Truck Update 12/25/2017

In the past 2 days, we have:

  • Received 24V USB adapter
  • Received sand ladders (Marston Mat)
  • Final topped off batteries
  • Cleaned & inspected brake assemblies
  • Installed 24V USB adapter
  • Measured brake disc & pad thicknesses
  • Touched up paint on underside of front bumper
  • Reinstalled front bumper step
  • Final installed new hazard light button (with new bulb)
  • Installed 2 new California CARB compliant NATO jerry cans (Wavian)
  • Double checked interior dimensions for floor plan discussion

Truck Update 1/3/2018

Over the last 9 days, we have:

  • Received dyna beads (20 oz. for 365/80R20’s)
  • Received filtering valve stems
  • Received down looking mirror (Grote GTE-28763)
  • Took wheel rims for sandblast and powdercoat
  • Picked up wheel rims
  • Ordered and received rivet nuts (McMaster Part Number 98560A576) for down looking mirror
  • Ordered axle vents (Von’s Mog)
  • Ordered used U1300L jerry can mount
  • Sealed small joint gap in finished powder coated rims with acrylic enamel

Truck Update 1/7/18

  • Received headlight bulbs
    • These headlights can take R2, R4, or H4 bulbs. We’ve had all 3 in the truck, and they all fit. The R4’s don’t clip into the clocking key, but otherwise work fine.
  • Removed headlights, replaced headlight bulbs, reinstalled headlights and headlight covers
  • Installed down looking mirror (Grote GTE-28763) using 1/4-28 rivet nuts  (McMaster Part Number 98560A576) and Inconel (corrosion resistant) aircraft bolts
  • Prepped and painted axle hubs
  • Reinstalled fuel tank strap (we had removed it to do other work)
  • Touched up paint on inside of rims where the rims were supported during powder coat

Habitat Update

In addition to our regular truck refurbishment work, we have been working hard behind the scenes planning our future living space floor plan. When we got our truck, it had a custom built living habitat module designed and built for the previous owner.

Our original plan was to completely change the floor plan and re-work the interior. After we got the truck, we realized that although the box didn’t have the layout we wanted, it was actually pretty nice inside. Instead of gutting a perfectly good habitat box, we recently sold the box that came with the truck, and over the past few weeks, we designed a new habitat box that meets all of our specific needs.

A few days ago, we ordered the new habitat from Total Composites. It is similar to other boxes that they have made in the past, but this one is specific to our dimensions and floor plan. The habitat box will need assembling and does not come with any interior.  Over the last two years, we have accumulated a lot of the items for the interior.

Fuchs Mercedes 435 Side View
Fuchs Mercedes 435 Side View

Our New Habitat Specs

  • Exterior Dimensions: 11’5″ long, 7’2.5″ wide, 6’11″ tall
  • Interior Dimensions: 6’10.5″ wide with 6’4″ standing head height
  • Walls are 50mm thick composite sandwich panel
  • The ceiling, floor, forward, and and aft wall are 84mm thick composite sandwich panel
  • Steel / composite hardpoints embedded in floor and back wall for mounting
  • Habitat is mounted to a Mercedes torsion free subframe
  • Door, windows, cargo access hatches and roof hatch from Tern Overland

The windows are European style, double glazed acrylic, top hinge, with integrated blinds and screens. Two large roof vents and solar panels are on the roof. In total there are 7 screened openings for excellent cross flow and natural light.

Fuchs Habitat Details
Fuchs Habitat Details

Floor Plan Details

Our new layout incorporates a pass through from the cab into a combined bathroom entry. There is a raised permanent bed in the back of the habitat with a large storage area underneath the bed accessible from the outside. The center of the habitat is a large open area dedicated to a kitchen on the left side and a project/work/eating area on the right side. The spare tire and cargo are mounted to a custom frame on the back of the habitat.

Fuchs Habitat Floorplan
Fuchs Habitat Floor Plan

Truck Update 1/14/18

  • Ordered Dometic Origo 3000 Alcohol 2 burner stove
  • Received hub vents
  • Drained forward portal axle hubs
  • Degreased, paint prepped, and painted lug nuts
  • Installed hub vents
  • Received tires
  • Took tires, rims, and dyna beads to tire shop
  • Picked up finished mounted wheel assemblies
  • Filled front hubs with Redline Synthetic 75W-90 (GL-5)
  • Drained and filled rear hubs
  • Ordered torque multiplier
  • Ordered 24mm lug wrench
  • Ordered self-recovery shackle for front 2″ receiver
  • Ordered torque wrench (so we don’t have to keep borrowing one)
  • Ordered large allen wrenches for fluid drain plugs
    • 17mm for differentials
    • 14mm for transmission and engine
  • Bought high pressure grease
  • Greased forward U-joints and steering assembly
  • Mounted newly finished wheel assemblies
  • Started planning habitat interior cabinet layout

Truck Update 1/21/18

  • Received Dometic Origo 3000 stove
  • Received U1300L ambulance jerry can holder
  • Received torque amplifier
  • Received lug wrench
  • Received allen keys for drain plugs
  • Cooked pasta dinner on Dometic Origo 3000 stove
  • Received torque wrench
  • Received “Build Your Own Overland Camper” by Steve Wigglesworth
  • Installed batteries
  • Torqued lug nuts
  • Removed jackstands
  • Received forward shackle
  • Fit checked shackle assembly in forward receiver; fillet interference
  • Organized spare parts

Truck Update 1/26/18

  • Started process of separating habitat from subframe
  • Made large jack extension
  • Rounded edges of receiver tang for forward shackle
  • Reduced size and weight of lug wrench
  • Made spacers for forward shackle retention bolt
  • Cut plywood shims in preparation for hab lift
  • Separated and lifted hab from subframe

Truck Update 2/3/18

We have been working over the last few weeks to get the old habitat ready to be transferred to the new owner. A crane came this morning and lifted the habitat from our truck to the new owner’s truck. Everything went smoothly. We’ll be ready to start subframe work soon.

Ready to Lift
Ready to Lift
Start of Lift
Start of Lift
Mercedes 435 with Habitat Box Removed
Mercedes 435 with Habitat Box Removed

Truck Update 2/4/18

We are really happy that our new habitat box is on its way from Total Composites. We received notification that the shipping process started last week. The box should get here around the end of the month / beginning of next month. Total Composites sent us a picture of our habitat ready to ship!

Total Composites Expedition Habitat Ready to Ship
Total Composites Expedition Habitat Ready to Ship

Now that our old habitat box is removed, it is time to get going on our subframe modifications. Our subframe is in great shape, and we are really happy with its layout. Our plan is to remove some unneeded material, make a new perimeter frame, create a habitat ladder mount, add understorage box and jerry can mounts, and add new fender mounts. Unrelated to the subframe but before our new habitat box goes on, we’d like to remove the old spare tire mount and possibly install a new fuel tank if time and availability permits.

U1300L Expedition Truck Subframe
U1300L Expedition Truck Subframe

To get our subframe work going, we went by a local steel supplier and picked up 138 pounds of steel for the subframe modifications.

Local Steel Supplier
Local Steel Supplier

Truck Update 2/11/18

  • Ordered special sized 8″ gel foam RV Mattress with organic cotton and fitted sheet (from Mattress Insider)
  • Ordered Froli Stars mattress springs (from Froli Systems)
  • Ordered Air Head composting toilet
  • Ordered and received reversible flow 1250 Fan-tastic fan (from etrailer)
  • Ordered water tank (from Plastic-Mart)
  • Started evaluation of weight distribution and placement of water tank
  • Installed forward shackle receiver and rewound winch cable
  • Trimmed off unneeded steel in multiple subframe areas
  • Trued up ends of subframe rails
  • Finalized layout of subframe
  • Cut steel angle for periphery of subframe
  • Drilled mounting holes in fore and aft angles
  • Fit check assembled angle on subframe periphery