M35 Zeppelin: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Sometimes, when you think you've seen it all, you haven't seen it all.  Our truck is like that.  A recent work day started out pretty reasonably, and by the end of it, I was even more amazed at how well our truck was running, despite its actual condition.

The Good: The day started out with some paint prep, followed by two coats of paint.  Here, a person uses a wire wheel to knock off surface rust, and to generally rough the surface of the old paint to provide better adhesion for the new coat of paint.

After the prep, other folks hit the truck with a first coat of dark brown.

One of the painters finishes the dark brown as another person mixes up a bucket of the desert-camo tan that would become the truck's top coat of paint.  Including the paint already on the truck, I believe this brings us to five coats for the areas that were painted that day.

The Bad: Randy and I pulled off the front wheels and removed the front brake drums to inspect the brakes.  A combination of missing parts and cracked slave cylinder seals inspired us to just pull everything apart to figure out how much refurbishment might be warranted.  Here, Randy pressure-washes the driver-side brake drum as paint prep continues in the background.

As an aside (heh), you can see the original bumper off to the right (currently housing my tools).  We removed the bumper in order to weld the frame for the roof-deck directly to the chassis using all-new square tubing (top-left of the image).

The Ugly: We were already aware that the inboard dust seals were in pretty bad shape.  Actually, they were in tatters.  But sure, how bad could it be?

Turns out: pretty dang ugly.  As far as I'm aware, Playa Dust is widely considered to be a pretty poor lubricant.  So when we unbolted the front hub to find them mostly full of Playa dust (most of which has already been removed... just think about that...).  Anyway, when we found them full of Playa dust, a half-crazed laugh was all I could muster.  At least the truck has big enough (CV joint) balls to deal with the situation.

Next step: hub rebuilds, yay!



Hey, it's me! I’ve been a documentary photographer for 17 yrs, software engineer for even longer, and plenty of other things in between.