Jul 04

Deuce and a Half Road Test

Why not road test a Deuce and a Half army truck? That was my thinking as I hauled sand to fight the flood of 2013. The day was long, hot, loud, and dirty so to pass the time I thought what the heck. this will be a great road test and hopefully a laugh for everyone.

The Deuce and a Half is called a Deuce and Half because of it’s weight. It’s technically a medium duty truck but I assure you it is a work horse. It’s six wheel drive configuration will go any where and our tester equipped with the Cat 3116 diesel has more lugging power then two teams of oxen. Our deuce came in convertible form but for the life of me I can not figure out why. So for the fourth of July as a celebration of the birth of this great nation I thought just for fun maybe I’d review something different.

Comfort, luxury, quiet ride, are just some of the many terms I will not be using to describe the Deuce and a Half. The first thing I noticed about the deuce is that every single piece of the cab is designed to kill you. I’m a farm boy, bumps, scrapes, bruises, etc are all just a part of the territory but I got more beat up in one day on the deuce then I will in a year on the farm. It is all worth it though because oddly enough the deuce is quite special. Just think in every war since Korea our fine men and women of the armed services have used these things to transport all kinds of things. It was just a tiny glimpse into life as a soldier.

Industrial is a great way to describe the cabin. Everything has a purpose and everything without a purpose is not here. The interior is strictly utilitarian. The seats have what is someones sick idea of a cushion. It offers no support or comfort at all. I think at best it keeps your back from shattering into a million pieces but you’ll feel every bump or pebble in the road. The dash is adorned with lots of great switch gear, dials, and knobs to play with. Nothing is easy. Starting to deuce takes a couple of steps and even turning on the head lights requires you to turn two switches simultaneously. So ergonomics might not have been first on the designers mind.

The wipers are air operated or if you’d like you can turn them manually. I actually quite like them. They make a cool pssshh noise when operated by the air but the manual control works great to just get a few rain drops off. It’s a pretty cool system.

The transmission take a bit of getting used to. It’s a five speed with a reverse gear and oddly enough it is exactly backwards from every five speed I’ve ever driven. Meaning first is down and left, while second is up and middle. That took some getting used to. Surprisingly it is synchronized, well in theory. There was still plenty of grinding to get the lever into place.

The engine has plenty of grunt and makes a great sound too, which you will hear clearly as sound deadening is non existent as is climate control meaning you’ll probably have your windows down, and the windshield folded out to keep the air flowing. I was just hauling sand which with the short dump trailer the deuce was more then capable of. Top speed is a blistering 50mph although I question that as 45mph was the best I could muster. The six wheel drive was able to get me out of a few sticky situations where I know I would have been stuck without it.

All in all driving the deuce was a great experience. The sights, the sounds, the smells, the dirt and grime, it was all in good fun. Would I want to drive one every day? No chance in hell, but there was something special about the big deuce that made for an interesting day.