Desert Turtle - M1010 Build


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Just a little update. Been too hot lately to want to work on the rig. A few weeks ago I put on the ORD steering brace, to prevent any frame cracking that is not uncommon with the squarebody trucks. This past weekend I installed a grab handle that my wife asked for, to help her get in. The handle is for a Jeep JK. I used Plus-Nuts to mount it, which should be much stronger than Riv-Nuts, because they expand over a greater area. I also mounted the small ramp plate that goes between the seats, that makes it easier to get into the back via the pass thru. These normally are installed on M1010's but at some point mine was removed. I picked one up from a guy parting one out. Little projects knocked out.

ORD Steering brace


Plus-Nuts and using a long bolt and some nuts/washers as spacers. Hold the nut and use an impact to tighten the bolt, which will expand the "legs" and snug it down.




Floor ramp


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Well, today I got the measurements for the inside of the box and did some scale 3D drawings of what I think the layout is going to be. Definitely trying to pack 5 lbs of crap into a 3 lbs bag. I think this will allow me to get all the items I am looking to install in. Here are some different views.





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Well this past Friday was interesting. I have been thinking about doing something to upgrade the power for this rig. I have looked adding a turbo to the 6.2, swapping in a 6.5 turbo engine, even 6.0l LS and Big Block engines. They all have the pros and cons. Adding a turbo to the 6.2 helps but it really doesn't address some of the short comings of this engine. They are prone to head gasket failures, cracked heads, cracked blocks,etc. It seems to be totally hit and miss. It doesn't help that the whole 6.2/6.5 engine series has some aftermarket support but parts are getting harder to find. I kept rolling back to a gas conversion. As it happened, I found a 7.4L (454ci) Gen VI engine for a good price. Very clean, low hours and all the latest benefits of BBC development. The Gen VI comes with roller cam/lifter, one piece rear main seal and L29 Vortec heads. They also improved cooling and oiling systems from previous generations. Since the Squarebody trucks had a 454 option, getting one to fit is easy. I picked up this engine and loaded it into the back of the M1010. Well I guess the diesel got jealous with the idea of being swapped out and a mile from picking it up, it died. It seemed like a fueling system issue but I could not resolve it on the side of the road and had to get it towed home.

Doing some troubleshooting Saturday I found I was not getting power to the fuel cutoff solenoid. Found a bad fuse and replaced it and have power to that wire again. Since I was going to have to bleed the system I decided to put a new fuel filter on and purge that, which would verify if the lift pump was working. I was able to get that purged and then worked to get the injectors purged. Almost had it start and work the air out but it died and I have not been able to restart it. Likely going to need to crack all of the injector lines to purge the air. Downside is, you get about 5-6, 15-20 second cranks before the batteries get low enough you have to charge them up again. Hope to get it running this week. If the injector pump has failed, not likely I am going to spend the $500-$600 to replace since I am swapping engine.

Waiting on tow truck....

BBC goodness



I had a similar problem with the fuel shut off valve on my John Deere Tractor. Replacing the electronics to make it work as designed cost was in the $250 range. Some 550 cord and a bolt and washer and what do you know I bypassed the electronics and move the valve manually. Has been working well for a year or so and acts as an anti theft device also :) Not that someone with your skill set would mickey rig like that but it is fitting for me.


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So last Friday I did some more troubleshooting. Pulled the glow plugs out so it could crank easily. When cranking I was not getting any fuel spray from the glow plug holes which was interesting. I started with checking the return valve to make sure it was not plugged. Cleaned it and was getting good flow through it. Took my air line with about 2-3psi and tried to blow into the return line to from the engine to the tank. First few times it seems like it was not allowing air to the tank. Finally I started hearing air bubbling in the tank so I knew that was clear. I picked up some clear hose and started with re-bleeding the new fuel filter. It had some air but seemed to get that out quickly and was getting good fuel. Then I checked the return line from the housing with hear hose and got just a bit of air then good, clean fuel with good flow. This seemed to indicate the lift pump is working fine.

Since it seems like it was getting no fuel to the injectors, I went back to check the fuel cutoff solenoid. Using my Power Probe to energize the solenoid, I really wasn't getting a solid click to it. After a few tries, I decided to order a new solenoid. Got a German made one (versus the low quality China ones) which was only a few bucks more and came with a new o-ring and sealing washers. Swapped that into the cover and took a couple tries to get it on right. Verified it was activating and was getting a good, solid clunk when energized. I went to button up the cover and managed to drop one of the screws (near the battery area, not over the engine) and it disappeared. After 30 minutes of looking, I just decided to snug up the two other ones and give it a try. Worse thing is it would leak some.

Fingers crossed, I started doing some cranking cycles of about 15-20 seconds with a couple minute cool down between. On the 3rd or 4th one it seemed like it was trying to come to life. On the 6th or 7th, it finally fired up, a little rough at first and then smoothed out. It would rev fine so I let it idle for a few minutes and then ran out of daylight and called it quits for the day. Need to hunt down a new bolt tomorrow and finish buttoning things up. Given the possible problems it could have been, this was a fairly easy and cheap fix ($60 part).

Well had a little time to start removing the wall panels so I can replace the insulation, re-wire and close up any holes I find (which I am finding from the Sheriff installing/removing items). Two walls done. The roof and one wall to go.

View attachment 53839

View attachment 53840
When insulating something like that is it just standard unbacked batt insulation with a separate vapor barrier or something special?


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When insulating something like that is it just standard unbacked batt insulation with a separate vapor barrier or something special?
What you see is the original military insulation, which is some batting encased in a plastic vapor barrier. That is all coming out and will be using a combination of a couple different products to better insulate.


Founding Member
Next on the list was to install the intake manifold I picked up off FB marketplace. It had been installed but never ran so basically new for less than half price. Spent too much time scrapping off the old intake gasket but got everything cleaned up. Then I used a Jaz Products port sealing kit to close up things while it is being stored. Then I mocked up the serpentine belt bracket kit I picked up off of EBay. This is a factory '96-'00 BBC setup. Need to clean and paint it but it will be nice to have a modern belt system.





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