Fuso vs larger truck


I am considering trading to a larger truck eventually from my Fuso to have a larger cabin space. I am looking at the Man trucks Iveco or Mercedes. I am concerned that I may have regrets though in terms of reliability, cost and parts availability worldwide. Your opinions are welcome. I am from Canada with close proximity with the US. The truck will likely spend the most time in North and Central America.


While in Baja awhile back, met a German couple in their beautiful custom cabin atop a MB cab-over of some sort. To them, and they are the experts (!), the truck itself is immaterial to the overland big truck experience. In other words, they are replaceable. Parts are parts, buy the best truck you can afford, locate a parts source, get 'er done! Our Saurer 6dm is the rarest of breeds thus far as I can tell, however, there are 30 of them for sale in Belgium, and a parts house in Germany. Good enough for me. The hard rubber plenum/hose between air cleaner housing and turbo charger? 400 bucks delivered. Expensive, but, how often do I have to buy that? These trucks are over-designed, and over-built. I'd rather have the Saurer/MAN/MB/DAF/Iveco than a lighter-weight Fuso or Mog anyday. Don't get me started on the fast-axle myth either!


I'm not the truck expert but my concern would be access to locations you can't get into with bigger trucks. I can get my ATW in most places I can get the Tacoma rig. IMHO🙂


That is one of my concerns. Having trouble navigating in smaller towns and roads. I don’t want to get something bigger and regret it if I am limited in areas to park and drive to. I would always have a motorcycle with me though and that may reduce that concern.


Get a 4x4 Sprinter Cab Chassis from Germany. Put a camperbody on and you are well under 21'. These will give you more off road capabilities then you will ever need. Tires are affordable, fuel consumtion is not even worth mentioning, Parts are easy to get through MB dealer ships (other then the MB semi truck parts). Ours has a 12' body, is well equiped and fully loaded with 3 people we are not even maxed out.
With a little bit of luck you can make this happen for well below CAD50.000 (less then a new pick up!)



The biggest deciding factor on size for us was that we will live full time in the RV (switching from a 40' sailboat we have lived aboard for the last 20 years), for probably the next 10 years. We went with a 1988 MB 1120 AF and a 17' composite habitat (still in the build process in the USA). It was the smallest space I could see with a full time queen bed (no setup), decent water storage (100 gallons), dry bath, seating for 4, oven and enough solar to hopefully live on. If you are not full timing then I would say smaller. We did a 3 month trip in a Scamp 13 a few years back, great fun but not a "home".

We did look at the Fuso before we settled on the MB. The MB definitely feels larger but is strangely feeling smaller as I get used to driving it. Also, for the minor parts I have needed the shipping has been fast and reasonable from Europe. The biggest issue is the age of the truck, because of the nutty 25 year old import rule in the USA.
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Engineer In Residence
I have seen and ridden in medium sized trucks in central america and mexico a few times. Generally the do okay width wise on the streets. Though it can be quite hairy at times. The main issue is turning radius (overall length/wheelbase). The curb-curb radius and the corner radius (inner side). Assuming decent ground clearance, you can get enough approach/departure angle for most roads. There seems to be a sweet spot between about 3.5-4.5 meter wheelbase (140-170"). Most of the trucks being operated in these tighter areas seem to be in that range.


And, I can also add to luthj comment, in all of the mainland developing countries we have been in there are delivery trucks/buses larger than our truck. The decision also relies on how much off-road you plan. For us it is likely just rough roads, and lots of them.


Navigating smaller towns is not an issue, local buses and delivery trucks manage. Turning circle of a cab over MB, MAN etc is surprisingly tight, far better than a pick up. The big issues are weight and height. small bridges and low trees/overpasses may force river fordings or alternate routes. For full time a larger vehicles comfort and independence far outweighs a lighter vehicle. Fusos and Sprinters are just not as robust or comfortable as a larger truck.


Single cab Canter, 4.5 tonnes, 4mx2.1m box, permanently made bed motorised drops down from ceiling, seating round table for eight, shower/loo 1.2x0.7m, 240 litres water, 240 litres diesel, all solar/electric, drop-top to fit in hi-top container, 3+ years continuous occupation through 34 countries. Clearance and entry/departure angles more important than 4wd.

Really depends where travelling in which countries. Our box width is 2.1m, to fit in container but also Europe (we are based in Aus). A nice addition would be electric retractable mirrors but we can pull in the mirrors we have. Had to visit the "looking glass wallah" in India/Nepal. The loss of a few cm can be the difference between forwards or backwards. 15-point turn in busy, narrow, Chinese street full of traffic when gps took us to a 2m height barrier - once turned round we followed a cab. Mongolia, Morocco, Tibet, size didn't matter much, driving technique more important.

Just an observation - some larger vehicles we met used the extra space for toys and had poor ventilation.


A larger truck can have some definite advantages. For example, if the roads are ever soft and used by larger trucks, if you have much smaller tires and low differentials you will be stuck all the time. Large tires mean less influence from corrugations. Some large vehicles (like LMTV or large Unimog, for which I have experience) have much better turning radius that expected, 33 ft for the LMTV. A U1300 Unimog is similar radius, plus the axle clearance. By comparison the Sprinter (from a search just now) has a 54 ft turning radius. My long bed dual cab Ram seems like 100 ft radius.

I camp in an Alaskan camper, much too small to live in, but an LMTV has the room and weight capacity for a large RV shelter.


Engineer In Residence
The 170" (long wheelbase) sprinter has a turning circle of 51.5ft curb to curb, or 25.75ft radius. The 144WB is 44.6ft curb-curb. A good turning circle will be about 3.5 times the wheelbase (curb-curb). Generally you don't get much lower than that, due to limitations on wheel angle. Especially on 4x4 vehicles.

Anything under 50ft is helpful in my experience, as it lets you do a U turn on a standard highway with 12ft lanes and shoulders (about ~48ft).


Expedition Leader
Get a 4 door international 4300 with the DT466E. We have one at work that's ~21,000 pounds, can run 75mph and has given us zero problems in the 15 years we have owned it.


While I like the fuso fg, I would be compromising too many of my "needs", so I'm looking for a cabover with more payload.

Also being Canadian it sucks that we have such a limited array of options 😔. At first I thought I'd buy a GMC T7500 and convert it to 4x4 but the complexity and cost of such an endeavor isn't for me.

So now currently I'm looking for a japanese market Hino Ranger 4x4 or Isuzu FTS 4x4


New member
I concur, that is why I am using an FTS750 , one size bigger and can carry a heavier payload easier, nice and "analogue" without the complexity of the big Euros.