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You Just Brought Home An M35A2 – Now What?

There are many good reasons why military surplus trucks make such good projects. These vehicles are often long-lasting, durable, and capable. Most importantly, military trucks are typically fairly simple to operate, repair, and maintain, making them unique vehicles for anyone who can turn a wrench and doesn't mind getting their hands dirty.

The M35A2 (typically known as the "deuce and a half") is a readily available example of this type of vehicle, making it a great platform for various projects. Of course, buying these trucks in non-working condition is common, so what should you do when you get your Deuce home? These three tips will help you determine the necessary parts to get your new truck back on the road.

1. Acquire Basic Maintenance Parts

The Deuce uses a multifuel inline six-cylinder engine. People often suggest that these trucks can run on nearly anything, but that doesn't mean they can take infinite abuse. Like any other engine, it's necessary to keep up with proper maintenance and avoid running the engine with low or contaminated motor oil. It pays to be cautious if you're buying a non-working truck with an unknown service history.

At a minimum, plan to replace critical maintenance items such as the oil, fuel, and air filters before you start the truck for the first time. Note that the M35A2 requires both a primary and secondary fuel filter, so you should plan to replace both unless you have evidence that the previous owner recently completed this work.

2. Plan for a Thermostat Replacement

Unlike more modern vehicles with thermostats that typically fail in a "safe" position, it's not uncommon for the thermostat on the Deuce to fail. Coolant will no longer circulate through the system when this failure occurs, causing the engine to overheat rapidly. If you're lucky and your truck fires up, watch the temperature gauge carefully for trouble.

If you notice the truck gaining temperature quickly with no sign of a coolant leak, it's worthwhile to check the thermostat. Since this component is a common failure point on these vehicles, it's often a good idea to purchase one (along with its required gasket) and replace it as a preventative maintenance procedure.

3. Prepare for Injection Pump Work

The injection pump is arguably one of the costliest failure points on the M35A2 and can stop your truck from running. Fortunately, it's often possible to tear down and refurbish these units rather than replace them altogether. However, you'll often need to work with a supplier that deals in parts specifically for military trucks to find what you need for a successful rebuild.

Maintaining a surplus military vehicle can be an exciting and rewarding project, but it's important to have the right parts to keep your truck on the road. Working with a company that specializes in these vehicles is often the best way to resolve issues without unnecessary frustration and wasted time. Contact a local military truck parts supplier to learn more.