Better overlanding 'truck' options in today's market for <$100K (USD)?

Sid Post

Observer
I'd definitely lean towards a smaller rig for trips of a month or less. Smallish camper on a pickup is easiest. You can upgrade the truck to make it capable offroad and take off the camper to use the truck at home as well.

I have considered the Dodge PowerWagon in the past. A slide-in camper or bed topper is an option for light travel as well. On the flip side, these days I want a bit more comfort and a better bed. I have also considered the better offroad trailer options but, they don't offer a whole lot more and have a lot of added expense.

Coming from a motorcycle adventure past, I totally get the attraction some people have with Jeeps and similar pickup/SUV options.

This is what has me looking at the Grenadier and being backup to my daily driver is good as well.
 

Sid Post

Observer
Honest question - if you are cross shopping a Mog, why not something like this?


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Emissions is a big factor. Relatively high cost is another along with emission complexity. I also worry about running non-USA fuel from questionable sources.
 
I read through all of this, not really sure what you are looking for, but a good option for "Not a unimog" might be an imported Mitsubishi Canter firetruck. They are rock solid, low miles (<20k), cheap (~40k). They have 4wd with transfer case, can take a lift, and can run super singles in the rear. I'm pretty sure most components are shared with Mitsubishi Fuso trucks.

Here's one from BaT

Bunches at JDMOffRoad
 

Sid Post

Observer
I read through all of this, not really sure what you are looking for, but a good option for "Not a unimog" might be an imported Mitsubishi Canter firetruck. They are rock solid, low miles (<20k), cheap (~40k). They have 4wd with transfer case, can take a lift, and can run super singles in the rear. I'm pretty sure most components are shared with Mitsubishi Fuso trucks.

Here's one from BaT

Bunches at JDMOffRoad

I want to stay with LHD so, right-hand drive options aren't attractive to me from those countries that operate on that side of the road. I have been looking at some of the USA Isuza NPR/FTR-style chassis as a starting point. Ground clearance and power for many of them are lacking for more rugged off-road routes so I don't think they will work for me. Sand and mud with their weights and tire options don't look that good to me.

For another $10K~$20K I can get into a Unimog with portal axles and a better frame for off-road so, that seems like a better value to me. Getting spare parts out of the EU is attractive as well with all the former military vehicles being broken down and sold off.

For a mini-Motorhome with limited off-road needs, the JDF firetruck options look really good to me.
 

Sid Post

Observer
Honestly, it kinda sounds like you already have your mind made up on a Unimog....

Yes, at this point with further research, I am leaning pretty hard towards a Unimog. Thanks to some references via this thread, I have found a couple of Unimogs that are good candidates at ~$50K which is less than most of the class 6 trucks I have looked at and definitely the pickup conversion options.

A few of the comments really helped me think through what I wanted, what I needed, and opened up my considerations as well. I was waffling a bit on the Land Cruiser, G-Wagen, Grenadier, etc. options a bit but, realize they aren't really long-term solutions for me either. The Grenadier would be super easy to add a roof tent to but, that doesn't really address issues of my mobility decreasing as I age.

The better bed and steps/ladder of a Unimog conversion option along with a "real" kitchen and a shower/toilet also open up a lot of travel options as well.
 

Todd n Natalie

OverCamper
Yes, at this point with further research, I am leaning pretty hard towards a Unimog. Thanks to some references via this thread, I have found a couple of Unimogs that are good candidates at ~$50K which is less than most of the class 6 trucks I have looked at and definitely the pickup conversion options.

A few of the comments really helped me think through what I wanted, what I needed, and opened up my considerations as well. I was waffling a bit on the Land Cruiser, G-Wagen, Grenadier, etc. options a bit but, realize they aren't really long-term solutions for me either. The Grenadier would be super easy to add a roof tent to but, that doesn't really address issues of my mobility decreasing as I age.

The better bed and steps/ladder of a Unimog conversion option along with a "real" kitchen and a shower/toilet also open up a lot of travel options as well.
All the best in your search. Keep us posted. Have you perused the Unimog section here?
 

Sid Post

Observer
All the best in your search. Keep us posted. Have you perused the Unimog section here?
Yes, periodically. Generally, I see things more maintenance related with a few threads about travel.

I also have been a longtime G-Wagen follower and really enjoyed reading the stories and threads about that Swissair pilot that bought one and traveled the world.

Being retired now and finished with my mother's illness and estate, I'm in a position to be more involved with Overlanding and plan on doing my personal "bucket list" while I am still young and healthy enough to do so.

I have my tractor, a Massey, and road-going motorcycle, a Triumph, so now my focus is on travel when I'm not doing a BBQ circuit on my motorcycle or something else relatively local (1-day out or so). I am also doing the antique tractor thing so, while I don't need a Unimog for that, it would be, will be, an awesome thing for when I'm there doing the volunteer thing. In a Unimog, I also won't need to be pulled out if we get heavy rain and things turn into a mud pit monster mud bog circuit!
 

Sid Post

Observer
Other than the clutch thing I'd say any ambulance is a great stater...

If it must have a clutch think old fire truck....

The no DEF thing means at least 10 years old.... they are ALL fuel hogs.
For import, the frame manufacturing date has to be 25 years old. Clutches are pretty good as long as you know what you are doing and don't burn them up. I grew up on a farm so, using a heavy clutch isn't a big deal to me and I haven't smoked one ever.
 

Joe917

Explorer
I think you are looking for a unicorn.
The 100k budget means used.
Stop looking at unimogs, the only Mog that fits your needs is the U500 and for 100k you will be lucky to find a bare chassis. Your choices boil down to a domestic HD PU or a MB or Man import. The two German imports are far better than the domestic options but parts and service will require effort. Domestic pick ups have a huge hood that wastes space and a horrible turning radius, but parts and service are available everywhere
 

Sid Post

Observer
I think you are looking for a unicorn.
The 100k budget means used.
Stop looking at unimogs, the only Mog that fits your needs is the U500 and for 100k you will be lucky to find a bare chassis. Your choices boil down to a domestic HD PU or a MB or Man import. The two German imports are far better than the domestic options but parts and service will require effort. Domestic pick ups have a huge hood that wastes space and a horrible turning radius, but parts and service are available everywhere
I have spotted a couple in the UK/EU region that are well under $100K. Yes, USA market Unimogs like Land Rover Defenders are hugely expensive.

In terms of supporting a Unimog from Europe, I realize some parts will need to be imported but that doesn't scare me much.

Having lived a lot of life with heavy-duty pickups and medium-duty trucks and a few semi's, I realize those compromises and hassles well. In particular, the turning radius of Dodge Rams is a real turn-off for me these days. Blind spots can be dealt with but, fueling was frequently a huge hassle with my trailer. Medium-duty trucks can be a real pain at the pumps too and "swoop and squat" insurance scams or simple idiocy from car drivers are things I want to avoid today.
 

Sid Post

Observer
So old school.... and heavy....


This is tire technology.... and with CAT or Detroit Power might not be street legal..... light is not available with CAT power.


And this kills the CAT, Detroit Diesel option. Non DEF, CAT all equal HEAVY trucks.

This has been an entertaining thread but they are all under 10mpg fuel hogs. CAT no longer even builds highway legal engines.

Yes, modern diesels have evolved a huge amount, and while I appreciate common rail high-pressure fuel injection, working on a system like that somewhere remote is going to be a lot harder than 'old school' tech fuel injection.

While growing up, we put a Perkins straight 6 in a Ford 1-ton. Street legal or not? We ran that pickup for ~15 years and didn't have an issue keeping it registered for road use. In terms of weight, yes it was heavy for that application and required some work to keep the alignment where it needed to be.

Modern diesels do tend to weigh less which is good. The modern Isuza trucks you see frequently in urban delivery service are a good example of this. If they were more off-road worthy, a gently used one can be picked up for ~$60K which leaves a lot left over for the living quarters.

In terms of fuel economy, my current Dodge gas pick gets 8MPG so, while I would like better fuel mileage, it is what it is. The Dodge Cummins I drive some gets ~14MPG empty and 10~12MPG loaded so, a decent fuel bill there too. The Ford diesels we had were fuel hogs as well. Honestly, I would rather have a beast of a motor that I can run at 30% most of the time so it isn't stressed and operates efficiently while still having a beast available when I really need it.
 

nickw

Adventurer
Yes, modern diesels have evolved a huge amount, and while I appreciate common rail high-pressure fuel injection, working on a system like that somewhere remote is going to be a lot harder than 'old school' tech fuel injection.

While growing up, we put a Perkins straight 6 in a Ford 1-ton. Street legal or not? We ran that pickup for ~15 years and didn't have an issue keeping it registered for road use. In terms of weight, yes it was heavy for that application and required some work to keep the alignment where it needed to be.

Modern diesels do tend to weigh less which is good. The modern Isuza trucks you see frequently in urban delivery service are a good example of this. If they were more off-road worthy, a gently used one can be picked up for ~$60K which leaves a lot left over for the living quarters.

In terms of fuel economy, my current Dodge gas pick gets 8MPG so, while I would like better fuel mileage, it is what it is. The Dodge Cummins I drive some gets ~14MPG empty and 10~12MPG loaded so, a decent fuel bill there too. The Ford diesels we had were fuel hogs as well. Honestly, I would rather have a beast of a motor that I can run at 30% most of the time so it isn't stressed and operates efficiently while still having a beast available when I really need it.
I bet a domestic 1T pickup w/gas engine will get better mileage than a diesel mog and be a helluva lot easier to keep on the road $ wise.
 
I bet a domestic 1T pickup w/gas engine will get better mileage than a diesel mog and be a helluva lot easier to keep on the road $ wise.
Not trying to be too nitpicky, but what kind of consumption does a gas 1t p/u get with a big, heavy cabover camper? In mixed driving, hwy ~ 65mph, secondary roads etc? I really don’t know, not trolling, but I do know the class Cs that are ubiquitous around here in the summer as rentals are pretty abysmal (7ish?). Considering their GVW of mere 14.5k lb.
 

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