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

nickw

Adventurer
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.
Not nitpicky....

I'd guess 8-10 mpg - guessing a mog is in the same ballpark. My rule of thumb has always been a lighter duty gas rig = heavier duty diesel rig, adding weight changes that dynamic a bit and so conditions but seems to work out on average. That is 'official' / rated mpg....ignoring the guys that get 50% better due to creative math.

Midsize gas = 1/2T diesel
1/2T gas = 3/4 or 1T diesel
3/4 or 1T gas = medium duty diesel / Mog

Etc.
 

Todd n Natalie

OverCamper
+ with a domestic 1 Ton, you can remove the camper and use it for truck stuff when need be.

I guess you could do that with a Mog depending on setup.
Just seems it would be cumbersome to load a box that high off the ground.
I've never driven a Mog, but guessing a 1 ton would be miles quieter and more comfortable.
Personally I wouldn't want to drive a Mog (or any military HD truck for that matter) for hours on end on an interstate.
But, to each their own.
 
IMG_0228.jpegA modern Mog (2005 U500). Chassis when new base $95k+30k options = $125k. ~twice a well equipped 1 ton?
Quiet enough for conversation and to listen to music or even audiobook. Air suspended seats, autoshifting “manual” transmission, fantastic brakes + ABS etc, great visibility; generally a pleasure to drive.
Setting cruise control at 58-60 on divided hwy or open secondary roads, gets 26-27-L/100km = 8.5-9mpg. GVW 15 metric tons/33k lb, actual weight with 440L water, 400L fuel (total capacity 860L), 2 hydraulic winches, a ridiculously outrageous amount of recovery gear, tools, and every conceivable spare part and an unmounted 2nd spare = 12.3 metric tons = 27k lb. 41/59 weight distribution.
Top speed 8th gear 2200 rpm = 68mph. RPM limited on the flat, not power limited. I drive distances at 1900ish.
If I pared down the parts, tools and recovery gear to what non gearhead/non OCD people take, it’d be 5-600kg (1000 lb) or more lighter.
Just wanted all of you to know what a “modern Mog” is like. Of course U500s and U5000s (the modern iteration of the classic 80-90s squared off ones) are basically unobtainium in North America these days.
Picture 2016 Mongolia Gobi Desert.
 
Umm…definitely apples & oranges!!! I was just trying to describe what operating a “modern Mog” was like. It is definitely more modern truck and less tractor-like than a 1980s ex-BW U1300L for instance.
BTW parts have always been very easy to get from Merex. That’s not a problem at all, unless viewed solely through the lens of Autozone etc.
 
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nickw

Adventurer
View attachment 780695A modern Mog (2005 U500). Chassis when new base $95k+30k options = $125k. ~twice a well equipped 1 ton?
Quiet enough for conversation and to listen to music or even audiobook. Air suspended seats, autoshifting “manual” transmission, fantastic brakes + ABS etc, great visibility; generally a pleasure to drive.
Setting cruise control at 58-60 on divided hwy or open secondary roads, gets 26-27-L/100km = 8.5-9mpg. GVW 15 metric tons/33k lb, actual weight with 440L water, 400L fuel (total capacity 860L), 2 hydraulic winches, a ridiculously outrageous amount of recovery gear, tools, and every conceivable spare part and an unmounted 2nd spare = 12.3 metric tons = 27k lb. 41/59 weight distribution.
Top speed 8th gear 2200 rpm = 68mph. RPM limited on the flat, not power limited. I drive distances at 1900ish.
If I pared down the parts, tools and recovery gear to what non gearhead/non OCD people take, it’d be 5-600kg (1000 lb) or more lighter.
Just wanted all of you to know what a “modern Mog” is like. Of course U500s and U5000s (the modern iteration of the classic 80-90s squared off ones) are basically unobtainium in North America these days.
Picture 2016 Mongolia Gobi Desert.
Cool rig.
 

Sid Post

Observer
I'm dealing with Unicat at the moment. They have a Unimog that will be legal to import in October of this year. It is at a higher price point than I would like to be honest but, it is also a super premium option that would serve me well and enables travels I would never undertake in a domestic pickup chassis.

On the flip side, a former German military U-1300 is about half the cost of a Grenadier in reasonable spec and shape as a base chassis. In terms of overall performance and comfort, I'd put it more in the area of a Jeep in terms of use for adventurous travel.

My thoughts and choices are really polar opposites in terms of price and functionality. I can get a 26,000lb Peterbilt medium-duty truck optioned out to a really high spec for ~$115K. An option like this though would be pretty limiting for the travel I would like to do. A Ford F-600 4x4 Diesel is ~$75K. The Grenadier as I built it for off-road travel runs $82K.

The Unicat shipped into the USA is honestly not even a reasonable comparison and is expected to be >$300K landed if I move forward on it. I could sell one of the pieces of land I own to pay for it though.

In terms of ownership costs, including fuel and insurance costs along with general maintenance, is probably going to be the Grenadier honestly. With that one, the real question is whether it will become like the North American Land Rover Defenders in terms of price appreciation over time or, if it follows more traditional SUV prices over time as they age.

The only one in my group likely to get better fuel economy than 7~10MPG is the Grenadier being lighter weight and with a well known and proven drive train. Tires are going to be easier to find and cheaper to replace over time as well. However, it is more like car camping than the other options. As I get older, I am getting softer and need to be honest with myself and make travel more comfortable along the way.

A Ford F-600 may be rated for the same loads as the other options but, it isn't really a medium-duty truck chassis either. This means a lot of work over time fixing stuff and maintaining the vehicle if I only run it really heavy.

The newer medium-duty trucks from the major Semi manufacturers are really car-like in general so, super comfy for long drives and things like disc brakes make them a whole different level of "truck" than most people realize. However, these will not go places I went to in the past when I lived in Arizona. If you don't ever travel areas where 4x4 is a requirement, honestly these new generation medium trucks from companies like Peterbilt and Isuza are awesome options.

The last thing in the world I want to deal with in someplace like remote Australia is to try and fix an emissions issue with DEF or something similar. If I'm in Central America, do I really want to worry about finding "blue diesel" and DEF? This is one thing that attracts me to older Unimogs. I also believe I am apt to have better support in remote areas fixing a Unimog than something like an aluminum Ford F-600. There is a reason old Land Rovers and Land Cruisers are so popular for this kind of travel!

With the full platform on the Grenadier roof, it sure looks like a simple and easy option to put one of those hardshell "tents" on it and would definitely be an easy one for banging out big miles on an Interstate or navigating a crowded National Park. Rough off-road travel is also likely to be easiest in this vehicle. What it doesn't have is some basic comforts when on extended travels like a kitchen, shower, sink, and toilet.
 

Sid Post

Observer
Seeing as the OP mentioned the Grenadier ... do you have an opinion on whether there might be similarities between the NA U500 and Grenadier ? In terms of it holding it's value, being a good buy new (in hindsight), the mfr shortening the model run to only a few years (in part because of unit sales), becoming unobtanium in NA, etc
I would look to the North American market Land Rover Defenders as a better case study of the likely trajectory of Grenadier values and scarcity over time.
 

Sid Post

Observer
Umm…definitely apples & oranges!!! I was just trying to describe what operating a “modern Mog” was like. It is definitely more modern truck and less tractor-like than a 1980s ex-BW U1300L

Total agreement here!

The Grenadier and a Land Rover Defender would be a more reasonable comparison IMHO. The older Unimogs are pretty basic and a little harsh compared to modern medium-duty trucks and newer Unmogs.
 

Joe917

Explorer
Have you considered a Mercedes 4x4 truck rather than the Mog? Better fuel mileage, nicer ride and not a huge difference off road.
 

Sid Post

Observer
Have you considered a Mercedes 4x4 truck rather than the Mog? Better fuel mileage, nicer ride and not a huge difference off road.

Big fan of the G-Wagen but, I think it is a bit small for me. That being said, I keep looking in the EU to find one in reasonable shape that isn't really expensive.
 

Joe917

Explorer
No I'm talking Mercedes truck, Your looking for MB 1017AF for example the first two digits are the chassis GVW in 1000kgs and the second pair are engine hp rating in 10's of hp. The A is all wheel drive(full time 4X4) the F is a firetruck designation.
Look for chassis weight between 9 and 18 and hp# between 17 and 24., AF and AK
 

Sid Post

Observer
An older Unimog is really a nice vehicle for remote travel. I absolutely do not want DEF and other invasive pollution controls on a vehicle like this. Not really a worry CONUS but, if I take it to Africa or Australia as a couple of examples, I don't want to be stranded by some pollution control nanny that makes no difference in comparison to global air travel as one of many possible examples.

My lawn mower and chainsaw or a household natural gas stove may be an easy target for GREEN extremists but, in comparison to the huge numbers of coal plants being built in China each year, it is a bit like complaining about rising sea levels because one of my teardrops fell into the Pacific Ocean!

For the people that keep mentioning 1-ton pickups, they are valid options for some people but, I have had twisted frame rails, steering and suspension issues, and transmission failures. Pulling a travel trailer to a KOA campground and traversing a 4x4 only trail at the maximum weight with one are totally different things. Use like I have seen in the past and will see again in the future will ensure high maintenance costs assuming you don't actually break something. In terms of fuel costs, yes Gasoline is generally cheaper per gallon but, overall travel costs for a pickup loaded like I would want is really in the 7~9MPG range whether gasoline or diesel. A Unimog or small Class 6 truck will do at least that good in most cases and has a significantly better frame, axles, suspension, brakes, etc. for a life of heavy hauling. For dual use when not traveling, I have different vehicles to use so, taking off the camper shell or box so I can load lumber or steel on it isn't going to happen. A Pintle hook and heavy trailer is a maybe but, I have the means to haul everything I own right now without it so I don't see this feature being a factor in this purchase.

I have personally driven a class 8 truck on our farm a lot so, I may not be an OTR warrior but, I also know what it is like to roll down the road at 80,000lbs or to be pulling a combine behind a wheat truck. This experience, heavy pickups, wheat trucks, and class 8s probably biases me a good deal because I know what is like when the "pucker factor is huge" with a heavily loaded vehicle on the public roads and I run across someone with a death wish.

At this point, I am thinking the only option I want to consider besides a Unimog is a Peterbilt class 6 truck. The Peterbilt will drive a lot like a modern pickup or SUV with better sight lines but, it will also have the pollution nannies so, I have to ask myself if that would stop me from going to places overseas with it. I could obviously go but, it would end up being more a traditional tourist-type trip which is not really why I travel.
 

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