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  #1  
Old July 2nd, 2019, 11:46 PM
TheCitrusMaster TheCitrusMaster is offline
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Default Questions about M715 - thinking of getting one

Hey guys, my name is Tyler. I am considering getting a M715 as a project.

I say considering because I also like the Jeep gladiators (civillian models M715). These however seem rather hard to come by compared to M715, which I have found about a dozen of. I am very patient and it may be a while before I even buy the project, I would like to first get all of my ducks in order and do research before I invest any money. Anyway on to the questions.

I have a few questions about these trucks:
1: I know that these trucks were designed for military cargo purposes, and because of this have 5.something gearing. This makes going over about 45 mph impossible. I want to be able to use this on the highway and be able to go 70-80mph. What modifications need done to achieve this? I dont plan on running the regular bulky tires, and I know I will need to change the gear ratio, probably by doing an axle swap. Opinions/suggestions on how to achieve this?

2: I dont plan on keeping the stock tornado motor. It has 132hp, and parts are hard to come by. What engine/transmission/transfer case combo would be best? I realize this is somewhat opinion based, but I would like something that is fairly cheap/easy to come by, doesn't have many clearance issues, and has the power needed to move this thing fairly easily, maybe even tow if needed.

3: What are the worst spots that rust in the M715? How much rust is acceptable and how much rust is too much? I live in Texas and most cars I work on are newer so I am very uneducated on rust.

4: Any other suggestions on a prospective M715 owner?
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  #2  
Old July 3rd, 2019, 02:56 AM
ray steadward ray steadward is offline
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1. There is a "sticky" thread with axle swap info, that, and what you can find/ budget will be the driving factors here.

2. Small block Chevy

3. Shouldn't be a big concern in TX, but rockers/ cab corners/ rear cab mounts...

You may be able to find a whole donor vehicle to get the entire drivetrain out of which might be more economical or there are some threads here on body swaps....
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Old July 3rd, 2019, 08:24 AM
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"have 5.something gearing. This makes going over about 45 mph impossible."
Not entirely accurate. I'm running a stock drivetrain with 38in tires, stock front axle flanges, and I bury the speedometer regularly. Accidentally, actually. I usually don't mean to be going that fast until I re-gear.

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Old July 3rd, 2019, 11:51 AM
TheCitrusMaster TheCitrusMaster is offline
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I see a lot of people going for Chevy engines. I'll probably end up going that route should I buy one. I like the idea of a donor vehicle as well, and will try to do that so long as space permits.

It would also be cool to hear what other combos have been done. I've seen one thread with a Cummins 6BT which looked awesome. I feel like a diesel would just be right for a truck like this. Those engines are also quite expensive.

The M715s I have found so far in Texas have come mostly from other places. I went and looked at one, it had come from South Carolina. Decent amount of rust in it. Rocker was clearly rusted straight through.
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Old July 3rd, 2019, 06:42 PM
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Barrman Barrman is offline
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There are rust free examples in Texas. Patience will pay off.

I daily drove my stock truck. I put in a big block 396/NV4500 and daily drove it for a year. I have had a 6.2 diesel in it for the last 6 years. Each had its strengths and weaknesses.

Such as the parts supply for stock engines. They are out there, but you have to search and collect things. However, a stock truck is outstanding at what it was designed to do. Just keep it below 2500 rpm when on the open road for transfer case life. Which is 48 mph with stock tires. 54 mph with 38” tires.

The big block was a blast. It would hit 80 with ease. However, with the top off, the windshield would bounce and thump. The steering would be light and the truck would wander. 8 mpg wasn’t all that fun either. Plus, with stock axles and the stock NP200 transfer case. I was still limited to 2500 rear drive shaft speed. Or, 54 mph on long trips.

The 6.2 has about the same hp as a stock 230. It chugs along at 54 mph all day long giving me 15 plus mpg.

If I want to go 80 mph. I jump in a M1009 and get 18 mpg all day long. If I wanted to go climb mountains like we did at the 2008 FE. A stock M715 would be my choice. My 396 couldn’t keep up with the stock stuff above 10,000 feet.

Any deviation from stock takes away from the basic mission of the truck some. I like the way mine is now. But if my rear main in the Tornado had kept at least some of the oil in the engine. I probably would have stayed stock.
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Old July 3rd, 2019, 07:32 PM
TheCitrusMaster TheCitrusMaster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barrman View Post
with the top off, the windshield would bounce and thump
How did it drive with the top on? Any other grievances as far as driving on the highway? I would imagine anything with the top off would probably not drive all that well on the highway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barrman View Post
The steering would be light and the truck would wander
That doesnt sound too safe. I am sure there are ways to improve the steering. The M715 I went and looked at had a power steering assembly from an 80s wagoneer, maybe that would make it better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barrman View Post
Any deviation from stock takes away from the basic mission of the truck some
You are totally right on that. I dont really like changing things from stock on vehicles like this.

That being said the mission of the M715 was to tow over rough terrain at low speeds. That doesn't exactly align with what I need.

Although a truck such as a M715 is very obviously a project, I would like to be able to daily drive it once all the required work is done on it. For me, daily driving requires highway speeds of at least 70 and preferably 80. Being able to tow would also be nice, but I would like to do so at a slightly higher speed than 48-54 mph.

This does makes me think the civillian truck would be better suited to what I would like to do. The M715 does look way cooler though.
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Old July 3rd, 2019, 07:34 PM
TheCitrusMaster TheCitrusMaster is offline
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I could always body swap... not sure how I feel about that though.

It would definitly help with the issue of rust and probably be less work than doing all of the upgrades to the M715.

It just doesn't feel right though....
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Old July 4th, 2019, 06:29 AM
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I have seen tons of these posts over the years since I first got my M715 way back in 2004 and here is my honest opinion, take it for whatever. If you are looking for something to daily drive at highway speeds and would like some comfort, then look elsewhere than a 40 year old military truck. Besides the obvious things like low gearing and top speed, there are a ton of other issues that most don't realize until they start driving these trucks on a regular basis. There is no insulation in the cab, this means that they are hot in the summer and cold in the winter, plus they are very loud. Yes you can put carpet in the cab or the peel and stick insulation under the cab to help, but just be aware that you'll likely never take care of all of it. Plus with the open top design and fold down windshield, these trucks leak and the old joke in military vehicles is that when it rains the driver always ends up with a wet foot somehow. This is why you find so many of them with rusted floors and rockers. Plus parts availability can be difficult, besides stuff like the motor and drivetrain, there are tons of parts that can be hard to find replacements for. For example the one door seal is imposable to find new, there are tons of the otherside seals but none of that side available. Tailgates are extremely hard to find if missing or damaged and when you do find one, expect to pay big bucks for it. Look I'm not trying to talk you out of a M715, as a matter of fact I absolutely love mine and drive it whenever I get a chance. But just trying to put a more realistic view on it. You stated that you like the look of the J-trucks, I would look for one of those to daily drive as there where hundreds of thousands of those built by Jeep from the 60's until the 80's compared to the 33,000 M715's built for only 3 years, plus you will have all the standard features that most want in a daily driver vehicle.
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Old July 4th, 2019, 07:07 AM
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There's one on Richmond Craigslist right now, V8-converted, looks to be in good shape.
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Old July 4th, 2019, 09:24 AM
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Mine was a forest service truck and had a soft top frame converted to a hard top. Very hot in summer and even with insulation added. Plus a J truck heater. It is still cold on the upwind side in the winter. Ok on the downwind side.

Top off driving is awesome. I like convertibles though. Maybe too much time on a tractor growing up or something. I rigged up a bikini top frame and CJ7 bikini top. That gives some shade. But, with no floor vents. It gets very hot in a M715. That is why I cut down a rusted set of doors and made roadster doors to get some breeze through there.

I have power steering and a healthy front axle. Michelin 11.00-16 XZL tires I think have a 68 mph speed rating. They aren’t supposed to go 80. I haven’t done it in years. Tire age and the fact that the highest point on the truck is my head. Combined keep me at Warp speed only (54 mph).

The M715 is square in the front with a flat non racked windshield. You feel the wind. Even a Prius going the other way on a two lane road leaves a wake that can be felt and heard.

If you just want something to drive around with some comfort, go off road some and pull whatever you hook up to. Plus be able to sit around for weeks or months with no attention. Look for an early ‘90’s 6BT truck with a NV4500 and 4x4.

If you have the early symptoms of Green Iron Disease. Then go for a M715. Or maybe a M1008 from 1985. Better axles, diesel, basically a civilian cab that is water tight and it is still military. Lots of aftermarket for the CUCV trucks. The 1995 and newer CUCV II trucks have a turbo and ac even.

I’m partial to the M1009 version of the K5. A little more nimble than the M715 off road, fully highway capable and ac can be added. Plus 4 of your friends can come along with you. But with 3.08 gears. Acceleration and trailer towing are not its strengths.

Having done the big block and diesel conversion on my truck. Adding a 350/M35A2 transmission to a truck for Pistolnut. Then currently putting a 6BT in a truck for Sermis. Plus driving other people’s stock trucks and modified trucks. I obviously like the M715. But I live in the middle of nowhere and have a 5 mile commute to work. They work for me. A M715 might or might not work for you.
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