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bigdaddylee82 SuperDork
12/7/15 4:25 p.m.

After thinking about this some more, we're all approaching this from the wrong angle. Not that anyone needs an excuse to own a Unimog, but if ever there were a perfect solution to a problem, in this case, the Unimog is it. That's it problem solved, now go buy a Unimog.

Junkyard_Dog SuperDork
12/7/15 5:27 p.m.

How about this?

They are getting old and will be replaced soon: article.

Grummen LLV built on 2 door S-10 Blazer chassis. Substitute 4wd chassis and there you go. (I've been thinking about doing this for years).

curtis73 GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
12/7/15 6:16 p.m.
Ian F wrote:
curtis73 wrote: I hate 4x4, but I need it. If I could get out of it, I would. I have two properties that are remote camps in the middle of nowhere. One is about 3 miles of fording streams, steep-ish hills, and mud to get there. I have been there without 4x4 twice; once it hadn't rained for two months and it was ok as long as I was very careful in some spots. The other time it had rained and I got stuck.... meaning I had to hike three miles through the woods in the rain to get cell phone service. Then my dad had to drive 4 hours with his truck just to pull me 4 feet out of a mud hole.... after walking three miles back to the truck in the rain. Never again. I spend a lot of time talking people OUT of 4x4 or AWD, but it really is a need for me unfortunately.
Maybe just add a winch?

Doesn't do much good in the middle of a field unless I carry a sledge and a pin.

Plus, the 4x4 trucks I'm finding around here are cheaper than a good winch.


curtis73 GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
12/7/15 6:28 p.m.
bigdaddylee82 wrote: Does it have to be a daily driver too? How about a bobbed Deuce & a Half? It could potentially make DD duty, but I'm not sure it would be pleasant in downtown traffic situations. Though traffic would sure get the heck out of your way. Or CUCV Ambulance, radio, or similar military "box" trucks? They came in Chevy and Dodge flavors. Or a more modern 4x4 Ambulance?

CUCVs are fantastic, but it really boils down to the fact that they are insanely priced for what you get. The D60 front and 10.5FF rear is beefy, but then they put one of two chain-drive transfer cases in it, a 150-hp diesel, 4.56 gears and a TH400, so top speed is 55 at best. Then add in a complete lack of any amenities and it just seems to have all the DD allure of a cardboard box. Cheapest one I found was $5500 with no motor or trans and it was 1500 miles away. Nice ones go for 8000-10,000.

I could see myself spending up to $2000, maybe $2500 on a pickup if I go that way, but there are so many around here for $800-1000 with power windows, power locks, A/C, cloth seats...

A pickup is the obvious smart way to go for cheap 4x4 and I might do that. I still can't get anyone to get back to me about their trucks. This is insane. The one I posted above is perfect, but he emailed back once and now he dropped off the face of the planet again.

Deuce and a half is just too big. I also don't want to need a stepladder to access anything in the bed. (by the way, have you noticed that newer trucks are berkeleying high? Dad's 08 dually has a bed that is about 5' off the ground from the factory.)

Ambulance would be AWESOME. But they're usually way out of my budget. I found one for $4k but it was gas and the tranny was bad. That's a lot of money for a lot of work.

curtis73 GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
12/7/15 6:30 p.m.
Junkyard_Dog wrote: How about this? They are getting old and will be replaced soon: article. Grummen LLV built on 2 door S-10 Blazer chassis. Substitute 4wd chassis and there you go. (I've been thinking about doing this for years).

Looks too small, but I might be surprised. Also, no bueno at towing heavy stuff.

bigdaddylee82 SuperDork
12/7/15 10:19 p.m.

In reply to curtis73:

GM CUCV trucks had a full float 14 bolt with a locker, Detroit or Gov Lock, and an NP205 transfer case which doesn't use a chain, it's all gear.

The 6.2l diesel is a bit of a boat anchor, the Turbo 400 doesn't have overdrive, and they aren't geared for highway use, but they're a Chevy truck, and there's endless options to remedy any or all of those issues.

Along those lines, on another forum I'm on some guy found a new unused Banks Sidewinder kit for his 6.2l Suburban. Personally, I'd probably go Vortec 350 swap and call it a day, though retrofitting A/C would probably be pretty high on the priority list too.

I had one when I worked for the NPS, painted white right over the CARC, and arrow head stickers slapped on the doors. Only mods were the military radio(s) removed, and a goose neck ball added to the bed. We towed a Bobcat T300 with a 20" Tree Terminator, on a ~24' steel, dual wheel tandem axle, dove tail, goose neck. When loaded, you could measure acceleration time with a calendar, and there were more than a few times I had to use low range to get started from a complete stop on an incline, but it always did what we asked of it.

Around here the trucks are $3-$5K in decent condition, I've seen a few listed at $7K+ but they're either very modified, or crack pipe pricing, which never sell. The ambulances might be a different story, I can only recall coming across a few, but no clue on pricing. Sadly, so many have been bought just to harvest the axles and transfer case, they're getting to be fewer and fewer out there.

PHeller PowerDork
12/8/15 9:13 a.m.

Wonder how difficult it would be to find the box of a CUCV Ambulance and plop it down on a GMT.

WOW Really Paul?
WOW Really Paul? MegaDork
12/8/15 12:18 p.m.

Too much emphasis on getting places in a hurry versus just getting places others can't. Even if you buy a 4wd truck, the places you mention seem to indicate a specific need of a good winch anyways.....4x4 only means you get even more stuck after all.

92dxman Dork
12/8/15 3:56 p.m.








curtis73 GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
12/8/15 6:25 p.m.
PHeller wrote: Wonder how difficult it would be to find the box of a CUCV Ambulance and plop it down on a GMT.

There is one on Ebay for $950, but I would likely just build a box instead of finding an existing.

There are also occasionally boxes that come up for sale; a 12' box van that got wrecked or otherwise repurposed sometimes they'll sell just the box.

I thought about getting really creative with a flatbed, box, or other alternative bed system, but the truth is a bed with a good utility cap is a pretty handy and secure cargo space.

Mike GRM+ Memberand Dork
12/8/15 6:27 p.m.

I've been sorta kinda thinking about that stuff since I learned about the Colorado Midbox.

SVreX MegaDork
12/8/15 7:25 p.m.

In reply to Mike:

Bell South utility body trucks have pull out drawers like that. About 5' deep.

I've owned 6.

Cromwell1667 New Reader
1/12/19 7:09 p.m.

In reply to curtis73 :

Being 2019 I’m just seeing your post. How did it work out for you?  I have a 1990 GMC Grumman Olson step van that has a 350 engine and I-beam front suspension.  I am also looking to swap the I-beam out and put a straight axle in the front and add a transfer case to make it a 4x4 for off grid camping. 


Curtis GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
1/12/19 7:54 p.m.

I never followed through with it.  Instead, I got divorced, moved across the state, got a new job, new girlfriend, new house, lost the girlfriend, almost quit the job, now the job rocks, and bought a 4x4 pickup for the time being.

It's still a project I'd love to do.  There is a bit of a hurdle to overcome with the front frame.  Notice the I-beam axle has a significant drop to it.  A solid axle will need some lift (depends on the chassis) to get enough travel.  Basically where I left the research was trying to find step vans that shared a mostly-common frame with its pickup counterpart so that hopefully there would be an outside chance of using parts-bin stuff to make it happen.  I got as far as finding that GM P30s up to 91 (I think) share very similar architecture with the older trucks (73-87) but not enough to go diving into the parts bin.

I recall thinking that since 2wd and 4wd frames are often so different on the bottom of the frame, I started thinking about the top.  A 4wd frame and running gear might be different on the bottom of the frame, but they all have to hold the same pickup body on the top.  My next venture was going to be finding a step van that shared some common stuff with a pickup and then swap the whole step van body onto a 4wd version instead of trying to swap 4wd stuff onto to a 2wd frame.

Last ditch would have been attempting to graft on a front frame section from an IRS 4wd truck.

nutherjrfan UltraDork
1/12/19 7:55 p.m.
Wall-e said:

When I did towing for Wise potato chips they had some small SRW step vans that had 4cyl Cummins motors, four speeds and straight axles that would be perfect for what your talking about.

how much merchandise ahem 'fell out the back' ahem during the average tow? winklaughdevil

Tk8398 Reader
1/13/19 3:01 p.m.

My dad used to drive those 4 cylinder Cummins trucks and he said the vibration is pretty extreme, and they would regularly crack the intercooler because of it.

Curtis GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
1/13/19 3:14 p.m.

4BTs are a rattly beast for sure.

I frequently keep my ears to the ground for a mid-sized diesel for swaps but they're few and far between.  They are starting to hit the market like the F150s and other "medium" diesels, but they're complex and pricey.  NPR and Nissan UD make some sorta middle-sized I-6s but they're designed for utility and they're heavy and not very refined.  Some of the mercedes diesels are almost big enough for some things, but what I want is basically a 4.0 - 4.5L diesel 6-pot in the 250hp range.  Seems like the choices these days are 150hp 3.0L or 400hp 6.7L

International's Brazilian counterpart is a company called MWM and they make a 4.5L that would be perfect... but there is zero parts support up here.  If you call International (the parent company for MWM) they haven't even heard of the brazilian brother

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