Eco-Roamer - F650 based Expedition Vehicle


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Wow...Great build!


This is one killer rig!

Can't wait to see some final interior pictures!



jayshapiro said:

We took a very similar approach. The Alucobond is attached using a BASF single-part "Degabond" adhesive that comes in caulking-type tube. It goes on easy and allows a bit of time to move the sheet around a little bit to get it exactly right before it sets.

Once it is set there is great torsional and separational strength. We played around with it on some samples pieces first and COULD NOT get them separated through all sorts of improper means.

Similar to yours, this one is used for Aluminum aircraft assembly.

So far it has held up with no problem - I'll let you know in 10 years if it's still doing the job!

We use a product similar to Sikaflex called FixSeal in spots where the tape won't work properly like bigger gaps. We use it on the boats we build too.


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To attach the sheets we use 3M double sided tape. We got the idea from an aluminium, double decker, prototype train we were asked to build for one of the rail mobs here. Apparently it is widely used in the train industry to attach the sides of the trains. It is very simple to apply and once it goes on there is not much chance of it ever coming off. It allows us to build the trailers without any holes for rivets in the sheets for water to leak in past. Well at least in the middle of the sheets, we still rivet the corner capping on using structural rivets.
Mick . The word is out down here too. Guys are starting to convert over from Sika to tape. They tell me they can't believe how quick and easy it is. I think we'll be stuck with Sika type adhesives for fixing composite panels to our frames but occasionally we do an alloy skin and we'll definitely be looking at tape in the future.



ahhh, 5200. havent heard that in a long time since leaving fla. and the boat repair business. actually had a 80toyota truck with the bedsides glued on with it. never had a problem. goood stuff


whatcharterboat said:
Mick . The word is out down here too. Guys are starting to convert over from Sika to tape. They tell me they can't believe how quick and easy it is. I think we'll be stuck with Sika type adhesives for fixing composite panels to our frames but occasionally we do an alloy skin and we'll definitely be looking at tape in the future.

The tape is great. No mess, quick, easy, etc. but you do need to have both surfaces flat and clean. If you have any sort of gaps or it is not quite 100% square the Sika is best cause it will fill the gaps.


Sticky Thread...

WOW, I love this thread - it seems to generate a debate or discussion on all kinds of different topics! So far, I think we've covered environmentalism, diesel engines, frame mounts and now adhesives!

The 3M tape sounds cool, and I'll be sure to try it on some (near) future application. In the mean time the degabond seems to have held up very well so far.

We had a good meeting with the guys at Michiana Laminated Products last week. They are building all the cabinetry for inside the unit so I'm very excited to have that part started. Matt Sutter from MLP has been very helpful so far, and I think they're as eager as I am to get started. It's certainly a "different" project for them I think.

Here's roughly what the interior is going to look like now:

There's a lot in there, but almost everything has at least two purposes:
- The bathroom door also seals the cab from the camper.
- One of the pantry doors also creates the "master bedroom"
- The entry stairs contain storage cabinets for shoes. etc.


We've settled on Plyboo - a bamboo based board, for all of the 'furniture'. It looks beautiful, is incredibly strong and comes from fast growing / sustainable bamboo wood.


The countertops are going to be black colored Richlite - which is made from paper and 'friendly' resin. - can't wait to see them.


We've also settled on the Airhead composting toilet. This one I am frankly a little nevous about, but I've done a bunch of research on sailing forums and people seem to be pretty happy with them. The original plan was to use a diesel fired incinerator toilet (like this eberspacher one) but it turns out that they are just too big and in the end didn't seem to be worth the sacrifice.

The Airhead on the otherhand is quite small, and composts all solid waste back into harmless soil compost. Geoffrey Trott (the inventor) has been very helpful in designing our 'special needs' and we're going for a two-container solution with a solar powered vent on the roof to dry out the materials. Hopefully there won't be any odors and the system should work as promised. Stay tuned.

The Airhead Composting Toilet


Finally, we got our three custom mattresses. I had hoped to avoid having to go down the custom route, but in the end the beds needed to be odd-sizes to fit the floor plan. We found Rocky Mountain Mattress that specialize in making odd-size beds for RV's and really tall people I guess. They were also incredibly helpful and rushed out the mattresses to us (for free) in time for us to have them the day before we left on the U.P. Adventure.

The mattresses have a 4" memory foam on top of internal springs, and I've got to say they are more comfortable than the mattress on my bed at home. (I think I should switch!)

It was a bit expensive going the custom route, but a lot cheaper than redesigning our entire frame length to fit around industry-standard mattresses.


Over the next couple of weeks, we'll be finalizing the pop-up cabover roof, and the electrical system. Stay tuned!

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Great build and thread! Loving all 23 pages.

Spent 14 days on a 30 year old, 51' ketch last month through the inside passege with an Airhead toilet, and the only I could have definitely recommended you already choose.

Now you just need your own jatropha plantation as a home based fuel source.

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New member
Wow! not nescessarily my cup of tea but an amazing build from start to finish! Really impressive! There was some discussion about the strength of the alucobond? panels. How will they hold up against scraping against branches and whatnot? How are they joined? is it just a butt joint?



New member
Looks great jay!!! mikey and i were wondering how it was going for you and how everything performed. I still have to send a care package to the boys in stergis with the lil tid bits that are still here.

Alton co


Sema Ii

haven said:
From SEMA, a possible paint scheme for Jay's F650:
HA HA... Pretty subtle!

Judgling by the custom headlights and the extra doors, I'm guessing that was one of Alton's trucks done by "Scotty & Mikey" (see the posting before yours)

Very slick, but not exactly our style...


PS - Wish I was out at SEMA with you guys. Hope you had a great BBQ. Maybe we'll bring the EcoRoamer as a special guest next year.


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I have been enjoying following your build, thanks for sharing so many details. Now I have a question ....
I noticed you have a fold out tent room. Is this a standard RV part that can be purchased and installed as a kit or assembly, or was this custom built ?


on edit: I just found the answer to my question on page 19, man this is a BIG post.


peat for the toilet going to be hard to find?

Jay, the build looks to be progressing very nicely...

had one question on the comp. toilet... is the peat required going to be hard to find were your planning to go?
Just a thought...