WELCOME TO OUR TRIP TRUCK BLOGSITE. WHEN WE'RE ON OUR OVERSEAS TRIPS WE AIM TO POST A FEW PICS, RELAY SOME EXPERIENCES AND TAKE AN OCCASIONAL WITHERING STAB AT TRYING TO MAKE SOME SENSE OF THE WORLD.

TRIP POSTS APPEAR IN DATE ORDER WITH THE MOST RECENT FIRST BUT OLDER POSTS CAN BE ACCESSED IN A NUMBER OF WAYS - SIMPLY FOLLOW THE RELEVANT LINKS.

AS WELL AS MEMORIALISING TRIPS, OUR SITE ALSO OFFERS BRIEF INTRODUCTIONS TO US, OUR TRUCK, MY HAYNES MANUAL AND A FEW RESOURCES. WE HOPE YOU ENJOY YOUR VISIT!

THE TRUCK

The Leyland DAF T244 was chosen for our build because: it’s mechanically simple and reliable, there’s a good parts supply, it’s acceptably comfortable to drive, it’s reasonably competent in tough terrain, it’s just about small and compact enough to get to most places; and it was excellent value for money. The entire build was - and continues to be - steadfastly underpinned by the philosophies of simplicity, reliability, durability and multifunctionality. We find little appeal with truck-related fads, gadgets or bling.

Current Dimensions, Specifications, Equipment and Systems

Vehicle

 

Base vehicle

Leyland DAF T244 General Service (GS) truck
Fitted for Radio (FFR) variant (twin alternators / battery banks)
Right-hand drive

Cab modifications

Lined with various kinds of soundproofing material and cosmetically improved
Engine / transmission 'hump' carpeted
KAB 414 mechanical suspension seats installed
24V and 12V (via DC-DC converter) sockets installed to run / recharge devices
2 x cooling fans fitted

Drive configuration

Permanent AWD (4x4)
Open diffs on front and rear axles - not lockable

Drivetrain

Turner T5-350 gearbox with 5 speed + 1 reverse
Hi and lo-range Getrag transfer box (lockable) gives a total of 10 forward and 2 reverse ratios

Engine

Cummins 6BT 6cyl 5.9litre turbo diesel
Euro 1 Compliant
Very lightly modified (Bosch fuel pump tweak) to produce approx 160BHP

Fuel capacity

Approx 250 litres giving a range of around 500 - 800 miles, depending on conditions

Officialdom

UK registered with body type 'Motorcaravan'
Re-categorised by DVLA to Class M (passenger) from Class N (goods)
Subject to annual Class IV MoT testing

Overall dimensions

Length: 7.18m
Height: 3.43m (plus 90mm locally for vents)
Width: 2.44m

Suspension

Parabolic leaf-spring / conventional dampers

Weights

Maximum Authorised Mass: 11600kg (downrated to 7500)
Gross Train Weight: 16260kg (downrated to 11000)
Axle 1: 5000kg (downrated to 4400)
Axle 2: 7500kg (downrated to 4800)

Wheelbase

3950mm

Wheels and tyres

Standard three-piece split rims running NATO MIL 14R20 tyres

Year of manufacture

Base vehicle manufactured in 1994
Overlander build done in 2010 / 11 - tweaks ongoing…

Habitation Box

 

Construction

Five-element professionally laminated composite panels comprising:
GRP - plywood - extruded polystyrene foam - plywood - GRP
Overall thickness ranges from 54mm to 64mm (approx)
Timber inlays and rebated peripheral frames included for extra strength
Bonded together with Sikaflex 252

Crawl through

Purposefully omitted

Dimensions

Length: 4.29m (bottom) / 4.87m (top)
Height: 1.98m
Width: 2.34m
(all external)

Layout notes

Separate beds: one front, one rear - both transverse
Main seating: 2 x feet-up chaise-longues style sofas
Separate quiet seat with flip-down table for reading / laptop use etc
Fully enclosed dedicated shower cubicle - no shower curtains!
Fully enclosed bike garage to keep bikes clean, safe and out of sight

Paint colourway

BS381c 285 Matt NATO Green
RAL9016 Gloss Traffic White
BS381c 642 Satin Night Black

Subframe solution

Standard LD 244 (stripped) load bed retained, modification to forward mounts of  bed affords very slightly increased articulation / separation at this point

Windows and doors

Windows: Dometic Seitz S4
Doors: Locally manufactured

Equipment & Systems

 

Ablutions

Simple, totally portable 'porta-potti style' cassette toilet (Dometic 972)

Battery charging

24V side: charged directly and solely by the truck's twin alternators
12V side: charged by Durite 24-12V Battery-to-Battery charger
No hook up, no generators, no wind turbine - but, one 100W 72-cell solar briefcase panel is carried for emergencies in case we lose the ability to charge from the engine, or (if required) on the very rare occasions we stay in the same place for more than one night. The fully portable nature of the panel enables maximum efficiency as we can 'track' the sun at all angles. It also enables parking in the shade whilst the panel sits in full sunlight, both massive pluses

Cooking

36 litre Thetford Duplex oven with dedicated burner for grill
Two-burner CAN hob with one medium and one slow burner
All appliances powered by LPG
Manual ignition systems chosen for both devices

Cooling

Fans and plenty of exterior ventilation
Window configuration means the truck can be cooled whilst driving

Electrical supply

24V side: 2 x Yuasa 12V AGM batteries in series rated at 95Ah @ 24V
12V side: 1 x Elecsol 12V VRLA battery rated at 100Ah @12V (soon to be replaced by a 3rd, matching Yuasa 12V AGM battery)
230V ac: Provided by 1800W quasi-sine wave inverter (rarely used - usually only once every few days for a hair dryer)
No central electronic control panel or monitoring systems, simple manual switches and distribution boxes preferred. Altogether, this is a simple and purposefully low-capacity but easily-properly-fully-recharged system (unlike many larger systems) that works very well given our preferred travelling routine of moving on most days

Furniture

Vohringer furniture board with beech structural / decorative components

LPG System

2 x refillable portable cylinders with float gauges and 80% max-fill safety cut-off giving approximately 50 litres capacity
One or both cylinders can be filled in-situ from remote externally mounted  fill-point
Option to remove one cylinder to enable refilling away from truck
On-cylinder regulators used in preference to remote (bulkhead -mounted) types for reliability and compatibility reasons

Refrigeration

Waeco CRX 110 compressor fridge with small freezer compartment

Space heating

Two interlinked systems:
2kW Webasto diesel-powered blown air heater
2.4kW Truma LPG-powered blown-air heater
Both heaters feed into a common ducting system delivering hot air around the truck and can be used independently or together
Micro ducting feeds underfloor area to protect water tank / supply system from icing up / frost damage
Separate TrumaVent booster fan fitted to further circulate warm air as desired

Water capacity

Approx 330 litres

Water heating

15-litre calorifier primarily heated by engine coolant
750 watt 230V ac electrical element within calorifier acts as a back up heat source (powered from inverter when stationary and engine running)
Thermostatic mixer fitted to calorifier's hot water outlet to regulate temperature and maximise capacity of stored hot water

Miscellaneous

 

Happy with the:

1. Aluminium window guards fabricated primarily to protect vulnerable acrylic windows, but which also provide extra security and privacy
2. Clear polycarbonate thermal shields to prevent condensation forming around hatch and door frames. These can also be deployed with doors / hatches open to allow in lots of light but keep out wind / cold and insects
3. Diesel heater exhaust routed through steel external locker to assist with gentle drying of wet and muddy boots
4. Permanent folding seat mounted on top of cab for extended, comfortable wildlife viewing
5. Conversion to 14R20 tyres gives much improved performance across the board
6. Tambour overhead-locker doors used extensively - simple, reliable and light
7. Rear access door design maximises interior space and obviates need for usual, often problematic, ladder-assisted high-level entrances

Next time I'd:

1. Build slightly smaller height-wise (50mm at least)
2. Use 2 x chest-style fridges (one performing refrigeration duty and one for simple storage / backup)
3. Build a large opening wall-hatch to enable clear wildlife-viewing during rain
4. Retain existing capacity but have two fresh-water tanks instead of one, including incorporation of a rainwater scavenging system