Operating cost of earthcruisers?

mrblah

Observer
Hi everyone!

Been lurking a lot around here and I see many dicussing the price tag on those types of rigs but never the operating costs.

I know fuel is the biggest one, obviously, but I'm wondering about maintenance on the road, basic oil/lube/filters, etc.

Anyone has a ressource/link/thread where this is duscussed? Because to me the price tag is only half the discussion. how much it cost to run those on dirt roads in rough condition for 50000 km is important too!

Thanks!
 

gregmchugh

Observer
Hi everyone!

Been lurking a lot around here and I see many dicussing the price tag on those types of rigs but never the operating costs.

I know fuel is the biggest one, obviously, but I'm wondering about maintenance on the road, basic oil/lube/filters, etc.

Anyone has a ressource/link/thread where this is duscussed? Because to me the price tag is only half the discussion. how much it cost to run those on dirt roads in rough condition for 50000 km is important too!

Thanks!
I don’t know about the Fuso but for the Kenworth K-370 chassis on our GXV Patagonia, the fuel costs for the 30,000 miles we have driven are probably around $11,250 (8 mpg avg, $3 per gal avg fuel price). Maintenance every 15,000 miles is probably about $400-500 for oil, filters, lube, so less than 10% of the fuel cost. DEF cost was probably $700 or so but I didn’t track it closely, at one point I estimated 1gal of DEF for every 25 gal of diesel but I only checked it once so I don’t know how accurate that is over time. It would be cheaper to fill the DEF at a truck stop DEF pump but I usually just grab some at Walmart when I need it since I rarely stop at truck stops for fuel.
 

Howard70

Adventurer
Chris Nichols (Overland Goat) and I were just talking about this after a great Christmas breakfast in Oliver Lee State Park & comparing it to standard estimates for large ocean going sailboats (rule of thumb there can be 10 to 20% of vessel's value). I think we guesstimated somewhere between 3 and 7 % Depending on how far you go. How much maintenance you do yourself can influence the costs. We both act as chauffeurs/mechanics for our partners who own EarthCruisers.....

Howard
 

Peter_n_Margaret

Adventurer
I know nothing about Earthcruisers, but I suggest that the cost of maintaining an expedition vehicle is largely dependent on where you take it and how you drive it.
Fuel, oil, filters and the like are the easy and predictable bits. It is the springs, shockers, engines and transmissions that become the real test and with so much more invested in bodies and creature comforts, it is harder to just trade it in for a new one without doing your shirt.
Break a chassis and all your predictions will be useless.
We drive and maintain our expedition vehicle on the basis that it will be ours forever and there is no reason why that can not be so. 530,000km and counting.
Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 motorhome
 

mrblah

Observer
Chris Nichols (Overland Goat) and I were just talking about this after a great Christmas breakfast in Oliver Lee State Park & comparing it to standard estimates for large ocean going sailboats (rule of thumb there can be 10 to 20% of vessel's value). I think we guesstimated somewhere between 3 and 7 % Depending on how far you go. How much maintenance you do yourself can influence the costs. We both act as chauffeurs/mechanics for our partners who own EarthCruisers.....

Howard
Interesting! I was asking because I am in the financial planning phase of a long trip in america and I was evaluating the financial needs of operating the truck for a year or two. Buying it isn't that troublesome. I see it as buying a cottage on wheels and I can afford it,

But between 3 and 7% is quite a large margin... Does this only include fuels oil and filters? Or did some road repairs were included? And to get a figure, considering a 300k price tag new, you'd say between 9 and 21k$? Per year? per 100k miles?
 

Howard70

Adventurer
Interesting! I was asking because I am in the financial planning phase of a long trip in america and I was evaluating the financial needs of operating the truck for a year or two. Buying it isn't that troublesome. I see it as buying a cottage on wheels and I can afford it,

But between 3 and 7% is quite a large margin... Does this only include fuels oil and filters? Or did some road repairs were included? And to get a figure, considering a 300k price tag new, you'd say between 9 and 21k$? Per year? per 100k miles?
Honestly the values were wild estimates based on our varying attention to keeping records, etc. The point of the discussion was casual and aimed at comparing owning and operating a land based vehicle to a marine based vessel. All I can really tell you with any certainty is that our EarthCruisers have been vastly cheaper to operate, maintain, and modify than our 40' sailboat of roughly comparable value. The comparison is fraught with distractions as the sailboat was based in the Galapagos Islands and the nearest yard where she could be pulled was 700 miles east in Salinas, Ecuador. The EarthCruiser(s) have been based in New Mexico.

While not strictly an operating cost, the actual straight line (?) annual depreciation has been within a couple of % for both our EarthCruiser (Prima Terra) and the sailboat (Prima). After 12 years of operation we sold Prima for about 16% of our cost (roughly 7% per year). After 4 years of operating we sold Prima Terra for about 80% of our cost (roughly 5% per year). Were either of these sound financial endeavors? Probably not. Would I do either again? In a heartbeat. The impact upon our lives of wandering about in a sailboat and then an EarthCruiser has been irreplaceable. I can't think of anything we could have done with money that would yielded a greater set of memories.

I like your analogy of an EarthCruiser being a cottage on wheels. That's exactly how we think of our truck. I would guess that if you feel purchasing a $300,000 cottage is within reach, you'll be able to cover the operating costs as well. Beyond that I can't really help you much as I prefer wandering to keeping financial records. Others on the forum are probably much better at recording such details (and managing money!) than I am.

Howard
 

180out

Member
i have only had my GXV for a few months however i can report 9mpg on or off road. the maintenance cost for the truck are the same as any 3/4 - 1 ton truck.
 

mrblah

Observer
Interesting feedback from all of you, thank you!

If anyone has more detailed book keeping data I'd be very happy to hear about it.

I understand those large rough terrain RV's are for the more weatlhy crowd and that operating cost might be somewhat "trivial" to some of them but I like to make choices based on all the info I can get and I'm frankly surrised to see very few info online about more detailed operating cost on those.

The reasoning behind my curiosity is that I'm looking at which platform to choose for a year (maybe more) trip acorss NA and SA. Considering a half-ton truck fully loaded (bed camper style) will probably put out 11-12mpg max, considering the larger expedition vehicule running just slightly thirstier isn't that big a jump in fuel cost. I was wondering about all other cost (i know they will be higer obviously... but how high?). I know these aren'T the same level of comfort but exactly: if comfort is higher and cost similar...

All this to say, if an excel geek is lurking here right now, I'm you man. Hit me with those spreadsheets. Hard! ;)
 

rruff

Explorer
I know fuel is the biggest one, obviously, but I'm wondering about maintenance on the road, basic oil/lube/filters, etc.
...Because to me the price tag is only half the discussion. how much it cost to run those on dirt roads in rough condition for 50000 km is important too!
One thing I can guarantee is that fuel isn't the big one. Rather it's depreciation. Figure a $300k new vehicle is going to be worth $100k in today's money after you've put 100k hard miles on it. So ~$2/mile. Fuel at 10mpg and $3/gal is only $0.33/mile. Maintenance, repairs, insurance, who knows? If you buy old stuff and work on it yourself you might get by for $1/mile total cost (incl everything) but at the considerable expensive of poor reliability and being your own mechanic. I'd guess if you are going upscale, and running 100k miles in 5 years, then a ballpark total cost is more like $3/mile.
 

Sedonut

Adventurer
My experience with a new 30 foot V-10 motorhome bought in 1999. 7-8.5 mpg. Depreciation over 7 years 30,000 miles $30,000. Other costs were tires and insurance. I got it stuck a couple of times a few feet off road, so 0 off road capability.

My family had some great trips and it was worth every penny.
 

mrblah

Observer
One thing I can guarantee is that fuel isn't the big one. Rather it's depreciation.
Interesting. Honestly I had figured (and accepted) depreciation as the cost of owning the hardware to do the trip.

But i saw a few earthcruisers selling for close to 250k after less than 80k miles which looks like it depreciates slower? I know big RVs depreciate faster than bitcoin, but the exp trucks are much lower volume so rarity keeps the resell value high from what I see.

Thanks for you input!!!
 
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