Choosing one of the MB trucks

#1
Well I have been doing a heap of web surfing looking for a MB truck and have found several in Germany that look pretty good. One thing that I still am stumbling on though is all the, seemingly infinite number of MB truck variations (and the lack of online info for them). So between the 9,10,11 and 12 series trucks is there a preference (I am targeting the AF trucks)? Would a 11 or 12 series be way overkill and ride any rougher? What about MPG? My plan would be a Total Composites box at either 15 or 16 feet so not a super heavy load. If say the 12 is way rougher, is there a way to soften the ride, like remove one of the leafs from the spring pack?

Now what about the engines, I see 17, 20, 22 and 24 from the various years. Any one to avoid or a particular favorite?

And lastly, anyone import an ex firetruck and gotten a lemon? Anything to look out for? From everything I have read people really seem to like these trucks and they are a great starting point for a camper.
 
#2
There is not a lot to choose between the 9-12. (the number refers to GVW in tonnes). Add to the mix that Mercedes custom builds to order. For example my 9 series truck was ordered with a 9.4 tonne single wheel rear axle.
The engine number refers to hp 17+170 hp. Trucks of the same vintage share the same block, Hp differences are achieved with level of turbocharging and fuel delivery. A 17 can be brought up to 240hp. (for a cost and a fuel penalty).
 
#3
Jon,
I have studied those trucks and watched pricing/availability in Europe for years. There is no perfect truck out there. They all come with a compromise. But bottom line is: get a Mercedes. Our Sprinter was never sold in North America, but my local dealer can pull up the spec sheet and order anything that I need for it. The last time I needed something it was delivered within two days AND was cheaper than buying online. Try that with any other brand around the world.

Give me a call if you want to chat.
 
#4
Hi guys, as an example I am seriously considering a 1222. I get that it is a 12 ton truck with a 220hp engine. But any way to figure out which engine? Just a bigger turbo on the 170hp or is it a NA much larger displacement engine? I would not want to get it and see a monster diesel guzzler under the "hood". As an example I see references that the 170hp is about a 5.7 liter inline 6 engine with the 220hp being a 10.8 liter V6. So if this is the case any idea as to the MPG difference between the 2?
 
#5
You need the VIN so you can check what the engine is. The 170hp engine is probably the OM366(6 liter), a fantastic engine, as stated before available in variants from 170-240 hp.
BTW diesels work best loaded, if you can live with it, being slightly under powered is not a bad thing.
 

Sitec

Adventurer
#6
A 1222 overkill... Noooooo, it's perfect! :) I have a 1222 and bought it because I have used 1617's, 2421's etc in Africa before, without incident. Parts are available everywhere, and they are over engineered underpowered trucks. Yes the smaller 170hp straight 6's are better on fuel, but with a 12 tonne body on the back you spend every journey flogging it to maintain speed... My 1222 has the OM421 which is a large naturally aspirated V6,engine. It still has it's heavy steel tray and crane on it, but out on the road it does not take long to get to highway speed. In the 1222 it comes in at just under 220hp, but is found here in prime movers (semi's) pushing 340hp, where it uses a large turbo and intercooler and different fueling... (I have a spare 1734 which I bought for the turbo, intercooler, engine and cab parts etc). The V6 and V8's run singular cylinder heads and share a lot of components, which means easy repairs should problems arise. My truck runs a simple 6 speed gearbox, and a hub reduction axle on the rear. It has a huge transfercase and runs the same axle on the front as the smaller 1617's etc. Depending on what you plan to do with it, I don't think bigger trucks are overkill... You can carry lots of water and fuel, fit a 6m body to it and still come in under 12 tonnes. (have a thread running on here about my story so far). :)

Here's a link to a Mercedes 1831 I came very close to buying. It has hub reduction axles front and rear, the same V6 as mine but in 310hp turbo form. It's an ex runway sweeping truck, so comes with low kms, and decent tyres all round. Had it been right hand drive I would have bought it in a flash, and suffered the joys of trying to get it into Australia. Also attached is a pic of the Merc's I used to drive in Africa. Love them! Good luck in your quest!

Drago 6.jpg


https://www.vanvliet.com/vehicles/09020993/tractor-units/tractor-units/mercedes-1831-ak
 
#7
You need the VIN so you can check what the engine is. The 170hp engine is probably the OM366(6 liter), a fantastic engine, as stated before available in variants from 170-240 hp.
BTW diesels work best loaded, if you can live with it, being slightly under powered is not a bad thing.
So if the VIN is WDB 61526415289731 how do you decode it?
 
#9
Thanks guys, the last few days have been a bit of a learning process and I think I may have narrowed the field down to 2 different models. So given the choice between a 1019 AF and an 1120 AF would there be a preference?

The 1120 has an inline turbo 6 and the 1019 a NA v6. They both seem to come with lockers. Both seem to be in good condition. The 1120 is the newer model and a bit more expensive.
 
#10
Not knowing anything about the two truck but having owned a diesel truck that was NA and one that is turbo'd I would take the turbo all day.
 
#11
Jon,

I don't know where you will be sourcing the truck from. But if you are buying it in Germany, I would highly recommend getting the Chassis prepared by one of the outfitters over there. For example: bigger tanks, single wheels, subframe....Those parts are much easier to source over there. I have a very good contact for you. Just let me know if you are interested.
 

Sitec

Adventurer
#12
Thanks guys, the last few days have been a bit of a learning process and I think I may have narrowed the field down to 2 different models. So given the choice between a 1019 AF and an 1120 AF would there be a preference?

The 1120 has an inline turbo 6 and the 1019 a NA v6. They both seem to come with lockers. Both seem to be in good condition. The 1120 is the newer model and a bit more expensive.
The 1019 should come with the larger older cab... but the earlier V6's always sounded like a bucket of nails when running (this changed with I believe a different crank and a few other mods).. The later 1120 has the smaller newer cab, and a straight 6 turbo. If you are staying State side I'd suggest the 1120, but if you are Africa bound or any of the third world countries I'd look to the older truck. Exciting times! :)
 
#13
The 1019 should come with the larger older cab... but the earlier V6's always sounded like a bucket of nails when running (this changed with I believe a different crank and a few other mods).. The later 1120 has the smaller newer cab, and a straight 6 turbo. If you are staying State side I'd suggest the 1120, but if you are Africa bound or any of the third world countries I'd look to the older truck. Exciting times! :)
We plan to put a lot of miles on this truck and Africa would be in the cards. So, just for my learning why would you shy away from the 1120 with the I6? I really don't know but I sort of thought it was an OM366 which is a newer (newer being relative, both of these trucks over 25 years old) version of the engine in in the xx17 series? I have never owned a truck like this but I also sort of thought the turbo might be a bit better at higher elevations? Still trying to soak up all I can.
 
#14
Is there a way to tell if one of these trucks have the fast axles? When I look up the VIN there looks to be a serial number for the axle. Is it possible to look it up?
 

Sitec

Adventurer
#15
We plan to put a lot of miles on this truck and Africa would be in the cards. So, just for my learning why would you shy away from the 1120 with the I6? I really don't know but I sort of thought it was an OM366 which is a newer (newer being relative, both of these trucks over 25 years old) version of the engine in in the xx17 series? I have never owned a truck like this but I also sort of thought the turbo might be a bit better at higher elevations? Still trying to soak up all I can.
I've not been back to Africa for over 10 yrs now, and the newer trucks are prob now there, as is the turbo 6, but when I was working over there we seldom saw the later trucks. The SK's, MK's and NG's were everywhere, including quite a few of the older bull nose trucks. Either way, you'll always find parts for both, and you might well be right on the newer I6 being the same/similar to the 1617's etc. I'd buy which ever unit you prefer (or which budget allows) and go from there. Following with interest.