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1953 Dodge M37 Build Thread

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I don't know how much of an actual 'Build' this will be,

 

but here goes.

 

$900 Craigs List find:

 

$200 Tow home (50 miles):

 

Home Sweet Home :D

 

The good:

It runs pretty well

The plow works (7.5' Fisher power angle, hydro pump on engine)

The wiper works

It has the optional heat & hard top

It has a tailgate, but the bottom needs to be replaced/fabbed

 

The bad:

Rust. Bad. Worse than the pics look,

but since 99% of the body panels are as flat as a Florida interstate,

piecing some it back together might not be so bad.

 

Fuel tank is plastic & in the bed (original was included & looks OK, not mounted)

 

Rust, even the frame hasn't been spared,

but luckily the steel is soooo thick I think it will be fine with some attention.

 

Brakes. Bad.

Normally brakes can be optional equiptment with a plow,

but my driveway is pretty steep so I'll have to put them on the to-do list

 

Fluids.

I'll see what leaks when the sun is out,

but pretty much everything needs to be changed.

It's been a yard truck for atleast 10 years, and a plow truck at an Air Force Base before that, so it's probably ready for an oil change.

 

Tires.

They're yard truck tires (cracked, dry rotted, and old)

And they're on widow maker split lock wheels.

But they hold air,

and they climbed the driveway better than the street tires on my XJ, so as long as they push snow, they're staying :)

 

Stay tuned ;)

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Dumping those split rim wheels should be #1 on the to-do list, or get a tire cage. I bet its got left hand thread lug nuts on the left side too.

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CC,

I think you are right about both,

left side should have left hand threads (and take a 1.5" lug wrench!)

 

And split style wheels are evil.

 

I've been looking at wheel options,

but there aren't many.

The 5 on 6 7/8" pattern makes it tough.

 

I'd love to get 15" wheels to fit (originals are 16x6.5", I think the drums are 14")

I have a set of 37x13-15 Boggers kicking around that would look sweet on it.

 

Recentered Hummer wheels & tires might be my best bet if someone makes the oddball centers.

 

 

Sad thing is,

other than wheels,

there's more parts available for these than MJ's!

 

Here's a complete bed floor & front section of the bed for example;

http://www.midwestmilitary.net/m37p11.html

 

The same site has NOS axle shafts for $100 each

(try finding them for an MJ model 20!)

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So who needs brakes? Just drop the plow. :yes:

 

That may be the plan for now,

5.83 gears help it slow down too ;)

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This is THE page for these wheels;

 

http://www.garbee.ne...ell/riminfo.htm

 

 

General M37 specs

 

 

¾ ton Cargo Truck (Cross Country Rating, 1 ton Highway Rating)

 

Engine

Model...T245 Dodge

Type..."L" Head, 6 Cylinder

Horsepower...BHP-78at 3200 RPM

Displacement...230.2 cu. in.

Bore...3 1/4" Stroke...4 5/8"

 

Oil Capacity...6 qt.

Radiator Capacity...25 qt.

Clutch

Borg & Beck...Model 11828 10"

Single Plate Dry Disc

Fuel System

Carter Carburetor...Model ETW-1 Down Draft

 

25 Gallon Tank (vented through engine air intake for fording

purposes)

 

Electrical

Ignition, Starting, Lights, 24 volts

 

Transmission

New Process...Model 88950 (or NP420)

4 Speed, Synchro-Shift in 3rd and 4th

gear

 

Transfer Case

New Process...88845 (or NP200)

Ratio...High 1:1, low 1.96:1

 

Twin lever operation, one for 4x4 or 4x2 selection, one for hi

or low range

 

Axles

Dodge Full Floating 9.625" (Hypoid) Ratio...5.83:1

Front Universal Drive...New Process (tracta joint)

 

Brakes

Wagner...Hydraulic drum

 

Cargo Model M37...112" wheelbase

 

M37 w/o Winch...5687 lbs., M37 w/Winch 5987 lbs.

 

Tire Size

9.00 x 16 - 8 ply Non-Directional Military

 

Highway

Speed 55 MPH, Range 150 miles (6mpg)

 

Hand throttle

Hand Choke

Direct pushbutton starter actuator

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Well....

1)It needs brakes :D

 

I never had so much excitement without leaving the driveway ;)

 

2)The plow is set up 'high', since the last owner used it in his dirt driveway/parking lot.

So it does not scratch the pavement well.

 

I'm not sure if I should let some slack out of the lift chain,

raise the back of the plow for more angle,

or both to get it to plow closer to the ground.

It does not have plow feet

 

3)The old warrior doesn't like to flex.

It WILL flex,

it just greatly disapproves of it :D

-loud CRUNCH from hard top, cab flex, pass door flies open.

 

^^^ while backing up dirt hill next to the garage,

Spot where the MJ's in the sig pic below are parked.

 

4) Funny part of the whole thing is,

this 60 year old beaten up, scared, rusted, rotted hulk is

also the quietest vehicle I own lol!

Exhaust looks recent,

and its very quiet.

But not enough to hide the slight lope in the engine.

Flatty sixes have their own sound, and I like it.

 

:D

 

 

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Todays results

I still need to get the plow blade down

It's not scraping, leaving an inch or more of hard packed snow.

I raised the rear pushbar, but haven't added any slack to the chain yet.

 

I was worried about pushing snow downhill with little to no brakes,

But it's actually better than pushing the snow up the hill.

 

Pushing uphill means going down the steep driveway backwards, and the 'blade brakes' work better pushing snow than pulling it.

 

Another 8" or so is falling right now so we'll see if some more chain slack will help tomorrow.

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Some pics from today:

 

I thought this was interesting,

hole in the center of the radiator, right where the crank shaft pully is:

 

I'm guessing theres a hand crank that fits in there :yes:

 

 

 

Gas tank is almost perfect, just a little surface rust and a dent in the corner:

 

 

I also learned what happens today if you flip over an OIL BATH aircleaner while trying to seperate the two halves

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Some pics from today:

 

 

 

 

Looks like your sight hound isn't real happy with the new intruder making noise in the driveway. :yes:

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Here's a build thread from a local who also built an M-37, maybe it will give you some ideas or inspiration

 

http://www.offroad.bc.ca/phpbb3/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=1081

 

Good luck with your build, looks like fun!

Thanks!

That's a great link (and a really nice M37)

I added it to post #8 above.

 

 

 

 

Looks like your sight hound isn't real happy with the new intruder making noise in the driveway. :yes:

 

She's happy & miserable at the same time. :)

 

The heart of a warrior, with the hips of a 13 year old pooch.

Can't wait to get outside,

then looks at me like the cold & ice are MY fault :yes:

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Some pics from today:

 

I thought this was interesting,

hole in the center of the radiator, right where the crank shaft pully is:

 

I'm guessing theres a hand crank that fits in there :yes:

 

Most likely a hole for a front PTO driven winch or other PTO driven accessory.

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That hole is for a crank. It was stashed behind the seat, If we needed a crank we would walk 2 miles to find a deuce and half to come give us a tow before trying to use it. Dec-Jan 1953-54 we, King Co. 511th Abn, 11th Abn Div was at Ft Carson and Camp Hale for winter maneuvers. We had a drop for the locals and the 3/4 ton from King Co was selected as one of the equipment drops. It streamered. Watched it on channel 5 news that evening. Klcked up a dust cloud you wouldn't believe. Got a new M37 out of it. The winch, when so equipted, was driven from a PTO attached to the transfer case.

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That hole is for a crank. It was stashed behind the seat, If we needed a crank we would walk 2 miles to find a deuce and half to come give us a tow before trying to use it. Dec-Jan 1953-54 we, King Co. 511th Abn, 11th Abn Div was at Ft Carson and Camp Hale for winter maneuvers. We had a drop for the locals and the 3/4 ton from King Co was selected as one of the equipment drops. It streamered. Watched it on channel 5 news that evening. Klcked up a dust cloud you wouldn't believe. Got a new M37 out of it. The winch, when so equipted, was driven from a PTO attached to the transfer case.

 

Thanks for explanation Jim!

 

 

Who do we have to talk to get an "Ask Jim" forum here @ in the pub?? :yes:

 

Campfire tales to War Stories,

and everything I'm between.

 

Kind of like "Dear Abby"....

if Abby was raised by wolves,

and Clint Eastwood :D

 

^^^dead serious :)

 

"Ask Jimoshel, Life advice & Tractor tips" :yes:

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.... It streamered....

 

Hmmm. I guess the jumpmaster didn't like the 3/4 ton.

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To Do List:

 

I don't know how much I'll have time for over the winter,

but I started a to-do list (I'm sure I'll be back to edit this :D )

 

Brakes:

someone already converted it to a duel master cylinder,

but for some reason capped the rear off (I'm guessing leaky line)

even though it's really crusty,

it seems to be holding fluid.

But there is no pedal resistance.

Step 1 will be to try to pull off the crusty ft drums and see what's going on there.

Finding a rebuild kit for the swapped in MC might be tough if I can't figure out what it originally came from.

 

Emergency brake (T-case mounted drum): it actually works.

if there's enough meat left in the shoes & drums, I'll adjust it & call it good :D

 

Traction:

I should probably throw a thousand pounds of sand in the bed, and call it good,

but so far it's gotten stuck twice at the bottom of my driveway :(

Single track axles, and old tires so hard they throw sparks are as much to blame as the lack of rear weight.

 

Choices:

Snow chains:

@ Tirechain.com for 9.00-16 tires

Medium Duty ones in the truck section are $85 a pair; http://www.tirechain...m/9.00-16LT.htm

Greater selection for 9.5-16's in the tractor section; http://www.tirechains.com/9.5-16.htm $135-$266 per pair

Either way, I think I'd put them on the rear to keep the stress off the 60 year old Tracta joints up front

 

Lock Right:

PN 1210 fits these big boy Chrysler axles,

Telico has it for just under $300 http://www.tellico4x...roducts_id/2187

Tho I'm not sure I want to risk breaking the shafts

Shafts are big 16 spline 1.37" at the ends, but they neck down to 1.25" in the center

 

This would also be for the rear to save the trouble of breaking a ft joint, or shaft

 

Or Tires:

Choices would be:

1)recentered Hummer wheels, with Hummer 37x12,5x16.5 Good Year MT's <<< my favorite tire back when they were available in other sizes, this would be a good excuse to run them again :D

2)recenter some 15x8's and run the TSL Q78-16's, or 37x13.00-15 Boggers I already have. <<< I really doubt 15's will fit over these huge drums, but that won't stop me from trying :yes:

3)keep the Widow Maker split lock 16x6.5's, and swap on some newer tires, tubes, flaps & stems

Q78-16 TSL's, or even 38x12.5-16's have been used on these wheels by others

or 4)put a couple hundred 5/16" head sheet metal screws in the tires already on there and stop getting stuck for much less $$$

 

Fluids:

It needs some fresh fluids.

I figured where the oil filter is today,

gotta get a filter & O-ring for that,

then change atleast the engine oil & diffs.

Trans & transfer case actually sound good, so I'll leave them for last

 

Engine & Trans plugs take what looks like a ginormous Torx bit,

but I didn't think those were even invented in 1953.

 

 

Plow:

I raised the rear push bar 2 positions,

after talking to a plow guy (my brother) I am going to raise the push bar to the highest position.

 

Hydro pump could use a bracket welded to keep it from moving around,

I'm just gonna keep my eye on it for now.

 

It could also use a change of hydrolic fluid & filter,

but I haven't worked on enough plows yet to want mess with one that works in the middle of winter.

 

Also on the plow to do list is grind & patch the 2 rust holes on the blade

 

 

Electrical:

There has actually been some decent upgrades,

like the add on heater, electric wiper (DS only), electric fuel pump, and conversion to 12v from 24v.

But there's also been 60 years of serious electrical butchery involved.

1) put a fire extinguisher in it, to avoid --> :(

2) cut out the rats nest of splices, wires run in every direction and random switches drilled everywhere in the dash

3) close up the random switch holes, find some decent HD switches that match, and re-run the add on stuff.

4)go through the lighting, fix or replace what doesn't work.

 

Misc:

IF the frame passes the wire wheel test (= doesn't come apart in fist sized chunks)

1)Patch Panels

find some patch panels for the swiss cheese fenders.

The curves are pretty simple,

but if someone makes patches, I'd use 'em

2)Data Plates:

there are everywhere on a Mil truck, and these are pretty faded for the most part.

luckily they seem to be pretty cheap to buy still.

so If things continue going well with the truck, I'll spring for some new OD paint & plates for the dash :yes:

3)Tailgate:

The tailgate is intact,

the bottom hinge part is being used by the plywood tailgate that's bolted on for now.

Really shouldn't be much more than:

grind my way to clean metal

burn the hing back to the gate

& maybe add a small filler piece if there's a section missing, or rotted away.

 

Without putting the two tailgate pieces back together, it sure LOOKS like everything is there,

except for one chain latch bracket on the bed that's partially missing (easy fix).

4)gas tank

currently its a bed mounted plastic aftermarket tank.

The original is in good shape.

I'm tempted to get some straps & bolt it in (rerunning fuel lines @ the same time)

but I think it would be better to wait til the bed is off, frame stripped/patched & painted in the spring.

 

Lastly, this truck was upgraded with a pass side mirror,

but the drivers side mirror is broken off.

Reattaching that is on the short list due to the small rear window/huge blind spot.

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May have chains off some of my adds old trucks I know the one had 16.5 and one had split ring 16`s not sure if he still has them most likely does they would be cheap or free they were large tires maybe he can remember what height.

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May have chains off some of my adds old trucks I know the one had 16.5 and one had split ring 16`s not sure if he still has them most likely does they would be cheap or free they were large tires maybe he can remember what height.

 

I'm all about keeping this one cheap :)

So I certainly wouldn't turn down some discount chains if he still has them :D

Thanks!

 

 

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