Here's a few photos of EC4 (if I can get this picture attachment thing to work?, here I go)
Here's a few photos of EC4 (if I can get this picture attachment thing to work?, here I go)
Front and rear views
For a 6 tonne (13 230 lb) gross mass vehicle such as Fuso Canter 4x4 (as sold here in Oz), “good practice” is to have a winch that is 1.5 times the GVM or probably about 19 000 lb. However, the EC will be sold with a GVM of 4.5 tonnes (9 900 lb) but even assuming a more manageable 15 000 lb winch (as optioned), the all-up weight of the winch, including mounting, winch rope, an extension rope, suitably rated shackles and pulley blocks etc, would be about 100 kg.
This is effectively 120 litres of diesel or 100 kg of other supplies or equipment that “cannot” be carried. Can the rare need for a winch justify this loss of carrying capacity?
Furthermore, most of this 100 kg is an additional weight on the front of the vehicle, i.e. “polar weight” which is the worst kind of payload as it promotes further “pitch and toss” in a vehicle that already has this tendency (as do all forward control vehicles and especially those with such a short wheelbase as has the Canter)
Often there are no suitably strong anchors to attach the winch rope to, or anchors in the right location in which case the winch is useless.
In most cases, there are other vehicles in the party, or other vehicles come along and can provide either a tow or “snatch”
A front-mounted winch is basically only good for pulling out forwards, unless significant rigging gear is carried, at extra weight again.
The 15 000 lb electric winch has a current draw of about 460 amps (at 12 volts). With the Canter alternator at 100 amps (peak) and given that vehicle (cranking) batteries are not designed for heavy sustained discharge, the effective winching time (assuming the engine is actually running) would be relatively short.
A 15 000 lb winch only achieves 15 000 lb pull on the first wrap. On the 4th wrap, the pull is down to 9 000 lb.
The use of a pulley block will allow higher recovery forces for the same winch (e.g. 30 000 lb), but at the expense of slower recovery.
A winch will only be effective if it is maintained; since they are rarely used, it can easily be neglected and end up corroded, or with water in it, or the winch rope in poor condition and not effective or not working at all. In this case, the winch may be worse than having nothing at all, as it gives a false sense of security and/or may be dangerous to use.
Winching is a hazardous activity. The safest approach to vehicle recover is to lower tyre pressures to increase flotation and traction. If this fails “lift and pull”, i.e. dig the vehicle out using shovels and/or raise it out of the bog, and then pull it forwards or backwards using a tow rope or a kinetic “snatch” strap. However, “snatching” is probably not viable in many cases if the free vehicle is 3 tonnes and the bogged vehicle (the EC) is 5 tonnes.
Since winching is a rare event, even if the operator has been trained to safely do this in the past, he may make a mistake during the real-life winching operation, especially if under stress (as is often the case); this significantly increases the hazard of the activity.
Sand ladders such as the Maxtrax are very effective in sand, mud and snow, and can also be used for bridging small obstacles. Another option is snow chains, which are available for the EC tyres and also work well in mud. They are low risk and more tolerant to operator error.
A more “defensive” driving technique to not get the vehicle immobilised is a better approach—for example, to not initially lower tyre pressure as low as they can or, and to not use diff locks but to leave these two methods as “last resorts”, available if the vehicle does get stuck.
There are other recovery techniques that can be used in an emergency, such as those in the Recovery operations chapter of the US Army driving manual.
Overall, winching is a hazardous last resort option that relies on having suitable anchor points and a forward escape route. Therefore it is rarely if ever used; in this sense it is more of an “insurance policy” than a working item. Given its rare use, additional weight, cost and complexity, can it really be justified? Hence I didn't take it up.
Here's my take on this one:
There are three reasons for carrying a spare wheel:
o A puncture that can be repaired
o A puncture that cannot be repaired
o To replace an excessively worn tyre
Providing a tyre repair kit is carried (and the driver has the skills to use it), there is no justification for carrying a second spare wheel if the puncture can be easily repaired in the field. For tubeless tyres (only) repairs through the tread area are now generally easy using the “plugs”. Experience indicates that about 95% of flat tyres fall into this category. In some cases, the initial puncture could be easily repaired, but failure to detect the loss of pressure results in further damage, sometimes irreparable. The presence of TPMS (tyre pressure monitoring systems) has greatly reduced the likelihood that subsequent damage will occur. This is a key justification for the TPMS on the EC.
If the puncture cannot be repaired, then a (second) spare wheel is desirable, but only for the tyre casing. The steel rim is very unlikely to be damaged. Carrying the spare steel rim is really just to save time and inconvenience, assuming tyre changing equipment is carried. Note that the scrub bar with roof rack over the cabin on the EC can carry 50 kg, and a spare casing is only 40 kg, so this is a suitable place to carry a spare casing. This strategy assumes the casing can be removed and a new casing fitted, which requires seating of the bead on the rim. This is part-justification for the Endless air and its associated air tank.
An alternative to carrying a spare casing is to carry the correct sized tube and, as a short-term solution, dismount and patch the casing and then re-install with a tube. This would require the TPMS to be removed from that rim (since the Sensatyre is clamped internal around the rim in the tyre).
If a tyre becomes excessively worn, then a second spare is likely to be of little value, as in most cases, all tyres are changed at the same time, so an entire spare set would need to be carried. In addition, a “worn tyre” is very unlikely to be something that occurs suddenly, which is the main reason for carrying a spare. Finally, whilst a worn tyre may be illegal, it will not in itself prevent the vehicle being driven.
The tyres fitted as standard to the EC (Michelin 255-100 R16 XZL) are considered an excellent tyre and are rated to 1700 kg per tyre. The GVM on the EC is 4500 kg or 1125 kg per tyre (equally loaded) so there is a substantial margin on loading, reducing the stress on the tyre. There remains a good margin even at 5000 kg.
Tyre technology has improved dramatically in the past 20 years; in addition, one of the key reasons for tyre failure is poor tyre pressure (usually under-inflation), and fitting the EC with a TPMS and Endless air system, should allow very good tyre pressure management.
The second spare wheel is also mounted on the rear bumper bar, another “polar loading” on the vehicle which, for reasons noted under “winch” above, is very undesirable.
One complication of the EarthCruiser rim/casing setup is that the Michelin tyres are not in significant use outside of the military, and hence can be difficult or extremely difficult to source by civilians. There are also no other brands that produce 255/100 R16 tyres.
Overall, whilst there is some justification for carrying a second tyre casing, there is little justification for a complete second wheel. Given the weight and cost of the second spare wheel (including the mount) and the impact on the vehicle payload, a second wheel could probably be justified only on very remote and long distance/duration expeditions.
Having said all this, I may just change my mind at some point in the future on this one, but a 2nd spare can easily be retrofitted.
My thinking on why I didn't go for an engine chip on EC4:
More engine power or torque is not relevant in off-road work when speed is low and transmission is in lower gears or low range and torque and power are multiplied by the gearing
The EC engine is selected by Fuso for its rated 6 tonnes GVM and 9.2 tonnes GCM but we will only be operating at 4.5 tonnes (maximum 5000 kg with expedition loading) with no towing. It already has more than sufficient power for most highway driving.
Tom Sheppard, an experienced overland driver including both smaller 4WDs and trucks, comments that light car-like 4WDs have a power to GVM ratio of 30 BHP/tonne (or more). The EC at 4.5 tonnes and 110 kW has a ratio of 32.8 BHP/tonne, and even at 6 tonnes GVM has a ratio of 24.8 BHP/tonne. Compare this to the legendary Mercedes Unimog at 17 to 21 BHP/tonne, and the Pinzgauer 4x4 and 6x6 at 30 and 24 respectively. The EC therefore already has quite sufficient power and torque according to experienced overlanders.
The engine red lines at 3100 rpm or about 127 kph. An engine chip will not allow “higher speeds” than this—only faster acceleration.
The engine chip is really only of any value when climbing hills on road or during overtaking.
An engine chip can void manufacturer’s warranties or complicate trouble-shooting.
Given the minor benefits, cost and disadvantages, I couldn't see an engine chip being justified for EC4
And another one I have thought about:
There is really only one reason for having an inlet on a motorhome to which a mains water supply can be securely fastened. This is to operate the motorhome water circuits from mains water bypassing the on-board tanks and the on-board pump. Mains water pressure should never be applied to plastic water tanks, even on RVs that have a mains water connection, due to the potential to damage the tanks. In addition, the tanks have a breather than is open to atmosphere, so that mains water would be forced out of the tanks anyway. Further, the Webasto DualTop HWS in EC4 will be damaged by relatively low pressures, so that a pressure reducer would need to be fitted; even then there remains a risk from spikes in mains water pressures.
We do not intend to be in a caravan (RV) park very often or parked up somewhere where there is mains water.
When in caravan parks we will generally be in unpowered site anyway for more room and privacy, which usually also means no nearby mains water connection.
It is easy to fill the on-board tanks using a mains hose by inserting the hose nozzle into the tank, OR to use the on-board pump and a suction line from either a bucket or a water source such as a creek
Not connecting to mains water (and its variable pressure, depending on local town water pressure and any local pressure fluctuations including water hammer), also eliminates any potential for blow out of water lines, tanks or the HWS in our motorhome with resulting damage.
Is this yours??
If you mean EC4 (rego number MVA-99) then yes.
Here's my technical specification on EC4 showing what is standard and what is non-standard (Doesn't format as well in a post as in my MS Word document):
Standard equipment and specification for Fuso Canter FG 2009 model (Australia) is NOT repeated here. Refer to Canter brochures and owner’s manual for details.
Engine is FUSO 4M50-3AT7 Diesel (ADR 80/02) 4.9 litre 4 cylinder 16 valve common rail, turbo-charged and air-to-air intercooled diesel with EGR, PCV and catalytic converter but without diesel particulate (DP) filter. Engine rated at 110 kW@2700 rpm and 471 N.m@1600 rpm (limited to 382 N.m in 1st and Reverse gears)
Dimensions and weights configured as EarthCruiser (i.e. with super singles and suspension upgrade etc)
All dimensions are in mm unless noted otherwise
All heights off ground and suspension travel etc are FULLY LOADED to “Expedition weight” (without driver or passenger) approximately 4700 kg and tyres at 50 psi COLD
• Length WITH bullbar and WITH rear spare tyres: 5.91 m; WITH bullbar and WITHOUT rear spares: 5.80 m.
[L/C 200 series wagon 4.95 m WITHOUT bullbar or rear spare wheel]
• Width (excl external mirrors): 2.08 m [L/C 200 series wagon 1.97 m incl mirrors]
• Height: 2.52 m. Height with optional scrub bar and top basket 2.56 m. Height with roof up: 3.16 m. [L/C 200 series wagon 1.905 m WITHOUT roofrack] (expedition loading)
• Wheel base: 2.86 m [L/C 200 series wagon 1.97 m]
• Track (front and rear): 1.75 m [L/C 200 series wagon 1.64 m]
• Ground clearance: 0.265 m [L/C 200 series wagon 0.22 m]
• Approach angle (without bullbar) : 450
• Departure angle (with rear spare tyres)1: 400
• Ramp over angle1: 300
• Turning circle (kerb to kerb) 1: 11.4 m [L/C 200 series wagon 11.8 m kerb to kerb]
• Wading depth (to camper and cabin floors): 1.12 m (expedition loading)
• Tare weight (with standard EarthCruiser® options): 3900 kg1 excluding fuel and persons. [L/C 200 series wagon 2700 kg approx]
• GVM: 4500 kg [on-road], 6000 kg [off-road but see Axle loadings below] [L/C 200 series wagon 3300 kg]
• Axle loadings: Front axle (2600 kg), Rear axle (4300 kg, but de-rated on EC to 3400 kg due to the Michelin super singles rating of 1700 kg each). This creates a “GVM” for the EC when off-road of 2600 kg + 3400 kg = 6000 kg. However, if the vehicle is set up with perfect 50/50 front/rear weight distribution (same weight on each axle) then the front axle becomes the limiting factor with the overall “GVM” being twice the front axle, or 5200 kg. Note: 50% weight distribution to front and rear axles provides least stress on vehicle, best up and down hill gradeability and least chance of “breaking through” on soft surfaces such as sand, mud or ice. Note: as-sold (cab chassis) has 1835 kg on front axle and 775 kg on rear axle = 2610 kg excluding spare wheel & fuel. This is distribution of 70.3% on front axle and 29.7% on rear axle.
• Floor of camper is 1.12 m above ground (expedition loading)
• Floor of cabin is 1.12 m above ground (same as camper) (expedition loading)
• Top of chassis rails at rear 0.85 m off ground (expedition loading). Note: Canter has drop-down chassis.
• Front bump stop clearance (at expedition loading): 70 mm
• Rear bump stop clearance (at expedition loading): 70 mm
• Interior headroom (roof up) at centreline of vehicle: 1.95 m (6’ 5”)
• Interior headroom (roof down) at centreline of vehicle: 1.35 m (4’ 5”)
• Floor of bed to camper floor: 0.53 m
• Clearance: top of mattress to roof with roof down at centreline of vehicle: 0.72 m
• Mattress thickness: 100 mm (nominal)
• Internal area of camper: 3.57 m long x 2.05 m wide
• Ensuite approximately 860 x 620
• Internal swingaway table: 660 x 560
• Cooktop bench (including ceramic cooktop which is flush with bench): 660 x 620
• Main kitchen bench (including sink, which has flush mounted cutting board): 1120 x 630, less 570 x 150 cut-out against wall taken up by Command panel
• Note: 20 ft high-cube shipping container has Tare weight of 2500 kg and maximum gross weight of 22 860 kg (container plus contents). Container internal dimensions 5.87L x 2.33W x 2.65H, door is 2.28W x 2.56H.
Suspension and frame
• Long-travel, hard road/soft ride lengthened (150 mm) front and rear replacement leaf springs
• Kinetic stress-free camper sub-frame (rated to 5 G) attaches to flexible vehicle chassis via 8 spring-loaded mounts
• Greasable spring hangers
• Longer shock absorbers (dampers) with revised valving
• Drive shaft and brake extensions
• Breather extensions to 1.48 m high (front and rear diffs, transmission and transfer boxes)
• Modified engine exhaust piping to fit additional fuel and water tanks (retains standard 3” in-line exhaust brake)
• Load-proportioning brake valve
• 16 inch x 6.5 inch steel rims fitted as super singles, same track front and rear
• Michelin 255/100R16 XZL 36.1” tubeless radial tyres (max load 1700 kg @ 65 psi)
• Note: wheels are “reversed” to fit on back axle; hence inflation valve stem points inwards (accessible via slots in rims at stem locations)
• Note: wheel nuts are LEFT hand thread on LEFT wheels and RIGHT hand thread on RIGHT wheels
• Mudflaps on all four wheels (rear mudflaps only on front wheels, front and rear mudflaps on rear wheels)
• Note: standard fuel tank is 125 litres (effective)
Speeds and gears with Super Singles as fitted
• Overall ratio reductions: 1st low (54.3:1), 5th high (4.119) [L/C 200 series wagon 1st low 34.1:1]
• Speeds: 1st low (5 kph = 1600 rpm), 5th high (100 kph = 2440 rpm, red line 3100 rpm = 127 kph)
• 2 x 115 A-hr (@20 hour) Fullriver 12 Volt AGM House Batteries
• 3 x 68 W Roof Mounted Solar Panels (Unisolar flexible PVL-68)
• Plasmatronics PL20 solar regulator and PLM remote panel in the EC Command centre
• 1800 W pure sine wave inverter (Prosine/Xantrex) @ 350 C ambient with peak of 2900 watts (5 seconds). Output reduces to 1600 watts continuous @ 450 C. Xantrex recommends a minimum battery size of 200 Ah for moderate loads (less than 1000 W) and greater than 400 Ah for heavy loads. Hence EC engine must be left running if feeding high AC loads (>1000 W). Inverter is 88% to 90% efficient in converting DC to AC in range of 500 W to 1800 W. E.g. at 1000 W AC output, DC input requirement is 1000 / 0.90 = 1111 W or 93 A @ 12 V DC.
• Battery Distribution Cluster (ability to isolate starting and/or camper batteries, and to emergency parallel both sets together) and VSR (voltage sensitive relay, engages house batteries for alternator charging at 13.7 volts, disengages at 12.8 volts)
• Residual current device (earth leakage protection) on AC electrical circuits
• Complete Power, Water, Diesel, Solar and Battery Monitoring System including:
o All three water tank remaining capacity ( two fresh and one grey)
o House and vehicle battery voltages
o Instantaneous solar charge and discharge (load) amps of house batteries and net charge/discharge
o Remaining house battery capacity in amp hours or percentage (and for past 30 days, by day)
o Solar panel input (amp-hours) and system usage (amp-hours) today (and for past 30 days, by day)
o Maximum and minimum battery voltages during the day (and for past 30 days, by day)
o Time batteries reached full charge (defined as reaching the “float” stage of the charger) (and for past 30 days, by day)
o Audible and visible alarms on battery levels and fresh and grey water tank levels
• 4 x 240 V 50 Hz AC outlets, all internal
• 2 x 12 volt cig-type DC outlets (+ 2 optional 12 volt cig-type outlets, total 4), all internal
• 12 volt cig-type DC outlets in each outside above-chassis locker (2 off, 1 per locker)
• 2 x Audio speakers in Camper ceiling connected to cabin entertainment system, with remote on/off switch in camper and remote control (remote control is part of optional after-market replacement entertainment system)
• Lighting: see below
• All DC wiring in tinned cable for best long-term corrosion protection
• All DC circuits separately fused, not aggregated on combined fuses
• 120 litre Fridge Freezer (Westinghouse WIM 1200SC converted to 12 volt operation with Danfoss compressor), designed for tropical climates and to operate off-level. Quoted energy consumption of 38 A-hr/24 hrs @ daytime maximum temperature of 300 C.
• Webasto Diesel Ceramic Cook-Top (variable 0.9 to 1.8 kW output) [fed from vehicle main tank, self-priming, own in-line fuel filter between diesel tank and camper floor, own fuse]. Fuel consumption 0.09 to 0.19 litres/hr (0.19 l/hr is 1.8 kW heat output). Has altitude compensator.
• Webasto Diesel “DualTop” single unit combining Water Heater (11 litre tank @ 700 C) and Air heater (200 m3/hr). Total air and water heating capacity: 5.5 kW effective (hot water takes priority as required). Hot water system and camper air heater can both operate while vehicle is in motion [fed from vehicle main tank, self-priming, own fuel filter incorporated into DualTop fuel pump, own fuse]. Hot water system can be manually purged of water at press of button (e.g. for winterising) or will self-purge when water temperature in hot water heat exchanger drops below 60 C. Fuel consumption 0.19 to 0.66 litres/hr (0.66 l/hr is 5.5 kW heat output). No altitude compensator (not required).
• Permanent double bed (1.98 m x 1.23 m) with foam mattress (100 mm)
• Two leather seats in dinette that convert to single bed
• Leather cushions cover bottom of bellows to facilitate crawling through from camper into cabin (or v/v)
• Adjustable dinette table that can swing fully into cabin (between driver and passenger seats) or into camper or drop to form single bed
• Fire Extinguisher (2 kg dry powder in metal frame with zinc plated release clamp)
• Removable indoor/outdoor carpet centre strip full length of camper over vinyl floor
• Mirror on outside of ensuite 450 x 210
• 100 litre nominal Fresh Water Tank (+ additional optional 100 litre fresh water tank) (80 to 90 litres each usable)
• 40 litre Grey Water Tank (35 litres usable)
• Sink and shower drains each drain into greywater tank. Tank has valve on outlet so greywater can drain direct to ground, or be stored in tank.
• Whale Hi-flow Water Pump with pre-filter/strainer (de-rated from 45 psi to 35 psi to meet pressure limit requirements of Webasto Dualtop; delivers 6 litres per minute)
• Pump can be used with suction line from external bucket or creek and pump into either water tank, or bypass both tanks direct to internal/external outlets, or pump from either tank to the other tank
• EPA Approved Water Purifier delivering 3.8 litres/min to dedicated tap on sink. Removes all pathogens to safe levels, smell and taste. Cartridge life 3800 litres of drinking water.
• Deep Bowl Sink (approx 180 mm deep x 400 mm long x 330 mm wide) with fitted cutting board which acts as lid and is flush with benchtop (to provide extra bench space).
• Hot and cold water mixer tap at sink
• Internal hot and cold mixer shower with water-saving head
• Internal electric flushing Thetford Cassette toilet (C402). 15 litres top flushing water tank; 19.3 litres bottom waste tank (red light comes on at 17 litres waste in bottom tank)
• External hot and cold Shower on RHS (with 1.8 m retractable hose and shower head)
• External cold water tap on LHS (on separate in-line Whale pump with fuse, ON/OFF switch and tap (with standard hose thread connection) in battery compartment. Pump does not have pressure switch so needs to be manually turned ON/OFF at tap for pressurised water. Suction head for self-priming on pump is 3 m.
• Fresh water tank breathers are set at the top rear of each tank and “T” joined to exit below the bellows 1.48 m above ground. Air expelled during filling and water expelled during over-filling of the tanks, will exit at this point
• Grey water tank breather/overflow at the tank
• All water and fuel tanks have drains for flushing (or winterisation in case of water tanks)
• Shower and kitchen (grey) water drain directly into grey water tank where it can either be stored or drain onto ground or use supplied grey water hose to drain into a disposal facility
• DualTop fumes exhaust through camper floor and then side via stainless steel outlet in wall; combined hot air off-take and water drain through camper floor
• Cooktop fumes exhaust through camper floor and then side via stainless steel outlet in wall; hot-air offtake through camper floor
• Water flow rates:
o Kitchen tap—8.6 litres/minute
o Internal shower—1.5 litres/minute (water saving shower head)
o External shower—6.7 litres/minute
o Outside tap—12 litres/minute
o Internal filtered water—2.4 litres/minute
Pt 2 is next post