Eco-Roamer - F650 based Expedition Vehicle

Harald Hansen

Explorer
Here's one approach re: stealth from Kevin Kelly's excellent Cool Tools blog:

My Jeep is camouflaged to look like a commercial fleet vehicle. I made up a fake company name, appropriated a 1950s-era logo that once belonged to a nuclear energy mutual fund, painted safety stripes on the back, and plastered a fake vehicle number all over the place. I also added flashing yellow lights in the rear window, and a police-style spotlight and rubberized push bumper to the front. VERY FUN accessories ... and useful too (when used with discretion). The spotlight is incredibly versatile -- you can point/rotate it while sitting in the driver's seat -- and it's come in handy countless times for roadside emergencies, setting up campsites, or finding house numbers on dark streets.

This urban camouflage guise is very useful for parking in yellow zones, urban/industrial exploration, and crime deterrence. And the thing is... it really works!
 

Lynn

Expedition Leader
We were trying to think of the most universal names we could come up with, which would appeal to the largest group of 'baddies'. Something like:

"Mustafa Garcia's Halal Meat Supply"

"Tan Teck Kiang Furniture Company" (written in Chinese & English)
(completely joking of course...)
For my dream vehicle I'm planning something really deterring, like:

Rotheschild’s Septic and Sewer Sucking Service

And an 'urban camouflage' paint scheme that looks like splatters of brown stuff.


That should keep most people at a distance. :)



With apologies to Red Green.
 

jayshapiro

Adventurer
Wheels, Wheels, Wheels...

I've seen your website. It looks really good.
Jason,

Thanks for the compliments on the EcoRoamer.com website. I'm really happy with how it is coming together. I remember about only 5-7 years ago when you HAD to spent 1/2 million dollars to get a decent web content management system. The fact that today, you can build a pretty comprehensive site like this, with no special tools or skills using one of the free CMS's like Drupal or Joomla, blows me away...


Do you have any info on the tires/wheel setup I see pictures of. They look like the new Earthroamer wheels.
Good question...

I suppose this is as good a time as any to bring up "The Wheels Discussion". It's one of my most sore points about the whole project, and I'm really stuck, so I'm open to any suggestions any of you have:

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago... I made a horrible mistake and ordered 5 wheels from USA6x6 with a "6 week delivery." Together with that was supposed to be 5 Michelin XZL 20" tires. This was back in the days before I Googled every supplier I work with to see if there are lots of Internet postings warning what thieves they are. (like this!)They switched the tires to much lower rated military tires, and then said "oops, well we can't get the XZL's anymore anyhow"

So I went out and bought my own Continental MPT81 20"x14.5" tires (5 of them - which are now sitting gathering dust (NEW!) in Michigan)

6 MONTHS LATER my wheels finally show up. We mounted the Continental tires on them, filled them up with air and within 24hrs all 5 are flat because the welds on the wheels all leaked. We tried to break apart the bolt-togethers and discovered that some idiot in their shop put silicone sealant between the bolt-togethers rather than a rubber o-ring so it took a forklift to break them.

I sent those back and told USA6x6 I wanted my money back rather than having them fix them. Daniel insisted that he had just got a 'new set in' and these were much better and he'd do all the shipping both ways for free. I knew I wasn't going to get my money, and I still needed wheels, so I stupidly said "ok".

6 weeks later the next set of wheels show up. Except this time there are only 4 wheels (not 5) and 1 of the 4 of them are different from the other 3.

My guys in Michigan told me that these wheels have some strange internal bead locks (i.e. - not usual beadlocks) on them and they couldn't get my tires mounted on them.

Also, They were hub-centric, not stud-piloted, which means the hole pattern matched, but the stud sizes were different. We toyed with the idea of changing my studs, or putting sleeves on them, or something stupid like that, but then gave up bothering to even pursue these. Especially since I'd still need 2 more for the spares.

Then USA 6x6 went bankrupt, and the whole world is hunting down Daniel, so I gave up on the money I've obviously lost with those jokers, and stopped trying to fix the wheels to start looking for others.

I have talked to the guys at Stockton Wheels, but theirs won't support the load of the EcoRoamer. (about 27,000 pounds over 4 wheels = 6,750 lbs per wheel/tire)

I have tried sourcing bolt-togethers from Hutchinson, (who makes the EarthRoamer wheels) but have had no luck reaching anyone there who knows what I'm talking about.

I found a great set of wheels from Accuride (called the 40082) that they make for OshKosh Military trucks, but they won't make small volumes of them for me, and OshKosh will sell me some of theirs through their Parts counter at $1,500 a piece, with 4 months delivery time. -sigh-


At this point I'm thinking about giving up on my plan of having 20" super singles with 2-piece bolt-togethers for field servicing (and all of the benefits that I thought would go along with those) and just selling my Continentals for a set of 22.5" tires that I can run as duallies on my existing Alcoas.

I gain extra load capacity.
I lose the tracking benefits.
I gain flashy chrome wheels (which I suppose I could always paint/powdercoat)
I lose the ability to change a tire in the field.

hmmm.... no wait, that doesn't sound too good!

Any suggestions / advice / criticisms / sarcastic "I told you so's" are grudingly welcome!

Cheers,
Jay.


Continentals mounted on Leaky USA6x6 wheels:


Truck with the 20" wheels and tires:


...and the flashy Trucker Alcoas:



PS - Jason, this remains one of my favourite all time scale pics of the truck next to your already impressive Colorado rig:


Cheers,
Jay.
 

kerry

Expedition Leader
J
I lose the ability to change a tire in the field.

.
I'm not sure I follow this. Couldn't you change the tire by hand using tire irons? I just practiced this on my Fuso tires to make sure I could do it. I'd never done it before but was able to carry it out. There is a good YouTube video showing a guy changing a truck tire by hand in short order.
 
Last edited:

boblynch

Adventurer
Wheel Info

Jay,

As we've discussed in the past, I'm also exploring super single options. I'll try to recap what I've found for everyone.

Stockton - yes they'll make custom steel 20x11 wheels, but won't meet your payload requirements. They made the wheels for the first TurtleV.

Hutchinson - yes they make the Earthroamer 20x11 aluminum beadlock wheels for the F550. The wheels they supply to Earthroamer are load rated for 6779lbs. They use the same wheel front and back with an adapter plate. The wheels weigh about 110lb and the MPT 335s are 122lbs. They are very cool, but not cheap.

My contact is Bill O'Hara (Sales & Marketing Manager - Wheel Division) bohara@hutchinsoninc.com Phone: 609-858-5661. He's been very good about responding.

It looks like you have the 22.5x8.25 10-lug wheels. If you have the same 225mm (8.85 in) bolt circle as the current model F550, the Earthroamer Hutchinson wheels should work for the MPT 365s. If not, maybe they'll build you a set. They do a bunch of military work and may have other options.

Rickson - Many truck camper owners with SRW trucks upgrade to Rickson 19.5s. They also do custom orders. I'm currently considering a set of 20x11 or 19.5x8.25 steel singles for use with my F550. The cost is about the same. The 20s are load rated for 6750lbs. Contact Dan Richter (www.ricksontruck.com dan@ricksontruck.com Phone: 410-771-9501).

Good luck.

Bob
 
Hutchinson - yes they make the Earthroamer 20x11 aluminum beadlock wheels for the F550. The wheels they supply to Earthroamer are load rated for 6779lbs. They use the same wheel front and back with an adapter plate. The wheels weigh about 110lb and the MPT 335s are 122lbs. They are very cool, but not cheap.



Rickson - Many truck camper owners with SRW trucks upgrade to Rickson 19.5s. They also do custom orders. I'm currently considering a set of 20x11 or 19.5x8.25 steel singles for use with my F550. The cost is about the same. The 20s are load rated for 6750lbs. Contact Dan Richter (www.ricksontruck.com dan@ricksontruck.com Phone: 410-771-9501).

Good luck.

Bob
Not enough load capacity. The 365s have a load rating of 7100kg = 7830 lb and I think he will need every last ounce of that.
Accuride bolt-together wheels vary depending on offset but are at least 9370 lb, ranging up to 12000.

Charlie
 

jayshapiro

Adventurer
The continuing Saga

Bob,

Thanks for the great information & contacts.

Congratulations btw on taking the plunge and starting your F550 flatbed project. I know you've been wanting to for a while, so It's great that now you can start to play.

Let us know if we can help at all.

------------------------------------

Charlie,

What do you think about maybe running the Hutch wheels setup as duallies? 6800lb * 6 wheels = 40,000lb+

We lose the ease of access to the inners, and the tracking challenges, but at least the load is better distributed (i.e. lower PSI on the ground) and we get the advantages of the bolt-togethers.

------------------------------------

Kerry,

You're right, I could always use tire irons / "tyre pliers". But the thought of trying to pry one of those MPT's off the rim using nothing but elbow grease is not particularly attractive. - Especially in the extreme heat/cold/rain/etc.

Of course, we'll be carrying two mounted spares, so that will always be the first step...

Cheers all,
Jay.
 

Jeep

Supporting Sponsor: Overland Explorer Expedition V
Jay, 22.5's pop on and off quite easily with a proper set of tire irons, get the same ones a commercial tire shop uses. We do all of our own tire swaps and mount 48x31x22.5 floatation tires by hand too.
 
Of course, we'll be carrying two mounted spares, so that will always be the first step...
Speaking of spare tires... How do you plan on carrying those. I didn't see any type of tire mount off the back on the U.P. trip pictures that I have. Or do you plan on carrying them under the back end of the chassis somehow?

 

jayshapiro

Adventurer
Spare Tires

Speaking of spare tires... How do you plan on carrying those. I didn't see any type of tire mount off the back on the U.P. trip pictures that I have. Or do you plan on carrying them under the back end of the chassis somehow?
Oooh... That brings up the back end of truck, one of my favorite parts!

On the Michigan trip you would have seen the open 'vestibule' at the back of the camper that looked something like this:


That was without the rear 'ramp door' installed (being worked on next week!)

Essentially what happens is we have taken a standard cargo/toy-hauler ramp door and designed it to mount on the back edge of the vestibule with a lock-out so that it can only go down 90'.

On the 'top-side' (i.e. inside surface) of the door is some outdoor carpeting and fold-up railings.

Over the rear 'patio' area then there is a small Fiamma van awning, with an add-a-room attachment, so we can close that area in if we want to in inclement weather.

(something like this -- only less cheesy)


This essentially adds an extra 100 sq ft of living space to the camper, without really taking up any space.

Very special thanks to Rob Gray's WORT for the inspiration:

90
Then... on the back of the door is mounted the two spare tires/wheels on a separate hinged mechanism that can allow them to lower down independently.

The whole thing should look something like this:




Even with the ramp door up/closed there is still an are about 17" deep between the ramp door and the 'inside' door/window. In that vestibule area will be two 25gal stainless steel tanks (built into the side walls) to hold the pre-filtered water (i.e. they will be empty 90% of the time)... and storage room for bikes / strollers / spare-parts / etc.

I'm really excited about this part of the truck. I think it adds a huge amount of 'liveability' to the vehicle without sacrificing much (except about 2.5 degrees on our departure angle)

Cheers,
Jay.
 

jayshapiro

Adventurer
Edge trim

Jay, 22.5's pop on and off quite easily with a proper set of tire irons, get the same ones a commercial tire shop uses. We do all of our own tire swaps and mount 48x31x22.5 floatation tires by hand too.
Jeep,

Thanks for the tip, we're certainly considering it!

Oh, and a little while ago you asked me about the top edge extrusion that we have on the vehicle. (sorry for the delay in answering that one!)

It's a really neat shape which encompasses:
- a nice round edge for the wall/roof joint
- a drip rail
- two slots to fit in the wall / roof materials

It looks like this:



And here's a drawing for you:


We bought it through Postal Extrusions who sell it in lengths up to 168 inches, for about $80.

They don't sell to the public, but Scott said he'd happily order some for you if you want.

Cheers,
Jay.
 

riparious

New member
Veggie-Oil vs Bio-Diesel

Hi Jay,

Such a great project. Not only is your truck cool, your well documented thoughtfulness in the design is amazing.

I applaud your intent to use Bio-Diesel as much as possible. Though Bio-Diesel availability is expanding widely across the world, it seems like you will be spending most of your time in places with limited supply. Have you considered using veggie oil?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straight_vegetable_oil

A great resource for all things related conversions are the forums at;

http://www.frybrid.com/forum/

Good luck with the adventures!
 
Top