Satellite and Cellular Navigation Systems
I have navigation via cellular network, via GPS, and via Delorme Iridium inReach satellite messenger.
There is a drop down iPad from the roof for navigation with Garmin Navigon.
The Heads-Up display projects the navigation instructions to the windshield so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road.
Navigation using cellular networks and Google maps works where there is access to cellular networks. When I’m outside the reach of cellular networks, I use the Garmin Navigon system on an iPad with a GPS chip and preloaded maps.
Delorme InReach Explorer for Communication
The Delorme InReach Explorer that I installed is primarily for sending SOS messages. The Iridium satellite network has global coverage. It also allows you to send an email directly via satellite, bypassing the local cellular networks, to communicate with the monitoring station.
Delorme also sells a separate insurance policy that will provide emergency medical care and evacuation, if needed. The Delorme InReach Explorer pairs with the iPad and works in a similar way to a GPS system. With preloaded maps, it allows you to navigate anywhere. Delorme InReach Explorer is my back up system.
360 Degree Cameras For Safety
I also have cameras that give a 360 degree outside view from the Fuso cabin, as well as from inside the camper.
Cameras that give a 360 degree view from inside the Four Wheel Camper.
In addition I have a camera over each wheel which will show me the position of the wheels. If I’m on a ledge, I can see where my wheels are located.
Above is the build process of the Four Wheel Camper.
That’s neat, and potentially a life saver. Your camper certainly doesn’t look like a typical Four Wheel Camper. How did you go about designing it?
I designed it with the Four Wheel Camper team. The layout, specifications, and diesel appliances were all a part of the planning process. I wanted the camper to sleep three people, have a full kitchen, a toilet, and water heater. The biggest challenge was the pass-through. That took a lot of work, and design.
Prior to buying the Fuso, I had met with Tom Hanagan, President of Four Wheel Campers, and floated the idea to him. I was very lucky to catch Four Wheel Campers when they were moving to their new factory location. They had the time to do it, and agreed to do a one-off camper for me. Tom is a nice guy, and I know that it was a challenge.
The kitchen cabinetry is white in Sunil’s Four Wheel Camper.
Reasons For Diesel Appliances In Campers
I wanted one fuel source for all tasks, and that was diesel. The cooktops, the space heater, and the water heater are all diesel powered.
The panels for the electrical controls, fuses, shore power, and some internal lights.
What power sources does the camper have?
I have no propane and no generator. I do have house batteries recharged by solar and trickle charged by the Fuso engine. The house batteries are completely independent of the truck batteries.
The battery and inverter system runs the LED lights, fans, air-conditioner, microwave, convection oven, and the 12-volt refrigerator. The inverter will run the air conditioner for three to four hours. I have provisions for both 110 volt and 220 volt shore power hook-up.
Camper To Truck Pass-Through Challenge
To make the pass-through, Four Wheel Campers mounted the camper and lined it up with the Fuso. Then we cut the Fuso cab. The Fuso is a cab forward truck. To get access to the engine compartment, the cab has to be tilted forward.
Above: The pass-through in the Four Wheel Camper and Fuso
The challenge was getting a connecter that could be easily released and, at the same time, it needed to adequately seal the pass-through to prevent leakage. We used a pillow-connector that is bolted and glued down on one end, and is attached to a frame that slides into a slot on the other end.
The pass-through is sealed to prevent water leakage. This photo was taken from the exterior of the truck and camper.
The pass-through is sealed to prevent leakage. The photo was taken from the inside of the truck and camper.
I wanted a large pass-through, mainly for security. If I am parked in a foreign country and there’s a problem, I can get from the cabin to the driver’s seat without going outside. I can also use it to access the camper during bad weather. It’s a bit of a chore to crawl through, but it can be done.
The Fuso in Joshua Tree National Park on an unmaintained trail.
Capacities of the Fuso Camper
The rig has 100 gallons of fresh water, 40 gallons of grey water, and a cassette toilet. The rig also has water pumps and water filtration system that allow water to be pumped from a nearby river or stream to fill the fresh water tank. I do not need to use a hook-up anywhere if I don’t want to.
The fresh water tank is attached to the chassis and the grey tanks are on the side. I have twenty gallons of grey on each side. The black water is a five gallon Thetford cassette that I can take it out and dump into a regular toilet.
Setting up all the tanks took planning. Four Wheel Campers had the truck with them during the design phase so they were able to position the equipment. Having the truck on site enabled them to understand and work through issues.
I wanted the truck and camper to be relatively light weight. That was one reason why I choose Four Wheel Campers. Their aluminum framed construction kept the weight of the camper under 2,000 pounds dry.
Above: The 80″x48″ bed in the back of the camper
That’s impressive. This camper does not feature a traditional cabover bed. Where is the bed located, and what size is it?
The rig actually features two beds, a 80” x 48” bed in the back of the camper, and the dinette converts into another 80” x 48” bed.
Above: The shower and changing area tracks on the ceiling
What are the tracks on the ceiling of the camper?
There’s one curtain that goes around the shower area. The shower walls are shoulder height and the rest of the area above it is curtained off. There other track is in front of the shower to create a private changing area. There is drainage on the floor of the shower area that goes to one of the grey water tanks.
Sunil’s 2006 Mitsubishi Fuso FG and 2013 Four Wheel Camper in Randsburg, California.
Other Fuso Camper Challenges
The diesel systems were a challenge. We didn’t fully understand the intricacies, like how fat the diesel line needed to be. If it’s too fat, or too small, the system won’t work. It took some time and effort to figure it out.
Four Wheel Campers built the camper, mounted it on the truck, and then installed the connectors. The whole thing took about nine months for the rig to be built and assembled. A lot of the time was designing. I was in no rush and didn’t have a hard deadline. I wanted to make sure it was done right. That’s another reason why I chose Four Wheel Campers.
Is A Fuso Four Wheel Camper cost effective?
The rig cost me quite a bit, but it was cheaper than an Earthroamer and it was custom made for my needs. I particularly like the spaciousness inside the camper.
The Fuso driving off-road in Randsburg, California.
Do you have any future trips planned?
This year I’ve been doing short trips. I went to Overland Expo, Joshua Tree National Park, and Avila beach. I’m just learning about the truck and camper. Jonathan Hanson of Overland Expo is arranging a three day session to help me break it in and learn the ropes.
I will be going to Baja, Mexico later this year, and South America sometime next year. Mostly I will be traveling overseas. I grew up in India and I know how bad the roads can be. So I am rigged for any terrain.
Fuso Camper Fits In Shipping Container
This rig fits in a high cube shipping container, so shipping is less expensive and much easier than using roll-on roll-off shipping. The rig dimensions are 270” long, by 8’7” tall with the roof closed, and 7’8” wide. I plan on traveling for few weeks at a time, then renting a container, and storing the camper on location. I will fly back home and then return a few months later and carry on with the journey. That way I don’t have to travel in one stretch.
The big plan is to drive around the world. The camper was built by Four Wheel Campers specifically to satisfy this goal. It is extremely self sufficient. For all practical purposes, all I need is a diesel refill every two weeks or so, and access to food and water. The camper has everything one has in a house, parks in a regular parking spot, and fits into a shipping container.
It’s quite the extraordinary rig. We can’t wait to follow your adventures.
The rig was designed for off-roading. It’s rugged. All-terrain Falcon Peak tires are installed. It’s got a compressor to inflate the tires. The hydraulic jack works off the compressor to lift the truck up. It’s a beautiful rig. The real beauty of it is its functionality and its simplicity.
Do you have a truck camper on a unique truck? Please share your story.