1954 REO M35 Recovery

RGS20inophir

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Socorro, New Mexico
Well, I have fallen off the deep end of the pool. A deal came up that I just could not pass up. I have snagged a 54' REO gasser M35. The truck was in Las Vegas, NM so a road trip from Socorro to Vegas was necessary. We exchanged goods on Friday and I got a crisp New Mexico Title in hand. On Friday I decided to take at look at the top end of the tranny on the A2. I have been having issues with 3rd gear. It seems like the synchro is starting to fail. This all started after it popped out of third while cruising around the week before last. I can upshift into third, but downshifting even with RPM matching was a PITA. Under load 3rd will occasionally kick out. It seems like even when it is in gear it doesn't seat properly. I tore the top end apart to look at the synchros on friday and they all looked fine, the shift forks were in the right position... but it was still giving me issues. So, I elected to go ahead with the recovery and deal with the synchro problem later.

Saturday morning at 0600 a buddy of mine and I were getting ready to start rolling. With the A2 purring away like a kitten at a bowl of milk it was time to get it in gear and start rolling. We left the house by 0700 and were on the interstate.

Miles flew by, the truck was happy and cruising along at 55. Towns with funny names like Encino, Villanueva, Sena, and Coruco. If you are ever in New Mexico and you are looking for a WONDERFUL back road to take... try NM 3 from I-25 to I-40. You will follow the Pecos river for quite a ways. Just be advised that this is not a towbar friendly road. Anything over about 40 feet and you are hogging both lanes going up and downgrade.

Just as we come off of the ramp into Vegas the A2 decided to stay stuck in 5th. O.O!!!! WOAH! Once I came to a stop at the top of the ramp I monkeyed with the tranny, trying to get her out. Apply some power, no go. Finally I put it in low, slipped the clutch and once we were rolling I was able to get it out of gear. Throw it back into high 2 and we are trucking again.

We arrived Las Vegas at around 10:30. Time FLEW. I think taking that back road is actually faster than hopping on I-25. I know it is fewer miles and FAR more scenic. We got the gasser hooked up and then walked to Subway for lunch. We walked over to O'Reilly for some GL-5 "just in case" we needed it and then did the final inspection of the vehicle. Initially I noticed a few things... the bed is longer than my A2 bed, there is a huge gap between the bed and the cab, the bumperettes are missing, it looks like someone has chopped quite a bit off the rear end already,
and there is quite a bit of work to be done on the ol' gal. The cab is some putrid seafoam green color, but she has good bones to work off of.

With everything ready to go, the gasser in neutral, it was time to get it in gear and start rolling. It was about 1330. I know at one point I talked about turning a deuce bed into a trailer... I am never going to do that now. WOW THOSE BEASTS ARE HEAVY! You can really hear the turbo kick in when there is a decent load behind you.

Because NM-3 was so twisty we elected to go on an alternate route home that was a little better road. Then it was on to I-25, to U-S 84. TALK ABOUT SLOW GOING. Hauling that rig up and down the hogbacks was an exercise in patients. Top speed was 45, minimum speed going up the grades was about 15-20. Man those multifuels can bark!

On the way home we stopped a few times to stretch, check the sidewall temperatures, look at the drivelines, etc. At this point it was likely 90+ in the NM heat. The engine temp in the A2 was consistently around 210*. It is amazing the power difference between the engine at 180* and 210* If I let her cool a bit she comes roaring back ready to go... at 210 it is like a fatigued runner. Course that could also be placebo...

We took the cutoff at Vaughn onto US-60 and then it was a leisurely drive at 45 all the way to I-25. We arrived Socorro around 2015 and then came the fun part... getting the gasser into the back yard. This little endeavor took the better part of two hours. It still isn't where I want it... and it won't be until she can run under her own power.

All in all... I am extremely happy. More pictures to follow, but here are a few from the trip.

My girlfriend, roommates, mother, sisters, and brothers all think I have lost my mind... and they would be right.:jumpin:

Questions:

1) Where are the TMs for the gassers? I need to get the procedure for carb adjustment.

2) Should I simply bob and turn her into a REAL XM381? Or do I bob and double cab?
 

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hndrsonj

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1) Where are the TMs for the gassers? I need to get the procedure for carb adjustment.

2) Should I simply bob and turn her into a REAL XM381? Or do I bob and double cab?
Look in the 1965 manuals for some gasser info. The early manuals aren't online that i've seen. To be a "real" M381 it would need a cut down M34 bed. What did you do for lights and safety chain when towing?
 

RGS20inophir

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Socorro, New Mexico
You caught the safety chain dobacle right away I see... I had a bunch of 15K lb cable and shackles with me. Every time we stopped I looked for a way to safely wrap the cable, but in the end the slow and cautious approach with frequent stops was the answer. The tow feet had G-8 bolts with locknuts on it... so that wasn't going anywhere.

The batteries in the REO were flat. So I put the beacon WAY up in the air and we lumbered along. I minimized the freeway time as much as possible. I really wish I had a pair of 24V mag mount lights to throw on the truck, but there wasn't time to rig any up. I had this weekend to do the recovery before I go back out in the field for at least a week for work.
 

RGS20inophir

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I spent some more time looking at the truck this morning. It looks like the frame has been stretched for at least a foot in front of the axle and at least a foot behind the axle. A sister plate was added to the outside of the weld for strength. The entire frame that goes into the stake pockets can be lifted out... if you are Arnold Schwartzenegger. Someone put a lot of time into modifying the bed. The headache rack on the front is so welded and gusseted it isn't even funny.

The guy I bought it from included a full M35 harness with the truck, along with half a million open coil open frame relays. I didn't think there was a single relay on an M35... but I have a box FULL of them.

The more I look at it... the more of a project it is. It seems like the truck has good bones. Someone invested a ton of money in G-8 hardware on the truck. Not to mention plate, tube, etc. There is very little rust, and the rust that is there looks like surface rust... but there again, being in the desert that makes perfect sense. They spent their time on the bed work... the plumbing however... looks like a nightmare. There are fuel water separators on the truck but not plumbed in. I have found at least three pressure regulators, a couple booster pumps, and the tubing switches from hose to hard line and back to hose without a barb. :cookoo:
 

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REO 54

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Lopez Island,Washington
Good rescue!

I can comiserate. My first deuce is REO 54,thus my handle.Mine was former

V-18A/MTQ Pole Setter Truck that started it's service out at Whidbey NAS.

It's final service was rual fire/water tender. They put to much tank on it
and bent the frame a bit at the cab.Came with a winch though. it also has a output on the top behind the cab. It only had 9.00 11.00's singles when I got it.

There are tech manuals out there for the REO series.I'm sure some memebers
have some the old NOS types ou there.

Good luck!!:smile:
 

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ryan77

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I like the headlights lower on those old 50's ones! Who ever painted the inside should be shot! Looks like a cool project!!!:popcorn:
 

Barrman

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TM9-8022 is THE manual for the Gassers. I got one off Ebay years ago. Otherwise, you need the 1965 TM's that cover Gasser stuff.

Those stacked air tanks scream DUMP TRUCK to me. What does the data plate say.
 

REO 54

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tanks

Woah Reo! You have dual tanks?!?!

Yep,I have 2 fuel tanks.Only use 1 though. I removed my water tank on the
back.That sucker weighed 2300 lbs empty! And then they put water in it!!??

No wonder my frame bent. I'm fixin that though. Shes running as flat bed now.

TM-9-8022 to 19-75AA-173 is the one I have.1954 edition. Thats the one.
 

RGS20inophir

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Socorro, New Mexico
Innnnnnteresting. But notice that the cylinders are in a slanted configuration. Mine are right on top of each-other. Also the foot long extension, do you guys think that was done by the military or once it got into civilian hands?
 
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