Overland Update

Traveling and visiting new places has always been a big part of our lives together. We go through different trends from year to year between domestic and international travel. Over the years, we have enjoyed everything from guided international safaris to just backpacking near home.

We have often enjoyed the places that 4-wheel drive vehicles can take us. We realized recently that we have owned 8 different 4x4s.

We are regrouping a bit after finishing the LMTV refurbishment.  Our new expedition vehicle is a 1987 Mercedes Benz 435 U1300L chassis with a custom composite sandwich habitat module that was designed and built by us.

If you want to follow along, we have a new blog:


Wabi-Sabi Overland
Wabi-Sabi Overland


You may have noticed that we have not posted for a while. A number of things have changed around here lately. Earlier in the month, we sold our freshly refurbished LMTV to Walt and Lauren (Grigsby Truck Company). We were sad to see the truck go, but we wanted to take the summer off and we really felt it was best to pass the truck on to someone that can pick up where we left off.

We still do plan on traveling a lot more in the future. The LMTV is an awesome platform, and we definitely recommend it for consideration to anyone looking to make an expedition vehicle. That being said, in the future we may opt for purchasing an existing camper just for project simplicity.

Ready to Ship
Ready to Ship
Ready to Ship
Ready to Ship


  • We performed a once over final inspection of the truck, noting final punch list “to-do” items. The goal of the inspection was to secure any last loose wires and prepare for starting the engine.
  • We started the engine for the first time in ~10 months.
  • While the engine was running, we evaluated air pressure, air dryer, brake lights and brake function.
  • We test drove the truck; all worked well.

A brief recap of the highlights of our rebuild:

  • Removed bed from truck
  • Cleaned frame, cab, and cab interior
  • Removed spare tire crane and lowered air filter assembly to aid in integrating hab as close to cab as possible.
  • Replaced corroded air tank
  • Replaced air dryer
  • Repainted frame
  • Repainted cab
  • Refurbished many truck parts by removing, sand blasting, and powder coating or painting them (front bumper, rear bumpers, fenders…)
  • New marker lights
  • Installed new under bed box for storage aft of fuel tank
  • Created custom roof rack with integrated ladders
  • Added stiffeners to forward fenders to flatten their side profile
  • Repaired door hinges and straightened cab doors
  • Powder coated rims, rebuilt wheels, and put on new Michelin XZL “0 mile” tires (including spare)


  • Installed air filter cover
  • Installed forward trailer power plug
  • Installed door weather stripping
  • Installed windshield wipers
  • Connected batteries
  • Tested lights


  • Installed rear marker lights using stainless hardware
  • Installed front and rear reflectors
  • Installed cab door over travel stops
  • Finalized connection of air dryer
  • Wired reverse / brake lights
  • Removed jack stands
  • Torqued lug nuts (425-475 ft-lb)
  • Painted air filter cover
  • Painted forward towing power plug
Truck Configuration - 4pm 5/7/2017
Truck Configuration – 4pm 5/7/2017


  • Retrieved wiring for marker lights on cab
  • Soldered new positive connectors on all cab marker lights
  • Started body work on air filter cover
  • Soda blast cleaned:
    • Door weather stripping
    • Cab door over travel stops
    • Power steering reservoir band clamp
    • Pit pins
  • Inspected and cleaned wiper blade arms
  • Installed cab marker lights
Retrieved Cab Marker Light Wiring
Retrieved Cab Marker Light Wiring
Installed Cab Marker Lights
Installed Cab Marker Lights


  • Installed battery box cover
  • Installed driver side forward fender
  • Installed driver side ladder
  • Installed rubber grommets to fill oversized holes in cab exterior
  • Installed roof rack
New Fender Hardware
New Fender Hardware
Lifting Roof Rack
Lifting Roof Rack (Thanks for the help, Yuri!)
Vehicle Configuration 9pm May 2nd
Vehicle Configuration 9pm May 2nd