FMTV for World Travel?

Joaquin Suave

OverlandHardware.com
Your right, no desire for high speed runs. Just with 70mph speed limits here, maxing out at 55mph is going to be painful.
To quote a long time member of this forum and a San Diego "BIG WATER" Surf Boat Captain... "SLOW is PRO"!!! Until you experience a high speed "lock-up" in an 11 ton truck, you will never understand!

I suggest you put some Carlos Santana on the stereo and "CHILL" in the slow lane. :cool:
 

RoamIt

New member
You guys are correct that the engine of the LMTV are well known in the heavy machinery industry. But what about the electrical system? Transmission? Brakes? Axles? When I imported a European Sprinter into Canada. I was prepared to source parts from Europe. That itself was fairly easy and surprisingly cheap if you know where to look. But the biggest problem was finding someone willing to work on it. Pretty much every shop in town said no thank you with no interest in studying European repair manuals. Keep in mind, that's for a vehicle that is known in North America! Now think about what will happen with the LMTV in Asia, Africa, Europe..... A Mercedes on the other hand still requires some improvising, but at least it's a global platform with manuals available in any language.
That's exactly my thought process. But I'm struggling with finding a Mercedes Doka 4x4 here in the states, hell, I've never even seen one in person (going to Expo East, so here's to hoping). I just got off the phone with Martin from Terra Exp, nice guy, helpful, but all their trucks are in Germany, you have to buy it sight unseen, all the work is done in Germany, so that means I don't get to see the build up. Flying back and forth to Germany to see it, ask questions, learn about it, etc. is not very practical.

I'm sure there are those with a lot more money than I that would have no problem with it. I've taken cars/engines completely apart and put them back to together before, so I'm handy with a wrench. I'd rather do more of the work myself to drive some cost out and know what I've got and how everything works. Plus I was planning on the Total Composites kit designed just the way I want it ;)
 

RoamIt

New member
To quote a long time member of this forum and a San Diego "BIG WATER" Surf Boat Captain... "SLOW is PRO"!!! Until you experience a high speed "lock-up" in an 11 ton truck, you will never understand!

I suggest you put some Carlos Santana on the stereo and "CHILL" in the slow lane. :cool:
Not a bad idea brother! I had my brake pedal go to the floor on a race track before- not a good feeling...
 

Victorian

Approved Vendor : Total Composites
That's exactly my thought process. But I'm struggling with finding a Mercedes Doka 4x4 here in the states, hell, I've never even seen one in person (going to Expo East, so here's to hoping). I just got off the phone with Martin from Terra Exp, nice guy, helpful, but all their trucks are in Germany, you have to buy it sight unseen, all the work is done in Germany, so that means I don't get to see the build up. Flying back and forth to Germany to see it, ask questions, learn about it, etc. is not very practical.

I'm sure there are those with a lot more money than I that would have no problem with it. I've taken cars/engines completely apart and put them back to together before, so I'm handy with a wrench. I'd rather do more of the work myself to drive some cost out and know what I've got and how everything works. Plus I was planning on the Total Composites kit designed just the way I want it ;)
Terra Exp has a great reputation in Germany when it comes to trucks. I would even say that I would buy a chassis from them without flying there first. Although it would be kind of silly.... There is video series on Youtube with introduction to several platforms. Check it out:
 

Blair G

Adventurer
I decided to jump in buy a 1078 a couple years ago to give it a whirl. Knowing Sr. Suave and his apprehension about these trucks I have been pleasantly surprised thus far. As I have not done what the OP asks I can only relay my experience thus far owning one. I have been in contact with a few people who own them in other countries which surprised me. One gentleman has one in Italy and builds and sells an Arduino computer that replaces the CTIS in-cab controller to infinitely adjust Tire PSI. My point being is that these trucks are out there and really not all that special.
As far as I can tell their are no parts on these trucks the DoD have problems with or could have problems with since you can go to any truck stop or NAPA to find parts. The CAT 3116 was made by the millions and power everything from concrete pumps to trawlers in a bunch of different configurations. My truck is an A0 which means the motor has no electrics. Later versions of the truck have the 3126 which are computer controlled and not so user friendly in my opinion. My truck has the 225hp motor with my aspirations of upgrading to 290 with a turbo swap and fuel rack adjustment in the future. The Alison Transmission found in the FMTV's have been used in tons of Fire Engines, bus's and motor homes. When I bought mine I knew it had a transmission issue which ultimitlly turned out to be pinched wire and some wonky solenoids. Drove to the Alison Transmisiion shop and picked up the new solenoids. I also knew going into this that these trucks are geared slow and to maintain 57 miles an hour the motor was tached out. Buying new pumpkins (2,87's) was not difficult or cheap but after installing them the motor is in the sweet spot and the truck can maintain freeway speeds. With the addition of air ride cab, copious amounts of sound proofing , new seats and a steering wheel it drives better than some fire trucks I have driven. I believe I have amassed all the parts for cab air conditioning. So that's the next creature comfort to add .
The biggest thing to remember is that these are old trucks that have sat around a lot and were built to military spec. Aging rubber, 12/24v alternators, no sound proofing,crappy seats, weird light controls are all things you get to figure out. However, all of them have a pretty simple civilian solutions as these trucks are not all that special when it comes to part and once gone through seem to be a lot of truck for the money if bought smartly.

Just my .03 cents,
Blair
 
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RoamIt

New member
I actually asked about just buying the truck, with their refurbishment of course. But they will only sell the truck with the subframe & box. So, I'd be at around 180k plus 10K to import. And still have to build out the interior and add all of the mechanicals.
Not unreasonable, but if I'm dropping that kind of cash, I might as well buy a rig that's already built. At least I'd be able to go see it before I bought it.
 

RoamIt

New member
I decided to jump in buy a 1078 a couple years ago to give it a whirl. Knowing Sr. Suave and his apprehension about these trucks I have been pleaselty surprised thus far. As I have not done what the OP asks I can only relay my experience thus far owning one. I have been in contact with a few people who own them in other countries which surprised me. One gentleman has one in Italy and builds and sells an Arduino computer that replaces the CTIS in cab controller to infinitely adjust Tire PSI. My point being is that these trucks are out there and really not all that special.
As far as I can tell their are no parts on these trucks the DoD have problems with or could have problems with since you can go to any truck stop or NAPA to find parts.
In my search for a Mercedes to import I found a LMTV for sale in Europe, which started me thinking about NATO and how parts just might be around the rest of the world more than you would think.
 
2.87s (x2 = 5.74) are fantastic for a FMTV, results in 4.48 7th gear, decent rpms at 55-60mph. But 2.87s, as opposed to the more common 3.07 (6.14) fit the definition of “hen’s teeth”. Where would one source them?? Have unsuccessfully looked for them on Steel Soldiers.
And then the 2 spd transfer case becomes even more desirable, but with that 1.09 high range that brings the 5.74 back up to 6.26. I for one wouldn’t feel cozy going down or up a steep rocky grade (think Steele Pass, Goler Wash pre-“improvement”, etc) in a gear where idle speed is 2.5mph. Too fast for my taste, with a big camper full of everything in the back.
 

roaminglost

Active member
Have you looked into getting an Acela or chatting with them? Cause I am looking into getting one tho its not really for world travel but more so a offroad RV. to travel the US.
 

RoamIt

New member
Have you looked into getting an Acela or chatting with them? Cause I am looking into getting one tho its not really for world travel but more so a offroad RV. to travel the US.
I have, same issue as with the FMTV, can you get parts in outside of the US without waiting 2 months for it to get there. If I was broke down in Prague, that would be fine. But with my luck it will be in someplace I'd rather not be for that long.
 

Blair G

Adventurer
2.87s (x2 = 5.74) are fantastic for a FMTV, results in 4.48 7th gear, decent rpms at 55-60mph. But 2.87s, as opposed to the more common 3.07 (6.14) fit the definition of “hen’s teeth”. Where would one source them?? Have unsuccessfully looked for them on Steel Soldiers.
And then the 2 spd transfer case becomes even more desirable, but with that 1.09 high range that brings the 5.74 back up to 6.26. I for one wouldn’t feel cozy going down or up a steep rocky grade (think Steele Pass, Goler Wash pre-“improvement”, etc) in a gear where idle speed is 2.5mph. Too fast for my taste, with a big camper full of everything in the back.
I could BS you and say my contacts in the military are very deep reaching or admit to getting lucky finding the 2.87 chunks. They came up for sale with some 3.07's and I chose the 2.87's. Pure luck in timing.
To use an often misquoted Shakespeare line "Discretion is the better part of valor" when it comes to off roading anything large. I spent 30 years in the fire service with a lot of off road driving. I can honestly say my decision process of attempting something was based largely on how close a bulldozer was in the event the plan failed. Truth is with my camper, if their is alternative way to get somewhere without having to hope that 1 mph is going to make a difference chances are I will take it. These big trucks need big trails.
IMG_2992.jpg
 

Lovetheworld

Active member
Basically, all of thesw trucks are horrible to find parts for when in some random country on this planet. Even the Unimog.
A bit more regular Mercedes truck is probably the most versatile in being serviceable worldwide. But probably harder to service in the US itself.
 
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