M1010 Ambulance to Expedition Rig

Outback

Explorer
I just purchased a 1984 Chevrolet Military M1010 Ambulance. Ive been looking for one for a long time and finally found one. She has 2408 original miles on her. Most of the Ambulances were barely used. She needs interior work an well as a good cleaning. She looks like she is all there mechanically. I will be picking her up in a week or so depending on when I can fly back home. The back interior ideas are flowing in. Cant wait to pick her up and do a detailed cleaning as well as a good going over.

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Martinjmpr

Wiffleball Batter
I've often wondered why military ambulances weren't more popular for ExPo type builds. Seems they'd be well suited in many respects.
 

mr_ed

Toolbag
I've often wondered why military ambulances weren't more popular for ExPo type builds. Seems they'd be well suited in many respects.
I've wondered the same thing. I'd venture to guess it may have to do with American expo types wanting to enjoy some creature comforts in the cab, and highway speeds in excess of 55 mph...all of which seem an easy and relatively inexpensive fix in the face of trying to make your average civvie rig into half the rig a m1010 is.

Sweet rig Outback!!!


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stevo-mt

Northwest Man of Mystery
Good to see you found an M1010! I'm glad to see more M1010 stuff since I've had to park mine for the last 8 months :(. I'm sure you have some fun plans for it though! When I first bought mine and drove it home I made a detour through Moab and I was amazed how well it did off road stock. Then sad to see the fuel economy drop from 15-17 mpg to 10-12 mpg when I put 37's on. I don't know why everyone gets upset about the cruising 55-60 mph. It gives you the most optimal fuel economy, plus anywhere that is worth seeing you can't drive over 55 anyways. It kind of stinks on the interstates, but I get pass all the time and then catch up to the same people five minutes later fueling up.

If I were to build my truck over again I would have done a few things differently. Mostly just some of the things I wish I would have prioritized first.

First and foremost I would do the banks turbo or 6.5l turbo first (if your planning to do a turbo). If it was me starting from scratch I would absolutely make this first priority. The only time I've ever felt like the truck is under powered, even with 37's, is going up a mountain passes over five thousand feet at 30 mph with the semi's. All the rest of the time I'm happy being naturally aspirated, but it drives me nuts not being able to maintain 45-55 mph then. The poor old diesel just can't breath enough.

I'm not sure on your plans if your going to do any drive train mods', but I wish I would have made my box more camper friendly before I dove in and did tons of mechanical modifications.

You can also stuff some decent sized tires in these trucks by just cutting out fender wells if your going that route. The box is easy to do and the front fenders were more of a pain but not impossible with some fender flares to cover them. You will probably have to cut the fender wells even if you did a lift kit. I just wouldn't make that the priority...

Should be a fun project! I spent a total of about 3 months living/traveling in my M1010 in 2015 with my at the time fiance. Now were married now so its safe to say gals love them too!. A few of the camping creature comforts helped. My wife had some good ideas about simplifying some of the storage. Since we kept the aluminum structure mostly stock (I don't know if your gutting yours or keeping it original) in the back of the box for the bottom storage. One thing I am going to change is to get rid of the sliding covers setup. It seemed nice to have all that storage right there but what we found is that all the random stuff would bounce around and make it tough to get at anything you wanted. So My plan is to take the cut off disk and remove the bottom lip so it is even with the floor then build some pull out drawers that fit in there. All that nice storage just gets too cluttered. Sorry to rant... :) Have fun!
 

chilliwak

Expedition Leader
I agree with everyone else Outback. Thats a fine looking rig you have there and with low mileage too! I am interested to see what you do with her. Keep us updated with lots of pics so we can follow your build. Cheers, Chilli..:wings:
 

Outback

Explorer
Hi Guys. I have been busy as usual. BUT I got her running!. The poor M1010 had been scavenged by the CUCV mechanics. They had taken the Glow plug card, Glow plug relay,DUVAC system (glad they took that), batteries, Transmission mount, dash gauge cluster cover. etc etc etc etc etc. I have replaced the entire glow plug system just about. I have performed all of the electrical upgrades found on Steel Soldiers. This includes starter relay mod (Doghead relay mod), New Glow plug upgraded relay, new glow plugs, civil glow plug connector mods, new AC Delco glow plugs, etc etc etc. I also completely cleaned the cab. The cab had 1/2" of bird droppings in it as well as New Mexico dust. Enough dust to fill a sand box. Cab cleaned and detailed. Seats and everything else cleaned. I even disinfected the cab.

The first start up. I started her up for the first time on Tuesday. I cycled the glow plugs and turned the key. She instantly started but quickly sputtered out. Again I cycled the glow plugs and she started right up again and kept running. What a feeling that was! So I hoped out and checked to make sure no leaks were happening. Diesel fuel was blow out from behind the fuel filter at an astonishing rate! I shut her down. After some internet searches I finally found what the cause was. The water in fuel sensor was bad and blowing fuel out of it. This problem caused GM to delete the hole that allows the fuel to the sensor and the sensor back in 1990. So I did the same thing. I drilled out and tapped the hole to 10x1/4" threads. I used a stainless steel bolt and rubber washer. Locktighted and screwed in place the leak is gone. This is a permanent fix. I also had a coolant leak on the firewall where I had added new silicone heater hoses. I simply moved the double wrapped hose clamp closer to the bell on the heater core. leak fixed. I have so far replaced all of the fluids except the Differentials fluids and T case fluid. Both look good but may be 34 years old. I will do that when I return from my next deployment. I will also pull the hubs and repack all the bearings while I am at it.
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Outback

Explorer
As soon as I finish going through the entire drivetrain I will start on the cosmetic stuff and cab interior. After that I will install a ORD 4" lift. My tires will be 255/85R16 BFG KM2 Mts or Toyo 255/85R16 Mts. These will be on stock wheels. The wheels will be powder coated satin black. I will also change my gear ratios from 4.56 to 3.73. A built 700R4 will be installed as well as a NP205 T case with a Magnum Box added. The 700R4 will be a Raptor 700R4. More than capable of 600 HP 450 FT LBS. I don't think it will have a problem behind a Banks Turbo charged 6.2 diesel diesel! Once I have that done I plan to fabricate some rock slider/step and add another 20 gallon side tank as well as a rear 40 to 50 gallon fuel tank. The rear tank will be plumbed to fill one or both of the side tanks. The rear tire will be move to the rear bumper that I will modify and add a swing out tire carrier. The inside camper section is pretty much designed but will be the last thing I work on.
 
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chilliwak

Expedition Leader
Wow:Wow1:Outback you really have been busy! Sounds like you have gotten alot acomplished. Incredible what can build up in our old rigs over time. Happy to hear you have your rig both clean and running now. Thanks for posting pics and we all look forward to seeing your progress when you get back at er. Cheers, Chilli...:)
 

Outback

Explorer
Wow:Wow1:Outback you really have been busy! Sounds like you have gotten alot acomplished. Incredible what can build up in our old rigs over time. Happy to hear you have your rig both clean and running now. Thanks for posting pics and we all look forward to seeing your progress when you get back at er. Cheers, Chilli...:)
Thanks Chilliwak. I just wished I had a 8 to 4 or 9 to 5 job near my home. I am gone so much its hurts the progress of my projects. When I get home I have to work on it rain or shine cold or hot. If not then it wouldn't get done. I hope next year I will have my workshop built. No pack rats, mice, dust, rain sleet or hail. Nice temperature controlled environment. I had my work truck parked in front of my house last night and the little critters chewed up the wire harness and made a nest under the hood. Its a Toyota Tacoma. 1,200 bucks and some change worth of damage in one night! I finally killed them off around my M1010 but not in the front of the house I guess. We have a Pack Rat somewhere. When I got back from dropping my work truck off I checked my wife's brand new Jeep Rubicon. Sure enough you could see little track trails in the dust on the engine. I pulled the plastic cover off and sure as **** there was a nest made up of the sound deeding foam on the bottom of the cover. Not enough room for a pack rat. Thank GOD I found it and the other little mouse nests. Blew them out and vacuumed up everything. Nothing damaged but the foam. More rat and mouse poison out front now too.

This year I will be building my mom a small cottage on my property then next year a shop for me. About time. I was going to build the shop this year but family comes first.
 

chilliwak

Expedition Leader
Thanks Chilliwak. I just wished I had a 8 to 4 or 9 to 5 job near my home. I am gone so much its hurts the progress of my projects. When I get home I have to work on it rain or shine cold or hot. If not then it wouldn't get done. I hope next year I will have my workshop built. No pack rats, mice, dust, rain sleet or hail. Nice temperature controlled environment. I had my work truck parked in front of my house last night and the little critters chewed up the wire harness and made a nest under the hood. Its a Toyota Tacoma. 1,200 bucks and some change worth of damage in one night! I finally killed them off around my M1010 but not in the front of the house I guess. We have a Pack Rat somewhere. When I got back from dropping my work truck off I checked my wife's brand new Jeep Rubicon. Sure enough you could see little track trails in the dust on the engine. I pulled the plastic cover off and sure as **** there was a nest made up of the sound deeding foam on the bottom of the cover. Not enough room for a pack rat. Thank GOD I found it and the other little mouse nests. Blew them out and vacuumed up everything. Nothing damaged but the foam. More rat and mouse poison out front now too.

This year I will be building my mom a small cottage on my property then next year a shop for me. About time. I was going to build the shop this year but family comes first.
Wow:Wow1:thats crazy! I heard of rodent problems but that is scary! Too bad you cant have a pack of killer cats to address that problem. Well good to hear you got your rigs back on the road and all is good. I am also building my garage(24ft. by 24ft. by 12ft. high) finished by making an extra level above for living quarters. I to am looking to be able to do builds and maitenance inside so I know what you mean. Good luck and please post lots of pics so we can follow your house, garage, and most certainly your truck build. Cheers, Chilli...
 

stevo-mt

Northwest Man of Mystery
I am always worried about rodent problems too. When I bought my property and shop out in the country the mice were everywhere before I cleaned house. I ended up putting this copper mesh between the outside tin and sill plate on the concrete, then rodent foam to seal everything else on my shop. It seems like a pertinent subject to talk about since our vehicles sit for a while untouched. Peppermint on cotton balls is supposed to help keep mice out. My neighbor swears by it. You just put a little peppermint on them and scatter them around. I've seemed to have good luck with this earth kind stuff. I have a few packages scattered around my truck.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00L236OMW/ref=mp_s_a_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1488726015&sr=8-2&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_FMwebp_QL65&keywords=rodent+repellent

But the best thing I've found is the continuous mouse trap. Basically a five gallon bucket with a ramp to the top of the lip. Then you skewer a can that is out in the center suspended. You put some peanut butter on it but the aluminum is slick so they can't eat it and fall in. The last part I found out on accident. After winterizing my RV I had a little RV antifreeze left over in a bucket on an outer cabinet that ended having a place mice could get in. I didn't smell it because the RV antifreeze... But as long as you secure it so dogs or cats couldn't get to it I think it's one of the best ways I know to keep them dang rodents out.

We try to be humane with the repellent pouches, which actually smell pretty nice and seem to work in the cab so far, but when it comes down to it the continuous trap has given us good results. At least peace of mind...

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