Bringing My MV Home

KN6KXR

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Well I was going to ship my new purchase but then I found myself in a place to burn some vacation time so decided to drive it and save a pile of dough (maybe). I bought a mint condition M936A2 and will be putting more miles coming home than it has on the clock but hey; what's the fun in keeping the miles off it? It's been stored indoors and driven monthly. I'd be a lot more apprehensive if it just sat. So it's amazing how fast you can hit the 50# checked bag limit with a toolbox. Guess that's what Harbor Freight is for! Second bag is frame pack with backpacking gear. Luck favors the prepared....

Plan is something like:
1) Friday leave Battle Creek, MI and end up someplace east of Des Moines.
2) Saturday wind up in Fort Collins, CO at a buddies place.
3) Sunday end in Ogden, UT.
4) Monday hit up Boyce see if they can fit me with a hard top.
5) Monday night end someplace most of the way to Las Vegas, NV.
6) Tuesday end up in the Mojave. Barstow?
7) Wednesday end up in Atascadero, CA by end of day.

I have a buffer day in there. Total mileage about 2,400. Plan on 500 miles/day but the first two days will be almost 600 each. I have some noise cancelling headphones, earmuffs, heated jacket liner, 70A 24/12 converter I'll field install, someother stuff I'm taking. Open to suggestions on "must haves" or spares from those that have had such adventures.

Wish me luck!
 

Bill Nutting

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I have done what you are doing. In 2019 I was on the MVPA convoy from York PA to San Francisco. I had to jump out in Delta Ut. and get home fast. I drove back to Michigan in 2 1/2 days. It was no fun pushing that hard but I made it. My only advise is get rest when you stop. If you feel tired get off the road for a while. Stop and walk around as often as you can. You seem to have a good trip plan. You will be passing by a lot of SS members on your trip. If you get in a jam let us know.
 

BKubu

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I'd strongly recommend changing the fuel filters before you set out, and also bring along some extras. Oil can wait until you get back as long as it is topped off and not too dirty (still better to change it), but a clogged fuel filter will bring you to a complete stop. Does the truck have the upgraded fuel filter under the driver's side fender? The larger filter was standard on the A0 and A1 trucks, but not on the early A2s. Also, make sure the seller carefully inspects the tires. A blown tire will make for a bad day, too. Tires and fuel filters are the first things that come to mind before taking a long trip. Then, make sure you check all of the fluids (transmission, differentials, transfer case, coolant). Good luck!
 

KN6KXR

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Wow thanks for the replies! It's good to hear folks have done this without too much issue. Going through the threads the stories are all over the place. The truck is basically as bought reworked. Has 2k miles and 700 of that was the old owner driving it home. It's been stored inside, never driven in the salt, exercised regularly. I'll check on the fuel filter but I think it's completely stock. The only thing done is the CTIS has been disconected due to leakage. Tanks have always been kept full. I've operated similar stuff and daily walk arounds will be all fluids, tire pressures, tank soundings, etc...

I'm going to register it historic in CA (it's currently historic in MI). So use will be a little limited. That said..... My utility company left me trapped in my place for 5 days last year by a snapped power pole dangling on the road, I'm going to be moving my own utility service and planting a pole on my place when I put the service underground, I have a big towable generator somebody brought me to fix with a blown rod in the Cat 6-cyl and need to pull that, a buddy has already hit me up for helping with some roof trusses, I still put in generators for folks on the side even though I have a "day job", etc, etc... It'll get exercised. You know: for historic purposes! Also might hit a SS rally down in the Mojave next year. Didn't see a wrecker in the photos can't be period correct without one, right? Looks like a lot of fun!

I've done some pretty long days in more comfortable vehicles, operated strange equipment when I served (USCG then US Merchant Marine but we didn't get to play much with Army stuff). This will be a first for 5 or 6 long days back to back for me. Also for a MV on a public road setting. So it'll be different. Lots of breaks are probably in order. I'm bringing a backpacking stove and coffee fixings I plan to do a lot of rest stops where the decision will be "nap and then coffee or coffe and keep going?" While this will make for long days it'll make for safe days.

So here's a question: what to do about wiegh stations? Once again the threads here are all over the place. I figured I'd plan to stop at all of them and roll through the unladen section. Thinking it's better to be yelled at for going through them than ticketed for rolling by them. Any advice?
 

98G

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I don't stop at weigh stations. I've done a lot of long road trips in heavy MVs, including an M936A2 from NM to KS a couple of years ago.

I did stop at a weigh station years ago when I first started doing this stuff. They stopped me and did a full commercial inspection. Their justification was "by entering our weigh station you declared yourself to be commercial and so we can apply commercial standards."

The exception to the weigh as station thing is much of the Midwest. Some of them want anything >8000lbs to go through, commercial or not, including pickup trucks. These states include SD, and many of the contiguous states. I think NE does also, so this may effect you. The signs are specific, so just follow the signs' instructions.

On the topic of fuel filters, there's two "stock" configurations on A2 trucks. One includes a large filter on the driver's side and then a smaller filter on the block. The other configuration is just the small filter on the block. Both are available at NAPA. I'd carry spares of whatever fuel filters you have. I would not preemptively change them.

Here's the most likely issues you're likely to see:

1) Tire blowout. The wreckers are heavy and are especially hard on tires. Carry spares, two jacks, cribbing, a monster of a breaker bar and a cheater pipe you can stand on. Odds are high that your lug nuts were put on with a 1" air impact.

2) the current blend of available diesel fuel isn't JP8. You're going to encounter biodiesel in concentrations from 5% to 20%. Biodiesel is an excellent solvent and will clean everything out of your fuel system and deposit it into your fuel filter. You want spares if you clog, otherwise change them post trip.

3) your air system is likely to have issues. You'll be running a lot more air through it than it has seen in a long time. You may have moisture issues.

4) don't use both fuel tanks. The valve on the floor that selects the tank is prone to crack and suck air. At which point you're dead on the side of the road. Whichever tank it's on when you get it is where you should leave it until you get it home. Then move it back and forth and test. This is something to do in your driveway, not 1500miles from home.

5) know how to lock the fan on in case of fan clutch/shutterstat failure.

500-600miles a day is do-able, but it's at the upper end of reasonable, especially for multiple days in a row. You're going to average 50ish, with reasonable top cruising speed of 63mph or so. Odds are >50% you'll use your buffer day for one reason or another. Have a viable abort plan in place in case of need. (Truck into storage, fly home etc)

It's going to be fun. My M936A2 retrieval trip was very enjoyable, blown tires and all.
 
Last edited:

M35fan

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Wow thanks for the replies! It's good to hear folks have done this without too much issue. Going through the threads the stories are all over the place. The truck is basically as bought reworked. Has 2k miles and 700 of that was the old owner driving it home. It's been stored inside, never driven in the salt, exercised regularly. I'll check on the fuel filter but I think it's completely stock. The only thing done is the CTIS has been disconected due to leakage. Tanks have always been kept full. I've operated similar stuff and daily walk arounds will be all fluids, tire pressures, tank soundings, etc...

I'm going to register it historic in CA (it's currently historic in MI). So use will be a little limited. That said..... My utility company left me trapped in my place for 5 days last year by a snapped power pole dangling on the road, I'm going to be moving my own utility service and planting a pole on my place when I put the service underground, I have a big towable generator somebody brought me to fix with a blown rod in the Cat 6-cyl and need to pull that, a buddy has already hit me up for helping with some roof trusses, I still put in generators for folks on the side even though I have a "day job", etc, etc... It'll get exercised. You know: for historic purposes! Also might hit a SS rally down in the Mojave next year. Didn't see a wrecker in the photos can't be period correct without one, right? Looks like a lot of fun!

I've done some pretty long days in more comfortable vehicles, operated strange equipment when I served (USCG then US Merchant Marine but we didn't get to play much with Army stuff). This will be a first for 5 or 6 long days back to back for me. Also for a MV on a public road setting. So it'll be different. Lots of breaks are probably in order. I'm bringing a backpacking stove and coffee fixings I plan to do a lot of rest stops where the decision will be "nap and then coffee or coffe and keep going?" While this will make for long days it'll make for safe days.

So here's a question: what to do about wiegh stations? Once again the threads here are all over the place. I figured I'd plan to stop at all of them and roll through the unladen section. Thinking it's better to be yelled at for going through them than ticketed for rolling by them. Any advice?
Sounds like you have a good plan. I drove my Deuce home with zero issues, but it was a much shorter trip. Only about 250 miles. Wes (@simp5782) travels the interstates a lot, and probably has good advice about weigh stations, etc. Good luck to you!
 

simp5782

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Going to be hard for a wrecker to avg 500mi a day. Especially when you get out west.

Only suggestion is that you switch your fuel tank feed while you still have a quarter of fuel in the one tank. Then stop and make sure it is pulling from that tank rather than assuming it is after a few miles. Those switch valves can go bad.
 

Jbulach

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Convoy lights would be a big bonus, and 500 miles a day or not, I would recommend staying off the interstate once you hit those high speed limit western states, you still won’t keep up with traffic even on state roads.
 

98G

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Convoy lights would be a big bonus, and 500 miles a day or not, I would recommend staying off the interstate once you hit those high speed limit western states, you still won’t keep up with traffic even on state roads.
Thing is, at least on the interstate, there's a whole nother lane for people to pass you with. The smaller roads are more prone for someone to make an unsafe pass.

My opinion is the interstate is the preferred option. Daylight hours strongly preferred.
 

Lukes_deuce

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500 miles a day for a 5-6 days is a lot to ask of yourself and a new truck. One minor set back and your schedule is screwed. I do a 250 mile trip (usually 6 to 7 hours due to traffic) a few times a year and Im done for the day. These trucks are not the epitome of driver comfort or speed. I wish you the best of luck but please have a contingency.
 

KN6KXR

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I'd like to stay off the interstate but I don't think that's an option this trip. I'm just going to have to poke along in the slow lane. I've done the LAB2V a few times and taken the bailouts along I10 it can't be worse than having a semi blow past you at 75mph on a 300# dirt bike doing 50mph. That's kinda sketch! I actually have 6 days and 2400 miles targeted (400 per day average). I can take 8 days if I have to and 11 days without consequences. The initial 500/day push is to get to Ogden where I think a hard top will be waiting for me. Soft top at this time of year is probably going to be less than stellar. Fatigue.... all too familiar. I'll know when to stop. That's what the down sleeping bag and thermarest are for. If I don't stay on target then I don't. It's a goal not an expectation.

Had a talk with the old owner about the fuel switchover valve it was new as of about 5 years ago. Reportedly working flawlessly. Good advice about stopping to switch and ensuring it's drawing. Didn't know they were so prone to failure. Sounds like if I want to cycle I should do it after each fill up and alternate tanks between fills. That or not touch it. I think when I physically see it, the condition around it, the lines, etc.. I'll be able to make a better assesment.

Spare tires and proper inflation. My biggest concern I think. I'm bringing a nice Milton 518 and some blue glad hands with a pipe for leverage and shutoff valve. Hose and fittings from Harbor Freight there. I shipped a 56:1 reduction drive lugnut wrench to the seller it'll be with the truck. A couple of 20-ton bottle jacks from Harbor Freight (hopefully they have the air/hydraulic but if not then just the hydraulic) and I'll have to scrounge some wood blocks. If I do have tire issues I hope it's only one on the way to Ogden because I can get another there. Anybody carry two spares on a wrecker? If so where did you stick the second one? Maybe I should pick up a second just to have it..... Daily walks, pressure checks and every time I get out of the truck to stretch (every 2-3 hours I expect) check the tire temp by feel for hot spots and do a visual. Tires were new as of 5 years ago and vehicle stored indoors and driven monthly at least. Best I think that can be hoped for.

Well another data point on the weigh stations! Now I'm thinking to just drive by. I don't know folks experience is all over the map. As advised I'll follow the signs. I'll be driving completely across Nebraska. I plan on getting fuel at truck stops and will ask the guys. Who would know better? Most folks are pretty friendly and happy to dispense advice in their wheelhouse.

Fuel filters YEP. Agree with all of this. Also going to pick up a spare accessory drive belt and fluids for topping off anything. Went over the shutterstat with the seller. Before I leave I'm going to get straight on field disassembly, lube, re-assembly and bypass if needed. Apparently lots of them get gummed up. Air system generally I'll have to bleed at every stop until I'm sure what is needed. I have a lot of TM reading to do on my plane ride.....

So in my toolbox I'm bringing I'm pretty restricted (50 pounds). I just have a box set to 1", 1/2" drive ratchet/socket/breaker, 6/8/10/12" adjustables, basic meter, wire strippers, flare wrenches to 3/4", safety wire and pliers, etc.. What stuff outside this do you recommend picking up for the trip? Handy to have box wrenches or flare wrenches bigger than 1"? A couple pipe wrenches couldn't hurt, yes? I actually don't have a lot of spares in larger SAE sizes in the shop and don't mind going ahead and stocking the truck there for the trip. If you were going to undertake this type of mission what would you bring for tools?

THANK YOU for all the input guys! Super handy. So handy I hope it doesn't come in handy! Right?!?
 

simp5782

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Download the app called Truckerpath. It shows all truck stops rest areas and pull offs.

Biggest wrench needed on the truck is 2. -1/4 for the torque rods but if those bust you are just down. Besides that 15/16 and 1-1/8 are the biggest sizes you would encounter.

I carry 2 medium Milwaukee bags with tools and I can do pretty much repair anything or disassemble a 5 ton with just them.
 

98G

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Asking the guys at truck stops gets you the commercial truck perspective. It isn't applicable to you. They'll tell you all about needing a wrecker endorsement and a class A... N/A.

I'm a minimalist on tools. When I fly and pick up a vehicle I don't bring tools with me. When I drive, I bring essentially a GMTK in the pickup truck, jacks and cribbing. And a towbar. Having a towbar can be the difference between someone else with an MV towing you for some token amount, and thousands in heavy truck tow bills. But the wrecker is heavy enough it really needs another wrecker or bigger to safely towbar it.

A chase vehicle and $$ are the two most useful things to have. You can fill a semi truck with spare everything and still not have the one part you need...

Keep your cellphone charged. It'll summon help if you need it, either on here, or as a last resort a commercial tow vehicle. Since the truck is 24v, this requires some planning.

Hardtop vs soft top, I've had multiples of each and I don't have a strong preference either way. A hardtop isn't noticeably warmer in my experience. But expect your soft top might rip while driving and have gorilla tape on hand for field expedient repairs.

I'll PM you my number. I'm in KS an hour or two south of Lincoln NE. I can walk you through minor difficulties and help you differentiate minor from major. These trucks are a completely different animal from commercial semi trucks....
 

Karl kostman

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Sounds like a nice trip and there is no better way to get to know your new truck! I have done a couple retrievals in the 600 to 700 mile range generally in the Midwest and unless the rules have changed I have never stopped at a weigh station/port of entry ever and nobody ever came after me. I of course have all my paperwork in order and ready to show them if need be but never have. You sound like your driving a very nice truck and the 939 series are pretty darned comfortable and quiet in the cab so it should be a nice ride! Have fun and keep us posted!
 
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