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Deuce and 1/2

Discussion in 'Trucks' started by digger242j, Apr 27, 2005.

  1. digger242j

    digger242j Administrator

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    I was looking through the Heavy truck Trader mag the other day and saw a few ex-military Deuce and 1/2 trucks for sale. It's common knowlege that the nickname comes from the 2 1/2 ton payload that they're supposed to carry.

    I know we have some military experience here on the board, so I just have to ask--Is that all they can carry? I mean, 2 1/2 tons is only 5000 lbs. There are plenty of civilian trucks that are on the bordrerline between light and medium duty that have that much payload. It's kinda hard to believe that a tandem axle 6X6 truck would only be good for 5000 lbs. What's the story?
     
  2. Cat420

    Cat420 Senior Member

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    I always thought that 2 1/2 tons is what they weighed. Here's a website with a bunch of military trucks. Click Here
     
  3. digger242j

    digger242j Administrator

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    I thought of that, but only for a minute. 3/4 ton pickups weigh more than 5000 lbs.

    Neat site you posted there. I've always wanted to own one, but I don't have a clue what I'd use it for. :)
     
  4. Cat420

    Cat420 Senior Member

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    I really like the dump truck version. That would be a good cheap truck for anyone starting a new business.
     
  5. woberlin

    woberlin Well-Known Member

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    The 2 1/2 ton rating comes from their off road capacity, and I believe it is the rating climbing a steep grade. Littledenny can probably give you all the details. I do know that they can carry significantly more on the highway.
     
  6. Cat420

    Cat420 Senior Member

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    woberlin beat me to it. I just read on another site that 2.5 tons is their offroad capacity, onroad is 5 tons.
     
  7. Steve Frazier

    Steve Frazier Founder

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    Just a note to anyone considering these trucks for work use; I've heard that these trucks do not meet DOT specifications and can not be licensed for general operation. They can be licensed as antiques or farm vehicles and special commercial vehicles, but this limits their use to specific operations. Check with your Motor Vehicles Burea before considering purchase.

    Nice website just the same, Cat420!:thumbsup
     
  8. littledenny

    littledenny Well-Known Member

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    CAT 420 had it right, the military rates the Deuce and a half for 5000 lbs. offroad, but we're talking ditchhopping, steep grades, sideslopes, etc. Highway capacity is twice that - 10000 lbs. I know thay will carry much more than that, trucks of the Deuce's era were drastically underrated, but remember, they were running on military, and often recapped, tires.

    The dumps are pretty stout, and likely, were'nt beaten too hard in their military life. The cargo versions were run many more miles, on average.

    Many local govts. use them for dumps, or tankers for fire departments, have one here at my local station. Know there are a few licensed for contractors, but don't remember what states. Check you local laws, but I don't see why you couldn't use them.

    They are slow - geared for amazing low end pulling power, but you're not gonna outrun any commercial trucks with it. But if you're trying to get gravel into a muddy, hilly site, when the regular guys won't run, they might just do it. Do yourself a favor, check into a hard top, canvas is a drag.
     
  9. digger242j

    digger242j Administrator

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    That all makes sense. Thanks for the enlightenment.

    I noticed that they don't have a real good turning radius either. I watched one from the PA national Guard have to back up in the middle of a busy intersection and take another cut at making it around a kind of hairpin turn.

    I looked at a civilian dump truck once that was equipped with a military surplus body. Pretty interesting setup. It would raise all the way up to where the bed floor was not just tipped, but vertical.
     
  10. Taylortractornu

    Taylortractornu Charter Member

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    Steve the 2.5 ton trucks are road legal but not the 10 ton trucks. Lots of logers use them as cheap pull out trucks, and some even use the dump trucks to haul gravel to various offroad areas. Their speed kills them though. I drive a friends oldWW2 truck it dosent have standard pass throug drive shafts like a regualr truck or the newer 2.5 tons. It had 2 regualr rearends one is offset a hair some werent even offset though. it has 2 shafts comming out of the rear ot the transfer case. The front tandem has a bearing block with a yoke on each enad the drive shaft passes through. It runs the power around the front tandem to the back. This also allows it to pull with rear axle only, sor smooth road travel less wear and better fuel efficiency. Then you engage the fron tandem, or you can engaged all six, or just the front and rear axle. I think you may be able to just use the front tandem to. it was made if one hade a problem it could be bypassed. His dump had a soft top 219 car motor and six wheel drive fun to play with. They used to have several to move houses and other equipment back in the 50's. The newer ones they had had a Continental multifuel engin that they liked. It ran off Gas,Diesel,kerosene, and salvaged gas out of old junkyard cars. The only thing I hate about some of them is they had air over hydraulic brakes then one they had had hydraulic brakes on the front and air on the tandems. you can also find alot of suprises in them to We found a 75 round belt of 30 cal. ammo.
     
  11. littledenny

    littledenny Well-Known Member

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    Was looking over a few old posts, and just remembered that there's a guy locally that uses an old duece for a septic tank hauler. Just about no place he can't get a tank. I've seen their new trucks, and some pretty sharp drivers that can set tanks from sideslope and pretty severe downslope approaches. I've seen them chain the front ends of trucks to dozers and hoes to get in some places. They only haul out the duece for the impossible settings. Still, once you see where this thing can go, that the commercial trucks can't, you'll understand why they keep it around.

    We set a tank Friday, where the truck was backed down a 40 degree slope. Oh, what fun operating in the hills!!!!!
     
  12. golddigger

    golddigger Member

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    Is the 6x6 and or the tandem axles good enough to pull something in the range of a 9 ton excavator?
     
  13. Countryboy

    Countryboy Senior Member

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    Welcome to Heavy Equipment Forums golddigger! :drinkup
     
  14. littledenny

    littledenny Well-Known Member

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    Are you talking with the Duece and the pintle hitch? Probably -

    Bit of history--Gotta remember the Dueces and the five tons for that matter had a series of evolutions from the WWII days. WWII Dueces were 3 axle / 6 tired trucks in some cases. As the trucks improved, the military load rating capacities didn't. You have to remember that both series were drastically underrated, from the Korean era up to the late 70's. The post 70's Duece and 5 Tons were rated higher, but the "names" just stuck. As an old Army trucker, I can honestly say that I've seen many underpowered trucks, but I've never seen an overloaded one. We used to pull some hellish loads with old 5 tons, and they will go anywhere. I've seen a 5 Ton pull a loaded 5000fuel tanker over an 18" log, and up rock outcroppings. (Takes a real offroad driver to do this, I'd not suggest that the average boob try it!)

    Still the military took a good look at trucks in recent years, starting in the late 70's, and increasingly got away from purpose built cargo trucks and bought some commercial trucks, especially for line haul. These days, the pure line haul trucks are just about identical to commercail vehicles, at least under the skin while the "tactical" rigs, i.e. those that get put into serious offraod situations are getting really radical again.

    Back to the question: A surplus Duece would probably pull a tag along with out any serious trouble, but it's geared way too low and it's way too underpowered to get things going at decent speeds. Very few Dueces were fitted with fifth wheels. An old 5 Ton tractor certainly would pull a tag along or a lowboy, but unless you got one free, and wanted to fix it to get it road worthy, brakes, road certification issues, etc - why would you want to?

    Other than for the novelty value, I'd consider it a bridge too far.
     
  15. jughead

    jughead Senior Member

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    Duece and 1/2

    used one with fifth wheel in chattanooga back in the late 50s. it would take a 35 ft. flat bed loaded with sheetrock a lot of places. it did get interesting in and out of town with that turning radius. managed to straddle a few fire hydrants but never broke one.
     
  16. nedly05

    nedly05 Senior Member

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    Could you buy one and run it commercially, reason I ask is that a duece and a half woulb be the cats *** for a truck to work with my skid steer. I could use it as a chip truck, dump truck, machine hauler,acess tough sites...the possibilites are endless. Wish I hadnt looked at this thread, now I am trying to figure out how I can use one:pointhead
     
  17. surfer-joe

    surfer-joe Senior Member

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    I'd never use one for OTR work. There are specialized applications mentioned here tho, that they work well in. One more is with the guys that install high tension electrical lines. The military rigs work well in pretty rugged country and you often see the linemen using old military rigs set up for cable pullers and haulers. They also use some old half and full-track vehicles set up the same way. Parts for some of that old stuff has to be getting mighty scarce.

    I put a lot of miles on deuces and the five-ton series. They weren't real dependable and most had trouble getting over 60 MPH. The newer multi-fuel engines were pretty decent, the older ones smoked like coal-fired steam engines. I had one gas engined rig blow the oil pan off one time when I went to start it. Burned all the hair off my legs and eyebrows and scared hell out of me as I thought I had just been hit with a mortar shell, not uncommon where I was working at the time. Never had much trouble turning one around tho. Watched a buddy of mine turn one on a dime one time when the VC were walking some mortar rounds in on him. Ole "Stretch" was burning rubber getting out of that spot.

    The tactical tires (military) were a real piece of crap, We spent more time fixing flats than we did hauling. They were very soft. Finally got a ship load of good civilian tires and we started getting some better life and production with them. Friend of mine was killed in the tire shop at one of the camps we were in, Camp Evans I believe. He had just fixed a flat and was airing it up when the retainer ring blew off. It draped him over a rafter in the ceiling of the tire shed -- deader then hell! I've heard of more incidents like this. I had one blow up after just being put on a five ton tractor I was driving. Had just put the jack away and walked past the wheel when it went off. The wedge band and retainer ring smashed into a big wooden box nearby containing some survey gear and completely ruined it. I was lucky, very lucky that day!

    One other good use for these old rigs is converting them to water trucks for construction site use. They will go nearly anywhere, albeit, slowly.

    The Vietnamese loggers liked the old WWII military rigs. They set them up similar to one of our modern septic tank haulers. They used the winches to pull those trucks up hill to the trees anchored off to a convenient stump. Once in position they chained the rear off to a stump or another tree, then used the winch to pull logs in close to the truck. Once they had a load assembled they used the winch and the arch over the bed to load the logs. Then it was tie off to various stumps or boulders to get back down to the highway. Many of the loads they hauled dwarfed the trucks. I don't know how they did it day after day with the same truck. They usually had a crew of four to five guys with the truck. As a side note, they guys didn't have chain saws. They used buck saws and axes for everything. Tree sizes ranged from 10 inch diameter all the way up to 60-72 inches. Many of these trucks had been converted from gas engines to Continental diesels. The fellas logging in-country were some of the few I really respected. They were exceptionally hard working people.
     
  18. littledenny

    littledenny Well-Known Member

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    Roger what Surfer-Joe said.

    They will go where most trucks fear to tread, but the old split rims are DEADLY. We always aired up tires inside a cage, just in case. The old tactical tires were soft, and would shread when run at speed on pavement for any distance.

    Seriously, old dueces were converted to fire service water tankers, septic tank trucks, all kinds of special uses, but I'd not even consider trying to use one for on-road service, especially if you're trying to make money. Special service, "impossible terrain" use might be a different matter.
     
  19. RonG

    RonG Charter Member

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    This is another repost that made it to the old server but didn't make it to the new one.
    I posted a couple of pics of the old military tires that were mentioned earlier here.
    When I was getting close to the end of my tour of duty in Germany I took over driving the lowbed so I could break in a new operator,actually it was about the last year before I came home so I still ran the equipment too whenever I felt like it which was most of the time.:p
    This tire blew with no provocation as near as I could tell,I did notice that the driver still had to do all of the work however.My squad leader (spec5 Phillips) very generously held the spare for me while they were waiting.As you might guess,our dozers were TD18s.Ron G
     

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  20. okumaguru

    okumaguru Active Member

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    I don't know if it is helpful or not but my dad said they tried to run an old Deuce for a log truck here in Southern Missouri. He said they couldn't keep axles or transfer/transmissions in them. After changing out a few sets they abandoned the idea and went with more common trucks.
    They still have one old body sitting in a field my brother and I used to play in when were kids. It still has a 6cyl GM engine, transmission and front and rear end housings in it, not certain if the transfer case is still there.
    Tim