Towing an Off Road / Overland FMTV

simp5782

Feo, Fuerte y Formal
Supporting Vendor
9,667
2,768
113
Location
Memphis, TN
Those test of reliability were done on that M44A3 trucks and a totally different animal than an m44a2 trucks

Most A2s like any older truck have mostly just had fuel issues from sitting and o ring issues in the HH from being old and not Viton.

Comparable. A bobbed deuce will venture just about anywhere an LMTV can go. The amount of upgrades for an older 2.5 or 5 ton is nothing short of chump change for what it would cost to do it to a FMTV. It is really about what your wallet can stand
 

Awesomeness

Well-known member
Steel Soldiers Supporter
1,447
610
113
Location
Firestone, CO
I don't know much about the new LMTV beyond what I read here in the forums and online.

What are the big capability improvements they have over an M35A2?
I am guessing it starts with:
- equal carrying capacity
- power steering
- better turning radius
- goes faster on the road
- maybe better fuel mileage
- Fewer tires = less ongoing expense
- More comfortable to drive
- Better or at least redundant braking system

If it has diff lockers I could see it being more capable in some off road conditions. Recently read that 4 x 4 Eland armored car was way less capable off road than 6 x 6 Ratel. Not exactly apples to apples here but is more tires actually better? Lower ground pressure?

If anyone knows of a thread where this is already discussed please point me there I would like to know more. I often find myself questioning what makes our new designs so much better when to me they just look bigger and more complex.
Yeah, that's most of it. And yes, 4x4 vs 6x6 has some pro's and con's arguments in various specific situations. Aftermarket lockers are available.

I would add to that list that the way bigger tires mean that you can go through and over a lot of stuff that smaller-tired vehicles can't.
 

langstonhs

Member
Steel Soldiers Supporter
25
34
13
Location
Albuquerque, NM
As I mentioned before, we've had a '66 M35A2 and our current 2003 M1078A1. Since we bought the LMTV in early summer and have not done any work with it so far, here are my human-factor observations. First, the LMTV is quiet enough in the cab you can actually hold a conversation. I don't know if it's commonly accepted or not, but we don't wear ear plugs in the LMTV. The LMTV has power steering. That is a huge difference. The turning radius is amazingly smaller in the LMTV, and with that huge front window and no engine out in front, you can just look down and see if you are getting too close to something when you turn. The manual transmission in the M35 was clunky, and kind of hard for me to find the right gears. The LMTV is an automatic, and though it is a jerky shift from second to third, the rest of it is smooth sailing. The M35 had a cooler military look and feel, IMO. The LMTV feels like you're driving a school bus. It even sounds like a bus (no offense intended). The LMTV has three nice, big seats. The M35 comfortably sat 2, and I would say the "comfortably" is debatable. The M35 was lower, and easier to get into. I like the tie down rings in the bed of the LMTV, as well as the removable/drop sides on the bed. The tailgate on the LMTV is super light, and the M35 tailgate was super heavy. One last thing...it bugs me that the LMTV cab doesn't have a rear window (I might change my mind about that one the next time we hit the back of the cab with a log).
 

Nomadic

Active member
322
44
28
Location
Nevada
As a guy who has been overlanding out in the country full-time for more than 6 years, if you question your rig being reliable don't take it unless you can fix it right where it fails. That is the only good plan for any size vehicle. But the bigger problem is even with new vehicles they can fail too and be even more complicated to fix. The components that fail can be back-ordered for months. There are a few companies that will go through your LMTV to make it more reliable.
 

Reworked LMTV

Well-known member
1,194
560
113
Location
TN
Interesting discussion. There is another thread about why there are so few that Overland in an FMTV at this point. If it dies, it will cost you.

Ideas:
- Do you have a network of FMTV or military truck owners within 100 miles? There are a lot of good guys out there that might be able to help for the price of the Diesel and a case of beer.
- Are you doing short runs initially, and going further when the kinks are ironed out of the truck? No lie, we will be doing a camping dry-run within 50 miles of our house.
- Do you keep spares for common problem areas? Do you have a friend who can quickly get them on a pallet, if they are large? Do you have the proper tools? Do you have a large tool box on the side? Do you have air or a good Milwaukee Fuel power tool?
- Do you know what to do in a pinch with brakes issues? Clamp a line, put a diaphragm in, etc. Do you have back up brass fittings in case you break one off?
- Do you have a tow bar? Do you have the necessary tow equipment, lights etc?
- If you want to Overland, are you identifying people who are interested in dispersed camping with you on BLM land, for example?
- Have you established a relationship with a tow service around the areas where you will stay? Just a phone call to can gain a lot of info. and you might make a new friend. Friends charge less :D
- Are you going through a check list before you leave? (Wheel bolts tight, engine failure points checked, etc)
- Are you really expecting vintage 1997 Goodyears that shed rubber in chunks to get you far?
- Are you running a mechanical 3116 or an electronic 3126 or C7? Are you keenly aware of why some fail?
- Do you have Redneck engineering skills?
- Can you quickly verbalize a mechanical problem to someone else because you have repaired this area before or have poured through thousands of TM's and comments on SS?
- Have you thought about doing undercarriage LED lighting in case of a break down? It's on my list. NO RGB light show lol
- And lastly, are you prepared to donate a kidney to cover the cost of a major repair? Do you have 5-10k in the bank?
 

Oski1042

Member
Steel Soldiers Supporter
34
33
18
Location
Moscow ID
- Have you thought about doing undercarriage LED lighting in case of a break down? It's on my list. NO RGB light show lol "

Dang ... hadn't thought of this one! Great idea!
 

Reworked LMTV

Well-known member
1,194
560
113
Location
TN
Interesting discussion. There is another thread about why there are so few that Overland in an FMTV at this point. If it dies, it will cost you.

Ideas:
- Do you have a network of FMTV or military truck owners within 100 miles? There are a lot of good guys out there that might be able to help for the price of the Diesel and a case of beer.
- Are you doing short runs initially, and going further when the kinks are ironed out of the truck? No lie, we will be doing a camping dry-run within 50 miles of our house.
- Do you keep spares for common problem areas? Do you have a friend who can quickly get them on a pallet, if they are large? Do you have the proper tools? Do you have a large tool box on the side? Do you have air or a good Milwaukee Fuel power tool?
- Do you know what to do in a pinch with brakes issues? Clamp a line, put a diaphragm in, etc. Do you have back up brass fittings in case you break one off?
- Do you have a tow bar? Do you have the necessary tow equipment, lights etc?
- If you want to Overland, are you identifying people who are interested in dispersed camping with you on BLM land, for example?
- Have you established a relationship with a tow service around the areas where you will stay? Just a phone call to can gain a lot of info. and you might make a new friend. Friends charge less :D
- Are you going through a check list before you leave? (Wheel bolts tight, engine failure points checked, etc)
- Are you really expecting vintage 1997 Goodyears that shed rubber in chunks to get you far?
- Are you running a mechanical 3116 or an electronic 3126 or C7? Are you keenly aware of why some fail?
- Do you have Redneck engineering skills?
- Can you quickly verbalize a mechanical problem to someone else because you have repaired this area before or have poured through thousands of TM's and comments on SS?
- Have you thought about doing undercarriage LED lighting in case of a break down? It's on my list. NO RGB light show lol
- And lastly, are you prepared to donate a kidney to cover the cost of a major repair? Do you have 5-10k in the bank?
I do have some good news though. Some people are born with 3 kidneys.
 

Third From Texas

Well-known member
642
356
63
Location
Corpus Christi Texas
- Have you thought about doing undercarriage LED lighting in case of a break down? It's on my list. NO RGB light show lol "

Dang ... hadn't thought of this one! Great idea!
I have. I put a set on my M1082 trailer. Haven't really had much chance to test them out, but I will say find a brand with *true* white. The RGB ones only cast yellow and it's just not as bright as it should be for some reason. The truck will get something with nice bright white (dimmable, of course).
 

Reworked LMTV

Well-known member
1,194
560
113
Location
TN
There are a handful of things going on here.
  1. The FMTV is the most reliable truck the military has ever had, and by a huge margin.
    View attachment 823287
  2. The FMTV is a more complicated truck than older predecessors. It has some sensors, electronics, and contraptions older trucks didn't have. These designs are vastly more reliable, in every measurable way.
  3. In order to get the improved capability/efficiency in newer designs, they operate closer to the performance limits of components. When things do fail, they fail less gracefully, and with less warning.
  4. These trucks generally sat around A LOT, and were not treated very well by their drivers or mechanics. The trucks picked to be sold are the worst in the motor pool.
  5. These trucks are 20+ years old, and plastic and rubber don't last that long. The military knows this, and is getting rid of them before they have to fix all that.
So this should tell you an FMTV can be very reliable, but probably not in the state the government auctioned it off in. Don't expect a $150, 000 truck you got for $10,000 to be awesome without putting some money and elbow grease into it.
It is kind of stunning when you look at a HMMWV compared to even an A0 FMTV.
 

ke6rwj

Active member
225
36
28
Location
Alabama
We bought our 2003 LMTV in the early summer, and it's been on the side of the road twice since then. I know some bugs always have to be worked out, but these failures have made us think about the use of this truck going forward. We used to take our M35A2 into the forest to get firewood, and never had any problems with it. We probably should have considered more what would happen if we had mechanical failure while we were out, but we didn't. With this truck, it is ever on our minds. The local tow companies don't seem to be able to help due to the size of the LMTV and the locations we are discussing (forest roads). Many of their trucks are similar weight and are not 4x4s. I am wondering, for those of you that use your FMTV (or any big truck for that matter) for off-road or overland use, what is your game plan for getting out of the wild in the event of mechanical failure? It seems a bit overkill to buy a 5-ton wrecker just to pull my 2.5 ton out if ever it is needed. Or is that what you guys do? We don't currently have any friends that own one. Thanks.
I have several large trucks 5ton(s), deuces and LMTV... the trick to survival is a strong local group of friends who can come help in a pinch... they can pull you out, bring parts or tools and will be grateful for your assistance when they need it.

My 2.5 cents...
 

Reworked LMTV

Well-known member
1,194
560
113
Location
TN
If you are going to Overland in an FMTV, make Unimog owners your BFFs and learn to swear in German. The only people crying harder during Overlanding break down are the Unimogers. They sneeze and Euros fly out lol

I patiently wait the rebutall from current Unimog owners :ROFLMAO:

gesundheit !
 

Third From Texas

Well-known member
642
356
63
Location
Corpus Christi Texas
My rule of thumb is carry your tools with you and as many of the common issues spare parts as you can. Fluids, hose repair kits, tire plugs, etc. All your tire changing kit and tools. A Sherpa winch would come in handy (along with sand anchor, crane straps for trees and boulders, come-along or a hi-jack, chains, shovels, etc) for off road..

As mentioned, a buddy with another truck on speed dial but also see if there are any rescue clubs in your area (FB is a good place to start if you are on it). I've seen four Jeeps or 4x4s working in unison recover semis, monster bus RVs, and assorted power company off road rigs out of sand an mud when they were buried to the frames. And I've seen them come from 50 miles away to do it just for gas money and some beer.

And having Roadside Assistance on your insurance isn't as expensive an one might think (handy for flats, ujoints. etc but not always capable of towing a big rig). That's really for pavement breakdowns, of course.

ymmv
 
Last edited:

olly hondro

Active member
721
63
28
Location
tucson AZ
There are a handful of things going on here.
  1. The FMTV is the most reliable truck the military has ever had, and by a huge margin.
    View attachment 823287
  2. The FMTV is a more complicated truck than older predecessors. It has some sensors, electronics, and contraptions older trucks didn't have. These designs are vastly more reliable, in every measurable way.
  3. In order to get the improved capability/efficiency in newer designs, they operate closer to the performance limits of components. When things do fail, they fail less gracefully, and with less warning.
  4. These trucks generally sat around A LOT, and were not treated very well by their drivers or mechanics. The trucks picked to be sold are the worst in the motor pool.
  5. These trucks are 20+ years old, and plastic and rubber don't last that long. The military knows this, and is getting rid of them before they have to fix all that.
So this should tell you an FMTV can be very reliable, but probably not in the state the government auctioned it off in. Don't expect a $150, 000 truck you got for $10,000 to be awesome without putting some money and elbow grease into it.
There is a youtube content provider who specializes in purchasing used luxury cars for about 10% of the new cost so is an analog to our purchase. In every case the car has to be "sorted out". In every case he concludes that it is best to buy the very best example you can find, not the cheapest, unless you are OK with the car as a hobby that will never return your investment.
 
Last edited:

olly hondro

Active member
721
63
28
Location
tucson AZ
A wise man once told me do not buy a boat make friends with someone that has a nice boat. Same thing with an air plane make new friends or talk you old friend into buying one. You got a MV for off road make sure you have a friend with a bigger one. Rule of the three F's also applies here. Guess anything you take far off road and have to leave it to find help you have to leave someone behind or not leave stuff in it that could get stolen. Yea even with nothing to steal guess it could be trashed if left in a bad area. Then as said if a big wrecker is needed I do not think it will be easy to find a 500k plus price tag wrecker that will go off the pavement. I liked the older 809 series for get you there and back again over the FMTV's or even a Deuce.
I have given this some thought as well as I get off the graded dirt roads where a wrecker cannot go. The only answers I could come up with in the event of a catastrophic failure is that the vehicle would have to be disassembled then hauled out in pieces, like an aircraft that lands somewhere unauthorized, or abandon it in place.
 
Last edited:

olly hondro

Active member
721
63
28
Location
tucson AZ
More complexity, more points of failure, so it's more important to keep it maintained.

The major contributor is plastic/rubber parts, followed by computers/sensors, since it's not like anything happens to a 30 year old steel axle shaft to make it prone to failure. So two trucks side by side, one has 10 rubber hoses and the other has 20 rubber hoses and an automatic transmission... which one fails first due to age? You have over 2x the chance of failure with the latter.

But if you replace all those hoses, things look a lot different. If the difference between the two trucks is also 20-30 years of engineering improvements, you're going to have a lot of benefits from the newer truck. That's where those documented major gains in "new truck" reliability come from. The LMTV does with 4x4 what the M35 needed 6x6 to do, has more HP, is faster, etc. More modern materials, bearings, metallurgy, design experience, etc. are beneficial.
Complexity is a prevalent theme for this topic. There are ways to reduce the complexity of these trucks. For example, the pneumatic system is unneccessarily complex for most civilian applications. It is unlikely that we would use one FMTV to tow another one like it was a trailer, so there is little capability lost deleting the front gladhands. The gain is jettisoning the 3- 2way check valves and one way check valve that provoke most of the "whats wrong with my brakes?" inquiries. (Ronmar has exellent content how to do this). And there are other examples of unneeded complexity.
 

Reworked LMTV

Well-known member
1,194
560
113
Location
TN
Complexity is a prevalent theme for this topic. There are ways to reduce the complexity of these trucks. For example, the pneumatic system is unneccessarily complex for most civilian applications. It is unlikely that we would use one FMTV to tow another one like it was a trailer, so there is little capability lost deleting the front gladhands. The gain is jettisoning the 3- 2way check valves and one way check valve that provoke most of the "whats wrong with my brakes?" inquiries. (Ronmar has exellent content how to do this). And there are other examples of unneeded complexity.
Interesting comment.
 

Awesomeness

Well-known member
Steel Soldiers Supporter
1,447
610
113
Location
Firestone, CO
Complexity is a prevalent theme for this topic. There are ways to reduce the complexity of these trucks. For example, the pneumatic system is unneccessarily complex for most civilian applications. It is unlikely that we would use one FMTV to tow another one like it was a trailer, so there is little capability lost deleting the front gladhands. The gain is jettisoning the 3- 2way check valves and one way check valve that provoke most of the "whats wrong with my brakes?" inquiries. (Ronmar has exellent content how to do this). And there are other examples of unneeded complexity.
I mostly disagree. People have been wheelin' unreliable junk into the backcountry for decades, and we don't see a big collection of vehicles abandoned out there because something broke. Yes, LMTVs are bigger and heavier, so you're not going to be towed out by a Jeep CJ. You can make some field expedient workarounds, and bring with you a variety of tools and equipment that can be used in clever/flexible ways to get you back to town.

For example, carry some wire and epoxy that could plug off a leaking air hose or tank. Then carry an electric air compressor (with some way to connect it to the air system)... it would be a slow and painful way to keep the air system pressurized, but it would work. Carry a bicycle to ride back to the trailhead (or town) for help.

The military makes a Battle Damage Assesment and Repair (BDAR) kit, that is mostly a bunch of epoxy, hose clamps, emergency engine v-belt, etc. Take a look at that if you need some ideas to start with.
 

olly hondro

Active member
721
63
28
Location
tucson AZ
I mostly disagree. People have been wheelin' unreliable junk into the backcountry for decades, and we don't see a big collection of vehicles abandoned out there because something broke. Yes, LMTVs are bigger and heavier, so you're not going to be towed out by a Jeep CJ. You can make some field expedient workarounds, and bring with you a variety of tools and equipment that can be used in clever/flexible ways to get you back to town.

For example, carry some wire and epoxy that could plug off a leaking air hose or tank. Then carry an electric air compressor (with some way to connect it to the air system)... it would be a slow and painful way to keep the air system pressurized, but it would work. Carry a bicycle to ride back to the trailhead (or town) for help.

The military makes a Battle Damage Assesment and Repair (BDAR) kit, that is mostly a bunch of epoxy, hose clamps, emergency engine v-belt, etc. Take a look at that if you need some ideas to start with.
I carry a cylinder of CO2 regulated to 115 psi as an aux air source. Someday I will have to experiment to see how long it can substitute for the air compressor. With a double male QD adapter it plumbs directly into the wet tank.
 
Last edited:

Awesomeness

Well-known member
Steel Soldiers Supporter
1,447
610
113
Location
Firestone, CO
I carry a cylinder of CO2 regulated to 115 psi as an aux air source. Someday I will have to experiment to see how long it can substitute for the air compressor. With a double male adapter it plumbs directly into the wet tank.
That would be an interesting experiment. You may run into unexpected issues, like freezing up the tank or lines, because the CO2 is liquid in the tank and needs to boil off into gas as you use it.

I generally try to plan for workarounds that can be used repeatedly/indefinitely, even if very slowly, over faster workarounds that have a finite use. For example, I would prefer a small generator and air compressor to a big tank of air/CO2, or a big chain hoist to a winch (I do have a winch too, but also carry a 6T chain hoist also).
 
Top
AdBlock Detected

We get it, advertisements are annoying!

Sure, ad-blocking software does a great job at blocking ads, but it also blocks useful features of our website like our supporting vendors. Their ads help keep Steel Soldiers going. Please consider disabling your ad blockers for the site. Thanks!

I've Disabled AdBlock
No Thanks