Eco-Roamer - F650 based Expedition Vehicle


Expedition Leader
Wow. You should be thankful it happened in those conditions. In the early 1980's I came across a similar kind of failure which caused an accident on E. Alameda in Denver. It was 4x4 Ford pickup which had some kind of failure on the right rear suspension twisting the axle. It caused the truck to turn to the left abruptly into the oncoming lane of traffic where it hit a car head on.


Expedition Leader
I copied the pictures to another forum. Someone posted this reply which might be useful:

"That system is an air leaf system, basically that fat upper leaf is a semi-flexible locating link, the load is actually carried by the air bag hanging from the frame in that side shot. This is a fairly common failure in trucks that are drive off-road, I have seen it on several Peterbilt potato haulers. Usually the failure just results in some tire damage, but being that this is on a single axle truck and undoubtedly has been flexed much further than the design of the suspension, along with how high the frame of that truck sits it's still a pretty normal failure."


in Progress

hi Guys,

Didn't want you to think I'd forgotten about you...

The truck is current at Ross Equipment Repair in San Jose. Doug Ross, and his crew there have actually been amazingly helpful in trying to figure out what went wrong and how we keep it from happening ever again. Some great suggestions, incorporating some of what you guys have suggested here.

We've upgraded the 20,000# main leaf springs to a heavier duty 23,000#. The entire rear axle weighs "only" 21,000#'s which is carried primarily by the airbags, and then split between the two sets of springs.

We're also replacing the King Shocks, with either double pairs of the shocks (will require some custom tabs to be put on) - or some much larger / beefier King's if they can make them for us. We'll see what happens in the next couple of days.

In the mean time the entire process has been supervised and supported by the a couple of representatives from Progressive Insurance, who I must say have been the real surprise in all of this.

We bought comprehensive insurance for the EcoRoamer through RV America, and although the selling agent was incredibly nice to me when we were buying / renewing it, she left the company and aside from giving me Progressive's 1-800 number, didn't want anything to do with me and haven't called me to follow up.

Progressive on the other hand were amazing. Within 24hr of the accident happening, they had an RV damage specialist interview me on the phone to take all the details. They are physically going down to the shop every two days and calling me with progress updates. They've really been a joy to deal with, and have turned a crappy situation into a something really quite workable.

If all goes well, I will be flying back out to California at the end of this week to pick up the EcoRoamer. I'll post again after that once I have more details.



Expedition Leader

thats the sort of thing I've seen in Kenya and Venezuela, not on an nearly new truck,

very lucky it happened when it did, going slowly and with no other vehicles involved.


New member
Hello. New here and just found this thread yesterday. Quite a read, with several distractions (links, links with links…) along the way.

Congratulations! ... and Thank You for taking us along on this ongoing journey.

That is an awesome vehicle. I was surprised to see what happened in San Jose/Campbell, but, as stated already, the important thing is that no one was injured. I’m sure you will be back on track soon.

A few questions developed as I was reading, and if the answers were there and missed them, I apologize.
Just so there’s no doubt in your mind, I have zero experience in this area… just observations.

1. I know this was built to take you anywhere, but another thought entered my head while reading through this… and then, I saw that you had a removable receiver. Why not tow a HiLux for “run-abouts” or just as a safety vehicle that can move everyone if there is an unplanned event (engine or other vehicle-disabling problem while you are in some remote, more primitive area… hurricane/tsunami on the way…)?

2. You carry spare tires and there was discussion of the customs delays if ever parts had to be shipped to you in out of the way places. Is it feasible to carry a couple of new tires to mount if the damaged tires are unrepairable?

3. The first canopy photo of the extra room/porch area with your son showed no safety retention. The later photos show a collapsible wall, such as a child’s playpen might have. Have you considered a hinged, rigid, fold-up rail system?

4. The spare tires on the back wall/deck appear to be held on by the rim. With the constant stresses offered during travel, would some support to the tires from underneath, with a “shelf” to rest on while moving, add longevity to the mounting system? The additional exo-skeletal framework to accomplish that would also add structural support to the deck (and a base for that hinged, rigid, fold-up rail system).

Ok, end of silly questioning. I hope you and yours are back in the Eco-Roamer soon, enjoying it the way you intended.

P.S. Thanks to all the folks who added to this thread, also. There was a real wealth of knowledge in these pages.


I gotta Tell Ya.....


I just read your post on RV, as per your request in this link. Man I give you MAD PROPS! First I love the idea of your non-profit and believe that all of us in the community should thingk this way. I currently live in WV, we have alot of people in the mountainous areas that have less then they would like and I would love to help the children in these situations.

To take it a step further and build your AMAZING rig to eco-friendly as well, WOW! I give you, again, MAD PROPS! Thasnk for the inspiration, F***K the nay sayers and continue to do what you do man. :victory:


First I've seen of this. Now THAT would freak me out. It's great there's no damage that can't be repaired in a moderate period of time.
There's a lot to be said in being well under GVWR in heavily modified chassis I guess. We've seen several significant failures. Although I don't recall a rear axle coming loose.
This motivates me to do more inspections. I would like to think that there were warning signs of failure in all the cases reported here. Although perhaps that's wishful thinking.


Hey guys, can someone point me directly to the spreadsheet build page so I don't have to hunt through 52 pages. Thanks.


Jay is this going out to Usal Beach?
i know u said its not, but i wish it was. i was there last week and the road goin in is pretty torn up. i had to move a tree for a couple that were trying to come out and were blocked in scratching there head on how in the world they were going to get over it.


Anyone been overland through Sabah?

Hi guys,
We are off to Sabah in a couple of weeks for a brief trip with the kids from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan. We love it there and have been several times before.

However, this time is a little different. Since our last visit there, we have started The Muskoka Foundation ( - our non-profit to help overlanders to do beneficial volunteer work during their expeditions.

There is an orphanage outside of kinabalu that we are considering for our program, but I don't have any sense of how many people actually include Sabah as a part of their Asia overland routes. We don't want to make false promises to the
kids so I thought I'd ask here first if anyone has been or would think to include it in there plans. (you should, it's great!)


PS-sorry to hi-jack my own thread! Just a question and then we can get back to discussing composing toilets and broken springs, I promise!


New member
Found a video of you on youtube

[ame=""]YouTube - UnsafeCamper.MPG[/ame]