ACELA 6X6 WITH SLRV EXPEDITION BOX NEW BUILD

poohbearusvi

Active member
OK, a new build. We ordered an ex military vehicle, an M1088 from Acela last August. We went with the 6x6 for its heavier carrying capacity and ability to go to more remote places. It was completed in early December. The wheelbase was a little short so we needed to stretch it another 31 inches. So we had it sent down to EO Trailer in Ceres, CA. They’ve done nearly 8,000 stretches so I felt pretty good about them doing the work. We visited their place in January. I’ll tell you, we were a little shocked to see our perfectly good refurbished chassis in two parts, one inside their shop and the other half outdoors! Everything was apart: fuel tank, transmission cooler, every hose and connector, drive shaft. About two weeks later it all came together. She looked beautiful!

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Next stop, Los Angeles where it is now on a boat to Brisbane, Australia to have the expedition box built. It’s scheduled to arrive April 19th according to my marine vessel tracking app. I know the big question is “why would you go all the way to Australia to get your expedition box built?” Well, like all major purchases, especially this one, it wasn’t an impulse buy. We looked at a lot of options in the US. We even flew over to Europe to visit a ‘short listed’ manufacturer. In each case, they had nice units but we kept hesitating on the purchase. We found SLRV Expedition Vehicles in an internet search and were very impressed with was we saw. We made the commitment to personally inspect the place first before buying. Both my wife and I immediately said ‘this is it’. It’s a family business run by great people. (Of course they’re great people, they’re Australian!) They’ve been operating since 1972. Warwick and his brother Clint and Stewart run the business. They had just finished an 8x8 with a lifting roof when we arrived. I would have bought their MAN chassis in a heartbeat but we just can’t import them back here to the US. A real shame. A refurbished M1078 (4x4) or M1088 (6x6), in my opinion, is the best chassis available in North America today if you intend to travel to other continents. If you plan to keep it in North America, then there are other options such as the Kenworth 370 for a cab over. We didn’t look at chassis options other than the cab over as we wanted to keep the overall length down.

SLRV did drawings and after a couple of back and forth changes, we have approved the final version. We can hardly wait!

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My wife and I have always loved adventure travel. As you get older, your means of getting there changes. We still hike but not with 50 lbs in our backpacks. When my wife started getting bad knees, we bought a motorhome and fully modified Jeep and traveled throughout the US. The motorhome was base camp and the Jeep allowed to visit beautiful remote places to camp. But it was always my wish to be able to have it all, or more accurately, closer to having it all because everything is a tradeoff. Our 45 foot motorhome was meant for paved roads only. The AEV Jeep with rooftop tent was meant for everything else. What we did is marry the two and create an offspring in the middle. We are still very active people but age does curb some of the activities you use to do like, rock climbing or winter camping without a tent. When our rig is finished and delivered back to the US, I’ll be 70 and my wife will be 68. We are anxious to continue our adventure travel until our bodies give up. Until then it’s full speed ahead. The name on our new rig will be “Next Chapter”.
 

Jnich77

Director of Adventure Management Operations
Love it! When it's loaded, the 6x6 rides much better than the 4x4 version.
 

poohbearusvi

Active member
Yeah, we are very anxious for this thing to be finished as well. It will take about 5 months to complete. I’ll post pics along the way.
 

gregmchugh

Observer
Saw this video a bit back talking about Safiery and SLRV. Thought this would be an interesting game changer.
Volta Power Systems in Holland, Michigan has a 48 volt lithium RV battery system with high power auxiliary alternators similar to this for battery charging...

 

Victorian

Approved Vendor : Total Composites
Out of curiosity, why did you think the Australian builders are better than the Europeans? I mean there must be at least 100 in Germany alone. I don’t know anything about the manufacturer you choose, just curious.
 

poohbearusvi

Active member
The generator system marketed and sold by Safiery is actually made by https://integrelsolutions.com
for the yacht market. Looks very interesting.
Love the SLRV designs. So cool to see one coming stateside! Congrats! Are you considering their Safiery generator?
We wanted a diesel generator originally but with the 6x6, the extra two wheels took away a bunch of rail space. Since the Acela comes with only a 58 gallon tank, we'll need to switch to a bigger one on the passenger side and add another on the driver side to get about 150 gallons. SLRV suggested the Safiery which they used on the 8x8 they recently finished. Their electrical guy analyzed our electrical needs and suggested a 5kva version from a different manufacturer. Not sure who. They figured that my 3 lithium batteries (1200amps) can go from 0% to 100% in a bit over 4 hours. Still looking at a small diesel generator. SLRV will evaluate once they get the chassis in their shop which should be at the end of this week.
 

poohbearusvi

Active member
Out of curiosity, why did you think the Australian builders are better than the Europeans? I mean there must be at least 100 in Germany alone. I don’t know anything about the manufacturer you choose, just curious.
That's a tough question. There are many, many quality builders just as there are many, many beautiful women. How did I choose the woman that became my wife? You can date 20 beautiful, intelligent women yet there’s always one that’s perfect...for you! I guess that’s how we picked SLRV. It’s boiled down to how we felt about the company and people we dealt with. I don’t think every manufacturer makes their own panels. They buy them. Same for the windows, the lithium battery systems, the solar panels etc. I believe most box manufacturers assemble parts into an expedition box. Had I not found SLRV, I’m sure I would have found one of those German box builders and been quite happy with my build. Instead, I found SLRV first and fell in love with the unit and the people. Is their expedition box better? I don’t know. I haven’t visited every other manufacturer. But I’m sure in a blind taste test, I’m positive they would be the equal to many of the makers of high quality units. And of course, price. Our unit, including shipping there and back came out less than a comparable unit from the US. Bottom line: we fell in love with the unit and the price.
 

Arjan

Paperwork Specialist
Interesting project !

I'd say it will limited the roads to travel outside the US somewhat - but the need for comfort I totally understand.

Customs wise, this is interesting to follow as in Europe you'd call this "Temporary Export" and you'd only pay duties on the box - not the chassis. May I ask how this is in the US ?
 
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