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  #1  
Old 23 Jun 2010
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Is this a viable overland vehicle concept?

I'm trying to layout plans for modifications to a Toyota Hilux twin-cab for use as an overland 4x4 and mobile support vehicle for extended kayak and biking trips.

I'm in a wheelchair so normal off-the-shelf solutions don't work too well for me. I don't need any adaptions to the driving part of the vehicle, apart from simple hand-controls fitted. I just need to make the rear of the vehicle and it's contents as accessible as possible from a wheelchair.

The main problem is not being able to reach anything, normal pick up sides are too high to reach over and grab stuff, when folded down the tailgate just adds another foot between me and gear. I'd like to be able to grab things without having to unload the entire vehicle just to grab something at the back.

I'd really like to have the rear bed stripped down to the chasis and built back up as a box-body that has full height top-hinged doors on 3 sides of the rear bed and a pull-out drawer system at the rear.

I'm keeping the rear seats in the vehicle for passengers as I want to be able to take other newly injured chair users along on a few adventures to re-introduce them to the outdoors. But for the times I'll be by myself I'd like to be able to have the security of sleeping in the vehicle and use a pop-up roof to give me a bit more room. Whch I'll access from inside of the vehicle via the access hatch in the back. I'd like the sleeping shelf to be removeable when it's not going to be needed.

Doubt any of that's made any sense at all, a picture paints a..........


Not quite exploded view, but with pretty much all the doors open and slide out drawer extended.











Not much good at 3D software so didn't bother with stuff like the wheels, or much detail. I plan to have my head at the very back of the vehcile and legs poking out the access hatch, supported by a little extenstion on the platform I found to fiddly to add in these basic mock-ups.

I have no experience in engineering or mechanics so don't know how rigid and stable something like this would be, it's basically a metal framed cube with plastic sides. Doesn't sound too stable to me!

Any thoughts on whether this could be a viable build, structurally, are most welcome.
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  #2  
Old 23 Jun 2010
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Overland Conversion

Hi,


The basic concept of building a “box” as you describe is perfectly doable.

Take a look at some electricity utility company vehicles. They fit such things to the rear of LR 110/130’s, Nissans and Toyota HiLux’s.

Constructed out of Aluminium alloy frame (can have issues with heavy off road use due to fractures) and clad in fibre glass type material.

I’ll try and track down the name of at least one of the convertors. I guess you’ve figured this type of fabrication doesn’t come cheap though.

Russ
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  #3  
Old 23 Jun 2010
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Great concept, and I think it'd be fairly easy to fabricate using simple sheet alloy and steel angles, though may not lok to pretty!

Have you considered a 4x4 panel van as your base instead of the HI-Lux? It might be easier to do than building an entire rear up up from the chassis.

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  #4  
Old 23 Jun 2010
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When I was looking for a campervan in Europe a couple of years ago I noticed a couple of modified T1 Merc (pre 95) campervans with a wheelchair lift in the side sliding door. I assume the interiors were appropriate for wheelchair access as well. I think they were autos with diff locks.

Try the usual culprit mobile.de – Gebrauchtwagen und neue Autos – Deutschlands größter Fahrzeugmarkt. for a good selection.
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  #5  
Old 23 Jun 2010
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Thanks for the input guys.

I've thought quite a bit about using a converted panel van for this and it does seem like an obvious choice at first but going into it a little further I think a Hilux is the way to go.

If the vehicle was going to be used by just me as a personal overland/support vehicle then the panel van would probably be the way I'd go. But I want to be able to take veterans and other wheelchair users on adventures too. Being able to transfer from a wheelchair straight onto the vehicle seats, leaving the wheelchair outside, without the need for a ramp/lift makes things a lot easier. As soon as you start using a lift and having to make room inside the vehicle for a couple of wheelchairs to move around you lose a lot of storage room, plus the modifications and adaptions would probably be the as costly if not more than for my Hilux box-body concept.

I think I essentially get the same function and a similar amount of useable storage in the Hilux as I would with a panel van, with the benifits of it being a Toyota and more capable off-road.

Anyone have an idea of companies to approach that would be able to give a cost estimate on the build, I've found a couple but they're all in Germany so far.
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  #6  
Old 25 Jun 2010
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Might be worth having a chat with a local lorry body building company - the electric board ones are essentially just a scaled down lorry body.
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  #7  
Old 25 Jun 2010
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Just an idea, these companies may be able to quote.


UK suppliers of Unimog campervan bodies.
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  #8  
Old 28 Jun 2010
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I used to share a workshop with someone that builds horseboxes, the technology isn't that different and doesn't look too complicated a fabrication job.

The key thing would be to build it as two units, cut the bodywork so the front is self contained and supported on the chassis and then build up the second unit at the back.
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Julian Voelcker
Overland Cruisers - Specialising in Land Cruiser preparation and servicing.
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  #9  
Old 28 Jun 2010
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There's also some places who build camper vans, I suspect picking up a camper magazine would have some good ideas and a bunch of adverts.
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Old 29 Jun 2010
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I've got in touch with a few commercial truck body builders and outfitters, just waiting to hear the scary part; quotes!
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  #11  
Old 2 Jul 2010
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Just got a couple of quotes back.

One for £7000, another for £16,500!
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  #12  
Old 13 Jul 2010
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Nissan

Now Scotish Power/EON had some Nissan Navaras made up very similar to your drawings. These were expensive conversions with GRP backs, sliding draws, diesel air heater for the cab etc. This one was sold on e-bay but there are others about in autotrader etc. If nothing else worth getting down and having a look...

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Old 13 Jul 2010
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found you some....

tow of the Nissan Navaras are for sale in Shipley, West Yorkshire. Ebay link attached below.... £6k + VAT, a bit less with some hard bargining! So all in all less than your quote for the conversion, worth a look and consideration of the compromise if there are any!

nissan navara 4x4 mobile workshop service van recovery on eBay (end time 18-Jul-10 13:04:41 BST)

Might have one of these myself!

Josh
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  #14  
Old 14 Jul 2010
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I bought an ex utility ford ranger for work. that had pull out drwers running the length of the load bed. these would be ideal as you can easilly access everything in them
I'll try and take a picture to download.
the only problem you would then have would be access to the side units. dpends on the strength in your legs, if you had grab handles would you be able to pull yourself up to get stuff out the back while hanging on with the other hand?
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  #15  
Old 15 Jul 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pawperso View Post
Just got a couple of quotes back.

One for £7000, another for £16,500!
If these prices surprise you, you're probably early on the learning curve. Your choices: you can pay the big money and have what you want, or buy whatever you can find used and learn to live with the fact that it's far from perfect for your needs, or build it yourself (which will teach you a lot about why the prices on custom work are so high).

Or marry rich, if that's an option.

Mark
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