cost of ownership (the real cost of a deuce)


New member
angola ny
with so many people looking to pick one up i decided to make public what the "real" cost of one of these trucks is, or at least the cost to get it up and running and on the road. i guess what inspired this is the fact that we look at these as a bargain (they are) but not many know what they are really getting into. besides Ive seen a few (like myself) stretch themselves to the max for a cool toy. (i don't regret it one bit)

lets start with the cost of the truck

i knew what i wanted after much reading and debate. i wanted a multifuel D turbo truck with winch, air shift T-case, hard top, and heater. i also wanted a truck with the troop seats, bows and cover. had to be in serviceable condition, i.e. jump start and intact and operable drive train. i am mechanically inclined and can physically fix most problems (with guidance on new areas) but am limited in access to equipment needed for heavy work such as engine and tranny swaps. body needed to be intact and repairable.

i decided to go the GL route. after selecting several candidates i began bidding. honestly i went beyond what i wanted to but only a little, bidding was tough and i was limited in locations because of my need to minimize recovery cost.

my truck closed at $3,001.00 considering what i am comfortable with this. next we have the 10% GL fee and $60 sf-97 charge.

upon preloadout inspection the trucks brakes had been found to be inoperable. after many calls and the help of a fellow member i was able to have the truck towed 100 miles to the members place where i could begin working on it. the tow cost me $420 (a bargain compared to what most tow companies wanted)

drove home to order parts, $50 in gas for the car trip

misc parts and batteries cost me $350

registration, state sales tax, and insurance cost me another $625. im insured for $450 a year for a regular policy and its got commercial plates (only because of vehicle weight)

upon my return to retrieve the truck it will cost me another $50 for the car trip, aprox. $150 in fuel to drive the truck back and i expect $40-50 in misc. stuff from the local auto parts store.

all and all that brings the grand total to... $5,106

i personally don't know how some of the others here have fared but i still feel i got a relative bargain. private sale trucks fresh off GL with winch go for as little as 3500 and usually don't come with the bows and tarp (about $500 more) and in this case there is no guarantee it will be in any better than mine. also the issues i have to fix are things that should be serviced from a safety point anyway so really inevitable cost. registration cost would be the same. the only possible avoidable cost would have been the tow bill but that was a relatively small cost overall.

again i hope this helps to put into perspective what it will cost for those of you considering one and on a budget. please don't think I'm trying to deter anyone

Edit: third trip and air pack... +$500.00...
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New member
Hickory Flat Ga
I agree 2,300 for truck 500 shipping. Spent another 500 for tarps and troop seat. 400 parts radiator last month. Filter and fuilds 300, flat tire, sending units, oil gauge, data plates, tools.

5k is about normal.

40 year old 6x6 cost money to maintain and run.


Well-known member
Steel Soldiers Supporter
Hiawassee, Georgia
I paid $2400.00 at auction, plus 10% commission, but no taxes for my 1969 M35A2 W/W. I was lucky in that most tires were relatively new, almost new batteries, brakes were great, cargo top almost new, all bows and seats and hard top in good shape. After one year, lost 5th gear and replaced trans for $200.00 and $125.00 for new clutch parts. Another $20.00 for a new tire tube and $20.00 for tire change. I have had no other problems in one year of driving, having put around 2500 miles on it. I consider it to be very reliable.

Oh, and I did replace the shocks for around $60.00 - I can't remember exactly.


New member
Crook City SD
I'm with you all the way! Same same. I took batteries and drove mine home. Took 30 minutes to get it up and running including trouble shooting. 50 miles to my house. Condon and Skelly added it to my policy for 37 dollars. Title transfer with Historical plates cost 20.00 bucks. Cargo cover and troop seats C turbo, boarding ladder, two new tires and wheels, troop strap, paint, misc. stuff another 1200.00. I'm in mine minus labor for 4500.00. You won't buy it from me for that!:cool: I will die with it cause it's now my buddy! My Grandson loves it and frankly won't get out of the cab until I shut it off. I think I know who gets it when I'm gone. :grin: The 6x6 is just a great piece of machinery. I've never had anyone not smile, honk, or salute me. How could you not love this machine! John


Well-known member
Columbus Georgia
For me - it had nothing to do with the cost.
I have been in the trucking industry over 49 years as a multi skilled mechanic - and I do not use that term lightly.

I literally HATE asking anyone for help and would just as soon cut off a finger before I would ask for any sort of help. Those that know me - know when I finally ask - I have hit the inveitable end of the tunnel and asking to see the light.

I have seen folks buy stuff - and wonder why no one will help them when they cannot and do not have the skills to do the most basic of tasks - they sit back and wonder WHY !!:roll:

Ain't got no tools and purchase a big truck or smaller one - :cookoo:

I have seen those that have some skills - will ask for help and dig right in to help - those folks I love helping if they wish to learn - I do not know much but with them I am more than willing to help.

Costs can play a crucial role in getting a "bigger" truck and those that are unaware should look into their budget and skill level and maybe with folks around them them have already helped and can easily get some sort of help from.

Some folks that bought them that were clueless - and forgive me for saying if it hurts anyone's "feeling" should just sell them and get out from under them - because they are in over their heads.

I am new here and only been here a short time and there are much more knowledgable folks than I and I salute their knowledge - but I know my skill - tools I already own - and my resources to get myself into this piece of history.

From the costs you listed - I would say that is still at the bottom of the totem pole and realitively within reason - but eh - what do I know.

I thank the SS site for having the manuals here in the resouces area so I can read - read - read and search and print and read more before I ask anything.
I probably read more thread than I post my crazy stuff on.

BIG GREEN solid iron - that very few would own - and it is OD or CARC - costs play no part in it with me. And I belong to an awesome group that are just as sick as I am - priceless.:jumpin::jumpin:


I paid $2500 for mine, $200 for insurance apprx, $200 for registration title fees etc., put i think $50 in gas, plus $200 for setup for filtering used oils and made $225 scrapping some steel I had. So $3150-$225=$2925 and free fuel for life! :D I'm getting a hard top for $200, the bows and rear tarp are about $500, I'm sure I can do something for heat, I need to fix the wipers, replace a headlight, fix some rust, new batteries eventually so probably add up another $1000 for that and misc. parts and I'm at about $4000. I'd say that's more than reasonable for such an impressive vehicle.


Driver for the Ga Mafia
Steel Soldiers Supporter
Aiken SC
I am already in the hole 9533.12(including NJ state tax) and I haven't even gotten it home yet.


Well I am fairly new to the MV world as a new owner of an m109a3. Gl auction winning bid was 2400.00 add the 10% for gl and I opted for hauling mine ( I know chicken) but I figured the 1000.00 to ship it would be cheaper than towing if I broke down. I've research for a good 3yrs and been monitoring the gl website like a crack addict....... So I got roughly 3600.00 into it so far but it was depot in 92 and had what looks like a fresh motor,tranny and all the tires were 90% or better. My wife thinks I'm going through a midlife thing boy is she in for it when I do have it. I told her i chose to bid on the 109 so that I could convert it to a camper (thanks ZOUT for the post looks great.) So for 3600.00 plus reg and insurance 250.00 close to 4 grand and I haven't even started the camper portion yet. The truck runs great and at the end of the day when I come home and I see my duece sitting in the yard............I just smile and say" I got a duece" now that to me is PRICELESS!!!!!!


Active member
Guilford, NY
Well, my story runs about the same as all of you.

Zout I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments about people who are in over their heads. There are many who should sell and get something a bit less "mechanical".
Also, like you, I had the tools and a lot of experience, more than enough to deal with a deuce. I do not mind at all helping people, but I also have the same attitude about don't sit there and watch me work.

As to my story, I paid $939 for my truck plus the roughly 15% for tax and GL
I paid $800 to get it hauled home.
I have spent over $2500 in parts, improvements and modifications on my truck since 2009. All told, I would guess I have $4500 or more in my deuce not counting my labor.

I bought my truck sight unseen. I took the chance because at what I had invested, even if it was crap, and not worth fixing, I could have sold the tires, axles and any hard parts still good, then scrapped the rest for the steel and made my money back.
My bid was as high as I would venture knowing I had no idea what I was getting.

What did I get?
A freshly depot rebuilt truck with an LDS engine, with less than 10 hours. New tires. all undercarriage components in rebuilt or new condition.

The only issue was the brake system which was a mess. This truck sat for a long long time with water in the master and airpack. Six new wheel cylinders, a new master, rebuilt Air pack and now she is good to go. I did not mention having to fix the radiator and brush guard as well as replacing the hood due to the accident the truck was in when the brakes failed in service. This is why the truck was parked for so long as best I can tell.

Would I do it again, oh yeah!!!!!

I am looking for another deuce, well sort of, to add to my fleet.



Possum Connoisseur
Akenback acres near Gadsden, AL
I have seen the prices fluctuate wildly since I started buying through first deuce cost me 2300 plus the buyers fee and tax.....600 to have it hauled from SC to AL.

It was a winch truck with hard top and was loaded with tools and equipment.

It had a "redneck gun turret" made out of a cut off 55 gallon drum.

Since then I have bought deuces for as low a 1000 each (bought four of them at once in Arkansas).

I sold most of them to support my MV addiction.

The two money pits were the M816 wrecker and the M915.

I went though my account at GL and totaled up all my purchases....over 20K in the last five years.

I figure it is not the worse way to spend my kid's inheiritence.....I could be getting lap dances at the local titty bar.


New member
Nunnelly, Tennessee
wolfman here. i traded my 1996 jeep cherokee country with a 231j transfer case. a rare jeep. it was my rock crawler and mud slinger. bought it for 6800 with light bar and lights by carr, 31 in tires on 15 in cragar rims. castallum valve cover rebuilt motor. after market k&n air filter and system. 3in lift. after market exhaust and cargo rack. cd player. i traded all this for a barely running, no brakes, od green no marking little rust 1952 studebaker deuce. think i got screwed? i love the truck but it is so old. i got it running good and the brakes to work, trying to figure out the power situation. wife hates it cause it is too tall. also cause the brakes went out and i backed it into her annaversery present from two years ago. the same time i got the jeep. she loved my jeep. but i couldn't afford to fix what was wrong with the jeep. i took it to shop after shop and never got fixed right. now im fixing the deuce. she wants me to sell it and i want to keep it. wish i had a newer model with less problems. $6800 jeep traded for a $2000 dollar truck $325 to tow it. $30aftermarket brake resivor
$6 for brake hose, $3.75 for brass fitting for filler cap. $0 for extra gas tank with 15 gallons of free fuel from guy who towed my truck. $300 for used doopr for my wifes limited edition eddie bauwer bronco, and $2000 or more paint job to restore her bronco. big price tag for a used truck and parts for another. life well spent!!!!!!:deadhorse:


$4500 for my M35a2(private seller) $4000 rims/tires(395's), and $500 for vinyl(cab and cargo). $2500 for my M109a3(private seller). Maintenance, Maintenance, Maintenance and your trucks will treat you right. If you're happy with what you paid, whatever it was, then it was a good price.

MO MV man

New member
Imperial, MO
These big boys do require a lot of time to give the maintenance they deserve.
But thank goodness parts are so readily available and quite reasonable most of the time.
Prepare for a LOT of tinkering and the expense that goes along with it.
Me? I love the tinkering part. :)

If you're planning on keeping it for a while (and not flipping it for profit), by all means get the best you can won't go wrong.

I bought mine from a private owner, bobbed it and couldn't be happier.
What an awesome ride.
I truly look forward to driving it any chance I get.
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New member
Careywood, Idaho
I do know how it all adds up realy fast... i spent a bunch on a truck from a privet party early this year, but i just sold it a made a bunch :grin: .. so to replace it i decided to bid on a truck just last week and did not even know i won it till that it was crazy with work..

so i ended up out the door for 1398....on GL i don't think i did to bad.. it is out my back door for the recovery so that wont cost to much to get maybe 40 for fuel round trip.. so from here out i will keep track of what it ends up total to have all the safety things running properly, full service done and so on...i will update this with the numbers.

i do know i have already been spending on things for the truck... antenna mounts, pioneer kit, and so on.. that is where you spend $$

all i know is that all this big green stuff has become an addiction !!!.......

Hi my name is Marc and i am an addict ...... i may need to start classes for this


Castle Bravo

Hundredaire Socialite
Steel Soldiers Supporter
I have $8,151.75 into my Deuce right now.

I keep a spreadsheet of EVERYTHING related. This is all inclusive, including fuel, lubrication, insurance, license plates, a few months of storage rental, and Tools purchased that I needed.

The truck as I got it was about 1/2 of the price. (M35A2C W/OW, Whistler turbo, dropsides, wood troop seats, new soft top and cargo cover)

Major components of the cost are -

Complete toolkit (Not necessarily the military BII, but some overlap)
Wheel Cylinder rebuild job after I got the truck
A winch
A new in tank fuel pump
Jatonka's spin on filters (all of them)
Coolant filter
Other random things include new round mirrors, new gladhands, new PTO boots, and a few tire repairs

$6094.83 of it is "durable" items that won't go away unless they break.
$556.17 is "consumables" like the insurance, registration, and lubrication items (to include brake cleaner, gloves, and stuff like that)
$479.97 in fuel

There are undoubtedly a few things that have slipped through the cracks, as well as tools that I purchased that also work with my other trucks are in a separate category.

I've had the truck for about 18 months now and have put about 3000 miles on it.


I'm sure that people do get $1500 Deuces, but it is not exactly a good indicator of the total cost of ownership.

I'm certain that it can be done less expensively that I did and there are certainly a few things that I would've done differently, but I feel that this is a good indicator that I wish I would've had access to when I was looking to purchase a Deuce.

Your milage may vary of course.


Well-known member
I bought my 1970 in feb of this year from the ss classifieds, paid $2500.00 for her,she's in great shape with no rust, 2700 miles/500 hrs showing, brand new tires, great runner and everything worked! drove her 200 miles home without a single problem! since i have put about 1500 miles on her with only a starter going bad,luckuly i had a spare from a parts deuce i bought (for $20.00) , installed a muffler,replaced some wheel seals and bought some dudads on ebay for her. So far she's the largest, least exspensive,most exciting,by far the bigest attention getter,the best social networking machine and not to mension "chick magnet that i have had in my life! so in my opinion, the cost is justified and i'll spend my last dime on her if need be, and looking for ways to buy more just like her! this really is an addiction. question? does the cost of the new 105a2 figure in to this?


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New member
Eastern, Washington
I bought an M35A3 last spring. As far as cost vs. value goes that is where they are winners. I got a truck that the DoD paid nearly $62,000 for and they had to throw in $29,000 worth of parts to get the thing. It had 6300 miles on it and was shipped to the military with a 36 month/150,000 warranty that went unused. In about 12 years it was used almost not at all.

I paid about 10% of the new cost of the truck, it is pulling a fresh rebuilt M105 trailer that I bought for less than 5% of the govt's cost. I use it to work and haul occasionally on my private property. It is far tougher and less prone to damage than a pickup truck, pleasant to drive and gets ok mileage. A 1998 commerical 5 ton truck and trailer cannot be had anywhere for the price.

After tacking on 10% for the GL and 8.5% for the state it went over budget a small amount. I drove it cross country when the loser truck driver that was going to haul it backed out. I found him here of all places. The cross country road trip was close to the longest recovery around. It was cheaper than transporting it, turned out to be quite an adventure in itself and the truck ran perfectly for 2500 miles.

So in the end it was a bit more expensive than originally planned, but it has been a lot more fun than expected as well.
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New member
$$ into M35A2

If you have been following the thread on my M35A2 at the sandblaster, you know that I have spent some money on it.
I am not putting the amount on here, but suffice it to say that I put more into the truck with 90-95% tires, new canvas, abrasive blasting down to the metal, prime, paint, front brakes, oil, filters, light bulb replacement, windshield replacement, reflector replacement, parking brake shoe replacement, exhaust system parts, radiator rebuild, new hoses, thermostat and belts, M66 ring (actually have TWO!), new cab plates, stencils, and on and on and on, I will have a chunk of change in this truck.

All this said, IF I were to put it up for sale, I think that I could recover my money and maybe more from it.

However, I am a history nut. This truck is being brought back to the look of the Americal Division (Vietnam) 23rd S & T. Why that unit? A very good friend who has helped me a lot was in that unit, and this is a thank-you to him. On the nose of the truck, i am painting my wife's nickname. When I asked my 'Nam veteran friend about any personalization that they did on the trucks back then, he told me, "Of course we did this stuff. What were they going to threaten us with? Send us to Vietnam? We were already there!!"
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