My wannabe DUKW Boat

Jeep Nasty

Active member
I recently picked up a DUKW boat that was used by a tour company for a couple years.

I’m not sure if this is classified as a DUKW boat a fake duck boat a tourist duck boat or what.

it’s titled as a 1944 and it looks like it was converted into the tourist version in 2012 by a company called advanced amphibious designs out of Honolulu Hawaii. It appears to have spent a few months in Key West according to the logbooks and then was brought up to Boston for a small tour company that tried to compete with the Boston duck tours and was unsuccessful. It appears to of been last used in 2015 and then sat for several years until I came across it on Facebook marketplace.

I know this is not a historically accurate representation but my plans are to use it as a pontoon boat on the local lakes and to participate in parades and other events like I do with my other military vehicles.

It definitely has original axles in it but they have been converted to very large disc brakes on the rear axles and there are no brakes on the front axles. I did already get some great maintenance and safety tips for my member on here who used to work on some of these tourist tape duck boats.

I’m wondering if there are any TMs that are specific to the DUKW other than the CCKW tm.

I would also love any potential videos or links to parts lists, procedures for replacing axle seals and packing these axles so they don’t leak as much. I’ve poured through my fair share of technical manuals with my military trucks but I’m definitely more of a modern pictures and video type of guy if it’s out there.

I obviously painted it from the duck yellow to and OD green And we have already had it out on the lake to test the hull and make sure she is seaworthy.

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Jeep Nasty

Active member
Here is some information I’ve already obtained that I want to preserve in the post

Here is a good resource for a bunch of the basic systems and inspection of the ship. Yours is a newer version, but quite a bit is exactly the same. It gives reference numbers and tm numbers that you will need.


Take note of section III sub D pg. 17. The first two manuals will be life savers.

Here is the accident report from the NTSB on the Seattle axle failure.


It contains the modification done, and the modification that was supposed to be done according to RDTI.

Below are the axle modifications. The vehicle exceeds the front weight rating of the axle by a factor of three. It WILL fail. We replaced broken axle housings all of the time. The below modification is engineered incorrectly. Arguing that cost me my job.

The place where they added the bottom strap heated the joint of the knuckle unevenly and causes brittle fracture of the knuckle. The strapping should be welded in small sections (about 1 inch length) welded at 12 and 6 alternatively, spreading the heat. The process of adding alternate 1 inch welds should be completed in one sitting per side.

The waterproof boot covers on your axle appear to have been cut away at some point. If it were mine, I would build new ones. If you want the easy solution, grab a hand full of marine grease and apply like icing a cake over the entire exposed ball. The knuckles were kept in the condition you see on the left, and dye penetrant testing occurred on the weekly pmcs. Hand brushing and eyeballing it will not suffice. Going by your usage example, yearly dye test checks would probably suffice. The kits are cheap and simple to do after your first couple times. You MUST keep the tapered area of the knuckle and a couple inches out in bright metal status. Thats why I suggested the marine grease cake icing vs boots. Cosmoline would work, too. A Co2 blaster would take five minutes per side to clean all exposed surfaces and a local company should do it for around 100-150 bucks or whatever their minimum charge is. They could also clean up any other spots you find on the hull or around the prop shaft packing. No dust to fight, and seals stay put. Its cheap insurance.

If you are doing a build thread, please cross post all of this as it would be a trove of information for others heading down this road in the future. Please don't skimp on the cleaning or testing. The maintenance people kept these critical parts spotless and they still failed without warning. Most of the time the vehicle ended up in a ditch or getting towed back in on a semi, and never made the news. A little sweat now could save a lot of tears later, as the saying goes.

I hope this helps, and if you need anything, let me know.

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PSVB 3003
Steel Soldiers Supporter
Lexington, South Carolina
A while back I got the following from Portrayal Press:
TM 9-802 2 1/2 ton 6 x 6 Amphibian Truck (GMC DUKW 353)
TM 9-1802A Power Plant for 2 1/2 ton 6 x 6 Amphibian Truck
TM 1802B Power Train for 2 1/2 ton 6 x 6 Amphibian Truck
TM 1802C Hull and Water Drive for 2 1/2 ton 6 x 6 Amphibian Truck
TB 9-802-FE1 Emergency Field Maintenance for 2 1/2 ton 6 x 6 Amphibian Truck
TB 9-1802A-1 Fits, Tolerances and Wear limits for GMC Model '270' Engine
TB 9-1859-6 Time Schedule Guide for 2 1/2 ton 6 x 6 Amphibian Truck
GMC 270 Engine - Troubleshooting and Diagnosis
DUKW Amphibious Operation

Hope this helps!
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