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Thread: Eco-Roamer - F650 based Expedition Vehicle

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  1. #1
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    Default Eco-Roamer - F650 based Expedition Vehicle

    Well, after 2 years of planning, sketching and shopping I'm very happy to announce that our expedition vehicle is finally under way!

    We are calling the project ECO-ROAMER and the intention is to build it in as environmentally friendly a manner as a diesel-belching-round-the-world-20,000-pound-truck can be...

    I have taken great inspiration and learning from everyone here at ExPo, so I'm delighted that over the next several months we'll finally be able to contribute back to the community and share our build-up as it progresses.

    First a few details:

    THE TRUCK:
    This was the probably the hardest part. We had some fundamental requirements that limited the choices:
    • 4x4 - obviously
    • crew cab - 2 kids!
    • diesel
    • global service network
    • big enough to handle a 'big' camper body
    • available in the USA for the build
    • comfortable for HOURS of highway driving
    [/LIST]

    This eliminated several popular choices:
    • Mitsu FG - Too Small
    • Toyota Hino - Crew cab 4x4 only avail in Australia
    • MAN - Not avail in USA
    • Mog - Not ideal for highway cruising & crew cab limitations
    • GM Topkick 5500 - Duramax Not globally serviceable
    • Ford F550 - Engine not serviceable
    [/LIST]

    Which basically left the International, and the Ford F-650.

    International has a good dealer network, but we felt that CAT has an even broader parts/service network, and so we leaned towards the F-650 with the CAT C-7 engine and Allison 6-spd transmission. Both trucks can have the same Meritor axles, the same 2-piece wheels, the same MPT81 tyres, and similar load ratings.

    Finally, we hit the ULSD diesel emissions challenge, so we decided to buy a pre-emissions control 2007 or earlier truck. Finding a 'slightly used' one that matched all our criteria proved to be very difficult until we found a crazy F-650 pickup with 3,000 miles and a distressed owner in need of selling.

    We bought the truck, and will remove and sell the pick-up bed.

    Since it's a 2007 there should be no problem running it off 'mostly' Bio-Diesel, where available. (i.e. North America & Western Europe)

    Here is what the truck looks like so far...

    The bull bar was just built by Layne Wright at Denver Offroad Bumpers. He did an amazing job designing and hand crafting it all out of very light weight (and recycled) aluminum. It's being powder coated black now. I'd STRONGLY recommend Layne to anyone!

    The truck is on its way now to Tulsa Truck Manufacturing where Ron Turner and his guys are going to do the 4x4 conversion and stretch out / reinforce the frame.

    THE CAMPER:

    Over the past couple of years we looked at dozens of possible solutions for the camper. In the end we eliminated going with an off-the-shelf camper body like Doug Hackney's (very nice) unit. Most were too small, and there were too many unique things we wanted.

    That took us down to a short list of three custom manufacturers:

    • Unicat - Extremely helpful, but also very expensive and rigid in their designs
    • PonyXpress - Just sold, too unresponsive
    • StarTracks - Very willing to work with our designs & based in the USA which keeps costs low compared to shipping the truck back and forth to Germany.


    We're still working on the details of the design and have had some great ideas & revisions so far. The current design looks like it will be 17ft long, plus 2 single beds for the kids above the cab.

    The current plan looks something like this:


    Here's a 3D view of the interior that gives a better sense of how it fits together:


    The dinette lowers to a double bed for guests, and there is a queen bed for us that lowers from ceiling above the dinette.

    On one hand 17ft BEHIND a crew cab feels like it's going to be a huge vehicle with a turning circle the size of a football field. On the other hand, 17ft is not a whole lot of space to plan out for full-time living space for two parents & two kids!


    "ECO" COMPONENTS:

    As I mentioned, we're trying to build the vehicle in as 'friendly' a way as possible. There are a ton of elements we've built in to the design from that perspective, but some of the highlights include:

    • Camper Shell - Made from Alucobond - 80% recycled aluminum composite
    • Solar Panels - 1.8KW of solar power on the roof
    • Cabinetry - All made from Bamboo, not "wood"
    • Counters - Made from Richlite recycled paper board composites
    • Flooring - Laminate mounted to recycled composite boards, not plywood
    • Sewage - Diesel fired incinerator to avoid dumping our waste around the world
    • Insulation - Very substantial to reduce heating/air-con power usage
    • Lighting - MR16 converted lights to low-power LED arrays
    • Fuel - No propane on board, everything can run off the bio-diesel (or regular diesel if necessary) and/or solar / generator.

    -----------------
    Stay tuned for more pics and details over the coming months...

    Very excited,
    Jay.
    Last edited by jayshapiro; 10-29-2007 at 03:22 PM.
    Jay & Alice (+ Kurt + Maya!) - www.ontheroadlesstravelled.com
    --------
    co-founders of www.themuskokafoundation.org - "Use what you know, to Do Good as you go!"
    --------
    '97 - Landcruiser Diesel Prado - for excursions - Available for loan in Malaysia
    '07 - Ford F-650 - The first EcoRoamer - www.ecoRoamer.com
    '06 - Horizon AT - "rent" it FREE here.

  2. #2
    kcowyo's Avatar
    kcowyo is offline Expedition Portal Moderator ExPo Original
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    Congratulations on finding a truck for your build. Looks like you've found a winner.

    Glad to hear Layne is still in the bumper biz. I've heard great things about his abilities with aluminum.

    I'll be eagerly anticipating updates on this project -
    '97 Toyota T100 - some stuff and some stories....
    '89 Toyota FJ62 - fractal cruising

    currently listening to - Michael Kiwanuka "Home Again"
    recommended reading - Dead Run by Dan Schultz

  3. #3
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    Looking forward to following your build. Thanks.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by jayshapiro
    We are calling the project ECO-ROAMER and the intention is to build it in as environmentally friendly a manner as a diesel-belching-round-the-world-20,000-pound-truck can be...
    I mean seriously, give the guy a break with all this self-righteous crap about what is ECO and what isn't.

    Keep up the good work Jay. This is one of the more interesting build threads on the forum right now
    Last edited by calamaridog; 12-18-2007 at 06:15 AM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by calamaridog
    I mean seriously, give the guy a break with all this self-righteous crap about what is ECO and what isn't.

    Keep up the good work Jay. This is one of the more interesting build threads on the forum right now
    LOL, not too many build threads can you get into heated environmental arguments with. Kind of a same, but keeps people interested I guess.

  6. #6
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    Don't mention anything about being eco friendly on this post - I tried - the boys will jump down your throat big time - screw the Polar Bears - so what if they go extinct on our watch - keep on trucking in your 25,000 lb rigs - what the heck the kids are getting an education!

  7. #7
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    Curiously, I bet that had he not mentioned that he was going to make this an eco-friendly build, just "hey, I am building a truck to travel the world with" then there would not have been any adverse reaction.

    But since he mentioned he is going to try to be 'green' wherever and whenever possible...he is being criticized.

    Proof again that "no good deed goes unpunished".....

    I am not sure what the naysayers would suggest as a substitute for a family of four to travel the world. I suppose some would just as soon that they would stay home than 'pollute the earth' but that goes contrary to EVERYTHING this site stands for...

    They are going to tread pretty lightly all things considered...what more do you want?
    When life gives you free time, grab a map and go.

    Member #146

    Former Fat_Man

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fat_Man
    Curiously, I bet that had he not mentioned that he was going to make this an eco-friendly build, just "hey, I am building a truck to travel the world with" then there would not have been any adverse reaction.

    I was thinking the same thing.

    Jay:

    Great build, it is coming along nicely. You wouldn't be related to a guy named Ari, that has a smoothie shop in Tucson would you? Probably a long shot, you guys have the same last name, and from the Bay Area.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kermit
    Great build, it is coming along nicely. You wouldn't be related to a guy named Ari, that has a smoothie shop in Tucson would you? Probably a long shot, you guys have the same last name, and from the Bay Area.
    NOPE... Though I like smoothies, so if he offers a "family discount" I'll stop by!

    Jay.
    Last edited by jayshapiro; 12-19-2007 at 04:45 AM.
    Jay & Alice (+ Kurt + Maya!) - www.ontheroadlesstravelled.com
    --------
    co-founders of www.themuskokafoundation.org - "Use what you know, to Do Good as you go!"
    --------
    '97 - Landcruiser Diesel Prado - for excursions - Available for loan in Malaysia
    '07 - Ford F-650 - The first EcoRoamer - www.ecoRoamer.com
    '06 - Horizon AT - "rent" it FREE here.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by pygmyowl
    Don't mention anything about being eco friendly on this post - I tried - the boys will jump down your throat big time - screw the Polar Bears - so what if they go extinct on our watch - keep on trucking in your 25,000 lb rigs - what the heck the kids are getting an education!
    Hey man, having gone to college at a predominately Science/Marine Science based school and having a Marine Scientist as a fiancé I care greatly for the environment. But also coming from this background I can weed through the Media B.S. and trendy environmental stuff and make a real educated decision on what is really hurting the environment and that stuff like this can be eco-friendly.

    A few examples of off bases information. You do realize that personal vehicles are not the main cause of pollution, industry is. How about this whole anti plastic bag thing. Take a guess as to which is more harmful for the environment. It's not plastic. Paper is by far more hurtful. You just need to recycle your plastic shopping bags. They are 100% recyclable, paper is not. I am just using this as an example as to one of the many areas were the media is doing more harm then good. Trendy environmental people will bash this man, an educated one will not.

    Yes, this vehicle is a gas-guzzler and harmful for the environment. But, with all the steps this family is taking to reduce things in there lives, I can bet you this family leaves as much of a footprint as you do alone if not less then you or I.

    With enough work and sacrifice, he can make a rig that is more eco-friendly then the average car out there.

    Oh, by the way pygmyowl, what do you drive? Unless you drive a car made out of mud and that runs off of farts, leave this guy alone and let this guy work towards an eco-friendly rig.

    Anyways, enough of this banter and let's keep this forum a friendly one. This is a thread about this really cool build and I can't wait to see more of it. Keep us informed as you go along.
    Last edited by Streakerfreak; 12-18-2007 at 07:31 PM.

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