Mjolnir "Das Maultier" Our Unimog U1550L Expedition Camper

#1
Where to Start indeed.

A few have may have read a thread I started a few years ago:

"Problems with Mog Import.....Need some opinions." - This setback did not discourage my wife and I in the least. We were determined and did find our travelling home.

Below is the start of our Expedition camper build thread - Please enjoy

Well....Where to start.

I was a kid maybe 13 or 14 years old and my older brother pointed out a Unimog to me. From that moment I wanted one. As time went on and I realized how expensive they were I filed it into the "If I win the lottery." category. Fast forward to 2007, my wife and I were on our honeymoon in Alaska. We were travelling in my lifted Dodge 3500 diesel 4X4. At our first camp site in Alaska (Where we needed to carefully 4x4 into our "private and secluded" campsite we were greeted by an unexpected thing. Two fully camperized Unimogs. They were Ex-army U1300L's. My wife immediately asked "What are those?" After I explained to her what they were and why they were special she took an immediate liking to them. (One of many reasons we are still married.) The owner of one of the Unimogs came over to chat with us briefly and in his very German way made fun of the fact that it took us 45 min to 4x4 up the trail to where they were when it had only taken minutes in the Unimog. What he did say is that he had purchased the base truck from the German army for less than 15000 Euro. At that point I realized my dream could become reality. Upon return to our home in British Columbia I started searching. For about three years I searched for the Mog while saving the money I needed to purchase the vehicle. I found a company who told me they would import a Unimog for me from Germany, a deal was struck for 27000USD and the truck was on its way. (Due to an unfortunate chain of events this truck never arrived, nor its replacement after it was "Dropped by a crane." I'm not going to get into the details of this or who the vendor was as it is not good for anyone.) Fast forward to the Spring of 2014. I found a Unimog Camper already in Canada and made an appointment to go see it. The truck rolled into the parking lot and my wife got a little emotional. She knew this was the truck we had been waiting for. We looked it over, then went for a drive. It was my first time driving a Unimog. I am glad to say no one was injured All I could think at the time was this truck is pretty nice. We got up to just a hair over 130kmh and it still had more to go. It wasn't shaking or rattling, or drifting. We looked it over for any leaks and any visible problems. A friend of mine (Trevor an individual who you might say has a fair amount of experience with unimogs) took it for a drive then helped me look it over and was very happy with its performance / condition.... This was the truck. We went home and talked about it, made an offer and a couple months later we were driving it home. Just under 800km on the first trip with no problems, then a following 2500km just to make sure......


When we bought it I could not fit on the bed (I'm about 6'3") so we have made some adjustments to the interior. The big problem is that the camper is built from 1 1/2" square steel tubing on 16" centres vertically and horizontally. It would look like a gorilla cage if you took the skin off. so that is heavy, then they went ahead and skinned it with 14 or 16 gauge steel. Basically the camper skin is heavier than the skin of the body of the truck. then just for good measure the slide out shelves are heavy gauge steel, the bottom is covered in checker plate aluminum and the large side storage compartment is also checker plate aluminum. They wanted to use every ounce of the 8500kg GVW. It is a 10' camper and it has the truck weighing in at around 8000kg with water, fuel, me, and my wife on-board, but no other supplies......way too heavy.

I have already started trimming some Fat. I removed the ridiculously large rear hitch, that weighed in at just over 200 lbs. I removed the Dometic tec 30 diesel generator (for sale PM me if interested ). at close to 200lbs it makes more sense for us just to pack a small Honda and some gasoline. Not to mention the fact that my newly added 500W solar system now make it redundant.

Over the next four years we will be Building a sandwich panel Camper with a fixed bed and dinette. We are planning on just under 500L total fuel, and 300L total water. I have been speaking with a company In BC called Rhinocore and am looking at using their sandwich panel. if the weights they gave me are correct the camper with sub-frame doors and windows would be be less than 1500lbs.....no interior and using Seitz S4 windows and and Outbound door. I am thinking this will trump the current camper weight by a lot and it will be almost 3' longer.

As the Build thread goes I will break the plans down into sections hopefully I will get a little input on my ideas from the folks out there with experience in this type of build. But for now I would just like to introduce Mjolnir "Das Maultier" (The Mule - His affectionate nickname)...

If anyone is interested in my current camper please let me know....I told the previous owner I would keep this truck as an expedition truck. I fully intend to, but the camper due to its weight and size is better off on a weekend warrior style of truck.
 

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#3
One of the first things I did with the existing camper is sort out the battery box.

There was a lot going on in here and it was a big rats nest. The batteries are very hard to get in and out so I just wanted to sort things out while I had the cab tilted.

The first photo is what it looked like before I got my hands on it. The second is what it looked like when it was complete. Not a big difference, but the most important thing is the house battery isolation breaker that has been added in. I also spent time labelling and colour coding the wires. The third photo is of the new support I had fabricated as the original Unimog battery support was only designed for two batteries and was not holding up. I was actually very close to losing the battery box completely as there were a number of cracks in the original support.
 

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mhiscox

Expedition Leader
#4
Thank you for all of these descriptions and photos. Very interesting. I appreciate you taking your time to do this.

Your table hardware brings back memories. Same setup as on my Mog camper. It was nice for being able to make your table top whatever shape and material you'd like.
 
#6
Can you please elaborate on what's for sale?

Sent from my Passport using Tapatalk 2
Well nothing is for sale right this minute unless somebody is interested, but the plan is to eventually sell the current camper. As I am planning on building a new camper for the truck I will not need it. It would be the complete camper less the Solar charging system and inverter. I can not put up a full included equipment list as I am in Romaina right now and the camper is at home. I feel the list would be inaccurate. But the camper has a Thetford cassette toilet, propane hot water/furnace system and a 24V fridge.

Saying that, I'm really just waiting to organize my sandwich panels and commit to my windows before I'm ready to sell the current camper.
 
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#7
Thank you for all of these descriptions and photos. Very interesting. I appreciate you taking your time to do this.

Your table hardware brings back memories. Same setup as on my Mog camper. It was nice for being able to make your table top whatever shape and material you'd like.
Thank you,

One of my favourite features of this table is that you can easily take it outside the camper for use with an outdoor kitchen.....
 
#9
We took the truck on a 1100km round trip about a week ago and were very surprised with the fuel economy. 17l / 100km at 80km/h the truck was sitting at 8200kg with water and fuel full as well as two people with gear and a dog.....Pictures and trip description to follow.
 
#11
That's pretty good, did you stick was that dirt roads or mainly tar?
It was mostly dirt with just under 200km of paved road. There was a short section where I thought 4 wheel drive was necessary (about 50m) and a few creek/river crossings (nothing over 24"), but mostly it was good mining road (Good to me is drive-able with just enough big potholes to be annoying....).

Also Iain your truck is a big part of the inspiration for me to build my own camper. I had been patiently waiting for my Unimog to arrive while watching yours take shape. You have one very nice truck..... I am now well on the path to collecting enough bits and pieces to start my camper project.
 
#15
Here is a shot of Mjolnir in Northern BC on out most recent trip North of Kemess Mine in British Columbia. It was a great trip. There is a lot of beautiful scenery up there and the light shows are amazing. The weather was a bit cold. We went through the better part of 20lbs of propane to heat water, heat the camper and cook meals. The 110L water tank was down to 1/4 after 7 days just using it for dishes and washing up. (It would have been empty in less than 3 days if we were using the toilet and shower.) My wife was filtering water on a daily basis to keep our extra 20L potable water tank full. (Since we did not build the camper we do not fully trust the integral water tank yet.) The 500w solar system kept the batteries full with ease. The only things running were the furnace and lights. We did not have the fridge on because there were three people along for the trip and 7 days worth of food, so we just used a large cooler. The outside temperature was cold enough to keep the food in the cooler. For some reason the battery gauge would not increase in Ah. The Voltage would come back up during the day and the MPPT charger would go to float, but my battery level indicator would not increase in Ah. I have not figured this out yet. All in all a very good trip....Other than the broken passenger mirror......;)
 

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