MAN – The basis

Spring 2017. We are looking for a base vehicle for our future trips. After 1 1/2 years on the road in southern Africa, we loved our Woelcke Autarkrunner on a Sprinter 316 4×4 basis. However, the ground clearance and load capacity leave a lot to be desired. We’re also not sure how many years the Sprinter would last on these poor tracks and roads with often hard corrugated iron.

Base vehicle MAN 14.285

After a long search, we find what we are looking for: a blue MAN 14.285 at DAZ-Truck in Göttingen (Germany). Buying is easy and difficult at the same time. Difficult because we have no idea about trucks. What do we need to look out for? Fortunately, the vehicle is originally from Switzerland, which gives us a bit of confidence when it comes to maintenance, and we go for it – after all, we don’t want to sit at home for years waiting for a new vehicle.

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  • Total weight 14 tons
  • 6-cylinder in-line engine, displacement 6871 cc, turbocharging and air cooling, electronically controlled distributor injection pump (EDC)
  • Power 280 PS / 206 Kw / Euro 3
  • Manual gearbox 8+1 gear double H
  • Selectable all-wheel drive, rear limited slip differential
  • Cruise control
  • Wheelbase 356 cm

Füss Mobile

Why did we decide to purchase our new vehicle from
Füss Mobile
build our new vehicle?

  1. The “Füss vehicles” we inspected convinced us of their clean and high-quality construction. Füss also has the seal of approval from
  2. The company Füss only builds trucks and has a correspondingly high level of know-how with trucks. Our visits to the workshop convinced us of the high level of craftsmanship.
  3. At Füss, not only is the expedition conversion (living box, tanks, etc.) carried out, but our base vehicle is also restored.
  4. Our communication with the owner, Frank Oechsner, was very positive. Emails are answered within a day and questions are discussed in detail.
  5. For important work, the boss is also in the workshop from time to time to check and help out.

Dismantle base vehicle

As soon as the contract is signed, our MAN is already in the workshop and the attachments that are no longer needed or interfere are dismantled.

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The driver’s cab is in good condition, with the exception of the rust hole in the floor, which needs to be welded shut. The shock absorbers and brake drums must be replaced. The rest is in surprisingly good condition.

Restoring a basic vehicle

Finally a happy Saturday in September, the sandblaster has time and the weather is dry. The chassis of the MAN can be sandblasted.

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After sandblasting, the chassis must be primed and painted immediately so that the bare metal does not oxidize again. An exhausting job. The Füss company works with a special paint system. The primer and the paint are applied with high pressure to provide full coverage. This means that work has to be carried out constantly, even in the most uncomfortable positions under the vehicle. But the end result is something to be proud of!

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Intermediate frame

The running gear of most trucks is flexible in itself, i.e. not rigid. This allows them to twist or interlock on uneven surfaces. However, the living area cannot and should not be folded away – what would happen to all the furniture?

We obtain a four-point bearing arrangement, also known as a diamond bearing arrangement. This mounting of the intermediate frame guarantees the chassis the greatest possible freedom from twisting and at the same time protects the living area from these twisting forces.

After galvanizing, the final work is carried out and the intermediate frame can be fitted. Everything fits perfectly. In the meantime, the driver’s cab has also been repainted in the Mercedes Sprinter blue-grey color. The 60×90 cm cut-out for the passage from the living area to the driver’s cab was also realized. Great, things are moving forward!

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