Working On The M561 Gama Goat

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mkcoen

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I've done several threads along these lines in the past:

http://www.steelsoldiers.com/showthread.php?72872-Working-on-the-M37

http://www.steelsoldiers.com/showthread.php?65360-Working-on-the-MKT

http://www.steelsoldiers.com/showthread.php?121212-Working-On-The-M923A2

I simply like to have a place to show what I start with on a project and the issues found along the way. While you may need to wade through a lot of pages for a specific item sometimes it can be a little more interesting than just searching for "Gama Goat tires" or "M561 steering problem." Here you can see all of the problems that I'll run into, work arounds, suggestions by other people how to fix things, and sometimes even an answer to your question. So sit back, pop a cold refreshment, and enjoy the Keystone Kops attempt at redoing a Gama Goat.

I've had a lot of people tell me I need to have my head examined for wanting a Goat. That's probably true regardless of what MV I choose to tinker on. My philosophy is that it's better to have something a little different than everyone else to make up for not having it totally restored. While my wife's M37 is in presentable condition it certainly isn't something I'll be taking to the MVPA convention any time soon. Likewise the MKT was a lot of fun and attracted a large number of former service members who had worked on them but in the end it was more work than I was able to handle. My goal with the 561 is to have a vehicle that stands out from the crowd in it's uniqueness but still be in a condition that if I want to play in the woods or let a sticky fingered 5 year old climb on it I won't sweat the outcome.

If you've never looked at the Gama Goat I recommend searching some Youtube videos or reading the Wiki breakdown of it. While it came into service during Vietnam the only combat they ever saw was with the 82nd Airborne in Grenada. As mine is a USMC Goat I can't very well paint it to look like an Operation Urgent Fury vehicle (well I could but I won't). So I plan to give it the Vietnam era Marine Corp Green paint job with yellow lettering (which also plays into our Waffle House adventures recovering it.

A walk around of my Goat shows a few things missing from it's military days and a few things added from it's days as a NC Forest Service vehicle. Obviously the yellow paint is not something the Marines would have tolerated. On the nose you'll notice the winch but what is missing in front of the windshield is the B/O Drive Lamp and guard which surrounds it and also absent is the Slave Cable Recepticle which would have been to it's right in the picture.

The overhead cover was also a Forest Service addition and while it might be good to keep a tree limb from falling on you it doesn't do much to keep the rain out (in TX it'd keep the sun out but that's what Boonie hats are for).

Front.jpg

On the right side of the vehicle is one of the fuel tanks and on top of that 1 of 2 batteries. Directly behind the passenger compartment is the engine cover. In this shot you can see the distinct characteristics of the 6x6 Gama Goat and it's 3 axles.

Right Side.jpg

Just behind the tractor (what the front section is called) is the point that makes the Goat as agile as it is. This is where the tractor and carrier are connected and articulate. Notice the way the tractor slopes toward the front and the carrier slopes toward the rear. This allows the unit to get closer together at these points when traversing an obstical or climbing steep terrain. The Goat can also pivot one section of the unit while the other section is on a different plain (see my avatar).

Articulation Point.jpg

At the rear you have the tail gate with built in pioneer rack. The tailgate on this unit has a step that is usually found only on the M792 Ambulance. Whether this tail gate is off a 792 or someone just decided they liked the step and added it to the original tail gate we'll never know. Inside the bed you can see the 2 large fenders that act as troop seats. To the front are a couple of wooden storage boxes that the Forest Service added. Normally there would be 2 fold down aluminum panels that when deployed extended the troop seats all the way to the front of the bed. You'll also notice the mesh grille over the tail lights. That is not original nor are the lights themselves. Also missing are the B/O Markers.

Rear.jpg027.jpg017.jpg

The left side is pretty much a mirror image of the right with another fuel tank and battery.

Left Side.jpg

The Crew Compartment seats 2 and has the controls to go from 2 wheel to 6 wheel High/Low Drive. And here is the data plate confirming it's USMC Heritage.

Dash.jpgData Plate.jpg

The engine itself is a 3 cylinder, 2 stroke Detriot Diesel that puts out 101hp with a top speed of over 55mph.

Engine.jpg

That's the walk around folks. Tomorrow we start tearing into some of the known problems to try and get it road ready.

Here's a few extra pics of some things I found as a bonus and existing problems.
 

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dirtdobber

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Thanks for the post. Your Goat Looks wonderful. I am a recent owner of a Gama Goat and look forward to your adventures. My goat is missing a lot of it's parts and I know I have a challenge ahead of me but I am up for it. I will post pics the weekend of Feb 7-8 2015 and keep updates as I move along. I will have to lean on some folks here as I am a newbie to this, although I have restored a 57 Chevy in the past. I am not in any hurry to complete the project so slo-mo is ok for me. I want to do it to the best of my ability and keep it as original as possible.
 

mkcoen

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Can these be road legal and plated?
Yes they can. You'll see pics of the tires when I post later and the reason why I won't be taking it out on the road until I get them replaced.

Thanks for the post. Your Goat Looks wonderful. I am a recent owner of a Gama Goat and look forward to your adventures. My goat is missing a lot of it's parts and I know I have a challenge ahead of me but I am up for it. I will post pics the weekend of Feb 7-8 2015 and keep updates as I move along. I will have to lean on some folks here as I am a newbie to this, although I have restored a 57 Chevy in the past. I am not in any hurry to complete the project so slo-mo is ok for me. I want to do it to the best of my ability and keep it as original as possible.
There are a lot of NOS parts available from Red River Parts in TX and Muttparts in AL as well as the usual online auction places. Some of the big truck advertisers here on Steel Soldiers have some as well but those are generally M-series parts that fit multiple vehicles. I just placed an order at Red River and their shipping was very reasonable. You do have to supply them with part numbers though. Easiest way to get those is from the -34p in the tech manual section.
 

papabear

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Mark, I hope you are able to use at least a couple of the tires you picked up here...at least temporarily.
 

mkcoen

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Mark, I hope you are able to use at least a couple of the tires you picked up here...at least temporarily.
One is already on and a 2nd is going on tomorrow. I really appreciate you passing them on. Worse case scenario is I get the wheels from the bad tires sandblasted and painted to be ready for some new tires some time down the road.
 

dmetalmiki

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One of the most fun jobs is topping up the front steering box. (they tend to leak) if you are 3foot 4 inches and very slim, it's no problem at all! also it it quite easy if you stand on your head and contort yourself (and the filler nozzle) under the (drivers side) dash. I overcome the problem completely by saying to my young apprentice, "oh just pop some lube in there will you"! and hide somewhere.
 

mkcoen

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One of the most fun jobs is topping up the front steering box. (they tend to leak) if you are 3foot 4 inches and very slim, it's no problem at all! also it it quite easy if you stand on your head and contort yourself (and the filler nozzle) under the (drivers side) dash. I overcome the problem completely by saying to my young apprentice, "oh just pop some lube in there will you"! and hide somewhere.
That's one of the tasks tomorrow and I'm neither 3'4" nor slim. At this point the steering wheel will barely turn the tires no matter who tries to turn it. From others I've spoken with it sounds possibly like water intrusion into the gear box has rusted things together. We're going to check the fluid level, maybe put some Marvel Mystery Oil in there, jack the front and rear axles up on jack stands and see if we can't get anything going while the weight of the vehicle is removed. If that doesn't work I'm already sourcing a new front gear box.
 

mkcoen

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Swimmable, so do the doors (and the tailgate) have some kind of perimeter gaskets to keep the cab (and the bed) watertight?
The doors would be above the waterline but the tailgate does have a rubber gasket. The latches for the gate clamp down to make the seal.
 

mkcoen

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Powerwashing something when it's 38 out isn't as exciting as it sounds. I'm getting the footwell on the driver's side prepped for help that's arriving later this morning and that includes hosing some of the gunk built up around the steering box access plate.

Also on today's menu is swapping out one of the tires that isn't holding air. When we picked the Goat up in NC 5 out of 6 tires were flat. Thanks to the help of AMGeneral and his wrecker we were able to get all of them aired up before we drove it onto the trailer. A couple of tires lost air on the 2 day trip home and the right front was completely flat after sitting in the driveway for a few days. I changed that one out with a really nice tire that papabear gave me when we stopped on the way in. Now the left middle tire is completely flat and TexAndy and I will swap that out today.

Here's a visual to give you an idea of the condition of most of the tires:

Flat.jpg021.jpg022.jpg

As you can see the sidewalls are severely cracked. I had one puff dust out of it while I was airing it up. The last 2 pics are of tires that are actually holding air just fine. As the Goat can do more than 55mph on the road you want tires that are up to standards before trying any type of speed demonstration. These tires are also tubeless so you can't depend on a second layer of protection to avoid a blowout. My position on these at the moment are as long as they hold air and I can use them to drive on and off of a trailer I'm happy. Somewhere down the line, when it's no longer yellow, I'll probably try getting some new tires. However they are almost $500 each so that will get spendy. Finding some uncracked used tires would be a better idea but they're getting more difficult to locate.

The wheel set up on the 561 is interesting as well. While most wheels mount to the brake drum the Gama Goat wheel bolts to the perimeter of the drum. This actually makes the wheel/tire combo considerably lighter.

001.jpg
 
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Warthog

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Anyone have a copy of the TM 9-2320-242-20 manual? The link in the TM section no longer exists.
 

UNIMOG-GUY

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I was looking at and considered bidding on this Goat on a popular auction site along with the other one that was with it. Just out of curiousity what was the condition of the other Goat if you happened to see it? Glad to see that at least one of the 2 Goats went to a member here.
 

turnkey

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Nice find...Does this make you goat herder 2 or is there another in the wings waiting to come out??? Again nice find Best of luck with it...
 
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