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Mercedes Unimog military radio van:
Owner got it from an importer who bought several of them surplus from the Swiss Military. In excellent shape, but it needed a few mods to be a good civillian ride. First off, I installed a 6,000-lb Superwinch. Yes, it's a little small for this 7K-lb truck, but in this case, any winch is better than no winch at all. I also painted the winch and the new mount in Krylon ultra-flat olive drab, which happened to be a near-perfect color match.

Second, I installed a Roof-Rack to increase cargo capacity without crowding the van's interior. The rack was attached to the van bodies' lifting rings, so no new holes- potential leaks- were drilled in the fiberglass. The roof is now accessed by a ladder, which has a folding lower half so that it won't drag or catch on rocks, stumps or sasquatches.

The truck came with a great, beefy set of all-aluminum stairs that clip into mounts just below each door. Compared to the wimpy little sheetmetal stairs you get on a $150,000 motorhome, these badboys are practially OSHA-compliant! Problem is, light as they are, they don't fold and there's no place to store them. So I added hanging tabs and pin-locks to store the stairs on the ladder as shown. The tabs are designed so that it's essentially impossible for the stairs to come off if the pins are in place.

Moving on, I had to completely rewire the van. It had, of course, been loaded with big, clunky military radios, and the grunts who de-mil'ed it weren't exactly careful. 'Course, some of the clutter in that photo was my work, as I struggled to chase connections... they used exactly two colors of wire in the entire box: Red and Blue.
Eventually I removed some fifty pounds of wire, relays, bus-bars, breakers and those big, nasty military weatherproof screw-down connectors. All that was left- and for that matter, all that was needed- were the controls and thermostat for the nice, powerful gasoline-fired heater, a switch for the overhead 24V miniature fluorescent lights, and a 12V cigarette-lighter type power outlet.

And to wrap it all up, I converted the large roof vent into a "hatch" to access any cargo up there, I fixed one of the wiper motors, added a 12V power outlet in the cab, added two 100W driving lights (the stock 24V headlights are pretty anemic) had to repair the gas heater, and also had to relabel damn near everything, since all the instructions and warning plates are in German.

More to come.

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