HELP IN BUILDING A EXPEDITION VEHICLE AND PLANNING WORLDWIDE EXPEDITION

#1
1. I am from India and am engaged in social work . I have worked extensively for upliftment of women and providing conducive atmosphere for child growth for economically weaker sections of society. I want to closely work with and understand various cultures to promote harmony and contribute my bit for betterment of humanity . I am interested in travelling around the world in a self built / partially self built expedition vehicle for the purpose . Unfortunately for me there are a very few individuals/groups /industries who can support me in this activity. I have decided upon the following few requirements that , I intend that my expedition vehicle should fulfill.

(a) Should be able to carry and accomodate four adults and a dog in reasonable comfort in most of the terrains (read 4X4 or6x6) from Sahara desert to Alaskan Winters , Brazilian Rainforests.

(b) We would prefer to live/sleep inside the vehicle rather than around it.

(c) We would prefer to have inside toilet bathroom combination(Only one).

(d) Able to sustain four people and dog without replenishments for at least 10-15 days .

(e) It should have external dimensions such that it is easy / economical to transport by ships and should be able to cross majority of low bridges around the world . At the same time it should not be so cramped inside as to be claustrophobic . The reasonable level of space should be there on the inside for reasonably comfortable living inside.

(f) Should have enough onboard electrical power generation system (solar /wind) with generator kept as standby system.

(g) We envisage atleast six unavoidable overseas travels for our world expedition to be completed . The vehicle therefore should be weightwise/ dimensions wise such that it is easily and economically transportable by ship.Any suggestions please ??

(h) The vehicle should need minimum maintenance and maintenance / spares even if required should be available in most parts of the planet at reasonable cost.

(j) Economical to drive around ( i.e should have good miles per gallon (mpg) or (kpl) kilometers per litres)

(k) The vehicle should afford us UNHINDERED ABILITY TO drive around in any country. That is , it should not be barred from plying on any road due to emission norms , engine technology , dimensions etc .

(l) Water is critical for survival. The vehicle should be able to replenish, clean and purify water from most water sources that could be encountered in World trip . It should also have facility for recycling the available water to extend the stay. The available water system should be designed for frugal use of water.

(m) All the parts in expedition vehicle should be easily accessible for servicing and inspection.

(n) The expedition rig should have onboard laundry system which utilises minimum water and electricity.

(p) We intend our expedition vehicle to be equipped with dismantalable weight shift trike and inflatable five man dinghy to access and reach out to isolated places and tribes . We would need a small garage to carry our gear around in the vehicle.

(q) For runabout while anchored in campground we intend to use motorbike / small ATV kind of vehicle. A suitable platform for carrying it while lifted is envisaged. Any suggestions please .



2. Based on the above, I have done my groundwork and arrived at following conclusions . I request the learned members to advice/suggest/correct me with your experience/knowledge.

(a) I have planned to build our expedition rig on a new 7.5 - 10 ton payload truck . We have shortlisted any of the following trucks for the purpose. All of these barring MAN is presently available in India.

(i) Ashok Leyland Stallion 4x4 or 6x6 (Indian Brand) payload 7.5 tons

(ii) MAN 13.290 4x4 or 15.290 4x4 ( needs to be imported)

(iii) Mitsubishi FUSO 4x4 (Known in India as Bharat Benz)

(b) I intend to mount any of the following on the back of these trucks to function as expedition vehicle's habitation cabin.

(i) Military Cabin Shelter

(ii) Refrigerated container Cabin (Marine grade and dimensions 20 feet length , 8.5 feet width and height )

(c) I intend to have solar panels (800- 2000watts ) on roof of the expedition vehicle.

(d) I intend to have LiPO4 (Lithium ion batteries) of 600-1400AH capacity. Any suggestions on capacity and the cost effective brands

(e) For cooking I intend to use propane based cooktop and a induction cooktop alongwith microwave .

(f) I intend to do away with black water tank altogether and use cassette toilet instead. Only freshwater and greywater tank is envisaged. Any suggestion please.

(g) I am not aware of the best water heating system and also a water purifying system .Kindly suggest.

(h) The cabin will have mounts and can be detached from the truck . It can stand on its four jacks like a truck camper .

(j) I am not sure about the air conditioning and heating system to be used in the camper.Kindly suggest.

(k) I intend to use 300 - 450 litre Samsung convertible refrigetator(residential) as main and another dometic type of portable refrigerator.

(l) I intend fit it with a front loading washing machine .

(m) I intend to have quick leveling mechanism for my vehicle. I am not sure which one it can be . Any suggestions please.

(n) I intend to have one or two 3-6 kva standby gen sets for my vehicle. Any suggestions ( Petrol/ Deisel )?? Brands ?? Reliability??




3. Few of my questions in this regards are as follows

(a) How much water will be sufficient to sustain us (four adults and dog) for fifteen days without replenishment/ recycling , given that we are habituated of taking daily bath ??

(b) What is the procedure of temporary importing such vehicle in north america , south america , Africa , Asia , Australia and europe ?? What are the common checks conducted on motorhomes at ports of entry in various countries ?? What all documents are needed for importing such vehicle ??? What are rules regarding emission norms and roadworthiness while temporarily importing such vehicles ?? What are rules regarding using right hand drive vehicles in left hand drive countries ?? Any reliable facilation agents/ govt agencies are available who can help me on this aspect .

(c) Kindly suggest brand and type solar panels and charge controllers for my vehicle vis-a-vis my power requirements.

(d) How effective will be wind power for electrical power generation system ?? How do intergrate it with solar power generation ?? Any suggestions ??

( e) What kind of insurance is best for my rig ?? What all is covered ??Any suggestions ??

(f) I am looking for comprehensive medical cover catering to most common ailments . Which Health insurance / plan is best suitable for me while on expedition?? Any suggestions please ??

(g) Best means for keeping the water tanks from freezing during winter with good insulation and minimal use of energy .

(h) What is the best material for fabricating the SQUEAKS/ RATTLE FREE furniture inside the cabin ?? Ways and means to avoid condensation?? Any suggestions and vendors in this business ??

(j) Suggestions on documentations prior to departure so that it helps me in future (I hold an Indian passport and own an NGO (Non Governmental Organisation) engaged in works on Woman and child welfare ) . How about visa formalities ?? How should I approach the issue ?? How does one get visa on arrival ??? What are the conditions for the same ??

(k) What is best material for windows and doors . Any vendors suggested ??

(l) Since solar will be the mainstay power generation source for my expedition vehicle . Any suggestions on suitable tilting mechanism / cleaning mechanism for solar panels to increase power output??

(m) Suggestion on preferred ports on entry/ embarkation or exit / disembarkation for various countries in terms of ease of entry , cost of travel etc .

(n) Suggestions to stay out of trouble with Police/ Customs/ Immigration Officials and Anti social elements in US , Canada , Latin America , South America and Europe ??

(p) Organisations/ Voluntary groups etc in various countries who can be contacted to seek help by overlanders ??

(q) Can one travel alongwith the vehicle while RORO shipping ??

(r) What kind of visas am I/ My colleagues eligible for, given my/our background in various countries ??? What if I need a longer duration stay in Europe , Canada and US ??? How about South American Countries ??



4. I would like to once again reiterate that such type of thing has never been attempted in India It is also a fact that unlike US /German Passport other passports have very few privileges attached to them .It is therefore imperative for me to plan meticulously to avoid any surprises/ avoidable heavy expenditure. I request the Overlanding fraternity to guide / advice me in this regards and help me , so that I can design my expedition vehicle and plan my expedition flawlessly .I would be very glad if I could be of any help to anyone in fraternity while they are transiting through/ are in India. Your advice and guidance will be highly appreciated. God speed and Bon Voyage.
 
#9
Hi
We are full time on the road in a similar and are currently in Chile.
There are plenty of models to choos and they are all great butcwill all meed maintenance at times
My bit of advice would be choose a really common worldwide make such as Mercedes, MAN or Iveco or Mitsibushi or at least a model with very common components such as Cummings Engine and Allison running gear.
You need to source parts easily
Good luck

Neil
Www.cloud9ontour.com
Www.cloud9isborn.blogspot.com
 
#11
Thank you very much ,

Peter_n_Margaret,Neil,beardinc and FreedomTraveller . Thank you very much for your support . You guys are an inspiration to me to tread ahead inspite of all the daunting challenges. I surely appreciate your advice and would be glad if , I could be of any help to you .
 
#13
Hi
We are full time on the road in a similar and are currently in Chile.
There are plenty of models to choos and they are all great butcwill all meed maintenance at times
My bit of advice would be choose a really common worldwide make such as Mercedes, MAN or Iveco or Mitsibushi or at least a model with very common components such as Cummings Engine and Allison running gear.
You need to source parts easily
Good luck

Neil
Www.cloud9ontour.com
Www.cloud9isborn.blogspot.com
Congratulation on the great build . Really enjoyed surfing on your blog and website. Now that you have built it and lived in it , I consider you a guru of this field. I have so many questions for you . I request you to grant me an audience via skype/whatsapp. It will indeed be a great help .
 

MLu

Adventurer
#14
I would like to just take a moment and congratulate you on managing to, in one single post, ask essentially every single question that this entire forum is built around answering. It's one of the most complete compilations of quandaries I've seen outside of an actual book on the subject.

In a less sarcastic tone, I think perhaps my recommendation would be to work with one of the big European cabin manufacturers to get a set of plans made up, and then take advantage of the fact that you live in a country with lower manufacturing costs and have it made locally, once you've settled on a chassis. I'd expect them to charge an arm and one or more legs for the plans, but it would probably be worth it to have a clear set of specifications.
 
#15
I would like to just take a moment and congratulate you on managing to, in one single post, ask essentially every single question that this entire forum is built around answering. It's one of the most complete compilations of quandaries I've seen outside of an actual book on the subject.

In a less sarcastic tone, I think perhaps my recommendation would be to work with one of the big European cabin manufacturers to get a set of plans made up, and then take advantage of the fact that you live in a country with lower manufacturing costs and have it made locally, once you've settled on a chassis. I'd expect them to charge an arm and one or more legs for the plans, but it would probably be worth it to have a clear set of specifications.
Thank you very much for your complements . Honestly when you live in third world country like India with little available technology , YOU CANNOT AFFORD TO GO WRONG , that is the reason for the detailed and elaborate write up on the subject. I really dont have a choice on that one .

Having said that can you suggest me a few good cabin manufacturers to get a set of plans made for me who who cost me lil less than a arm and a leg ?? I would be very grateful to you brother.