DOES 12 PLUS 24 EQUAL 36?

After reading your article on the Dodge M880 (MVM no. 116) I decided that one of these trucks is the best way for me to get started in the milvee hobby for most of the reasons you mentioned, including that I right now I can’t afford to invest in a full-on tactical vehicle and need a truck I can use everyday.

    A farm equipment dealer has an M880 he bought some time ago at a government sale but no one seems to want. It runs good, but I’m confused because it seems to have two complete electrical systems. There is a 12-volt civilian alternator on one side of the engine and one 12-volt battery. On the other side of the engine is a military 24-volt alternator and two 12-volt batteries. Was this a special truck that needed 36 volts for something?

    You are half right in that this particular M880 does have two complete electrical systems: a 12-volt, basically factory system, for the truck itself, and a 24-volt system which was commonly used on the M881, M882, M883, M884, M891 and M892 variants… usually for radio equipment. However, the two systems are not connected in series to produce 36 volts.

    This setup reminds me of a 4X4 vehicle that was built for a short time in South Africa in the 1960s. It accomplished four-wheel-drive in what I would call the hard way…it had two engines! You don’t actually need the 24-volt system to drive the truck, but I have a feeling that as the years go by and the M880 series become rarer, the 12/24 volt units may turn out to be the most desirable to collectors. If you do buy this truck, it would be a good idea to get the correct manuals.

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