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How come GMC M135 and M211 get no respect?

Posted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 9:17 pm
by rwdfresno
Is it just me or does this series of trucks get neglected worse than a red headed step child? Why is this? Is it the auto transmission that makes it "less desireable?" Is it just my imagination or are they the Rodney Dangerfield of the Duece family? I learned how to drive when I was 13 on an M135 that was converted to manual transmission. I loved that truck and we still have it although it hasn't run for years. Seems like even restored ones go for way under what they should be worth and I see good running ones all the time that dont even get bids on ebay when the minimum is less than $1000.

Anyways just think the M135 and M211 family need a little love.

Posted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 10:32 pm
by David_4x4
Personally I like the crap out of them. Love the body lines, simplicity, etc

I think the main reason they don't get a lot of respect is yes because of the automatic tranny and thy're not diesel. Most people I've talked with, unless they're serious military vehicle collectors, that all want a deuce want it to be diesel.

Hopefully come winter I'll have an M35a2 to go along with my M135.

Posted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 11:56 pm
by Nick Bombini
I personally like the look of the CCKW much more, esp. the fenders and front end. This is why I decided to buy one to restore. If I were buying a truck for more power, I would go for a M35 or larger because of the diesel engine. The M135 and M211 is kind of stuck between a rock and a hard spot because most people either want the power of the diesel or the nostalgic (if I'm using this word in the right context) looks of the CCKW. This is just my opinion on the matter, I would love to see what other people think about this.


Posted: Fri Jul 21, 2006 4:51 am
by cyclopsram
The M135/M211 series trucks were mostly all donated to the Forest Service, Fire Departments and CD and CAP. or relegated to the AR or NG. It was a short production time, similar to the Gas engined M34/35 series... But really, because it was not a whole family of trucks... up thru 10 ton for example it did not fit well into the supply system...heck most of the M211s were XM211s.. not even accepted as standard... The Canadians made a production run of em and kept them longer than the US. Most of them were sold off in the 70s and a bunch of em got back here to the South...they had a few product improvements...and a heater and hardtop. They are so quiet and easy to drive when all systems are functioning.. The brake system..a different booster than the M35s and 12 yes count em 12 wheel cylinders for the you twice as many chances for a leaker than the M35 give collectors fits... cuz it is just a single leak and no brakes period. Spare parts are available from a select few dealers. With the tranny in low range, they are a snow plowing fool...push it back, way back... Remember there is no two speed transfer case.. just a reduction gearbox on the tranny which has been known to have sticky bands when not used often... and the water cooled tranny will freeze up and crack the case...if not drained separately from the engine antifreeze.. Note on the bottom of the tranny there are two plugs marked oil and water... I have owned at least 10 of the GMC deuces and even one with the Memphis REB kit...and all of em moved under their own power..the trannys are sometimes finiky, but no worse than trying to adjust the sprag unit on the non air shift REOs.. The Cadillac designed Hydramatic is just a beautiful piece of work and was used sucessfully thru the Stuart Tank, the LVT, the M84 and right up thru the M114 and M116 Carriers... I like the trucks.. M135/M211 for the fact that they are different and show how another company (GMC) approached the second generation of Deuce..after the CCKW...

Posted: Fri Jul 21, 2006 8:32 pm
by Buggy Man
My two cents. I happen to like the M135/M211 family of vehicles. In fact, my first MV was almost an M221 road tractor.Aside from the classic look of the WWII cckw, The post war Jimmy's were still good looking trucks with very nice lines. They are deffinatly a bigger,bulkier truck .I have driven a cckw, and man what a dog! I would liken it to driving a piece of construction equipment rather than something you would want to drive over the road (I still want one though :wink: ) Let's face it the M211 family really didn't see any (much) action in Korea and was phased out of regular service by the time Vietnam rolled around. And I think that has an effect on MV collectors Look what M59APCs bring verses halftracks or M113s.


Posted: Fri Jul 21, 2006 9:40 pm
I've heard the M-series refered to as a Jeep on Steriods, I knew nothing when I bought my first one, just love the body lines the simplicity straight forward design! I had always wanted any WW2 Jeep, but never surfaced, and when I ran across a M211 I knew I had to have it! After I purchased I researched everything about them, and found out they really got a bad rap, for one the automatic trans really wasn't anymore problem then most other MV, it just required more upkeep in order function properly, which most neglected greatly after service, if they had been left in the military service, I have no doubt they'd still be running strong! One of the reasons they contracted GM for this series was mainly for the service men who could not drive a clutch, a pretty tall order in a short time of the history of autos, think GM should be commended for such a attempt, especialy for a river forging vechile. Any way all MV's are cool in there own way, I'm just glad I can afford to play with one of them!

My M211 should take its preliminary drive sometime in August, can't wait to see how she runs with a 427 tall deck in it, with spicer 5 speed, I rigged the front alxe so it can be disengaged now, just need to remember not to have it engaged in reverse. Any way wish me luck on the road!

Carry on men!

M-211 and BIG international worth the towing price?

Posted: Sat Jul 29, 2006 11:10 pm
by bobc
I have a chance to get a M-211 for moving cost,it's been badly civilianized,but there are still alot of good parts,I don't know if the engine would run there is no winch,the front bumper is savable,most of the cab is rusty,but it has a good metal hard top,it has been converted to a 5 speed,one of the doors is cherry,no rust and straight,most of the lights are still there,the frame has been butchered so I'm looking at parts value,I have a 53 studebaker M-44 would the front axels be the same? I hate to see it hauled off the wreckers and crushed,I'd strip it there but the deal is all or nothing,I can probably get it hauled home for 50-75 bucks,there is also an international 6X4 which I was told ran,but some one stole the carb,but they stuffed the holes with rags,so if it ran it still should,it has a 24 volt dc and 110 ac alternator on it,a huge monster,the cab is in great shape but is there any call for this kind of truck,or parts for it,it has all M-series gauges but no black out lights,it must have been some kind of service truck because it had three out let on the panel between the door and the running board,one is 110 ac,the other is 24VDC,and the other is vehicle jumper connection. I haven't had any conntact with this type of stuff,I have a halftrack and a couple of cckws,I've had some M-37s and they were great trucks,but this stuff is foriegn to me. My camera and comptuer has been outdated and I can no longer post pictures on a hosting site to put pictures on here,but if you have some info or interest email me at and I can send you some pictures,there is also a military fire truck bed,mid sixties very nice shape with all good gauges,again free if I want to pay for transport. I'm getting my property full of stuff to part out so if they are worth the money I'll drag them home and part them out. any info would be appreciated. Thanks Bobc.

Posted: Sun Jul 30, 2006 5:15 am
by cyclopsram
M44 trucks have a double reduction top loader axle... the M135s are set up with the banjo style of the cckw.. not the timken either.. RAM

Posted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 12:42 pm
by Glenn
When you talk about the looks of them, those are the ones most people have to grow to love. I can look at pictures of any WW2 truck and think it looks cool. I've come to like the M135 / M211 more and more over the years, and now would just as soon have one of them as much as any other deuce and a half.

Re: How come GMC M135 and M211 get no respect?

Posted: Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:28 am
by onteo
I know this is an old post , but I have a question about this comment " the water cooled tranny will freeze up and crack the case...if not drained separately from the engine antifreeze"

I have drained and refilled the radiator with a 50/50 mix. How do I properly drain and refill the tranny? And what is the best fluid to fill it with? Is there a separate filler?

Also, I have read that these bang when shifting internally, mine only seemed to do it when downshifting.Is this normal?
Thanks Bill

Re: How come GMC M135 and M211 get no respect?

Posted: Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:34 am
by Joe Gopan
A "must have" is the late Bob Ketlers hand book of M-Series GMC Maintenance tips. Portrayal Press has themat a reasonable price. Buy one and you will have few questions.

Re: How come GMC M135 and M211 get no respect?

Posted: Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:41 am
by USMC 00-08
Crawl under your truck and look at the bottom of the transmission. There are two plugs, one should say oil and the other water. The water plug is what you want. If you open it, most of the antifreeze in your radiator will probably run out. It is tied into the engine coolant system. You don't fill it separately. Regular green antifreeze is fine.

On the part of the pan where you remove the water plug, there is a cover with several bolts holding it on. Inside that is your transmission cooler. Since that is the lowest point of your cooling system, a lot of sludge can build up in there. Pull that cover off and make sure it's cleaned out. It will help your transmission cool better. All of my trucks have needed this done.

My truck shifts like what you are describing. Hard downshifts. The only time I feel it upshift real hard is in low range when going from 2nd to 3rd gear.

Bob Ketler's Tech Tips is a good handbook but it will not tell you the answer to what you just asked. I own a copy.

Re: How come GMC M135 and M211 get no respect?

Posted: Thu Oct 11, 2018 7:14 pm
by Pat Gray
The M135 worked for Rambo.. I have never seen another 2.5 ton jump cars and still keep going!!!

Re: How come GMC M135 and M211 get no respect?

Posted: Thu Oct 11, 2018 7:44 pm
by Joe Gopan
The M-135/M-211 Series of 6X6 are an acquired tast,
When new the M-135 would outrun a new 6 Cyl. Powerglide 53 Chevrolet Bel-Air up to 60 MPH.

Re: How come GMC M135 and M211 get no respect?

Posted: Fri Oct 12, 2018 4:26 am
by Buggy Man
Pat Gray wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 7:14 pm
The M135 worked for Rambo.. I have never seen another 2.5 ton jump cars and still keep going!!!
It weebled & it wobbled but it didn't go down............. 8) :lol: