M1088 camper conversion

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And we now return to our regularly scheduled broadcast.....

Some forward progress and some stagnation: radiator was successfully removed, repaired, and replaced. I didn't take many pictures during the process and just followed along with the TM, and it pretty much went right along with how I would have logically done it if I went in blind. There were no tricks, which was nice, and it all went back together fairly easily with just the shroud bolts being finicky.

While I was in there, I discovered I have what appears to be the updated fan (no rubber to degrade and toss a blade into the rad) and I took the opportunity to replace all the belts and check the nut on the compressor (was tight, yay!). All in all, things went well.

Next up, I replaced the OEM shocks with the Fox offerings from Grigsby, which came in from backorder in February.

New shocks:


Where I haven't made progress is in dealing with a persistent shimmy while driving at speed (~55-60 MPH), and I have compelled myself to resolve it prior to moving on to any other chassis work or the actual camper build.

At this point, I have swapped all the tires for the new ones I got when I bought it, had all the driveshafts completely rebuilt, installed the new shocks, rotated the tires through different positions around the truck, and statically balanced all the tire/wheels assemblies on a balancer which I made.

The static balancer:


The balancer is made from VW Bug front hub with an adapter plate I had laser cut from 1/2" steel plate. I added a few studs and things seemed to work out pretty well.

Front view, the taped on spacers were used to make up for brake drum thickness and keep the lug nuts on the threads:


In practice, I mounted up the tire assembly to the drum, let it spin til the heavy side was down and then would move it 90° one way and add weight on the light side until it wouldn't spontaneously spin with gravity. I would then check that it remains static through 360° and adjust accordingly and I had figured this to be good enough to address any major imbalances. The weight I had to apply ranged from ZERO(!!!!) on one assembly to 3.6 pounds, most of them being in the 1-2 pound range. I then used some adhesive to secure the slab of lead to the inner surface of the wheel.

The left rear wheel about to be reinstalled, 2.25# of lead on board:


Despite all this work, I still get to mid-50's mph and there is a pronounced vibration which feels like it's gotten better below that but seems like it's gotten worse once I get there. It almost feels like one of the tires is severely out of round but the shimmy also fades in and out as I progress through bends, which makes me feel like it's phasing in and out with other tires. If it was an out-of-round unit, it wouldn't matter what the speed- it would always be lumpy and I should always feel it.

Speaking of which, while I had them on the balancer, I started checking how concentric the wheels/tires were but managed to forget to do it after the 2nd tire. I was very disappointed when I realized I forgot to keep checking this and I intend to pull them off and check them sometime during the remainder of this week. I anxiously await seeing where that leads me.

If anyone has any suggestions of how to better address the shimmy issue, I am all ears. If I am missing something in my balancing procedure, please point it out to me. I certainly don't feel like an expert but am willing to try anything to knock this out. Thanks in advance!

Sounds like you hit the big things.
What about finding a place locally that does tire truing? Where they shave the tire into perfect roundness.
 

ckouba

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YAY!!!

With a couple spare wheels from Martin at FMTV Sales, I think I have solved the problem. Last week or so, I checked the roundness of the tires and found one of the rear ones distressingly non-concentric (maybe ~3/8") and another marginally so. None of them were perfectly round and with a tread cross section ~16" wide, it's hard to get a specific reading, but these two were suspicious.

They were the two left rear tires and both came off the truck today. After checking its trueness of my spare (very good), it went on in the left, rear-most position. The intermediate was broken down, remounted and checked for trueness. It wasn't perfect, but it seemed to be in the "good enough" range, so I re-installed it in the same position.

After clearing a path through the debris of the work area, I took it out for a test run. Things felt fine (as they normally did) while I trundled through the in-town portion of my test loop, all at 35 mph or less. Turning onto the highway portion, I started accelerating, waiting for the shimmy... and it never came. I was ecstatic!

I was really hoping this was going to fix it and I am super stoked that it seems to have done the trick. I felt a little residual vibration while braking for some traffic lights but I think that was dynamically induced and not a harmonic or physical issue. At this point I feel like I can take it out on the road without worrying and can shake it down a bit more. I didn't want to invest any more time or money into the truck without resolving this, and now that I think I have a handle on it, I can shift focus to habitat construction.

It's been a good day!
 

ckouba

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With another ~100 miles under the chassis, I can confirm things are much better. I do want to go back through the tires as there is still just a minor shimmy from time to time, but I am willing to bet that checking/adjusting the balance and concentricity will resolve it.

It felt good enough to let it run free though, and my phone's GPS app told me that I made it to 72 mph this morning on a flat stretch of highway. I think it still had a little left to give as well. The cool thing? No drama, no vibrations, no issues... it just ran. Not that I want to do that all day long, but it's nice to know that I can now without dreading the impending explosion of some driveline component.

I took the wifey and the dog for a drive into the countryside and a hike as well, and she was pleased with how it rode and mentioned looking forward to heading out in it, knowing there'd be long interstate stretches to get to the places we want to explore. I am very excited to get along with the build.
 

ckouba

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It's been pretty quiet on the truck front lately but managed to empty a few rattle cans. Pretty happy with the change, but it does look like a rattle can job. Will look better once we get some dirt on it.



Still need to do the chassis but quite pleased enough with it so far.
 
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ckouba

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In the process of prepping for paint, I wanted to also get my door handles/locks working. The driver's side entry worked fine but I had no key so it wouldn't lock. Turns out it wasn't even connected up anyway... The passenger side door opened from the inside, but did nothing from the outside- lock or entry.

I removed the handles to discover that they are completely functional, just that the plastic clip ends had parted company/broken at some point. This was encouraging, although I had already purchased the recommended Toyota 4Runner replacements (handles and key barrels). I took the assemblies to a local locksmith who relished the challenge, and within 24h I had keyed up handles. Turns out an old Volvo key blank works in the barrel, but he had a "fun" time making the other mechanicals work out.

Next up is to get the handles back in without scratching up the paint too badly. The good news is if I do, it will be easy to touch it up!

Starting to think about mounting the new mirrors and adding electronics and auxiliary lighting, and how to provide power for it all.

Anyone want a deal on some 4Runner handles?
 

ckouba

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And in a fit of efficiency, I put the door handles back in and got the locks working from the outside on both of them. I can now open both doors from the outside (and inside) and secure the cab from the exterior with a key.

The only thing I can't do presently is lock them from the inside. I haven't figured that out yet.
 

Reworked LMTV

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It's been pretty quiet on the truck front lately but managed to empty a few rattle cans. Pretty happy with the change, but it does look like a rattle can job. Will look better once we get some dirt on it.



Still need to do the chassis but quite pleased enough with it so far.
 

Reworked LMTV

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I think the paint job is presentable. There are some tricks you can find on the internet for improving rattle can pain jobs, but you probably already know this : )
Curious, with all the "unrest" out there, did this encourage you to paint the vehicle another color?
 

ckouba

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Curious, with all the "unrest" out there, did this encourage you to paint the vehicle another color?
Nope. It's a family livery...



When I built the GT, the biggest decision was what color to paint it. Ever since then everything else seems to gets painted (close to) the same way:

(I won the Portland Adult Soapbox Derby 3 years in a row, including a team podium sweep last year - 2019 video link)





Yeah, I am a dork.
 

B-Dog

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The GT is siiiiiick!

Here's my $0.02 for when you do mirrors...I did the Freightliner mirrors and they're too heavy for the door without reinforcement/modification. I think I would do the same ones again if I were to go back in time. However, you might look at some that attach to the top of the door like the stock ones as long as you can find some that will fold in. *shrug
 

ckouba

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Too late... Got the switch wired up, got the mirrors hooked up/working correctly, and now...



The other one is also on as well, just after this pic was taken.

They do shake a bit so I'd have to say they're not "done" yet, but they are on and functional and MILES better than the OEM ones. How did you reinforce yours?
 

Ohiobenz

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The GT is siiiiiick!

Here's my $0.02 for when you do mirrors...I did the Freightliner mirrors and they're too heavy for the door without reinforcement/modification. I think I would do the same ones again if I were to go back in time. However, you might look at some that attach to the top of the door like the stock ones as long as you can find some that will fold in. *shrug
Did you use reinforcement plates inside the door for the mirrors?
 

ckouba

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Did you use reinforcement plates inside the door for the mirrors?
I did and they do OK but could be better. The pass side seems more stable than the driver despite doing the same thing on each side. I will probably take another run at it shortly, but the proof of concept (placement, field of view, etc...) was worth the effort. I do like them, just need to reduce the shake and get the switch powered up and wired in.

The view in the new convex mirror is priceless.
 
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