Saturday, January 24, 2009

Military Surplus Trucks: The Dodge M37

Continuing the theme of military trucks, here is probably the most popular of all US military surplus trucks, excluding the 1/4 ton jeeps: the Dodge M37.

Dodge M37

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1953 M37 used by Tennessee Division of Forestry & volunteer fire department
Manufacturer Dodge
Parent company Chrysler
Production 110,838[1] (1951 - 1968)
Predecessor Dodge Power Wagon
Successor Kaiser Jeep M715
Class Full-size pickup truck
Body style(s) Truck
Layout Four-wheel drive
Engine(s) Dodge T245 Flathead straight-6 230 CID
Transmission(s) 4-speed New Process NP420 manual
Wheelbase Cargo M37: 112" (2.84 m)

Command M42: 112" (2.84 m)
Ambulance M43: 126" (3.20 m)

Tele. Maint. V41: 126" (3.20 m)
Curb weight M37 without winch: 5,687 lb (2,580 kg)
M37 with winch 5,987 lb (2,716 kg)
Fuel capacity 24 US gallon (95 L)

The Dodge M37 (G-741) was a three-quarter ton four-wheel drive truck. It superseded the Dodge WC-51 and WC-52 trucks in US service and was used extensively by the United States armed forces during the Korean war. A number of variants were produced with slightly different configurations: the M42 command truck, V41 telephone maintenance vehicle, M43 ambulance, M152 enclosed utility truck, and R2 air field fire engine.



[edit] Development

The six prototypes of the vehicle were produced in early to mid 1950 based on the WC series Dodge vehicles used in World War Two, with the first pre-production pilot vehicle rolling off the assembly line on 14 December 1950 [2]. Many of the components on the M37 are similar or identical to the World War Two vehicle and many deficiencies of the previous series were corrected in the M37. Notably, a conventional pickup truck style bed replaced the platform on the World War Two vehicle simplifying production. The powerplant was identical to the World War Two era WC vehicles line as was most of the drivetrain. The straight-six cylinder engine was derived from a 1930s era passenger vehicle engine that was widely produced. This was in line with a long standing military procurement strategy that attempted to used commercially produced vehicle variants in military service. Many of the accessories on the M37 engine are identical to the engines from that era. There was significant drivetrain and powerplant commonality with the WDX series civilian Power Wagons. Outside of the fenders, there were sheet metal differences between all the vehicles.

Production of the M37 began in earnest in January 1951, with approximately 11,000 vehicles produced by the end of the year. By mid-1954 63,000 of the vehicles had been produced. In 1958 a number of modifications to the design resulted in the new vehicles being designated as M37B1. From mid-1958 until the end of production 47,600 M37B1 vehicles were produced. Approximately 4,500 Canadian M37CDNs were also produced between 1951 and 1955. These vehicles continued in service worldwide in the Israeli and Greek militaries.

In total between 1951 and 1968 115,000 M37s were produced. Spare parts for these vehicles are widely available and inexpensive to procure. Many deficiencies with aging design became apparent in the 1960s including a tendency of the connecting rods to fail at high rpms due to the long cylinder stroke of the engine. As the average speed of the vehicles in the military increased these engine failures became commonplace due to the low gear ratio of the vehicle which was originally designed as a multipurpose vehicle capable of transporting heavy loads of ammunition. It was common in the 1970 and 80s to encounter many of these vehicles with failed engines in government auctions. Many of the vehicles were transferred to civilian agencies and some are still in use today in rural areas.

Engine upgrades were made commercially available by the Hercules company. The vehicles were out of significant military service by the late 1970s, replaced by the M715 series of military trucks.

[edit] Dodge M37 Specifications

  • Model: T245 Dodge
  • Type: "L" Head, 6 cylinder
  • Power: 78 bhp (58.2 kW) at 3200 rpm
  • Displacement: 230 cu in (3.8 L)
  • Bore: 3 1/4" (83 mm), Stroke: 4 5/8" (117 mm)
  • Oil capacity: 6 US qt (5.7 L)
  • Radiator capacity: 25 US qt (24 L)


  • Borg & Beck Model 11828 10" (254 mm) single plate dry disc

Fuel System

  • Carter carburetor Model ETW-1 downdraft
  • 24 US gallon (95 L) tank (vented through engine air intake for fording purposes)


  • Ignition, starting, lights, 24 volts


  • New Process Model 88950 (or NP420)
  • 4-speed, Synchro-Shift in 3rd and 4th gear

Transfer Case

  • New Process 88845 (or NP200)
  • Ratio: High 1:1, low 1.96:1
  • Twin lever operation, one for 4x4 or 4x2 selection, one for hi or low range

Drive Shaft

  • MFG Universal Products


  • Dodge Full Floating (hypoid), ratio 5.83:1
  • Front Universal Drive New Process (Tracta joint)


  • Wagner hydraulic drum
  • Parking—external contracting band, 48 in2 (310 cm2)


  • Gemmer Model B-60, worm and sector type


  • Cargo Model M37: 112" (2.84 m), Command Model M42: 112" (2.84 m)
  • Ambulance Model M43: 126" (3.20 m), Tele. Maint. Model V41: 126" (3.20 m)


  • M37 without winch: 5,687 lb (2,580 kg), M37 with winch 5,987 lb (2,716 kg)

Tire Size

  • 9.00 x 16 - 8 ply non-directional military


  • Max Speed 55 mph (90 km/h), Cruising Speed 45 mph, Range: 150 mi (240 km), 6 mpg US (39 L/100 km)


  • Braden LU-4, PTO operated, 7500 lb (3,400 kg) capacity (250’ of 7/16" wire rope [75 m by 11 mm] – 10’ [3 m] chain with hook)

Torque Specifications

  • Clutch (Borg and Beck Model 11828) main bearing cap screws, 80–85 lb·ft (108–115 N·m), connecting rod hex nuts, 45–50 lb·ft (61–68 N·m), cylinder head bolts, 65–70 lb·ft N·m), cranking jaw, 110 lbf·ft (150 N·m) minimum, intake and exhaust manifold stud nuts 15–20 lb·ft (20–27 N·m). (TM 9-1840A, Ordnance Maintenance Engine (Dodge Model T-245, p. 124)

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ "Production Summary". Retrieved on 2007-07-28.
  2. ^ "1953 M37 Dodge Restoration".

[edit] External links

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