US Military CUCV: my future investment?

Discussion in 'Vehicle & Transportation' started by WinTheMindWinTheDay, Aug 3, 2011.

  1. WinTheMindWinTheDay

    WinTheMindWinTheDay Active Member

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    I have always toyed with the idea of getting more familiar with the older vehicles that had been replaced by the newer stuff the DOD has fielded over the years, notably the ubiquitous CUCV, the Commercial Utility Cargo Vehicle. I would really like to make that my SHTF vehicle, as well as my everyday vehicle. I can't decide on which model at the moment, but I would definitely like a strong manual transmission, and for it to be diesel. I will have a good amount of funds to toy with this little idea when I return from Afghanistan, but before I return, I would like to be more wise to the odds and ends of this; simply because I hear this whole process can be a very time consuming thing, filled with mistakes and pitfalls just like any other new hobby or undertaking.

    I have already seen several military people on here, as well as the older guys that are now veterans whom I am sure have first hand experience with these older model vehicles, so all the help and suggestions everyone here can give me would be great.

    I also figured I would start this thread because I know there are some folks on this forum that own and maintain these vehicles, and I saw the lack of a thread specifically for CUCVs.
     
  2. Calebra

    Calebra Well-Known Member

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    I was looking into one a couple of years ago. You can get them pretty cheap--usually under 2 grand. All come with a 6.2 chevy diesel. All automatics. Good vehicles--usually very austere and rough on the inside. A lot of parts available for them as well.
     

  3. TheAnt

    TheAnt Aesops Ant (not Aunt)

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    NOTE: I am a complete idiot when it comes to vehicles... but...

    I know nothing about CUCV's but I googled it and looked and it looked like a normal Chevy pickup with camo paint on it.... whats so special about them? Being military surplus that you are looking for I would expect anything you get is going to be beat to hell. Im just curious what it is that is so special about them -- I expected to look it up and see some kick ***, mean looking COE or something with a utility compartment in the back that would hold com equipment or something. Perhaps I am looking at the wrong thing?
     
  4. Calebra

    Calebra Well-Known Member

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    It is a regular chevy but with a few cool mods. A heavier suspention,a bit different engine and such.
     
  5. WinTheMindWinTheDay

    WinTheMindWinTheDay Active Member

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    It is indeed what appears to be just a rough around the edges Chevy pickup, blazer, or suburban. The good thing about these vehicles is that not only can one find one for less than $2000-$2500, but many of them have very low mileage, have had weekly to monthly preventive maintenance done to them for years, and they usually have sturdier parts, suspension, accessories, etc. than what the more expensive civilian Chevy trucks would have. I just saw a CUCV in California not too long ago that only had about 15,000 miles on it. Not to mention the 400 automatic transmission, which, would be a real challenge of thought for me as to whether or not I really do want to go through with switching it to a strong manual transmission.

    It is a big risk due to the nature of buying these vehicles "as is," but I am fairly certain there can always be a diamond in the rough in finding these vehicles around.
     
  6. Tirediron

    Tirediron RockyMountainCanadian

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    A thm 400 will hold double the torque of the clutch that goes in front of a SM465, about the strongest manual pickup trans on the planet. the cost of parts (new) for manuals is rather rediculus also.
     
  7. WinTheMindWinTheDay

    WinTheMindWinTheDay Active Member

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    I suppose leaving it automatic would be wise, and just brace for impact by buying spare parts, and things for upkeep? I have also been told that even with this American "cash for clunkers" nonsense going on that is destroying a lot of old vehicles for the scrap metal, there would still be a lot of Chevies around, and the 400 transmissions would be a dime a dozen all over North America seeing as how many thousands and thousands and thousands of similar engines and vehicles GM has cranked out over the years.
     
  8. TimB

    TimB Member

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    Exactly. My dad was a mechanic in the Air Force and his last duty station was Bermuda. The base had a cliff over the ocean at one point. He told me that many vehicles were pushed over the cliff when they reached a set dollar amount from maintenance and repairs. Some of them only had 10-15K miles on them and looked like new. :eek: I get an e-mail alert about sales of govt. vehicles and have noticed some are being sold incomplete (parts removed for other vehicles) so you would definitely need to be careful about what you buy (the description usually tells what has been removed).

    Tim
     
  9. 1969cj-5

    1969cj-5 Member

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    I am thinking hard on getting one. Trying to determine they are EMP proof or not. A lot of these trucks have low miles, but high hours. They were used a lot as vehicles for SP's and they sit with the motor idling for hours and hours.
     

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    1969cj-5 Member

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  11. BloodCarver

    BloodCarver New Member

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    OP,
    I own a 1986 M1009 CUCV (that is the K30 Pickup Truck military equivalent). It is a very strong and capable truck. Should you have any questions please feel free to ask away as I am among a group of friends that have both M1009 (or Chevy K5 Blazer) and M1008 variants of the CUCVs. You should checkout "Steelsoldiers" they will have answers to many of your questions. I am under the same name there as well should you need me. I recommend that you look into them as they are quite fun and cost effective.
     
  12. BobS

    BobS Member

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    For reference, the CUCV M1009 K5 (Blazer) had 1950+ changes from civilian vehicles and the K30 M1008 (Pickup) had over 2100 changes from civilian vehicles (how do I know? I was the lead design engineer for GM/MVO at the time and was responsible for all those changes).
     
  13. HamiltonFelix

    HamiltonFelix Part Time Good Guy

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    Fascinating! A buddy recently picked up a CUCV Blazer when the local VFD auctioned it. He's not a stranger to diesel mechanic work or electrical work. It seems to be mostly a 12 volt vehicle, but made to conform to a military standard to be able to jump to 24 volt vehicles. It has two 12 volt alternators. Not your typical 24 volt rig at all. Looks like a good heavy duty Blazer, though. Just wish the milspec shackles on it were not odd shaped. He's missing one, and the common sort don't fit.
     
  14. BobS

    BobS Member

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    Correct.

    Basically, the system is called a "Du-Vac" and seperates the starting system (including the NATO slave start recept in the grille area-all 28vdc) from the vehicle accessories at 14 vdc. It is a pain to work on without the electrical drawings in the TM set from the military.
     
  15. NO2ANWO

    NO2ANWO Active Member

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    have one

    I bought my M1009(Blazer) in 2000 from a private seller for 1600 with 74k miles an some minor body damage.Since then all I have had to do was replace the injector pump(was leaking), replace radiator(blew out during 600 mile move hauling a uhaul trailer over the WV mountains)(3rd trip),starter(which involved conversion from 24V to 12V(instuctions easily available online)), and just this past week the replacement of a drivers side rocker panel due to rust(typical on all chevys)
     
  16. BasecampUSA

    BasecampUSA Sr. Homesteader

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    Think BIG! :D

    [​IMG]
     
  17. SierraM37

    SierraM37 Well-Known Member

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    Have an M37

    I am restoring an M37, 1952 version. It is EMP proof but I got it because they are cool in a retro kind of way and they don't make sheet metal like that anymore. The M37 was the most high production vehicle after the Jeep and was a 3/4 - 1 ton troop truck, command vehicle or the famous Mash ambulance (M43 I think is the model). Being such a high production military vehicle and they were produced from about '51 thru '65, lot's of OEM NOS original parts are readily available still packed in cosmoline.

    I have two M37's. One I'm restoring to almost stock with some modern safety features. i.e. Disc Brakes, 12v, Seat Belts! The axles in these are what they called chrysler corporate axles, only 16 spline and prone to twisting if you put a big gasser and 40's on them. ARB made a special run of a thousand set's of their air lockers and they sold out fairly quickly. My donor M37 I plan to drop D60's underneath, have a 318 and an NV4500 but the hot setup is to drop a BT4 into them after beefing up the front springs to support the weight.

    The M37 has troop seats in the back that fold up so it'll comfortably carry 9 (3+6). Mate it with an M101 or M105, throw a .50 cal up top and get the hell outta the way!

    The M37 was replaced by the M715 - Basically a Jeep J20 and I think they produced these through about '72 and then they changed to the CUCV, which as stated, is a civvy version modified for the military. They figured that would cut costs. The diesels started showing up with the CUCV's.

    I'm sure you have all seen the Deuces (2 1/2 tons) running around with the dual rear wheels and multi fuel, run on anything diesels. These things are too beastly and impractical, until you've seen one bobbed and done right. This I think would be the ultimate BO vehicle. The bobbed versions shorten the bed slightly and remove one set of the rear axles. They become much less obvious and much more road friendly if done right and can be had for cheap in surplus everywhere.

    Then there is the Unimog. With portal axles, diesel and in a variety of configurations, perhaps the ultimate BOV. They are not cheap unless you go back to a 70 or 60's version, which typically were not diesel. The DOKA would be my money is no object choice.