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Thread: Tiny House On A Steel Soldier…………….Expedition Notes.

  1. #31
    Sergeant Major BrandonBellrose's Avatar
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    May 19th, 2017
    This is a camp area we found below Mt. Hoods ski resorts. There were a bunch of young skiers boondocking the site so we decided to join them. Our kids pulled out the Play Station VR horror game called "Rush of Blood", the skiers brought over drinks and good spirits. Everybody freak themselves out playing in virtual reality horror while already in a dark forest. Had quite the fun night in the spooky woods next to a roaring river.
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    Last edited by BrandonBellrose; 09-06-2017 at 05:32.

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    Big Dummy silverstate55's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrandonBellrose View Post
    <snip>

    Yes I felt stupid.
    You have a LOOOOONG way to go before you can out-stupid me....

    It happens, relax & enjoy your time with your wonderful family.

    Keep the pics & stories coming!

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  5. #33
    Sergeant Major BrandonBellrose's Avatar
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    Heading the Tiny House on a Steel Soldier further west we stopped briefly in Eugene, Oregon. Eugene seemed to be a gateway city with volcano mountainous terrain to the east, dunes and beaches to the west. The thought of camping on sand dunes next to the ocean just seemed the better choice since being in Montana we see quite a lot of mountains.

    While in Eugene we enjoyed cooking/grilling out at the big city park near the Autzen Stadium called Alton Baker Park. The park has a outdoor amphitheater “The Cuthbert” which had a Pink Floyd tribute band playing in the back ground while we enjoyed our food. Not finding a suitable boondocking spot we ended up sleeping between a bunch of over the road semi trucks at the local truck stop.

    The following morning we did our Costco shopping and made a big stop at Eugene's Cabela's outdoor store. We love stopping at Cabela's picking up a Mr. Heater Shower to go along with our already purchased small Mr. Heater propane heater. We also picked up some hand multi channel CB radios to talk better with the kids in the m109a3 ShopVan.

    On the way out of town with the family urging a stop was made at the local farm and ranch store for a horse stock tank. The fun of having a tub in our Tiny House On a Steel Soldier was a no brainer, family smells being kept at bay was the only way to keep this adventure on track.

    Loaded up we felt ready for Oregon sand dunes.
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    Last edited by BrandonBellrose; 09-24-2017 at 01:08.

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  7. #34
    Sergeant Major BrandonBellrose's Avatar
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    Packed tight with groceries and new gear we set off for the Oregon Coast. Traveling oregon hwy 126 from Eugene to Florence the truck made decent time through the narrow winding coastal mountain terrain. Our destination was Siltcoos Beach park near Dune City, Oregon where we had read that we might have access to sleeping on or near the beach.

    Upon arriving to Siltcoos Beach we decided to camp at there State beach camping area and spend a couple of days scouting the dunes and testing the limits of the Tiny House On A Steel Soldier. We were warned by a local military truck owner that our trailer with the water tank full would act as a anchor in the deep sand and a tow out could be extremely expensive. He urged maximum caution before just heading out onto the beach adding a few horror stories to backup his statements.

    I was not at all interested in the drama of being stuck right of the batt, so I thought jumping into the dunes with baby steps might be the right approach.

    In the back of my head I kept feeling that this is what this truck is built for, plus I have seen hundreds of pictures of expedition vehicles in deep sand all around the world. I couldn’t for the life of me think why Oregon sand would be any different then any other. But the thought of a several thousand dollar tow bill put that feeling in check real quick.
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    Last edited by BrandonBellrose; 09-24-2017 at 02:13.

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  9. #35
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    Well it was time to see what the Tiny House On A Steel Soldier was capable of in the sand. Having limited sand experience I was excited to get off-road and deflate my tires. I thought it would be best to keep the truck in high lock keeping speed up so if the sand became to deep speed would save me.

    In the beginning I was fallowing a sand covered beach trail heading for a break in the dunes sea wall to get access to the ocean beach. To my surprise the truck started bogging down with the feeling that I was sinking in the sand to unavoidably be buried. I looked at the dash and CTIS lights to make sure I had deflated the tires. I was really starting to have wheel hop with the two drive axles. The kids were getting upset with things falling around them in the M109a3 shop van.

    Looking down I noticed that I had forgotten to engage my front axle. So here I was a very experienced off-roader way out in the sand being stupid. With a sliding of a switch on the dash, my front axle engaged and the truck came alive in its element. To say this is where this truck wants to live is a understatement. In less then a breath of air the truck gave me confidence that led me to believe that it would go places I was not yet comfortable in experimenting.

    We crossed the Dune sea wall and was for the first time on the ocean side of the beach, life became truly enjoyable realizing that now I had miles of beach I could explore. The surf was breath taking leaving the whole family tickled with a true off-road adventure. Finally it felt that we were experiencing why we built the Tiny House on a Steel Soldier with words like “Overlander””Expedition Vehicle” having true meaning.
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    Last edited by BrandonBellrose; 09-24-2017 at 03:33.

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  11. #36
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    After miles of beach with the ocean surf occasionally sweeping into the Michelins, we pulled up onto a dune to enjoying dinner. The truck had shown its true colors, giving us a million dollar view while we ate our supper like kings. The air was cool and crisp hinting of the show we were about to see.

    A remote ocean sunset!! ............... Wow!!
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    General Russ Knight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrandonBellrose View Post
    May 3, 2017
    Break Down Scare in a Expensive City


    After spending several days in downtown Portland we headed towards the nearby town of Beaverton to have closer access to the zoo, museums, and parks nearer that area. Upon arriving and topping off with fuel I noticed when I turned on the battery switch nothing happen for a bit. Thinking I was crazy I tried flipped on and off the battery switch finding it harder and harder for it to turn on the truck. Quickly knowing this would be a really bad situation if for some reason I couldn’t start the truck being stalled on somebody’s private property, I jumped on SteelSoldier.com to research possible issues.

    With out to much trouble I found several post talking about Protective Control Box issues. After a quick read I knew I needed a PCB box, and while I waited to find/receive a box I couldn’t turn off the truck. I found a UPS store with out any issues and OshKosh military supply had the part, we just had to find a place to hangout and wait. Without thinking much about people seeing us as a nuisance parts were ordered and the waiting commenced.

    After getting permission from a business owner to park in his lot, not to long into the first night while parked a Beaverton police officer knocks on the side truck stating the truck is way to noisy and that complaints were being made. I explained to the officer my situation of not being able to turn off the truck, and his response was that Beaverton had a no idle law in place and if I didn’t turn the truck off or leave he would have to ticket me. The police officer stated the best place for us to stay was a truck stop some thirty miles away. He said that boondocking in Beaverton was frowned upon and if for some reason I were to stall the truck that the tow bill and storage would be devastating large. Being towed away and stranded with three kids and a dog was not a option and I had instant fears that this could snowball into a end of the adventure issue. At a truck stop if the truck were to stop running at least I could hang for awhile without the worry of a instant tow.

    So we headed for the truck stop to wait for the ordered parts, then that’s when I noticed that I was over charging. The gauge was way beyond the over charge side and I wasn’t quite sure why or what happening. The thought of boiling the batteries while waiting for the PCB stranded at a truck stop miles from where the UPS store was started feeling bleak. Not knowing what to do I started turning on everything electrical that I could to create some sort of drain on the batteries and jumped back on Steelsoldiers.com to trouble shoot. After hours passing and more reading I came across a post that said hit the PCB with a hammer, so I tried it. To my surprise the battery charging gauge went to the normal green.

    Thinking I had this issue beat we tried to have normal days waiting for the part. I taped the on/off switch with duck tape so I wouldn’t accidentally turn the truck off, and left the lights and heater on 24/7. While driving to get groceries at a not so nearby Walmart I hit several bumps in the road and quickly noticed that the battery charging gauge was back in the red. This time when I hit the PCB box with a hammer it wasn’t going back to the green. Not knowing if I was really over charging or if I was having a gauge issue caused by a PCB anomaly I decided just deal with it and let the truck run.

    I had shipped the PCB box for next day mail but with the weekend it was going to be 4 in total by the time I would get my hands on one. By the second day I started noticing a smell coming out of the heater vents, that’s when I realized that the heater fan was spinning to fast and was burning up. Before I could decide what my options were the heater filled the cab with smoke and abruptly seised up. Then the engine turned off. I had left my wife at a mall shopping center in Beaverton and the kids and I had gone to hangout at a local park some 10 miles away. Panic quickly set in as I jumped out of the smoked filled cab with hammer in hand to smack that PCB one last time hoping to get out of the park before closing and pickup my wife. After hitting the PCB several times with no results, I got up on the drivers side tire so I could really get a wack at it. Upon hitting the hardest I had done thus far the top lid flew off and the bottom fell down. With the innards exposed I figured this was the end of the road. When I turned on the battery switch the gauges came alive and the truck started. What a close call. So I duck taped PCB back together, picked up my wife feeling that not much more could go wrong before the package arrived.

    When UPS called and said the box was waiting the relief was astronomical. Install took about a half hour in the Beaverton's Buffalo Wild Wings parking lot and we were back to normal. Batteries seemed to have survived with the only casualty being the PCB box and the heater motor.
    PCB = Old Ford Starter Solenoid???? Really enjoying your story!!!!
    Last edited by Russ Knight; 09-24-2017 at 08:19.

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  15. #38
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    Alternator Failure Monday September 25, 2017

    The day after camping at Picaflores (I will talk about this place in a future post)on the McKenzie river near the small community of Holiday, Oregon. I noticed a snapping sound coming from the Fan Clutch area, upon closer inspection I noticed my fan belt was jumping which was what creating the noise. I turned off the engine to look at the belt finding a eighth inch had been shaved off. Not having a extra belt I started the engine to drive about 40 miles to Eugene Oregon only to realize that the alternator wasn’t charging any more. The truck had started a little sluggish that morning but I figured that was due to the kids keeping the inverter on all night while watching tv.

    I had heard that many military 939 truck owners have had trouble with their alternators, so I wasn’t to surprised that it was my turn to have malfunction.

    We bee lined the Tiny House On A Steel Soldier to Cummins Northwest in Coburg, Oregon in hopes of replacing the fan belt and to figure out the alternator. Cummins Northwest went all out to come to our aid to help while we sourced a generator by allowing us to stay safe in their gated lot hooked into 50amp service with water. Cummins had a fan belt in stock at a great price and were willing to loan me the correct tools to for a belt replacement. Since I was going to be stuck on Cummins property for a week I scheduled them do a service on the truck.

    Wolverine Techologies LLC. (Woltech) has a 24v upgrade replacement kit with the option of adding a second 12v alternator so I called up Woltech and ordered the 24v upgrade. Woltech seemed knowledgeable and gave me a estimation of a Thursday/Friday delivery. Woltech also gave me a brief breakdown on installation offering more help when the unit arrives.

    Today I changed out the belt finding a crack in the alternator housing and bent internal blades. The old fan belt had stretched to the point where the tensioner was maxed out. I also came across the fact that two out of four of my Hawker batteries were very low so I took them off line leaving the two hundred percent batteries to start the truck. I can still run around town doing errands as long as I recharge my batteries at night. I’m recharging using a Optima digital 12v charger and a Deltran 12v battery tender. Every time I pull over I fire up my Champion generator to top off batteriers.

    Sure would be nice to find a small 24v charger so I could get away from have to charge batteries one at a time.
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    Last edited by BrandonBellrose; 09-25-2017 at 16:49.

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  17. #39
    4 Star General dmetalmiki's Avatar
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    Fantastic adventure, Thank you for sharing it. (and, no mind the 'thieves', (as you are the sort who would have stopped and assisted, even knowing..and, correctly so. One of a kind..there should be more folk like your good self..And a real life lesson learned and good citizenship imparted to your fantastic children.))
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    Look into Zantrex or trace inverters and you want most likely a 3624 3600 kW and 24 V used one runs no three or four hundred they last forever. They will power your entire camper and recharge on your 110 genset. Store at 24 bolt and have plenty of power. Very reliablen

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