Truck Update 10/15/17

After reluctantly selling our refurbished LMTV last spring, we have kept an eye out for another expedition truck option. This time, we are hoping to get a vehicle that was a little more complete so it would be less of a project and we could get on the road sooner. We have had our eye on expedition truck options for years. There are always pluses and minuses with each option, but this time, we plan to go with a Mercedes 435.

Today, Michael traveled to check out a prospective truck. It looks like it will be a great option. We have a lot to talk about over the next few days.

Mercedes 435 Expedition Vehicle
Mercedes 435 Expedition Vehicle

Truck Update 11/11/17

After a good bit of paperwork, and a very long drive, we now have a new expedition truck. We have a good list of things to address after the drive, but overall, we are really happy with the truck. We are still working on where the truck will be stored long term, but for now we have a cozy spot to work on the truck and start upgrades.

Mercedes 435 Expedition Truck
Mercedes 435 Expedition Truck

Truck Update 11/19/17

In our first week of owning the truck, we’ve learned a lot. We spent some time cleaning the truck and looking it over. Mostly, we have just been reading on the net and in the mechanics manuals learning about the truck. We cleaned out the inside of the cab (it was very clean), and we unspooled the winch, inspected the cable, and carefully rolled it back onto the drum. Oh, and the first thing we did was make the Mercedes grill emblem silver again.

Pressure Washing U1300L
Pressure Washing U1300L

Truck Update 11/26/17

  • New marker light covers (replaced olive drab with sliver)
    • Grote 46282 (red), Grote 46283 (yellow)
  • Ordered new passenger side view mirror
  • Ordered new driver seat belt (generic DOT approved 3 point from Amazon)
  • Ordered diesel engine pre-heater
    • Webasto Thermo Top C Diesel Heater 12V 5KW 1311551A
  • Ordered transmission and axle fluid
    • Transmission: Redline Synthetic MT-85, 75W-85 (GL-4)
    • Hubs/Axles: Redline Synthetic 75W-90 (GL-5)
  • Ordered new batteries
  • Disconnected winch
    • We discovered the ground for the winch was bypassing the master cutoff switch
  • Removed grill
  • Researched front portal axle vent upgrades
  • Started adjusting steering
  • Researched tire balancing
  • Removed spare tire
  • Started measuring locations for under bed storage boxes
  • Test fist tire chains on Continental MPT 81 365/80R20 tire
  • Cleaned out habitat storage lockers
  • Began cleaning habitat interior
  • Removed convoy target/marker
  • Traced air leak to dash instrument cluster
    • Removed instrument cluster

Truck Update 12/3/17

Things we did this week:

  • Disassembled dash instrument cluster
  • Disassembled duplex pressure air gauge
  • Found location of air leak on gauge (base solder joint on bourdon tube)
  • Re-soldered, pressure checked, and calibrated bourdon tube
  • Re-machined pressure gauge mounting collars
  • Reassembled instrument cluster
  • Reinstalled instrument cluster in truck
  • Cleaned, paint prepped, and painted battery tray
  • Designed, fabricated, welded, and painted battery hold down
  • Measured cab ladder areas

List of things we received this week:

  • 2 new batteries (NAPA BAT 7256 Size: 6TL)
  • 6 quarts of battery acid (likely not enough)
  • Webasto engine coolant heater (Thermo Top C 12V 5KW 1311551A)
  • Transmission fluid (Redline Synthetic MT-85, 75W-85 (GL-4))
  • Hubs/Axles fluid (Redline Synthetic 75W-90 (GL-5))
  • Replacement driver side seat belt

Things we ordered this week:

  • Battery hold down studs
  • Material to make a replacement hazard light button for dash
  • New higher lumen headlight bulbs (Hella H4/9003/HB2 24V Halogen Bulb)

Truck Update 12/10/17

Things we did this week:

  • Filled batteries with acid (As expected, we had to order more acid. One 6TL battery takes over 6 quarts)
  • Charged batteries
  • Sanded and painted passenger side view mirror mount
  • Measured coolant hose diameter on engine
  • Finished vehicle registration process
  • Mounted new license plates
  • Measured hazard light button dimensions
  • Machined hazard light button (using 3/4″ fluorescent red cast acrylic rod)
  • Installed cab air filter assembly
  • Painted headlight covers

List of things we ordered and/or received this week:

  • 3/4″ fluorescent red cast acrylic rod for hazard light button
  • Battery hold down bolts (McMaster Carr, 9 1/4″ long)
  • 5 new Continental MPT 81 365/80R20 tires
  • 24VDC to 12VDC converter to run diesel engine coolant heater
  • Cabin air filter bracket (4258300014 SBU Air Filter Bracket)
  • Cabin air filter (Mann Filter CU 1836 Cabin Filter)
  • Cabin air filter mount hardware (6M-1.25 screws and 8M-1.0 nut)

Truck Update 12/17/17

Things we did this week:

  • Test fit hazard light button
  • Test fit headlight cover
  • Installed new passenger side view mirror
  • Reduced diameter of hazard light button
  • Reviewed alternative location for fog lights
  • Welded battery hold down
  • Painted and fit checked battery hold down
  • Started laying out cargo area on back of truck
  • Clean, paint prepped, and painted interior of battery box

List of things we ordered and/or received this week:

  • Ordered sand ladders (Marston Mat)
  • Ordered dash light bulbs (24V 2W BA9S)
  • Ordered and received more battery hold down bolts (McMaster Carr, 9 1/4″ long)


Truck Update 12/20/17

Things we did over the past 3 days:

  • Unmasked battery box
  • Wiped down battery leads
  • Started installation of new driver side seat belt
  • Removed middle seat belt
  • Removed fog lights
  • Continued to free up retaining nut on power steering
  • Tensioned air compressor belt
  • Painted mounting rings for fog lights
  • Final installed driver seat belt
  • Removed passenger seat belt
  • Reinstalled passenger seat belt with correct high strength hardware
  • Relocated fog lights to under side of winch
  • Removed tray under passenger bench
  • Installed new structural hardware on front bumper mount
  • Removed old fog light wiring
  • Topped off batteries with acid
  • Researched fuel supply location for engine coolant heater
  • Painted mounts on back of fog lights
  • Tested fog lights
  • Ordered dyna beads (20 oz. for 365/80R20’s)
  • Ordered filtering valve cores
  • Retapped and made hardware kits for fog light mount
  • Ordered passenger side look down mirror (Grote GTE-28763)
  • Ordered 24V to USB converter
  • Ordered backup camera
  • Ordered 2 California compliant NATO diesel jerry cans
  • Ordered 1 jerry can holder
  • Replaced grounds on fog light mounts
  • Machined grounding insulators for fog light mounts
  • Made new wiring harnesses for fog lights
  • Received dash light bulbs
  • Mounted fog lights
  • Secured winch cable down passenger side frame rail
  • Miscellaneous chassis paint touch up
  • Removed front bumper step

Truck Update 12/23/17

In the past 3 days, we have:

  • Modified jack stands to more securely engage
    • Milled improved tooth profile
    • Removed rounded end from engagement paul
    • Added witness marks to verify correct engagement
  • Put truck on jack stands
  • Removed wheels (unlike all the other military trucks we have worked on, all the lug nuts are right hand thread)
  • Took wheels to tire shop to have tires removed
  • Refined layout of real tire mount area
  • Received rear view camera
  • Sandblasted forward bumper step
  • Primed and painted forward bumper step
  • Made new hardware kit for forward bumper step
  • Picked up rims from tire shop
    • 20-inch Steel rims weigh 74.6 pounds each
    • 1 Continental MPT 81 365/80R20 weighs 154.2 pounds
  • Received 2 California CARB compliant NATO jerry cans (Wavian) and 1 jerry can holder
  • Went to 2 truck stops – there is no machine tire mounting available for 365/80R20 tires that we know.
  • Purchased 2 more liters of battery acid to top off batteries