nice truck....bums me out that I could have bought one and had it shipped here for what I've spent on all my dead-end car and truck projects...but it really , really, is not a UNIMOG.
The good news would be that, other than the transfer case and front drive axle, the truck could be identical to ones sold here as delivery trucks from about 1978-1991 (I'd have to double check that) before Mercedes, which had owned Freightliner most of that time anyway- introduced the FL50-80 series of medium-duty trucks.
There were probably more of these trucks sold in the U.S. in any given year, especially the east coast, than UNIMOGs sold in the whole world, and hundereds of thousands more in the rest of the world. There are a few left on the road and a fair number in junkyards. I expect this has changed, but Freightliner was still stocking consumables and special ordering regular parts well into the '90s. Tires would be an easy off-the shelf item compared to a 'Mog. Not an offroad monster like the "Mog, but happier and more economical on the highway than a "Mog; 13+ mpg might not be an exaggeration at all.
I suppose all of the recent 'mog imports might provide better parts support than leftover commercial stocks, but on the other hand, I have a local independent mechanic who worked on them for 20 years. That could be handy.
Pretty good alternative to the FG for somone not requiring new vehicle with a warranty.
It isa great truck and they are certainly more common than a mog but its barely any different on road, it has the same OM352 as a mog but it does have slightly taller gears than most mogs. Without a turbo you can only get about 140-150hp from a OM352 at a max of 3150 RPM, which is what my camper is at. These is the absolute maximums, realistically you are looking more at 130hp and the no load limit of the engine is 3200rpm so 3150 is pushing it. Above this adding more fuel just makes black smoke because you cannot get enough air into the monster. Its also worth nothing that the 352s that are above 150hp from the factory not only have turbos but high pressure oil pumps and oil squirters (spritzers) cooling the underside of the pistons. Additionally, EGTs climb rapidly when you up the power on an OM352 - I have to back off the power when going up some long steep hills otherwise I'll peg the EGT gauge. Because of these limits the taller gears in those trucks will only let you go faster on the flats, as soon as you get to a hill you are slowing down, you are for sure going to be power limited even if you take the bed off.
As fot mpg, 13 is nothing special, most mogs easily get 13mpg. My 416 doka, unloaded, gets 14.5 mpg and my 416 camper which is almost GVW (and fast axles) gets a little over 13 (my 421 with the OM616 gets mid 30's). These are real world numbers from thousands of miles in all different terrains.
Good points, some of which I hadn't thought about too carefully. I guess two of the biggest wild cards would be wheather the number of vehicles sold would have any bearing on the cost and availability of parts and wheather a more powerful turbomotor would be a bolt-in conversion (I'm a little rusty on my Mercedes motors).
The one thing I do know is that the people I knew who used them really did but 300-400k miles out them without wearing out the motor and were getting around 12mpg in box trucks that would be a lot less aerodynamic than the fire engine or a relatively low-profile expedition camper.
of course, how many ExPoer's are going to have time to put 300k on a truck?
In the rest of the world I am sure parts for that are cheaper than for a mog, in the US they are probably around the same. You would probably have to go through one of the US mog dealers or some other helpful independent. There are lots of common parts across the whole line of MB trucks.
As for the turbo it is more or less a direct bolt in as far as the engine is concerned. Its a little difficult in a mog because there is no clearance and the turbo would be the other side of a sheet metal panel from you right foot. If you raise the cab a couple of inches it can be done.
Those MB industrial diesels will literally run forever.