Desert Turtle - M1010 Build


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Time for an update. I basically finished up the install of the gauges and am very happy how they turned out. Here are some final pics of the install for them.

Modified the original lens cover so I could have it cover the shift indicator and mounted an LED to shine down to light it.



Installing into the dash


Installed and working





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Another project I finally got completed was a rear view camera setup. I found this cool touch screen mirror setup on Amazon and thought this would be a nice way to setup the M1010. It straps to the vehicle mirror (I happened to have a spare windshield mounted mirror in my parts) and you run wiring for power, GPS and the camera. This is a cool unit that not only has the rear camera but a built in dash cam. You can even split screen it. You put in a Micro SD card so it will record while driving as well. I bought the hard wire power adapter (comes with a cigarette plug standard) and the extra long camera cable (original one works great for a car but not a long bed type truck). I ran all the wires and since there is no headliner to hide the wires in, I used woven mesh split loom and put all the wires into that. Then I used wire clamps that I riveted to the header, running the wires along the windshield gasket, then ran down the A-pillar into the dash. I also made a bracket to mount the camera on, that mounts to the rear bumper where I removed the trailer plug that had been installed previously, that I am not using. This works great and it is nice to see what is behind me, especially when backing up.






Rendezvous Conspirator
Mike, I like that mirror setup. Been looking for something like that for our van. Got a link?


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Mike, I like that mirror setup. Been looking for something like that for our van. Got a link?

Here you go.


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Well I haven't had a lot of updates on the M1010 as I got sidetracked on another project we picked up mid Feb, a '48 Chevy Stylemaster 2 door sedan.


But on to the project for today. I have been wanting to get the Wrangler seats installed and finally had free time. I pulled the drivers seat and after a bunch of measuring, it looked like I could use the factory brackets and make some cross bar pieces and bolt everything together. Overall it went well but after getting it installed, with the stock brackets, it sits about an 1" or so too high. I'll need to fab up my own mounts and get this lowered. I think once I can do that (which I need to get metal as I don't have what I need) these will work out very nice.



Needed to cut this bracket piece off, from the Wrangler seat.




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Update from Memorial Day project. My best friend got me a hookup on some Thunder Sky LifePo4 lithium batteries. First order of business is to reduce the pack down to 4 cells, to make a 12v pack. That was a PITA as I had to re-bend and drill 16 straps. Being stainless steel, this was not a simple project. My plan was to put them into plastic ammo cans. I happened to find some on Amazon that looked like they would work perfectly. Once dropped in, I cut the included tray to make a cover over the top of the cells. Now I need to order a couple BMS units to manage each pack. They will sit on top of the covers. Each pack is 100Ah so 200Ah total. These should work out great.









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Back on the seat project this past Saturday. Pulled the seat back out and was figuring I would need to make a new set of floor brackets and use the sliders from the Jeep seats. After getting it out, I realized the Jeep sliders did unbolt from the seat (I thought they were welded on). By removing them and then modifying my brackets on the stock GM sliders, I was able to mount the seat directly to them and in turn, dropped the height a little over an inch. This ended up being perfect and puts the seat at the correct height in the truck. Even the Jeep "seat lift" system still works. Now need to figure out the passenger side, as this does not have sliders. That seat is a fixed mount. Could be interesting.








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Back on the battery project. I got the rest of the parts I needed and completed one of my two battery banks I am building. I wanted something very clean looking, serviceable and not looked all hacked together. I purchased two 120Ah BMS units from Overkill Solar off Amazon. He is a member on the DIY Solar Power Forum, which is where I did a LOT of my research at. It was tight getting everything to fit but it all does and should work well. This BMS is fully programmable and does have a low temp cutoff (and high temp). LifePO4 cells can be damaged if you try to charge them below freezing. This is the newer model that has the port for a switch to turn off the discharge side, so if in storage for a while, nothing will be drawing from it, other than the BMS. If I really need to power it down, I just disconnect the balance plug and that effectively powers it off. Very happy with how this turned out. Now I need to finish #2.

BMS unit

3/8" terminals

It's a tight fit and the cable need to route correctly but it all fits

Wiring done, terminals and cutoff switch installed. BT module taped down.

All closed up and ready to use

Here are three screenshots showing the discharge status (on or off) as I change the switch. Also showing all 4 cells very balanced. This is from the Android app, where you can change all types of settings.
BMS Info.jpg

Outside of finishing the second pack, this project is done.


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Had a busy but good weekend on the M1010. Saturday I set out to build the mounting system for the passenger side seat. After pulling out the original seat, I ended up using the two rear "feet" off of it but found the front ones were too high, since I was going to use the Wrangler sliders. Originally the pass. seat does not move. Broke out the C channel and tools of destruction and went to town. About six hours of fab work and I ended up with a mount that located the seat on the same planes as the driver side. It is nice and strong. Got it all mocked up and then fully welded but ran out of time and energy to paint it. Figured that was a Sunday project and to get it installed. Saturday night, my Sunday plans changed direction. I happened to be randomly searching on FB Marketplace and ran across an ad for a Gear Vendors OD unit at a great price. It was almost new and the owner found that with the gearing and large tires on his '63 Chevy 4x4, he didn't need it. I contacted him and setup a time to meet. This was a 2 1/2 hour drive north, 280 miles round trip. I am beyond stoked to pick this up. It even was the setup with the fixed yoke output which is exactly what I wanted. I need to get the NP208 adapter as this has the NP205 one. This was a huge score and will make driving so much nicer. It came at a good time as I recently took video, using a "Go-Pro" type camera, of the driveshaft trying to find out my vibration. I have a slightly bent driveshaft so I was going to need to deal with that. Now I can just put in the one needed for the OD unit.






Great score!!!



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Update: Picked up the Gear Vendors NP208 adapter from them last Friday. Spent about 2 hours Saturday morning doing the mechanical install of the OD. Just ordered a new, custom made driveshaft and hope to have it by the end of the week. Need to do the wiring and top off fluids. If all goes well, might have this all wrapped up over the 4th weekend. Here's some progress pics.

Old NP208 slip yoke housing and driveshaft



The GV NP208 adapter and the OD unit itself



Old rear housing removed, the new adapter installed and then the OD





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Finished up the wiring on the overdrive this weekend. Didn't take any pics of that as it was not really anything noteworthy. Overall it is very simple since the controller has all of the wires plug in, with color codes. Time was looming up and routing but overall came out nice. Most tedious was filling the OD with fluid and topping off the transfer case, which apparently was low. I do have a vibration between 2000-2400 rpm's that goes away below or above that, so I still need to sort that out. Yoke angles are within spec so not really sure where the problem is. I did get out and test drive it and even out on the freeway. I am able to cruise at 65mph at the same rpm of 55mph. I also was able to get up to 75mph for a short stretch. I love that in autodrive it works just like a normal 4 speed auto. Trans runs through the first 3 gears like normal and at 40mph the OD kicks in. Unless I manually override it (with a foot switch) it will disengage at 25mph. It also has a 4x4 lockout so you cannot engage when you are in 4WD. Here's a quick video I did on my test drive showing it going into OD and then showing the RPM change when I turn it off and on with the foot switch.



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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


Mike, thanks for taking the time to write all this up. I am learning and picking up cool tips by following this build and your others.

What is the floor-to-ceiling height in the box?