Meet the Trot'n Turtle - Unimog U1300L Build

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by Hodakaguy, May 6, 2016.

  1. Hodakaguy

    Hodakaguy NorthWest Adventure Rider Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2007
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    Eastern WA State
    A little background for this project: My father and I built a VW Syncro Westy camper a few years ago for adventure camping and while it was a cool rig we ended up selling it in favor of a Tundra with FWC camper. While the Tundra/FWC has been a great setup we were left still wanting something what we could use to take to the remote areas of Nevada, and something more capable off road. We talked about building up the Tundra to make it up to the challenge but ultimately decided to build up a purpose built truck instead...enter the Unimog!

    About 18 years ago I owned a Unimog 404 and had a lot of fun with it. The 404 is a gasoline powered Unimog and lacks the power and creature comforts of the diesel mogs. A couple months back while in the shop working on my wifes car my dad and I started talking about building up a Mog with a camper to use for remote desert travel, within an hr that plan had been set in motion!

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    My wife on my old 404.

    First up sell some toys to fund the project. I listed up for sale my dirt and street bikes, a couple minibikes and a few other misc items. Once things were sold we started looking for our perfect Mog to start the build with. I've always wanted a newer diesel mog and I quickly settled on a U1300L model as the unit we were looking for. I wanted a super clean/low mile troop carrier with a turbo engine but after quite a bit of searching all the troop carrier models I was finding were rougher than I really wanted. I did find a couple super clean RW1 units from VK Cars in Belgium though and after talking to Andy (the owner) numerous times decided to close the deal and buy one of his 1988 RW1's. Andy was great to deal with and about 1.5 months later the Mog was on US soil! If your in the market for a Unimog or Pinzgauer I'd highly recommend Andy.

    The RW1:

    The RW1 is a fire truck that is used in rescue service, this truck carries gear such as the jaws of life, rescue tools, etc. The box on the RW1 is very cool, the sides fold down and become steps and the inside of the box is filled with slide out racks and drawers that the rescue tools once lived in. The RW1 offers a few advantages over the troop truck models which are usually bare bones basic models. The RW1 comes with an exhaust brake (very effective and reduces brake wear, keeps the portal temps down, and helps in steep decent in low range), has the newer 366A Turbo engine with fast axles, Hydraulic Werner winch (Located under the back of the truck for better winching effect to utilize the trucks weight, the cable spools out through guides to the front of the truck, you can also leave the front cable pinned and use the snatch block to pull backwards), diesel fired aux cab heater, Front and Rear sway bars, Hydraulic suspension drivers seat, Undercoating, has 4 calipers on the front rotors (two of the calipers can be locked down by pressing a button for winching duties), square vent hatch on roof, electric air dryer system on brakes. The U1300 trucks use a 8 speed gear box and have air actuated 4x4 and diff lockers. The articulation is amazing on these trucks, one of the most capable factory 4x4's you can buy.

    Being a fire truck that was just recently taken out of service the maint is current and the truck is ready to roll. Since these are emergency vehicles they are maintained and treated very well compared to the military versions, in the end I decided this would be my best bet for finding a super clean unit to start my build. The truck has only 26,000 KM on it (16,100 miles).

    My plan as of now is to install a troop bed, repaint the truck a silver/grey color, build a custom safari rack and brush guard, install larger tires and make/buy a removable camper unit for desert travel. I was thinking about making a dedicated camper to leave on the truck full time but really want the double duty offered by having a removable camper and troop bed.


    The Truck: After going through all the necessary paperwork the day finally arrived to pick the truck up from the port of Tacoma WA. My father and I arrived at the port at 7:30 am eager to see what our money had bought. After a few more forms we were taken to the holding area to get the first peak at the truck.

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    My first peak at the truck....see it?


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    Yep that's it...I recognize that yellow stripe.


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    A few min later one of the dock workers brought the Mog over to me.

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    I was very impressed with the cond of the truck, it looked way better in person than it did in the pictures! The underside of the truck is super clean, no rust anywhere! It was advertised as being "like new", very accurate description. Thanks Andy! Had to pose with a shot of the new truck :-) These trucks are BIG but at the same time they have a very tight turning radius.


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    We drove a few miles down the road and stopped for breakfast, I wanted to give the truck a good once over and check engine oil before hitting the highway for the 230 mile drive home. Andy had changed the engine and trans oil, oil and fuel filters and air filter before the truck left Belgium...everything looked good!


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    Portal Axles: Unimogs use portal axles for increased ground clearance and each portal box has it's own oil reservoir. It's a known issue on the U1300's that at high speeds the gear boxes will pump their oil out through the vent and into the main axle, if you run the boxes dry you can burn up a lot of expensive parts. Knowing this I brought a IR temp gun with me and pulled over fairly often to check temps on the gear boxes and axles till I was comfortable that all was well. The drivers side front gear box was running higher temps than the rest so we stopped at an auto parts store to make sure all the gear boxes were topped off. Turns out both front boxes were a little low and once topped off all the temps were running low and close together....glad we didn't just roll on!


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    Getting ready to top off the portal hubs, once home I will change out all the gear oils to synthetic.


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    Checking the back portal units, both were full.


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    Nice shot of the winch.


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    Top of the pass crossing the Cascade Mountains. Cruising at 53-55mph and enjoying the scenery.


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    Dad checking out the dash, he hadn't driven it yet :-)


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    Rest Stop


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    My Dad trying out the truck, we swapped drivers at this point so he could see what I was grinning ear to ear about :-)


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    Fuel Baby!


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    Rollin down the hwy


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    Pulled in the driveway at home and my son came running out to the truck, instant jungle gym!


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    "Yeah dad, this is going to be sweet!" You can see the side folded down and the interior of the box, more pics to come.


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    Stock size tires arn't small by any means...they will be replaced soon by larger units though :-)


    Lots more to come!

    Hodakaguy
    #1
    crk, FJ Fun, MJSfoto1956 and 37 others like this.
  2. Ven Moto

    Ven Moto Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2007
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    Not-so-Merryland
    In!!
    #2
  3. DriveShaft

    DriveShaft Long timer

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    Ho...li...shit...bookmarked!
    #3
  4. NOTCH 8

    NOTCH 8 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2011
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    416
    Location:
    Dublin, Ohio
    There's badass, and then there's Unimog badass!!
    #4
    JGNC likes this.
  5. flei

    flei cycletherapist

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    Western Mass.
    Damn I love them things! In! :clap
    #5
  6. Tmaximusv

    Tmaximusv Long timer

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    You're taking off the equipment box and putting on a "troop" box/camper? Sounds like you'll make some of your investment back selling the box to a fire equipment builder.

    In.
    #6
  7. FlagRS

    FlagRS Gone to the Dogs

    Joined:
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    N. AZ
    awesome!
    #7
  8. CA_Strom

    CA_Strom Cunning Linguist Supporter

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Hole Lee Fook that is sweet! Nice score! Condition looks amazing. In for more.
    #8
  9. tominboise

    tominboise Long timer

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    Location:
    Boise, ID
    First you do the epic westy syncro build and now this? I've apparently made some really bad choices in my life somewhere along the way.

    In...
    #9
  10. MitchG

    MitchG Iron Collector

    Joined:
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    In like the wind........what is the ball park landed cost to date if I could ask?
    #10
  11. cheeseyboy

    cheeseyboy Been here awhile

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    Oct 22, 2013
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    901
    Location:
    Putnam County NY.
    it needs a camper like the one ya did on the Toyota. Custom pop-up, its screaming your name.:clap:clap:clap
    #11
    RW66 likes this.
  12. triplenickel

    triplenickel Long timer

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    Cool rig but you should consider taking your socks off or putting shoes on!
    #12
    Dooga likes this.
  13. Stroked 550

    Stroked 550 Dirt Nut

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    Outhere
    agreed not sure if that was ever fashionable lol :imaposer
    that truly is a badass rig looking forward to seeing what you do to it
    #13
  14. Ricardo Kuhn

    Ricardo Kuhn a.k.a. Mr Rico Suave

    Joined:
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    Come on senor Hodaka, how do you dare to do this to the rest of us...

    Not only a master mechanical genius but also very lucky, does toys are very hard to find.

    In my taste the best picture so far..
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    #14
    Colemanfu, Hodakaguy and Andrew like this.
  15. TBR

    TBR One Life ~ Live It...

    Joined:
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    Cruisin' China since '89..
    Meet the Trot'n Turtle - Unimog U1300L Build.... bloody brilliant, really looking forward to the project progress ~ keep the pics coming please, wish we could get them over here....
    #15
  16. legion

    legion Honking the Horn

    Joined:
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    I have a European friend that specializes in arranging the sale of fine Porsches to Russia and China. You may have anything you would like, including a Unimog.
    #16
  17. TBR

    TBR One Life ~ Live It...

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Cruisin' China since '89..
    Well, sure ~ always TIC = This Is China "ways" but not the style of import personally preferred from my side... nuff said' ~ lets get back on track with the thread and upcoming 'Mog build...
    #17
  18. Bongolia

    Bongolia stop acting

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2007
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    on thin ice
    Worthy of 'Awesome', Hodaka. Beautiful truck. Looks like it is in great condition. I imagine those fire vehicles spend most of their time sitting, waiting for the call.

    What MPG do you get out of one of these rigs?
    #18
  19. Adam E

    Adam E halfway there Supporter

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    Sweet. :tb
    #19
  20. Ricardo Kuhn

    Ricardo Kuhn a.k.a. Mr Rico Suave

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Salt lake city, Utah
    Okay fixing a Symcro, well they do need some improvement

    But improving on a Unimog, specially a rescue egressive fire truck is going to be far more of a challenge

    And for sure we have the man for the job
    #20
    Hodakaguy likes this.