Walter Snow Fighter Identification Guide

Have you ever looked a manufacturers ID plate and wondered what all the letters and numbers mean? They are far from a random collection of characters. If you have the right key to decipher the meaning a whole world of knowledge can be accessed that will inform you of all the critical details. Certified Walter Snow Fighter nut Mike Bartlett has put together a comprehensive guide that will helpfully answer all of your questions. He has really done a great job and I’m happy to share his hard work with you all.


F – standard 72” wide cab set back ( has standard Walter manual transmission with integral transfer case and front bevel drive)

A – 84” wide cab advanced forward (has standard Walter manual transmission with integral transfer case and front bevel drive)

C – standard 72” wide cab set back with Allison semi-automatic transmission (has independent Walter transfer case and front bevel drive)

E – standard 72” wide cab set back with Allison fully automatic transmission (has independent Walter transfer case front bevel drive)

Q – 84” wide cab (set back) with Allison Automatic transmission (has independent Walter transfer case and front bevel drive)

N – new angled sided cab introduced in 1975

V – half cab used on twin engine airport model

S – set back half cab used on single engine airport model

Z – tilt cab used on Junior models


E – Waukesha GZ140 554 cid gasoline engine

G – Waukesha GK145 779 cid gasoline engine

W – Waukesha WAK 1197 cid gasoline engine

R – Waukesha/Roiline TH570 V8 gasoline engine

S – Waukesha/Roiline TH884 V8 gasoline engine

X – Hercules HXE 935 cid gasoline engine

H – Hercules gasoline engine

L – 391 cid Ford V8 gasoline engine (used in Junior models)

F – 534 cid Ford V8 gasoline engine

V – 702 cid GMC V12 gasoline engine or 637 cid GMC V8 engine

C – Cummins diesel engine (all models)

D – 8V71 Detroit diesel engine

K – 6V71 Detroit diesel engine

P – 6V53 Detroit diesel engine (used in tandem on airport model)


N – 20000 GVW

M – 28000 GVW

K – 36000 GVW

B – 40000 GVW

G – 40000 GVW (high speed model)

R – 48000 GVW (B-model with 30,000 rear axle)

U – 54000 GVW

Junior Models (conventional Rockwell axles and Walter transfer case))

H – 28000 GVW, L – 33000 GVW, Q – 36,000 GVW


A – less than 126” wheelbase

D – dumper 126” wheelbase

S – standard 138” wheelbase

L – long wheelbase 150”, 162”, or 174”


-The early Walters only used a 3 letter model code, all starting with F. At that time, all trucks used a Walter 5 speed transmission and a 6 cylinder flathead Waukesha so there was no letter for the engine. By the late 30s to early 40s, most trucks were built with the 6 fwd/2 rev transmission and an OHV engine and more engine choices were available so a letter was added to the code for the engine.

-Since the Walter manual transmission also has the transfer case and front drive in one unit, the main driveshaft rotates the opposite direction of the engine with the ring gear of the rear diff being on the passenger’s side and the ring gear on the front diff being on the driver’s side.

-Midsize B, K, and R models with an Allison automatic use a more compact 2 shaft transfer case and the half shafts out of transfer case also rotate the opposite direction of the engine with the ring gear of the rear diff being on the passenger’s side and the ring gear on the front diff being on the driver’s side.

-The large U model with an Allison automatic uses a larger and heavier 3 shaft transfer case the and the half shafts out of the transfer case rotate the same direction as the engine with the ring gear of the rear diff being on the driver’s side and the ring gear on the front diff being on the passenger’s side.

-Although the 3 Thruway G-models were a midsize chassis, they used the larger and heavier 3 shaft transfer case due to the smaller final drive ratio.

-Models using a manual transmission have inboard drum brakes on the front bevel drive portion of the transmission, conventional drum brakes in the rear, and inboard mechanical drum type parking brakes on the rear bevel drive. Models using an Allison automatic also have inboard drum brakes on the front bevel drive and conventional drum brakes on the rear, but the parking brake is a mechanical band type brake on the transmission (the Walter transfer case is a single speed transfer case).

-When the N-Series cab was introduced, Walter stopped building their own transmission as well as their 2 shaft transfer case. The 3 shaft transfer case with an Allison automatic became standard and a Fuller manual transmission was an also an option. Gas engines were dropped at this time in favor of diesel.

-Midsize K, B, G, and R models used either 11:00×24 tires with dual rear wheels or 12:00×24 tires with single rear wheels. The large U model used 14:00×24 with single rear wheels, but a few special production ones did have duals. The smaller M and N models used 8:25×20 tires. The junior models, with normal axles used 10:00×20 tires.

-GVWs and axle ratings did change over the years. These are mostly from the late 60s to early 70s.

-The twin engine airport model used 2 6V53 Detroits or 2 534 Ford V8s and 2 Allison automatic transmissions and a the 3 shaft Walter transfer case with the front engine and tranny coming in on the input shaft of the transfer case and the rear engine and tranny coming in on the countershaft.

-The single engine airport model uses a setback halfcab with an 8V71 Detroit or NTC-350 Cummins and a heavier duty Allison automatic.

Mike has also supplied me with a running narration of my video shot at Dobbins Auto Parts a few years back. I’ve provided his notes as annotations so please feel free to watch again.

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17 Responses to Walter Snow Fighter Identification Guide

  1. Joe says:

    Nice work. Now all the truck nuts out there who come across a Walter can immediately know what engine is in it, except for those cases when they were re-powered.

    Also useful to know is in most cases the first two digits of the six digit serial number is the model year. I have seen a few that were registered a year newer (perhaps due the actual delivery date) but in most cases this will hold true. So, a truck with a serial number of 607501 would be a 1960 model year Walter.

  2. Connor says:

    Amazing! Very helpful, nice job!

  3. Mark says:

    Great work!

    One thing I’d like to know and haven’t yet found the answer is when Walter first starting using the reverse-slope windshield on snowfighters, and when they stopped using the older rearward-sloping cab front wall?

    Mark Simiele’s Walter books IIRC suggest that the reverse slope cab was actually first used around 1958 or 1960 on airport crash trucks, but I have seen snowfighters at least as late as 1962 still using the old cab.

    Unfortunately Walter did not change their model designations with the change in the cab, so A, F, etc. just continued to indicate the cab width -but do not demarcate the change in the cab design. Would Mike or anyone else know when the change was actually made on the snowfighters, and if there was even an overlap period where both may have been available (I suspect this may have been the case, based on a snowfighter I know is a 1962 still using the old cab, but also having seen several others which were claimed to be from 1960-61 or even late 1950s but have the reverse-slope windshield)?

    • Mike says:

      I do think there was an overlap period. The SnowLift trucks built in 1963 used the reverse-slope windshield cab and everything past then mostly used it. However some trucks past this point still had the older cab as well as including one late 1950s Walter with a wood doored cab maybe older cabs that were never used. I’ve also seen some into the late 60s with the newer cab but the older firewall. Also around the time of the cab change Allison equipped Walters changed from having the bevel drives mounted on ball and socket joints to being mounted on mounting blocks to adjust the driveline angles.

      • Mark says:

        Thanks Mike. Were the SNowlift trucks the actual first snowfighters to use the new cab? I believe it first came out on airport crash trucks around 1958-60 or somewhere thereabouts, but ca. 1963 is what I believe was the first time they started putting the new cab on the snowfighters. Just looking to confirm whether or not any snowfighters could have had the reverse-slope cab prior to 1963, or if that was in fact the first application of the new cab on a snowfighter (rather than just on fire/crash trucks/etc.)?

        • Mike says:

          The Scoop and Scurry shown the second book had the reverse slope cab which according to the book was built in 1961 so there were those. Not sure about any others.

          • Mark says:

            Thanks again. Seems like 1963 was the first “normal” use of the reverse-slope 84 in cab on Snowfighters.

            Still an occaisional oddball or exception to that rule it seems- for example as I was looking at some pictures recently I saw Seneca County’s supposedly 1958 or 59, with the reverse-slope cab. I can only assume that this is the result of either a factory refurb, or the date is not correct…. there do not seem to be enough pre-1963 reverse-slope cabs to indicate they were actually in normal production on sowfighters, and the Walter sales sheets I have seen only talke about 72 in. and 90 in. standard cabs until after that 1963 date when they show 72 in and 84 in reverse0slope cabs.

            Perhaps they were available as a special-order option, but if so there don’t seem to have been many takers.

  4. Mark S. says:

    A lot of helpful information. Does anyone know of or have schematics or other information on the transfer case for a twin engine airport version?
    I have a mid 70’s unit with Allison tranni’s, but only have the rear wheels driving the unit and believe there is a problem in the transfer case.

  5. A says:

    I just pulled my grandfathers 1956 snowfighter out of the woods today and while looking it over I discovered the front rear driveshaft rubber joint is coming apart. Would anyone have any idea where I might find one ?? The old girl is pretty rough but I can’t wait to push some snow with it. Thank you.
    David L

  6. carl judy says:

    I have a 41 Walter snow fighter and cant make out info from your list. It is a FKMS, serial # 416422, any info would help,

  7. Many thanks Eric and Mike. I am a heavy truck fan, born in late Jan 1953. I grew up in Hempstead, NY in the Village of Hempstead proper. For the Nassau county roads, we had Walter Snow Fighter snow plow trucks with 22 in or possibly 24 in disc wheels (hard to tell), all which were painted pumpkin orange and dark blue, with orange colored dump body and orange colored disc wheels and blue bearing cap covers. These trucks were really nice, but when I was 8 or 9 years old, I never saw front or rear differential solid axles on the Walter trucks until 4 years ago when I read an article on the patented Walter drive assembly, wow, it was a great design. I always wondered where the hell are the differentials!? Anyway, all of these had huge plows, and Waukesha model WAK 1,197 CID 6 cyl. gas engines in them my favorite truck gas engine. I’d guess the model 33,000 Lb. capacity. Therefore, I’d guess these were Walter model FWUL trucks, all had single rear axles and manual transmissions. The exhaust pipe came up vertically thru the top of the hood and turned up and then 90 deg. toward the to top of the cab where the muffler was mounted. They were actually very quiet trucks considering the WAK engines, so I’d say the muffler system was a good design. In later years, maybe 15 years later the Nassau County Police Dept. bought a big FWD tandem axle two truck, a 6X6, with a WAK gasoline engine, and manual transmission. It, too was blue and orange, but with FWD cast spokes all painted blue, with blue cab. The wheels, however were small, maybe only 20 in OD, mybe they were 22 in OD, but the truck was big was about 150 ft away from me stopped at a red light. It was, very, very quiet considering it had the bid WAK engine in it. In the early 1970’s Hempstead Volunteer Fire Dept. (covered 4 sq. miles), took delivery of a Young Crusader chassis, single axle truck fitted with a Pitman 85 ft. Snorkel boom (two sections), and single rear axle, with Waukesha WAK 1,197 CID 6 cyl. gasoline engine and Allison automatic transmission (maybe 4 speed with overdrive(?)). It was the only gasoline powered truck newly purchased at the time. It was a really noce truck, but was seemingly slow in acceleration. It like the sound of it when it was in highest gear moving fast down Peninsula Blvd. with no red lights, just cruising with that bif WAK with a deep, base throbbing sound, music to my ears. Later came Mack CF600 pumpers with Maxidyne 673 CID diesel engines, and my favorite, the latest in 1973 or 1974, a new Ward LaFrance 1,500 GPM or 2,000 GPM pumper, with Cummins NHC250 diesel engine and 4 speed Allison automatic transmission, a really fast truck. I loved the sound of that Cummins NHC250 over the sound of a Mack 673 CID diesel engine, even though the Mack 673 diesel engine was a very rugged, well designed engine.

  8. Derek Warnke says:

    Does anyone know what brakes came on Walter dump trucks in the mid 1960’s -1980?

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