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Old 4 Sep 2008
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What 4x4 Truck?

Allo every body.
Nu here so best say allo.
I'm currently in the process of planning my next travels.
It's not goin to be for a year or so as i have to get another vehicle.
I've spent alot of time on the road(about 10yrs) up untill about three yrs ago when my travels stopped here in Ireland.
Now he feet are itching and the wheels need to role!
I only travelled round europe then into north africa during my last stint.
This time i intend on taking in the rest of the world however long that might take!

As all of my land travel was done in a merc 609 we were a bit restricted to how far off the beaten track we could venture.
The limits were only found by getting stuck numorous times
But thats all part of the fun.
So my intention this time is to have a vehicle which will open up those limitations.
~As i have no previouse experience with 4x4 trucks i thought the best place to ask was here as i have seen a few nice vehicles and reports on here while floating around the site this last year.
I've been looking at some of the different manufacturers out there.
It seems Man and merc bases are the most popular.
I suppose i'm lookin for any advice, experiences or pitfalls people may have or know of with these different makes! Or others..

The only criteria i have at the moment is 4x4, length around 7mtrs(as i intend on making this truck my home for as long as a piece of string may be! and don't wish to be too cramped), capability to cary bike but that's neither here nor there.
I'm pretty handy at the old mechanics and fabrication but no expert.
So i'm toying with the idea of buying one and modifying it to my specs or starting from scratch, chassis, box etc.
I don't have an endless or massive budget either so i'm not going for all bells and whistles.
Well there ya go.
Any feedback much apreciated.
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Old 5 Sep 2008
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Whilst some people have some good knowledge on this forum, try looking at this US based one as it has dedicated sections on different types of truck. A number of the users seem to go both forums.

Expedition Portal Forums - Powered by vBulletin

In terms of options on prices / second hand options try below. Its like a german autotrader but has dedicated section on campers - there is an English option on the top right of the home page and if you search under certain brands such as selecting MAN on the drop down box, you get a load of trucks. Also whilst Unimog is now in the drop down list, you can leave the drop down list blank and type it and it will bring up options.

mobile.de - Deutschlands größter Fahrzeugmarkt. Suchen, kaufen oder verkaufen Sie Neu- und Gebrauchtwagen

Also try The UK Unimog owner's meeting place., good site on building a unimog camper and subsequently Stephen now has quite a flash MAN based camper. Load of good links from there.
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Old 5 Sep 2008
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Good Question

I too have been toying with the idea (will be a long time saving) of getting a truck but have found it hard to find info from people who have "been there, done that".

Here are just a few with possibilities:

Overlanders Handbook ~ VW MAN 8136 FAE (MAN)
Welcome (Bedford MJ)
Your First Choice for Russian Trucks and Military Vehicles - UK Russian Trucks (GAZ 66)
It's Huge! (UNIMOG)
Your First Choice for Russian Trucks and Military Vehicles - UK Russian Trucks (ZIL 131)
Hackney BEV (Mitsubishi Canter 4x4)
Camper build.... - ::. UKGS'er.com .:: (DAF 4x4)
Witham Specialist Vehicles (RB 44)
Welcome to MOD Sales Online - Military Vehicles for Sale - #16928 - Ford Iveco 95E 15 Cargo 4x4 (Ford/Iveco)

Anyone fancy adding to the list?
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Old 7 Sep 2008
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The truck's that I have seen in Holland and Germany are,

Mercedes, the old one's with the round nose, i beleve 911
Unimog, all models from 1975 - 1990
MAN, small 4x4 1980-new
DAF, most old army trucks 4x4 ya4440 (my own)
Magirus Deutz, all air cooled Deutz engines 6line or v8

If you have a lot of money th new trucks that I have seen are,

MAN, 4x4 or 6x6
DAF, 4X4
Mercedes Actros, 4X4 or 6X6


Henk Jan
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Old 7 Sep 2008
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mercedes benz 911

hi we are kitting out a MB 911 right now to go travelling down africa, great truck easy bush mechanics, parts are still available in most of the world, lots of overlanders are using these right now
lenth 7.2m
height 2.8m
width 2.45m
comes with full electrics in the back 12v,24v,220v and are for sale on mobile.de ex radio wagon for the german border guard police and most have onlygot about 20,000 miles on the clock
photo attached
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What 4x4 Truck?-nessie.jpg  

Last edited by nessie; 7 Sep 2008 at 21:16. Reason: more info
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Old 7 Sep 2008
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One of the important things to get right is spare parts support. Its an absolute pain in the derriere to be in Upper Kumbuckta West to find that they dont have any support for your vehicle on that continent and you have to get friends to air courier the $10 seal out to you for $500!!

Merc are by light years better than anyone else - they support all vehicles they have built irrelevant of country of purchase and where it happens to be. Their parts are not likely to cripple your wallet either.

GMC and Ford are hopeless and only support vehicles sold in that country. The likes of Kenworth, Mack are not well supported outside the Middle east, North America and Australia.

Russian and other Eastern European trucks ........great offroad, designed like bulldozers, parts are supplied by the second truck that you bought and have left in a field in Ireland for friends to take off and send to you. Some countries will look at them and then close the border crossing.

Mitsubishi and Isuzu are good, but charge like wounded bulls for parts anyway, they are well supported throughout Australasia, Middle East, Asia and Africa, I'm not sure about elsewhere.

Some Euro makers are good on the major international trucking routes into Africa and the Middle/Far East, others let you hang out to dry.

Do your homework with ex military vehicles, they may look like bargains with only 25,000kms and built in 1975, have an oil test done on the engine and gearbox to see how much bearing metal is floating around. Clocking up a 1000 kms a year is not good for a diesel engine.

Buy a pre electronic engine. I know that electronic injection is in its third decade, BUT a cracked circuit board or sometimes even a bad battery requires dealer support with the appropriate computers to reset/tune the engine.

Bear in mind that fuel prices are sky rocketing worldwide, and a truck drinks fuel in comparison to the lighter 3.5 tonne van type 4x4s. I'd say that your running costs would double with a 7 to 10 tonne 4x4 truck, over a 3.5 tonne 4x4 van. Ferry crossings cost more. Tyres cost more..........
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Old 8 Sep 2008
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I spent an awful long time considering which truck to buy. My budget was less than 10 grand and so this put me in the market for ex mil trucks that whilst having low mileage, would be more than 20 years old.

I wanted a chassis length to mount a box on of about 5.5m so this gives a truck of about 7m+, similar to your requirements. I was after a robust truck that whilst capable off-road, was not designed primarily for extreme off-road use. I love machines like unimogs and tatra’s but the offroad ability makes them uncomfortable, loud and slow on-road and I was not willing to sacrifice years of comfort for the few occasions where I might need the better ability.

This left me the trucks like the magirus deutz’s, merc 911s, daf 45 4x4, Bedford MJ, etc

The eventual decision I came to was that for my purposes the newer the truck the better. Bedford and Magirus trucks are great, they are easy to fix and very reliable, but I worried that the fact that the companies no longer existed would mean that as the years went on, getting small parts would become more and more difficult. This cut the range of trucks I was looking at down so much that I was left with a small choice.

After driving a couple of very old army vehicles like the merc 911 I decided there was no way I could put up with a truck like that for long distance travelling. Some people’s priorities are different to mine but I would curse my choice every time I had to climb into the cab if I brought such a slow, noisy, inefficient old vehicle. I eventually decided that until I have enough money to buy a newish Man, Volvo or Mercedes type 4x4 for £50k+ I would make do with a robust 2 wheel drive and plan my travels accordingly.

I ended up getting an 18 tonne Mercedes atego which was less than 5 years old. I figured the reliability, efficiency, comfort, parts network and general peace of mind which comes with owning such a new vehicle outweighed the benefit I would gain from having 4x4, and whilst the off-road ability is limited, plenty of operators are using such trucks across the world for freight transport and so they are certainly robust enough to withstand miles of poorly constructed roads.

For what it’s worth I think that the Magirus Deutz 110-16 trucks offer amazing value for money and have a very decent sized wheel-base and chassis length compared to other 4x4 trucks. Similarly the Bedford TM trucks are great value. If you can make do with the reduced chassis length the Man Kat 4x4 trucks are extremely capable off-road and use the reliable Deutz engine.
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Old 9 Sep 2008
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Talking I recognise that truck!

Richardq, that's my DAF 4x4 you've linked to previously... I bought it half-finished from Jon when his situation changed. I think I totally lucked out finding it when I did.

Preparations are almost finished. Songololo passed her MOT with flying colours just a few days ago, and came in at about 8 1/2 tonnes (about 1 tonne more than I expected!!)

She is a 1996 ex-military Leyland DAF GS (general service) 4x4 truck, with a Cummins B series 5.9l turbo diesel engine.

We are due to leave for 18 months in Africa in 4 weeks time.

For spares I'm taking:
2nd hand, scavenged from another truck:
1 x propshaft
1 x starter motor
1 x alternator
New, readily available from truck spares merchants:
20l 15W40 engine oil
20l 80W90 gear oil
5l DEXRON IID power steering fluid
5kg lithium bearing grease
2 x belts
1 x air filter
1 x oil filter
1 x fuel filter
2 sets bearings
1 set hoses
several bulbs, fuses etc

I figure that since it's got a Cummins engine most parts will be readily available in Africa, and if anything more serious happens, then it's going to involve getting parts from the UK anyway.

More details are here: www.overafrica.org, and when I find more time, will update the truck preparation pages.

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Old 25 Oct 2008
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Allo all.
many thanks to all your reply's.
Sorry haven't replied sooner but been busy as you like!
been lookin around a bit and thinking of leaning towards a late ninetess 4x4 MAN for the bass vehicle. Not sure as to which model etc yet.
Anyway only a flyin one to show my gratitude for your contributions.
Any others more than ..
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Old 27 Oct 2008
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Hi Funky, I have a Bedford MJ for sale, here's a link. Bedford MJ + Arrows trailer - HMVF - Historic Military Vehicles Forum
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Old 15 Nov 2008
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Originally Posted by YK 55 View Post
Hi Funky, I have a Bedford MJ for sale, here's a link. Bedford MJ + Arrows trailer - HMVF - Historic Military Vehicles Forum
Hi YK.
A very nice mj especially for the asking price.
I think i'm looking for something slightly longer as I wouldn't be surprised if the trip takes................??
That long.(6yrs+)
So i'm lookin to be quite kitted up when i finaly off..

Something else i'm trying to look in to.
Mobile internet connection.
Any one have any experience or knowledge with mobile internet on the road?
Thanks for all you reply's.
Any other imput more than welcome.
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Old 16 Nov 2008
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After much searching over the last couple of nights
I think i've narrowed my vehicle choice down to a Man l2000/M2000 vehicle.
Or the equivelant in merc maybe.
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Old 19 Nov 2008
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Originally Posted by FunkyFro View Post
After much searching over the last couple of nights
I think i've narrowed my vehicle choice down to a Man l2000/M2000 vehicle.
Or the equivelant in merc maybe.

But we can all change our minds eh!

So been looking round a bit more..
Considering costs etc...
And now i'm coming up with possibly one of the following.
Merc 1017cargo, Bedford mj/tm.....
As i think i could buy and fit one of these out for the same price as just getting the base truck if i were to go for man l/m2000......
Also my time schedule has changed!
Wasn't expecting it but due to a change in personal circumstances.
This time next year i am hoping to have set off
If not by then by chrimbo next at the latest..
So the pressures on as time fly's bye!!
January should see me buying the base for my vehicle or possibly another already converted.
Totally depends on whats available at the time etc.
So if anyone's got any thing for sale around that time please drop a line here...
Well thats it .
Good luck all.
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Old 19 Nov 2008
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Hi FF,

Are you going to keep a blog or anything. Would be very interested in your progress. Although not until we have driven to Oz, we are thinking of maybe doing the same thing, so would be most interested in how it goes.



Land's End to Sydney 2009
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Old 19 Nov 2008
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Do consider the Russian ex-army trucks which can be had with 0 km's from about £2.5k. They are simple to fix (if they ever do break which they don't) and parts are available by UPS/DHL etc. No Roads No Problem really is true for these trucks!

Zil 131
URAL 375 (petrol)
URAL 4320 (diesel)

TATRA is the best off road truck of all but pricey and probably too good for RTW! They can tow a trailer in snow up a 100% incline...

Also from CZ is the PRAGA which are as simple a truck as you can get but still with superb off road and cold weather ability, comes with portal axles, 4x4 & 6x6, air cooled engine and some even have a little wood/coal burning stove in the back! Price new? ...from £2k!

I'd advise anyone interested to visit our friendly forum where all your questions can be answered: ZIL131.com

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