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Trucks Converted From War Zone To Work Zones
Acela Truck Company in Belgrade, Mont., specializes in converting military trucks into affordable workhorses for the farm, as well as for logging, mining, and construction.
    “The FMTV (Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles) is the most reliable wheeled vehicle the U.S Army has ever operated, earning the U.S. Army’s coveted Ultra-Reliable status. Every system is over-engineered,” says David Ronsen, Acela’s president.
    The 7-speed automatic trucks are available in 4-WD or 6-WD with up to 330 hp. turbo-charged Caterpillar 7.2L diesel engines. They have 46-in. tires, 14 in. of ground clearance and can go through up to 50 in. of water and climb a 60 percent grade at full load. With a central tire inflation system, the tires can be pumped up for travel up to 74 mph on paved roads, then reduced to a lower tire pressure for travel on rough terrain and soft ground.
    The Army is eliminating its “soft skin vehicles” and building a 100 percent armored vehicle fleet, which makes the FMTV trucks available for the private market, Ronsen explains. He notes the FMTVs his company purchases are low mileage and low hour vehicles.
    “It is a fully mechanically reconditioned vehicle (all wear parts are replaced). It looks and rides like a well-maintained military vehicle. It’s very utilitarian, put through a mechanical process so it is reliable and safe,” Ronsen says.
    The vehicles were built in 1993 and later and sell for just under $30,000.
    “Our trucks are customizable,” notes Ross Feenstra, Acela’s ag sales manager. From a ranching family, he appreciates how its pto-capable transmission can be used with ag-related equipment such as a bale bed, bale processer or TMR to feed livestock in remote, rugged and otherwise inaccessible or impassable areas.
    With up to a 15,300-lb. payload, the truck can be used to haul feed and water for livestock or as a fire protection rig.
    “It can be a multiple use truck,” Feenstra adds. “The flatbed can be taken off so implements can be used.”
    Acela introduced the truck to the ag market as a bale hauler (three large round bales can be comfortably hauled at high speeds from hay yard to feeding area), but Feenstra anticipates additional interest from the potato and sugar beet industry as well as other ag-related operations.
    The second version is the Monterra line which comes in 4-WD or 6-WD and is the top of the line – complete teardown to the frame of the truck, sandblasted, painted and 650 parts replaced with new parts and delivered with a one-year warranty.
    They start at $95,000, about half the cost of a comparable new truck.
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Acela Truck Co., 540 Business Hub Drive, Belgrade, Mont. 59714 (ph 406 924-3535; www.acelatruck.com; info@acelatruck.com).

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2018 - Volume #42, Issue #2