Everlanders Build - F550 Composite Overlander

Everlanders

New member
Hello all,

As you can see, we've been lurking around here since Oct 2012, planning, saving and working towards our Overlander.

In early 2013 we found the exact truck we were looking for and snapped it up. As you could see it had quite the appendage on it at the time.

I started filming odds and ends part way through and we've posted some of it to our youtube channel here:

https://www.youtube.com/Everlanders

But I thought I'd finally put up a retrospective build log, and show you what I've done.

It's built on a F550 Chassis, with the venerable 7.3 Turbo Diesel, ZF6, 4x4... Basically, we looked until we found the same chassis as the Turtle V.

The Custom front clip tucks MPT81's under the 6 inch flared fenders without lifting the truck at all... It's tall enough.

So to kick things off, here is a before and after...

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Everlanders

New member
The 7.3 was in fine shape with only ~150km on the dial, But we had the Motor and Trans rebuilt anyway, I figured I may as well start with a good base.

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We ordered Rickson Wheels with MPT81's to convert the dualies to super singles.

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Then with the help of good friends, We stripped the flatdeck and picker crane from the chassis.

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It looks pretty bare, not much bigger than a pickup at this stage.

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We got in our Fiberglass Body Kit.

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And then we stripped the trucks' frame to bare metal.

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Everlanders

New member
Clean Frame after Degreasing and Acid Etch.

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Then we POR15'ed the frame. It would have been the ideal time to upgrade the springs, but the budget didn't allow it at the time.

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We replaced the steel tank which had recently sprung a leak with a new XLHDPE tank from Titan Fuel Tanks.

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I wanted the winch tucked up inside the truck, I don't like the "pregnant guppy" look that many of the off the shelf winch bumpers had. Further, Our 2003 frame would not line up with the 2011 Fiberglass body, so I needed to custom build something anyway. This was the design my buddy Taylor came up with.

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Plasma cut from Hardox 450, the design has bolt-on wings in case of collision that pushed the bumper into the wheel, we have a hope to unbolt the wing and carry on.

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IdaSHO

IDACAMPER
cool setup :ylsmoke:


So... are there no windows in the box?

Also, how terrible is your turning radius with the MPT81's and the leaf sprung front end?
Or did you do a coil swap?
 

Everlanders

New member
This was about the time I started CADing up the design.

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The aluminum subframe of the box is isolated from the steel truck frame with UHMW chain guides, trimmed to clear cross members and drilled to make room for the rivets.

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The Aluminum subframe is held to the truck using an original yet unorthodox 3 point mounting system. There are 2 mounts at the front, one on each side, each with two polyurethane bushings, these hold the front of the box fairly ridged at the front. The rear has a single pivot that also utilizes an Air Hold Down system. This allows me to have the box clamped down hard to the chassis when we are on pavement, but when off road/articulating, I can air down the clamps at the rear and the frame can twist independently from the box. It works great!

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Everlanders

New member
It was at this time I started filming and putting up some videos on YouTube.

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I machined solid aluminum bushings and slid them into the 3/16 2x2 frame to keep the bolts from crushing the tube.

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The 2x2 subframe was all welded with the spoolgun to keep the warping and heat affected zones to a minimum.

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The video showing these steps can be seen here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dt3T_DRVno4

 
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Everlanders

New member
Also, how terrible is your turning radius with the MPT81's and the leaf sprung front end?
If you're inferring that the tires rub the springs, they do not. The Class 5 Trucks have a Wide Trac front axle to improve the turn radius. IIRC the smaller trucks have a track width of 68" and the 450/550's are 75" wide. This wider axle allows for greater steering angle. I can turn lock to lock without issue.

In other words, the terrible turning radius is unchanged from the factory[1]. For the 164.8" WB 4x4 F550 Chassis, that is a turning diameter of 59.5".

(1) Ford's Body Builders Guide
 

RPhil

Adventurer
What an introduction and very well thought-out build.

Did you scan the truck to put in CAD yourself or were the files available online somewhere?
 

IdaSHO

IDACAMPER
If you're inferring that the tires rub the springs, they do not. The Class 5 Trucks have a Wide Trac front axle to improve the turn radius. IIRC the smaller trucks have a track width of 68" and the 450/550's are 75" wide. This wider axle allows for greater steering angle. I can turn lock to lock without issue.

In other words, the terrible turning radius is unchanged from the factory[1]. For the 164.8" WB 4x4 F550 Chassis, that is a turning diameter of 59.5".

(1) Ford's Body Builders Guide


Good to hear you can still steer the thing :sombrero:


IIRC, the "wide track" in this vintage truck ( <2003 Super duty ) is obtained by the wheel spacers/hub adapters. The axle is unchanged.
In 2005, Ford introduced the Super D60 (fatboy) axle that was available in a wide track, but I think that was actually a different housing all-together, or at minimum longer axle tubes.
 

Everlanders

New member
What an introduction and very well thought-out build.

Did you scan the truck to put in CAD yourself or were the files available online somewhere?
Thanks! I drew a bulk of the CAD myself, although I had help from several ME friends who work in the industry. I did get ahold of the CAD model from Ford, but it was 8 gigs and when opened it brought my high-end system to it's knees. So I just used the body panels you can see there and omitted most everything else. But as you can see, the Ford Model is very detailed:

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Everlanders

New member
Next, we installed the Honeycomb Composite panels, I can not recommend any manufactures, sorry.

All mating surfaces were scuffed, primed with Sika 206 and then bonded using SikaFlex 252.

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We used small strips of a stiff rubber gasket material with 2 sided adhesive to act as a 1mm spacer so that when the butterfly rivets were installed it did not press all the adhesive out. Here Kara is poping rivets like a mad person...

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The rivets are not needed for the structure, but they are the perfect clamp to hold the aluminum tight to the panels as the Sika cures.

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I installed the absolute brightest, most densely populated LED strips inside of 45-degree aluminum extrusions with nice diffusers so I could see what I was doing as I added the last of the panels.

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The videos for this stage is here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HY5s0hd9Hh4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DppR9PVR_A0

 

locrwln

Expedition Leader
I've watched all of your videos, been subscribed to your channel since the beginning.
.
Jack
 

mrblah

Observer
I just watched all your videos and boy was it interesting! There is more than enough "cute couple in the woods" content out there but looking at someone building a DIY earthroamer is ...unique!

I actually wished you made more indepth videos about those cushion template you used, how to sew them, etc.

Same thing about how you calculated your solar need and batterie sizes, etc...

You are clearly detail oriented and talented so it would be very nice to learn from you!
 
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