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Thread: AWD SAFARI MICRO MOTORHOME ... a DIY project

  1. #11
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    Default weight AND gas mileage ...

    I just weighed my Micro motorhome,
    fully loaded with a full tank of gas, 300 lbs of passengers,
    1440 Kg FRONT Axle
    1450 Kg REAR Axle
    total GVW 2890 Kg ==> 6358 lbs

    Which is slightly over the original RPO sticker indicated GVW of 6100 lbs.

    With the much stronger Bilstein HD shocks, and the larger LT 235/75/R15 tires, running at 50 PSI, and even with the original old sagging rear springs riding on the rubber bump stops, I have no worries about exceeding the GVW on the hiways. Given the stiffness designed into the camper shell, and the solid connection to the original Safari van chassis, the unit rides very nicely, with no discernable flex, and also, surprisingly for a unit this tall, minimal wind wander on the hiway, even when passing a semi going in the other direction. However, the much heavier 1750 lb rated rear springs, soon to be installed, should provide more rear suspension clearance, and more play and flex for when I GO SLOWLY down the roads less travelled. At my ripe old age, I have zero delusions about being any sort of "high speed low drag" operator with this rig, so going slowly in the rough stuff will ALWAYS be standard operating procedure. So at this point, I am reasonably content with the handling and suspension. As for POWER, , the 4.3 V6 motor with 3.42 gears seems to provide adequate power on the hiway, and even with that max GVW load and bigger tires, was adequate for a bit of chugging up steep hills,
    BUT IDEALLY,
    A LOWER GEAR RATIO MIGHT HAVE BEEN A BETTER CHOICE ...
    \lessons learned for the next build.

    I also just checked my first tank of clean gas, and I am getting 13 mpg, mixed Hywy/City driving, and 14 mpg straight hiway.
    That would be the larger 4.54 liters per gal CANADIAN gallons.

    This is after a new set of wires, plugs, distributor cap, and rotor, and a couple of cans of fuel system cleaner.

    I am wondering if this is as good as it gets for gas mileage with a rig this heavy and this "NOT aerodynamically optimised"?

    Any TIGER Astro/Safari owners have feedback on the gas mileage?
    thanks
    (;-[)
    LAZ 1

  2. #12
    OLC Member klahanie's Avatar
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    I used a small piece of that rubber checker plate on my truck and liked it. Although IIRC the surface held the dust and it soon acquired a less than black hue. Also, I imagine the colour might fade some, black might be noticeably hotter during your trips "down South" and that heat may tax the adhesive. For those reasons (function) I'll pick more grey than black.
    ... my .02 ...

    Very cool project, thanks for sharing it. Would you tell us more about how you constructed the coach (framing and skin) and attached it to chassis ?

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by klahanie View Post
    Would you tell us more about how you constructed the coach (framing and skin) and attached it to chassis ?
    FIRST A PICTURE OF MY NEW MASSIVE FRONT BUMPER.
    3/8" thick 6"X6" angle iron.
    Still to do ... waterjet cutouts to lighten it, welding the joints, and welding a 2" receiver for a removable winch mount.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by klahanie View Post
    Would you tell us more about how you constructed the coach (framing and skin) and attached it to chassis ?
    The framing was unconventional by regular house building practices. I wanted to share the stress along the entire body, not just build walls on top of the wood floor, which extended out to 81" over all width, a significant amount overhanging from the remaining steel flooring. Therefor the cross bracing and verticals and horizontal stringers and plywood skin all work together, without concentrating stress in any one area. So in effect, the horizontal stringers and cross pieces, with 3/4" plywood reinforcing, are taking much of the load off of the wall to floor joints.

    I connected the doubled 3/4" plywood to the floor with BIG galvanized lag bolts through from the underside into 2" X 6' cross braces the full width of the body at front and back.


    Then I used 2"x 12" verticals behind the cab, bolted to the steel framing there, and more vertical about 3' back.


    I created a bed across the back by hanging another sheet of 3/4" plywood off of 2"X6" horizontal stringers running lengthwise.


    Then I bolted the cab over 3/4" plywood to the cab roof, and used a DOUBLE 2"x6" crosspiece connected to the 2x12 verticals and to the steel frame at the back of the remaining cab section.



    The cab and chassis work WITH the wood camper box, rather than against it, and, so far on the hiway, with about 500 kms on it, this "unitized/stressed skin construction" , with over 1000 screws, and a gallon of waterproof glue used in building, does NOT show any significant flex. Long term back road travel was the design goal. Not exactly my first time at the rodeo ... this is my third camper box add on to a van chassis. My first Motorhome build was on a VW Van chassis, and it went EVERYWHERE, including a lot of back road bouncing. I drove that build for about 5 years, and sold it with the body still in great condition. However, that build was reinforced with KEVLAR and EPOXY over the 1/8" plywood skin.
    Last edited by LAZ 1; 04-29-2016 at 11:14 PM.

  5. #15
    OLC Member klahanie's Avatar
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    Wow Laz, heavy duty ! Shows an admirable "get er done, do it my way" kinda swing. I like that ! I bet many would like to transform their van into something similar.

    Enjoying this ....

  6. #16
    OLC Member slicky's Avatar
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    Not this guy , it is super cool though . Nicely done Larry .

  7. #17
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    My DO IT YOURSELF AWD SAFARI TIGER CLONE BUILD,
    is definitely different from the TIGER Mini Motorhome recreational vehicle it was modeled after.

    I wanted an "OVERLANDING" capable rig, with simple and basic interior accommodations, and a tough and sturdy exterior appearance. So, even though the initial exterior finish of my build was conventional RV type aluminum sheathing and RV style corner mouldings, I eventually switched over to a more rugged "industrial" look, with Black 1/8" thick rubber checkerplate rock guard around the bottom, with 1 1/2" 1/8" thick aluminum corner mouldings. Of course, re-doing the exterior twice turned out to be at least three times as much work, but I am getting close to finishing, and I am liking the appearance. The first panel, at the back bottom, needs to be re-glued [ I used the wrong glue and got bubbles ] but now have the right glue and process.

    I used a dividing strip of shiny aluminum checkerplate to accent the "Basic black box" look.

    Now I am deciding between MORE Black rubber checkerplate at the top,
    OR,
    switching to Grey plastic checkerplate.
    Any comments?

  8. #18
    OLC Member cruiserpilot's Avatar
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    Hi, sorry I didn't make it your way. I am back across the ocean at work, got called in a week early. Looks good. I have to say, 3/8" bumper is kind of beyond massive.
    Wow!

  9. #19
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    I like the two tone idea. Might be less hot also. Great build. Where do you get the rubber checker plate?

  10. #20
    OLC Member nomad expedition's Avatar
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    man wonder if one could use a slide in shortbox camper to do that?

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