Dreaming up an M37 build...

Badfish740

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I've thought about building an M37 for a while. I've always wanted a bobbed deuce, but at 8' wide they're not always the best for the trails or any tight spot on or off road for that matter. However, when you think about, the M37 is almost like a little brother to the M35-when the M35 is bobbed it almost looks like a giant M37. So I figured, why not build a sort of scaled down version of a bobbed deuce, using an M37? Here's what I'm thinking for running gear:

Pre-1998 Cummins 4BT
Dana 60 Front (4.10 gears)
Spicer 3053A Transmission
Divorced NP205 Transfer Case
Dana 70 Rear
Michelin XML 325/85/R16 Tires

With stock gearing I'd have a pretty respectable crawl ratio of 54:1 and fairly decent highway manners-in 5th gear at 65 MPH the 4BT would be turning at just a hair over 2000 RPM. 4.56 gears (I think some CUCVs had them?) would put me right in the sweet spot for peak power on an early 4BT at highway speeds. Not sure if I could do it with a divorced T-case, but a doubler set up would give me the same good highway manners and a 109:1 crawl ratio. The Dana 60/70 combo and Michelin XML rubber would give the truck a healthy 12,500 lb GVWR along with front and rear disc brakes to stop all of that weight.

Next, the body-I've always loved the look of the M37 front end-utilitarian, function over form, no nonsense:

1953-m37-dodge-army-truck-34-ton-5.JPG

I never liked those round fenders though and always preferred the angular M35 fenders:

slide3.jpg

I figure there is probably a way to either adapt M35 fenders, or maybe a set off an Autocar truck. For the bed I was thinking I would mount an M101A2 trailer bed. The width should match up near perfect-the cab and bed are about 1" off. Not sure where the rear fender arch would end up, so that might take some frame modification, etc...but my guess is that the rear axle would need to be moved back rather than forward, which is always preferable and easier. Otherwise I would plan to leave the cab of the M37 just the way it was designed other than maybe some better seats. Other items on the wishlist would be a PTO winch, high output alternator, dual batteries, heavy duty inverter, on-board air, stacks, and a snorkel. This truck would see a lot of use working around my property, hunting, camping, and obviously, 4-wheeling, and would look pretty cool doing it. I've seen these types of builds approached a few different ways, including swapping the M37 onto a later model Dodge truck chassis, which I've also thought about. Just curious to hear from others who have done or seen something similar.
 

Evil Dr. Porkchop

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I'll comment on the m101 bed idea. A stock m37 will be over a foot short for the m101 bed as it sits. Below are pictures of a friends truck we put an m101 bed on. This truck is not an m37, but a long wheel base version (about 14" longer frame between the wheels if I remember right, with a reinforcement plate too). We cut off the front rail of the m101 box for clearance and it's pretty much right up to the cab. Width is very good in my opinion, which makes sense because the trailer was made for the m37.
I believe the distance from the rear bumperettes to the rear tires is the same on m37s and the longer versions, and the m101 bed sits just about perfect there. This truck has a bumper on the back of the bumperettes which sticks out but without it the tailgate should swing all the way down.

So, my guess is if you take and lengthen a stock m37 frame between the wheels by about 18" or so the m101 bed would drop on as is and look pretty good in my opinion. Then you could use stock racks, bows, and cover as well.

IMG_3439.jpgIMG_3442.jpgIMG_3443.jpgIMG_3444.jpgIMG_3445.jpg
 
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Badfish740

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New Jersey
Thanks for posting those pics! That's exactly what I'm looking to do-so as I suspected it would require moving the the axle back/lengthening the frame, which would also make room for a second NP205 or a doubler box of some kind. Any idea what size tires are on that truck in the pictures? AFAIK the 325/85/R16 XMLs I'd be looking to mount stand 39" tall.
 

Evil Dr. Porkchop

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Thanks for posting those pics! That's exactly what I'm looking to do-so as I suspected it would require moving the the axle back/lengthening the frame, which would also make room for a second NP205 or a doubler box of some kind. Any idea what size tires are on that truck in the pictures? AFAIK the 325/85/R16 XMLs I'd be looking to mount stand 39" tall.
Those are the stock size, 9.00x16. They're about 35 inches tall.

Here's what a bare m37 frame looks like. The two crossmembers that I'm standing behind are where the divorced transfer case sits.
IMG_2843.jpgIMG_2842.jpg
It's not the best pic but here's a picture of a long wheelbase frame with the reinforcement in the middle.
IMG_2862.jpg
 

Badfish740

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Location
New Jersey
Here's a crude mockup I was able to make using a scale drawing of an M37 in Google Sketchup:

Modified M37.jpg

I came up with a wheelbase of 125" which should be darn close considering Porkchop stated that his friend's LWB truck had about 14" more between the wheelwells, and stock wheelbase is 112". I found full dimensions for the M101A2 bed and placed it up against the cab as in Porkchop's example. The tires represented would be the 39" tall Michelin XMLs. I freelanced a little and drew what I would want as far as fenders. It will take a while to assemble the parts, but I'm getting excited about the possibilities here. A truck like this should have a lot more potential functionality than a bobbed deuce, and will look just as cool doing it.
 
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Evil Dr. Porkchop

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I think by the time it's all said and done you'll want to be at about 129"-130" for wheel base. We cut around 2 inches off the front of the trailer, and you'll want an inch or two of space between the bed and cab for room to tie down the cab canvas and/or cargo cover.
 

nattieleather

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Interesting idea. Yes you will definitely have to lengthen the frame to use the stock M101 trailer. Or you could shorten the trailer to fit the stock frame. Which might look more "normal".
 

nattieleather

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bobm37.jpg Here is my idea (I just used MS Paint to crate this). I took your drawing and shorten the trailer bed to fit the stock frame and lengthen the front fender like I suggested. That's a cool looking truck IMHO. Just a thought and adding food for thought.
 
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