A2 truck too a turbo motor later if you feel the need.
Or, you can buy from a reputable company, and I mean reputable, do your research.
Sorry if I come off as asking for a "cheap" truck, I understand how much they can cost and don't want to spend more than I have to for the features I want. I also don't plan on buying one for another year or two, but I just want to know what models I should keep an eye out for. Thanks for the recommendation, I'll look into those models.
 

TOBASH

Father, Surgeon, Cantankerous Grouch
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Your asking for a cheap truck and you have listed upgrades that will have you in the $30k range.
buy an M1123 or M1097A2, they already have everything you want minus the turbo engine.
Keep in mind, you can go it alone and venture into the auctions “good luck”, be patient and don’t post in 6 mos you don’t have your truck yet, as first time buyers will and can take some time.
you can always upgrade the A2 truck too a turbo motor later if you feel the need.
Or, you can buy from a reputable company, and I mean reputable, do your research.
RWH has tremendous experience as a HMMWV restoration specialist.

He is pointing out that your deisres and requirements are perhaps unrealistic.

You need to decide why you want the truck, and then move from there. 2 door. 4 door. Hard top. Soft top. Hard doors, Soft doors. Will you use a a pick-up truck, or just to take your surf board to the beach? Do you need speed to go over 50 MPH on the highway, or will you be going offroad only?

If you want to drive highway, you need an A2 with a 4L80E tranny, or you will need to upgrade an A1 to 4 speed. That will run about $2K.

I looked in to CTIS, and it was cheaper for me to purchase a civilian H1 than place CTIS on to my slantback. It will run $4000 for the spindles and then you need to find a CTIS inflation system. Not impossible, just $$$.

A/C will run $2-4K.

Turbo engine will run $2-3K installed. The vehicle will need a body lift kit to lift it 1.5-2 inches off the frame.

I would not buy via Gov Planet or any of those sources because this forum is rife with complaints about delays in obtaining titles (IMHO). YMMV

Purchasing an already titled vehicle helps avoid some of the crap, but if you buy from a hack, you gotta fix all the crap. My vehicle is still be straightened out from stupid things the PO did. I am however lucky to have a solid truck, and his stupid things didn't mean he sold me a bad truck. I will be swapping in my 4 speed tranny next week, as my vehicle is an A1.

Ultimately, anything is possible with $$$, but you stated you want to be frugal. That means an H1 might be a better choice for you. It already has everything you want without needing as much wrenching, hence my prior post.
 

cameronsux123

New member
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Location
Morris County, NJ
RWH has tremendous experience as a HMMWV restoration specialist.

He is pointing out that your deisres and requirements are perhaps unrealistic.

You need to decide why you want the truck, and then move from there. 2 door. 4 door. Hard top. Soft top. Hard doors, Soft doors. Will you use a a pick-up truck, or just to take your surf board to the beach? Do you need speed to go over 50 MPH on the highway, or will you be going offroad only?

If you want to drive highway, you need an A2 with a 4L80E tranny, or you will need to upgrade an A1 to 4 speed. That will run about $2K.

I looked in to CTIS, and it was cheaper for me to purchase a civilian H1 than place CTIS on to my slantback. It will run $4000 for the spindles and then you need to find a CTIS inflation system. Not impossible, just $$$.

A/C will run $2-4K.

Turbo engine will run $2-3K installed. The vehicle will need a body lift kit to lift it 1.5-2 inches off the frame.

I would not buy via Gov Planet or any of those sources because this forum is rife with complaints about delays in obtaining titles (IMHO). YMMV

Purchasing an already titled vehicle helps avoid some of the crap, but if you buy from a hack, you gotta fix all the crap. My vehicle is still be straightened out from stupid things the PO did. I am however lucky to have a solid truck, and his stupid things didn't mean he sold me a bad truck. I will be swapping in my 4 speed tranny next week, as my vehicle is an A1.

Ultimately, anything is possible with $$$, but you stated you want to be frugal. That means an H1 might be a better choice for you. It already has everything you want without needing as much wrenching, hence my prior post.
I plan on having a humvee as a weekend offroader, but I'll probably end up towing a trailer with it at some point. I would prefer a 4 door but I don't mind a pickup. I have no preference about hard or soft top, but a soft top would be easier to take on and off. A 4 speed would be great for getting around but I wouldn't mind swapping one in if I get a 3 speed. I don't care whether I get CTIS, but it'd be a cool thing to have; it's not a selling point to me. The turbo would also be great, but since Coug said the 6.5L has enough power to do it's thing, the turbo isn't as important to me as I originally thought. I guess those things leave A/C as the only major requirement.
 

Retiredwarhorses

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CTIS is garbage and they don’t come in HMMWV’s that the US military uses...the A2’s are CTIS capable though
I believe SF had them in GMV’s...but not rank and file Hmmwv’s .
AC is already in most of the M1123’s...it’s standard In all new trucks.
 
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