Planning a 8m (26ft) 2-level build on a Isuzu FTR. Importing the truck from Japan. Good or Bad idea?

Divster

New member
Hi all,

I'm planning a rather large build using a 8m long truck as a base. So far, I've been considering the Isuzu range. Manly the FTR, as it's the only chassis I could find with the LWB and a 8m frame.

I'll only start the build once I have the full 3D model of every bolt done in Solidworks; and it would be great to have some design input and advice from you guys :)

I'm also planning to import the truck from Japan to either New Zealand or Australia for the build.


What's your opinion? Good/Bad idea? Is 8m long too much?

My main design considerations are: Confort, as in a full shower, queen bed, large kitchen.

I'm also designing an elevating roof (the entire 8m of it) up to 2m above the 3.6m base frame, and a 2.5x2.2m wall that lowers into a side deck. The plan for subframe so far is 100x50x5 steel, with 60x60mm aluminium profiles for the side walls, and 3mm FRP for the shell.



My biggest concerns at the moment are:

* Is 8m too impractival for travel?
* Is importing the truck from Japan a good idea?
* Is using 6063-T3 aluminium profiles a good idea?
* Is not using a 4wd truck / using a long truck limit where I can get?


Any advice is much appreciated :)

Thanks!
 

Divster

New member
This is the kind of stuff I'm considering...


Also; is there an easy way to decode the Japanese chassis # to know exactly the lenght of the wheel base? :)
 

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Madoxen

Active member
Hi Divster, sounds like it will be an epic build, the ftr are a good truck we did look at the 4x4 version but ended up going merc for the all round lockers.

If u can keep to the total height of 3.6 to 3.8 mtrs while in travel mode it will help with route planning and maybe save a detour or 2. And 8 mtrs for the habitat box is pretty big but depending on where you want to travel might not cause you any problems, afterall there are plenty of 12mtr bus/coatch conversions driving around nz,

Are u on north or south island ?

Looking forward to your planning stages.
 

Fugly

Adventurer
Divster,
Do your self a favour and have a look on the Manufacturers web site for Oz and see what chassis lengths are available
 

Brenie

Member
There were a few extra long wheelbase FTS's around when I was looking for mine, a bit harder to find, but out there. there will be plenty of times that you will need the four wheel drive bit.
 

Divster

New member
Hi Divster, sounds like it will be an epic build, the ftr are a good truck we did look at the 4x4 version but ended up going merc for the all round lockers.

If u can keep to the total height of 3.6 to 3.8 mtrs while in travel mode it will help with route planning and maybe save a detour or 2. And 8 mtrs for the habitat box is pretty big but depending on where you want to travel might not cause you any problems, afterall there are plenty of 12mtr bus/coatch conversions driving around nz,

Are u on north or south island ?

Looking forward to your planning stages.
Thanks Madoxen!

Yep, I checked your threads and liked the discussions around the platform you’ve chosen. I’m still not decided on what base vehicle to get… At the end of the day I’d prefer 4wd, in a platform that shows good value. I have some experience importing cars from Japan, and that’s why I started looking at the Isuzus.

During the past couple of weeks, I’ve been playing with the design, and after reading the “Building your Own Overland Camper” book by Steve Wigglesworth I’m leaning more towards a 4wd with a 6m back-chassis, ~4.2 to 4.5 wheelbase.

I can get everything I need in the 2-level build and 6m. Here’s some screenshots of the latest iteration:

explorer extended.PNG
That's a six meter interior, with 3 planned beds and a folding side "patio".

explorer profile.PNG
Once extended, the "roof" could go as far as 2.2m taller.

explorer h.PNG
I'll aim to have it at 3.6m or less while retracted. It's a bit taller than that now.

explorer link.PNG
I'll build a 3-point Unimog-like steel subframe, with 6cm side walls and structure out of aluminium profiles. The roof lift mechanism will use linear rails and precision stepper motors with a worm-gearbox for high torque yet fixed motion. I bellive that's quite unique. Unicat, SLRV and other 2-level builds use different stuff I belive.

The build won't necessarely follow the good analog & simple principle, but that's only because I'm quite familiar with electronics and would be able to fix those things when they go bad :)


1.PNG
The 8m back-chassis idea. It does look tricker to drive and I'm not sure if I would get it to more challenging places...



It's all quite drafty at the moment.... Once the base vehicle is locked-in, the design will get more detailed around it.
 

Divster

New member
Hi Divster, sounds like it will be an epic build, the ftr are a good truck we did look at the 4x4 version but ended up going merc for the all round lockers.

If u can keep to the total height of 3.6 to 3.8 mtrs while in travel mode it will help with route planning and maybe save a detour or 2. And 8 mtrs for the habitat box is pretty big but depending on where you want to travel might not cause you any problems, afterall there are plenty of 12mtr bus/coatch conversions driving around nz,

Are u on north or south island ?

Looking forward to your planning stages.

I’ve seen some cool trucks for sale in Japan, in particular a 2006 FTS snowplough with just 11k/km. I know that service vehicles that just run idle spreading salt are a bad idea because of rust, but this unit seems clean. If I were to get that one, I’d need to extend the wheelbase and customize the front bumper (that I plan to have made custom anyway). I’m just curious if there’s any new legislation that would prevent me having that certified and registered in NZ…

fts.jpg
This is what I'm considering. It would take a full WB extension from 3.6m to 4.2m, and front bullbar-bumper rebuild.


I’m currently in Wellington, but planning to prep the base vehicle and subframe at Pegasus Town, close to Christchurch. My parents and sister live there, and by the looks of it the trans-Tasman bubble won’t happen for quite some time. I see what you’re nearby as well? In Waikuku?
 

Divster

New member
There were a few extra long wheelbase FTS's around when I was looking for mine, a bit harder to find, but out there. there will be plenty of times that you will need the four wheel drive bit.
True! Your FTS looks neat! That's the 4.2m WB one?

I'm looking for a cheap, yet solid base vehicle... Thing is, I'm still in the process of getting my heavy vehicle license. I don't know much about heavy trucks... But reading the Isuzu manuals, it seems that extending the WB is something supported by the manufacturer. Sure it would take re-certification and some work extending the back wheel drive shaft, but seems quite doable and easier than converting a FRR to 4wd...

How's your build going Brenie?
 

Ultimark

New member
When I was looking at secondhand 4WD Isuzu trucks last year in Australia, the two FTS units that I looked at around the year 2006/7, were both with a wheelbase of 4250mm. As far as I know the FSS of the same era, runs a shorter wheelbase of 3700mm.

Is that snowplough unit running dual controls? If so, that would be neat for travel on either side of the road.
 

Madoxen

Active member
I had a call today from a chap wanting to sell me a 2007 man 4x4 with 75k on clock . Manual 240hp. Send me a message if u want me to put u in contact he in nelson.
Oh its 20k plus gst
Yeah im waikuku would be great to have another build near by :)
 

Brenie

Member
True! Your FTS looks neat! That's the 4.2m WB one?

I'm looking for a cheap, yet solid base vehicle... Thing is, I'm still in the process of getting my heavy vehicle license. I don't know much about heavy trucks... But reading the Isuzu manuals, it seems that extending the WB is something supported by the manufacturer. Sure it would take re-certification and some work extending the back wheel drive shaft, but seems quite doable and easier than converting a FRR to 4wd...

How's your build going Brenie?
Like many a project, it has hit the wall of "lack of time and money", but still persisting , just going a lot slower now.
 

Poul.dubai

New member
I started last year in sep, converting an older 4x4 Isuzu FTS year 2000 using the cargo box of 6.30M. It only has 14K km and after painting the chassis it starts to look much better.

I guess it also will be about 8m long, I don't see it as being an issue here in the UAE the road a very nice, I also don't have any plan to go off-roading the most off the road I will be is on the beach.

I Hope, I will finish the build this year and aim to take it on the road for Xmas and New year! I have attached my plan for the layout and I have uploaded some pictures you can glance true. its good fun but hard work.
 

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