Tatra vs MB crewcab 6x6

bowpay

Member
Hi guys, I gave up on my previous post and narrowed down between a Tatra 815 crewcab 6x6 with a Cummins or a MB AF 6x6 for a stretched North America expedition vehicle. The Tatra is in the US while I would have to import the MB. MB is probably about $20-30k cheaper but a 1991 vs a 2003 Tatra. I am sure the Tatra is more capable but with the stretch it might not matter. Looking at a 24ft bed. Thought or concerns? Good and bad?
 

Sitec

Adventurer
The Tatra's have a very unique suspension setup. Different look about them too. I've had very little to do with them, but seen a few close up in the mines of West Australia. The Cummins is certainly a plus point. However, the Mercedes comes with solid Hub Reduction Axles all round, a V6 or V8 dependant on what model you are looking at, and leaf springs you can get anywhere... For world travel the Merc wins all day long. For the US, if the vehicle is there and the parts backup is good then that might just win, but I'd still pic the Mercedes if just for future travel/resale alone. Pics of both the vehicles you are looking at would be interesting.. Cheers. :)
 

Neil

Observer
Putting aside the mechanical differences of these vehicles.

Your destinations should be a big deciding factor.

MB have a reasonable worldwide network, not so good in north America, but pretty good in many places.

Tartra don't. Getting parts, and you will need them, could become a logistical nightmare.

A simple windscreen or break cylinder could take you off the road for weeks if your outside Europe.

Having parts sent isn't so easy, in some countries it's impossible. People think they can simply just be posted to your location. This often isn't true.

Obscure vehicles such as Mowags, Kats and Tatras, although incredibly capable, are sometimes chosen for the wrong reasons. Common can sometimes be better.

As Grizzlyj points out, extending the Tatra chassis isn't going to be easy.

Good luck with your choice

Neil
 

jeno

New member
The Tatra chassis is modular, so stretching it is pretty straight forward if you have got the parts. At least if you are a Tatra mechanic. :)
The Tatra 815 is supposed to be easy repairable by the driver in remote locations, like Siberia. If you need spare parts (and you probably will at some point) you will of course be better off with the MB. The Tatra is so much cooler though, but it is your choice. :) How is the reliability of the non-Tatra parts? Engine, gears etc?
 

bowpay

Member
Great info, thank you! The Tatra has a Cummins ISM 400HP with a Twin Disc 6 speed Auto Transmission with 80k miles. Parts for the engine and transmission will be much easier to find in the US. The MB is a 1993 with 171k miles (ouch) with a manual transmission and 310HP it's a 6x6 SK 2631. I also have to purchase a second AF MB so I can do the body swap in Germany. It is doubtful that we will be traveling to Europe with this vehicle as I think the length will be too long. The best we are going to do is Canada or Mexico. Mainly we will be in the US. I love the Tatra but the inside seats of the Tatra seem to be a little more cramped due to the engine hump vs the MB. Not sure if S&S (Tatra US manufacturer) added extra height to the engine hump in order to get the Cummins in or if the photos are misleading and are pretty much the same. I love the look of the Tatra but the cab actually looks a little roomier in the MB. Here are the photos...

Tatra Wildland Ultra XT
fb91ccd5b906ac6818deee51c97b60c3.jpg
1016191859a95Film2.jpg
21ebfedb82e88582f35a9ef58bee0eba.jpg

MB SK 2631 - Cab and a half - First Registration 05/1993 - It is a crane vehicle and the undercarriage looks pretty clean.
$_57.jpg

Body Vehicle - 1988 1222 AF
$_57 (1).jpg

OR this vehicle for a body swap AF 1222
$_57 (2).jpg
$_57 (3).jpg
$_57 (4).jpg
 

bowpay

Member
Hi
Do mean stretching the Tatra chassis tube? That might be tricky?
Yes, but actually both are going to be stretched regardless. I spoke to a mechanic that works on them and said that parts weren't that hard to get a hold of but going to call back on Monday to verify with the lead mechanic.
 

bowpay

Member
BTW I haven't driven a manual in YEARS. I am a little concerned about getting back into one specially when my wife doesn't know how to drive one. I hear though that diesels aren't as difficult because of how much torque and ability to shift without applying the fuel pedal. Is this true or am I in for a rude awakening?
 

Sitec

Adventurer
Ah, the plot thickens.... Both interesting trucks. That Tatra is a brute! They still look so dated though and low. The huge engine lump in the cab would be a big negative in my book. The Cummins would be great tho. It's already a crew cab and you are not doing Europe so it ticks more of your boxes than the Mercedes... However, I'd still buy the Merc :) as I love the look of them (especially the last of the 4x4/6x6's with the MK/SK cab). If you did go down the Mercedes route, I wouldn't even consider doing anything with those 1222A dual cabs. They are an earlier cab (Google Mercedes NG cab) with an older dashboard. You'd be buying 2 trucks to make what you want. The 1222a would then go up in value as it would now become a 4x4 with a late cab (ideal overland material), and the 2631 would go down in value as it is a later 6x6 with an early crewcab... Most remove the old fire body's as they don't actually have a huge amount of space in them. Your money would be better spent getting a good coachbuilder to modify the 2631AK. Alternatively leave it as a single cab and build your living box with forward facing seating in mind. This saves the crewcab issue/mods, gives you more living space for those times when its just two people and means you can build it how you want. What's the age limit for bringing a truck into the US? Can you bring that 2631AK in? Being a 2631, it will be rated at 26 tonnes and have the later OM441A V6 turbo diesel rated at 310 hp. This is a good engine, and a lot smoother than the earlier OM421 V6 which always sounded like an empty tin with 6 nuts being rattled. Hard decision tho. Have you driven the Tatra? That would be my first suggestion. :)
 

bowpay

Member
Ah, the plot thickens.... Both interesting trucks. That Tatra is a brute! They still look so dated though and low. The huge engine lump in the cab would be a big negative in my book. The Cummins would be great tho. It's already a crew cab and you are not doing Europe so it ticks more of your boxes than the Mercedes... However, I'd still buy the Merc :) as I love the look of them (especially the last of the 4x4/6x6's with the MK/SK cab). If you did go down the Mercedes route, I wouldn't even consider doing anything with those 1222A dual cabs. They are an earlier cab (Google Mercedes NG cab) with an older dashboard. You'd be buying 2 trucks to make what you want. The 1222a would then go up in value as it would now become a 4x4 with a late cab (ideal overland material), and the 2631 would go down in value as it is a later 6x6 with an early crewcab... Most remove the old fire body's as they don't actually have a huge amount of space in them. Your money would be better spent getting a good coachbuilder to modify the 2631AK. Alternatively leave it as a single cab and build your living box with forward facing seating in mind. This saves the crewcab issue/mods, gives you more living space for those times when its just two people and means you can build it how you want. What's the age limit for bringing a truck into the US? Can you bring that 2631AK in? Being a 2631, it will be rated at 26 tonnes and have the later OM441A V6 turbo diesel rated at 310 hp. This is a good engine, and a lot smoother than the earlier OM421 V6 which always sounded like an empty tin with 6 nuts being rattled. Hard decision tho. Have you driven the Tatra? That would be my first suggestion. :)
I personally like the Tatra, Cummins and 6x6 system. I plan on low balling and explain my reasons so I doubt they would take it but you never know. If I had a MB sitting here, in the US, I would definitely buy that instead due to mainly price. I also do like the look of them better. I WISH we could go single cab and build out the rear but going to use Total Composite and the wife and I have both agreed that shoulder belts for the kids in the cab is much more safe. The vehicle must be 25 years or older in order to not have to worry about emissions. That puts us in something from 1980-1995. I looked up the NG cab but came up with single cabs. Maybe I am not following exactly. Can you explain the cab differences or send me a link or two so I can learn? Are there any other crew cabs available that we could use or is this pretty much it? Why don't you like the 1222A cabs? I am new to all this so not really sure the differences between the cabs besides single, single/extension and double. Thank you for the help!
 

bowpay

Member
Ah yes and I should mention that we are going to have them remove the fire box, single military wheels and a few extra parts so I don't have to ship them from Europe. I was also thinking about having both vehicles imported and selling one here. I figured I could get some good money from the single cab 4x4.
 

Sitec

Adventurer
So, it's not a case of not liking the older 1222a cabs, it just seems a backward step to put an old 70's cab on a late80's/early 90's truck. I managed to find a late 1222a here with the later cab. I've used both and prefer the later one. Attached is a pic inside the early cab.
 

Attachments

Top