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Open Roads Forum  >  Class C Motorhomes

 > Motorhome conversion of offroad truck anyone?

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egn

North of Munich

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Posted: 02/02/08 05:54am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi,

I don't know if I am right here with my vehicle. But at least this sub forum covers heavy vehicles like mine. [emoticon]

It is a long time ago that I have written in this forum. Since 2002 we owned a motorhome based on a Mercedes Benz Sprinter:
[image]

We had a lot of fun with it, but as the camp sites here in western europe are getting more and more crowded, we decided to invest into an offroad vehicle with which we can go to more off the track places in the near future, and in the more distant future we plan to go round the world.

Our new motorhome is a conversion of an ex military truck. The german army is selling them after about 25 years for good prices. Most of them don't have many miles on them and they are in good shape. We removed the loading platform and put a cabin build from fibre reinforced plastic and PU foam sandwich panels. The result is a highly mobile offroad motor home:

[image]
[image]
[image]
[image]

More information about the military truck can be found here.

As we also plan to go to north america with this truck in a few years time, I was wondering whether in USA there are similar vehicles build. Here in this forum I never saw one. I also didn't find any information in the net. I probably just do not have the right keywords for Google.

So are there any people in this forum with a similar vehicle?
Are there specific forums which cover offroad motorhomes?

It would be nice to exchange information about nice places to visit with such an offroad truck. We like Alaska very much and have already seen a lot of documentations in tv. So we are in search for the more lonely places.

Last year we visited already the Kola peninsula in northwest Russia and we had a lot of fun:

[image]
[image]
[image]
[image]
[image]

This area seems to be very similar to Alaska.

Sorry, if I posted at the wrong place.

Cheers,
Emil

* This post was edited 02/03/08 01:37am by egn *


Truck: MAN KAT1 6x6 7t mil gl, Deutz 8 cyl, 12.8l, 320hp, air-cooled, GVWR 42,300 lb
Cabin: FRP, 2 1/6" PU, 20x8.2x8.1 ft(lxwxh), elec. cook. (no LPG!), 2x6000W inverter, 900 Ah/24 V, chgr 2x30A/24V, diesel furnace, 164 gal tw, 93 gal gr/bl, vacuum toilet


okgc

Southern Michigan

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Posted: 02/02/08 08:13am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Looks fun
Your RV reminds me of the TerraCross Motorhome that www.snopes.com had pictures of.
[image]

SnopesarticleGarbagecamper


2010 Tiffin Allegro RED 36 QSA with GMC Envoy
Alaska 2015

Scrib

Maplewood

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Posted: 02/02/08 08:23am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

That's awesome!

cm

Dillon, CO USA

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Posted: 02/02/08 10:38am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

www.expeditioncampers.com

This web site still comes up but they no longer have their forum.
But they reference www.expeditionportal.com on their first page and this has a forum similar to what there was on Expedition Campers.

Also do a web search on expedition campers or expedition motorhomes and on the sites listed look for links to other sites. There are other people out there with similar rigs.

John / Angela

World Travelers.

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Posted: 02/02/08 04:13pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We were camped on the beach in Baja and ran across this dutch couple in their conversion. It had a website on the side of it but I can't find the picture. Here'e the link to the truck (first picture).

And here'sheres the link to our website.

Thanks for posting your pictures.


2003 Revolution 40C Class A. Electric smart car as a Toad on a smart car trailer
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but rather by the moments that take our breath away.

egn

North of Munich

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Posted: 02/03/08 01:54am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for the answers.

@okgc:
I know UNICAT that is mentioned at http://www.snopes.com/photos/automobiles/garbagecamper.asp well. They were one of the alternatives for building our truck, but they were to expensive for our budget. The 6x6 model you can see at above website costs about 1 million dollars. BTW, its no TerraCross. TerraCross ist the "low cost line" pictured by okgc above. They start at about 200,000 dollar.

@cm:
Thanks for the links. The forum seems to be more targeted to the smaller trucks, but interesting to read. The keywords "expedition motorhome" seems to be very good. I found some interesting references like http://www.gizmag.com/go/3708/ . An "garbage truck camper" mentioned at the website above gives also some references. [emoticon]

Dakzuki

Carnation, Wa, USA

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Posted: 02/03/08 12:57pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

That is a beautifully done truck Emil. I commend you. I would love to have something like that. I think this is the right place to post it. You have a truck cab with a house built on the back like us.....just a very off road capable one.

There are places in Wasington State where such a vehicle can get out into the wilds in the mountains. British Columbia in Canada has a lot of nice outback areas. If you have the time you could drive Alaska, British Columbia, Washington and over the mountains of Washington Stae into the other half of the state which is quite arid.

I have not personally scouted terrain for a trip with a vehicle like yours but have done it by other means.

Upon thinking, I forgot about Montana. I have been out into the hinterlands of NE Montana in a 4x4 and found it quite nice.

* This post was last edited 02/03/08 03:11pm by Dakzuki *   View edit history


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kerryedwards

denver

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Posted: 02/03/08 09:11pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I love your expedition motorhome. I'd like to purchase a similar one in Europe someday as I'd like to travel Africa and Asia from Europe when I retire. What kind of fuel economy do you get with it? What size engine does it have? What is its top speed and its cruising speed? Is the engine air cooled? Got any pictures of the engine?

Kerry

egn

North of Munich

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Posted: 02/04/08 12:22am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thank you both very much for the nice comments.

@Kerry:
Our first main targets when we have more time traveling will be Russia, Siberia, Mongolia, along the Silk-Road (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Taschikistan), China, Tibet. Except for China and Tibet there are not many problems traveling this areas. Several friends have done such tours the last few years. As the roads are sometimes very rough and the really nice places are off the road, an offroad vehicle is recommended.

Of course you need visa for all of this states. But they are organized easily by using a visa service. We have done this last year when we traveled through northwest Russia. You can see our trip at http://bt-kola-2007.poi66.com/maps/ with some comments in German language. This journey log was done by sending just an sms message contain the current gps position and the comment with the mobile phone. This is a nice and easy to use service of this web site to track a journey - free of charge.

Africa is another interesting area. North Africa with states like Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria are no real problem. A lot of the European snow bird campers are in Morocco in winter. But the middle of Africa are really problematic because of local wars and a lot of corruption. South Africa and the states nearby are ok again. If you are interested in travel journeys from this area then I can provide them to you. But most of them are in German language.

Regarding the questions about our truck you find a lot of information here and in my profile.

Quote:


What kind of fuel economy do you get with it?


As the truck is quite heavy and the the engine technology is about 30 years old, the fuel economy is not the best. On our trip of more than 5000 miles last year we had an average consumption of about 42 l/km or 5.6 mpg. We have driven a lot of highway at speeds of about 50-60 mph, but also a lot of off-road. We have decided to use this engine because it has no electronics and can be repaired nearly everywhere. Beside that this air-cooled engines handle cold and hot very good. And as your trips will go from -50° C to + 50° C this will be a bonus. BTW, the diesel fuel outside Europe is very cheap. I know people that fueled up in Lybia for about 15 ct/l and in Iran for 3 ct/l.
Of course you will get a much better mpg if you take a smaller truck like the TerraCross above with the mid-sized MAN truck. They normally get more than 10 mpg.

But the problem is that the modern trucks have a lot of electronics. When something fails in very lonely areas then you may run into problems. And even if the car breaks down near a city, help for an electronic problem may be very far away and expensive. This is the reason why most world travelers use old trucks as base. A lot of them are ex-military trucks.

Quote:


What size engine does it have?


It is a Deutz 8 cyl with an displacement of 12.8 l.

Quote:


What is its top speed and its cruising speed?


Top speed is about 75 mph, but normal crusing speeds for trucks on highways in Europe are about 44 - 56 mph. The speed limit is enforced by a limiter in the trucks and the speed control of the police. [emoticon]

Quote:


Is the engine air cooled?


Yes, this engine is air-cooled.

Quote:


Got any pictures of the engine?


Look for "Deutz 413" in Google image search.

413 is the engine series. There are models with 6, 8 and 12 cylinders, turbocharger, intercooler, 2-stage combustion, ... available.
Ours is the type BF8L413F. It has 8 cyl., turbocharger, intercooler and single stage combustion.

If you like to see how capable this trucks are then look at www.youtube.com with "man kat1", "dresden breslau" or "berlin breslau".
BTW, the MAN KAT1 have a stiff frame and spring suspension. Because of this it is easy to fix a cabin because there is very low torsion.

Enjoy,
Emil

* This post was edited 02/04/08 12:42am by egn *

kerryedwards

denver

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Posted: 02/04/08 11:36am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for all that additional information. What's the going price range for vehicles like this in Europe. I tried to look on www.mobile.de but for some reason, everytime I began a search it shut down my browser.
There are lots of places you could use such a vehicle in the Western United States. Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona have lots of off road trails which lead to spectacular places.

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