DIY Overland Expedition Vehicle Build
Jill and I are building our dream Overland Truck for full-time travel that can take us all over the world. After several years living in our self-built van we had a pretty good idea of what we wanted. Our dream build started years ago and is finally coming to fruition. We couldn’t be more excited! So join us for the adventure, bumpy roads, and learn how to build your ultimate camper.
Don’t Forget To Join…
Our DIY Overland Camper Build Facebook group is for people just like you that want to learn more about building your dream rig. Wether it’s a campervan, box truck, skoolie, or airplane with wheels, you’ve come to the right place.
Check Out Our Build Series Over on YouTube
The chassis is based off an EarthCruiser CORE which is a heavily modified Isuzu NPR truck. Basically everything behind the the transmission is stripped and replaced with top of the line 4×4 aftermarket parts.
- Atlas 2-speed transfer case
- Fusion axles with front and rear ARB air lockers
- 60 gallon stainless steel fuel tank
- 4-wheel disc brakes
- Method wheels with 12.5″ x 37″ tires
- Safari rack, side ladder, and front winch bumper
Beginners Guide To Campervan Electrical Systems – A great place to learn or refresh on the basics of campervan electrical systems. We go over Watts and Amps, 12v Vs. 24v systems, charging sources, and the difference between standard batteries and Lithium.
Total Composites Camper Box
The camper box is from Total Composites out of Vancouver BC. EarthCruiser offers the option to have their standard 13′ foot box assembled and mounted or you can have a completely custom box built for you by Total Composites.
The base CORE chassis includes the torsion free sub-frame which is required to prevent twisting to your box while off roading. You can get the chassis with or without the camper box mounted.
We opted for a custom 14′ box which was assembled and installed by EarthCruiser. Here are the specs for the camper box,
- Exterior Length – 14.7′
- Interior Length – 14.2′
- Exterior Width – 6.7′
- Interior Width – 6.4′
- Exterior Height – 6.8′
- Interior Height – 6.2′
The floor of the box is 3″ thick and composed of FRP panel skins, foam, and 3/8 sheet of marine plywood. In addition the floor has steel beams that run through floor for attachment to subframe. The roof, front, and back panels are 3″ thick with foam and FRP outer skins. The roof also has several wire chase channels built in should you need them. The side panels are FRP skins with foam and are 2″ thick.
You can add addition steel reinforcement wherever you desire. We added steel reinforcement on the sidewall for an awning as well as rear supports that are rated for up to 800lbs.
This thing is ridiculously well insulated and efficient for either warm or cold weather travel.
For electrical we are using Mastervolt and their sister company CZone. The Mastervolt and CZone combination offers digital switching, remote monitoring, and a slick touch screen user interface. They also offer secondary alternator charging solutions. You can learn more about the individual components we’re using and why we chose these over Victron on our YouTube channel. Click HERE
Here are some of the highlights to our electrical system
- Digital switching technology
- 24v and 12v system
- 3000 watt inverter and charger
- 30 amp shore power
- 1,100 watts of walk-on solar
- 14,000 watt DIY Lithium battery bank (1,100 Amp hours at 12 volt)
- 24v Air Conditioner for off-grid use
- 12 Volt Starlink Satellite Internet
The Best Off-Grid Campervan Air Conditioner – Finding a good off-grid air conditioner is no easy task. Here’s a list of a few of our favorites. Check out our YouTube on the DC air conditioner that we’re installing to see if it’s right for you – DC 12v/24v Air Conditioner
Mobile Internet Resources
👉Mobile Internet For RV and Vanlife – WiFi, Boosters, Satellite, and Unlimited Cellular
👉How To Power Starlink Satellite Internet on 12 Volt DC
👉Starlink RV Vs. Residential With Portability- Which Plan Is Right For You
👉Best Starlink Accessories For RV and Vanlife
Rixen Heating System
We love to chase good skiing so a robust and reliable heating system was a must. We ended up going with the Rixen Hydronic system. This system functions by heating a 2-gallon hydronic tank that is heated by either 120v or an exterior gas furnace which pulls from the vehicles fuel tank.
The heated fluid runs throughout the camper where you can then add heat exchangers for hot air or hot water. We have an air heat exchanger as well as 2 plate heat exchangers for water, one for sink and one for shower.
In addition the system can tie into your vehicle coolant system to provide heat while driving or to preheat your engine for cold starts. It’s a very flexible and expandable system.
We opted for a separate shower and toilet area. We have a dedicated 24 x 26″ shower stall and then across from that is our Airhead composting toilet. We have the urine diverter plumbed to a 7 gallon holding tank.
The shower has the option to run as a standard shower pulling fresh water from our 50 gallon tank or can be run as a recirculating shower.
Here’s a video going over the build design in 3D Google Sketchup.
We have 50 gallons of fresh water and 16 gallons of grey water storage. Our cooktop is a dual burner induction cooktop and we have a combo microwave/air fryer for our baking needs. In addition we frequently use our Instant Pot and outside barbecue.
Windows, Skylights, and Fans
For windows, cargo doors, and skylight we’re using Tern Overland products. Tern offers dual pane acrylic windows which provide great insulation properties and include integrated insect and black-out screens. For additional fresh air we have a Maxair fan located above the bathroom area.
👉The Best Windows For Campervan Conversions
We love questions so ask away! Our preferred place to answer questions is over at our DIY Box Truck 4×4 & Overland Vehicles facebook group. But if that’s not convenient just leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
6 thoughts on “DIY Overland Expedition Vehicle Build”
I am the proud owner of a 14 foot isuzu npr box truck that used to be a mobile classroom.
I specifically am wondering where to order the safari roof rack and front bumper?? Did you do those through earthcruiser? Any cheaper alternative?
Congrats on the new rig! Reach out to Buckstop they are who makes them for EarthCruiser, https://www.buckstopinc.com/
I love the build, looks killer. I’m working on my next van and have considered using a Mastervolt/CZone system, my only hang up is really wanting to be able to incorporate HVAC controls right into it, so EVERYTHING is in one interface. Have you heard of any options or have any thoughts?
That would be slick to have the heating and cooling tied into the Czone system. It can definitely be done as they do it all the time in marine installs. I however don’t know much about that or what systems are compatible. I would reach out to some marine supply companies and ask them.
Hey you guys,
I Watched one of your videos on YouTube. Great truck and nice work building it yourself. I have a Kenworth K370 DIY truck. I would be very interested in talking more about your build and the things you did and maybe swapping some ideas.
Would love to see your build. Can you reach out to us on social media? We are on Instagram and Facebook as outsidenomad. If that doesn’t work let me know and we can exchange emails.