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how to recognize a M37 from a M37B1?

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how to recognize a M37 from a M37B1?

Postby peter e mark » Fri Jan 18, 2008 3:26 pm

Hello , And I just bought a 1952 M37, but is it a M37B1? How can I tell? Thank You Peter
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Postby gwalker » Fri Jan 18, 2008 3:41 pm

The B1 was introduced in 1958, it was mostly distinguished by the drivers door spare as was used on the M-43 ambulance, however some M-37 which had radio shelters installed required moving the spare to that location as well. The other main change was a slightly modified trans. which sported a much longer shifter which was eaiser to operate than the older short lever. I dont remember for sure but perhaps a second right side taillight was added then as well.
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Postby M-Thrax » Fri Jan 18, 2008 4:13 pm

There is nothing on either vehicle that can't be interchanged between them!
Post the vin # here on the site
Its stamped on the frame behind the drivers side front tire ( usually hidden under a ton of paint ). Its the only way to know for sure.
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vin #

Postby peter e mark » Fri Jan 18, 2008 4:52 pm

Let's see. I think it;s 80024181. And my truck is 1952, so that says something too, right? I shall have to measure the shifter. Without knowing better however, it does look rather long.
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Re: vin #

Postby MSeriesRebuild » Fri Jan 18, 2008 7:38 pm

peter e mark wrote:Let's see. I think it;s 80024181. And my truck is 1952, so that says something too, right? I shall have to measure the shifter. Without knowing better however, it does look rather long.


The shift lever really isn't a factor as the trans or shift lever only could have easily been switched. The VIN# will tell you what year the truck was built verifying the year of manufacture. You will have to look at the transmission to determine whether you have the early series or the NP420 that was stock in the B1 trucks.

Another difference was the brake wheel cylinders on the trucks prior to the B1 series were different as original, however most were changed over to the type used on the B1's long before leaving military service; afforded a much more predictable & reliable braking system.
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Postby Lifer » Fri Jan 18, 2008 8:05 pm

Since y'all mentioned shift levers as a potential identifying trait, I thought I'd make a comment regarding them. Many M37 owners prefer the longer lever for some reason. True, it is closer to hand for the average guy, but the longer the lever, the longer the throw. If you like the long lever because you have "short" arms, it will be great for reverse, 1st, and 2nd gears, but you'll have to stretch a bit to reach 3rd or shift from 3rd to 4th. As for me, I'm 6' 10" tall and have arms like an orangutan, so the short shifter works just fine for me.
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Postby gwalker » Fri Jan 18, 2008 8:50 pm

If its a 52 then you are well before the B1. My prob w the short shifter is that i cant reach it well an going from 2 to 3 I have a hard time lifting the shifter , so i will put my hand under an sort of slap it up an over to 3, but often I slap to hard an run it back agianst 1st
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Postby M-Thrax » Fri Jan 18, 2008 9:16 pm

(80024181)
Your truck was built/accepted in March 1952, that makes it a M-37 which were made from 1951-54, B1s were made from 1958-68
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Postby Lifer » Sat Jan 19, 2008 5:32 am

gwalker wrote:. . .My prob w the short shifter is that i cant reach it well an going from 2 to 3 I have a hard time lifting the shifter , so i will put my hand under an sort of slap it up an over to 3, but often I slap to hard an run it back agianst 1st


I'm guessing that (1) you're a bit on the short side and (2) that you're trying to shift too fast. We can't help you grow, but when it comes to shifting, our trucks don't like being "speed shifted." Even if you don't double-clutch, they prefer a "1-2" approach when changing gears. When shifting, take it out of gear, pause for a second in neutral, and then go up or down to the desired gear. "Slamming" the gears, like you were driving a sports car, only results in frustration and sore arms. Take it easy and your truck will love you. :)
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Postby MSeriesRebuild » Sat Jan 19, 2008 8:05 am

Shifting the early trans easily & successfully does require a bit of getting use too, especially if you don't drive a vehicle that has a manual transmission frequently. The fact that the early model has only a single pin & groove on which the shift ball operates is a huge factor here. It doesn't take long for wear to start to develop in the pin area; as that wear gets worse, loose motion comes into play & the reverse throw gets longer fast. Before long; shifts to any gear get harder & harder because of excessive play with reverse shifts going off the chart finally as time goes on. When this happens of course you have to rebuild the top cover assembly. That in itself is quite a chore as all shift rails must be removed to get the shifter out of the cover, even if you have the special tools it takes to make the job easier you can expect it to take a half day or more to complete most likely with machine work being involved as well. Replacing the top cover assembly is the way to go if you can locate a new one. Don't accept used as it may well be worse than your original.

The NP420 trans used in the B1 series trucks is a much improved unit especially in the area of being more operator friendy. Its shifter operates on 2 pins & grooves, last far longer than the single pin set up plus the shifter can be removed out the top without shift rail disassembly when removal becomes necessary. My personal opinion, if I had a truck with the early trans, I'd be searching for an NP420 to replace it. It is a direct interchange, a far better unit & best of all it doesn't have the snap ring issue that gives so much trouble in the early trans.
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Shifter....

Postby Nickathome » Sat Jan 19, 2008 6:54 pm

The shifter is no judge of model year. My truck is a 62(at least thats what the title says), and has the hardware for the door mounted spare as a B1 model. However, my truck has the older transmission because I checked. It also has the shorter (older) shift lever, so I wouldn't judge the book by the cover just by seeing the short shifter.
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