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Thread: Newbie questions....BLISS MOBIL and chassis

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    Kansas City
    Posts
    7

    Default Newbie questions....BLISS MOBIL and chassis

    Hello! We are new to this website and it looks like an amazing resource!

    We are looking to buy a 15 foot expedition camper and are particularly interested in out of the Netherlands. Their campers seem very solid and technology forward. That said, Bliss only makes the camper and we would have to purchase the chassis separately. We have never traveled via expedition camper and are struggling to figure out what kind of chassis would work best with the unit that Bliss Mobil could produce. Bliss actually lists several potential chassis models on their website, but they don't seem to be available in the US (e.g., MAG TGM, MAN TGM Toka, Steyr 12M18, Mercedes-Benz 1120-AF, Duro 6x6).

    We are from the U.S. and plan to do some North American travel, but also want to travel extensively internationally - South America, Europe, Asia...

    What kind of chassis should we be looking at that we can buy and drive in the U.S., but that will also fit this Bliss expedition camper and be easy to maintain and repair around the world?

    Does anyone have experience with Bliss Mobil? Thoughts on the durability and quality of their products?

    Thanks in advance for any help you can provide!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Albuquerque, NM
    Posts
    316
    Contact Jay Couch at Couch Off-road in Denver. He is mostly a Unimog supplier, as far as chassis go, but he has close ties with Bliss. He built a Unimog U1300 and outfitted it with a Bliss box. The couple that owns it is here in New Mexico. I see you are in Kansas, maybe you could arrange a meeting to see one up close. The Bliss box is absolutely incredible!

    http://couchoffroad.com/
    Last edited by burquedoka; 09-29-2017 at 04:26 AM.
    Geländewagen, UNIMOG U1550L37 DoKa

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    Kansas City
    Posts
    7
    Thanks so much! That is very helpful.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Victoria BC
    Posts
    1,370
    Bliss is doing an amazing job, they looks incredible, no question.
    But there are two things that bug me: the heavy steel frame and the container locks. Who needs a removable camper body that requires a container crane? Sure you could take the camper off and ship as a container. But that still leaves you with the chassis that wont fit into anything other than a open platform or Roll On Roll Off boat. Also, do you want your camper body sitting and tied up with other shipping containers? Think about the beating they are getting!
    In any case, if you are looking at european builders, check out www.archemobil.de , www.unicat.net , www.actionmobil.com , www.EQ-line.com ,

    As for chassis:
    We are very limited with options here in North America. For the USA imports need to be 25 years old and Canada 15 years to be able to get them registered. I put a lot of research into chassis the last couple years. If you want a truck for traveling the globe, you basicly need to consider older Mercedes Trucks. Like the 1017 or 1019. These run without fancy electronics and parts/mechanics can be found all around the globe. Older MAN would work too but are a bit more difficult to maintain as there are no dealer ships in North America.
    Just in case you only like to travel in North America, I would recommend looking into the line from Steward+Stevenson (military trucks).

    Rule of thumb:
    For international travel it pays off to go as small as possible. I think a Mercedes 1017 would be the max I would want to drive.

    Good luck in your search!
    http://totalcomposites.com/ your supplier for European designed fiberglass sandwich panels and accessories.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Anchorage, AK
    Posts
    1,406
    I second Victorian's comments. I ended up with a new Mercedes Unimog U500 in 2006 which was sold in North America 2003-6. But the NA version had some differences from the "world" version, namely electrical system was partly 12V (alternator, starter, lights), part 24V (electronics), also air fittings. Not a problem getting it worked on in Germany. But Unimogs in general are excessively complicated for world travel with the portal hubs and drivetrain; with which you are really taking your chances on a used one unless all 4 hubs have been freshly overhauled by a COMPETENT technician. And parts are not ubiquitous (except for engine) like the 1017/1019. I've driven mine all over Australia, in North Africa and to Mongolia and back.
    Regarding the S&S military truck option, there is an outfit in Montana that remanufactures them to basically new quality and put in upgrades like good seats, noise insulation and drivetrain necessary upgrades like higher speed differentials and locking differential (at least in the rear).
    http://acelatruck.com/
    That's what I would do if I were looking for a new chassis right now as a US inhabitant, unless you want to spend hundreds of hours working on it yourself. Even though some of the auction vehicles have very low mileage there are many deteriorated parts on most auction vehicles.

    Charlie
    Last edited by charlieaarons; 09-29-2017 at 06:31 PM.
    Unimog U500 with Unicat camper; diesel BMW X5 35d, diesel BJ40 Landcruiser and diesel M37

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Shawinigan, Québec, Canada
    Posts
    12
    I am a Canadian owner of a 15 feet Bliss Mobil since last year. I did extensive research before buying. I ended up with Bliss for two main reasons. First quality and solidity are premium. Second, since the Bliss Mobil unit is sold separately from the truck, I was able to import a new living unit not submitted to the 15 years (25 years in USA) like the truck. And this is a big plus. As for the truck my fist idea was to find a new 4 x 4 trucks in Canada. International truck maker had a model suitable for the Bliss unit, but since it is a long nose truck, it had significant longer wheelbase compare to a flat nose truck reducing maneuverability. Also a new diesel truck has a lot of electronics and run with urea. So I ended up with a Mercedez Benz truck (1429AF) bought in Europe. It was a 1992 firetruck with only 29K kilometers. A mechanic made the appropriate modifications in collaboration with Bliss Mobil with overland specs in mind. I have to say that I am very happy with my choice. Both Bliss Mobil and the truck perform very well.

  7. #7
    Has a bliss body ever been applied to an f550?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    S Atlanta
    Posts
    457
    You are not far from Global Expedition, should check out their rigs for ideas.
    Kevin

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Alberta Canada
    Posts
    1
    Hi there, I just joined this wonderful sight. How did you find your truck and did you use a broker to get it into Canada? Thank you

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Shawinigan, Québec, Canada
    Posts
    12
    Quote Originally Posted by Gregmm View Post
    Hi there, I just joined this wonderful sight. How did you find your truck and did you use a broker to get it into Canada? Thank you
    Bliss Mobil introduced me to a very knowledgable mechanic in Germany who can make modifications to existing vehicles. First he found three trucks suitable for the Bliss unit. I then choose the one that met our expectations. Finally he made all the transformations whit Bliss Mobil requirements in mind.
    I did all the importation of the truck by myself. I used SeaBrige transportation from Antwerpen to Halifax. They use a broker from Halifax in order to have the papers needed to go to custom. Of course you need to have all your invoices, sale agreement and clearance from the broker when you go to Canadian custom.

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