Mercedes 1017A Camper Construction

Fabrication and assembly of an off-road capable camper

20100921 through ??( in progress now)

Last update: 20110524 from San Diego, CA

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1017A with new cargo boxes, super-single tires and wheels installed.
All photos copyright, Bill Caid 2010 - 2012. All rights reserved.

The Situation

Kathleen and I have traveled extensively in our 1300L Unimog/Alaskan Camper combination.  We have taken that rig all over the western USA , Baja California, the eastern seaboard and to the Arctic Ocean via Canada and Alaska.  The combination is a solid choice for hard-core 'wheeling and back country camping.  But, off road capabilities notwithstanding, the interior footprint of the living quarters is small.  Particularly if you are going to go on a many-month adventure.  So, we have been searching for a platform that would provide the majority of the capabilities of the 1300L with improved living quarters.

We believe that the Mercedes Benz 1017A is such a platform.  We located a truck in La Junta, CO owned by a friend Rob Pickering and along the way found a Hi-Lo travel trailer that would provide an improved living space as well as a low center of gravity.

The pages below detail the actions we took to fabricate and assemble this rig.

Construction Details

The link table below contains links to the actions that include photos and dialog.

 

Links to Daily Adventures
Part Dates Adventure Locations
1
2010090812-0921
Pre-purchase evaluation and initial construction
2
20100924-25
Sub-Frame Construction and Test Fitting
3
20100928
Frame Attachment and Articulation Test
4
20100929-1008
Sub-Frame Completion and Battery Box Fabrication
5
20101009-15
Final Assembly and Testing
6
20101016-21
La Junta, CO to MogFest at the Salton Sea, CA
7
20101022-24
MogFest at Truckhaven near Salton Sea, CA
8
20101025-1109
Propane Rack and Cargo Basket Fabrication
9
20101115-21
Propane Rack Completion
10
20101122-1215
Hydraulic Installation and Debug
11
20101216-20110109
Camper Electrical System and Plumbing Re-Work
12
20110110-0204
Tool Boxes and Super-Single Tires
13
20110205-18
Fenders, Cab Electrical, More Cargo Boxes
14
20110325-0522
Bash Plate, Cargo Boxes and Folding Platform

 

Conclusion

This was/is a big project and took, no surprise, more effort, time and money than expected.  But, Rob Pickering is a great fabricator and with the exception of the propane rack, all tasks necessary to get us rolling were completed. in La Junta, CO prior to our return to San Diego.  The 1017A has great road manners and handles well.  While the gearing is low resulting in a lower top speed than the 1300, the 1017 handled mountain grades better and would usually beat the 1300 up the grade.  The distance from La Junta to San Diego, CA was about 1300 miles and I was very pleased with the way that the truck performed.

Actions after part  6 were completed in San Diego, CA at our home and continue as of this update.  There has been a ton of work completed to date and much more has to be done to finish the project.  But, as of the last update, the truck is stable.  We have repaired some internal damage due to the sketchy build quality of the original camper.  To it's credit, the unit has logged over four months of duty on and off the road in the western U.S.  See photos of this expedition.

Miscellaneous Information

Beware "feature creep".  Personal projects, just like corporate development efforts are subject to increasing scope of activity.  We suffered the same issues and were wary enough to delete the extra efforts before they derailed the overall project.

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Copyright Bill Caid 2010-2012