The Engine

When our first Liberty Truck rolled into the museum, one of the first things that caught all of our eyes was the size of the engine. This thing was massive! Cranking out a whopping 52 bhp, this 425 cubic inch engine moves the Liberty Truck at a max speed of 15mph. But what it lacks in speed, is made up in torque. Made by Waukesha. It is a four cylinder, L head engine. For the gearheads, the bore is 4 ¾ inches and it has a six-inch stroke. Yeah, the pistons are like coffee cans.  What is even more impressive is the use of aluminum in the engine. The entire engine block is all aluminum and the cylinder heads and carriers are steel. The fly wheel feels like it weighs 150 pounds.

When it came time to restoring this beast, we decided to let people with the right tooling and experience bring this engine alive. Reaching out to FX Engines in Mokena, it took about two years to complete the project. With parts for this engine not really available at your local NAPA store, most of the time was finding them or having gaskets cut, repairing cracked cylinder walls and etc. Currently, the engine is in the truck but we have not cranked it over yet. We still have the water pump and original carburetor to fix… we plan on hearing this thing turn over and run by the end of the year, if not sooner. So stay tuned for that!

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Wheels on the Truck

When we first received our Liberty Truck and all the others, we had to make a decision on what to do with the tires … considering it does need to roll. We had such questions as, do we use steel or wood spoke wheels, where do we get new rubber for these beasts and what are the markings on tires? After doing research and staring at pictures for hours, we found that both wood and steel wheels were interchangeable in both series of vehicles (1st and 2nd series). You would see all steel, all wood or a combination of wood and steel together.

Even after looking at ordering receipts/request by the Quartermasters Corp for parts, they continued to ask for both styles (wood and steel) by the manufactures. Therefore, when we needed to decide on our route, we considered how the vehicle is going to be used and the maintenance factors. We ended up going with original steel wheels.

By the way, the steel wheels weight roughly 300 lbs for each front wheel and 600 lbs for each back.

As for the markings and where to get these monsters rerubbered, that was another hurdle to tackle. Once again, after studying the photos under magnifying glasses and looking at other resources, we discovered that there were no manufacture stamping on the military tires, other than the size of the tire (38X5 front, 40X6 back). Also, we noticed that the tires were smooth with no diamond or other tread patterns on them … they were the predecessor for the modern slick. Nevertheless, we had to find someone to take on such a job since most companies only do smaller vehicles.

After much looking around and contacting resources, we found Canton Bandag in Ohio. These guys were great. They not only knew how to tackle these beasts, but they also used original equipment and techniques to apply the solid rubber on the wheels. Take a look and you tell me what you think. In my opinion, they look grrrreat!