Expedition Vehicles: ridiculously overpriced or not

rruff

Explorer
The better built trailers aren't so bad, they get bounced around pretty bad as trailers. You need to stay on top of maintenance and plumbing. Anyone expecting a hardcore expo rig to be maintenance free is in for a wild ride.
I discovered pretty early on that it was worth more to me to keep it simple. Light reliable rig, not a 3 ton truck. The reliability and flexibility of a $20 water bag with a hose on it, vs plumbing. Same for a portable stove vs built in. Camping in remote areas where toilets are unnecessary. Camping where the climate is nice so heating and cooling aren't needed (easy to do year round in the western US). Nothing like bathing in an ice cold stream on a sunny day! How much solar do you really need and for what? Many modern conveniences aren't worth the hassle even in a permanent home. No way do I want to hall all that crap around with me....
 

waveslider

Outdoorsman
^^ I had seen pictures of your rig previously, and as always it looks delightful and inviting.

I don't see the windows and door listed there (which might bring the total up around the $10k mark you quoted per my earlier calc).

Did you happen to keep track of the time/hours put in? Because I would assume that's a significant component?

On a totally unrelated note - I don't know if I've ever noticed the "cab over" piece on your truck. Is that storage or is it accessible via the truck cab?
 

Victorian

Explorer
^^ I had seen pictures of your rig previously, and as always it looks delightful and inviting.

I don't see the windows and door listed there (which might bring the total up around the $10k mark you quoted per my earlier calc).

Did you happen to keep track of the time/hours put in? Because I would assume that's a significant component?

On a totally unrelated note - I don't know if I've ever noticed the "cab over" piece on your truck. Is that storage or is it accessible via the truck cab?
Never kept track of the time I put in. But if someone is on a budged I don't think that really matters.
As for the windows and doors: I left them out as those numbers can vary greatly by the amount, size and brand you are using. For example: You can purchase Artic Tern windows for around US$350 or the same size from Outbound for US$800. (again just rough numbers)
The wind deflector on our truck was an after thought... Idealy, we wanted a true cabover but with the truck still in Europe we had no way of getting accurate measurements before it arrived in Canada. Therefore we started building a regular box. It turned out that the camperbody needed some type of wind deflector. We constructed one out of 1" panels, glued it to the cab and camper, created an opening between camper and deflector. Turns out to be a very nice little storage unit for blankets and other lightweight stuff.

Will see if I can take some more up to date pictures with the Naturs Head and storage.
 

waveslider

Outdoorsman
Never kept track of the time I put in. But if someone is on a budged I don't think that really matters.
As for the windows and doors: I left them out as those numbers can vary greatly by the amount, size and brand you are using. For example: You can purchase Artic Tern windows for around US$350 or the same size from Outbound for US$800. (again just rough numbers)
Agree and for people on a financial budget - but not a personal time budget - your path is undoubtedly the right one. But that essentially confirms the point that I (and I think others) were trying to make which is you pay the piper one way or another. Even applying a modest cost component to your time I suspect would result in a fully outfitted box that's much more than $10k.

Its similar to people that try to prove that reloading shotgun shells saves them money by adding up the components but not factoring in the time they spend at the bench pulling a lever. Even at child slave labor rates, it doesn't wash out.

That's not to say there aren't a whole host of benefits of DIY - not the least of which being you get what you want along with the personal satisfaction of creation. But its difficult to put a dollar figure on that beyond the hours spent and what your time is worth.

Right now, my time is worth roughly $150 an hour so its actually quite less expensive to hire someone that knows what they are doing ('cuz I sure as hell don't) and I can keep earning.

I can't imagine I'm alone in that calculation, I just think you have to consider the full scope before saying things are "over-priced" (which admittedly is a pretty ambiguous term)

Still love your rig in any case.
 

The Artisan

Adventurer
One thing you have to remember on professional builds is the shop labor rates. Lets say avg $125 probably more per hours x hours to build it. Cost adds up quickly.
Kevin
 

jetstreamin

Active member
I am currently building my own Fuso Based Expedition Vehicle, contracting out skill sets i cannot do to professionals, i have a running spreadsheet of costs to date totalling $140,000 CAN $20,000 of that so far is contracted labour and the rest is truck and component/material costs. I have chosen to put high-end equipment into the rig e.g. Lithium Solar system from Victron etc etc. For the standard of build I am doing i believe this is the cheapest it can be done for if it is to be done right and not counting my time invested on building the elements i can build. See the build thread here https://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/fuso-fg-4x4-custom-expedition-vehicle-build.197532/ i am aiming for a high spec rig to compete with the pro rig builders out there for a finished product. There are days i look at the numbers and start to sweat a little but then tell myelf i am not just building an overlander but a house also which is for sure where those extra costs come in. Having gone down this road once before building a custom overlander on the JK Jeep platform and given that this is so much more than my jeep i can justify the costs. Hope this helps ;o) I dont put a dollar value on my own time as i am building this for me and a such this is a hobby pastime i dont need to justify which will get us to where were want to go to ;o)
 

waveslider

Outdoorsman
Jetstreamin, I have been following your build and it looks outstanding. Well done so far.

I know you said above that you don't keep track of dollar value of your time, but are you by chance keeping track of the hours? You have any idea how much time you've put into your rig? Its what, approx. 60% done? That's just a wild guess based on latest pics.

Thanks for chiming in from the real.
 

jetstreamin

Active member
Thanks for the kind words. So far my time has been spent researching, designing and travelling to meet suppliers in both Canada, the US and making connections in Europe. I have 12 hours personal labour invested in the truck so far which covers removal of the original flatbed, super singles install, front bumper install with help from friends. I am guessing i have around 12 hours of design in there somewhere as well. I will get an hour figure for the body and subframe assembly for sure and publish these as they go along on the original build thread. All i can say so far is that i have lived every minute of it!! Lots more details to come and will keep updating my thread as things unfold.... Next steps are full suspension upgrade in Canmore Alberta and then the rest of the build will take place in Arizona ;o)
 

waveslider

Outdoorsman
Not to belabor the point.....but the process of researching, designing and travelling would also be included under the "time spent on vehicle" if we were going to try and do a faithful comparison between the costs of a DIY expo truck build vs. one of the manufacturers listed previously (such as ER, SMB, GXV, Unicat, Bliss, Etc)

I am certainly open to data that proves otherwise, but jetstreamin might be the best current example of someone that is building a comparable rig in fit and finish, without going overboard on "luxury" appointments and we're going to find out that his final cost is not too far off from market prices - once his time and energy is factored in. I would be especially interesting if we could break down whether or not the overall profit margins are similar and are simply soaked up via a privateer buying components vs. a wholesale purchaser like the manufacturers above.

Harvesting old gear out of "moldy old RVs" is hardly a fair comparison. If the implication is that anything that isn't used or reused/harvested from moldy old RVs is considered luxury, then we don't really have a basis for comparison and the discussion is futile.
 

andrew32

New member
I'm a little surprised on the cost of the $500k+ rigs for a base model. For my line of work I have lead the acquisition for 4 mobile command centers. 2 of them that are similar or larger than these Overland Rigs around. And no they dont hav ethe luxury that these vehicles have, but there is much more expensive equipment in our rigs (think tethered drones, 50ft masts, racks of servers, 4 of every communication method you can think of, SATCOM, banks of 48V lithium batteries.)
These rigs are built to order one offs that are completely custom. Every inch of it is tailored to our exact needs. Our version that is fairly close to a ER is about $450k. So with ER being assembly line products....the sticker surprises me!

Just my $0.02
 

Bayou Boy

Adventurer
I've been looking around a lot and after finding the Dynamax Isata 5 30fw 4wd may just go that way. I could put a lift on it with a better tire setup and tow a jeep and do 95% of what I would ever want. For a new street price of $145k they seem to be built significantly better than a normal RV.
 

Christian P.

Expedition Leader
Staff member
It does not have to be.

We paid $3600 for a 2001 4Runner in South America with roof top tent and an ARB Fridge. We have been using it on 3 different trips so far in Peru/Chile/Argentina/Uruguay.

Here is the original listing from when we bought it:

https://www.flightlesskiwis.com/4runner/

This was last week in Buenos Aires. New roof top tent and tires (amongst other things).
Traveling with our friends from https://www.wanderlibre.com/

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