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CUCV at a glance

Thursday, May 1, 2014 - 07:00
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A 1986 M1008 CUCV

General Motors produced the Commercial Utility Cargo Vehicle (CUCV, pronounced “cuck-vee”) from 1983 to 1986, with model years of 1984 to 1987. All were powered by the 6.2L Detroit Diesel V8 engine. All trucks were equipped with the venerable TH400. The TH400 is, in my estimation, the finest automatic transmission built. All models used the NP 208 aluminum case, chain-driven, transfer case except the M1028A1 and the M1031, which was a chassis cab. These units used cast iron, slip-yoke rear output version of the NP 205, which is gear-driven.

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The Blazers used the standard 10-bolt Corporate Axles both front and rear that housed 3.08 gearing. Most of the remainder of the vehicles used Dana 60 axles up front with 10.5 Corporate 14 bolt axles in the rear with a Detroit Locker. The M1028A2 and A3 Duallies had Dana 70 HD axles with the same 4.56 gearing. The rest of the truck was made up of heavy-duty/light-commercial truck lines.

The CUCV was available in four basic configurations: pickup, chassis cab, ambulance body and utility. CUCVs were manufactured as behind-the-front-line vehicles, as they were sans the heavy armor needed to protect the occupants inside. With the exception of the M1009 (Blazer), all the vehicles were rated at 1.25 ton.

The M1008 was the military designation for the pickup; M1010 was the ambulance body; M1009 was a stripped .75-ton Blazer. There were also heavy-duty variants, which were the M1028, M1028A1, M1028A2 and M1028A3 shelter carriers — “shelter” being a mobile command or intelligence enclosure. The Duallies were produced because of the high center of gravity the equipment shelters poised. Naturally, the higher the load, the increased tendency to flip, so increasing the width of the driveline would decrease the likelihood of a rollover or flip.

The CUCVs used a 12/24-volt hybrid electrical system. The vehicles used dual 100 amp alternators. They also came equipped with a NATO slave receptacle for jumpstarting other vehicles, and carried hookups for different military radios.

Overall, GM produced around 70,000 vehicles in that three-year period. The original purpose of the CUCV was to be a dollar-saving bridge between a full-blown tactical vehicle and an off-the-shelf civilian vehicle. The CUCV did perform well enough “in the rear with the gear” that the U.S. kept them in active service long after their lifespan. Many units have found themselves a home to civilian service, in either stock military form or modified to fit the current owner’s needs. The CUCV military service eventually gave way to the HMMWV’s during the Desert Storm era.

In closing, the CUCV did its job by providing troop transport, ambulance and utility service for the U.S. Armed Forces in a cost-effective way. The cost would have been much greater per vehicle had they been up-armored for use near the front lines, which would have provided more safety for the occupants against enemy fire power.

CUCV SPECIFICATIONS

These trucks are designed to provide standard tactical mobility also to carry cargo or passengers.

ENGINE: GM Detroit Diesel 6.2L   379 cu in.  V8    135 HP @ 3600rpm

TRANSMISSION:  TH 400 (3L80) CASE DESIGNATION (HD) 1st GEAR RATIO 2.48:1    2ND GEAR 1.48:1   3RD GEAR 1.00:1    R 2.07:1    FLUID DEXRON 2 /3   

TRANSFER CASE:  MANUAL NP 208   HIGH RANGE 1.00:1    LOW RANGE 2.62:1   FLUID DEXRON 2/3 

 AXLES:   DANA 60 FRONT, 10.5 CORPORATE 14 BOLT REAR w/Detroit Locker

 LOCKOUT HUBS ON FRONT AXLE   GEAR RATIO 4.56:1 FLUID: GEAR LUBE 80-90W

GVWR WEIGHT 8800 LBS.

CURB WEIGHT 5900 LBS.  55% FRONT / 45% REAR

PAYLOAD 2900 LBS.

TOWED LOAD ALLOWANCE 3000 LBS.

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