Wildfire Equipment Research & Development

Roscommon Equipment Center

The Federal Excess Personal Property (FEPP) and Fire Fighter Property (FFP) programs are designed to re-utilize all types of items purchased by federal entities.  The FEPP / FFP users are a target customer of the REC, as are state, local, and federal agencies that re-utilize military vehicles for wildland fire control.  

For direct contact with the FEPP / FFP program, please click on the link below:

US Forest Service - FEPP/FFP

Converting M-1009 (Blazer) to Cab & Cargo Box Unit

REC has completed Project #62 for conversion of the Chevrolet Blazers of the 1980 decade into a 2 person cab with cargo box. The Blazers are readily available through FEPP/FFP, as the M-1009 CUCV.  The amount of water capacity will be limited to approximately 60 gallons depending on the weight of other added components. This conversion makes the unit useful for grass fire duty and patrol units. REC also has the two following publications relating to the M-1009.

Newsnote #10 tells how to convert the M-1009 24-volt electric system to 12-volt.

Newsnote #12 discusses potential tank capacity and weight considerations for the M-1009.

Converting GM Built Pickup & Blazer to 12-Volt

REC has published Newsnote #10 which provides two methods of converting the 24-volt portion of the Military GM pickup and Blazer units to 12-volt.  This conversion primarily relates to M1008 and M1009 models, however the M1010, M1028, and M1031 models can be done in a similar method.  Most of the civilian 12-volt portion of the wiring is available making this conversion relatively easy to do.  Additionally, Newsnote #11 and Newsnote #12 provide weight and loading information for the M1008 and M1009, respectively.

Chemical Agent Resistant Coating (CARC)

Chemical agent resistant coating (CARC) paint has been used on military vehicles since the early 1970’s.  Exposure to vapors, mist, dust, or fumes from CARC paint can cause health problems such as irritation to the respiratory tract, edema, dermatitis, dizziness, rash, itching, swelling of extremities, eye irritation, or damage to the nervous system, kidney, or liver.  The coatings may be fatal if swallowed.  The primary compounds associated with this potential hazard are trivalent chrome, lead, and cobalt-zinc hexamethylene diiscocyanite.  Proper respirators should be used if sanding or torch cutting materials that are coated with this paint. These activities often warrant the use of respirators regardless of the paint type.  Generally, you can determine if a military vehicle has CARC paint by applying acetone to a clean cloth, rubbing an area for ten seconds, letting it set for about one minute, then repeat.  If the paint comes off, it is not CARC.

12-Volt Electric System On Military Vehicle

Rec has published Newsnote #9 which provides instructions for adding a separate 12-volt DC electric system to a 24-volt DC military vehicle. This 12-volt electric system can be utilized to power accessories.

M-880 Plastic Fuel Tank - Caution

Several fire agencies from across the nation have reported that some M-880 units obtained through the FEPP/FFP program are equipped with plastic fuel tanks.  Plastic fuel tanks are prone to rupture from underbody damage.  A protective plate may be prudent for M880 units being used off-road.  Visit the Links page for help locating a supplier.

12-Volt Alternator - Cummins Engine Powered 6x6

The newer models of the M809 6x6’s are equipped with a Cummins power plant.  Project #63 contains information on adding a 12-volt alternator to the unit.

6x6 Suspension Torque Rod - Preventative Maintenance

The complete failure of one of the rod end ball joints in the suspension torque rod assemblies may cause an axle to move out of position.  This can be a very difficult field repair.  REC Newsnote #14 explains how to prevent this occurrence through the inspection and replacement of the bushings.

Fire Rake

Army Property stocks the REC Fire Rake.  Listed as NSN 4210-01-387-1392, the rake is available to those agencies who qualify for purchasing.  Developed primarily as a fireline construction tool for hardwood litter, the rake was designed in conjunction with several state agencies.  It weighs just under 3.5 pounds and features rugged aluminum construction with stainless steel tines.  The collapsed length is about 50 inches. 

2 ½ Ton Aftermarket Power Steering Suppliers

The following suppliers provide power steering kits for 2 ½ Ton military vehicles:

Eastern Surplus and Equipment Company


Power Steering Specialists

Cab Tops - 2-½ and 5 Ton Military Vehicles

REC has produced designs for replacing canvas cab tops for the 2-1/2 and 5 Ton 6x6's.  There are two styles of cab tops that we have referred to as the GMC style and the REO style.

The GMC style fits the cabs of the Korean War vintage GMC 2-1/2 Tons called the M135 or M211.  These are the old automatic transmission trucks which have not been available through FEPP/FFP sources for many years.  This style and the REO Sytke were originally covered in REC Project  #25.  However, since the GMC units have not been available for many years, information on this cap top design is no longer offered through REC.

The REO style refers to the M34/M35 series 2-1/2 Tons and the M809/M39 series 5 Tons produced from the mid 1950's to 1980's.  These trucks were designed at the Tank Automotive Command and utilize the same basic cab design.  REC started calling them REO cab tops a long time ago because REO was the early manufacturer.   Since then, many other companies have had the contract to produce these vehicles for the military from the same design.  The main point is that the cab tops are interchangeable between these models.  If you find a military style hard cab top from an early vintage REO style 2-1/2 Ton, it will fit a later model M809 diesel 5-Ton.  Therefore, REC's 1973 design for the REO style 6x6 cabs will work for your newer FEPP/FFP acquisitions.  The same design is found in several of our publications.  REC has consolidated the information on the military 6x6 trucks into one project, REC Project 63.  Information on the REO style cab top can be found in the sub-Project 63-E.

Manuals for a variety of military vehicles can be accessed on this website.  

Please click on the link below to navigate to the page:

Military Vehicle Manuals