On the fence about my Fuso

Plumb Bob

Member
Just back from my 3rd trip, pulled a 20' THOW 700 miles across Missouri and Tennessee this week. I have a list of pluses and minuses after 4000 miles in this truck.

Nice to have 15' of bed, great GVW, tall driving position, great mileage, excellent 4wd performance, gets a lots of stares, a unique truck to many I meet.

Dislike the cab noise, rough ride, lack of HP is noticeable when loaded. A big step in for my wife and I.

Got about 5 grand worth of upgrades, body, cab, extra tires and wheels, etc.

If anyone is interested I may consider a downsize :)

2017, Fiat engine, 6 spd auto, lockout hubs, lane alert. Factory warranty should transfer? 2-1/2 years left. With or without the wood T&G flatbed and sleeper. 40- 45K is my thought, north of 50K invested.
 

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shade

Well-known member
Dislike the cab noise, rough ride, lack of HP is noticeable when loaded. A big step in for my wife and I.
I'm unfamiliar with these trucks, but I'd explore improvements in those areas before selling unless you've simply decided that the truck is too large for your needs.
 

Howard70

Adventurer
Hello Plumb Bob:

I don't think there is anything realistic you can do about the lack of HP. Our 2017 (EarthCruiser EXP) can approach 13,000 lbs fully loaded with fuel, water & back country toys. At that mass we find 60 - 65 sustainable all day on the interstate (which we usually avoid). If we keep our momentum up (65 at the bottom of hills & rollers), shift manually to avoid the Duonic's tendency to drop to 5th prematurely, we carry most interstate grades in 6th at 50 or above. If the grade is really steep, long, or we can't hit it at 65 to start we may drop to 5th and that means 45 to 50. The engine is small so I don't think there is a lot of extra power for towing.

The ride can be extremely comfortable - although I don't know how to do it other than buy an EarthCruiser or see if they will modify your suspension! The springs, shocks, and seats in our truck make 14 hour days fairly easy. Others here might have some specific changes to recommend. However, getting that comfortable ride may not be cheap.

Since Fuso may be planning to discontinue importation of the 4x4 FG's soon, your truck may hold it's value well. I suspect your thoughts regarding possible pricing are fair.

Added in edit: I forgot to mention that the cab noise can also be improved (reduced) by adding various sound & thermal barriers to the inside and outside (over the engine) cab walls & floor.

Good luck (& thanks again for the help with my fuel pump),

Howard
 

Plumb Bob

Member
Hello Plumb Bob:

I don't think there is anything realistic you can do about the lack of HP. Our 2017 (EarthCruiser EXP) can approach 13,000 lbs fully loaded with fuel, water & back country toys. At that mass we find 60 - 65 sustainable all day on the interstate (which we usually avoid). If we keep our momentum up (65 at the bottom of hills & rollers), shift manually to avoid the Duonic's tendency to drop to 5th prematurely, we carry most interstate grades in 6th at 50 or above. If the grade is really steep, long, or we can't hit it at 65 to start we may drop to 5th and that means 45 to 50. The engine is small so I don't think there is a lot of extra power for towing.

The ride can be extremely comfortable - although I don't know how to do it other than buy an EarthCruiser or see if they will modify your suspension! The springs, shocks, and seats in our truck make 14 hour days fairly easy. Others here might have some specific changes to recommend. However, getting that comfortable ride may not be cheap.

Since Fuso may be planning to discontinue importation of the 4x4 FG's soon, your truck may hold it's value well. I suspect your thoughts regarding possible pricing are fair.

Added in edit: I forgot to mention that the cab noise can also be improved (reduced) by adding various sound & thermal barriers to the inside and outside (over the engine) cab walls & floor.

Good luck (& thanks again for the help with my fuel pump),

Howard

Thanks for the feedback, Howard. I have covered most every inch of sheetmetal in the cab with 1 or 2 layers of soundproofing, even inside the doors with spray type. Waiting on a larger, high temperature mat for under the cab over the engine. The fan noise, which runs almost continuously in hot weather with load, is most annoying. I used sound canceling earbuds on this trip. Hard carrying on a conversation however :) Dual electric fans may be the fix, once it is out of warranty.
Towing will be very seldom, just local trailer stuff here on the farm from now on. I came back from this trip empty and road speed is fine, but the ride tradeoff unloaded ...
60- 62 mph feels to be the engine power band comfort range, but the gap between 5 and 6 is too large. An 8 or 10 speed automatic would be a nice upgrade.

The 4 cylinder Offenhausers of my younger days would produce over 400 hp. For short periods of time :)

Seems a few more HP would be possible with a tuner on the engine, all the tow-ers and farmers around me have "chipped" their diesels for hauling livestock and hay.
It looks like Fiat offers higher HP versions of this engine for other applications, marine versions possibly, where cooling is better handled? I work for an Italian company, maybe they could source a tuner for this engine over there :) These FPS engines appear in many vehicles in Europe, trucks, tractors, boats, construction equipment.

I use the slingshot method on long grades also, hitting 75 before the hills when possible. Pulling the long grades in the Smokeys, spend a lot of time between 40- 50 mph in 5th. It's not very safe in 80 mph traffic.

I have a 3" gel pad on the seat, that made a big difference. The potholes on this trip would jar the ride and launch every loose item in the cab.

I don't blame the truck it was not intended for high speed highway work IMO, setting over the front axle's drawbacks. Speed it is often required to get quickly from A to B. I suspect the gas V8 is better suited for the highway travel?

My original plan was to move back to the mountains of Utah and use it mainly in the mountains and deserts, it is still a plan in the works.

Still on the fence, will take any other advice or experiences.
 

dlh62c

Explorer
A Japanese truck with an Italian motor, what were they thinking?

These trucks are designed to haul freight and certainly not over long distances. There should be a warning in the owner manual not to pick ones nose while under way. Serious injury or death could result. Trying to use the radio channel preset buttons could result in a broken finger. When drinking anything using a straw, wear a pair of safety glasses.

There’s no load, so the ride will be harsh. Have you considered reducing the tire pressures based on Yokohama’s tire pressure load calculator?

Try 40psi each in the rear duals and 60psi each in the front.
 
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cameronsturgess

Active member
Bob our fuso was terrible to drive with the regular wheels and duallies on it. Even when we tried to air down it was still terrible. We opted for super singles and 37 12.5r17 tires. These we could air down based on the axle weights which greatly improved the ride. It also helped the top end speed (but hurt the pulling power)

We fully insulated the cab with dynamat and a layer of noico. The floor was covered with mass loaded vinyl. The result was the cab is very quiet until about 90kph at which point the wind noise from the mirrors took over.

The truck is what it is. And it’s not a sprinter designed to be driven at 130kph. The mods we did helped it. Biggest help was the super singles.
 

Plumb Bob

Member
Bob our fuso was terrible to drive with the regular wheels and duallies on it. Even when we tried to air down it was still terrible. We opted for super singles and 37 12.5r17 tires. These we could air down based on the axle weights which greatly improved the ride. It also helped the top end speed (but hurt the pulling power)

We fully insulated the cab with dynamat and a layer of noico. The floor was covered with mass loaded vinyl. The result was the cab is very quiet until about 90kph at which point the wind noise from the mirrors took over.

The truck is what it is. And it’s not a sprinter designed to be driven at 130kph. The mods we did helped it. Biggest help was the super singles.

Yeah, I understand the trade-off with larger OD tires. My top end is manageable, 65 mph, 3000 rpm is fine for me, the wind factor when pushing the equivalent of two sheets of plywood down the road stacks against you at higher and higher speeds.
It's the hill climbing speed I'd like to improve. I don't think there are many substitutes for hp in that game. A 24 valve Cummins sure would be a nice engine in this truck, I've owned a number of those and I miss the 1800 rpm 65 mph combination.
The larger tires would also hurt my low crawl speed somewhat, it doesn't have a low range on the transfer case.

Truck without camper weighed 7480 today, around 11,000 lbs with the camper on.

I used the Noico system also, aluminized dense stuff first, with their foam layer over that, it helped a lot, especially in the doors.

Thanks for all the suggestions.

Always pros and cons when you try and have it all :)
 

cameronsturgess

Active member
I had a Westfalia which was incredibly challenged on hills. Even turning the air conditioning off helped the hill climbing abilities. It was a great vehicle however it would never win a hill climbing contest :). I expect our fuso once built out will be similar.
 

DzlToy

Explorer
Dynamat is not insulation and neither of you should have "covered" your cab's interior in it. This only serves to lighten your wallet and change the resonant frequency of the entire cab from one to another. The proper method for damping (not dampening) sound, is to attenuate it using various materials in various places throughout the cab or cabin. 3M's Thinsulate product, Spectrum's Sound Sludge product and for god's sake an MLV product other than Dynamat should do the trick. A competent dealer (good luck with that) should be able to install these products in the correct manner, and in minimal quantities, to absorb, attenuate and damp a wide range of frequencies. Covering your cab in Thinsulate is no better than covering it with Dynamat or Lizard Skin. Sure, it may be a bit quieter than bare sheet metal, but is the equivalent of moving back a few rows at a rock concert to save a few dollars on tickets. The view is about the same and it's still really loud. (LOPPPRIPPP)

Insulation is much the same game. You can block radiant heat, i.e. engine soaks sheet metal, metal gets hot and makes your cab hot, you can block convection, warm air moving through the cab or you can block conduction. No product performs well in all three areas. Evaluate your situation, list your goals and determine which products or strategies will accomplish those goals the best. You would not paper the inside of your cab with fiberglass batting from your house, but many people do the equivalent of that by installing the wrong product or too much or too little of it.

EDIT: Steinbauer makes (or used to) a performance chip that would fit the USDM FG. There are relatively few options available for lockers, gearing, hubs and the like in the US. Hence, many after market builders and custom shops use AAM, Dana or other axles that are more common.
 

DzlToy

Explorer
I am not saying the product is a complete failure. I am saying the practise of covering every square inch of your floor is incorrect. Small pieces should be used to strategically change the resonant frequency of individual panels or sections. This method requires significantly less product, which saves weight in your already front heavy COE truck and saves you money and installation time, as well. An example of this technique can be seen in the link below:


Notice the surface is not covered in MLV. Finally, Dynamat is a brand name, a well known one, at that, so "everyone" wants to use it. There are significantly cheaper and I would argue better performing products on the market. As the installations noted herein, have already been completed, hopefully this will serve to save another member time and money, whilst producing better results.
 

Glenn C.

Travels in Wolnośc
The practice of using "dynamat" to change the resonance frequency and stop the empty trash can effect in the cab is well proven. The noise that is most intrusive in our FUSO cabs is the cooling fan, when it comes on at 3000rpm or above it is a real conversation stopper! To mitigate that noise you need more than "dynamat". I have worked on this issue for the last 35,000 miles with good results. Below is a write-up I did for the Earthcruiser owners group.

So I have completed my cab noise control project for now with truly pleasant results.
First I ordered some 1/2" 4lb noise attenuating foam from the thefoamfactory.com.
It comes about 70" wide and is sold by the foot. I cut a piece to fit in the cab to house bellows area cut as wide as I could and still snap down the cover. This made a difference in the noise coming from that area, good start. Next I picked up some 3M Professional Rubberized undercoating (6 cans) and coated the fender wells and under the cab with the exception of the engine area behind the radiator, not that that area did not need attention but I was unwilling to coat the area around turbo with a substance that is possibly flammable. The next step was a boat load of work. Thanks to Steven Pon I took apart the base of the cab (with a full days help from Steven), seats out, console out and all floor material out. The 1/2" foam was placed under the whole seat area from the top of where the vinyl floor material starts at the back of the cab to the edge of the floor below the seats. We used a heat gun to warm and soften the foam sheet and pressed it into the contours of the cab bottom (heat the foam to soften press into the contours with wooden tools made for the job and hold until cooled[pains taking to say the least}). When the whole bottom was covered we used a 7/16" punch to make the holes for all the attachment points for the console, seats and seat belts etc.. The vinyl and seats and console were all replaces (much easier said than done, needed to get longer bolts in many cases). That leaves the floor area. For the floor area I ordered DynaPad (made by Dynamat) from Amazon. This is a multilayer noise control foam that is 1lb/sq.ft., heavy stuff. This material was placed on the floor starting at the top of the sloped area in front of the base of the seats and extended across the floor and up to the "firewall". This material comes 54"x32"X0.425" and was used as a single piece centered in the cab and cut around all the bits in the way under the dash. This left small areas on either side uncovered, I cut leftover pieces of the 1/2" foam to fill in this area and attached it to the DynaPad with Gorilla duct tape. All done, I replaced the floor vinyl, the plastic sill pieces and the floor matts. Time for a test ride. Jeanne, Mustard and I jumped in and headed to the highway for a test drive. At 60mph with the cooling fan on turning 3500rpm's (dropped into 5th when the fan came on) conversation was possible! The general noise level in the cab was noticeably lower. A success!
What would I do different? I would use all DynaPad, the material is easier to work with and is designed to control the low frequency sounds that are generated by the cooling fan (and other engine and road noises). This was a total of 3 days, 8 hours/day of work, 24 manhours (Steven for one day) and for me totally worth it!
The other opportunity that I see for noise control is the front wall of the house, the rear of the engine bay is wide open and focused at that flat surface, reflecting the noise to the cab. This would require a waterproof noise attenuating material to cover the area, and because of the proximity of the turbo exit pipe the material would need to be fire rated. I am looking into a material that will meet that spec. I will report what I find.

Happy Trails,
Glenn C. EC34 Wolnosc
 

Plumb Bob

Member
I have some samples coming from this company to consider http://www.lynnmfg.com/appliance/ for under the cab. There is a very thin piece under part of the cab now. Even if it covered more area up near the fan I think it would help. The product I'm looking at is 2600F rated, not sure how it would hold up getting wet.

Lots of hot rod builders around this area, they all lean toward electric fans. That might be my next step. Of course they are not sitting right on top of the fan :)
 

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