Unimogadventures - Our build and travel thread

Iain_U1250

Explorer
Hello all - I have just come across this forum and would like to introduce myself.

I have a Unimog U1250 which started life as a Road-Railer for the New South Wales railways fixing their overhead wires and doing various track work.

I plan to turn it into an expedition vehicle for firstly travelling around Australia, then shipping it to Singapore and driving up through SE asia and China to Magadan in Russian, then across to Europe, and hopefully down through africa to South Africa before shipping it back to Australia.

The first photo show what it looked like when I got it home from the auction, the second what it will look like in a few months time and the third what it looks like now.

I'm currently working on the interior layout and would love to hear from other Mog (and other similar camper) owners about their layout, what they like, what they would change etc.



Clicked on my first post, and both my wife and I had a laugh about the comment - "....what it will look like in a few month time" little did I know it would be five more years
 

Iain_U1250

Explorer
Our diesel stove decided not to work on our last trip. From what I can tell, the main control board is not working. The parts along are over $1000 AUD, and that's if it is just the main board.

We decided to switch over to an induction cooktop. It was a bit more complicated than just plugging in the new stove, as our inverter is only good for 1500W, and this stove needs something around the 3000W mark. So I bought a new inverter, a 3000W Renogy one, which was only $400, and the Empava cooktop was $199. I had to rewire a lot of the heavy current wiring as this inverter can draw some serious current - around 250A. I used 70mm2 cable, with the earth wire connected directly to the earth shunt, and positive connected to the main joint between front and rear battery banks. The inverter wiring is protected with a 250A circuit breaker, which should be more than adequate to protect 70mm2 cable,

2022-11-13 17.29.07.jpg

The induction stove can boil 750ml of water in about 5 minutes, and draws 80-120A. With both plates on maximum, it draws 180-200A, some serious current.

The inverter has a remote start unit, and I added a 120mm fan and some vents to force some air around the inverter and the cooktop. Whilst I was modifying the panel I added another USB charger as well, as you can never have enough.

2022-11-13 17.29.35.jpg

The lid for the old cooktop still fits nicely. It will protect the stove whilst we travel and from dropping things on it.
2022-11-13 17.30.16.jpg
 
I too put in an Empava, only 1800w. But I seem to recall that testing it in my house it boiled 2L in 5-6 minutes. I was happy to remove the 2x30 lb propane bottles (50kg total), making more room for rear storage. Replaced all 5 123 or 130w solar panels with new 190s, upgraded solar charging wiring a bit.
I hope Empava prove reliable for us.
If not, we’ll have to switch to marine units:
 

nick disjunkt

Adventurer
I hope Empava prove reliable for us.
If not, we’ll have to switch to marine units:

I used a GN Espace cooker in my last truck and it was a great piece of kit. They do induction hobs too now, and I'm sure they'll be equally good.

 

Iain_U1250

Explorer
We had a long weekend testing the new cook top - and it works great.

Our battery monitor can display the charging/discharging cycles. This is a typical meal, lamb chops frying in one pan, then a bean mix, and 750ml of water in the other plate at the same time, and this is the power usage.

2022-11-19 19.49.59.png

Running the fridge and freezer overnight, charging laptops and cameras etc, and we went from 84% t0 73%, then coffee, bacon, eggs and toast, and second coffee, and we were down to around 64%. .


2022-11-21 08.09.41.png

This would be a typical day of charging whilst driving - we had a couple of stops on the way, and parked in the shade - hence next to no solar charging. Didn't take long to get the batteries back up to 95% ( that's the maximum it will get from the alternator set at 14.2V,) solar takes it up to 14.3V before it goes into float mode. I'll be replacing the alternator cable with some 70mm2 cable, up from the 50mm2 cable to see how that helps, as the 250A alteranator seldom gets over 150A of charge going into the batteries, but I guess it is running all the extra stuff in the truck like the light, fans, a/c etc.


2022-11-21 08.12.45.png
 
The induction cook tops are nice! I did the switch from propane to induction also. I sometimes will consider what part of the day I cook based on draw and recharge times. But I found cooking with propane and high altitude and freezing temps unreliable. The induction eliminates all that!
 

Iain_U1250

Explorer
The induction cook tops are nice! I did the switch from propane to induction also. I sometimes will consider what part of the day I cook based on draw and recharge times. But I found cooking with propane and high altitude and freezing temps unreliable. The induction eliminates all that!
We had the diesel stove, which was great, apart form taking a long time to heat up and cool down. Then it stopped working - I diagnosed the problem one of circuit boards, which would cost $900 + shipping to replace, with no guarantee. Just to look at it was a $500 fee, and local tech shop would charge a lot more than the $900 for the board. All in all, the new cook top, inverter and pots cost about the same, but it should better in the long run, and each component is only about $300-400 to replace.
 

DzlToy

Explorer
Hi Iain and Trish; I hope this message finds you well. It's tough to tell from the video, but it appears that the skillet on the new cook top has some kind of non-stick coating on it. Please stop using these pans immediately; they are toxic. This is especially concerning with Trish's history.

There is a reason that only surgical/medical stainless, ceramics and titanium are used in implants such as pins, plates and screws, by the medical profession. Please Only use titanium, food grade stainless or clean/new cast iron pots and pans. Further, you should never cook with any seed oils, e.g. canola, rapeseed, 'vegetable' oil, etc., only grass-fed lard or raw butter. Seed oils create PUFA (Poly-Unsaturated Fatty Acids) that your body simply cannot process. No oil that is liquid at room temperature should be heated above 85*C and no food should be cooked on high heat or fried in oil, ever.

Why do you boil water from unknown sources? To kill all of the pathogens. Unfortunately, when food is subjected to high head, all of the healthy bacteria, pre & pro-biotics, phyto-nutrients, polyphenols and the like, are also killed. Pasteurised milk is a great example; it is nutritionally dead, has synthetic Vitamin A & D added and pulls calcium from your bones. Contrast this markedly with raw milk from A2 cows or goats. The difference is night and day.

If you would like to test what is coming off your pots into your food, put some distilled or RO water into a pan with nothing else in it. Heat the water to a low/light boil and let it cool. Then drink that water. You may wish to have cup or bowl handy, because I am certain you will want to spit the water out immediately. Teflon and other non-stick coatings have been marketed as safe for years, but they are indeed quite toxic to the human body.
 
We had the diesel stove, which was great, apart form taking a long time to heat up and cool down. Then it stopped working

Good to know! I actually really considered a diesel cooktop. The tank is just below the kitchen so it would have been easy to tie into. It sounds like the repair costs are a bit risky with them and you have to deal with significant changes in cooking times.

I switched from propane because I wanted to be less reliant on outside systems. This rig can carry a lot of propane, but with induction, it’s as simple as charging the existing batteries.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Iain_U1250

Explorer
Just got back from a week out in the middle of nowhere.Video Snapshot00016.jpg

Video Snapshot00020.jpg

The new drone worked great, the active track and collision avoidance working well. It raised itself above the trees at over 40kph.

Video Snapshot00018.jpg

We went to Hell Hole Gorge in western Queensland, about 1000km from home. It was a a beautiful place, very hot, but the second place we visited had a great waterhole to swim in and keep cool during the 40C days we had out there.

We will be making a new video of this trip in a month or two, just need to find the time to put it all together.
Video Snapshot00017.jpg

Not everything went well though. One little mistake when I was checking the engine and I closed the grill, pushing a hose I had just lifted to check if it was rubbing on the radiator and as I closed the grill, I managed to damage the a/c condenser, letting the gas escape. Only problem was that we now had to drive back out when it was over 40C.

I bought a cheap UV light, and it clearly showed the leak - the dye spraying out all over the place.

2023-04-02 16.09.08.jpg


The condenser is from a JCB backhoe, and I have ordered a new one, this one did well for the past 7 years - I will just be more careful
 

Iain_U1250

Explorer
I decided to add another pickup line to the secondary fuel tank to enable me to transfer every last drop to the main tank. Whilst I can run the truck from either tank, the left tank has quite a high pickup, and is not baffled, so there is around 25-30lt of fuel left in the tank when it start to suck air. Now I can transfer all the last bits of fuel across into the right hand tank, which has a much lower pickup point and is baffled as well. That one has about 15litres of fuel in it before it start to suck air.

2023-04-19 14.15.41.jpgI used a steel braided hose and fittings to the tank drain point, and a couple of small ball valves and a T-piece. There is a cover plate for the tank that will protect it, but that's more to stop the build up of cow dung on the tank brackets - we get a lot of that on the Outback roads.


2023-04-19 14.15.47.jpg

This will give us another 150-200km of range, as we can now use all the fuel in the second tank. We could have used this on the last trip, when we ended up having to back-track 300km due to Google telling us to use a road the ended up going right into a farmers house, not carrying on through to the main highway another 40km away. We ended up sleeping in a little Outback town waiting for the one and only service station to open up the next morning instead of driving another couple of hours to the National park where we had planned to stay.

I'm not worried about dirt or water, as this is only for use when we really need to, 99% of the time we will use the high standard pickup, but in any case, the fuel is pumped through a CAV filter/water separator before heading to the other tank. 5 minutes of driving and any dirt or water will be thoroughly mixed into the rest of the fuel, that's why I think having the CAV filters as the first line of defense is a good idea to protect the Pollock valve, lift pump and the main fuel filters.

I can also transfer fuel back the other way from the right tank into the left tank/ This is in case something goes wrong with the tank or the Pollock valve, or we need to filter a bad batch of fuel, which has happened twice in our travels. I carry 4-6 filters and they are cheaper than dumping bad diesel, and so far we have only had to use two sets of filters, which has let us use the bad fuel we picked up from some small service stations. It must have been the very last dregs of their underground tank, so who know what was in it, but it blocked the fuel filter after about 20km. I transferred the fuel across to the empty tank so we could carry on going. The next nearest town was about 600km away.
 

Iain_U1250

Explorer
We have done some long trips with it, and on the last trip it was over 40C. The new radiator kept the truck around 90-94C, which is around the same temperature as the old one, and we have used the od one when it was 48C to 50C where it ran around 98 to 100C. I can't say that it is a big improvement, but probably a little one. I have temperature sensors in the upper and lower radiator hoses, and when the engine temp gets over 88C, the thermostat is fully open. I get about a 5-8C drop across the radiator when the engine is hot, and about 10-15C when it is cooler.

I probably should have fitted the temp sensor in the lower pipe with the old four core still fitted, then I could have seen what the temperature drop across the four core radiator was, but that would have been a fair bit of extra work.

All in all I would say if you have a problem with the four core, then you might as well get a five core, but if there is nothing wrong with your four core, just get it rodded out, which would cost a lot less.
 

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