Ford AWD Camper

sg1

Adventurer
A few months ago I joined this forum and discussed my project of a camper for traveling in Africa and the Americas.
This project has made progress, the camper is 80% finished. It is based on a Ford Transit AWD chassis with a 140 hp 2.4l engine and a 6 speed gear box. The first gear is essentially for offroad use or starting at steep hills. The Ford is the last truck you can get in Europe without diesel particulate filter who do not seem to tolerate high sulphur diesel very well. That was one of the main reasons why I choose this truck.Of course it does not have seriousl offroad capabilities but from previous trips to various countries in Africa and Latin America I know that this is not really necessary.
The cabin is a fiberglass, extended foam, fiberglass sandwich. The first photo of the interior shows the rear of the cabin with a pull out bed. The other photo shows a view from the rear to the front with the compressor fridge on the right side and the bathroom with shower between the cab and the cabin. The cabin can be closed off from the cab with a solid door for safety and insulation.
After a test trip in Europe we will ship the camper to South Africa in 2011 for trips through Southern and perhaps Eastern Africa. Probably a year or two later (depends on how we like Africa) we plan to ship the camper to Halifax for a trip down to Chile (and, hopefully in time for the graduation of our son who studies in Canada).
SG
 

Accrete

Explorer
very nice.

looks like a nice use of space with shower/toilet room between cab/living area.

cheers,
thom
 

sg1

Adventurer
Keeping the camper small (a little over 18 ft)and relativly light (under 7700 lbs gvw) was the main challenge. What really helped was the pull out bed which can be pulled out from 90 cm ( 35 inches) to a regular queen size at night. A small vehicle keeps the cost for the ferry (I want to ship it to Africa and to Canada) down and anything above 3500 kg (7700 lbs) is a truck in Europe with all sorts of restrictions. In Africa entry fees for National Parks go up dramatically for heavy vehicles if they are allowed to enter at all. Good incentives to spend a lot of time on planning.
SG
 

sg1

Adventurer
Just an update on my truck the older version of the Ford Transit (in Europe available with AWD) which is now being sold in North America replacing the E-Van. As a first test trip we did a circumnavigation of the Baltic Sea (Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Sweden, Danmark) and found only very little we modified on our truck. Soon after that we shipped to South Africa. Because of the war in Syria and the problems in Egypt we could not use the route through Middle East and East Africa as originally planned. We spent wonderfull 9 months in Southern Africa (South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mosambique, Swaziland). See http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/95383-9-Months-in-Southern-Africa. Next month we ship our Ford to Baltimore to start our next trip through the Southern parts of the US, Mexico and ultimately down to Ushuaia. Because we only travel in winter and store the Ford somewhere during the summer months it will take us a few years. Summers we spent near Banff and explore the North with our Canadian truck camper (Nissan Titan + FWC Hawk).
The Ford now has almost 40,000 miles on the clock, mostly Africa, and proofed to be extremely reliable. So far we had 2 flat tires, replaced the 2 rear shocks and a wheel sensor despite numerous river fordings, several thousand miles of washboard and rough roads and numerous 4wd tracks. The chassis was bone stock.
For our next trip we replaced the stock tires (215/75R16 road tires) which were really worn with 225/75R16 Goodrich AT and added stronger front springs and air bags on the rear axle. Other than that we did not want to change anything.
Regards Stefan
 
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sg1

Adventurer
It is not a rock crawler. In my experience reliability is more important for overlanding than extreme off road capabilities. 4x4 is helpful because you may encounter mud in the rainy season or sand and bridges may be out or simply not be there but any 4x4 with some ground clearance can deal with that. The locals usually have Frontier or Taco size pick ups if they have 4wd at all. Track width and depth is geared to these vehicles and my Transit has similar tire size and overall dimensions.
Regards Stefan
 

Ozarker

Explorer
SG1, totally agree, rock crawlers are for another purpose (sport) rather for than traveling overland. Very nice truck!
 
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