Checking out a 1017a soon what should I look for

Deshet

Adventurer
Hi All,
I am looking at 1994 1017a soon, what are some of the problems areas that I should inspect?

The km on it are low at a little over 10,000 or 6,500 miles.

How do I tell if it has the highspeed gears? The speedometer goes to 125 kilometers per hour.

Would some please post pictures of your battery box and battery setup?

I have noticed that some other models have a 6 speed manual transmission, this has a 5 speed. Is swapping to a 6 speed fairly easy and will that provide more top speed?

Thanks
 

Victorian

Approved Vendor : Total Composites
Watch for air leaks and anything plastic/rubber related. There are a lot of valves and hoses for the brakes, 4x4 that could potentially leak.
I don't think they came with high speed gears... Get ready for slow travel speeds! These engines are mechanically limited to around 90km/h. The only way to increase the top speed on a 1017A is with bigger tires or different gearing.

Other then that, these trucks are very solid and go forever.
 

VerMonsterRV

Gotta Be Nuts
Hi All,
I am looking at 1994 1017a soon, what are some of the problems areas that I should inspect?

The km on it are low at a little over 10,000 or 6,500 miles.

How do I tell if it has the highspeed gears? The speedometer goes to 125 kilometers per hour.

Would some please post pictures of your battery box and battery setup?

I have noticed that some other models have a 6 speed manual transmission, this has a 5 speed. Is swapping to a 6 speed fairly easy and will that provide more top speed?

Thanks
Hi, I own an 1120AF and have built a habitat on it and have been living/traveling full time for a bit over 4 years. Having owned this truck now on 2 different continents I would offer this advice. It all really depends on your long term travel plans. If you're staying in North America I would stick with a US 550/55000 4x4 with a composite flatbed. You'll end up with a capable off highway camper but also have ready access to parts/mechanics. You'll also be able to do highway speeds without trying. The interior space will be close to what you will end up with on the 1017. If you're planning on multiple continents then the Mercedes are good, but, and this is a big BUT. Mercedes made a crazy amount of variations of these trucks over the years. So the likelihood of your model parts being readily available may be slim. I know our truck model was never sold in South America. Yes variants were built that used various parts our truck uses, but you need to know which ones. Our full time 4WD was never offered here, so parts are thin and mechanics are unfamiliar with this box (I know this as I needed it worked on). So, be ready to be very familiar with your truck (the Chilean Mercedes dealership refused to work on our truck, and order any parts from Europe), work on it if necessary and be prepared that some parts are NLA.

Now don't take this as I don't like our truck. The opposite actually, it is a very capable truck and is taking us where we want to go. But it's an old truck and it needs repairs more often than a younger truck would require.
 

MogsAndDogs

Member
Do you have any photos? I would be concerned about cab rust. Very difficult/expensive to remedy. I don't know specifically about 1017A, but for the Unimog it is floorboards, door sills, and the bottom of the windshield.

Victorian is correct - I think at that age you should assume you will eventually have to replace most or all rubber parts. And, as VerMonsterRV said, getting those parts, living in the US, will be an all consuming endeavor.
 

Deshet

Adventurer
I appreciate the responses. I was looking at some German sites and it appears that some of the fire fighting versions had high speed axles.

I have owned random stuff like this over the last 20 years. I am fairly good at sourcing parts, getting things rebuilt, or figuring things out.

What are some of the parts that you are having a hard time sourcing? I saw a few posts stating that several suppliers support the unimog, some parts are available from Freightliner as they sold rebadged unimogs.

I previously had a military LMTV and the 60 mph was difficult.

Does anybody have more specifics on the mechanical speed limiter? Not trying to do a 100 but would like to be able to keep up with traffic, without straining anything.

Thanks
 
Last edited:

mog

Kodiak Buckaroo
fire fighting versions had high speed axles
keep up with traffic
, without straining anything.
My direct experience is with a 1979 1017AF so certainly a 15 year newer model will differ, but if you are looking at pre 1995, they are still 'mechanically' control engines without electronic brains.
Trucks built as firetrucks/rescue trucks (Rustwagon) with have an 'F' in their model number. 1017A (allrad)F(firetruck).

Super singles will help with cruise and top speed. Mine with the 'faster' firetruck axles, with 395/85R-20 was happy to cruise at 55 mph, could cruse at 60 mph, and was happest under 63mph. I believe it was aerodynamically limited to 68mph, as in a quest for a 'braggin' max speed a 15 mile downhill at max throttle could only bring that as a recorded best (GPS reading).
While some trucks could have limiters added by customers, you will find it is more likely that laws of physics are limiting performance, not an add-on device.

As far as keeping up with traffic, you will not be much better off than with your LMTV. I've found with 'big trucks', as long as you are as fast or faster then the semis, travel is fine. You will never be as fast as the auto traffic unless you are driving a (fill in a full size American truck here). As always YMMV
 

DiploStrat

Expedition Leader
Greetings from Sweden! If you are staying in North America, get a North American truck, for all the reasons (and more) that the VerMonster mentioned. Even if you want to do the world, you may be better off with a US truck. Friends of ours took their Chevrolet to over 60 countries with no more or less trouble than others have with Mercedes Benz, etc.

Going further afield than North America, just be aware that parts can be a challenge, even in Europe. Beyond that, many places will not look at old trucks. And I recently had a Unimog specialist in Germany flat out refuse to see me - he does not have staff. And I was looking for an appointment at least three weeks out. I have an excellent shop in UK, but I try to give them six months lead time, and a detailed list. Expect to spend a few days in the local hotel.)

Spend some quality time with on the VerMonster blog. My German friends with these beasts either do all their own work or take them to specialty shops.

You may or may not do better in the Third World. Can be the luck of the draw with local mechanics.

Bottom line - these beasts are slow (say, 90 KPH max), can be harsh riding on dirt/potholes (and didn't you buy it for Africa??), and, hype to the contrary, parts can be a real challenge, even in Europe.

In my case, the previous owner discarded the factory headlights and frames. Now one of the LED lights that he installed has flooded. In about a week of looking I have not found any details, let alone a source, for the OEM headlight bracket.


So, they are not great vehicles for the US with miles of interstate. They may or may not be a good option for South America or Africa. I have no experience with Asia in a vehicle.
 

VerMonsterRV

Gotta Be Nuts
Greetings from Sweden! If you are staying in North America, get a North American truck, for all the reasons (and more) that the VerMonster mentioned. Even if you want to do the world, you may be better off with a US truck. Friends of ours took their Chevrolet to over 60 countries with no more or less trouble than others have with Mercedes Benz, etc.

Going further afield than North America, just be aware that parts can be a challenge, even in Europe. Beyond that, many places will not look at old trucks. And I recently had a Unimog specialist in Germany flat out refuse to see me - he does not have staff. And I was looking for an appointment at least three weeks out. I have an excellent shop in UK, but I try to give them six months lead time, and a detailed list. Expect to spend a few days in the local hotel.)

Spend some quality time with on the VerMonster blog. My German friends with these beasts either do all their own work or take them to specialty shops.

You may or may not do better in the Third World. Can be the luck of the draw with local mechanics.

Bottom line - these beasts are slow (say, 90 KPH max), can be harsh riding on dirt/potholes (and didn't you buy it for Africa??), and, hype to the contrary, parts can be a real challenge, even in Europe.

In my case, the previous owner discarded the factory headlights and frames. Now one of the LED lights that he installed has flooded. In about a week of looking I have not found any details, let alone a source, for the OEM headlight bracket.


So, they are not great vehicles for the US with miles of interstate. They may or may not be a good option for South America or Africa. I have no experience with Asia in a vehicle.
Check with https://www.braem.com/, they may have used headlights. Also ebay Germany
 

Neil

Observer
Ok. Firstly you sent me a message saying itv was 1993 . They definitely didn't make the 1017a in 1993. I think the last one of the line was early 1989. I would check the paperwork. Somethings not correct .

Secondly, I have looked at literally hundreds of these and have never seen a 6 sp one. This would suggest that the gearbox has been swapped over for a different one. Again, be careful, check it out

The biggest thing to look for is cab Corrosion. Under the front corners of the cab is a drain . It gets blocked and this causes irreversible corrosion in the cab and the cab Hinges. You can feel this by hooking your fingers under the bottom of the curved corner just above the bumper. Have a good poke here , if it's flacky or corroded then tip the cab and investigate more

With such low mileage it has spent a lot of time standing. This is not good for oil seals in the gearbox , axles and hubs . Check these.
It is also likely that the rear springs will be sad and need replacing.

If not used the rear diff lock can seize and not engage and you will need to dismantle the rear axle to free it up.

If i vhas the original rubber bush mounted pivoting rear bed. Check this carefully as the rubber bushes will probably be perished beyond use. You cannot get this part any more.

It may smoke a bit on start up but once warm it should be good. This is normal.

Tip the cab and check for corrosion everywhere, this is the killer.

Check all 4 air circuits pressure up and everything works, especially the exhaust brake and rear diff.

Oil leaks, very minor ones are usual, but if the bottom half ofcthe engine is black or wet then you need to investigate.

Lastly chassis corrosion

Good luck

Neil
 
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Deshet

Adventurer
It is a five-speed transmission, hoping to see if six speed options are available.

I appreciate all of the recommendations. I will provide as much information as possible once I have the vehicle in my possession.

Thanks
 

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