Isuzu NPR expedition vehicle

Hey guys! Long time jeep owner, and offroader looking into building an expedition vehicle (I'll try to share some pics of what I'm looking to build). I have a tube bender, welder, sheet metal brake and I'm an architecture student who's fabricated for at least a decade. I'm a former Coast Guard machinery technician, as well (servicing shipboard mechanical systems, including diesels). Forgive me if there's a sticky thread for some of my questions.

-Looking at isuzu NPR's because they seem to be plentiful in southern California. Prefer a 4 cylinder turbo diesel. Why or why not?

-if I get an NPR, I want to convert it to 4x4. I've read that a built th400 transmission will suffice for transmission (Not sure about transfer case).

-Dana 60 front axle from f350?

- rear axle?

-wife and a daughter, comfortable for a few hours drive?

-better platform suggestions?

-What years are best?

-what engines are best?



-I feel pretty comfortable designing and building the living area, but welcome to advice there as well.

Thanks all!

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Expedition Leader
Its all doable - just takes fabrication time and skills.

Personally - I would go with a matching set of axles so the wheels are the same.

Achieving decent ride quality seems to be the real challenge. Check out the one done by rebel off-road called "rebelzilla" -

They used a divorced NP205 transfer case - which is what I would do as well in order to keep the engine/tranny stock.


I built my first camper out of a UD 14' box truck. It was cool, but I'll never do that again for these reasons.

Ride quality. Sucks! These trucks are for city delivery, not highway use. They will beat you up and the seats suck. The engine is under your butt and will heat it up in hot weather.

Off road ability. Okay if you are going to 4x4 then this is a non issue, but I got stuck several times and it's a large vehicle. Too large really.

Cab pass through. This is, in my opinion, a must have. I wanted to make mine a bigger pass through but with the to,ting cab this takes a little effort to accomplish.

Mainly it's the highway manners that kill this idea for me. Just be honest with yourself because it's a lot of work and ultimately if you're going to be doing long distances on highway, as most of us in the west do.
I am in the same boat as you. I have most of my parts to complete the build with my 07 fuso. Architecture grad (long time a go) as well. Good luck with the project, can't wait to see what you come up with.


You gotta decide how or if you'll connect the cab to the box. I decided not to on my build, because I liked how the cab would flip easily, and not knowing enough to know that having cab integral to box is a very important part of making a camper. It's essential in my opinion, at least for how we roll. So, if I were hellbent on doing it again, I'd make the cab flip more difficult in favor of a well connected body. In fact, my current build will have me chopping the back of the f350 cab off so I can hard mount it to my box.
Nothing beats getting up in the morning, pissing out the side door and breaking camp without even getting your boots on.