M35A3 Custom Camper


This is no relation to me, but I think I've seen reference to in on this board. I've just put up the ad and the pictures from Craig's List so that after the ad expires, it can still be seen:

Description: 6X6 Off Road Motorhome

Chassis is a 6X6 M35-A3, powered by a Caterpillar 3116 engine, Allison AT 1545 automatic transmission and Rockwell 2.5 ton top loading axles with over-drive gearing. Additional features include a hydraulic winch, Central Tire Inflation System, air-ride leather seats, air over hydraulic brakes, exhaust brake, air assist steering, cold-start ether starting system and double layer sound insulation (still not really quiet).

Coachworks include 2 sleeping areas (one double bed and one queen), full kitchen with 3-burner stove, gas oven, microwave, fridge/freezer, large stainless steel sink and real granite counter top. Bath includes porcelain sink and toilet with full standup shower. All floors are natural cork and all cabinet faces are solid maple. Creature comforts include a 6-gal. water heater, air conditioning and forced air heating in the coach.

Coach construction is welded square-tube steel covered by an aluminum skin with a baked on finish and fully insulated walls and roof. There are outside lockable side storage compartments, outdoor shower/cleaning station, patio awning and additional enclosed storage on the roof.

Other Features include: Walk-on roof, 100-watt solar and 5-KW propane generator, TV with in-motion satellite 4-person intercom system and 2.5 ton Jeep trailer w/ air brakes.


Overall Length 24'

Width 8'

Height 12'-6'

Interior heights 7'-0"

Fresh Water 70gal. Heated

Gray Water 45 gal. Heated

Black Water 25 gal. Heated

LPG Capacity 2 X 10 gal

Fuel Capacity 50 + 30 gal.

Wet Weight +/-19,000 lbs.

This is an American built vehicle. The “Cat” engine and Allison transmission can be serviced at any local dealer. Parts are available. Many parts can be purchased at military surplus sites at excellent prices.
It is a relatively simple vehicle because military requirements limited the use of computers and other electronics that might compromise the vehicle’s reliability.
The vehicle comes with operation and service manuals on CD Jeep trailer with air over hydraulic brakes
On-board tools include:
Large hand tools (sockets and wrenches)
Air tools
Power Socket wrench (NATO plug)
Many spare parts including rear axle and 24 Volt generator
One spare tire and wheel with vehicle and a second for storage


This vehicle was commissioned to the U.S. military in 1973 as an M-35 A2 and assigned V.I.N. 054010965. In 1996, the vehicle was purchased privately and sent to AM General where it was completely reconditioned and converted to an M-35 A3 at a cost of +/- $140,000. I purchased the vehicle in early 2003 with less than 500 miles since the reconditioning. In 2004, I contracted with Ultra Haulers of Corona, California to remove the "Conestoga Wagon" back and build the motor home coach works. The current mileage is +/-17,500 I know this sounds like a lot of money, but this vehicle has to be seen to be appreciated. Its like new.



Wire twister
Wow, I can only imagine what it is going for. I didn't see a price, so I am going to guess about 200k?

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I've seen a few nice A3's sell out of Barstow for under $8000 in the last six months. Prices have been driven up on all of the surplus Deuces (A2's & A3's) recently though, because there haven't been as many coming up for sale (especially on the west coast). Personally though, I don't think the A3's have much to offer. Especially when they're selling for 2-3 times the price of A2's. They're still under-powered, the CTIS system blows, the bodywork is TERRIBLE (the hood actually slants UP towards the front), the air-assisted power-steering is only mediocre at best (from what I've heard, no personal experience), and they're not multifuels. I do like the hydraulic winches and the super-singles on the A3's, but I'd rather buy an A2 and spend all that extra money on upgrades! I just bought a 5-ton multifuel engine to swap into my M109. It's basically the same engine (2.5-ton is an LDT & 5-ton is an LDS), but the power is bumped-up from 130hp to about 205hp AND it can still burn just about anything.

Oh, and that guy's asking $140,000 for that rig on craigslist.


Yeah, I removed the pricing and contact info, since I wasn't pimping for the guy (don't know him, and have just seen the ad recently). Mostly, I was trying to preserve the ad and pictures for the next time someone does a search for a deuce or M35-based camper.

Uh.... like me. ;)

I've been thinking about an A2 with either a Cummins or LDS swap and super singles. There's one for sale now on the East coast set up like that.

But, since I'm only just now teaching myself to weld mild steel, I think that aluminum fabrication for a camper box may be a step or two down the road.


I think an M35A3 would be my truck of choice if I were to re-do Casa on another Chassis. But I'd go for the ones made by BMY because they had Cummins 6CTA motors in them (personal preferance). I'd also remove a rear axle.
"A3's" are comming up GL more often now, but the bidding has been hot & heavy.
Why use an A3 chassis if you're going to remove an axle? It seems to me that one of the advantages of using that chassis is the walking-beam rear suspension setup. Wouldn't removing that put you right back where you are with your F-700?


4x4 deuces are pretty ************. Lots of people are bobbing them (dropping an axle & shortening the frame), but I've thought about dropping the mid-axle on my M109. Doubt I'll do it, but it would drop a lot of weight, and it would still be really capable off-road.


If I wasn't planning on living in mine full-time, I'd have just bought an M35 and one of those giant slide-in cabover campers. The 12ft bed could easily fit even the largest ones without any additional overhang, and the cabover is a great use of space. That's the only thing I wish I could change about my M109. Instead, I built a cabover rack that's NOT connected to the interior of the box, and I'm using it as a place to mount the AC condenser, water heaters, generator, etc. Maybe six of one, half-a-dozen of the other, but something to consider. Otherwise, the M109 box is GREAT. It weighs about 4000lbs, but it's double-walled steel with 2" thick insulation in the walls/ceiling and has really nice fold-out, double-pane windows that are rated for high-altitude/cold weather.


What can I say...I'm a serious Ludite!
Beside that, I've found from experience...
That on a vehicle the size of Casa...the issue is not size "so much" (once you commit to having HUGE truck you understand there are place you won't go), but mass.
I've read both you and DHackney talking about the mass issue. I guess I kept thinking that the third axle would be a good way to distribute the load, and reduce the bad effects of increased mass. But I guess it's also adding mass, any way you look at it.

I'll have to get my head around it.

And I totally concur with your thoughts on diesel versus multifuel. The multifuels can't do anything (that I really want, at least) that a diesel can't do. Your point about A3 vs adding super singles is also well taken. I may just re-evaluate my shopping list....

(Rant)One issue I had with the SS guys is their attitude about first-time deuce buyers. I understand that it's a completely different animal from a 1-ton truck, but their insistence that all MV owners should start out with something smaller is not useful. I currently have a 1-ton diesel. What will owning an M1009 teach me that I don't know now? (/Rant)


Really? I've rebuilt cars and motorcycles over the years, and owned and done maintenance on several trucks. The M1009s are just converted civilian GM trucks. Is there that much different in the militarization that it will be useful and transferable to an M35? I would have thought that the differences between a civilian model and a militarized model would have been vastly less than the difference between either of those and a deuce.

(And I just looked it up: I meant M1008, the CUCV pickup, not the M1009 CUCV Blazer.)

Hmmm. More to consider.


Why use an A3 chassis if you're going to remove an axle? It seems to me that one of the advantages of using that chassis is the walking-beam rear suspension setup. Wouldn't removing that put you right back where you are with your F-700?
The A3 also has the Cat engine and auto tranny...and all (I think) A3's were actually made from factory rebuilt A2's


...And for the tractor to pull you out when you "F'd up"!
Which, of course, brings us full circle to the bit you said about people buying these on impulse. Although I wouldn't be buying it on impulse, I must confess that I really do like the idea of going off-roading in my local desert a few times before I build a camper box!


I used to drive 5/4 (radio and line) trucks and my share of deuce and a halfs.The uprated 1 tons that became 5/4's do have a little in common with their little 1 ton brothers but you will find all kinds of idiosyncrasies that will having you banging your head agianst a wall asking why:confused:
You will also have to get some bigger tools:)
And to the other comment about SS telling you to start out with something smaller if you are going to get involved in something olive drab, heed the advice!
People buy A2's and A3's for all kinds of reasons but they don't make good pets.:coffee:

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And to the other comment about SS telling you to start out with something smaller if you are going to get involved in something olive drab, heed the advice!
People buy A2's and A3's for all kinds of reasons but they don't make good pets.:coffee:
Yes, I get that. But if I'm interested in one not because I want to collect MVs, but because of the very reason that they're different, there's not much use in starting somewhere else, know what I mean?


Joaquin Suave:

Looking at the dimensions and drawings you have posted, you mention that the shower pan and grey-water tank are an integral unit. If I look at the CAD drawing of Casa:

I see the fridge in blue, right? I think I see the shower head poking out in another picture. Is your shower in the entry way? If so, do you have a toilet in that space as well?

(I linked to the CAD drawing on the Overland Hardware site. If you're unhappy with that, let me know, and I'll edit my post to remove the link.)