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M816 wrecker

red

stubborn Texan displaced to Utah
Messages
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615
Location
Eagle Mountain, Utah
Thread starter #1
Figured I'd start a new thread for this truck. Summer of 2015 I moved up to Utah and found out a friend of mine had bought a M816, military 5 ton wrecker that needed lots of work. Over the next couple months helped when I could and we got the truck running and made the crane operational again by replacing all the fuel lines, filter, and the PTO shaft that powers the crane. Around this time (october) he sold the truck to me. Started working on it again in march.

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Opened up all 6 wheel hubs to repack the bearings and inspect/rebuild the brakes. Replaced the soft brake hoses and the brake master cylinder. Changed the coolant (old coolant looked like mud) and installed filter while I was at it. Drained the transmission fluid so the PTO could be removed, gaskets replaced, then reinstalled and topped off with fresh gear oil. While doing the wheel end service converted the truck to run on 'super singles', 47" tall tires that are from a MRAP. Had to flip the hubs on the rear axles and replace the wheel studs.

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Stock rear hub setup
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Flipped
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red

stubborn Texan displaced to Utah
Messages
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615
Location
Eagle Mountain, Utah
Thread starter #2
The previous owner before my friend had damaged the front winch, kept pulling the cable in after it was tight. He had been using a grade 5 steel bolt as a shear pin on the winch PTO which can lead to major damage. Thankfully all it did was shear the shaft key on the transmission PTO so pulled the PTO shaft, replaced the key along with a new shear pin, reinstalled the shaft, and power out the front winch cable. Cable is kinked and bird caged everywhere so it needs to be replaced. Powering the winch out released the tension, but the cable was wound up incorrectly so we hooked up my friends truck and had him drive (at idle) down the driveway to pull out half the 280ft of cable. Cut it off at that point but the remaining 140ish ft still has kinks so it's all coming off later.

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red

stubborn Texan displaced to Utah
Messages
1,673
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615
Location
Eagle Mountain, Utah
Thread starter #3
Greased the entire truck. Took about 5 tubes of grease (not including the wheel hubs), between the steering, front axle, front winch, rear winch, crane, misc pivot joints. over 80 zerk fittings that I can remember. Continuous flow air powered grease gun made it easy haha.

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Got my hands on a winter grill cover for this truck.

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When the truck is not in use for awhile I stall a cargo cover from on of the military long bed cargo trucks, m36. The cover is too long and needs to be cut down to length, but protects the hydraulic hoses and steel cable from the weather which helps.

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red

stubborn Texan displaced to Utah
Messages
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615
Location
Eagle Mountain, Utah
Thread starter #4
With the truck now able to be driven and mostly fuctional it's being put to use. After the crane was fixed fall 2015 used it to disassemble my old m35a2 deuce and a half.

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red

stubborn Texan displaced to Utah
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615
Location
Eagle Mountain, Utah
Thread starter #5
At the end of May 2016 (able to be driven at this point) I brought it down to my old rental house and used the crane to get a spare engine (DT466) out of the garage. The M816 doesn't have enough bed space to really carry anything so a trailer or a seperate cargo truck is required to haul stuff. I got 5.5mpg driving down the highway at 55mph, 2000rpm

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red

stubborn Texan displaced to Utah
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615
Location
Eagle Mountain, Utah
Thread starter #6
Yesterday used it to help a friend install a replacement engine/transmission in his DUKW, a WWII amphibious vehicle. The crane on the wrecker can make minute adjustments easily. Took us about 3 hours to strip the engine bay and install the engine/transmission.

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red

stubborn Texan displaced to Utah
Messages
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615
Location
Eagle Mountain, Utah
Thread starter #7
Added a storage box this week along the passenger side. Using the truck as basically a mobile shop so between the rigging gear, wrecker equipment, tools, and misc stuff there is not enough storage. Took the box from a military 5 ton tractor and bolted it to the underside of the wrecker bed along the passenger side, between the middle axle and the second fuel tank. Good size for the winter grill cover, jack, and misc spare parts. Easy access from the side, located directly underneath the stock main tool box.

Stock

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red

stubborn Texan displaced to Utah
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615
Location
Eagle Mountain, Utah
Thread starter #8
Did my first lift tow with the wrecker this weekend. Earlier this year I purchased a M51a2, old 5 ton dump truck from the Vietnam war era, that was out on a ranch in the mountains nearby. This truck is for sale for the next few weeks then if it doesn't sell it will be modified for my uses.

First pic was taken with the camera level to give an idea of the hill they had parked the m51a2 on. The front tires had holes in the tubes so was not able to flat tow it home as originally planned.

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Inflated the rear 4 tires, hooked up a strap, and dragged it down the hill to flat ground. Currently the wrecker is missing most of it's stock equipment so I had to get a bit creative with the lift tow. To keep the towbar near level I removed the front tires from the m51 and used the crane to hold the front of the truck about 6-8" off the ground. With everything else taken care of was able to tow the truck home without issue.

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Quick side by side shot of the tire size difference. The wrecker is on 395's, roughly 47" tall. M51a2 is currently on 14.00x20"s, 49" tall.

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red

stubborn Texan displaced to Utah
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Location
Eagle Mountain, Utah
Thread starter #10
I might just have to pickup that 1 ton and drive away with it hanging from the crane lol.

Can't forget speed either, I cruise at 2000rpm, 55mph and get a bit over 6mpg doing that.

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red

stubborn Texan displaced to Utah
Messages
1,673
Likes
615
Location
Eagle Mountain, Utah
Thread starter #11
Note to self, wrecker will not go within 50ft of the water again. This happened July 4th.

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Everything in the pictures is stuck. Once you got down about 6" it turned to pure muck and there was no getting out on your own.

Last weekend all these missing parts for the truck arrived so it will finally be fully equipped.

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red

stubborn Texan displaced to Utah
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Location
Eagle Mountain, Utah
Thread starter #16
Excavator would have just sunk like all the others did. After you broke through the top 6" of rock it turned to pure muck that had no reachable bottom. A 35 ton semi wrecker pulled us out one at a time. Took a 4 line pull to get the wrecker out.

Initially had setup the rear winch cable to try and pull the m923a2 out, but the cable core had rusted through and it snapped as soon as it had tension. So backed up too him and tried to pull with a tow strap, no success. Hadn't sunk much so we figured the ground was solid enough. Setup the outriggers and lifted the front of his truck out of the hole (he had been up to the headlights) and shifted it over. Thats when the wrecker sank.
 

red

stubborn Texan displaced to Utah
Messages
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Likes
615
Location
Eagle Mountain, Utah
Thread starter #18
Added a couple storage boxes between the front bumper and fenders. The wreckers weigh alot, roughly 40k pounds with all the tools/equipment, and over half that weight being the bed. because of where the crane is located (directly over the rear suspension) the front end tends to get very light when lift towing another truck. Rather than add more weight to an already heavy truck, figured might as well move some of that heavy equipment around and distribute the weight better. This moved roughly 500 pounds to the front. Will cut the steps off the outside edge of the boxes this week. The box on the fender is just sitting there for now, but will get bolted down and used for lighter/bulky stuff.
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WarWagon

Well it hits on 7 of 8...
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AZ
#19
Excavator would have just sunk like all the others did. After you broke through the top 6" of rock it turned to pure muck that had no reachable bottom. A 35 ton semi wrecker pulled us out one at a time. Took a 4 line pull to get the wrecker out.

Initially had setup the rear winch cable to try and pull the m923a2 out, but the cable core had rusted through and it snapped as soon as it had tension. So backed up too him and tried to pull with a tow strap, no success. Hadn't sunk much so we figured the ground was solid enough. Setup the outriggers and lifted the front of his truck out of the hole (he had been up to the headlights) and shifted it over. Thats when the wrecker sank.
You should get video and then "bump" the show "Highway Through Hell" off the air.

The badly rusted cable should not have been used. Like a weed wacker breaking cables can cut people and cars clean in half. Not there to see the details or condition of the cable - just saying be careful with cables!
 

red

stubborn Texan displaced to Utah
Messages
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Likes
615
Location
Eagle Mountain, Utah
Thread starter #20
You should get video and then "bump" the show "Highway Through Hell" off the air.

The badly rusted cable should not have been used. Like a weed wacker breaking cables can cut people and cars clean in half. Not there to see the details or condition of the cable - just saying be careful with cables!
The cable was deceptive. Outer layers had minor surface rust that you could remove with your fingers, the inner layer that you can't see was badly rusted. Hence the reason I'm going to synthetic once I can afford it

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