Build your own Fuso FG6 4x4 based camper/overlander!

After shopping around (and I must admit amongst very limited options in South Africa for this type of work) we soon realized we were not going to afford the purchase of a Fuso camper from a custom motorhome builder anytime soon!

So our minds shifted to finding an alternative, more budget friendly, solution.

We finally came accross this used game viewer body and found our solution. This is what it looked like originally with canvas windows. Later on the dealer added framed windows and had the top front edge of the body cut back at 45 degrees for a bit or aerodynamics:

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And below is what it looked like when it fell into our hands. Made from all aluminium we knew we were on the right track and made a silly offer on it to the dealer as the body had been sitting around in their truck yard for 3 years with no offers on it.

And so our dream became reality.

I'd like to share here, for those who are seeking similar ideas, a photo guide via several forum posts over the next few days to show how we turned this:


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Into this:

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* Berth: 4 (1x Double Bed over cab, 2x Single Beds that both convert into benches with table).
* All aluminium light weight body mounted on fixed front and rear swivel mount (common Unimog design to allow for chassis flex).
* Wedge pop-up roof with ripstop canvas sides over double bed above cab. The pop-up lid is automated with air cylinders.
* The entire bed extension over cab can also tilt up by means of additional air cylinders in order to overcome the problem of tilting the cab.
* Air-assist suspension on the rear axle, upgraded "Just-Air" shocks up front.
* Fold-away hydraulic outriggers for lifting body off truck capability / leveling when camping / changing a flat tyre or releaving a bogged down wheel.
* Single wheel conversion with Michelin XZL's
* 220v, Gas, Solar, 12v & 24v power.
* Dometic 22,000 BTU Air-conditioning unit runs on both 220v or 24v.
* 260L Gas/Electric Fridge Freezer.
* 18L Gas/Electric Geyser.
* Full interior WC, basin, shower.
* 200L of water.
* Max travel range 1,000 km with help of additional long range diesel tank. Space for jerry cans if more is required.
 
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Hi Bris31

Yes the pop-up lid and the actual Luton type bed extension hinge in two different places. So when you need to tilt the cab the bed extension frame would hinge up into the pop-up lid. They are two seperate items on two different sets of air rams and do not interfere with each other. This picture should explain:

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I got a local engineer (and friend) to help calculate the geometry and stroke of the air rams. He also designed and machined the ally hinges and brackets for me:

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Ah thanks SkiFreak, I will try it out.

I used the little film strip icon 2nd from the right. And it gives you an error message when trying to submit the link.
 
Stripping the shell

First of all we had to get our camper-to-be body mounted on the FG. The game viewer body already had a swivel chassis mount at the rear, commonly found on Unimogs, to allow for chassis flex. So fitting it to the Fuso chassis was easy:

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Now we could strip the interior of the game viewer body. We cut into the rear storage bulkhead in order to recess the bathroom-to-come further back and free up space inside the camper. A new bulkhead was added as well as a shelf to retain a seperate storage space adjascent to the bathroom (still to be cladded in this photo):

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It had stood outside for 3 years so the ceiling boards were rotten. We noticed that some water got through from the roof in places via some of the rivets. We replaced all rivets with sealed rivets and used a lot of Sikaflex!

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We removed the unwanted windows and made the cut-outs in the roof for the air-con and fan units to be installed:

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Give that camper some legs!

Our next priority was to get some hydraulic legs on the camper body.

Why? Because this is to be a dual purpose truck between work and play, and we therefore have two bodies that must be interchangeable on the Fuso chassis.

We had already build the camera crane body (which we utilize in the film & television industry) and looks like this when mounted on the Fuso:

Taurus Extreme 50ft Technocrane Base 4x4.jpg

For the camper however we required that the hydraulic legs be folded away during travel as to not be limited by road camber, tracks, or restrict departure angles etc off-road. Our engineer came up with this fold-away system easily locked and released by means of toggle clamps:

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It was now possible to unbolt the body from the chassis, lift and drive away from underneath it with less than 1 hour's worth of work. Hydraulic components are mounted to the camper body with quick release couplers on the hoses between the truck chassis and camper body. The control valves are mounted at the rear of the camper so that they remain on the body when the body is removed. Everything will be plug and play.

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The hydraulic legs would also come in very handy when changing a flat tyre, overnight leveling of the camper or perhaps just a quick lift to get some earth underneath a bogged down wheel!

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Hi Herbie, feel free to keep looking, that is why I am posting. You might see something useful or offer useful suggestions vice versa. This project is not finished and there is always room for improvement.

Thanks!
 

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Thanks SkiFreak.

There are a couple of unique features on this build, stuff that might spawn some new ideas for the viewer.

More to come.
 
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Installing air on the camper

As all Fuso owners here will know the FG6's suspension is not exactly plush.

And the FG6 does not come with air like larger trucks do either.

We were going to need air for the lifting cylinders of our pop-up roof and tilting cab-over extension.

So we installed a 10 bar capable compressor (although we will never use more than 6 - 8 bar for our purposes) and tank for which we build a little hanger and mounted on the inside of the chassis rail. The compressor has a little air filter which will need an extension pipe routed higher up for when wading through water.

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The installation of air also allows us to improve our ride a little as well with air!

We put an air-assist system on the rear axle which basically comprises of two airbags with self leveling gauges.

Note that as it's name suggests this is not air-suspension but merely air-assist. The bags push down against the load towards the ground (it does not carry the load) and soaks up all the nasty juddering. It really does improve the ride tremendously; and saves our crockery! :smiley_drive:

Shown deflated here:

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The observant viewer will notice the odd looking 'S' bend on the exhaust and abrupt end of it near the back wheel. This is because the OE exhaust routed through where the right hand side airbag is now mounted.

We needed a quick fix for the airbag install and just cut the exhaust off and welded a bend onto the flange as you will see. The exhaust is on the list of things-to-do to be re-routed to its original hanger at the rear of the chassis.

For the front we settled on 'Just Air' shock absorbers. It is a shock absorber with a build-in airbag. They are suitable to keep your vehicle level under load (to a point with a loaded Fuso LOL) and is designed to meet or exceed the original specifications for ride, handling, comfort and durability. These adjustable aftermarket air shocks easily install directly to your vehicle. They do not make such a huge improvement as the bags did for the rear but the ride in the cab is improved noticeably.

Below is a photo of the old OE shock compared to the upgraded air-shock. Shown deflated here:

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More intensive suspension work is planned for the future for the crazy off-road stuff, but this will get us there for now.
 

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