Its a dream but a good dream !


I have been thinking about building a 4x4 camper/expedition truck.

Don't have the money for a off the showroom floor truck . BIG $$$$$$ . Love them all but the Wife would never go for it. LOL

Started looking for a donor's and found the Stewart & Stevenson M1078 LMTV 4x4 Cargo Truck. I like the look and its a auto trans ! The Wife can drive it ? Well she could if she wanted or had to. Their a pretty good truck and for now its what I think will work for me.

I have been playing with the design part of the problem and have come up with this.

Box will be able to be removed. Its about 8' x 15' x 6'11" . This may change because I want to be able to tow and the hitch is to far under the box. Will also try to keep all the heavy systems down low. May even try my hand a building some slide outs ? Thinking about using foam core FRP for the box with some steel frame to hold things together ?

All I need now is a win at the auction ? Needless to say I'm a cheap ***. But I love to build so its all good.

I will put together a list of what she will have as I go forward with the idea/concept.


P.S. Your input is welcomed but don't be to hard on me.:eek:


Every good design starts with dreaming :ylsmoke:

Knowing just how much drive, energy, and foresite it takes to pull it off successfully,
I encourage you to plan, plan, plan. Put pen to paper with regards to EVERYTHING before anything else.

With enough prep and research, you have a chance :)

I too have considered the Stewart & Stevenson M1078, but am not thrilled about the engine.
More specifically, the fuel mileage.
Beyond that, they look to be fantastic rigs. Super capable, overbuilt, and relatively affordable.
I've seen more than a few in the paper locally in the 18-22k range. All with less than 40k miles.
And I agree, the auto trans is a GOOD thing.


Have a good friend that is a instructor with CAT. When I asked him ,he said stay with the older motor 3116. He said that the newer motor had some problems with the head and are hard to work on in the field with all the electrical (PC) systems.

He also to help with getting the power up to 290-300 range. And their are some ways to improve the top speed but I don't think I will go that way ?

As for MPG ? I will drive my VW TDI for that. With this size truck I will be stuck with 5 to maybe 7.

Doing research on Insurance, I found Progresive will cover it on my policy. Cool.

One of the big problems with the truck in all the wiring ! They were ok when new but age is showing its ugly face. Lucky I have all the TM's.


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Cool plan. Good luck with the the auction. If you're not already on steel soldiers they have a ton of info on axle pinion swaps to help slow the engine down and pick up some mpg. Look forward to following!


No luck today at the Auction . But their is always the next one then the next one, and so on ! LOL

But did some wiring on another project .

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Another auction this coming next week.. We will see ?

Been working on another build. Came up with a sealing idea.

I have had this problem with the old floor in the box. Its what to do ? Their are some of the hard wood lamination that are split. Can see the light under the truck.Maybe 1/16" or smaller.

Put a hard wood ply over it ? But how do you seal it ? What about sound deadening ? Waterproofing ?

What to do ? I was reading a post over at Steel Soldier about sound deadening. They were using something called Peal and Stick. This is a rolled roofing material with a alum cover .Shop Peel & Seal Instant Waterproof Repairs 3-ft W x 33.5-ft L 100-sq ft Aluminum Roll Roofing at

It seals,sticks to wood ( and just about anything it gets near ) works as a good sound deadener. Water proof.

So this is the way I went. Over this will be cork flooring.



No,think we will stay in the USA and maybe Canada. Last time I left the states they gave me a gun. Besides, I'm not sure its safe here let alone in the outside "World" in general ? Oh, and its just to BIG . And I have no budget for that kind of trip.

I raced offshore and she was built for pulling my boat. Now it will just pull me around. Well until I get and start the M1078 ?

Here is a link to the rebuild.


I'm giving up on the M1078. Their just going up in price ! Guess I got to the party late ? LOL

So how about this ?

This all started at Overland Expo. Got a look at some of the "Dakar" like expedition trucks. But the price !!

I started looking at the military M1078. Big,heavy, and no MPG ! Like 5 MPG. Top speed of 58 mph. Over the last year the price just keeps going higher.

I was looking at the net and saw a TV program with this build called a Crawler Hauler . Used a older NPR chassis,Cummins 5.9,Allison 1000 tran's and F350 4x4 axles.

This got me thinking . ( sometime this is bad) Why not go this way. The fabbing I can do. But this is were all of you come in.

I'm not a Dodge (Cummins 5.9) guy. But that is what I want to use. I'm open to auto trans. Needs to last. I have a F250 4x4 so that seems like a good choice for the axles.(Dana 60) Also need your input on the transfer case.

Chassis will be a 1993 + NPR/Isuzu. I have read the Fuso chassis steel could be better ? This will get a box in the 15' to 18' box.

Wheels will be MRAP alum. 10" x 20" with 395/85r20 for tires. Been working on a adapter for the MRAP to Ford axles.

Use will be general camping and some traveling . I have a JK for going deep but don't do that much anymore. I'm OLD .

I like the idea of it not being as heavy as the M1078. Think I could get it into the 10,000# range. Have a good cruse speed (say 65 to 70) and maybe better MPG ? (14 to 16 )

Think the budget will be in the $10,000 to $15,000 range.

With this in mind what would you use ? Or should I just go away ? LOL

Thanks for the input.


Would it be a single or dual cab you're looking at?

If it's a dual cab, converting an Isuzu may be worthwhile, it's what RC Truck Sales do, they keep the original motor (from memory).

If it's a single cab you're looking at doing, why not buy an FG with the 4x4 system already in place? Spent some money on the turbo, suspension and associated mods.

Biggest issues might be the budget and rust, looks like used FG's aren't exactly cheap and tend to be used either in snow or salt areas. Alternatively, have you looked at Kodiak's or older International/Freightliner trucks?


Here is a link to the idea.

As for others.The cab over motor and the "Dakar" look is what i'm going for.That will leave the others out. All I will be using is the cab and frame. All the rest will be replaced with the best parts from Ford,Chevy and Dodge. Of course their will be some custom stuff but I will keep that limited to some thing that can be built in the field.

I will be staying in the US and Canada. So parts will never be a problem.

But thanks for the other ideas.

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Thanks Maninga. Great link. A little over the top but all go info.

Think my idea is a little low key compared to this build ? LOL

Found a 4 door cab but the shipping would be a killer. Going to keep looking for something closer.