building the Bullet XV

#1
I'm early in the construction of, what I initially though was going to be a pretty extreme 4x4 expedition vehicle, then I started looking around on these threads! what I'm designing & building will be primarily designed for domestic travel, (USA, Canada & Mexico), designed for the way my wife & I like to camp - away from people & crowds -natural hot spring hunting with some intermittent campground stays (not often). realistically, we like to move around alot,traveling the country, so this will see quite a bit of pavement, but will absolutely get into dirt, dust, mud & water, if that's what it takes to get the hell away from people!
big enough for the two of us & our two dogs to live in, but small enough to go down narrow dirt roads & through city streets. I've had 4x4 campers for years, & it's time to upgrade to a level I don't see out there (plus I need to build this as a challenge to myself).
I'm building this on a new '08 sterling bullet 4x4, 12' chassis, 84" cab to axle bought specifically for this purpose

I'm including a link to the build's website, but would appreciate any suggestions or comments here on this thread

http://bulletxv.wordpress.com

 

Attachments

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#2
Thanks for posting this. I really like the camper so far. I've seen a few uhaul based campers. Most are the "following the Dead" variety. Your's is deffinatly way above that! The attention to detail and design are great.
 

haven

Expedition Leader
#5
Welcome to the forum, Sarconcepts!

For those not familiar with this chassis:
The Sterling Bullet is a re-badged Dodge HD 4500 or 5500 chassis.
When Daimler and Chrysler were partners, the decision was made
to sell the Dodge cab/chassis through Sterling dealers. In October 2008,
Daimler announced that due to deteriorating economic conditions,
they decided to stop Sterling sales in North America. Sterling dealers
were left with their existing inventory to sell.

So the Sterling Bullet is based on the Dodge cab/chassis of 2007 and
2008, rather than the new Ram HD model introduced in just recently as
a 2010 model. Not to worry -- any Dodge truck dealer will be able to
service your Bullet.

The Bullet 5500 has a maximum GVWR of 19,500 lbs, which is enough
for any camper you might be considering. Gary Wescott's Turtle V is
built on the Ford F550, which has similar load rating.

One company that makes campers to custom specifications is Alaskan
Camper. Expo participant Carlyle has provided documentation about
the custom camper he designed and Alaskan built.





See the build here
http://expeditionportal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=9502

Since you mention your interest in an off-road capable vehicle, you may
want to change from dual rear wheels to singles. The Dodge dual rears
seem to stick out more than Ford or Chevy! The Earthroamer web page
shows one solution to single rear wheels on a heavy vehicle.
http://www.earthroamer.com/mpt81ontruck/

But, let's face it, a vehicle with a 15,000+ lbs weight is not going to be
as nimble as a Tacoma or Jeep. It's a trade-off you accept for the
increase in the camper's creature comforts.

Chip Haven
 
#6
i've already changed out the dual rear wheels, & coincidentally been to both links you included (that's where i got the idea to mount the propane tank below deck).
i do have a thread question however, how do i upload photos right onto the thread, vs. an attachment link?
 

haven

Expedition Leader
#7
There's a thread that talks about photo posting here
http://expeditionportal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2376

The approach I use is to upload the photo to my free account
on Photobucket, and link to the photo by surrounding its URL on
Photobucket with the tags


To be respectful of forum readers who have a slow Internet connection,
I limit my photos to about 60kb per file. That's a color image measuring
approximately 600x400 pixels.
 
#9
Nice work.

I'm glad to see someone else sees the quality and value in a uhaul box. They are built very strong and as you pointed out, not very much heavier than exotic materials.

With round corner, extruded aluminum and fiberglass laminated one piece panels bolted together with big torx bolts they are easy to work with and modify.

Although mine is low budget and simple in design I dream of the day I when I will have enough time/money to follow through with all of these crazy ideas I have bouncing around in my head.

I look forward to seeing the progress on your camper.
 
#11
does anyone have any input on battery & electronics storage, (this is why i started this thread, to get some insight) i'm currently designing the storage areas, & wonder if the batteries need to be ventilated - hence dusty space, or can they be in a conditioned space to keep them dust free?
the same with all the electronics, inverter, solar brain, etc.
battery fumes are my concern
i'm thinking under the bench seat to keep everything clean & all the connections unstressed, if i can.
 
#12
does anyone have any input on battery & electronics storage, (this is why i started this thread, to get some insight) i'm currently designing the storage areas, & wonder if the batteries need to be ventilated - hence dusty space, or can they be in a conditioned space to keep them dust free?
the same with all the electronics, inverter, solar brain, etc.
battery fumes are my concern
i'm thinking under the bench seat to keep everything clean & all the connections unstressed, if i can.
Charging batteries are capable of producing hydrogen gas that over time could become a possible hazard. So in short, yes, they need to be vented to the outside of the camper. Since hydrogen is lighter than the atmospheric gas mix the vents should be located at the top of the compartment. If you want to co-locate the batteries and other electrical components (like I would) I would recommend dividing the storage area with the battery portion outboard where it can be ventilated and the electronics inboard. Or, you could install a small low amp fan to pull the air out of the electrical storage box and ventilate it outside. The positive pressure at the outlet should prevent most of the dust from entering from the exterior. On the ships I work on that is how we prevent salt from entering our electrical cabinets as well as provide cooling for the equipment. Its not a perfect solution but it does fairly well. Beautiful lady and truck btw...
 
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#13
thanks, I'll do two compartments, one vented & one 'clean'
next question for anyone,
thus far, I've been assuming the roof system will be lifted with a hydraulic system, i've researched this enough to know what this system would comprise of, but lately I've realized that I'm already going to have an air compressor on board, & could possibly eliminate the need for a hydraulic pump & resevoir if i go with air, or 'pneumatic' pistons instead,what are the pros & cons of this idea? I know air compresses, but I only see the roof assembly weighing about 300 lbs/4 pistons =75 lbs each, certainly not that much weight.
air seems as though it may be faster, but would it stay up as well as fluid over a long period of time?
I guess the pistons are either sealed or their not.
 
#15
Air leaks are a bit less messy than hydraulic leaks. Having said this, Unicat uses hydraulic; undoubtedly they use expensive hardware.
I strongly agree with the last post: prop the roof in place, don't depend on pressure to keep your roof up.


Charlie