Desert Turtle - M1010 Build

Mike

Adventurist
Founding Member
#1
So before AAV was a real place, I had purchased and started into a M1010 ambulance project that at the time I was really not in the position to get deep into. Time was short and I had a lot of other classic car projects going on. We also wanted to get out camping right away from our previous Cherokee/Kamparoo setup and didn't want to have the downtime for a build. This moved me to a Ram/FWC rig, which was a really nice setup and had some great trips with it. I still regretted selling the M1010 and it has been burning in the back of my head for almost 8 years since selling it. During that time I always poked around looking for another one but prices had really jumped up and I could not justify the cost. Here is a picture of the one I sold in 2011.

PICT6078.jpg

Well getting a little more serious about wanting to get another one, I have been searching for the last 6-8 month fairly seriously. Thought I had a deal lined up about 6 months ago but things didn't work out and it was sold before I could get to it. I kept looking. About a month ago I ran across one on Steel Soldiers that was in the right price range. After a number of back and forth with pictures and info, we struck a deal. Now to get it shipped out. That has been a little bit of a challenge due to the 8.5' height. Well today it got picked up in Troy, MI and is headed out to San Diego. Here's a pic the seller sent with it loaded up.

loaded.jpg

Hopefully should be here in about a week. This is going to be a slower build up, to help with finances and available time. I learned a lot from the last two setups to know some definite changes or required items we want in this rig. I was really thinking a 4x4 Sprinter as a build but the cost to get into one is way out of our budget and it likely would not get to some of the places we like to travel. I am figuring about a 20-25K total budget, over the course of a couple years or so. We will have a very serious and capable rig that should be easy to maintain and service. Here's a couple more pics I was sent.

20190328_130950 - Copy.jpg
IMG_4099.jpg

Well stay along for the journey as this comes to life. Now we need to come up with a cool name... Desert Turtle (following in another M1010 build called Mountain Turtle and the Turtle Expeditions). Who knows... :)
 

Mike

Adventurist
Founding Member
#2
Something I played around with on the first rig and then again last summer was ideas on the interior build. I haven't finalized anything as I have a lot of different ideas I am still working out but here were a couple ideas I did in Google Sketch Up. Figured I would share.

First idea
camper idea.JPG

Second idea
m1010 interior 2.JPG
 
#4
Always liked those trucks. Short for headroom but a lot of potential. If you are on Steel Soldiers you already know the fixes that make everything easier and more reliable.

Cannot wait to see this come to fruition.
 

Al Swope

Adventurist
Founding Member
#6
I like your second rendering, with a permanent bed. Bed/table combos seem like a lot of work each night. The bench seat would provide some storage. Small doors on the outside that opened under the bed would be cool. What is the interior width? I'd put the fridge closest to the door, so you can reach in to snag a drink. Wait, this is your project...
 
#7
I like your second rendering, with a permanent bed. Bed/table combos seem like a lot of work each night. The bench seat would provide some storage. Small doors on the outside that opened under the bed would be cool. What is the interior width? I'd put the fridge closest to the door, so you can reach in to snag a drink. Wait, this is your project...
fridge by the door is a must
 

Mike

Adventurist
Founding Member
#8
I like your second rendering, with a permanent bed. Bed/table combos seem like a lot of work each night. The bench seat would provide some storage. Small doors on the outside that opened under the bed would be cool. What is the interior width? I'd put the fridge closest to the door, so you can reach in to snag a drink. Wait, this is your project...
Interior dimensions are 109" long, 75" wide, 65" high. We are going to see if the height ends up being a real problem. When we had our FWC, the only time we were really standing was cooking or getting dressed. Other times were were either seated or sleeping and height wasn't any concern. If it does really become an issue, I am looking at different ideas for a raised roof or pop top design.

And yes, this is our project. :D
 

Mike

Adventurist
Founding Member
#9
So this is something I had planned on doing on our last M1010 and definitely plan to do on this one. Since the 1010 has a pull out steps on the rear, the double doors are kind of a waste for a camper use. In the original intended use they make perfect sense but for a camper, trying to keep dirt and bugs out, it's not an easy thing. My plan has always been to convert the double doors to a wall with a single, centered screened camper door. I found another M1010'er who had done this (I thought I was going to be the first LOL). This is what they did and I am going to copy the idea (without all the extra stuff on it).

m1010_4.jpg
 

Dave

Adventurist
Founder
Senior Staff
Editor
#10
I like your second rendering, with a permanent bed. Bed/table combos seem like a lot of work each night. The bench seat would provide some storage. Small doors on the outside that opened under the bed would be cool. What is the interior width? I'd put the fridge closest to the door, so you can reach in to snag a drink. Wait, this is your project...
They sure are. I’d advise against that myself, MUCH better to have a bed that requires no fuss to climb into.

My experience with my FWC taught me that I really only needed three things in a camper box. Bed, toilet, and the ability to sit inside out of the weather and cook/eat or even relax. And you need to be able to use any of those features without interfering with the other features!

Can’t wait to see what Mike builds here :)
 

Mike

Adventurist
Founding Member
#12
You can use a tern overland door, and some composite wall from total composites, cut the back wall out and split it in
Likely going to build my own wall out of a similar construction. I looked at Tern Overland for doors and windows. They currently do not offer a door short enough. It shows some new sizes coming in July, so maybe. I am definitely looking at their windows in the 500mmx300mm (HxW) size as it will fit between the side beams which are on 16" centers. This keeps me from cutting any of them.

Here's a pic from someone on SS who stripped the interior clean.
IMG_1134.jpg
 
#16
I parked next to a guy at Expo East 2017 who had just finished a 2-3 month trip around the Southwest in one. His interior mods were very basic, essentially just a big tent on wheels, but he had put in a 12 valve Cummins and a 5-speed. It was an impressive truck, and seemed to work real well for him.
 

Dave

Adventurist
Founder
Senior Staff
Editor
#17
I parked next to a guy at Expo East 2017 who had just finished a 2-3 month trip around the Southwest in one. His interior mods were very basic, essentially just a big tent on wheels, but he had put in a 12 valve Cummins and a 5-speed. It was an impressive truck, and seemed to work real well for him.
That’s right. This project needs a 12 valve Cummins!

:stir
 

Mike

Adventurist
Founding Member
#18
I parked next to a guy at Expo East 2017 who had just finished a 2-3 month trip around the Southwest in one. His interior mods were very basic, essentially just a big tent on wheels, but he had put in a 12 valve Cummins and a 5-speed. It was an impressive truck, and seemed to work real well for him.
Pictures or it did not happen. :)
 
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