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M1008 5/4 ton trucks

Discussion in 'Chevy Trucks' started by IHcubman, Jun 26, 2003.

  1. IHcubman

    IHcubman Junior Member
    Messages: 18

    I currently own a 1987 Chevy, 4WD, short bed pickup. I have owned the truck since it was brand new and I have rebuilt/improved the truck over the past 16 years. The truck is getting tired once again. My dilemma is I am not sure I want to invest a bunch of money into my current truck, as I really need a heavy-duty truck.
    I am looking into some of these ex-military GM trucks, specifically the M1008 which is a 5/4-ton pick-up truck. I’d like to by a hoist kit or EZ-dumper that will convert the bed into a dump body. I need 4WD for sure, I need the dump body for the farm, and I need the power as well for towing my tractor. I want to mount my plow to the truck and I’d like to get a sander for it as well. My driveway is 1500’ long.

    Has anyone here had any experience with these trucks? Are they worth it? My nephew in the Marine Corps swears those vehicles are maintained religiously. I am also wondering about the 6.2 diesel engine. I know that diesels have tons of power and torque and are probably well suited for what I’d like to use the truck for, but I’ve only had experience with the 350-gas motor.

    I can’t leave a truck in stock form either; my current truck has a 4” lift with 33” tires on it. I’d like to put 35” tires on the M1008 but can I do it without a suspension lift; will the 5/4-ton suspension give me enough clearance? What if I have the springs re-arched slightly; say a couple of inches? If I went for a full 4” suspension lift, would I be sacrificing payload capacity?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. Any suggestions on where to purchase one of these trucks would be helpful as well. Thanks!

  2. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,317

    Check out this site for links and more info.


    Where to find one? That's a good question. I worked on a base and asked about auctions, and they all laughed. They said when they are ready to be sold, they ship them to a central location, and no one could tell me where. :confused:

    As far as a lift, look at it this way... a decent HD dump bed will need a framework under it. That will raise the bed about 3" and then the body lines won't match the cab. Give the cab a 3" body lift, and they will match. With a 3" lift the 35's will fit on the rear. But up front you might have to trim a little even with the 3" body lift. This way you are not altering the suspension, or changing your payload.

    The 6.2 you won't have any real problems with. If it is a millitary vehicle, the starting system will be 24 volt, and the rest of the truck will be 12 volt. You will have a GM 14 bolt rear axle, and a Dana 60 front axle, as well as a TH 400 trans, and NP 205 transfer case. Double shocks up front are common on 5/4's too.

    First thing you want to do is change the door locks and ignition, as the Army likes to have a "one key fits all" set up. I know a couple of guys that restored ex army trucks only to have them stolen after the fact.

    There was a thread here called 1978 DSO Production Numbers, that had some more good info.

  3. snowplowjay

    snowplowjay Banned
    Messages: 890

    Those are terrific rock solid trucks. My city has a few of them in use still. They make great go anywhere do anything trucks and plow snow like crazy. I was talking to one of my good friends in the Parks Dept. and he said that they cant do anything to destroy those trucks. If I can ill snap a pic of one of them. I usually see the K5 platform one around town i think thats the M1009 model.

  4. JCurtis

    JCurtis Banned
    Messages: 862

    Now the smart thing for Chevy/GMC to do would be to make a 5/4 ton truck for the regular joe.

    I mean it doesn't have to be as utilitarian as the GI version, but thinkabout it. I wonder how many of us would order one from the factory if we could.

    I do wonder what it would cost trhough :eek:
  5. snowplowjay

    snowplowjay Banned
    Messages: 890

    Actually there was an article in Truck Trend a few months ago about Ford, General Motors, and Dodges new Military spec'd HD go anywhere pickups and utility vehicles. Ill see if I can find the article about it for you to read.

  6. Pelican

    Pelican 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,075

    One thing I've heard about military trucks is that some can't be registered because they don't meet DOT specs. This may be a rumor, but might be worth investigating.
  7. IHcubman

    IHcubman Junior Member
    Messages: 18


    Chuck - Thanks for the tip about the keys. I read that before someplace as well, but I had forgotten about it until you mentioned it again. I'm not sure how high a dump kit will alter the body, but matching the front to the rear is a must. Boy do I hate the thought of installing a body lift though; I put one in my old Chevy Luv when I got out of high school and it was a pain; a full size truck has got to be worse....
    Maybe the combination of whatever body lift I need to match the dump kit and a slight re-arch of the springs will give me the clearance I need without having to trim the fenders.
    Jay - I know what you are saying about being tough! One of our local police departments has one and I talked to the officer one night at the gas station about it. He said it wasn't very fast, but it would go anywhere! BTW, from what he told me about these trucks is when the military is done with them, they go up for auction to various state and city departments first. This is why you often see them as forest fire trucks etc. Because they get first "dibs" they usually get the better trucks as well.
    Pelican - I'll have to check into the DOT thing. The various dealers that I have contacted so far claim that the trucks come with a clear title and they should pass emissions. Do you know exactly what DOT criteria they do not meet? It may not be too much of an issue for me anyway as I plan to put a farm plate on it; but it would be nice to know. Oh, BTW, I haven't forgotten; my nephew just got back from Saudi.
  8. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,317

    IH, when I was a senior in high school I put a body lift in my 79 LUV. I can honestly say my 77 Chevy K/20 was MUCH easier to do.

  9. IHcubman

    IHcubman Junior Member
    Messages: 18

    Body lift

    Chuck - Really? I thought the Luv was a pain and I figured the full size truck would be worse. Of course, the quality of the kit makes a big difference I'm sure. Any suggestions on brand of kits to look at or ones to avoid?
  10. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,317

    Since you did the LUV, I will tell you a few things that are different.

    The LUV you have to use brackets to drop the radiator. Not on the K model.

    The LUV you have to drop the steering column. Not on the K.

    The LUV you get spacers to weld under the bed floor. Not on the K.

    My K is an auto trans, my LUV was a 4wd 4 speed, so I had to trim for the shifters and it ended up being almost one big hole. Not on MY K.

    There is more that you have to do to both, and a couple of things that need to be done to the K model.


    Off road the LUV was fun... daily driving it sucked, period.

  11. porkhead1

    porkhead1 Member
    Messages: 70

    Don't expect to set any speed records with an these trucks......they come with 4:56 gears & top out around 55-60mph. Some of the dual-rear wheel models have a posi/limited-slip front diff. along with the std. posi/limited-slip rear.