On the following pages you will find our transformation of a military M109A3 deuce and a half shop van truck into a fully functional rv camper. This conversion was done in a manner to give all the convienances of a standard rv camper that someone could buy, while also keeping the exterior of the truck looking as original as possible. We wanted the truck to be useful as an rv camper, but at the same time able to be put on display for events, parades or other military events.
This page was originally one long project log of the project making trying to find a certain part of the project difficult to find. We have now added links to make viewing certain parts of the progression of the project much easier to find.
The beginning - We find a truck to do our project with and bring her home.
The design - Inital design and planning of the truck interior.
Starting the work - The box needs some paint, a better floor and somewhere to sleep.
Kitchen counter - We install the main kitchen counter as well as the sink/burner combo.
Electricial connection - A standard connection is installed for input power for the rv camper.
Tankless water heater - A tankless water heater will provide hot water on demand.
Securing the truck - Install of a lock on the doors to the rv camper.
Wiring - Installation of a 24v to 12v converter and control box to run/control 12v appliances.
Bring on the water - Installation of the water inlet, water tanks and shower pan.
Hot engine - Making sure the engine can start in sub zero temperatures with the install of oil pan heat pads and a battery blanket.
More engine upgrades - Install of coolant filter, kill switch and new muffler.
Shower work - Blocking up a hole in the wall, framing up the shower enclosure and shower controls.
Place to work - Put in a desk for writing, reading, computer work, eating, etc.
Power to the people - Added 12v outlets to the truck dash to power gps units, cell phones and other accessories.
Heat control in the cab - Installing a heater manifold under the dash to control heat distribution.
Man the pumps - Plumbing the rest of the water system at the water tanks and installing the water pump.
Extra storage - Installation of two lockers for storage in the rv camper as well as smaller cabinet.
Cooking with microwaves - Shows how we mounted a microwave on a shelf above the kitchen counter.
More engine heat - Installation of a block heater in the multi fuel engine.
Generator - Ideas on installing a truck mounted diesel generator.
Securring loose ends - Installing an extra lock on the lockers as well as extra mounts to the microwave.
Let there be light - We get to installing extra lighting on the exterior of the rv camper box.
Daddy needs a new pair of shoes - Installed a new set of tires on the front of the truck.
Ventilation - The truck needed some air circulation and the addition of roof vents was the answer.
Sealing the roof - We decided that the roof being 40 years old needed a new coat of sealant to keep the water and snow out.
TV install - We needed somewhere to hang the tv, and this was how we did it.
Shower walls - Installation of the shower walls finally take place giving us a place to get clean when on the road.
Breakfast maker - Got hold of a nice all in one unit that makes coffee, toast and cooks eggs.
Waste water tank - Our waste water tank for the truck arrives.
Hitching it up - Install of a standard 2" class IV (four) hitch on the truck to tow civilian trailers.
Super singes - We flip the hubs on the truck to allow us to install "super single" tires on the truck to replace the original dual tires on the rear.
Strip tease - The truck gets pulled apart so that we can paint the exterior.
Painting - The truck gets a new coat of paint.
The details - We give the cab much needed extras such as new decals to give it a finished look.
A new top - Installation of a hard top for the truck which replaces the original soft top. We also fix some unforeseen damage to the new top.
Seats - Truck gets the cab seats installed. We replace the passenger bench with another drivers seat for a more comfortable ride for the passenger.
Cab roof basket and lights - The cab gets a roof basket and 24v halogen spot lights.
Out for some pictures - We take the truck outside to get a look at how things have changed since it went inside for paint.
Propane installation - We get propane professionally installed in the truck to power the tankless water heater, burner stove top and future uses.
Stairs to heaven - Stairs get mounted on the back of the truck to make getting into out and out the rv camper easy for everyone.
Antenna - A digital HD tv antenna is added to give us something to watch on the lcd tv.
Winterization - An air line connection is installed in the water system to help get rid of water in the system for the winter months.
Oil filter modification - The truck gets a kit installed to let the engine use standard screw on oil filters. Making oil changes a snap.
New waste water tank install - A new larger/better waste water tank is installed.
Before anyone thinks "oh no, here comes another slapped together military truck camper", well you'll be happy to know that this one is different
So my story starts back in August of '07 with me looking for a cool deuce to drive around and possibly do something special with. After doing a lot of research I decided on the M109 for the wide range of possibilities I could do with it
Fast forward to May of '08 and I am surfing the web and find a nice M109 for sale in PA for a reasonable price. After taking a ride down to take a look at her in person and being happy with what I saw, I left a deposit and drove home to make arrangement to bring her home.
Pics of the truck when I inspected it:
So two months later, the trucks were paid for and transport was arranged to bring them to the border. Once the transport arrived at the border, we got the paperwork taken care of, then proceeded to offload the trucks (yeah we also got a regular M35 too for the hell of it).
The M109 had to have the air taken out of the tires to make it legal on the trailer for transport. We also learned that the truck batteries were now dead on the M109 and would need a jump start to get going. This was weird as the truck started up perfectly when we had inspected it two months ago. Oh well, we pushed it off the trailer, and after getting the M35 off, we used some jumper cables and started the M109 by boosting it using the M35.
So we are now on the road home and everything is going well......until the voltage gauge in the dash of the M109 goes from 28v to 16-18v 20 minutes later. Then it drops to 0v a few minutes later. Luckily, the truck doesn't need batteries once it is running to keep it going, so we press on home. We were also lucky that we had someone in a pickup truck keeping close behind the M109 as the brake lights and turn signals were very very weak and hard to see.
Got home safe and sound 3.5 hours later. Happy and relieved it went well.
Later on I found out that the generator/alternator had blown on the ride home. It also killed both batteries at the same time. It cost $500 to get the generator rebuilt, plus another $200 for two brand new heavy duty truck batteries. Oh well, that's a 38 year old truck for ya.
Now we fast forward a couple more months. I am super busy during the summer months with work, so I didn't have any real time to work on the truck except for looking on the internet here and there for design ideas, parts, and trying to figure out a budget. I also had to bring the truck for a safety inspection before I could be allowed to drive it on the road.
Near the end of summer, I finally got around working on the truck so that I could bring it to get inspected. I didn't have anything super difficult to do to the truck, but it was still labor intensive. A few things that were mandatory are the installation of marker lights all over the truck, license plate light, longer rear mud flaps, and a few other little things. Though even after all that work, the guy at the inspection center still found things for me to fix. First of all, he wanted me to fix the lights so that they come on when the truck is in reverse. I had to explain to him several times that the truck didn't come with that feature, and it wasn't until the old timer who worked there came out and told the guy that it was true, that we moved on to the rest of the inspection. After an hour, the guy told me that he found 2 things for me to fix. One was a break line that was rubbing against the frame, and the other was that the bushings on both front shocks where finished. The next day I was back with the truck and the two little things fixed and I had my "certificate of conformity", and was now allowed to drive the truck on the road legally.
It was now the time for designing of the RV portion of the truck. I didn't just want to stick a couple of beds in the back and call it an RV. I wanted to outfit the truck will all the luxuries of a regular RV, while also keeping the exterior as stock as possible.
After sitting countless hours in the back of the truck measuring and thinking of how I am going to make things fit, I finally came up with a basic design that I have stuck with through the entire process.
First thing I needed to do was to repaint the interior though. The old lime green wasn't up to my tastes, and had seen better days. So I bought a gallon of grey metal paint and went to work with the paint gun. It really freshened things up.
After a few days, the paint was completely dry and I could work in the back of the truck again. So I got to work on the floor. The original wood plank floor, like the paint on the walls, had seen better days. I decided the best thing to do was to get a few sheets of 1/4" plywood to cover it up to give me a better surface to work and live on.
Took 3 sheets, 200 deck screws, and 6 tubes of construction adhesive. But I now had a nice clean floor to work with. Then came a couple packs of self adhesive vinyl floor tiles. I love these tiles, as they are easy to install, durable, and cheap. And if you have an accident and damage one of the tiles, just rip it up and stick down another one. Looks pretty good I think, and is very easy to keep clean.
First thing I bought to go into the back of the truck was a bunk bed. I thought about making my own, but after looking at how much time it was going to take me, and the cost of the metal, it was a lot cheaper just to buy one ready made.
Off to Ikea, and for $200 I got a bunk bed that fits perfectly in the truck, and even matches the color of the walls. lol.
Even though it may not look it, there is more than enough room on the top bunk to sleep comfortably up there.
The only modification I had to make for the bed was that I ripped off the side rail on the top bunk to make it easier to get up there.
Next step was to work on the kitchen part of the truck.
After looking for a while on the Internet, I found a nice sink/burner combo unit that not only gives me both a sink and burner top in one package, but also leaves me space for other things
I then went to the local kitchen supply store and picked up a nice aluminum table unit to mount the sink/burner into. It is 5ft by 2ft, which was a perfect size for the truck. After taking a few measurements, I cut out a hole for the sink/burner unit, and mounted it in place.
Now that the kitchen unit was taking shape, I went on the look out for a nice small fridge to put in the truck. I found this nice little fridge on ebay for a good price. It came out of a freightliner tractor-trailer truck. It runs off 12v AND 24v. I really like the option to run the fridge off truck power if needed, as I can keep the beer cold while the truck is driving down the road :)
It also found that it fits perfectly on the bottom shelf of the kitchen unit. I was going to make a cabinet to install a fridge into beside the kitchen table, but at the last moment, I saw that it would work much better on the bottom shelf.
After a while I finally got around to installing something to replace the original military power connector on the truck. I looked on the Internet for a bit trying to find the original connector that fit into the side of the truck, but after finding out how much they cost, and saw how much hassle it would be to climb up on the side of the truck each time to connect it, I decided to install my own.
After a trip to the RV store, I returned with a standard RV connector port and cable which would let me connect up to power at any RV camping spot, as well as picking up a standard reverse outlet to connect up a regular extension cord if I didn't have an RV power port to connect to.
Drilled some holes, ran some wires from the outlets up to my electrical panel and I was done. I now had power in the back of the truck for lights and outlets.
With a sink, you need water. And while cold water is nice, I wanted to have some sort of hot water for washing and cooking. I found a nice tankless water heater for sale on ebay which you can mount inside, runs off propane and 2 d-cell batteries. This little until will heat enough water for 28 hours of continuous use on one standard BBQ propane tank. Now on a standard camping trip, I doubt I would use more than 2-3 hours max of hot water use. That means one BBQ tank could easily last me more than a year.
I also ran all the water piping from the water heater to the sink, future shower, toilet and all the way to the water tanks which will be located under the bed.
With all the work I had been doing in the back of the truck, I thought that it would be a good idea to find something to lock up the back of the truck to keep sticky fingers out. The truck came with the standard padlock hasp, but I didn't like that, as it was also a good way for someone to lock you inside.
I picked up a flush mount dead-bolt lock at the local hardware store. After some drilling and cutting I managed to get it installed. No way you are getting in without ripping the doors off.
With all that work done, I decided to work on some electric stuff.
I got out some spools of wire, some switches and a set of wire strippers and got to work. First I ran wires to supply power to the fridge. The wires go from the fridge into a box which allows me to do a few things. By flipping the switch up, I can run the fridge off truck power (for when I am driving to keep things cold). By flipping the switch down, it turns on a 120v-12v converter to run off main power (for when I am parked, camping). I also installed a switch and ran some wiring to control a 24v-12v converter to supply power to the accessories in the back if I am parked where I cannot plug into shore power. Lastly, I ran wiring and a switch for controlling power to the water pump for the sink/shower/etc.
Now that the wiring was pretty much wrapped up, I worked on the water inlet for the truck. Like a regular RV, I want to be able to either run off the water stored in my water tanks, or off a standard hose. To do this, I picked up a water connection port to mount on the side of the truck.
After figuring out a good place to put it, I took some measurements and cut a hole. Once I checked that everything was good, I got out some spray paint to change it from the ugly white, to something a little more discrete. It will blend in better later on when I repaint the entire exterior of the truck.
A water inlet port is all good if you are just running off a hose, but if you are out camping in the woods, you need water tanks to hold the water. After looking around a bit, I found the best solution was two 21 gallon potable water tanks, which gives me 42 gallons in total. And yes, before anyone says it, I know I can get a 42 gallon tank, but it wouldn't fit under the bed. I only have 9 inches of space under the bed, and the 21 gallons tanks are the only ones that fit (they are only 8 inches tall) :)
Once my tanks arrived in the mail, it was time to mount them. I started by putting down a piece of foam so that they wouldn't sit directly on the floor and get damaged when driving down those bumpy roads. I then proceeded to cut and shape a strap to fit over the top of the two tanks to keep them in place. Then I cut two L shaped pieces of metal to sit at both ends of the tanks to keep them from sliding out from under the strap. Now it was just a simple matter of painting the pieces and then screwing them into place.
I will link the two tanks together later on so that they will get filled up at the same time, and that the water pump will pull equal amount of water out of both tanks when using water for the sink/shower/etc.
Now that leads me to the shower/toilet unit.
After looking high and low for a reasonably priced combo unit, and coming up empty, I decided to make my own. I bought a shower pan at the local hardware store, and got a hold of an industrial use mini flush toilet.
I am currently working on the walls for the shower and finishing up the plumbing for the water, but I hope to have it finished in a couple of weeks.
This is what it looks like quickly with just the two units sitting there.
Installation of heater pads on the oil pan to keep the oil warm during the cold months. As well as a heater blanket for the batteries.
Here are some other mods I have done to the truck. Thought I would mention them as well since I was already uploading some pictures.
-Installed a coolant filter.
Picture as of Jan 19th. 2009. Still stock on the outside, which is the main plan. Starts up in -30F with no problems.
I have done some more work on the shower/toilet area.
The first thing I did was to remove the exhaust fan and plug up the hole. In the beginning, I had planned to keep the fan to help exhaust the steam from the shower, but now that I am at the stage of installing the shower, I see it is just too impractical. Not only does it take up a lot of room, but it would also be in the way of the shower controls and shower head. So out it came. I blocked up the hole on the outside, as well as on the inside. I made sure to seal it up good with some exterior sealant, and filled the cavity with some insulating foam.
The fan still works great, so I will very likely install it somewhere else in the truck later on.
For the shower, I naturally cannot just put the floor pan in place and use the shower as it sits there, as the water from the shower would get all over the place, including inside the walls, causing everything to rust. But I couldn't also just screw the shower wall material to the current walls, as they are covered in screws and bolts, making a very un-uniform surface. So the only thing I could do was to make a skeleton wall so that I would have a flat surface to apply to shower walls to. The cheap and fast way of doing it, would have been just to get some thin wood planks and frame it that way. But I want to keep as much wood out of the truck as possible (especially in a humid place like a washroom) so that I don't get any wood rot in the future, as well as any place for mold to grow on. So I went to the metal place this week and picked up some 3/4 inch metal tubing. With that, I cut the pieces of metal up and welded them to the inside walls of the truck.
Then I primed the metal to stop it from rusting. I will paint it gray like the rest of the inside of the truck next time I work on it.
I also got around to fixing up something for the shower controls. I needed something that sat on the outside of the wall instead of the inside of the wall like in a standard home. This was due to the fact that I don't have any space inside walls to install the controls inside of.
I found a set of controls for a washing machine. It will let me mount the plumbing on the outside of the wall and has a nice plastic cover to hide everything once I have it installed. The shower cable will come out the bottom of the cover. I had to get some adapters to fit my water system, but it is all ready to go now.
I was driving by the kitchen equipment store last week and ecided to go look at finding something for a desk.
After looking for a while, I decided that the best thing to get was the same style table I am using for the kitchen station. All aluminum, so no rust, and is adjustable in height. I got one for $200, which is pretty darn cheap, as you can't even build your own for that price! The white plastic on the top of the table is just there to keep the top from getting scratched in transport.
And as you can see, I still have space between the two tables to add a cabinet for storage.
Yeah I know, things look a little bare in the truck. But that's because it is still a work in progress and is missing all the accessories :)
I will be posting some more progress this week. I got my water pump and water tank connections in the mail today, so I can finally connect up the water system and check it for leaks. I will also see about firing up the water heater and seeing how she works.
I had been waiting for a few orders to arrive, and luckily on Friday I got my 24v-12v power inverters. I have one installed in the back of the truck to power the accessories there, but I also wanted one for the cab of the truck to power a few things there. I bought a few spare for the other trucks we have in case we want to do the same thing to those trucks.
I started off by deciding where I wanted to put the outlets in the dash and I found the best location was to the right of the instrument cluster.
Then came a few holes. Four holes to be exact. One for each outlet, one for a switch, and lastly one hole for an LED light to tell me it's on.
After all the holes were made, I could move onto the electronics portion of the install. I started by getting a 24v-12v inverter and connecting a fuse and switch to it. I also removed the little LED that was installed in the inverter, connect up some wires to where it was connected, and ran an external LED so that I could mount it on the dash. Once I had that all finished, it was a simple process of screwing the inverter to the underside of the dash and mounting the outlets, switch and LED. Sorry but I forgot to take pictures of the inverter and wiring, but don't think you've all seen a bunch of wires before
Looks pretty good I think and will come in handy for those long trips.
Got around to installing the cab heater manifold. In my truck, the military never got around to installing the manifold and ducting so that I can defrost the windshield properly. So the only way I could defrost the windshield in the winter was to have the truck running with the heater at full blast for 30-45mins which would eventually heat up the entire cab. This is not too much fun if you want to get going fast. Last week I went to a military surplus and pulled off a heater manifold off of a scrapped truck for $30. It came out of an MLVW (Canadian version of the US M35), but it is the same type used in the US version.
Marked the mounted brackets and drilled some holes. Then I bolted the manifold in place and ran the ducting. After the ducting was in place, I installed the control panel for the heater and gave everything a little paint. Looks like it was always there.
It was way too cold to work outside today (-28F) so I decided to work on the M109 instead.
Got to work on finishing the water system. I had to stop yesterday because of a lack of connectors, but after a quick run to the store today, I was now all set to finish it up.
I took some close up pictures of some extras I installed into the system. On the output side of the pump, I installed a flow control valve. This is very important if you also have a connection for a regular garden hose on the side of the truck for running on an external water supply. Because if you don't install this control valve, the water from the hose will push through the pump and fill up the water tanks which will eventually overflow. The control valve only lets water flow in one direction. I could have just installed a regular valve to close when I am on external water, but this way I cannot forget to shut it off.
Installed just before the pump, I also made sure to add a small water filter. This is another important feature, as without it, your pump will get clogged over time from sand and other fine material that gets into the water tanks. This one is very easy to clean, you just unscrew the bottom cap, take out the little metal screen, clean it out with a rag, then pop it back in. The cap that holds the little screen is clear so that you can see if it needs cleaning.
One more thing I installed was an extra connection point for the water system before the pump. At the moment I just capped the pipe, but next time I go to the store, I am going to pickup a spare air connection and valve so that I can connect up an air hose to the water system. This will let me flush out the water in the piping in the colder months so that the water doesn't freeze and crack my water piping in the truck. I installed it before the pump so that it will also push any water out of the pump so that no water will freeze and cause damage inside of it.
Once all the piping was finished, I got around to finishing up the wiring. I connected the wiring to the pump, added a in-line fuse just to play things safe, then ran the wiring into the control box. Just like the switch for my fridge, I can either run my pump off shore power through the 120v-12v converter, or truck power through the 24v-12v converter.
Now that the wiring and piping was all finished, it was time to test the system. I connected up a water hose and filled the water tanks about half way. Then I turned on the pump to see if I could send water throughout the system and that there was no water leaks. Success! No leaks and the water flows great to the sink. Then I decided to try out the external water connection. I connected the hose to the external water connection outlet, opened the valve and success again! Water flowed great to the sink and no leaks whatsoever!
I am very happy to be pretty much finished the water system in the truck. The only two things I have left to do are to connect the shower controls and try out the hot water heater. I was going to try the water heater today but realized that I didn't have any propane to test it with. Hopefully I will find a tank to try it with sometime this week.
I also got the camera for my truck today. I will mount it on the rear of the truck to help me when backing-up the truck and monitor anything I might be towing. I will also use it to see who is at the back door when I am inside the truck. Nothing special, but cool non-the-less.
More work was done this afternoon when I had some free time.
After putting the truck in the garage, and taking a lot of measurements, I decided that I would install the two side-by-side lockers into the truck. These lockers not only fit the best, but I believe they will work the best for me.
One problem I had was that the lockers were a little too wide to fit between the kitchen table and the desk. So I ended up taking a few inches out of one end of the desk so that they would fit. Nothing super difficult. I didn't bother taking any pictures of the desk getting cut up as I didn't see any point.
Once I finished cutting the desk to size, I put it back into place then lugged the lockers into the truck. They fit "just" between the two, which is the way I planned it as I didn't want any lost space between any of the units for stuff to fall between.
I think it looks great and it gives me a good amount of storage.
The only little problem I noticed once I installed the lockers was that I was blocking one of the outlets on the wall. I have a ton of outlets on the wall, so blocking one wasn't going to leave me outlet-less (lol, if that is a word), but I thought it would be a good idea to have access to it anyway. So I got out the hole saw and cut a hole into the back of the locker which now gives me access to the outlet. I could use it to charge something like a MP3 player, cell phone or laptop while keeping it secure in the locker.
Next I got to looking for a space to install another small cabinet that I bought. I had thought about hanging it on the wall, but the more I looked at it sitting there, the less room I seemed to now have. So in the end, instead of mounting it on the wall, I decided to install it under the desk. That way I still get the storage I need, while leaving me the space above the desk.
It is a nice lockable metal cabinet which I can put a good amount of stuff inside of.
Lastly, I bought a nice little microwave today. I was at the store to buy a movie when I noticed that they had some microwaves for sale. I found this one which I think will work great in the truck. It is the smallest in size that I have seen anywhere around here, and the wattage is also good for the truck at only 700watts. I didn't want anything any higher in case I have to run the microwave off a generator. It only cost $50, which is pretty cheap I think.
I am not sure where I will mount it at the moment. I am looking at possibly under the sink area as it would keep it off the table so that I will have more place to work, but I have not decided yet.
That's all for today. Until tomorrow
I started off the day by working on the microwave. After thinking more about it last night, I decided that the best place to put the microwave was to mount it up on the wall. This will leave me space on and under the counter for other stuff.
I first went to the hardware store and bought some mounting brackets and stove bolts for the setup. Then I put some holes through the side of the truck and ran the bolts through.
Then the brackets were bolted to the wall.
Now comes the shelf.
To secure the shelf to the mounts, I countersunk some more bolts. This is much stronger than just putting some screws through the bottom. Which is important when the truck is bouncing down the road.
I was now ready for the microwave. It fits perfectly on the shelf. I made the shelf 6 inches longer so that I can mount some little containers on it to hold things like spices.
I finally got around to getting a block heater for the engine. I have been looking around for 3-4 months for the proper block heater for the truck as the military never installed one for various reasons. I was able to locate one at NAPA which fits in the 2" freeze plug hole on the side of the engine. It is not as powerful as I would like for a big engine (only 600watts). I was told that to be really effective I should install two of them. But after thinking about it for a while, I decided that one will be more than sufficient. If I needed to start up the truck within say 1-2 hours, then it would be worth installing both of them. But I plan on leaving the truck plugged in overnight if I need it the next morning, which will give it more than enough time to warm up. Though technically if I plug it in for 3-4 hours, it should be good enough to help. I already have the oil pan heaters which make a HUGE difference on the truck when starting in -20F and below temperatures. The block heater will just give me that little bit more to help start it up.
The first thing was to locate a freeze plug to pop out. The only one which I could easily get to was on the passenger side of the truck near the middle of the engine. The only other plug is near the back the engine near the cab on the same side, and I would have had to remove the air cleaner to reach it which I didn't feel like doing. I started by dumping the coolant out of the engine and then taking off the pipe that runs from the air cleaner to the turbo. I used some clean rags to plug the holes to make sure no shit gets in the turbo (which would be a bad thing if it happened). Now the engine was ready for surgery and I had better access to the freeze plug.
Then came the "simple" task of popping the freeze plug out.
I was told that it would just take a few hits with a hammer and punch to get it out. Well that is all nice and good for a car/truck a few years old, but not a 38 year old truck. The engine was rebuilt by the military back in 85, where they likely replaced all the freeze plugs, but that was still 24 years ago!
So after 20 minutes I finally got luckily and the freeze plug starting to pop free. I had to drill a few holes in the plug and use the punch to bend it inwards somewhat. Then after a few more hits from the hammer and punch, it came free.
One thing I was always told was to be very careful not to send the plug into the engine. Sending the plug into the engine could cause an outlet or inlet port to get blocked and the engine to blow. Plus the only way to get the plug out most of the time is to rip the engine out of the truck and take it apart. That is not something I wanted to do. So to be sure that didn't happen, I got some metal wire and ran it through the holes I punched into plug and tied it to the oil stick tube which was located just outside the plug hole. This way, if I accidentally hit the plug too hard and sent it into the engine, I could just pull on the wire and pull it out. Luckily I didn't have to use it, but I didn't want to take a chance. You can see the wire in the picture below.
And now the plug is completely out.
Then it was just a simply task of putting in the block heater in the hole and turning the screw to tighten it into place.
Now I connected the plug, and put the pipe back on the turbo.
With all that done I proceeded to dump all 6 gallons of coolant back into the engine. Once it was all back in, I waited 10 minutes and checked the plug for any leaks. There were none, so on to the next step. After checking the coolant level again, I got in the truck and started it up. I let it run for 10-12 minutes and watched the plug for any leaks. None whatsoever. Success!
Yeah I know most of you are saying "man this guy has problems if he gets happy installing a block heater". Probably true, but I am happy non the less. It was the first time I had installed one and had been wanting to install one on the truck for a while now. This way the truck will be able to start even in the lowest of temperatures.
I was looking at the little 1200watt generator I got a while ago, and I think I might go and get something bigger for several reasons. One reason is that I may need to start my truck in very low temperatures when it is sitting far from any electrical outlet. Or in the case of camping in the woods, no place to plug her in anywhere. The little 1200watt generator is not strong enough to power the oil pan heaters, block heater and battery warmers. A more powerful generator in the range of 4500-6500watts could without a problem. I would also like to be able to power the entire truck system and any exterior systems if needed. This would include having all the lights on the inside and outside of the truck, security system (cameras, monitors, PA system), kitchen (microwave, vents), water system (shower, sink, pumps), computer (laptop), battery chargers (for things like radios), and maybe lighting and heating in tents/structures near by. Naturally all of these things would not be turned on at the same time, though even if they were the generator could probably take it because many of the uses are low power.
At a local farm supply store they are selling 6500watt diesel powered generators which I think would work well with the truck. I am planning to install super-single tires in the spring, but after taking some measurements, I found that the new tires will not fit in the spare tire bracket (it is made for the original, smaller Non-Directional Tires). So in its place, I would install a box for a generator to be mounted inside of. And by getting a diesel generator, I could run a line into the truck's fuel tank, giving me a hell of a lot of fuel to run off of if needed.
I found a picture of someone
who did something similar on his truck:
I had an hour or so late this afternoon, so I decided to do a little more work on the truck.
Installed the extra lock on the future gun locker:
Installed the mounting feet on the microwave to keep it in place:
I proceeded to work on the exterior lights today. I tried to figure out a place to mount them properly so that they will shed a good amount of light around the truck and decided that the best place was directly on the corner lift brackets.
After a little grinding and welding, I had the brackets installed. This is a picture before I grinded down the welds and painted it.
The light looks like it will work great.
So I installed them on all four corners.
I just have to wire them up to power and some switches and I will be all set. I will be very interested to see how it looks when lit up at night.
I have plans to install a metal basket above the cab to hold extra gear. Just like one of my other trucks:
I pretty much finished up all the wiring for the spot lights today. So I went back to the shop a little while ago to try and take some pictures of the spot lights working at night.
Pictures didn't turn out that great, but it's the best I could do.
They light up around the truck pretty well. I just have to adjust them so that they point down closer to the truck a bit.
I decided to do a little work on the truck today. Nothing exactly difficult or major.
I am going to change all the tires on the truck to super singles. This will replace the 10 tires with 6 "super single" Michelins. It will not only give me better mileage, but less wear on the truck drive-train and much, MUCH, better traction than the standard NDT's (Non-Directional Tires) that came with the truck.
Though at the moment, I only have 2 of the new tires as I am still saving up for the other 4. They are not very expensive. Well they are actually pretty damn cheap from the surplus store I am buying them from at $275 for the tire AND rim (the tires are all at 90-95%). But it is still a lot of money when you add it all together ($1650+tax).
Some pictures of the originals
on the truck:
Old and new tires side by side:
New tires installed:
I picked up some parts for the truck so that I can work on it this weekend.
I started out by buying two roof vent units. I wanted them with a black-tint cover, but the black ones were $15 more for some stupid reason, so I got some brownish colored ones instead. I wanted one of them to be a fan powered unit, but at $400 (compared to $60 for a standard unit), there was no way I was going to pay that price. But what was real stupid is that you can buy an "upgrade kit" for a standard vent unit that will add a fan and switch for $30. I will see how these two work, and if I find that I really need a fan, I will spend the extra $30 for the upgrade kit.
These vents will help keep the back of the truck cool, and will help vent out smoke/fumes from cooking and the steam from the shower. They will also let in more light so that I don't have to turn on the lights as much.
I picked up some puddy-sealant to put under the vent when installing it on the roof, as well a can of liquid sealant to put over the top of the lip to make it really waterproof. I will also use the liquid sealant to waterproof a few little holes I have in the roof.
While I was there, I found two nice little fans for sale. They run off of 12volts, have a high/low setting and can either be held in place with a clamp or some screws. They were only $11.50 each, which I found was a bargain.
To help get me started for tomorrow, I took the vents apart and painted them a bit. The top of the vents were just bare stainless steel metal so I painted them black so that it would blend into the truck better and not be reflective when the sun hits it. I also painted the interior bezel grey so that it matches the inside of the truck.
Tomorrow I will cut some holes in the roof and install the vents.
I got to work installing the roof vents today.
I started out by taking some measurements and finding the proper spot to mount the first vent. Ideally, I wanted to mount it in the center of the truck, but there is a roof support bar in the way, so I placed it off to one side. Though it will still work just as well.
Then I started cutting.
Once I had the opening, I found that the wiring for the nearby light ran right through the middle of my hole.
It was simple enough to fix though. I just cut the wires, attached some longer wires, then ran the wires around the hole.
Now that were out of the way, I was able to finish cutting the hole.
Then I put the top part of the vent in place with the putty and lots of screws. I also used the can of sealant, but forgot to take a picture of it.
And then the bottom part was installed.
Due to some other stuff I didn't have time to install the second unit. It will wait till next week.
Now it was time I got around to finding a place to mount the second roof vent.
I first thought about mounting it above the beds, but then decided against it for two reasons. First, I don't like light in my face in the morning when I am trying to sleep. And also in case, for some reason, the vent gets a leak, I would rather it leaked on the floor then on my bed.
Then I thought about installing it near the very front of the truck, but decided against it as well because I plan on installing a hatch to the roof in the same location one day, and I would just end up moving the vent again when I got around to installing the hatch.
I ended up installing the vent in at the end of the desk. This will give me light so that I can work at the desk without having to use a lamp. As well as ventilation to let out all the hot air from my head when I am thinking.
I didn't bother to take pictures of the vent installation as it went the same way as the first. I thought that just the finished pictures of the install would suffice.
Got up early this morning and decided to head off to the shop to get started asap.
As you may or may-not already know, the truck is a 1970. Meaning, as of this year it is 39 years old. And anyone that is around that age knows that things don't work as well as they use to and that parts start to deteriorate ;)
In the case of the truck, it has a few rust issues. A little bit of through rust on the front fenders, one or two on the camper box, and lastly a "few" in the roof of the box. I knew about the rust on the fenders and the sides of the box even before I bought it as it was very easy to see and expected for the age of the truck. But when I first inspected the truck I never got around to looking at the roof of the box. From the ground I could see what looked like surface rust on the edges and thought it was probably the same on the top of the truck, just surface rust.
Though once I got it home and actually started working on it, I found out there was a little more than surface rust on the roof:
Yup that was one of 3 large holes in the roof. When it rained, the water would get in and pour out from the inside walls. This is not something a feature I was looking for in a camper truck. I stopped most of the water from getting in by filling the holes with exterior caulking. While this stopped the majority of the water, some of it was still getting in. So I riveted some metal plates over the holes which worked well for rain. But when I got snow on top of the truck, the snow would hold the water in place and push it into the very small gaps in the metal, letting it into the truck.
Enough was enough, so I went to the automotive store and bought a can of this stuff:
It is a spray/roll on truck bed liner. Very easy to use, just pour it in a undercoating gun and spray it on, or just roll it on with a standard paint roller. I decided to do the latter so that I could put it on thick and not make as big of a mess as if I had sprayed it on.
If applying to a smooth surface, like a clear-coated truck, you need to sand down the paint to give it a good surface to adhere to. But since my truck is painted in flat paint, I didn't have to sand it down really. I did scrap off some loose paint and rust though before applying it to the roof.
When I got up to inspect the truck this morning, I noticed that I had a wet spot on the roof. The roof of the shop leaks in 2-3 places (very small leaks) and I just happened to park the truck under one of them. The truck had been parked there since yesterday afternoon, so the small leak had caused a big wet spot.
I made sure to give it a good thick coat and to really push it into any places where the roof had rusted and the joints between the metal sheets. I also made sure to coat the edges of the roof by the gutters where water collects and could possibly rust through.
I intentionally made sure to install the roof vents before apply the liner so that I could seal the vents to the roof and not have a chance of water getting in around the vent areas.
Another nice thing about this bed liner is that it is paintable. So once you have applied it, and given it at least 24hours to dry, you can take pretty much any paint and paint color to blend it back into the vehicle. Most people leave the liner black as it won't show most messes they might make in the bed of the truck, but some people do go and paint it.
I will be leaving the roof black at the moment, but I will end up painting it green when I repaint the entire truck in the spring.
I didn't really get to doing anything else today. The one bad thing about the liner is that it really stinks. You need to make sure you apply it in a well ventilated area and wear a mask. It gives off enough fumes to make you sick and light headed. I have to leave the truck inside to keep it warm so that it will dry properly. That has caused it to stink up the shop for the day (the smell will be gone by tomorrow morning) so I left it at that for today. The liner only takes about 20 minutes to become dry to the touch, but the fumes stick around for a few hours. It is a cheap way to get high, but I have already precious few brain cells left, so I will stay away till tomorrow. lol.
It wasn't anything super special I did today, but at least I will have a completely waterproof roof from now on.
I did some work on the truck today. It was real nice outside today, so I threw outside one of the service trucks and brought in the truck to do some work. I also need the truck to sit inside tonight so that it is dry and warm for some important work I have planned for tomorrow.
Last weekend I was at a closeout store and found a nice LCD wall mount for only $40. At places like BestBuy, they ask ridiculous prices for their mounts, so I got this one instead for less than a quarter of the price. It pivots in all angles and seems to be very well made. I got it cheap because the original packaging was damaged and they just put it in a plan white box with no graphics or pictures on it.
I first had to make a trip to the hardware store to get some bolts to install it on the wall. It came with a set of bolts for screwing the unit into the wood frame of a wall, not a metal one. Once I had the bolts I found a good spot where I could see the TV from sitting at the desk or laying in one of the beds. Then came some holes and the bolts which I ran right through the side of the truck.
Then I put the arm in place.
I then went and got the LCD tv so that I could test it out in the truck. After a few minutes it was all installed and looks great. The pivoting arm will really work well in adjusting it for good viewing when either sitting at the desk or in bed.
I did a few other things to the truck but they are not really work mentioning (mainly wiring stuff).
I FINALLY got around to working on the shower again. I started off the day by going to the plastics store and picking up a couple sheets of fiberglass RV paneling and some trim pieces to go with it.
First thing was to work on both sides of the shower before the main center piece. This is because the main center piece will cover some parts of the side pieces, so it must go in last.
Was a little bit of a pain to get it fitting properly, as I had to go back and forth with the piece from the work bench to the truck at least 6 times. But in the end I got the first piece in properly.
The second piece was a little easier as I got a hang of cutting it.
Now finally the center part:
I had to put the center part up in two pieces, as the plastics place only had them in 4ft wide, and the shower is 5ft. I added a joiner piece to make it look clean:
Then came the light. It is a waterproof LED light fixture. It was made to be installed on a boat, so it should work fine in my shower. Now you will notice that it sits in the middle of a square piece of the shower wall material. This is because I screwed up on the hole, and missed by 1inch. So I had to move the hole over and made the plate to cover my screw-up. Looks okay but I am still not happy.
Now I was able to install the shower controls. I don't have the shower sprayer installed just yet as I seem to have lost some fittings and I will have to pick up some new ones tomorrow.
Shower pretty much all installed:
Not bad for a shower built by hand. I would have preferred a complete drop in shower to save time, but this was better, as it fits into the space perfectly.
A little bit more work done on the camper.
I installed the curtain rod, but I was too stupid to remember to buy a curtain.
Sprayer and controls all installed. The "V" shaped thingy above the controls is to hold the soap:
I also did all the caulking to make the shower watertight. So the shower is pretty much 99% complete. Like I said before, I will install the toilet later on when I acquire some more funds.
I received a package in the mail today. Its a 3 in 1 breakfast maker. I bought it on ebay for like $30 and I think it will work well in the truck. Its not very big and performs 3 actions in one.
Its a toaster, grill and coffee maker in one small package. While they call it a breakfast maker, it can be used to make a lot of things, not just breakfast.
A good man appliance. Fast and simple to use.Here is a picture of the new "breakfast maker" installed. Fits well I think:
I didn't want to spend any money on the truck at the moment due to other purchases, but I got a great deal on a waste water tank for the truck (30% off plus free shipping), and couldn't pass it by. So I said to hell with it and ordered the tank and fittings to go with it.
Some pictures of the tank. It is 39 gallons which should work fine as my water tanks are around 40 gallons. I will also be installing a black water (toilet) tank later on once I install the toilet.
I put a roll of tape on the top of the tank to give you an idea how big it is.
Now comes the fun part of doing some plumbing and mounting the tank under the truck. I have to run the plumbing from the shower and sink to the tank, plus add the pipes for draining the tank as well as ventilation of the tank. Once that is done, I will build a rack to hold the tank in place under the truck while making sure it doesn't interfere with the truck's drivetrain system.
I got around to installing the hitch today. The truck originally comes with a large pintle hitch. That is all good and dandy if you only pull large trailers that have pintle hitch connections, but not standard civilian trailers. I wanted to be able to haul pretty much any trailer I came across, and a standard 2" hitch system is a must if I want to be able to pull a lot of different trailers out there.
I bought a hitch system which is made for custom installations. It comes with the two side plates and the main hitch assembly bar. You bolt or weld the plates in place then weld the bar to the plates. This is great as you can set it at any width or height that you want.
Another reason I got it is that my local trailer place did not carry a hitch that would fit on the truck. All the hitches they had were either 1-2 inches too narrow or too wide. Plus it is not legal to drill holes in the bottom or the top of the frame on a big truck up here. You can only use existing holes that were made by the manufacturer in the top and bottom of the frame, and I had none. And since I have to get my truck inspected every year up here, just saying "to hell with it and drilling through the top and bottom was not an option, I had to be able to bolt through the side of the frame for the hitch assembly. This kit let me do that.
I removed the light brackets and bumperettes off the back of the truck, marked the holes in the plates after deciding on the height of the hitch, then drilled the holes in the plates. I also had to cut an inch and a half off the top of the plates, as they were too tall. But that is easy enough with the right equipment.
Once that was done, I bolted everything back into place (hitch plates, bumperettes, and light brackets). Once it was all bolted back together, I centered the bar assembly and welded it into place.
Once I repaint the truck, the hitch assembly will pretty much look stock on the truck. The hitch is a class V, which will take pretty much any trailer I can connect to it.
Got to work on changing to super single tires on the truck today.
The truck originally has duels on the rear axles. This is good if you are heavily loaded, but not so go for fuel mileage, wear on the drive-train, and turning the truck (especially when you have no power steering, like myself).
This week I went and picked myself up some more Michelin X series super single tires. Four more to be exact.
I already replaced the two on the front of the truck, which was pretty easy to do as I simply unbolted the old tires and put on the new tires. Sadly the rear tires are not as easily replaced.
Here is a picture of the drum and hub with the tires off.
The problem with the hub in this configuration is that it is setup to take two tires. If I try to just put one tire on the hub, it will sit too far inside, and you will have the middle of the hub sticking pretty far out. You can do it, and it will work, but it is not the right way to do it. And I am not one to do things half assed.
First thing to do after taking the two tires off, was to take out the axle shaft and pull the brake drum off.
With the drum off, I now proceeded to take the hub off the drum.
When I finally got the hub off, I proceeded with popping out the studs so that I can flip them around to stick out the other way.
Once the studs taken out and made to stick out the other way, I bolted the hub assembly back onto the brake drum, but this time the hub is put on the other way, just like the studs. Now it was time to put the whole thing back on the truck.
Now the new tire was installed. You can see the difference between the rear and intermediate set of tires.
Same was done to the intermediate tires.
Took about 45-50 minutes to do each one. And I still have the two to convert on the other side. It is a lot of work, but it is worth it as the benefits outweigh the amount of work needed to do it.
I also picked up some other stuff this week for the truck.
A metal hard top, which will replace the stock canvas soft top. The new top is also insulated, which is great for those cold Canadian winters. I got my hands on a roof basket as well. This will let me carry extra gear above the cab, as well as giving me a place to mount some spot lights on the front of the truck for driving off-road, or just giving me extra light while driving.
Tomorrow I get to work on the other side of the truck, as well as doing body work in preparation for paint.
I got around to performing the singles conversion on the drivers side of the truck today.
Same procedure as the other side.
All done. Singles conversion complete.
Tomorrow is another day.
The truck did a strip tease today and went topless.
This was in preparation for paint. I removed the top, windshields, and seats. Once painted, I will install the new hard top.
I also took apart the dash and removed all the data plates and other things I didn't want painted. You can see the original color of the truck under the data plates from when the truck was build back in 1970. I will tape over the gauges and other few little things I can't remove just before I paint.
Then I removed the two front clearance lights on the truck. One was broken and needed replacing, so I decided to remove both of them to do a good job when painting. When I removed the brackets I found a good deal of rust underneath and after removing it, I ended up with a big hole in each fender. Oh well, better to find it now then after I repaint the truck.
More body work will be done tomorrow. Hopefully paint will start flowing by the end of the week.
Time for another update.
Lots has happened, so I guess I will just get straight to it.
Now the best way I can describe the next few pictures is what your truck might look like if left in a bad part of town for a few hours.
I jacked the truck up and pulled all the tires of in preparation for paint. I had to go and buy another set of floor jacks as I only had two sets and needed another to hold up the third axle. Luckily I found a heavy duty set on sale and I was set. I wanted all the tires off so that I could paint the frame, under the fenders, and suspension. Though before I could paint it, I had to pressure wash everything underneath to get all the dirt and mud off. I have a high powered hot water pressure washer at the shop, so it was perfect for the job. I set the pressure washer at maximum heat (~275F) and got at it. Twenty minutes later I was all done and the truck was ready. At the same time I also pressure washed the inside of the cab to get all the dirt and mud off the cab floor so that I could paint it as well.
This was then left overnight to dry.
The next morning I got to work painting the truck. There is nothing super special to say except that it was long to do and took a lot of paint. I finished the first coat at 2:30pm (I painted continuously during those 6+hours and only stopped to refill the paint gun), and I ended up taking 2 gallons of Marine Forest Green military paint. I painted the entire exterior of the truck box, the cab, the frame, inner fenders, under the hood and the inside of the cab.
I couldn't take very good pictures because the battery in my camera was dying and wouldn't let me use the flash, so I opened the bay doors, but the sun outside made taking pictures pretty bad. I will take better pictures of the truck once it is finished being painted and is brought outside fully.
The truck does look pretty damn good in person though. Much better than the original faded paint scheme I got it with.
Tomorrow I will give it the second coat. My back is not happy at that idea, but it must be done. It is the biggest job of the project and I will be glad once it is done and over with. As will my back. I am getting too old for this stuff.
I am back from applying paint coat number two. Luckily the second coat is lighter than the first, so I ended up only using 1 gallon this time instead of 2. It also only took about 3 hours to paint, which isn't too bad for such a large truck.
Had my camera fully charged this time so I could take better pictures. The camera still doesn't capture the exact color properly, but these are better than the last pictures.
Some lines you see in the paint are due to the paint still being wet.
If I have time tomorrow, I will see about putting the tires back on, and the new hardtop onto the cab.
I was too anxious and went back to the shop and did some more work on the truck. I put the tires back on the truck to start, then I went and worked in the cab. I removed the masking tape on the dials/switches/etc, then I put the dataplates back on the dash as well as some new decals. Looks good I think.
I installed the new hard top today.
Though I did find a problem with it once installed. When I bought the hard top, I removed it from another cab. That cab had been removed from a truck, and was sitting on the ground. I didn't notice this:
Still don't see it? How about now?
When they pulled the cab off the truck frame, instead of lifting from the bottom of the cab, they lifted it by the roof, causing the nice dent. I couldn't see it when I bought it because the cab was sitting on the ground and didn't have the doors installed. Luckily I am somewhat handy (not really, but I act like I am), and fixed it as best I could.
Looks pretty darn good.
Did some minor things today.
I reinstalled the drivers seat and replaced the passenger bench seat with another drivers type seat. Much more comfortable than the bench seat and I doubt I will have more than one person traveling with me at any time.
I also installed something "special" for any passengers to dwell over :)
The truck is almost finished and is in its last project stages now.
I installed the roof rack and basket this morning as a start. Good for hauling extra gear.
Then I installed the four front roof lights. This will let me see well in the darkness or when my main headlights are covered in zombie guts, lol. They are 24volt halogen spot lights. I installed them on the roof rack and not the basket so that I could remove the basket if needed without having to touch the lights.
It should be good for a maiden voyage to show off the new look by next weekend.
Here is the truck outside in the sun. Looks great.
Got the propane company to come by today to install the propane in the truck. We could have technically done this ourselves, but it was safer to get a professional to do this. You don't want to take a chance with something that could blow you up.
This is the exterior regulator for the propane tank. The hose hanging down connects up to the propane tank.
The piping then goes through the wall and down by the tankless water heater. At that point it branches off. One branches connects to the tankless water heater.
The other goes down to the burner top.
We also got them to install another connection point at the end. This will either be used for a propane power furnace or refrigerator in the future. It was easier and cheaper to get it installed now so that we could easily connect up to it when needed, rather then calling the propane company out again to put another connection into the line later on.
Now that the propane was run, we needed a place for the propane tank. One idea was to install the tank under the truck, but that wasn't very feasible due to the design of the truck. We decided to mount it high on the back of the truck. That way it would be high above the ground to keep it safe from damage, while keeping it in an accessible place.
First step was to install a mount. A bracket for a heavy duty a/c unit from a military shelter was a perfect fit for the base. We mounted this to the back of the truck by drilling holes through the side of the truck and ran large heavy duty bolts right into the inside of the box and torqued them down.
Tank fit perfectly.
To keep the tank more secure on the mount, we decided to cut a hole in the mount the size of the bottom of the tank. That way the tank count sit into the mount and we could bolt the foot of the tank so that it couldn't easily come out.
But while it was now somewhat secure to the mount, we wanted to add extra protection to the tank in case we went down some wooded trails where branches could hit the tank. We got a thick sheet of aluminum and bent it around the tank. It was then bolted to the back of the truck to keep it in place.
A good coat of paint finished it off. Here it is with the first coat.
Final coat of paint and the tank installed.
And extra bungee cord was added to make sure the tank didn't move in the mount, but was not really needed. The tank is not about to come out. But we like to add that extra little bit of security.
We decided to keep the tank white in color so that it stood out just in case of fire or an accident. Hiding the tank completely could make it dangerous for emergency works in case of an accident. Just something else to think about.
It was decided that we needed a proper set of steps to get into the back of the RV camper. We happened to get a told of steps made for an MLVW (Canadian M35), and after a few little modifications to the back of the truck we made it work. This required the addition of some holes in the back of the truck for the stairs to lock into. A few minutes with the plasma cutter made quick work of it.
Pictures were not taken, but we added mounts to the outside of the back of the truck for the stairs to lock onto when not in use or when the truck is in transit. A few bungee cords also helps keeps it from moving around.
We installed an lcd TV a while ago in the truck. But the problem with being on the road is that there is generally no cable TV So an antenna would be needed for the truck. But instead of installing a crank up antenna on the roof we went with an antenna that would be permanently mounted/setup for easy and quick use.
While looking online we found a HD digital antenna for sale at a great price. The antenna is made by RCA and is made to be mounted just about anywhere you need it to be mounted. But once we got it, we found it was a little larger then it seemed in the picture on the Internet Here is a picture of it beside a regular 12" ruler.
Best place we found to install it was in the cab roof basket. We found it fit perfectly once bolted into place.
Nice thing about the antenna is that it is also made to be painted to match the color of your house siding. Naturally we painted it the same color of the truck. It blends in so well that you don't even notice it when looking at the truck.
Though you can see it pretty easily if you look out the front window.
Ran a little bit of wiring and we were in business. We were getting digital HD signals over the air for free.
Come on, spin that wheel!
One aspect of the water system in the truck we never got around to was the installation of a valve and air connection for clearing out the system of water when closing the truck for the winter. While some RV campers want you to pump antifreeze into the system we did not like this idea. We wanted to keep the system clean of any dangerous chemicals. A better way to do this was to install an air connection to push all the water out of the pipes in the truck so that there is nothing to freeze in the winter.
After we got some fittings at the local store, we crimped everything into place.
As you can see, the air hose takes only a quick connection into the system. Then once we were ready we opened the valve and it pushed all the water out into the sink.
It takes only 5 minutes to completely drain the system of water and it keeps any dangerous chemicals out of the drinking water system.
We have always looked at ways of installing standard equipment to make servicing the truck easier no matter where we are. One of those pieces things is the oil filters on the truck. The truck original uses a canister based system for the oil filters. This makes changing the oil difficult as it can cause a large mess, and the filters are not available in any places.
These are the two original oil filters in their canisters.
We purchased a modification kit from a gentleman in the US which allows the use to standard screw on filters for the truck. These new filters are MUCH easier to change when needed and are available pretty much anywhere. The first step was to remove the old canisters and filters. They are now good for the scrap pile.
Now the new adapter plates were installed.
Here are the new standard screw on oil filters installed.
All ready to go.
Now oil changes will be a lot easier and filters can be obtained no matter where we go with the truck.
The truck, as stated way back, had a waste water tank installed. Sadly that tank was later found to installed in a bad spot between the frame rails under the mid-section of the van body. It was found that if the truck suspension were to flex enough, it would easily be able to crash up into the tank, crushing it. Since the truck was designed to be an off-road rv/camper, the possibly of damaging the tank while on/off road was too high and another solution had to be found.
While searching online again one restless night, we fell upon a heavy duty waste tank originally designed to fit in the hull of a large boat. After taking some measurements, we found that it would fit almost perfectly near the back of the truck, between the rear axle and the hitch. An order was placed, and a week later the tank arrived.
The tank did need a slight bit of work though before it could be installed, as it was designed for a pump to pull the waste out of the tank when needed.
We did not want/need a pump like that, as we wanted to installed a standard gravity dump waste drain. So the piping was removed.
Next we got to work closing up the two top holes on the tank and drilling new ones. Due to the configuration of the truck, there was not enough place to run piping to the top of the tank. We also wanted to mount the tank as close to the bottom of the van body as possible, to give us lots of space under the tank once mounted so that we were less likely to run over something that could damage the tank.
The new inlet hole.
New outlet hole.
Rubber gaskets from the old holes were installed on the new ones.
Top holes were plugged up using aluminum plate that were then bonded to the tank using contact cement, silicon sealant, and screws. New fitting were also installed on the new inlet and outlet holes.
Next it was time to fit the tank into place. As stated before, the tank was "almost" perfect for the space. Sadly it was just ever so slightly too wide. To make it fit, we cut one of the extra supports for the pinto-hitch and hammered it back a bit to give us that extra half inch we needed.
Then it was time for another test fit using the floor jack to hold it in place while we checked everything.
The outlet pipe.
The inlet pipe (picture take while sitting between axles).
Now that everything checked out, we proceeded to weld some metal hangers to the rear hitch, so that we could run some rails under the tank and attach then to the hangers, helping to support the tank.
Some hangers were installed on the inside, then the rails were bolted to the hangers.
The finishing touches were now installed. The plumbing from the shower/toilet as well as the kitchen sink were run to the new tank. Sadly due to the very tight spaces under the truck, we could not take a picture of the plumbing to the tank other than part of a pipe here and there. But it basically works just like the plumbing in your house. Nothing special.
But we can show you pictures of the dump valve for the tank. Is a standard valve that you find on most rv/campers. Just pull the handle and it dumps out.
We are good to go with a tank that is much less likely to get damaged on the road or the trail.
Some additions to this page will be made over time, but the truck project is pretty much complete.
Send me an email if you have any questions on the project and I would be more than happy to answer them. Hope you liked the project and that it gave you some ideas of what you could do. There is a ton of stuff I didn't write about or fully explain or this page would have been much, much longer.
I do have some more extras planned for the truck such as a frame mounted generator, solar panels, a deck on top of the box, and several others. But these will only be added as time and money permits. The truck is now ready to hit the road. Either to see the sights, do some camping, running to the store for some milk, or even getting me through the zombie apocalypse. All and all it has been a worthwide project and a ton of fun.
Thanks for looking!
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