Eco-Roamer - F650 based Expedition Vehicle

nbleak21

Adventurer
Glad to hear that you're enjoying the First Responder's course.

I've taken Lifeguarding in College, and CLS (Combat Life Saver) in the Army, and while I've not had to apply any firsthand knowledge by the pool or in combat, I've had several occasions out in the boonies where that knowledge did come in handy.

I'd recommend anyone who's going to play hard to have a little bit of First Responder's knowlege, and some preventive med if it's not incorporated, as well.
 

kjp1969

Explorer
Knowing how much time and effort and money went into this truck, that video kept me on the edge of my seat. That is one big summagun!:Wow1:
 

dlbrunner

Adventurer
Amazing video- I was surprised to see how much flex there is between cab and box.

Must feel like quite an accomplishment to see such a large project through to completion. Very, very cool.

Now comes the fun part!

The AT was funny, I started to think it would be a good "Mother in law" quarters!
 

Jeep

Supporting Sponsor: Overland Explorer Expedition V
Cool vid Jay and Alice. If you would be inclined to share a few measurements it might make my life a little easier! How much room is between the overhead and the cab? I noticed a lot of flex and nothing appearred to hit. Also what is the overall height and the height of the top of the truck frame rail to the ground? I'm going to be framing mine over the next 2-3 weeks and want to see if there is a little room to steal a few inches. Like always, much appreciated. Regarding the swirch to singles, have you noticed any adverse affects? Have you driven in a cross wind with it since switching? I have heard of some handling issues on pavement in windy conditions with singles and since you have driven both you might be able to clarify that a bit.
Thanks again,
Mark.
 

1leglance

2007 Expedition Trophy Champion, Overland Certifie
wow that is pure coolness...
I love that you guys are actually wheeling the Eco-Roamer and proving that living an amazing life is possible and doing while taking you kids along is within reach.

Kudos on the Med training, you can never have enough...but remember to schedule your refresher in advance as the 2yrs sneaks up on you.
 

jayshapiro

Adventurer
Dimensions

If you would be inclined to share a few measurements it might make my life a little easier! How much room is between the overhead and the cab? I noticed a lot of flex and nothing appearred to hit. Also what is the overall height and the height of the top of the truck frame rail to the ground?

Regarding the switch to singles, have you noticed any adverse affects? Have you driven in a cross wind with it since switching? I have heard of some handling issues on pavement in windy conditions with singles and since you have driven both you might be able to clarify that a bit.
Hi Mark,
great questions. Hope this answer is not too late for you, we've been in the Wilderness First Responder course for the past two weeks, and have had very little time for anything else.

Now that we have put the truck through it's paces off-road, I'm more confident in giving out these dimensions...

The gap between the top of the cab and the camper's cab-over room is about 4.25" - the cab's roof has a crown in it, and there are strakes for strength, but at its minimum point, it is 4.25" We have never hit, and as you can see in the video, we have seen that cabover bouncing quite a bit.

The top of the chassis frame rails are 48" off the ground. That of course changed with the new tires, and varies based on the air-suspension, but on flat level ground, it is 48"

The distance between the frame rails and the bottom of the camper (i.e. - the thickness of the "dynamic mount") is also about 4"

Speaking of which... there was a LOT of discussion around that dynamic mount when we first designed it. As you can see in the final few seconds of the video, there is a tonne of flex in the mount, and the the camper really does move independently of the cab, keeping the box nice and square. (inside the camper there are two longitudinal walls that really help stiffen things up too!)

HOWEVER... if anything, it is floating too much. Once it starts swaying it gets a bit of a pendulum effect and swings back and forth. A light touch on the brake for a couple of seconds slows everything down and it settles, but on the highway it can get a little hairy.

My intention is to now revise the system by putting a couple of heavy/adjustable shock absorbers mounted on an angle between the chassis rails and the camper. This should allow it to still float, but slow it down a bit. I believe Doug Hackney had something similar on his venerable 3-point mount.

I also heard about a mount on a UniMog that essentially used ratchet straps to lock down the camper to the frame when you don't necessarily want it floating (i.e. on the road) - an interesting approach that I might still look at.

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

Lastly, the Super Singles...

For those who have been following along, we switched from 41" dually Michelin XDE M/T's:



...to super single 445/60R22.5 Michelin XZL's:



The difference off-road has been HUGE.

The new tires have a massive footprint, that becomes even more massive when we air them down. We normally run them at 110 - 120psi, but in the desert we had them as low as 35psi with no problems.

They were extremely pliant on the rocks, and floating nicely on the soft sand. (they sunk about 3/4" into the sand, which considering we weigh 34,000lbs is not bad!)

HOWEVER... (there's always a however!) the performance on the road takes some getting used to. They are not loud the way my Jeep's Simex Centipedes were (which was my biggest fear), and they ride quite smoothly. Mileage has not suffered very dramatically, and aside from the speedo recalibration of moving to 46" tires, there hasn't been much difference, except....

They "stray" - quite a bit. The first time I drove across Texas (west to east) with the duallies, you could pretty much set the cruise control, use a bungy cord to tie off the steering wheel and go in the back for an hour to have a cup of tea.

On the way back across Texas (east to west) with the XZL's the experience requires constant concentration and several white knuckle moments. You are constantly adjusting the steering wheel slightly, back and forth to keep in your lane. If you look away for a while you can easily find yourself in the next lane, which hopefully does not contain a Honda.

Now that we've put some mileage on them, I'm going to get the alignment checked, and I'm thinking about adding another leaf to the front suspension, which seemed to help last time when we first loaded it with the camper box. I'm thinking that with all the interior and fluids the front could maybe use another boost to aid the geometry.

On a dirt road though... they are fantastic. With even a little bit of air out, and the air-ride on the cab, road corrugations create hardly a murmer. It helps to be very big...

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

We are off to Aspen this weekend, then Grand Junction, CO, Yellowstone and Montana. We will then be going to Seattle and Vancouver, before really pushing north for Alaska in August.

We'd love to catch up with any of you if you're along that path.

Cheers!
Jay.
 

Ironduff

Observer
Jay, FWIW (and on a whole different scale ;)), I put 16" Michelin LTX M/S's on a Chevy Roadtrek class B van. They transformed a formerly well-mannered driver into a definite wanderer. The problems persisted thru several alignments and a bunch of tire pressure changes. It only went away when I put tires from a different mfg'r on, when it vanished completely and immediately. My theory is that the rather 'un-stiff' sidewall didn't work with a tall, somewhat top-heavy van.

Dunno if this will shed any light on your straying issue or not, but maybe.....

Jim H.

"Hike faster. I hear banjo music!"
 

jesusgatos

Explorer
thirty four THOUSAND pounds!?! Really? Whoa, that's a lot of weight. My deuce and a half only weighs about 22,000lbs with a full-load in a 4,000lb trailer.
 

bunduguy

Supporting Sponsor
i'd like to see that truck travel around the world for 3 years on only BIODIESEL. with such a cheeky sticker on the fuel tank, i sure hope they never put a single drop of dirty diesel in that truck.

good luck finding biodiesel every 750 miles.
Dude, what the hell with the negative Nancy bit!?
Why not just give them their kudos for a sweet rig, and an awesome inspired plan to do what the rest of us only dream of.
 

The Adam Blaster

Expedition Leader
Jay, when you head up to Alaska, are you planning to pass through Edmonton, Alberta? I hope so, it would be great to see your rig in person!
It actually would be a good stop for your family, you could go to "the mall" (West Edmonton Mall --> http://www.wem.ca ) and your kids could play in the indoor water park. ;)
 

Jeep

Supporting Sponsor: Overland Explorer Expedition V
Thanks Jay, that was the concensus from a lot of truck drivers that run super singles, I liked that you had a very good back to back comparison. Due to the amount of highway travel we will be doing to get to the back country we will run duals, my lovely wife will take the wheel sometimes and we will almost always have the shuttle or toys in tow. Tires.....what a dilemma eh?And hey, you gave me 2 more inches of room in the overhead! The kids will love it!

After watching the vid and seeing pictures of your mounting system you might want to check the aluminum near the mounts as well as all the welds in the area, that is the kind of motion aluminum just does not like very much (unless you used 7075 which is very unlikely) and is the thing that creates cracks. I can see a shock absorber set up being beneficial.

Thanks again and happy travels.
Mark.
 

Redline

Likes to Drive and Ride
The softer sidewalls flexing and contributing to the wandering ride/drive is an interesting possibility. I also think that as long as the alignment settings are correct (always a good idea to do an alignment for new/different sized tires), I would guess that the added width of the new tires has contributed substantially to the tracking issues.

A very different application, but there is a noticeable difference between the tracking on my truck(s) with 285s vs a more
moderate width 255/265.


Redline

"They "stray" - quite a bit. The first time I drove across Texas (west to east) with the duallies, you could pretty much set the cruise control, use a bungy cord to tie off the steering wheel and go in the back for an hour to have a cup of tea."


Jay, FWIW (and on a whole different scale ;)), I put 16" Michelin LTX M/S's on a Chevy Roadtrek class B van. They transformed a formerly well-mannered driver into a definite wanderer. The problems persisted thru several alignments and a bunch of tire pressure changes. It only went away when I put tires from a different mfg'r on, when it vanished completely and immediately. My theory is that the rather 'un-stiff' sidewall didn't work with a tall, somewhat top-heavy van.

Dunno if this will shed any light on your straying issue or not, but maybe.....

Jim H.

"Hike faster. I hear banjo music!"
 
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jayshapiro

Adventurer
Rock crawlin' in Moab...

Hi Guys,

Historically, Whenever somebody asks me "Can that thing really go off-road?!?" We would usually respond: "Well, it's not going to go rock crawling in Moab, but otherwise, ya."

(foolishly) we found ourselves in Moab this past weekend, hanging out with Jay Couch and the guys from Moab Mogfest. A really great group of people, with some pretty amazing trucks.

However, an EcoRoamer is no Unimog. I think the difference is best summed up by Alice when we pulled in to Moab and she said: "Oh my goodness, look at those mogs, they're so 'cute'!" -- there are not a lot of vehicles out there that make a mog look small and cute.

So, we were there, and the weather was nice, so we decided to try out a couple of trails. We headed out on Secret Spire, and made it about 2 hours down the trail before we got hung up on our break-over angle on a particularly steep rock shelf. oops, time to go home.

Here's some pics:




Proof that the dynamic sub-frame works. (too bad it ripped half the bellows out!)


The long hike back to the truck...


Having a picnic lunch instead...

We won't be doing that again (for fun).

On the next day we randomly ran into Jim & Wendy who we met at the Overland Expo. They were in town in their new (to them) Earthroamer 040.

Jim invited us out to join them on the White Rim Trail, and we had a great time:












The switchbacks were a little tight...



We had a great time, and I would definitely recommend the White Rim Trail from Potash Road up through the Shafer Hill switchbacks.

Special thanks also has to go out to Brian Croak (Aka: Ford Prefect) who joined us in his Jeep and raced across several crazy canyons to take this photos - Thanks Brian!

We're now camped out in the Grand Tetons, north of Jackson, Wyoming on our way towards Montana, Seattle and Vancouver.

Cheers all!
Jay.
 

PHXtaco

Adventurer
Gulp... and nice!!!

So how did it ride with the bellows damaged for the rest of trip, or did you do a trail repair?
 
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