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View Results: Why do I want one of these?
Easy to park. 4 17.39%
Unlikely to mistake for another's truck 1 4.35%
Someplace to hang some trucknuts 5 21.74%
Fewer farkle options than the DR 0 0%
I'm just weird 13 56.52%
Subconcious yearning for childhood summers 3 13.04%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 23. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 02-08-2013, 12:46 PM   #1
Hesaid OP
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Airport short truck

Does anyone know anything about these? I remember seeing them everywhere (airportwise) in the 80's. I always got a little bit of a laugh out of them. From time to time now I'll see one out on the street, I imagine the airlines sold them off.

Does anyone know what they're called? What they were used for? Why I want one? Anything about them?




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Old 02-08-2013, 01:17 PM   #2
DualSpaz
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With some weight on the rear I bet it would do cool wheelies!
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Old 02-08-2013, 01:28 PM   #3
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yup, bobtail. built on a normal frame but hacked off, usually with little or no suspension in the rear end, and with a heavy truck rear axle. the old jeep CJ derived ones the US airforce used had oil burner 4 bangers in them and would wheely pretty good if you had them rolling backwards first. problem with them is the gearing. pull down a whole forest at one go but redline at 12 mph. pretty fun jumping on the throttle and going through all 3 gears within the first 10 feet
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Old 02-08-2013, 02:04 PM   #4
It'sNotTheBike
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hesaid View Post

Does anyone know ... What they were used for?

They were used for towing large aircraft, but could also be used as
"follow me" vehicles if the need arose.



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Old 02-08-2013, 02:11 PM   #5
chopped58
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They were used to tow baggage carts, freight carts, and dollies that carried "cans" that were loaded in the bellies of the aircraft. When I worked for TWA at JFK, we had them, and yes they could do wheelies....
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Old 02-08-2013, 02:40 PM   #6
Hesaid OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chopped58 View Post
They were used to tow baggage carts, freight carts, and dollies that carried "cans" that were loaded in the bellies of the aircraft. When I worked for TWA at JFK, we had them, and yes they could do wheelies....

So just sort of a general purpose thing, primarily towing? I used to see them all the time, these days, not so much. I seem to recall them being used as runabouts as well, and they sure looked to be going fast than 12-15mph. Any word on that?

There's one parked around the corner from me here at work. Single rear wheel, Ford, "Special Equipment" tags on it. It claims to belong to a harvesting company, I imagine it's used to tow agricultural trailers. Maybe I can stick my head under it and look at whatever it has for springs...

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Old 02-08-2013, 03:12 PM   #7
H96669
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I think you should add wheelies to your poll....And wheelie bars to one of them if just for the looks.

The one up there looks like a late seventies/early eighties, trying to remember when they changed the mirrors. 350 4 bolt mains??? that could wheelie that up.Looks like it has the good axles to try anyway without breaking too much stuff.

They have similar "short" vehicles at the seaplane base next to where I used to work but only two wheels. Old front wheel drive vehicles chopped behind the doors to haul the seaplanes out of the water.
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Old 02-08-2013, 04:07 PM   #8
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We always called them "tugs".

Kenny
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Old 02-08-2013, 04:31 PM   #9
Jeffy
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The ex-Military CJ10A's are somewhat popular to convert back to a usable truck. IIRC, The Chevy tugs have a transfer case locked into 4Lo. They are 2WD with no front driveshaft so it's basically 2Lo. Probably has a NP 208 transfer case and a 6.2L Diesel. The rear typically has steel plates that are used as ballasts so they're really heavy.
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Old 02-08-2013, 05:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H96669 View Post
The one up there looks like a late seventies/early eighties, trying to remember when they changed the mirrors.
The side markers are vertical, so it's pre-'81. It has drip rails, so it's post-'73. Someone online said the BEL mirrors appeared in '80. That's also the first year for rectangular headlights.
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Old 02-08-2013, 05:26 PM   #11
broncobowsher
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The super short wheelbase makes them very manuverable. Also makes them unstable at speed. A few years back I heard about a military SuperDuty Ford new enought to have a 6.0 powerstroke. They reset the speed limiter down to something like 45.
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Old 02-08-2013, 05:50 PM   #12
LuciferMutt
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Aside from using for what it was designed for -- pulling crap around a tarmac, that looks like the most useless vehicle on earth.
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Old 02-08-2013, 06:08 PM   #13
gofast1320
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tugs

Quote:
Originally Posted by mudgepondexpress View Post
We always called them "tugs".

Kenny

Yeah, what he said. The AGE or Aerospace Ground Equipment shops used them on air bases to pull the a/c and heat units out to the aircraft for the maintenance personnel to use to keep cool or warm, also they pulled the light carts, ground power units etc. They could pull out with a train of units or carts or whatever. The carts were used to transport luggage and supplies that were not palletized.
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Old 02-10-2013, 07:53 AM   #14
chopped58
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These we called "BT's", I guess short for baggage tractor, but primarily used them to pull freight as they did not fit under the aircraft to ease the loading process. They could get up to 30 or 40, but were probably regulated.
The tugs used to move our aircraft were much, much larger...4 wheel steering, double ended, and multi engined. Like this one..

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chopped58 screwed with this post 02-10-2013 at 07:59 AM
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:05 AM   #15
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Yeah, I kinda didn't think they'd be stout enough for moving serious aircraft. I just always saw them doing things that there seemed to be specialized equipment for, but folks were using the short trucks instead. And quite often I saw them being used just as a handy way to get from here to there. Seemed faster than one of the dedicated baggage tugs, plus you could carry a passenger.

Hmmm... All the added weight, stiffly sprung, low geared, easy to manuever... Would one make a good plow truck? How hard to swap in a driven front axle? Given, I live in central CA, and it's only snowed once in the last ~30 years, and only an inch or so at that... But a reason is a reason right?

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