Chassis selection: Bucher/Mowag Duro II


New member
Hi all,

I've recently come into a bit of a windfall and thinking of building my dream expedition vehicle.

I'm at the chassis selection stage and I'm keen on an ex-MOD Duro II.

My main reasons are:
-Off road ability/designed for abuse
-6x6 chassis
-Apart from the suspension set up, looks mechanically simple (Cummins diesel, Allison auto transmission, air over hydraulic disc brakes)
-Dimensions - not very wide but still long enough to for a good size body

Aside from the body, I want to install a suite of upgrades:
-Air suspension
-New electrics
-Replace high air intake and spare wheel for can pass through
-Install CTIS
-Install cameras/sensors for security/parking/driving in RHD countries
-Soundproof cab

Would you guys mind playing devil's advocate for me before I spend any money please? 😅

These are my current concerns:

-Do Duros have any known faults (other than electrics)?
-Are they easy to work on and are parts easy to find?
-Are my desired modifications doable?

Thanks in advance for your help!


Had to google it as I had no idea what you were talking about. Here is a photo for others to see.

While I think it is cool, it is way too big for my use. May be fine for what you're going to do with it though. I hope your windfall is significant because you're going to spend a ton of $ getting it outfitted and then operating costs will be high as well. And like all projects, it will take way longer to build than you will anticipate. There, did I talk you out of it? :ROFLMAO:



New member
Without going into too many details, the windfall was significant ;).

I was thinking of going to someone like Unicat or motorcraft in the UK to get everything done.

I don't think size will be big issue to be honest. In my experience of driving large vehicles, anything under 3.5m tall and 7.5/8m long is fine anywhere apart from medieval town centres in Europe (I have much less experience about size limitations on typical 4x4 trails though). The biggest issue I usually have is width, which is why I like the Duro (alongside the other points listed previously).

Thank you for your thoughts though!


Active member
Very niche chassis, will be difficult to find parts for away from Europe.

Best bet for info would to reach out to owners on instagram.

Cool trucks though, Liveandgive4x4 did a camper tour on YouTube of a duro.


New member
Hi, great choice for the mid-size category if you have the funds as you assure us you do! ;) For full disclosure I am Swiss and hence a little biased towards a design that started life in my home country although I have lived in California for the past 30 years.

Now to a few details:
- This vehicle fits the 6-2-3 formula as the German overlanders call it: 6m long - 2m wide - (<) 3m tall which represents the mid-range. Comparable vehicles in size and weight capacity are US HD Full size pickups with campers, Iveco Daily 4x4, Mercedes Vario,... at 2m width it will go more places than a Unimog where width is a limitation like mountain shelf roads and smaller villages.
- The vehicle is very well designed with coil sprung DeDion solid axles (with differential on the frame!) front and rear, allbeit a bit complicated. However, the vehicle is well designed and over-dimensioned for what you are going to use it most likely (which means it is a bit heavier than a US HD pickup, but not by much)
- Several armed forces in Europe and South America currently use this vehicle (MOWAG now belongs to General Dynamics) - wiki page below
- On YouTube you can find several owners who have converted them into overland vehicles and are traveling the world
- Bottom line: This is a very capable base vehicle for overlanding. It is definitely not as common as a US HD pickup, but I would consider it more capable off -road.
- Closing tip: Keep your camper cabin as light as reasonably possible even though the vehicle has an impressive maximum payload. If your camper is too heavy you are going to lose some of the off-road capability of the base vehicle and driving characteristics will suffer!

Enjoy your build!

Useful links:


Approved Vendor : Total Composites
First time I saw one (and worked on them at Unicat) I was super impressed. Sooo many innovative and forward thinking design details that make sense for a world travelling vehicle. For example: The flat glass can be cut and replace anywhere! The flat body panels can easily be replaced at any sheet metal shop. The calibers/brakes are high up inside the protective frame rails and much more. I'm mean they are ugly and who knows where to get parts from.... But I would consider that platform.


New member
A couple more comments while we are at it:
This vehicle is substantially more reliable than a Pinzgauer in heavy military use! We used Pinzgauers a lot when I was in the Swiss Army, and they were very capable on tight mountain trails but they broke all the time, and we rolled quite a few of them as well. They were often overloaded and just wouldn't stand up well to heavy use by inexperienced young drivers, most of which had little "mechanical sympathy"! The DURO is a heavier vehicle and a good part of it comes from an overdimensioned drivetrain and frame, but they are not as heavy as a modern Unimog. This was a key reason the Swiss Army switched to the DURO as the new "light" transport vehicle.
Strongly recommend talking to Unicat. As Victorian said Unicat has built on that chassis before and therefore knows it, and maybe where to find them.
As far as air suspension and CTIS, you’ve heard of KISS? I’d stick with the stock coils if that’s what they are; what do you do if an air bag starts leaking? I love my CTIS, but would only add it if it’s a factory option. Otherwise your stuck with external CTIS. Not an optimal solution.


New member
Thank you all so much for the advice, especially @Cpfistner !

Sadly I haven't had the chance to progress this further - the new job is just as intense as the last 😩.

Will definitely keep you all updated though :)

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