Friday, February 16, 2007

Fuso Santek 4

While photographing all over Tokyo, Japan, more particularly the cherry blossom today, Santek Trailers in Riverside, Ca, USA, continues to build the FUSO SANTEK expedition vehicle and we are so fortunate to live in a time that communication is fast and easy.

An issue has come up now. Building a FUSO SANTEK is not from a blueprint based on others who have figured out everything already. Building an expedition vehicle is an expedition in itself and it is such a fortunate thing that SANTEK understands this principle. Paul Westphal, his chief engineer Roberto and the whole SANTEK-crew are open to face anything which comes up, put it on a stage, have the spotlights shine on it, to consider and see it from as many corners and perspectives as possible to eventually come to the best solution.

The issue to contemplate at this stage is that it was planned to have a custom made box mounted on the cabin of the truck.
This box was to be designed in an aerodynamic way with a side door to have the inside as a cargo space.
But more study by the SANTEK experts has revealed that the construction of the roof of the FUSO cabin is not strong enough to build a box on top of it when going off-road where it shakes and rattles.

What are the alternatives?
There is another FUSO expedition vehicle build where they used a roof rack on top of the cabin of the truck.

Looks good.
However, no aerodynamic advantages are achieved with this solution.
Another matter is that putting jerry cans and other cargo in that roof rack puts heavy strain on the roof construction.
To go off road with that weight on the cabin roof is asking for trouble.

Another solution is to put a “Roof Top Wind Deflector”.
This is often seen on trucks like the FUSO.

And for good reasons: MPG is increased having the “Roof Top Wind Deflector” on top of the cabin of the truck.
However, how ideal is it for a truck going off road?
Where are obstacles like branches of trees.
Which might hit the “Roof Top Wind Deflector” and damage it seriously.
And what will heavy vibrations of washboard roads do to the “Roof Top Wind Deflector”?
It is a fragile thing designed for highway use only.

While working in Tokyo today, a Mitsubishi Fuso was spotted with this solution:
The "Aerodynamic nose cone".

This is a very interesting solution.
One is that we must realise that to have access to the Mitsubishi Fuso engine, the whole cabin flips forwards.
This is why no cab over can be made to the camper box.
But this aerodynamic nose cone spotted today is designed in a way that the cabin of the truck can still be lifted open without being obstructed.
Interesting extra is that when this aerodynamic nose cone would be mounted on the FUSO SANTEK, an opening could be made in the sleeping area to have more cargo space inside this aerodynamic nose cone.
An “Aerodynamic Nose-Cone” is not fragile like a “Roof Top Wind Deflector”.
It is very well integrated.

Step by step the FUSO SANTEK is growing.
Interesting ideas come up, but next a lot depends on availability.
This "Aerodynamic nose cone" is a great thing, but is it on the market in the USA as well?
Anyone knows ?


Downrivers said...

Could you build a rack out from the front of the cabin and hinge it on the cabin side so that it would fold up enough to allow the cab to be raised. The rack could be fastened at points on the cabin front. Possibly the rack may need to be unloaded first.

It is my understanding that access to the engine under the cab is for major repairs and may not happen very often.

Evan said...

I havn't tried this (I own a cabover truck too) but if you have skilled fabricators, how about a canvas-covered folding frame attached to the camper box? Leave the canvas installed for highway use for better aerodynamics; unbutton and remove it in areas where it might be vulnerable to puncture. If it gets torn inadvertantly, it could be sewn back together quickly and easily.