The M35 2½-ton cargo truck is a long-lived 2½-ton 6×6 cargo truck used by the United States Army and by many nations around the world. It has evolved into a family of specialized vehicles. The truck has many variants and several different power trains depending on the version. It inherited the nickname “Deuce and a Half” from an older 2½-ton truck, the World War II GMC CCKW.
The M35 started as a 1949 REO Motor Car Company design for a 2½-ton 6×6 off-road truck. This was originally designed M34 but was quickly superseded by the 10-wheel M35 design. The basic M35 cargo truck is rated to carry 5,000 pounds (2,300 kg) off-road or 10,000 pounds (4,500 kg) on roads. Trucks in this weight class are considered medium duty by the military and the US Department of Transportation.
Because these truck have varying drivelines it is important to know what you have in order to secure the correct repair parts. Also be aware there are many non standard parts or configurations can happen in theater or in the motor pool when it comes to repairing military vehicles or coming up with a truck for a specific purpose or mission. Just because the parts book says it should fit does not always mean it will.
An M35A2 cargo truck with a 10,000 pounds (4,500 kg) PTO-driven Garwood front winch is 112 inches (2.8 m) tall, 96 inches (2.4 m) wide and 277 inches (7.0 m) long, and 13,030 pounds (5,910 kg) empty (13,530 pounds (6,140 kg) empty when equipped with the front mount winch, according to dashboard dataplates). The standard wheelbase cargo bed is 8 feet wide by 12 feet long (2.4 x 3.6 m), with only 7.25 feet of this width being flat floorspace between the stake-pockets, the tailgate rising 16 inches above the floor and the side-walls/stake-pockets rising 12 inches above the floor. The M35 is available with a canvas soft top or a metal hard top. Metal hard-top configurations are most often found on vehicles that have been equipped with cold-weather gear, which includes additional insulation in the cab, and cab personnel heaters.
The curb weight of an M35 is between 13,000 pounds (5,900 kg) and 16,000 pounds (7,300 kg) empty, depending on configuration (cargo, wrecker, tractor, etc.). Its top speed is 56 mph (90 km/h), though maximum cruising speed is approximately 48 mph (77 km/h). Fuel economy is 11 mpg highway and 8 mpg cross country, giving the deuce a 400–500-mile range on its 50 U.S. gallons fuel tank. Most users get 8–10 mpg for an unloaded vehicle .
There are four different versions of the M35: The M35, M35A1, M35A2, and M35A3. Model changes mainly had to do with the engine and transmission components.
The original M35 had a REO “Gold Comet” Continental OA331 inline-six cylinder gasoline engine. Some had 4 speed transmissions, but most had 5 speed 5 speed direct transmissions.
M35A1s had Continental LDS-427-2 turbo engines. The turbos were either the Model 4-450 Schwitzer or the 4D454C Schwitzer (on later models). Fifth gear on M35A1s was an overdrive gear. The LDS-427 is a Multifuel engine which allows it to burn most hydrocarbon fuels even though the engines operates on diesel compression ignition principals. The multifuel engines are capable of running on anything from gasoline, jet fuel, or diesel or any combination of fuels. The engines run best and most efficiently on diesel fuel due to its higher energy content and easy ignition in a compression ignition engine. Discussions of how these engines do this we will leave to another post.
M35A2 trucks have the larger displacement naturally aspirated LD-465- 478 cu.in. multifuel engines coupled to the 5 speed overdrive transmission. Most of these trucks were upgraded to the multifuel LDT 465-1c (turbo clean air). Turbo models were either the 3LD305 (early engines only) and 3LJ319 (the “whistler”) The LDT-465-1D was the last version of the Multifuel engine. It came with one of two turbos: The 3LJ319 Turbo (whistler) or the quieter 3LM39 (non-whistler).
M35A3 trucks were introduced in 1994. The M35A3 variant was introduced as part of Extended Service Program. The M35A3 had a Caterpillar 3116 Diesel engine coupled with an Allison automatic transmission. No new M35A3s were produced with a standard transmission. Earlier model M35s were often upgraded to this new configuration until all production ceased in 1999.
The M34/M35 series of trucks came in wide array of variants and subvariants. As noted engine differences could be noted by the A1, A2, or A3 suffix, but additional suffix letters were also sometimes added. These letters had different meanings depending on what variant to which they were applied.
Under the nomenclature system used by the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps Supply Catalog (known as G-series) the M34/M35/M36 family is designated G742.
Basic Cargo M34 M35
As noted the original basic gasoline-powered truck variants were first the M34, and then the M35. A long wheel-base variant, designated the M36, was also developed (featuring a 16-foot (4.9 m) cargo bed). Variants with a C suffix (such as M35A2C or M36A2C) featured a straight drop-side cargo bed. The M44 and M45 were simply the chassis designation for the 2½-ton series, and this cab/chassis would serve as the basis for many more specialized variants. One of the later changes on the trucks was the change from 11.00X20 Bias ply tires on split ring type rims to Michelin radials on bolt-together rims in 2002, due to safety concerns over the split rims.
Tank truck M49 M50
The M49 fuel tanker and M50 water tanker variants were initially based on the M44 chassis. The M49C series, however, were vehicles converted from C series drop-side cargo variants. M49’s have 1200-gallon tanks. Early models had triple compartments (200g front, 400g mid, baffled 600g rear), but most models have two 600-gallon baffled tanks. The M50 had a 1,000-U.S.-gallon (3,800 L; 830 imp gal) water tank, of which later variants had internal baffles to combat weight transfer during motion. In some areas the M35 is still used today as a wildland firefighting truck with a portable water supply and fully operational pump.
Van M109 M185 M132
A number of variants with van bodies, primarily for use as maintenance shop vans, were also created. The basic model was the M109, with a variant that could mount the PTO winch was designated M185. The M185 was a machine shop version of the M109 that carried a light duty crane, tools, other items. It often towed a M105 trailer. An expandable van variant with hydraulic lift gate was designated M292. A medical van variant was designated M132
Wrecker and Tractor M60 M108 M48 M275
Wreckers based on the M35 truck were designated as the M60 and M108. Two tractor variants for towing semi-trailers were developed, the M48 and M275. The M48 featured a full-length wheelbase (identical to the M35 cargo), while the M275 featured a shorter wheelbase for reduced weight and greater maneuverability. However, due to the smaller size and lower power of the 2½-ton trucks, most heavier loads were handled by their respective 5-ton counterparts. As a result, few were produced.
Construction M47 M59 M342
A number of specialized construction variants were developed. The M47 and M59 dump trucks were developed, based on the M44 chassis and M35 cargo truck respectively. An improved dump truck, again based on the M44 and designated the M342 was designed to replace both the M47 and the M59, as well as the M135-based M215. The M108, based on the M44 chassis, carried a crane and was used for many tasks including to deploy missiles such as Lacrosse. The M756 was a specialized pipeline repair vehicle, the M763 was designed for telephone line repair, and the M764 was a specialized earth-boring and pole-setting variant.