Sorry for the delayed response. We are currently in South East Asia for a mix of business (work) and pleasure (trip to Kota Tinggi, Malaysia in our LC90).
I am delighted that this thread about the EcoRoamer continues to be of interest, education, and perhaps even entertainment for so many people. That was our original intention, so it’s great to see it happening.
YES – as someone rightly pointed out, we made the project non-commercial and open-source, so that opens us up to all sorts of criticisms, both constructive and non, but we welcome it. As far as I’m concerned any dialogue and learnings that can come out of this are helpful, especially if they lead to better / more eco-friendly expedition vehicles.
As for the youTube video posted, and the comments that followed it, I’ll give you my feedback as factually and non-defensively as I can considering some stranger is calling me an “idiot” on YouTube:
1 – Anyone who has driven that road out of the hills of Jerome down into Sedona will know that it is a “fun” road in any vehicle, let alone a 30,000lb off road vehicle as wide as the lane. Yes, I crossed the yellow line. Yes, I did it too close to some oncoming traffic and I do/did feel bad about it on that day and on several other tight mountain roads since.
2 – You will all be relieved to know that in 40,000+ miles we have never had any accident involving another vehicle, ever.
3 – That video was shot a year ago, when the truck was still running on the stock Ford shocks, which were underated for the vehicle and were crap. As documented earlier in this thread (with pics!) they had been replaced with King Shocks that took a LOT of the sway and roll out of the turns. They are now replaced again (since the spring problem) with even beefier units, so a lot of the roll you see in that video no longer exists.
4 – A stock F-650 is rated at 27,000lbs. However, this is not a stock F-650. The front leaf spring packs have been completely replaced and uprated. The chassis frame was completely sleeved with L-Channels. The rear suspension leaf springs and shocks have been completely replaced and uprated. And the “should be duallies” tires are actually 345 super singles. All of which put the rating of the truck WELL above the 34,000lbs fully loaded that it currently weighs. Throughout this process, I have taken the safety and strength of the truck as the NUMBER ONE priority for the vehicle. Afterall, it is my family riding around in it, and I have a strong urge not to kill them on some random mountain road.
5 – The wheelbase is 250″, that is a stock offering for a F-650, the truck is not “too long” – total length is under 33ft, that’s smaller than my dad’s 1983 gas engined, hydraulic brakes, class A – which believe me, scares the crap out of me a lot more than my under-capacity F-650.
6 – I have a lot of respect for Joaquin Suave (and a lot of other posters on this thread) and don’t think I was ever mean or dismissive of any opinions here. A lot of people disagreed with what we’re doing, a lot loved it. But ALL of you have in some way contributed to our thinking about the project and a LOT of the elements of the design. Even those of you who only have 1 posting on Expo, but chose to use it to put up some nonsense YouTube video from some retired couple following me on a twisty mountain road.
Ooops, sorry. Was that out loud?
The fact is, we’ve now been living in the EcoRoamer for a year. We’ve been in everything from the New Mexico desert, to the Arctic Circle. Overall it has performed brilliantly getting us up mountains and down small trails.
Yes, the rear right leaf spring snapped, and did so in a VERY dramatic fashion. However, having now pulled it off and done a pretty thorough inspection it looks as though it was a case of defect, combined with fatigue. The spring snapped exactly through the center pin hole, and my guys have confirmed ours is the 4th F-650 they have seen to snap in exactly the same spot.
We were well below the load rating for the spring, and have now replaced it with an even higher rated spring, together with a safety link.
Please keep the questions and debate coming. It’s great to see.