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September 2013 Techline

M35a2 Trucks
Ali Mansour
| Brand Manager, 4WD & Sport Utility
Posted August 12, 2013

Your Tech Questions Answered

Deuce Lockers?
I was wondering if the military M35A2 (aka the Deuce-and-a-Half) ever came with locking differentials like the Mercedes Unimog and G-series? If the Kaisers don’t have locking differentials, would you know why?
Dave Beverstock
Via email

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To the best of my knowledge and research, none of the military M35A2 trucks were fitted with selectable or automatic locking differentials from the factory. While some branches of the military have been known to install Detroit Lockers in the more specific-use Deuces, these were not a factory option so to speak. Given the wheelbase, additional rear axle, and amount of tires the M35A2 was equipped with, a locker (or lockers) was less critical for the military’s intended use with the trucks. An automatic locker would have also created additional handling and equipment strains.

A fair amount of Deuces were equipped with a winch, and in general were convoy rigs. So if one got stuck, there were usually a few there to extract any in need. Some of the newer heavyweight U.S. military rigs do have selectable lockers, but I wouldn’t expect to find any classic 2½-ton Rockwell axles fitted with locking differentials in a military surplus yard.

Burb Painting
I have subscribed to Four Wheeler for a very long time and have always enjoyed it. Your Rescued Wrangler project vehicle has been great, and my oldest son and I can’t wait for more! My son is graduating from high school here in Southern California this June. He has signed on to play football just outside of Chicago next year in college and he leaves for camp the first week of August. So, our time together is slipping by.

We have recently resurrected my ’88 Chevy Suburban 4X4 with a new fuel tank, fuel pump, and about 5 inches of lift. I am a heart attack survivor, so my son has handled much of the heavy lifting. We just took it out and had a blast—the whole family together off-road. My heart was overflowing. My wife and I, along with our four kids, buckled up, locked it in low, and had a blast in the desert.

My son really wants the Burb to be desert tan and we saw you rattle-canned the Wrangler. We want to know how you made it stick. We have very little to spend due to my heart issues, so a budget paintjob would be perfect. How did you prep? And where should we shop for the right color of flat Rust-Oleum (my favorite artistic outlet)?
Dusty Callow
Via email

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First off, your burb is looking good and congratulations to your son. I’m glad you like the Rescued Wrangler. I am in the middle of the build as we speak and hope to have it ready to drive in just a few months. Keeping in mind that I am no expert painter, my supply list was as follows:

• 220 grit sandpaper

• A bundle of Scotch-Brite pads

• A can of acetone

• Blue tape (extra wide)

• Mix of prep paper and cardboard

The thing to remember is to sand in big motions and use the Scotch-Brite pads in an X-pattern, so everything overlaps. I opted not to use a primer, and since your burb is white, you may be able to get away with doing the same. I found Wal-Mart to be the least expensive spot to get my paint. It was also one of the few places that carried the specific 1920 Army Green Rust-Oleum paint that I used.

If you know the exact color you want, you can also search around online from places like Amazon and buy it in bulk. I have roughly three coats on the Jeep, which required around eight cans. Ultra-flat paint like I used is pretty forgiving and easy to apply and touch up. Just don’t go too heavy with the first coat. Best of luck with your project and be sure to shoot me some photos after it is done.

Block It
In the June ’13 issue on page 49, you show a 1-inch rear block. I called Zone Offroad and they did not have one for my ’11 Ford F-250. I checked other places and couldn’t find anything smaller than two inches. Could you please tell me where I can find 1-inch blocks?
Scott Voge
Via email

The truck shown in the photo was a late-model Chevy 1500 4x4. If your truck was equipped with a rear block from the factory (most likely), then you may be able to swap it out for another block that can give you the lift you need. For example, if your truck was fitted with a 2-inch rear block from the factory, a 3-inch block would provide you with the lift you are looking for. A great source when looking at available lift options for your truck on-line is Rocky Mountain Suspension Products ( Another option would be to install an add-a-leaf, which would net closer to 1½ inches of lift.

Bed Swap
I just recently bought an ’80 Jeep J10 that runs and drives. It has Dana 44 front and rear axles, T-18 transmission, and a 360ci V-8. I love the truck, but it was hit by a Suburban really hard behind the right rear wheel and is completely rusted out due its previous life as a Kansas snowplow truck. I have a welder and can get extra steel, but a buddy has a Comanche longbed that he’s willing to give me for free. I’m wondering will it work, or could I use a Ford or Chevy bed with less modification? Of course, I could build a flatbed, but I have a lot of parts trucks that I can pull a bed from.
Geoff Irwin
Via email

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I have learned over the years, that just because you have something sitting around or a free part handy, it doesn’t mean that it’s worth spending the time, effort, and additional money to make it work on your project. Assuming your J10 is equipped with the 119-inch wheelbase, finding a replacement bed that will be a direct fit may be a challenging task. I’ve heard of a few guys modifying Ford pickup beds from the ’70s on their J-trucks, but the conversion required a decent amount of bodywork. If you have access to a few different beds, I would start pulling frame and wheelwell measurements.

The J-truck is closer to a midsized pickup, so I would start with those. As long as you are happy with the bed height and style, taking a truck bed from another model just might work for your needs. Another option would be an old military trailer or service bed. The flatbed would be my last resort as well. When done with thought and proper planning, a flatbed can be a great bed option.

4x4 Vans
Did Chevy ever offer a four-wheel drive version of the P30 van? I have a Stepvan that’s able to haul 9,500 pounds that I would like to convert, but want to do the job correctly.
Harry Yeomans
Via email

While I think it’s a great idea, unfortunately, I haven’t found any record of a factory 4x4 P30. The conversion is not impossible, as I stumbled across a few online, but it won’t be cheap or extremely easy. If you are dead set on a 4x4 van, but willing to bend a little on what type, Quigley Motor Company ( offers turn-key 4x4 conversion vans and is worth checking out.

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