My M-35 Deuce and a Half, and the Road Trip to bring it home.

I'd been looking at M-109 "Deuce and a Half" military trucks for a while. These are the "workshop van" version of the more common M-35 cargo truck. I had not been able to find one, and so I decided to try to get an M-35 and put a shelter on it. After deciding to purchase one locally, and having the owner in the Dallas area change his mind at the last minute, I turned to the web and to look for another one.

I found several, offered on web pages and on trucktrader, but none of the better specimens were very close. There was a nice one in Georgia, but it didn't have the air-shift front axle, which is one feature I really wanted. Being in VA for business, I looked at one in Marshall, Virginia, offered by a guy named Jeff Symanski. After a couple phone calls, I discovered it was a '68 with 17,000 miles, a 1993 turbo engine, air shift, and a new vinyl soft top. A friend of Jeff's also had an ELECTRONICS SHOP AN-GRM-23D shelter for extra $, so the deal was made. The shelter was originally some kind of repair shop module, and still had a bunch of the original junk inside, such as two tables, power outlets, a 19" rack with 60 and 400 Hz meters, circuit breakers, a PP-4609/U power supply for 22-28VDC @ 100A, and `Variac' autotransformers, as well as a mix of, well.. "junk". Several power and RF connectors grace the outside of the shelter, so it has great potential anyway. These shelters are much lighter than the van body on the M109, and they are aluminum so they don't rust.

I drove this truck 1300 miles from VA to TX, with no troubles, but I have to say that when pushed to 55 MPH, which is about the max speed, the 'road draft tube' on the engine will drool some oil onto the front axle, and it used 4 quarts on the trip. Ok by me, after all, it didn't burn the oil, just vaporized it and drooled.. The fix is to #1 -slow down, and #2 -extend the draft tube lower with a hose so it does not dirty the axle, or better yet and much more 'green', mount a can or jug down there to catch the oil but let the vapor escape. A note about the lug nuts -this truck takes a "Budd" wrench, kind of uncommon today, but available for about $50.

The shelter and power supply were made by FUTURONICS CORP, FREEPORT, NY, and if anyone has any documentation such as a wiring diagram, I am looking for that, and for the 'correct' air conditioners for it, and a hard top (aftermarket ok) for the cab of the truck. If anyone has one of these and has mounted the spare in an alternate place in order to install a generator set where the spare is, or found a place to put a generator, I would like to know more about it. Beast needs air conditioning in Texas! Any help appreciated!

I am very pleased with the deal I got from Jeff Symanski. He's also got a web page at

Driver side view

rear view

front view

passenger view

High resolution oblique view

The tractor trailer the shelter came on. Note the 5-ton truck Jeff is going to service later.

Jeff's 5 ton wrecker. This was used to pick the shelter off the semi and put it on my M35.

Even though the aluminum shelter weighs a ton, it was easily positioned by hand while suspended.

The transfer takes place.

Here's Jeff at the controls.