"Deuce and a Half" multi-fuel military surplus trucks

“Deuce and a half” multi-fuel military surplus trucks:how useful are they for limited farming?,are they OK for limited on road use?,what mpg is likely?, any"quirks"?
I like driving a manual transmission,I am starting to look for a replacement to my 2000 Ranger 4x4[parts are getting a bit scarce] for hauling farm supplies,etc. Some of the driving will be on highways.
Appreciate the opinions/insights.

I have a friend (a railroad engineer) who has 2 nice versions of the Deuce and a half’s. He uses them on his farm for various projects. The mpg is dismal at best and he does drive them on the highway. I tried to reach him by phone but he was on a run. His wife guessed that both trucks got somewhere in the 5mpg range. They both have automatic transmissions.

Strikes me as a “mine’s bigger than yours” purchase.

I’m sure it’ll work. But at what price?
The good news is it’ll probably have a hydraulic PTO.

@lefty2, why are you considering something that old and large instead of a used full sized pickup truck? What do you have in mind for them?

Unless there is some specific need for that much truck they would be money pits. Replacing a clutch would cost as much as a good used 1/2 ton pickup. Getting it towed might be a 4 figure expense and the closest shop that would work on it might push that tow bill up to the price of that used pickup.

I agree with all of the previous caveats, but I just have to wonder if these military surplus trucks are as “real” as the WWII surplus “Harley-Davidsons packed in Cosmoline” that were allegedly being sold by the gov’t in the 1960s for pennies on the dollar.

(Hint: Those Harleys existed only in the imaginations of some people.)

Before you buy one of these vehicles, check to be sure they can be licensed to operate on public roads…

They can be licensed in most states, they make great farm trucks, no they don’t do good on fuel. They can be a good deal as they last a long time and parts are not to hard to find. Check out http://gsaauctions.gov/gsaauctions/gsaauctions/ There is a place in Michigan were you buy them and last I knew you could even buy a tank. Less guns of corse. I away said if I won the lotto I would go buy one just to drive around my place. Oh one more thing from time to you can even my a navy ship from the Gov.

They often may not be licensed for the road use as a regular vehicle in a state like ours. They may be licensed as a farm vehicle in some states, ( it’s state dependent) for occasional on road use within a designated distance in miles from " the farm" on which their primary use is. My neighbor registered his old, rusted, totally uninspectable truck that way. He used it for 5 more years till it broke in two on the highway moving wood. I can drive my tractor x number of miles on the main road from one work area to another without any registration. So like @Caddyman says, CHECK at the DMV of your state.

But, I never would buy anything mechanical I was not prepared to repair in cost and convenience. So I vote NO.
Keep your Ranger and repairing it for that limited use…lit will be cheaper in the long run. You may be able license it as a farm vehicle in your state instead.

You mentioned parts being hard to fine, how about parts for them?

Parts are not hard to find. You just have to buy them from truck part houses,or but two and use one for parts. There made with common parts so they used parts from other vehicles if need be.

A number of them are in use around here by volunteer fire departments who put them into service as water tankers. The military turned some over to the U.S. Forestry Service who in turn donates them to the FDs. They work well, but fuel and repair cost can be an issue.
The local 3/8 mile dirt race track has also used one for decades to dampen the track before the races and that beast keeps on chugging.

JMHO, but a rig like this seems to be overkill for farm use and not economically viable at all.

Unless you can find one locally (civilian) owned for sale, obtaining one is not as easy as many people think…Military vehicle auctions to the general public are far and few between…

If I remember right I’m thinking 4-6 MPG with the diesel. No they aren’t fun to ride in the back of or sleep in. Pretty heavy duty for general farm use but if you’ve got rough terrain. I’d rather have a jeep.

Rather then put your money into one of these trucks, you are much better off with two separate dedicated vehicles. A pick up truck and a tractor. I know this stuff looks cool, but like running around in army fatigues and carrying an AR15, they are less practical for civilian use. We used this stuff in the military, an ambulance in particular and some were so difficult to manage overall, they would be useless for light duty. That means most of the time they just sit there, wasting tax payers money…now it’s yours.

Frankly, when on duty, I got tired of maintaining something we seldom used. It was a great rescue vehicle to move plane wreckage, but how often. ? We never took it off base for civilian use. It couldn’t keep up with highway traffic ! But, it did look cool parked beside the clinic, ready to go in case Godzilla attacked. Give me a Kubota with a bucket anyday and an old beat up pick up.

Btw, we had an infrastructure to support a bunch of them. I cannot imagine changing a tire without some more heavy equipment or waiting fo a part. It’s just a macho guy thing…out grow it.

Ladies and gentlemen, I think the OP has left the building.

Has that every stop a discussion before ?

No, and nor should it.

I guess there are two good things about a big truck like that: you’ll never get stuck in a ditch, and it can pull any stump on the farm.

I’ve seen a couple of them around me. I was shocked. What’s a deuce and a half doing in suburban Baltimore? Must be a hobby truck.

When we had the great snow storm of 63, the only thing moving through 6 and 7 foot drifts were the military base plow trucks. It would have taken a week otherwise to do what these things did in a day of plowing. Back then, they were the best you could get.