M818 Military Truck Specsby Tom Lutzenberger
The M-818 Truck, also referred to as a "Tractor "or as a five-ton six-wheel drive, provided a standard equipment asset for hauling, towing, movement of heavy materials for the U.S. military. The M-818 was actually one of a series of trucks made by Kaiser Jeep Corporation, also known as AM General Corporation, which were referred to as the M-809 truck series. These vehicles stayed in production and were utilized by the various military branches from 1969 until the final phaseout in 1999.
All M-809 trucks, including the M-818, carried a six-cylinder Cummins NHC-250 engine that ran on diesel fuel. The strength of the engine was rated at 250 horsepower with the engine running at 2,100 rpm. The unique aspect of the engine that made it stand out from other five-ton trucks was the placement of the air intake. The piping was installed on the driver's side of the truck --- not to be confused with the exhaust which was on the passenger side. The transmission on all M-809 series trucks, including the M-818, was a manual five-speed transmission which also included a two-speed transfer case.
Towing and Payload
Being designed to move armament and equipment, the M-818 was a beast in towing. The load allowance following manufacturer limits was 37,500 lbs. The payload on the truck itself allowed 15,000 lbs. The braking system used a combination of air and hydraulics to power the stopping capability of the vehicle.
Body and Details
The M-809 series trucks came with three different designs of a wheelbase. The M-818 used a short version, measuring 167 inches. The truck itself weighed in at approximately 20,300 lbs. The cabin structure was similar to the M-39 and M-35 smaller trucks, mainly providing a box style driver and passenger sitting area. However the hood and front frame body was much longer than the 2.5-ton trucks in comparison since it needed to house the larger Cummins engine. The vehicle was 97.5 inches wide and it had of a height of 85.5 inches from ground to the steering wheel top. Wheel clearance was 10.5 inches off the ground, assuming additional materials underneath the carriage.
- Truck image by Jakub Niezabitowski from Fotolia.com