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Rebuilt Army Trucks Great For Farm Use
After serving as a heavy equipment opera-tor and mechanic in the army for 3 years, Charles Talbert, Norwood, N.C., gained a lot of respect for the toughness and durability of military trucks.
"There's no truck manufactured today that compares with the way military equipment performs in adverse conditions. I've seen trucks put through abuse no equipment should stand up to," says Talbert, who served in Europe in the 1970's.
Back in the U.S., Talbert continued his career as a heavy equipment mechanic. In 1987, he bought a Dodge M37 military truck. When he started going over it, the thought struck him that if he could rework the rear ends and install a stronger, more fuel efficient engine, the truck might really be worth something.
"After I starte looking into it, I heard of a company that sells ring and pinion gears in a 4.89 to 1 ratio for these trucks. I in-stalled a set in both the front and rear and they made a tremendous difference. I got better mileage at highway speeds, less drivetrain noise, and a drastic cut in engine rpm's.
"Soon after I learned about a new re-power diesel engine kit being produced by a major manufacturer. I ended up buying a Hercules DT 3.7 turbocharged 4-cyl. diesel along with a complete installation kit. This brought the truck up to modern day standards. It's now capable of 65 mph on the highway and gets 20 mpg. The original gas engine got 8 mpg max.
"As far as I know there's no production truck on the market today that comes close to the power and go-anywhere capability of these M-Series trucks. I've used the truck's gear-driven winch to pull bellied-out D6 dozeers from swamps, and we use the truck daily in our grading business. It lets me go anywhere, anytime. I've put on over 35,000 miles since repowering it in 1991 and it's been completely trouble-free other than routine maintenance."
His first repower project went so well, Talbert started reworking trucks for local farmers, contractors, fire departments, rescue squads, and others. "We rework the following trucks: Dodge M37 3/4 ton; Jeep M715 1 1/4 ton; and M35 2 1/2 ton tandems and M55 5-ton trucks built by several different manufacturers. There are a host of other vehicles within these M number classes that were equipped to do various jobs which carry different M numbers. All can be repowered using our update standards. I'll rebuild and customize trucks to meet the customer's needs. All major components are rebuilt to new specs. Wiring harness is custom to your specs with both 12 and 24-volt available. We can install air-assist power steering, disc brakes, positraction locks, and higher speed ring and pinion gears for many models"
Diesel engines we use include the Hercules DT3.7 turbo with 108 hp. in the Dodge M37 and Jeep M715. Cost for the engine and installation kit is $6,995 to $7,495, depending on various options. A Hercules D4800T 6-cyl. turbo is installed in M55 and M35 trucks. Engine and kit cost is $12,500 to $15,000, depending on options. Work is done on a time and materials basis because of the varying conditions of trucks. Shop rate is $20 per hour. Do-it-yourself repower kits also available.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Charles Talbert, M-Series Rebuild & Re-power, 4038 Shankle Rd., Norwood, N.C. 28128 (ph 704 474-4683).

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1995 - Volume #19, Issue #3