Planning a truck build, lots of questions.

#16
Thanks for all the replies, certainly some food for thought.

I have read about the MAN frame failures also. My conclusion is that most of the failures are through faulty subframe designs. Our engineers and other builders I know, are well aware of that and have adjusted to that. They have never had any failures.... knock on wood!
That's good to know. So a competent builder shouldn't have any trouble.

Ormocar has been building composite campers since the 1980s. It's their only business. Their design is definitely not fancy but solid and they have a lot of experience. As far as I know they are the only builder who is producing his own panels. When you order you can chose how thick the fiberglass and the foam core should be. I was very happy with the build and can recommend them if you have enough time. They are very busy and usually late. Just add a few weeks to the delivery date quoted by Ormocar.
Well I guess busy is a good thing, people must like them.

snipped

Considering what you want to pack in, a 8x8? ;)
I'd love one!

You seem to be based in Europe. If you want to check out Overland Vehicles go to Abenteuer Allrad https://www.abenteuer-allrad.de/ . At the fair and in the camp area you will find the largest selection of Overland Vehicles and parts anywhere in the world. Everybody who thinks he is a major player in this market is there and you find more than 1000 overlanders in the camp area. Usually many used Overland Vehicles are for sale.
Yes, that event looks like an overlanders dream. I'm just starting researching before so I know what to look for.

Height also depends a lot on cabin mounting system. A true torque free three or four point system ( depending on how you identify points) diamond shaped system is going to be higher then other systems that apply torque to the cabin. Also tire size. 14.00R20s are often used for lowering RPM and ground clearance but lift the vehicle 80mm relative to 365/80R20 and 40mm relative to 395/85R20. 14.00s and 395s have higher load capacity. 395s are easier to find because of all the military surplus (new) ones around.
I guess a high roof line is unavoidable then (except for lifting roofs which I don't really want to do). As it's not worth compromising on subframe design or tires just to lower the roof.

Thanks, think I'm gonna need it...
 

sg1

Adventurer
#17
You don´t really need luck. If you want to go the safe or conservative route get yourself a Mercedes truck pre emission control systems. There are still plenty of public service (army, police, fire) 1017a or similar around. They are known worldwide and very reliable. Have somebody like Ormocar put a box on it . The only thing you really have to watch out for is how they attach the subframe to the frame and how the subframe is build. DO NOT accept spring mounted solutions. They are ok for medium duty trucks with relatively short wheel bases and stiff frames. Both the +10t MAN and Mercedes trucks have soft frames and the wheelbase is quite long. I have seen many trucks like these off road and the twist is amazing. I have 2 good friends with a 917 and a 1017 respectively where the builders (Woelcke and Fuess) only used spring mounted subframes with disastrous effects. 3 or 4 point mount and a builder with a lot of experience is essential. For the interior just keep it simple. The truck is big enough and has enough payload. You don´t have to get fancy lightweight space age stuff that neither you nor anybody else in the 3rd world can fix. Just use materials and parts you would use for building a house. Have about 2000 km range on diesel and about 300 l water. That is plenty. I have 1000 km and 120 l respectively and never had a problem. With a 60 l propane tank you can easily use propane cook tops, heating and water heater and don´t have to worry about propane supply for many months. You could also use diesel appliances but you will occasionally have to clean the burner (not that easy, especially if it is difficult to get to the burner. Been there and done it) and you will need altitude kits if you travel at high altitudes for any extended period of time. Propane is easier to use and requires less maintenance but a bit more difficult to get. Unless you go the fancy route and cook with electricity 300-400 Ah battery capacity at 12 V and say 400 Wp solar is plenty. I have 160 Ah and 260 Wp and never ran out of power. Try to avoid fridges with doors opening to the front. They use a lot more power than the top opening chest style fridges because every time you open the door the cold air falls out. Get one chest style compressor fridge with about 60-100 l for cooling and a 2nd one with about 20l for freezing. More than enough. For you electrical systems I would still use AGM batteries. Lithium is great but personally I would worry about replacement/repair on the road. Use normal 12 V fuses or even better breakers and get yourself a battery monitor. This is essentially a "fuel gauge" for batteries and tells you how much power (capacity) is left in your battery and whether and how much you are consuming or charging. For water I never had a filter but some people like it. If you feel you need a filter get a second faucet for the filtered water only. No need to filter all the water you use for washing, dish washing etc. Even good filters have to replaced after so many liters.
That is about it. Stefan
 
#18
You don´t really need luck. If you want to go the safe or conservative route get yourself a Mercedes truck pre emission control systems. There are still plenty of public service (army, police, fire) 1017a or similar around. They are known worldwide and very reliable. Have somebody like Ormocar put a box on it . The only thing you really have to watch out for is how they attach the subframe to the frame and how the subframe is build. DO NOT accept spring mounted solutions. They are ok for medium duty trucks with relatively short wheel bases and stiff frames. Both the +10t MAN and Mercedes trucks have soft frames and the wheelbase is quite long. I have seen many trucks like these off road and the twist is amazing. I have 2 good friends with a 917 and a 1017 respectively where the builders (Woelcke and Fuess) only used spring mounted subframes with disastrous effects. 3 or 4 point mount and a builder with a lot of experience is essential. For the interior just keep it simple. The truck is big enough and has enough payload. You don´t have to get fancy lightweight space age stuff that neither you nor anybody else in the 3rd world can fix. Just use materials and parts you would use for building a house. Have about 2000 km range on diesel and about 300 l water. That is plenty. I have 1000 km and 120 l respectively and never had a problem. With a 60 l propane tank you can easily use propane cook tops, heating and water heater and don´t have to worry about propane supply for many months. You could also use diesel appliances but you will occasionally have to clean the burner (not that easy, especially if it is difficult to get to the burner. Been there and done it) and you will need altitude kits if you travel at high altitudes for any extended period of time. Propane is easier to use and requires less maintenance but a bit more difficult to get. Unless you go the fancy route and cook with electricity 300-400 Ah battery capacity at 12 V and say 400 Wp solar is plenty. I have 160 Ah and 260 Wp and never ran out of power. Try to avoid fridges with doors opening to the front. They use a lot more power than the top opening chest style fridges because every time you open the door the cold air falls out. Get one chest style compressor fridge with about 60-100 l for cooling and a 2nd one with about 20l for freezing. More than enough. For you electrical systems I would still use AGM batteries. Lithium is great but personally I would worry about replacement/repair on the road. Use normal 12 V fuses or even better breakers and get yourself a battery monitor. This is essentially a "fuel gauge" for batteries and tells you how much power (capacity) is left in your battery and whether and how much you are consuming or charging. For water I never had a filter but some people like it. If you feel you need a filter get a second faucet for the filtered water only. No need to filter all the water you use for washing, dish washing etc. Even good filters have to replaced after so many liters.
That is about it. Stefan
I agree with about 98% of the above but a couple of "refinements". If you can wait in line till March 2020 consider EXCAPs completely renewed Steyr 12M18s. They are "better than new" - all wear parts replaced, finish as new, everything "gone through", no electronics, 9 spd ZF 9S109. With optional roofrack, 14.00s etc etc. increase in hp/torque with intercooler. Check his site. If I were looking for a chassis right now, especially North American registerable, I would consider that if I could wait the 2 years.
Also - if you use propane for cabin heat/hot water it can go fast. Use propane for cooking, 2 11kg cylinders will last 18 months continuous camping. But I've heard of people in the US (with poorly insulated cheap campers) going through 2 cylinders in 5-7 days in cold weather using it for cabin heating!!! I'd recommend a Webasto or Espar for the cabin for heat and hot water, they do now come with altitude compensation.
My solar system wasn't strong enough at 260W "capacity" (they almost always put out less than rated) to keep everything charged in static camping with fridge and freezer running and normal daily demands but I put 3 more panels for total of 650W and it more than keeps up.
My water filters are good for at least 5000-10000L which is about 6-12 months camping time with 3 people.
I agree lithium is un-necessary, the cost is quadruple and they don't even hardly work below 0F.
 
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Peneumbra2

Badger Wrangler
#19
In another direction entirely, have you considered one of those big surplus Russian helicopters? Say a MiL-26, perhaps?

Expensive to get into, but just THINK of the money you'd save on tires!
 
#20
I agree with about 98% of the above but a couple of "refinements". If you can wait in line till March 2020 consider EXCAPs completely renewed Steyr 10M18s. They are "better than new" - all wear parts replaced, finish as new, everything "gone through", no electronics, 9 spd ZF 9S109. With optional roofrack, 14.00s etc etc. increase in hp/torque with intercooler. Check his site. If I were looking for a chassis right now, especially North American registerable, I would consider that if I could wait the 2 years.
Also - if you use propane for cabin heat/hot water it can go fast. Use propane for cooking, 2 11kg cylinders will last 18 months continuous camping. But I've heard of people in the US (with poorly insulated cheap campers) going through 2 cylinders in 5-7 days in cold weather using it for cabin heating!!! I'd recommend a Webasto or Espar for the cabin for heat and hot water, they do now come with altitude compensation.
My solar system wasn't strong enough at 260W "capacity" (they almost always put out less than rated) to keep everything charged in static camping with fridge and freezer running and normal daily demands but I put 3 more panels for total of 650W and it more than keeps up.
My water filters are good for at least 5000-10000L which is about 6-12 months camping time with 3 people.
I agree lithium is un-necessary, the cost is quadruple and they don't even hardly work below 0F.

If you mount the lithium under a bench or somewhere inside, temperature is not an issue, and cooking on induction stovetop is far superior to propane in more ways than one..