HMMWV Upgrades: Easy DIY Humvee Modifications

HMMWV Upgrades: Easy DIY Humvee Modifications Did somebody say UPGRADES?! The military didn’t spend much (if any) time making the HMMWV a comfortable ride. Luckily, there are lots of things […] Project HMMWV Battlewagon -RR wheel well 1HMMWV Upgrades: Easy DIY Humvee Modifications

Did somebody say UPGRADES?!

The military didn’t spend much (if any) time making the HMMWV a comfortable ride. Luckily, there are lots of things the average Humvee owner can do to make their beast… well… less beastly. No… that’s not right… more comfortable.

lil’ help!

I could use some help here, folks.

  • Share your upgrade project results in the comments. We may include them on this page.
  • Please let me know what specific Humvee products you would like to see reviewed. If they fit our plans for this Humvee, then we will reach out to the company to arrange getting the product for review.

*This article will be updated as we complete projects and others share projects with us. Check back often.

 Where to get Humvee parts:

  • Probably my “go to” for real military parts is HMMWV parts on ebay
  • You can get HMMWV books on Amazon
  • Actually, you can get a LOT of upgrade parts on Amazon. We have made it easy by adding a HMMWV section the Gear Report Amazon store and add parts to it as we find them.
  • Southern Metals Recycling… if you happen to be close to Wilmington, NC. They scrap HMMWVs for the government and can sell some parts.

As we do upgrades we will add them to the list below, with links to the reviews, install tips and videos

  • DIY Grounding harness – Probably the first thing every HMMWV owner should do. I used 8 gauge AWG flexible wire Ring terminals and a large lug to mount wires to the engine ground point. Check out the full article: HMMWV Upgrades: How to make a DIY HMMWV Grounding Harness.

    HMMWV grounding harness - Starter ground is on bottom of starter.

    Starter ground is on bottom of starter.

  • HMMWV hard fiberglass X-doors – From our friends at Southern Metals Recycling. Installed. Project HMMWV Battlewagon - X-door installed

    Humvee X-door installed

  • HMMWV LED headlights – Here is the review (link). First installed TruckLite military 24v LED lights. Not thrilled with them, so switched to these new LED headlights from Amazon (link).
  • HMMWV LED tail lights – Swapped in a set of LED tail lights (link) from one of our M105A2 trailers.
    HMMWV Upgrades: How to Install HMMWV LED Taillights - installed
  • HMMWV seats – 3 options, so far:
    1. Stock military seats… which SUCK!
    2. Currently installed: OregonAero custom HMMWV front seats (Review link), How to install video (link). These are made from a high-tech combo of memory foams and are light years better than the stock military HMMWV seats

      Oregon Aero HMMWV passenger seat installed in HMMWV

    3. Four late model high back HMMWV seats in hand from Southern Metals Recycling. We tried one of these in the front passenger seat before the Oregon Aero seats arrived and it was a big improvement over the stock military HMMWV seat. However, installation on the driver’s side is requires an EXPENSIVE and hard to find and install base, or some creative cutting and welding to the stock seat base. Haven’t tacked that yet. Project HMMWV Battlewagon - military high back HMMWV seats
  • Off road lights – This is evolving…
  • 12V fuse block and switch panel – I made a box to house 4 switches for lights using an electrical box (link), a 6 output fuse block (link) and these toggle switches (link).

    DIY HMMWV 12v accessories switch box
  • HMMWV license plate bracket with LED light – Custom made from some scrap aluminum flat stock and installed with screws, washers and nuts under the driver’s side quarter panel under the brake light. The light is a short section of LED Rope Light (link) connected via one of these handy connectors (link) (packed full of dielectric grease (link) to help protect against contamination and corrosion, of course). Project HMMWV Battlewagon - HMMWV license plate holder
  • HMMWV heat and sound insulation – LizardSkin sent their spray on Sound Control Ceramic insulation and  Ceramic heat barrier coatings to be sprayed with their Pro Spray Gun in the entire interior tub. Itching to do this, but need the weather to cooperate, since it needs to be applied within a specific temp range.
  • Solargizer Solar panel battery desulfator and trickle charger – To keep the batteries fresh I installed an IS-24-L 24V solar panel (link).
  • Interior LED light – Self adhesive backing on the a short section of LED Rope Light (link) connected via one of these handy connectors (link) (packed full of dielectric grease (link), of course) and stuck to the bottom center of the front soft top bow.
    DIY HMMWV upgrade LED rope lights - interior lights
    Although I still have these little $1 walmart headlamps zip tied to the soft top bow right above the driver & passenger seats.
  • HMMWV comms/computer, accessories console – A place to put my phone, coffee, pen, flashlight, etc. Secured via some finagling with a scrap yard. With a bit of scrubbing and some paint it looks new! I used the Sterilite Bath Caddy zip tied to the radio shelves to hold stuff for a few months, but have recently switch to the Rubbermaid Seat Organizer because it looks better and has more spaces to stow things.
  • HMMWV spare tire carrier – For now, spare tire is strapped in cargo bed, but I understand why people like the ratcheting tire carriers. HMMWV tires with runflat inserts weigh about 160Lb each. They can be difficult to get in and out of the bed of the HMMWV safely with just one person… especially if that person has a bad back. 🙁
  • HMMWV 3 point seat belts – front 3 points were installed before the HMMWV retired from US Army service. The HMMWV 3 point rear seat belt kit is in hand and will be installed after the LizardSkin coatings are applied to the interior.
  • HMMWV back-up lights – Have LEDs from Amazon, reverse switch and bushing needed to install Project HMMWV Battlewagon - HMMWV LED backup

LED backup lights in custom brackets

  • Stereo radio – I am using a handheld UV-82 radio in FM mode now… but the danged HMMWV is so loud that I can’t actually listen to the radio if I’m going more than about 25 mph. I like that I can take it with me so it won’t get stolen.
  • Comms radio – I have used a handheld UV-82 radio for a few weeks, mainly for the FM radio function. Midland Radio just sent their new MXT-115 in-cab radio, which installed easily. Though we might get the super high power MXT-400 (link), but opted for the added features of the MXT-115 instead: USB charging port, NOAA weather radio. Also received a pair of Midland X-Talker two-way radios to use with the MXT115.
  • HMMWV bed liner – Discussing bed liner coatings with an innovative brand now.
  • Soft top insulation – installed Reflectix under soft top as a radiant heat barrier. Watch the video here (link) 
  • 200 Amp generator – Secured a 200A 12V/24V generator from Southern Metals Recycling and have installed… but not yet hooked up the 12V output.
  • 12V power source (Humvee electrical systems are 24V) –  For a few weeks I ran the off-road LED lights, interior LED light and a 12V charging socket directly off of the rear battery. It worked fine when the engine wasn’t running, but was a bit too much voltage for my radio when the engine was running (I measured 14.8V). I was also concerned about causing an imbalance in charge between the two batteries. So, I recently installed this 40A 24V to 12V converter (link) to draw from both batteries and feed the 12v fuse block.
    HMMWV 24v to 12v converter installation
  • 12v outlets – For charging phones. Installed this single plug outlet (link) beside the switch box. Also installed this double plug outlet (link) on the passenger side beside the radio shelf.
  • HMMWV secure storage – None yet
  • HMMWV gun rack – Two options:
    • Installed two barrel clamp rifle holders using mop clips (link) per this DIY Rifle Rack review (link)

      Humvee Upgrade – How to Make an Easy DIY HMMWV Rifle Rack - installed

      View with the door open.

    • Blac-Rac has sent a secure rifle mount, and will send a second one with a vertical mounting bracket soon.
  • HMMWV paint – Considering painting the whole HMMWV in bed liner like this HMMWV by Custom Combat Trucks. Although I really do like the original woodland camo as well. Project HMMWV Battlewagon - hmmwv bedliner paint

HMMWV stuff

More HMMWV articles can be found under the Humvee category menu above or by clicking HERE. You might also like the HMMWV section of our Amazon store where we have listed lots of replacement and upgrade parts for Humvees. We have also found a lot of HMMWV parts on eBay (link).

Clark Custom Guns clark 1022 review - jeff shooting off of HMMWVSuggestions?

Please leave a comment if you have suggestions on other HMMWV upgrades should consider, or you have done upgrades that we can share on this list.

The Project Humvee Battlewagon

Gear Report acquired a real HMMWV (High Mobility Multi Wheeled Vehicle) from the US Army for use as our official field and shooting range vehicle. We have already posted about some of our upgrade projects (Project Humvee Battlewagon article links) and have a lot of really cool projects on the way. Consider subscribing so you don’t miss any of the cool reviews as we post them.
Here is our Project Intro (link) and our list of HMMWV upgrade projects.


About Jeff

Jeff is the Editor in Chief of Gear Report and a National Shooting Sports Foundation Media member. He reports on the outdoor industry, reviews gear for camping, hiking, shooting, hunting, paddling, backpacking and other active pursuits. A USAF veteran, Jeff earned a MBA in Marketing and Health Services. He specializes in consultative selling and internet marketing. As the VP of BD & Marketing, Jeff provides sales and marketing leadership to MGECOM, Inc. and helps acquire new clients in need of solutions for online merchants in need of Affiliate Marketing program management. Jeff founded and manages Cress Sales & Marketing LLC, offering online sales and marketing consulting and services to online merchants and service providers.