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Open Discussion Open Discussion for all M715 series trucks

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  #1  
Old November 15th, 2009, 03:35 PM
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RJBM715 RJBM715 is offline
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Default The search for my first 715

I am new here and was wondering if someone could help with what to look fo when buying an m715 I have found one close to me in mass but don't know very much about them
from what I can tell it is pritty much stock and has a fiberglass top which is nice cuz it does snow a lot here in Maine
thank u for your time
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Old November 15th, 2009, 05:15 PM
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It's difficult to say as some folks like the stock version and some like to turn them into bus jumping monster trucks...

or like most of us some where inbetween.

the operators manual in the community section will give you an idea of what's included from the factory. Poking around at some of the threads on here will give you a good idea of what can be done, what parts are rare and what are made of unobtainium as well as a good portion that can be got at the local napa.

if you are looking at a running driving one, like most old vehicles, make sure there's no smoke coming from anywhere it isn't supposed to, things work well/smoothly, and there's no more rust/dents than you feel like fixing.

I'm new in the 715 crowd as well, but IMHO the main issues are most of the stock motor internals are not available, and the split rim wheels have a non standard bolt pattern (ie have to get custom wheels made), the transfer case whines some and gets warm on long drives, and top speed is around 60 if you are lucky

but I'm sure a lot more educated folks will pop in w/better observations shortly
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Old November 15th, 2009, 05:49 PM
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Here is the list...composed some years ago by one of our members:

Starting from the rear:

* Check rear bumper for rust on the inside
* Check for original tailgate (HARD to find on M715s that were turned into fire trucks)
* Check for rust in floor of bed (EASY to find on M715s that were turned into fire trucks)
* Check for troop seats and rear canopy bows
* Check rear wheel cylinders for leakage or frozen condition
* Check rear brake shoe condition. Take the time to remove each wheel and brake drum BEFORE you buy the truck. These brake shoes AND DRUMS go bad quickly when there is mud and dirt wedged in there. (It'll cost you about $35 per axle to replace the brake shoes--If Front Line Military Vehicles still has the shoes in stock, that is. If not, other source's prices are much higher).
* Check rear drive shaft/U-joints for security, dents, wear/play. I bent my shaft-$230 for a new one, $166 to rebuild the old one (including new, machined u-joints)
* Check for leakage from rear differential housing & shaft
* Check parking brake on transfer case for wear, and to make sure all the parts are there.
* Check transfer case input and output shafts for leakage (Seals-$12.00 each)
* Check rubber bushings on transfer & transmission mounts for serviceability
* Check front drive shaft, short shaft and universal joints for looseness, wear and dents
* Check transmission mount for serviceability (It's the 6-8 inch long flat rubber and metal piece between the bottom of the transmission and the crossmember that supports the transmission. If this is shot, the 4 WD/2WD selector handle will rub and strike the edge of the access hole in the transmission hump cover inside the cab. You will be in for a very noisy ride).
* Check the condition of the clutch--Easily done by removing the bottom cover on the bellhousing.
* While you've got that bellhousing cover off, check the starter gear ring on the flywheel. Replacing this gear will require removal of the flywheel. This is a major operation (at least on my truck)--You must remove the bellhousing to get the flywheel off. You must also have the flywheel off to remove the bellhousing. Get the Idea? I had to remove the entire crankshaft with the flywheel still attached. Fortunately, I was rebuilding the engine at the time.
* Check the cab corners, pan, and sill (rocker) panels for rust.
* Check the roll-up windows for good rubber seals and tracks (especially where the roll up window slides up and down inside a track in the fixed window. If this seal/track is shot or non-existent, an annoying rattle will result as the roll-up window rattles back and fourth in the fixed window track.--I still have not found a source for the window track seals.
* Check all instrumentation for condition and accuracy.
* Check for seat belts. I had to install generic ones--$35 each.
* Check condition of cab canvas and snaps.
* Check condition of windshield seal (between bottom of windshield and hood of truck)
* Check for rust around where the brake master cylinder attaches to firewall (both inside and outside)
* Check windshield wiper motors (hopefully converted to electric instead of vacuum)
* Check operation of the transmission (1st gear and reverse are not synchronized)
* Check for proper operation of the transfer case-High, Neutral and Low/ 2 wheel drive and 4 wheel drive. (You may need to back up a short distance to shift from 4 wheel drive back to 2 wheel drive).
* Check for proper operation of the PTO for the winch. Check to ensure that wodruf (sp?) keys and set screws are in place on all the universal joints on the PTO shaft (except the extreme forward joint, which should have a special shear pin installed on the winch end). Do not allow hardware store bolts and nuts to be used anywhere on this PTO shaft.--It cost me $150 to get pulled out of a mudhole because the guy I bought the truck from didn't spend the $5 to get proper wodruf keys and set screws installed.
* Check steering for looseness/play.
* Check engine compression--150 is where a new/rebuilt 230 engine should be. YOU DO NOT WANT TO REBUILD THIS ENGINE--BRING A COMPRESSION TESTER WITH YOU AND TEST EACH CYLINDER TO MAKE SURE THEY'RE GOOD! I can not stress this enough. I did all the work (except the machine work) myself, and ended up spending about $800-$900 to rebuild my engine. Rebuild parts are rare, and extremely hard to find-You therefore pay through the nose for them.
* Check for oil leaks especially around the timing cover-to-block seal.
* Check for blue smoke/burning oil. Again, YOU DO NOT WANT TO HAVE TO REBUILD THIS ENGINE.
* Check front engine mount rubber for rot/sagging/damage from petroleum products.
* Check steering box for leakage.
* Check all steering ball joints for play/wear.
* Check front differential for leakage/shaft play.
* Check front swivel balls (where the front wheels pivot for steering) for pitting and leakage.
* Check front brake shoes and wheel cylinders-same as rear.
* Check for a heater--it would likely have been installed from a civilian truck.
* Check for radiator leakage.
* Check winch for oil leakage, cable condition and proper operation (the lever on the winch engages the drum to the shaft that runs through the middle of it. By moving the lever toward the passenger's side, the drum will disengage, thereby "freewheeling" so you can pull the cable out).
* Check front bumper for rust.
* Check body for overall condition/rust. Pay close attention to the metal channels under the cab where it mounts to the frame. Rust flakes off inside these channels.
* Check all wiring for cracking/rubbing.
* Check tires for tread, dry rot, and condition of the rims. The best price I've found for new 9.00x16 military non-directional tread tires is $121 each, from Wallace Wade in Texas. Shipping cost--don't know, because my local tire dealer can get NDTs to me for $135 each.
* Check front wheel hubs for security by grabbing the top of the tire and pushing and pulling it back and forth as hard as you can several times with the truck on the ground (not on jacks). If any clunking sound is heard or felt, the huge nuts inside the axle hub have backed off or are loose. This is not good, as these nuts hold the wheel onto the spindle.

I paid $3500 for my truck and it suffered from many of the above mentioned problems. I paid too much for my truck, considering what it cost to correct the problems. The only way I justify this cost is that I also got 4 spare wheels, an extra Dana 60 front end, an extra Dana 70 rear end, a spare transmission (dogged-out), a good spare transfer case, and a few boxes of spare parts. It's a great truck when properly repaired, though.

If the truck you're looking at passes all the tests above, I'd pay up to $4000 for it (if it looked and drove good). This is only MY opinion, however, and others will have different opinions. One important lesson learned: If the owner claims to have rebuilt the engine, DEMAND to see the receipts. The rebuild parts are so expensive that only a die-hard M715 fan would rebuild it. A die-hard M715 fan would also save the receipts. Anyone else is probably lying (like the guy I bought my truck from).
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