An ex-bundeswehr U1300L gets new life as an Expedition Camper
(updated Saturday, October 27, 2007 .)
FOR SALE : Asking US$78,000/OBO. Email for more details.
(Email me if you have any interest Be sure to fix the email address by replacing AT and DOT with the correct symbols.)
This vehicle would make an excellent base for travels in the Americas. I will even offer seasonal storage INSIDE one of our buildings (in Wyoming), for those wanting to head home for periods of time during their Overland Journey. Do Canada and Alaska, store it here. Do the great parks of the USA, store it here. Head south to Central and South America, then ship it home. No worries about where you temporarily park your vehicle!
Videos: I've been asked recently (Oct. 2007) for some videos of this Unimog. Here are two in WMV format. The first is a cold startup and driving, the second a quick run-through of the cab and other details:
My apologies to all the folks who've inquired about this project. I didn't update this information for over one year, while working on this and other ranch projects. Since the last update in June, 2002, I've invested thousands of hours in this Unimog and have finally completed Phase II. I got carried away on some unplanned things too, like radio-control for the rear work light and door release. (Living off-road in Wyoming, I'll never get to build a trick hot rod so this is it, I guess...)
I finished Phase II just in time for our 6th Annual Rocky Mountain Moggers excursion, so I was able to enjoy the camper for a long weekend, covering 600 miles of interstate and back-roads in Wyoming and Colorado. Everything worked wonderfully, and I was warm, slept great, watched DVD movies, ate fresh pizza from the oven, and enjoyed cold beer without needing ice to chill it. Absolutely superb!
Phase III will complete the project, and be finished this summer. It involves undercoating the camper, installing the photovoltaic panels, and building doors for the interior cabinetry. I must also install the auxiliary 200 liter fuel tank and high exhaust.
On the Unimog page, you may have read that I saw my first Unimog in Yellowstone as a kid. It was an expedition camper. It was cool... So cool, in fact, that 25 years later, I'd be building my own version. I was truly inspired by the campers from Unicat. They use only the best of everything, and many of the Unicat vehicles start with the exceptional Mercedes-Benz Unimog high-mobility chassis.
If you've never visited and like RVs or all wheel drive vehicles, then you'll most likely love to visit their website. It's WELL worth it. Just click the Unicat banner below this text to go right to them. The link will take you to their Index Page were you can select the German or English-language version of the website. There are wonderful photos there, as well as new product specifications and the sale of pre-owned Unicats...
Here are some more current photos...
This Expedition Camper is built upon the relatively obtainable U1300L. The GVWR of the U1300L is 7500 kg, or 16,500 lbs. Curb weight for our camper is currently 13,580 lbs. with full water and fuel tanks.
The camper is very easy to remove from the chassis, and it can operate completely independently from the chassis when it is removed. The process takes under an hour, and begins with the installation of four 1-ton camper jacks in receivers near each corner of the box. Next, the mud-flap/fenders in front of the rear wheels are removed, as well as eight bolts which fasten the camper to the subframe. While underneath the box a connection for tail-lights must be unplugged, two coolant quick-connects uncoupled, and the battery charge connection unplugged. Then the camper is gradually raised using the jacks, and the chassis driven away.
I began planning this project in 2000, but didn't actually begin work until January of 2002. One step led to another, and I've organized them all below, in somewhat of a chronological order. To reduce download times, some photos have been thumbnailed, so just click anything you'd like to see larger...
Overall Specifications - Text describing construction and components of our camper.
Chassis - Some photos and info regarding the platform on which our camper is built.
Roof Modification, January 2002 - How we gained an additional 8" of headroom, and space for an overhead console.
Overhead Console, June 2003 - All the stuff that goes above the windshield - GPS, radio, additional gauges, etc.
Universal Subframe - This is my home-brewed adaptation of the Unimog "torque-free mounting."
Steel Tube Camper Frame - The box for the camper takes shape here.
Box Skin and Trim - See the tube-frame camper get covered with skin and trimmed in aluminum, then insulated.
Rear Entry Door - The remote-actuated door and steps at the rear of the camper.
Compartment Doors - External doors for access to storage and mechanical systems.
Crawl-Through - A small pass-through between the cab and camper.
Interior - Cabinetry and appliances you'll find inside our camper.
Electrical and Batteries - Information on electrical design and construction.
Heating System - The diesel-fired multi-purpose heating system.
Water System - Fresh and gray water holding tanks, pumps, etc.