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19trax95's 1986 CUCV M1028A1

15818 Views 349 Replies 24 Participants Last post by  19trax95
So I have been looking for a decent square body for some time now. Didn't really have my eyes on anything in particular, but the frame and body needed to be in as good of shape as I could find.

Last week I came across this beast on marketplace up in Massachusetts. It's a 1986 Chevy M1031. Which is the military CUCV service truck.

It is I'm great shape. Frame is rock solid, and the cab has very, very little rust. It is also mechanically sound. A couple little leaks, but that's to be expected.

It has the 6.2 diesel, th400 trans, np205 t case, king pin Dana 60 front axle with a limited slip, 14 BFF rear with locker, and 4.56 gears. The service body is all aluminum. It used to have a PTO driven generator and air compressor, but those have since been removed. The PTO is still on the t case though.

My plans are to keep it fairly original, but add a few creature comforts to suit me better.
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Yeah it'll be staying fairly original all around. The biggest thing that could potentially change would be swapping the service body for a pickup bed. Still undecided on that.

But the things I have planned for the immediate future are as follows

-new tires (will be ordered tomorrow, toyos of course lol)
  • get all the body lights working and make them the same type
  • replace the burned out dash lights
  • fix a small fuel leak on the drivers side (injector return line)
  • add a radio to it
  • new dash pad
  • tilt steering column
  • 88-94 silverado steering wheel (they are smaller diameter and more comfortable imo)
  • clean and paint frame (it still has the factory GM coating on most of it)

Then the rest will be slower progress and spring time stuff. I want to do all the fluids and I'll probably do a rear brake line since it is a little more rusty than I prefer. Steering is a little loose, but not bad. I think the rag joint is just wore out a bit since the tie rod ends and all feel pretty good still.
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Yeah pretty much everything interior wise is compatible from 73-91. Exterior panels and such changed a bit through the different years, but a lot of the stuff is the same.

Plus they are stupid easy to work on haha.

Next weekend I'll hit the junk yard and search for a tilt column and steering wheel.
Nope. Still 24V for the starting system. I'll probably leave it that way. I actually prefer how the 24v starters crank over. Faster and more reliably in the cold than 24v imo.
Tires are ordered. Hopefully will see them this week.

Went with a 255/85r16 Toyo Open Country MT.

As for the bed, if I were to sell the service body, it would either get a pickup bed put on it, or I'd build a flat bed.

I'll see how useful I find this bed. If I'm not really using it, then I'll probably sell it and buy a clean bed. And that would still technically be correct since the M1028 trucks were converted from the chassis cab M1031 trucks.
Got the truck all registered and the title transfered. Just need to add it to my insurance for the whopping $15 a month, and then inspect it.
Yup it came with a plow. The previous owner used it to plow his driveway. I'll probably use it this winter and then sell it. It's an 8' fisher MM1. Works great and isn't all wore out.

I didn't take any other pics with the plow on before I took it off. It's a heavy sob lol. Will definitely need at least 500lbs or more in the bed with the plow on there to even think about traction for the rear wheels lol.
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First real "mod" done today. Got a cheap (sub $100) backup camera. It's not bad for what it is. It's a wireless unit.

Installed it tonight in sort of a temporary fashion. Haven't quite decided where I want the monitor to reside, so it's just suctioned to the dash at the moment.

The camera is mounted centered on the top of the body under the clearance lights. I need to make a little mount for it so I can angle it down far enough to see the bumper. Quality of the image actually isn't too bad. Pics to follow in the daylight.

I also got a new clearance light from work to test fit. It is of similar type to what's on there, so I think I'm going to replace all of them so they are all the same type and brightness. That is I we have enough of them. They are new old stock, and not made anymore so I'm not sure how many we have left. I need 10 total. 5 amber and 5 red.
Been driving the truck all week. No issues at all. Some dash lights burned out so I think I'm down to just 1 or 2 left working lol. But thats an easy fix.

I need to adjust the belts since I have a slight squeal when cold. The drivers side alternator belt is a little loose. Might just grab some new belts all around and keep the others for spares.

I also scored a pair of 6.5 ton US made shackles for the truck. They came off a old Mack that we scrapped at work. Boss didn't want them for out wrecker since they were rusted. Sand blasted them and they look brand new. They are Crosby shackles, and new they sell for around $75-80 per shackle! Now to just paint them and install them. Need two more to complete it, but I'll be on the hunt for two more free ones first lol.
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New body lights and shackles are painted. Got some bulbs for the dash as well. Will get all that installed tomorrow and post the before and after pics.

I also seem to be getting rather good fuel milage. I filled up on Tuesday night and have been driving it all week to work and back. So a total of 110 miles on only a 1/4 of a tank. The tank is only 20 gallons, so that averages out to 22mpg!

That is also assuming the fuel sending unit is accurate and I am in fact only down to 3/4 tank. I have no reason to belive that it isn't accurate since when I filled it, I was at 1/4 tank and it took right at 15 gallons.

I'll fill it up again next week around half a tank and calculate my actual milage.
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Yeah power is definitely something it does. It have lol. But thats what gearing is for lol. Also doesn't help I'm used to driving an animal that has more power available than traction lol.

These J code motors are rated for 148hp and 245ft/lbs of torque @2k rpm. Definitely pretty dismal, but it moves the truck along good enough for what I'm using it for.

I would like to swap an overdrive trans in it at some point likely a 4l80e, so I can take it on the highway without being limited to 55mph lol.
Ran out of bolts for the lights so I still need to do the front 3 over the cab.

But my tires showed up at the shop today. I just dropped off the wheels so he can get them switched around tomorrow. Should have some pics of the tires to post after work tomorrow night.

Also got my amsoil order for some oil and filter for the truck. Used my saved up customer bucks and got everything for $12 lol.
Got my tires mounted today. Put them on a little bit ago. Dropped the pressures since for whatever reason the tire shop always sets them to 80psi no when I bring them loose wheels to mount. I'll start at 38psi front and 35psi in the rear and see how that does on a chalk test.

I kept the two best tires and will use them as spares when I get a spare wheel.

My work light died on me so I'll grab some pics of the truck tomorrow morning and post them up.
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Yeah they are definitely a beefy tire haha. Just on the quick trip around the neighborhood, they are nice and smooth and I don't hear any tire noise at all. Granted I don't think I'd be able to hear even the loudest tires over the old 6.2 anyway lol.
I have never ran the toyo MT before. I have always wanted to, but never bit the bullet and bought them.

I figured since this is a fun "toy" I would use it as the test dummy for the MTs. If I end up liking their performance, I'll get them for my 15 the next time around.

I have ran numerous sets of the toyo AT2 and AT3 and I love them. That's what I run on my summer and winter wheels. They do great in all conditions. I'm interested to see how the new AT3s do in the snow compared to the AT2s and the BFGs I ran last winter.
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Yeah I'm pleased with the look. They ride nicer than the old tires too haha. Especially once I dropped the from 80psi lol. Speedo is only reading around 1mph slow. Makes me wonder how far off the speedo was beforehand. So my fuel milage calculations were likely off since if I can increase tire diameter by 2" and the speedo is basically correct now, that leads me to believe that it was reading fast before, which would cause my milage calculation to be a little higher than it was.

I also like that the rpm is noticeably lower while cruising 45-50mph. Not a ton obviously, but enough to notice. So that should help milage a little bit.

I also think I want to change the exhaust from the current true dual axle dumps it has now, to a single 3" rear exit. Will even out the tone and make it a little quieter in the cab. Plus I have a small leak at the clamps right before the muffler so I can hear that slight puffing sound at idle.
Yeah they are load range E. I'll be chalk testing them this weekend, but I run 45psi rear and 50psi front on my 15, which is much, much heavier than this truck.

Granted it's a different size and all. Truck only weighs a touch over 5k. Once I have the plow on there and weight in the back I'll likely have to bump up the pressure a touch.
Yeah the mirrors would be super easy to change. I'd just get some factory small mirrors and put them back on. The holes are still there from them. I would need to weld the other holes shut and smooth it out obviously from these mirrors.

As far as the hubs go, they work the same as the ford's do. Just turn to lock and unlock. This one has had warn hubs put on it at some point. They stick out so far mostly due to the wheel width and offset. The wheels are just 16x6.5 and like a 4.5" backspace.
I was actually thinking of mirrors like this. Still a bit wider and larger than the normal ones, but not as obnoxiously wide and large as what's on there.

Now to just find some lol. I think something similar may have been on there at one point since the holes in the door seem to line up close to where those look like they would be.
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