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Thread: Earthroamer review by experienced travelers

  1. #1
    haven is offline Expedition Portal Moderator Expedition Leader
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    Default Earthroamer review by experienced travelers

    Here's a thought-provoking review of the Earthroamer by experienced overland travelers.

    Rob and Nina Blackwell are Australian ex-pats who live in the Seattle area. In 2009 and 2010, they drove a Provan Tiger CX diesel down the Pan-American highway and back, a total of about 60,000 miles. In 2011, they decided to purchase a used Earthroamer. The review shares their experiences and observations from 5 months of ER ownership.

    http://www.whiteacorn.com/articles/er-review/

    Thanks to forum member diplostrat for mentioning the link.

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    Default Great review!

    Rob and Nina are a wonderful couple - and what a sense of humor too! Nina kept us in stitches for certain! Their insights are very accurate and reflecting their modesty, understated. I feel very fortunate indeed to have had the pleasure of meeting them in person. What great stories and experiences they have to share. Thank you Rob and Nina!

    Your American friend (in an Australian's American truck),
    Jonathan
    Jonathan D. Howell
    Lieutenant Colonel, US Army

    EarthRoamer XV-LT #15 "Around the World"
    "Americans travelling America"

    Life Memberships: National Eagle Scout Association, Veterans of Foreign Wars, National Rifle Association, Military Officers Association of America, Army Engineer Association, Good Sam Club, North American Hunters Association...if I could: EarthRoamer, Overland Journal and ExpeditionPortal.com

  3. #3
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    Very interesting. I'm surprised at the ride differences compared to a tiger. I bet they can improve the ride without spending $20K.
    Don

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    Thanks for posting the link.

    Interesting read, especially this part.

    The ideal expedition vehicle
    From the above discussion you would not be surprised to know that I think a strong camper shell (almost certainly composite construction), mounted using a 3 point mounting system, onto a 1-ton pickup, with an all up weight of 11,000-12,000 lbs would be a nearly ideal expedition vehicle. Unfortunately no body (including Provan, ER or GXV) is making one. Business opportunity anyone?
    ER is coming out with some new models, I wonder if one will fill this market.
    Tacoma - For Extended Overland Travels
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    Awesome couple indeed.
    Christian

    CTO Expedition Portal
    www.expeditionportal.com
    www.overlandjournal.com

  6. #6
    haven is offline Expedition Portal Moderator Expedition Leader
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    My take on the review: Earthroamer camper excellent, Ford execrable.

    The number of repairs needed is a condemnation of the quality of the Ford F550. This is supposed to be a commercial quality vehicle. And the length of time that Ford needed to make repairs is unacceptable. Does anyone know if this Earthroamer was still under Ford's warranty?

    I thought Rob Blackwell was the soul of discretion when describing his vehicle's problems. I would have been shouting my displeasure from the rooftops.

  7. #7
    haven is offline Expedition Portal Moderator Expedition Leader
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    "a strong camper shell (almost certainly composite construction), mounted using a 3 point mounting system, onto a 1-ton pickup, with an all up weight of 11,000-12,000 lbs would be a nearly ideal expedition vehicle."

    Two Australian companies, EarthCruiser Overland Vehicles http://www.earthcruiser.com.au/ and All Terrain Warriors http://www.allterrainwarriors.com.au/ make this sort of vehicle. The chassis is the Fuso FG with revised suspension, making for a comfortable ride. Since the Blackwells are returning to Australia at some point, I would think either would be a good choice for them. However, neither has the creature comforts of the EarthCruiser, and that seemed to be a big part of the decision to move away from the Tiger CX camper.

    EarthCruiser was talking about offering a USA-legal version, but I haven't heard anything lately. I think they may be waiting for Fuso to introduce their new 3.0L Canter model in USA this Fall.

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    Default Ford Diesel Quality

    This is a hot topic. You may remember that I posted about this a while back. The feed back that I got was the big reason that I did not buy a used Tiger with a Ford 350 base. Although the miles were low, the previous owner had already blown a radiator.

    The chatter I hear is that Ford made some bad choices in the way that they installed the Navistar Diesel; the same engine enjoying a fine reputation in International trucks.

    Rumor has it that you need to use a different antifreeze and to install a Navistar coolant filter as well. I would stress that this is hearsay on my part. The conventional chatter is that Ford did a poor job with the emission controls and that they tend to take down the engine. This certainly appears to have been the issue with Jon Howell's Earthroamer and its long sojourn in Mongolia. But I would ask him how he fixed the problems because, as far as I can read, it can be done and these engines can be made reliable. Certainly he has not been complaining.
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    DiploStrat

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    Quote Originally Posted by haven View Post
    Two Australian companies, EarthCruiser Overland Vehicles http://www.earthcruiser.com.au/ and All Terrain Warriors http://www.allterrainwarriors.com.au/ make this sort of vehicle. The chassis is the Fuso FG with revised suspension, making for a comfortable ride. Since the Blackwells are returning to Australia at some point, I would think either would be a good choice for them. However, neither has the creature comforts of the EarthCruiser, and that seemed to be a big part of the decision to move away from the Tiger CX camper.

    .
    Also Amesz Design in the Perth area, which might be the logical choice for someone living in WA:
    http://www.amesz.com.au/

    Forgive me for missing something, but I didn't see direct criticism of the Ford F550 in the ER critique link, though I'm well aware of Ford's drivetrain problems. Which makes me dubious of Gary Westcott's recent claim that "the American pickup is still the best vehicle choice for worldwide overlanding"
    Incidentally, knock on wood and all that, but the only chassis problem I've had in 22000 mi since leaving home to Australia is a balky air pressure sensor which caused no secondary problems and cured itself before replacements arrived. No problems attributable to corrugated dirt roads (which we've been on a lot) like tires, leaky axle seals, brake or U-joint or suspension problems. Engine (sans EGR) has been flawless.

    Charlie
    Last edited by charlieaarons; 09-21-2011 at 02:02 PM.
    Unimog U500 with Unicat camper; diesel BMW X5 35d, diesel BJ40 Landcruiser and diesel M37

  10. #10
    I dont understand the statement:
    "a strong camper shell (almost certainly composite construction), mounted using a 3 point mounting system, onto a 1-ton pickup, with an all up weight of 11,000-12,000 lbs would be a nearly ideal expedition vehicle."

    just seems to set up for an overloaded vehicle, 1 ton is not enough! most people are going to overload it, the base vehicle needs to be rated higher than 1 ton, no??

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