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Discussion Starter #41
Had this same conversation with myself many times.

I like your build and think the idea of living in an RV entertaining; unfortunately it only takes a few days in my class C RV to appreciate "home".

Living vicariously through you.
You and a lot of other people! Once I get past the initial skepticism/fear, people are really enthusiastic about this project. They think it's great that I am doing something like this. I can tell that more of them think I'm crazy, but they're nice about it - patting me on the head and tell me, 'good job'.
 

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I think you are doing a great job and a much more thorough one than most M109 conversions, I just don't like the paint plans. :D

One word of caution, you are going to have to be really careful with that trailer overhang or it's going to eat the back of the van body. I would consider trimming the overhang or lengthening the tongue.
 

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Discussion Starter #43 (Edited)
Had to extend the trailer tongue about 3ft so that the cab-over part of the uhaul box wouldn't smack into the back of the mah deuce.









 

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Discussion Starter #44
I think you are doing a great job and a much more thorough one than most M109 conversions, I just don't like the paint plans. :D

One word of caution, you are going to have to be really careful with that trailer overhang or it's going to eat the back of the van body. I would consider trimming the overhang or lengthening the tongue.
Thanks, and you know the nice thing about paint? It's easy to re-paint. Not everybody is going to like every paintjob, but you'll probably like the 1st one (solid OD green).

As far as the trailer tongue goes, you're absolutely right. Still posting. Trailer tongue was extended, and broken, and repaired, and broken, and repaired, and then I scrapped the whole trailer and started over - but I haven't gotten that far yet.
 

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Maybe I missed it but what are the plans for a motor swap?
 

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Discussion Starter #46
Was intending to add gussets to the trailer tongue, but wasn't in any hurry. Luckily I caught this just in time. Actually posted about it here on Pirate, and fixed it with some beefy gussets.















 

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Discussion Starter #47 (Edited)
...and THEN I really fawked things up. Was camping down by the river and got myself into a tight spot (not where these pics were taken). Got the trailer just a little bit bound-up, and did this:








Dammit. I was just about to box-in the tongue on that trailer. At least I was able to straighten it to within about an 1/8" just by binding it up the other direction though.

 

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Discussion Starter #48
But that experience made me reconsider this trailer altogether. If it was too big to take off-road, then what's what's the point? Decided to scrap it and start over. Build something a little bit smaller and more maneuverable. The 'bigger is better' mentality is just so seductive. I got sucked into it, and wasted a bunch of time and money (well, not too much money).
 

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Discussion Starter #49
So now the only thing I've got left from that uhaul is the 10ft boarding ramp. But it fits between the framerails below the box perfectly. Seriously, could not have been made to fit any better. I've also found that I can pull it out just a few feet and use it like a small cantilevered patio. Well, not much of a patio, but it'll do for now. Would eventually like to get a hydraulic lift-gate.















 

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Discussion Starter #50 (Edited)
Maybe I missed it but what are the plans for a motor swap?
No you didn't miss anything. Just hadn't got to that part of the project yet, but I guess now is as good a time as any other.

One of the coolest things about the M35A2 is that they have multi-fuel engines, so they can run on just about anything flammable. Literally ANYTHING. Diesel, gasoline, kerosene, white gas, used motor oil/automatic transmission fluid/hydraulic oil, veggie-oil, bio-diesel, etc. In the first year that I owned it, I put about 4,000 trouble-free miles on Mah Deuce and it's averaged about 8-10mpg, depending on the speed, load, and terrain. Not bad considering it weighs 16,000lbs empty, it's full-time six-wheel-drive, stands over 11ft tall, and is rolling on 43" tall off-road tires. But when you look at the Miles-Per-Dollar, it's fantastic!

So I had mixed feelings about replacing the engine, but these old engines don't make much power for their size and weight. Made the decision to yank it when I managed to find a brand new (factory-fresh rebuild) 5-ton multifuel engine. It's designated as an LDS465 (2.5-ton engine is called an LDT465). It's basically the same engine, but it's got a different cam profile, and oil-cooled pistons, and makes just a bit more power (about 200hp vs. 130hp). Honestly though, something like a Cummins 12-valve 6BT (the diesel engines that came in the older Dodge Ram trucks) would be a lot better choice for a vehicle like this. But I didn't want to give up the multifuel.





 

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Discussion Starter #51
I had to drive up to Washington to pick up that engine, and picked up a TON of other parts along the way, including a bunch of wheels and a brand new cab (still in the crate, or what was left of it). The cab on mah deuce was in great condition, but I got such a good deal on the new one that I couldn't pass it up. It was galvanized, and looked like it wasn't prepped correctly prior to paint, because the paint was flaking off in large chunks. It's since been sandblasted and primed, waiting to be painted and reinstalled.



 

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I like that couch design. i live in a 78 Class C MH and had never thought about the space between the back and the wall as storage. I may have to look into replacing it. I started reading this and almost made myself late for class LOL
 

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I actually did! ... It's not pink it's salmon!
Ok, now that I see those pictures (and the UHaul trailer pictures) I recognize your truck from other posts you've made. Glad to see you're finally doing a build thread for it!

Is the Bobcat Txxx yours? I've been debating an upgrade to a tracked model, but am somewhat torn because I do some snowplowing and I hear they have horrible traction on snow...
 

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Discussion Starter #54
No, just used that bobcat to unload the engine where I was storing it for a little while.
 

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Discussion Starter #55
My friend Jamie works at Metolius, where they make climbing harnesses and gear. He helped me turn my queen-sized Tempurpedic mattress into sort of a futon couch/slide-out bed-thing. I don't know that to call it. I just designed and built a custom bedframe that converts from a couch into a queen-sized bed. This was the first time I've ever done anything with soft goods or sewing, and I loved it! Although, I mostly just watched and helped Jamie here and there when he needed an extra hand. For anybody else that's interested in this kind of stuff, I've found DIYtactical.com to be a great resource.

This is what the Tempurpedic mattress looks like after I cut it out of the casing. Kind of disappointing actually, that only half of it is really tempur material. The bottom half is just regular old mattress foam. I wouldn't have bought one of these mattresses for this project, but already had one, so...




Jamie had a special tool that we used to cut the mattress in half (actually more like 2/3rds & 1/3rd). The wide 'half' of the mattress is the same size as an XL twin mattress, so I can put fitted sheets on just that half if I want to.




I purchased this Sunbrella fabric from a local upholstery shop. Hope I made a good decision going with this material. I have FOUR large dogs that will be living in this motorhome with me, so I wanted something that would be durable and stain-resistant, etc. I wanted the stripes oriented a specific way, so we had to put a seam down the middle of the mattress, but Jamie did a real nice job of hiding it by matching the pattern.




Once that was done, we laid out all the materials and got to work marking dimensions.




We used some type of heavyweight ballistic nylon that Metolius uses to make their haul bags and portaledges. The idea was to make the bottoms extra durable, so I can drag them outside or up onto the roof without worrying about ruining them.




I learned a lot about pattern-making and sewing! I've done a lot of templating and pattern-making, but mostly for metal fabrication. It's amazing how much of that translates though. I think I'll be able to pick this up pretty quickly after I get the hang of the basics.




We assembled the top and sides first (note the burly waterproof zipper and grab handles), and then we fit the bottom. We ended up taking in the seams around the top and bottom a couple of times, until we were happy with the fit of the cover. I'm thrilled with the way that it turned out, and it was really cool to get to learn how this kind of stuff is made.




Thanks again Jamie!



 

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Discussion Starter #56
Making the mattress with Jamie is when I met this guy:
A while ago, I was over at Metolius, where my buddy Jamie was helping me turn my queen-sized tempurpedic mattress into a futon (here's a pic) and he introduced me to another employee there, who also lived in a truck. We started talking, and I was asking him about his setup. It's a late-model Toyota Tacoma with a regular camper-shell on the back of it. He's got a couple of deep-cycle batteries and a small invertor, a bedroll, a backpacking stove, a few gallons of water, and all his hang-gliding equipment. He lives out in the wilderness east of Bend, and comes into town to work a few days a week. Showers at the gym. Sounded like he was really happy with his whole situation. When he asked me when my project was going to be done, I immediately replied, "It's pretty much done as soon as we finish this mattress". At the time, I had only just barely finished all of the woodwork (cabinets and all that stuff) and there was no plumbing, heating, or electricity, but this guy made me feel like such a bitch.
 

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Awesome build thread! I would soo love to be able to do this. My dream is to build something similar, drive it to Alaska and live in it. Unfortunatley, due to having Narcolepsy I am seriously limited on driving, so I doubt it will ever happen. At least I can watch your progress and keep dreaming.
 

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Discussion Starter #58
If you build a vehicle to travel, I seriously doubt you'd have any trouble finding a driver!
 

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Very cool build.
I'm planning on something on a smaller scale in an m725 but appreciate all the links and info.

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Discussion Starter #60
Thanks. This is the biggest project I've taken on to-date, but it's smaller than I was originally thinking. Started looking at 5-tons, but in the end I decided that I'd rather be able to go more places than have more space. An M725 camper would be rad!
 
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