U500 crash, two firefighters killed

Based on what I have found the U500 has an off highway gvw of 26,000 lbs. On highway or fire service it has a gvw of 33,000 lbs.

It has been mentioned in this thread that the truck weighted close to 17 tons, 34,000 lbs, which would have exceeded the manufacturers gvw.

Based on the weight of the truck being over 26,000 lbs the driver should have had specialized training in the form of a class b CDL with tank endorsement.

Secondly the ntsb has different standards for class 6, 7 or 8 trucks than it does for pickups and cars.

A heavy truck cab can not support the weight of the truck.

In the rollover accidents that I have seen in which the cab did not crush or worse it was because the body, typically trash or dump Supported the truck.

In my driving career I have had multiple blow outs but never lost control. My first thought was vehicle control. getting off of the road road was addressed after I had slowed down enough to safely transition off of the road.
Last edited:


Expedition Leader
The "cab gone", Perhaps seatbelt anchoring would be irrelevant at that point.
Perhaps, but the guy in the middle seat survived. Did the equipment on the back and his lap belt protect him in the rollover and the other two people were ejected? I don't know but that's a possible scenario in which the seat belt anchors are relevant.


Expedition Leader
Much like some of the Sprinters which were assembled in Europe, disassembled, shipped to the USA and then 'manufactured' here.
Unimog Cabrio's have had a certified roll bar since the late 60's. Even the eller fiberglass hardtops were roll over tested. You should go back to annoying your HOA and leave the crash stuff to the professionals.

Last edited:


Expedition Leader
That was a wildland fire truck. Anyone know the effects on tires of driving over hot recently burned ground? Can it cause tire deterioration resulting in that kind of failure?


Expedition Leader
I noticed there was a recall for early 2000's Unimogs for tires and seat belts. Not sure how it relates to these events though.
Here's the tire recall. It was from a long time ago.

Looks like that was for a tire size, that I haven't seen anyone use these days on a U500. But all this makes me wonder how safe is the common practice of buying 4-6 yr old unused old military stock(to save$1000+per tire) and trying to run on them for years. I confess I often run 62mph on the highways and a blow out is my greatest fear. I follow the manual's recommendation for correct tire pressure for my weight.When traveling I inspect tires and check tire pressure daily and check tire temperatures at fuel refill stops to give me some comfort. But I have no doubt that my fiberglass cab and that large front window would do bad things to anyone in the cab on a rollover. That said, I know the risk and accept it,in order to own and use this wonderful vehicle. I would not hold Freightliner , my builder or Mercedes personally liable, since I know the risk and accept it.
Troll poop indeed. Has that certain unmistakable smell left on many forums he's frequented. Remember, this is the guy that told by-law officers he'd paint a swastika on his house.....

It doesn't say "you own a U500 (which last I checked...Erwin Z doesn't anyway) you HAVE to run XZL 395's. It says if the unit was supplied with the 365's (in 2004, when brand new 395's were still available new) they would be replaced by the dealer with 395's.

Says right here if the vehicle is equipped with other sizes (not JUST XZL's) they are not affected.

2017-04-05 09_29_25-RCDNN-04V537-6433.jpg

If in some magic scenario, you had a NOS U500NA with 365's you'd bought brand new and ignored the recall notices, and took it to the dealer today to get the recall performed, unlikely they would slap 13yr old tires on. They'd find the modern equivalent and supply those if the XZL's are deemed insufficient or not available.

If you or anyone else is still running 13+ yr old tires on anything on the highway, well, $hit's gunna happen. Last I checked both Michelin and Continental (the two most popular brands for Unimog tires) have recommendations on the age of which to get rid of a tire, regardless of it's condition. The vehicle manufacturer also has recommendations of the same. Mercedes passenger vehicles advise up to 10yrs regardless of condition if inspected yearly after 5. Industrial tires maybe more, maybe less.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has no specific guidelines on tire aging and defers to the recommendations of carmakers and tire manufacturers. Carmakers such as Nissan and Mercedes-Benz tell consumers to replace tires six years after their production date, regardless of tread life. Tire manufacturers such as Continental and Michelin say a tire can last up to 10 years, provided you get annual tire inspections after the fifth year.
Last edited: