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haven
04-22-2010, 04:02 PM
Global Xpedition Vehicles has built a camper using a Freightliner M2 chassis.
This appears to be an M2 106 with "super single" wheels and tires. Details are
very limited at this point, but I expect the GXV web site will be updated with
information soon.

Freightliner sold the Mercedes Unimog U500 chassis that GXV has used for
their campers until now. So I guess it's natural that GXV would choose the
M2 chassis. A Meritor front drive axle is a factory option for the M2 , but I
don't know if the GXV M2 uses this axle.

A big advantage of the M2 chassis is the availability of service in North America.
Only a handful of Freightliner dealers know anything about the Unimog.

The GXV M2 appeared at the recent Overland Expo gathering in Arizona. The first
photo is from the GXV blog about the trip.

http://i188.photobucket.com/albums/z241/expeditioncampers/GXV-M2-1.jpg

The camper section of the vehicle appears to be a little longer than the campers
typically used on the U500.

And this photo of the M2 was taken at the Expo by Dave "Adventureduo" Druck.

http://i188.photobucket.com/albums/z241/expeditioncampers/GXV-M2-2.jpg

hardware
04-22-2010, 05:33 PM
that looks good !

i wonder if the living space is accessible from the cab of the truck

dzzz
04-22-2010, 06:20 PM
...........
i wonder if the living space is accessible from the cab of the truck

Almost certainly. People want that when spending the big bucks.

The camper looks at least a couple feet longer and six inches wider than the unimog box.

The "glamor shot" is a great photo of the truck.

6Pins
04-22-2010, 08:03 PM
Very cool. I just found out the other day that there is a GlobalXpeditions vehicle in my neck of the woods. I just need to track it down now...

Didn't get any pictures of it, but last weekend I saw an ICON FJ43 in The Plains. WOW.

haven
04-22-2010, 09:09 PM
So why is Global Xpedition Vehicles using the Freightliner chassis? Didn't they have success with the Mercedes Unimog U500? Here's my speculation.

The Unimog U500 has almost unprecedented mobility in off-road conditions for a vehicle of its size and capacity. So if you are looking to traverse difficult off-road terrain (and I mean truly without a road, not just off the pavement) with 15,000 lbs of cargo, then it's hard to find a better choice than the U500.

That said, the Freightliner M2 is probably a better chassis for the way most people use a vehicle that is this large (and expensive). Nobody is participating in King of the Hammers driving a vehicle with a 35,000 lbs GVWR.

In my experience, the owners of these camping vehicles are looking for secure travel on rutted, unpaved roads in all weather conditions. They want the durability and range offered by a commercial truck chassis. And they want a vehicle that is straightforward to service.

The M2 has a history of use in off-road conditions. The M2 with front drive axle is frequently chosen by Forest Service and firefighting groups for use as a brush truck, a vehicle that can take people, gear, and a supply of water into position to fight a wildland fire when no road exists.

The U500 was imported to North America from 2002 to 2007. Relatively few were sold. There is hope that Mercedes may bring them back in the future. Today, the only source of the U500 is the used vehicle market. Global Xpedition Vehicles does its best to find good used U500s and other models of Unimog for its customers.

In contrast, the M2 is Freightliner's bread and butter vehicle. Thousands are made annually. There are three cab choices, including a four door crew cab, several engine choices, and many choices of wheelbase. A 6x6 version of the M2 is available. Freightliner is happy to make an M2 to your particular specifications, including paint color. That makes it easy for GXV to acquire a chassis that meets its customers' requirements.

I'm looking forward to reports from GXV about the tradeoffs involved when deciding between U500 and M2 as a chassis for an ExPo vehicle.

Chip Haven

ersatzknarf
04-22-2010, 09:12 PM
It sure looks nice :)
With a walk-through from cab to cabin, although a large set-up, it sure would be at the top of the list of the moment, if any of the numbers had hit on my powerball ticket ;)
Drat ! :( (someone in Missouri won it all - good for them)
Looking forward to learning more about this one - if that chassis is more easily available here, than say the one Unicat (NA) had only one of, it seems a good solution for GXV :D
Wonder if they have a "less chrome" option ?

SunTzuNephew
04-22-2010, 10:55 PM
So why is Global Xpedition Vehicles using the Freightliner chassis? Didn't they have success with the Mercedes Unimog U500? Here's my speculation.

The Unimog U500 has almost unprecedented mobility in off-road conditions for a vehicle of its size and capacity. So if you are looking to traverse difficult off-road terrain (and I mean truly without a road, not just off the pavement) with 15,000 lbs of cargo, then it's hard to find a better choice than the U500.

That said, the Freightliner M2 is probably a better chassis for the way most people use a vehicle that is this large (and expensive). Nobody is participating in King of the Hammers driving a vehicle with a 35,000 lbs GVWR.

In my experience, the owners of these camping vehicles are looking for secure travel on rutted, unpaved roads in all weather conditions. They want the durability and range offered by a commercial truck chassis. And they want a vehicle that is straightforward to service.

The M2 has a history of use in off-road conditions. The M2 with front drive axle is frequently chosen by Forest Service and firefighting groups for use as a brush truck, a vehicle that can take people, gear, and a supply of water into position to fight a wildland fire when no road exists.

The U500 was imported to North America from 2002 to 2007. Relatively few were sold. There is hope that Mercedes may bring them back in the future. Today, the only source of the U500 is the used vehicle market. Global Xpedition Vehicles does its best to find good used U500s and other models of Unimog for its customers.

In contrast, the M2 is Freightliner's bread and butter vehicle. Thousands are made annually. There are three cab choices, including a four door crew cab, several engine choices, and many choices of wheelbase. A 6x6 version of the M2 is available. Freightliner is happy to make an M2 to your particular specifications, including paint color. That makes it easy for GXV to acquire a chassis that meets its customers' requirements.

I'm looking forward to reports from GXV about the tradeoffs involved when deciding between U500 and M2 as a chassis for an ExPo vehicle.



Chip Haven


The Unimog is no longer being imported into the US because of EPA restrictions on the engine.....hence, they can chase an ever dwindling supply of previously owned mogs, or find something else...

They chose 'else'.

teamtrailrunner
04-23-2010, 02:30 AM
I've been an avid "lurker" on the forum and have been actively researching literally every available expedition vehicle platform available for the USA.

We've have spent 100's of hours researching platforms, as this is a purchase for our family that will involve lot's of travel within North America. We have looked at everything from Sportsmobiles and Earthroamers to the Unicats. We left no stone unturned!

And I can say that Mike and Rene Van Pelt truly build high-quality expedition vehicles (and all in the good ole' USA). We attended the Overland Expo in Tucson specifically to "finally" view the vehicles in person. The quality is hard to picture...well...until you actually can sit in one and drive it. We liked the Unimog U500 platform, but the build options are literally endless with the M2 Freightliner. And since we have 4 kids it just made much more sense to have a platform that would provide great manufacturer service throughout North America.

We also felt that the M2 Freightliner really covered all the bases for durability, ride, ease of operation and comfort. This vehicle covers it all. The M2 at the Expo was actually not completed. Mike and Rene said they have a custom built expo bumper with a winch going on the front along with numerous other items to complete the vehicle. The expo box is actually custom built to whatever size and confiquration needed...that was a big need for our family...and one that will let us "truly" build a custom vehicle.

I know we sound like employees! But we are not! When you have done the research and actually meet the people that build a high quality USA expedition vehicle...it's hard not to be excited. Mike and Rene are really knowledgeable and certainly have the overland experience to back it up. My wife and I (and the kids) look forward to years of new overland adventures and meeting many of you on the forum. I spent a number of years as a professional athlete and the last 2 decades running the trails and mountain biking. We expect to now travel all over North America covering as many adventures as possible.

Needless to say...we will be putting in our order for a Freightliner M2 CrewCab GVX with Mike and Rene in the coming month and building out our dream vehicle. It's been a few years in the making and we look forward to posting the vehicles progress.

P.S. Attached are a few pictures of the GVX M2 we took at the Overland Expo 2010.

charlieaarons
04-23-2010, 04:40 AM
The Unimog is no longer being imported into the US because of EPA restrictions on the engine.....hence, they can chase an ever dwindling supply of previously owned mogs, or find something else...

They chose 'else'.

Not true not true not true!
http://www.detroitdiesel.com/engines/mbe900/default.aspx
Do you see a Mercedes 900 series engine on the linked page?
Thousands are sold in the US yearly, you can buy one in a Freightliner!
Meeting 2010 emission specs.
Mercedes stopped importing U500s into the US because they weren't selling very many and it wasn't worth the investment to fit the (conforming) 900 series engine into the chassis, with AdBlue/DPF etc.
Mainly, they sold 183 in 4 years.
All the people crying "I wanna I wanna I wanna new Unimog" for years were strangely silent in 2003-6.
But the engine still is installed into chassis in the US/Canada, and it meets EPA specs.

Charlie

SunTzuNephew
04-23-2010, 04:57 AM
Not true not true not true!
http://www.detroitdiesel.com/engines/mbe900/default.aspx
Do you see a Mercedes 900 series engine on the linked page?
Thousands are sold in the US yearly, you can buy one in a Freightliner!
Meeting 2010 emission specs.
Mercedes stopped importing U500s into the US because they weren't selling very many and it wasn't worth the investment to fit the (conforming) 900 series engine into the chassis, with AdBlue/DPF etc.
Mainly, they sold 183 in 4 years.
All the people crying "I wanna I wanna I wanna new Unimog" for years were strangely silent in 2003-6.
But the engine still is installed into chassis in the US/Canada, and it meets EPA specs.

Charlie


So,
it wasn't worth the investment to fit the (conforming) 900 series engine into the chassis, with AdBlue/DPF etc.

You agree with me. The existing engine wasn't cutting it. A new engine did but would require more than it was worth to fit.

charlieaarons
04-23-2010, 05:03 AM
So,

You agree with me. The existing engine wasn't cutting it. A new engine did but would require more than it was worth to fit.

Yes, sort of. But, since the engine meets EPA specs in other chassis applications, the decision to stop importing the chassis was made on the basis of low unit sales, not "engine unable to meet EPA specs". And, contradicting my last post (sorry), AdBlue didn't come in till 2010. DPF/oxidation cat came in 2007.
I think at best the emissions were their excuse to stop importing, not the real reason.
There is no "new engine" in Freightliners/Thomas school buses etc. It is the same old engine with more emissions hardware. This engine series was specifically designed in the late 90s to deal with emission specs up to Euro VI which are about as stringent as EPA 2010.

Charlie

Bill Beers
04-23-2010, 06:02 AM
...There is no "new engine" in Freightliners/Thomas school buses etc. It is the same old engine with more emissions hardware...

While that's true for the MBE 900, the DD13 is all new.

Though I don't think you could cram a DD13 in to a Unimog!

ersatzknarf
04-23-2010, 04:20 PM
Welcome and congratulations on your impending order !
It sounds like you have found just the right solution for you and your family :D


I've been an avid "lurker" on the forum and have been actively researching literally every available expedition vehicle platform available for the USA.

<snip>

Needless to say...we will be putting in our order for a Freightliner M2 CrewCab GVX with Mike and Rene in the coming month and building out our dream vehicle. It's been a few years in the making and we look forward to posting the vehicles progress.

charlieaarons
04-23-2010, 04:45 PM
A word of advice:
Order the highest GVW, axle and spring ratings available on your chassis. RV weights climb but never seem to decrease.
My experience, also Doug Hackney's and Jay Shapiro's EcoRoamer are instructive in this matter.
When I picked up my Unicat in Germany Thos. Ritter and I took it to get weighed. It was 4200kg in front and 5700kg in the rear with (nearly) empty fuel and water tanks.
I now have added a front winch, a lot of recovery gear and tools, comprehensive spare parts, 2 unmounted extra spare tires on the roof, etc etc.
With full tanks and fully set for a long trip it weighs 4400kg in front and 8300kg in the rear! The rear axle is plated at 9000kg but the truck's plated rear GAWR is 8500kg.
It really adds up.
Enjoy your vehicle.

Charlie

PS: Don't worry about going over 26K GVW. RVs don't require CDLs in the US. If you need one for a foreign country (like Australia) a Class B CDL is easy to get.

hardware
04-23-2010, 06:48 PM
teamtrailrunner,

does the GXV M2 vehicle you looked have a walk through (or crawl through) from cab to living space ?

ersatzknarf
04-23-2010, 06:55 PM
Excellent question ! ! !

redthies
04-24-2010, 06:51 AM
My cousin is the CEO of Freightliner Canada... I've been thinking about asking for a rig for "R&D"... This would be the right one! Of course I would have to supply the camper portion... Bummer!:sombrero:

jgolden
04-24-2010, 01:18 PM
Teamtrailrunner -

I assume your rig will have sleeping for 6?
Do you know how it'll be setup yet?
bunkbeds maybe?

WhereTheHellIsJames?
04-24-2010, 09:10 PM
teamtrailrunner,

does the GXV M2 vehicle you looked have a walk through (or crawl through) from cab to living space ?

I had a look at the GXV M2 at Overland Expo this year, and can confirm that it does have a walk/crawl through between the cabin and camper.

I spent some time talking with Mike about his company (GXV)- it seems like they're on the right track with their intentions, and the build quality appears to be top notch.

dzzz
04-24-2010, 11:37 PM
....................

PS: Don't worry about going over 26K GVW. RVs don't require CDLs in the US. If you need one for a foreign country (like Australia) a Class B CDL is easy to get.

Some states may require CDL for air brakes. I took the CDL-A test based on Charlie's advice that some countries may not recognize CDL-B. I received different answers from different DMV employees regarding air brakes requirement. In my state CDL does not require private training so getting it has not been difficult.

All U500 have air brakes, I believe.
A Freightliner dealer told me that the M2 is not nearly as robust as a U500. But the U500 is overkill as an expedition camper. The U500 is not a choice for a family or six. That GVX vehicle seems like a great choice.

charlieaarons
04-24-2010, 11:43 PM
In my state a Class B CDL is for straight trucks, a Class A is for tractor trailers. The nomenclature probably varies depending on the jurisdiction.
At any rate, for a Unimog, one needs a straight truck licence for trucks with air brakes, unlimited weight (over 26000 lb/12000kg). Outside North America.

Charlie

teamtrailrunner
04-25-2010, 03:25 AM
Thanks for the insight. We are avid outdoors people (very involved in Boy Scouts also!) and have many years in the great outdoors.

YES...On the walkthrough from the cab to the box. The opening is about 4 ft wide and 5 ft high. We are going to order the Crew Cab so that it can seat 2 upfront with air ride seats and the 4 across bench seat in back, which we will have the center section modded to fold flat for easy access to the box...but still allow for 6 passengers upfront.

Mike has some exciting new additions to the box (sworn to secrecy by Rene) that will be a big plus for sleeping areas. I'll let you know as we are building. I use to own a big tech company (and now heavily into real estate and finance...and the company now allows some time freedom) so we are going to keep a detailed build website and the family is going to chronicle our overland adventures. We have actually been planning this for a number of years and the kids are now old enough to let us start. They are 14, 12, 9 and 4! Whew.

We are going to build put the chassis as stout as possible. We are also looking at the 6x6 confiquration. We have lots of outdoor equipment (i.e. mtn bikes, hiking gear, possible BMW 1200 GS, etc.) to add different mods to the frame. As a life long entrepreneur I've always felt that a strong base and/or foundation is the most critical aspect to building anything...whether in business or pleasure. So even through it may seem like a lot of dollars...we are talking about a platform that will still be viable in 25 years and a million miles. And you add in the stability, ease of service and most importantly the SAFETY aspects...well it is really a great value.

And as an added bonus...I put myself through college driving big rigs...so I've got the CDL covered:smiley_drive:

Really look forward to meeting some of you at events and sharing insight on this forum.

mhiscox
04-25-2010, 06:47 PM
Really look forward to meeting some of you at events and sharing insight on this forum.
No more than we are all looking forward to ongoing reports about the truck and your use of it. Very exciting stuff that we'll all be interested to hear about.

Overland Hadley
04-25-2010, 07:49 PM
I am looking forward to watching your build process. Keep us posted!

adventureduo
04-28-2010, 12:49 AM
Yes, please do keep us posted!

ersatzknarf
04-30-2010, 12:54 AM
Has anyone seen any photos of the interior, by chance ?

(tomorrow is lottery ticket day ;) )

Larry - KB0HIB
05-04-2010, 05:21 PM
Sorry, I missed Lottery Day but there are photos of the GXV Freightliner interior on the GXV website. http://globalxvehicles.com/patagonia-expedition-chassis-vehicle-92/

Larry

chrismc
05-04-2010, 06:10 PM
:drool: That is just flippin' sweet. "I want."

ersatzknarf
05-04-2010, 06:11 PM
Hi Larry,
Great ! Don't worry, today is lottery day, too ;)
Thanks for posting this. I have been checking the site almost daily. I now know better what I am going to be buying the next ticket for, today... :D


Sorry, I missed Lottery Day but there are photos of the GXV Freightliner interior on the GXV website.
Larry

Ford Prefect
05-04-2010, 10:25 PM
We are going to order the Crew Cab so that it can seat 2 upfront with air ride seats and the 4 across bench seat in back, which we will have the center section modded to fold flat for easy access to the box...but still allow for 6 passengers upfront.


Hey, just a thought, in the case that you have not already thought of this... I have seen Unicat trucks in which the rear bench seat can fold out into a twin size bed. If you are going to have six people in that truck you may want to consider doing that with yours as well. It would make for a nice "bedroom" for your oldest kid perhaps, or a spare bed for someone who tags along in some fashion.

Anyhow, I really like the idea, so I figure I will go for it if ever I am afforded the opportunity to have a nice heavy truck expo rig.

Very kind of you to be willing to share your experience with us. Many of us have to live vicariously through others until we can afford to spend years at a time traveling the world ourselves! haha :D

Cheers
Brian

EuroJoe
05-07-2010, 03:58 AM
Very kind of you to be willing to share your experience with us. Many of us have to live vicariously through others until we can afford to spend years at a time traveling the world ourselves! haha :D

Cheers
Brian

ditto

looking forward to the build!

haven
06-09-2010, 05:06 PM
GXV has produced a PDF that has lots of information about the new "Patagonia" model, built on the Freightliner M2 chassis. Click here to request the brochure http://www.globalxvehicles.com/contact-us/

Here are some details about the truck chassis as built for the first Patagonia. There are many options available, such as a crew cab, 6x6 chassis, and so on.

2010 Freightliner M-2 106, 4x4
--Extended Cab (two doors)
--Overall length – 31’, width – 8’, height – 12’ 8" (9448mm x 2438mm x 3860mm)
--GVWR – 33,000 lb
--Top highway speed: 85 mph (137kph)
--Wheelbase – 230" (5842 mm)
--Frame rails – heat treated alloy steel 120,000 lb psi, 11-1/8" x 3-9/16" x 7/16"
(282mm x 93mm x 11.1mm)
--Engine - Cummins ISC 315hp, 1000 lb-ft torque @ 1400 rpm
--Transmission - Allison 3000 HS, Automatic 6-speed / Overdrive
--Alternator - DR 12v, 160 amp, 28-SI Quadramount
--Air compressor – Cummins, 18.7 cf / min. with quick connects
--Transfer case – 2-speed, air shift
--All wheel drive, engageable
--Front axle - Single reduction, 12,000 lb
--Rear axle - Single reduction, 21,000 lb, axle ratio: 5.29
--Suspension – Airliner 23,000 lb. with snow chain clearance
--Brakes – Air Brakes with ABS
--Meritor main Driveline
--Air dryer – Meritor 1200 with heater
--Alcoa 22.5" aluminum wheels
--Michelin XZL 445/65, R22.5
--Fuel tanks – 300 gallons total (1135 liters). 2 @ 50 gallon and 2 @ 100 gallon
--Gasoline tank (for ATV/motorcycle) – 75 gallon (283 liters)
--Aluminum Roof Rack with 3-Soltek LED Driving Lights (2,880 lumens) and 2-Soltek HID Race Lights
(3,200 lumens)
--Winch – 16,500 pound Electric SuperWinch
--Heavy-Duty Off-Road Front Aluminum Bumper, Equipped for Winch, Black Powder Coat
--Heavy-Duty Aluminum Adjustable Rear Bumper– Black Powder Coat
--Spare Tire mounted on rear with manual hoist
--Extraction Mats mounted on rear, qty. 4

Mike Van Pelt emailed a few more photos of the Patagonia:

http://i188.photobucket.com/albums/z241/expeditioncampers/GXV-Patagonia-1.jpg

The galley, with pass-through to the truck cab visible in the background

http://i188.photobucket.com/albums/z241/expeditioncampers/GXV-kitchen.jpg

The view in the other direction, showing the raised bed and storage

http://i188.photobucket.com/albums/z241/expeditioncampers/GXV-bed.jpg

The view out the "Natura" window is spectacular!

http://i188.photobucket.com/albums/z241/expeditioncampers/GXV-Natura-window.jpg

The Patagonia has a very large storage area under the bed area, big enough to carry an ATV, or a couple of small motorcycles, or lots of additional gear.

Everyone who sees the GXV vehicles remarks about the high quality of the camper construction, and the consideration given to the details. Sometimes you pay more, and you get more, too.

chrismc
06-09-2010, 06:40 PM
I love that truck. I'd buy it in a heartbeat if I ever had the means.

I noticed one discrepancy in the specs, though. It lists "Top highway speed: 85 mph (137kph)", but those tires are speed-limited to 60mph (source (http://www.michelintruck.com/michelintruck/tires-retreads/tireInfo.do?tread=XZL%20%28wb%29)). It might be ok if they're lightly-loaded (which is likely given the load specs on those things), but definitely not officially ok.

jgolden
06-17-2010, 03:52 AM
Would the size of this vehicle cause problems on an "around the world" adventure? Seems it would be very limiting???

Very cool though