Motor Pool

Military surplus trucks and related stuff.

Apr 272019
Meet My New Money Pit

Say hello to my new money pit… a 1989 Allegro M-28 Basement model RV made by Tiffin Motor Homes! At least I think that’s the model… it’s not marked anywhere I can find on the RV, and I have not yet gotten my grubby fingers on any old Tiffin brochures from that era.

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Dec 102012
Looks Like My M936A1 Works

Another collector is buying my incomplete M1022 shelter dolly carcasses to use the parts for a couple of creative projects. They’re a bit hard to move around in any case because they’re all missing critical parts like the drawbars, but we had to deal with the added complication that they were pushed out of the way with a bulldozer before my home construction project, and then I built a house between them and the driveway. So, extracting one of them yesterday was a job for my new M936A1 wrecker.

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Aug 272012
1965 Kaiser-Jeep M543A2 5-Ton 6x6 Medium Wrecker SOLD

9/29/2012: This truck left today for its new home! Here’s the old for-sale listing…

I bought this 1965 Kaiser-Jeep M543A2 5-Ton 5×5 Medium Wrecker back in 2001, and I’ve been using it as a yard crane ever since. It was never road-worthy since I got it, and I never found the time and energy to fix it up into the fine truck that it could be. Now that I just got a very nice M936A1 wrecker to replace it, I’m putting it up for sale so it can move to a new home where it can get the attention that it deserves. Read on for details!

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Aug 122012
A Half-Track Ride

Yesterday I was out at Fort MacArthur for an MRCG event. While I was there, I had a rare opportunity to ride in the fort’s half-track, complete with a quad .50 caliber antiaircraft gun in the back. I sat shotgun and operated the SCR-609 radio set. Some video may show up on YouTube someday. For now, here are a few pictures of the half-track.

Updated: Video of the event is embedded below.

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Aug 042012
A Family Portrait

The rural dirt road leading to my property has some trees along it that were starting to intrude into the road, so I pressed my M923 into service today for some tree-trimming. I used the bed and troop seats as a work platform, and cut off what I could reach. If I can’t reach it from the bed of a 5-ton 6×6, then it shouldn’t be in the way of trash trucks and fire trucks.

When I got home, I parked it alongside the new M936A1 for a family portrait.

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Aug 042012
My New M936A1 Wrecker

I just bought this 1984 M936A1 5-ton 6×6 medium wrecker in yet another government auction. It’ll be replacing my 1965 M543A2 wrecker, which is pretty tired out… there’s not much on my M543A2 that doesn’t need repair, and I just haven’t had the time and energy to take on that restoration job. I’m hoping that this new M936A1 will work better for me, and need a lot less work! The M543A2 hasn’t been road-worthy since I got it, and it has decayed further while I’ve had it. I plan to put the M543A2 up for sale very soon.

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Apr 222012
M923 Gets a Keyed Battery Switch

One of the modifications that I commonly make to my military vehicles is to add a keyed battery master disconnect switch. This adds a small amount of security even though the switches all use the same key and have simple warded locks, because the trucks normally don’t have any keyed locks or switches at all. The switch I usually use is Pollak part number 51-916,  and I buy them from various distributors or on eBay. They are much better switches than the cheap plastic knock-offs of Hella switches or battery-mounted knife switches that are commonly found. There are also similar heavy-duty switches that other military vehicle collectors like to use, but I stick to this model so I only have one kind of key to keep on hand.  I just finished installing one of these in my new M923, and here’s how I did it.

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Apr 072012
First Test Drive in my New M923

I just took my new M923 for its first spin. I got it over a week ago, but I haven’t had time to play with it on weekdays, and I did a bunch of little stuff to it first like fixing some air leaks behind the dash, installing the cargo cover kit, adjusting tire pressures, cleaning windows, and so forth. I don’t have it titled yet, so I just stuck to the dirt roads around where I live.

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Apr 012012
M923 Gets its Cargo Cover

I spent much of this weekend playing with working on my new truck. I fixed some air leaks under the dash, and I installed the new cargo cover kit that I bought. The cargo cover kit, consisting of a large fitted vinyl tarpaulin and a set of bows, came in a large crate about the size of a coffin. I had to pick it up at the nearest truck freight depot.

So, the truck is ready for a spin around the neighborhood now! Unfortunately, by the time the truck was ready, I wasn’t. Getting old stinks! I’m exhausted, and my back, hands, knees and elbows are killing me. Oh, well, next weekend for sure! ;)

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Mar 282012
M923 Arrives at Mark's Green Truck Ranch

The delivery trouble that I had last Friday turned out to be a temporary little speed bump, and I got my new M923 5-ton 6×6 truck today! All is squared away with the towing company, and I’m likely to use their services again.

The tow truck driver (he’s the manager of the company, as well) was able to start and drive the truck in the GL (Government Liquidation) yard in Barstow, and this was quite fortunate because he says that the trucks were all packed in there like sardines. If he wasn’t able to drive it, then he would have spent hours dragging it into position where he could load it onto his Landoll tilt-bed trailer. The power steering came in handy then, too!

When he arrived at the end of the pavement about a quarter mile from my home, he correctly realized that it’d be silly to drag his low-bed over-the-road rig over my local rough dirt roads when his load is a well-running off-road tactical truck. So, he offloaded at a convenient clearing, called me up for the go-ahead, and drove the truck the rest of the way to my property. It was delightful to see that giant beast driving up the road to my property!

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Mar 232012
Just a Bit Steamed Today...

Today was all set up to be a pretty exciting day. I got the go-ahead on Tuesday to pick up my new M923 5-ton 6×6 truck that I won in a government auction a couple weeks ago, and I made arrangements to have the truck towed home on a flatbed Landoll trailer by a local towing company I’ve used before. I got everything set up to have the truck picked up this morning: appointment with Government Liquidation for a morning pickup, scheduled the pickup with the towing company, faxed the towing company the paperwork they’d need for the pickup, scheduled a vacation day from work… everything was set up.

Well, except for one small detail: Actually dispatching the truck driver. (note: See below for update; all is cleared up now.)

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Mar 022012
M923 5-Ton 6x6 Truck

I’ve found a solution to my dilemma about whether and how to convert my HMMWV! By the simple expedient of buying an M923 5-Ton 6×6 truck in a government auction, I have determined that I’ll keep my HMMWV as a commo shelter carrier for the time being.

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