How about a surplus HMMWV platform?

#1
What do you guys think about picking up a surplus HMMWV from GovPlanet and turning into an expo rig?

I was licensed to drive them back in the corps and I know how to do basic maintenance. I have also found sites that sell every conceivable part for these things, albeit kinda pricey, but the fact is they are available. Working on the HMMWVs are pretty straightforward and I would have no issue sourcing all the training manuals and walk-through books. And seeing as how the government is selling these things off pretty quickly, and now the proper paperwork comes with them so they can be registered and plated, it is easier than ever to make them road legal.

Check out these I was looking at:
http://www.govplanet.com/for-sale/H...00,ct|30,c|3468&rr=0.14286&hitprm=&pnLink=yes
http://www.govplanet.com/for-sale/H...,pstart|60,mf|1&rr=0.01493&hitprm=&pnLink=yes

From what I have seen, some of the auctions don't go too far off the starting bid, so in my mind there is a real potential for a reasonably priced starting point for an extremely capable rig. I will admit that there is a certain level of nostalgia involved with this scheme, but there might be some logic in this. It would involve selling my first-gen Trooper and few of my guns, but I might be able to make this happen before too terribly long.

Thoughts? Concerns? Can someone talk me out of this?! haha
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
#2
Is a vehicle where earplugs are all but mandatory for long trips really an ideal overland candidate? But as a rugged base, probably, but after a whole lot of heat and sound insulation.
 
#3
Question is, will it do anything better than what you already have?

I tend to get nostalgic over some old a vehicles I used to own, then I wise up... ;) :D
 
#4
Aside from the military cool factor, I really don't find them that appealing. I admit I don't know much about them, but I've seen enough of them in person to figure out they are huge, on tight trails like you find in the eastern US I can only imagine they would be quite tiresome to maneuver and much more impeded by trees and such that most smaller vehicles already have a path between.

If I had money to burn and a huge shop to work in, might make a fun local tooling around kind of vehicle, given my affection for military surplus gear. But I can't see any extended trips being fun in one. I mean last time I watched some videos that had off road modded civilian H1's, those guys were trailering those to the trail head....

On another note, as a ham radio guy, those antennas they pack look mighty interesting, make a hell of a mobile rig.....
 
#5
It's a good platform, not too hard to find parts and support if you know where to look.
The community is similar to the jeep community - pretty tight, but there are also a lot of engineers and technical folk in the forums.

I had a 1996 HMCO (open top) and the only issue I ever had were really-really tight trails that only a 2-door jeep could squeeze in. Once you get the first scrape the rest is gravy, though.

There are a few quality companies that make armor and bumpers for them - they are expensive but extremely stout.

The interiors are not as spacious as people expect, but you're familiar with them from your service time.

I would start with a hardshell ambulance body M997 - there are variants with and without winches - kind of nice to have one already configured.
 
#6
H1 has always been my childhood dream vehicle. Was fortunate enough to own one of these beasts, and all I can say is to make sure you spend some time in one before dropping a lot of cash. They're a LOT of vehicle, and are very unique.

Mine was a civilian model HMC4, loaded will all options. Interior had been stripped and the entire body was dynamatted and carpeted before reinstalling everything. It was a LOT quieter than before, but still loud. That noisy engine literally sits right beside you. Mine also had the upgraded A/C that blew cold.

Not much interior room for passengers (believe it or not), and they're quite underpowered. If mine would have had the duramax engine, I would have never gotten rid of it. I'll own another someday, but it will have an engine swap.


I bought mine bone stock (low mileage) in Florida and drove it 1500 miles home. No real issues other than it taking a bit longer than expected. :sombrero:







 
#8
Having lived out of a turtleback I'd have to say they'd make a horrible Expo rig. Cramped, uncomfortable seating (doesn't matter which of the four seats, they all suck), not to mention loud and very inefficient with fuel. I can think dozens of other, more suitable options.
 

jeep-N-montero

Expedition Leader
#10
The Military surplus Humvees were always off road only, not street legal, did something change?
You beat me to it, the surplus Humvees ARE NOT STREET LEGAL as sold, although you may be able to register it as an OHV with certain restrictions. Having driven about 11k miles in them when I was in the Army you couldn't pay me to own one, every time I see one on the street I can't help but think that someone is compensating for something.
 

Martinjmpr

Wiffleball Batter
#11
You beat me to it, the surplus Humvees ARE NOT STREET LEGAL as sold, although you may be able to register it as an OHV with certain restrictions. Having driven about 11k miles in them when I was in the Army you couldn't pay me to own one, every time I see one on the street I can't help but think that someone is compensating for something.
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The GovPlanet sites don't specify what kind of title or paperwork these come with. I know there's a guy on a local message board (AR-15.co) who has a surplus HMMWV who he says he is getting plates for - I'll believe it when I see it.
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My guess (and it's just that) is that there is a state where a DMV clerk is erroneously issuing "clean" titles on these things. Since the general rule in the US is that every state will recognize the "public acts" of every other state, all it takes is one state to give you a legitimate title and you can then transfer it to another state.
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Of course, that is also one of those things that only works until enough people start talking about it that the "authorities" put an end to it (kind of like the "gray market" imported Land Rovers with altered VINs that were featured here a couple of years ago.)
 
#12
There seems to be a fair amount of confusion here, so let me see if I can help. The short answer is, it depends. Sometimes it depends on the state, for example Arizona wont register and plate a surplus humvee, end of story. I live in South Carolina where anything is street legal so as long as I have my ducks in a row when i get to the DMV, I will probably not have any issues. The update that has changed the game is the SF97 Form that comes with the surplus HMMWVs now. This can serve as a bill of sale, and many have been able to get it registered as a street legal "pickup" with plates.

Having said that, sometimes the people at the DMV can be quite sour, so they might just turn someone away because they have no idea what they are looking at, but the fact is that yes, they can be registered and street legal.

And the loudness factor is a good point. Maybe dynomat could make a significant difference. But it is still a good point. The comfort is not too bad in the front, but the back seats suck. Can't tell you how many times I've slammed my shins into the crossbar while sitting in the back seat. The worst part about driving them is that marines make you wear full combat gear to drive them, and back sapi plate always dug into my back.

I might pick one up. We'll see.

Anyone want a pretty little 1st Gen trooper? Haha
 
#13
A friend of mine sells Humvees with titles in many different configurations. Our shop does all the fab work and mechanical upgrades. We install 4L80 transmissions, turbos, ac and many other upgrades. Once they are upfitted they are actually nice to drive. We going start on a Duramax conversion with King coilovers next month. Feel free to contact me with any questions.
 

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Martinjmpr

Wiffleball Batter
#15
There seems to be a fair amount of confusion here, so let me see if I can help. The short answer is, it depends. Sometimes it depends on the state, for example Arizona wont register and plate a surplus humvee, end of story. I live in South Carolina where anything is street legal so as long as I have my ducks in a row when i get to the DMV, I will probably not have any issues. The update that has changed the game is the SF97 Form that comes with the surplus HMMWVs now. This can serve as a bill of sale, and many have been able to get it registered as a street legal "pickup" with plates.
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The guy on the other forum was somehow able to get his titled and plated in CO. Without seeing the paperwork that came from the government it's hard to know how he managed to do that. Colorado is a little easier than some other states to get vehicles registered to be street legal - for example, you can make any motorcycle street legal, even if there was never a street legal variant sold. All you have to do is put the required equipment on it (mirror, headlight, taillight, and horn) and get it inspected. I know there are some states where if the motorcycle was never sold in a street legal variant you can never, ever, under any circumstances, get a plate for it.
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The comfort is not too bad in the front, but the back seats suck. Can't tell you how many times I've slammed my shins into the crossbar while sitting in the back seat. The worst part about driving them is that marines make you wear full combat gear to drive them, and back sapi plate always dug into my back.
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Yeah I could see getting one to restore as a collector's item or as a novelty, drive it in parades, etc. But to drive every day or for long distances? Uh, yeah, no. BTDT, no desire to do it again.
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It's funny that the HMMWV is such a huge vehicle on the outside and yet the driving compartment is really cramped. At 6'1" I always had a hard time folding myself into either the drivers seat or the front passenger seat, especially with body armor, helmet, weapons, etc.