Saturday, September 13, 2008

A firm FM

Daniel R. and Nancy W. are the proud owners of a Mitsubishi Fuso FM truck.
Darrin Fink of Douglas, Wyoming has transformed this truck into an expedition vehicle.

That has been quite a project because in its original state the Mitsubishi Fuso FM does not have four-wheel drive.
Hence, the truck has received a specially designed and made front axle with a differential and a new transmission box.
Now it is 4x4.

The camper box is made from polyester and is glued together.
Very light and strong.

This custom-made expedition vehicle is of ultimate high quality.
Very well build and technically close to perfect.

Nevertheless, some remarks can be made.

This Fuso FM Fink is equipped with a huge generator and a large air conditioner on the roof of the camper box.
Consequently the windows are relatively small and there is only one roof vent: above the bed.
The concept is to be out in the boondocks and when it is warm one must run the generator and operate the air conditioner to keep the inside of the camper box cool.
Locked up inside.
The Fuso Szulc has no generator and no air conditioner.
But two very large roof vents and four very large windows.
Great views and the wind can cool the inside.

Strangely enough, the Fuso FM Fink has no screen door.
Any bug and bee, but also rodents and mice can come in for a visit when the door is open.

The windows are opened by tilting them to the outside.
However, when the door is open, one of the bedroom windows cannot open.
The door obstructs this.
And takes away the view from that window.
If the window is open and the door is opened without thinking, it crushes the plastic window.

The propane tank is right in front the rear wheels on the driver’s side.
It is unprotected.
This is very dangerous.
Any stone or other flying object by the driving on dirt roads can hit and damage the tank.
Also, any vandal or badly intentioned person can fool around with the controls of the propane tank and do serious damage.
This propane tank should be in a box with a lock pronto.

More aspects of the Fuso FM Fink are made without vandalism in mind.
Several compartments that are reached by doors from the outside have no lock.
Anybody can open them.
For example, the compartment where is the water pump and the heater.

A last little thing before the list becomes too long.
The water tank has of course an air vent.
So air can escape when the water tank is filled and air can come in when using water.
This air vent is made too low.
When driving, the water in the tank starts to move and finds a way out through the air vent.
On his last trip, this Fuso FM Fink lost in this way 40 % of its water supply…


To learn more about Darrin Fink, click on:



Anonymous said...

Really Nice!, I was hoping to see the inside , Mr. Fink didn't post any interior images of the Fuso-FM on his website, Thanks,

Anonymous said...

Darrin Fink here, of RUF, Inc. The FM owner pointed me to your blog.

There are many statements in your post not well explained, and some that are absolutely false. I'll give three examples:

1) There is only one non-locking door on the entire vehicle, not "several" as you state. It is the access door to the plumbing, and was a late addition when the customers selected a different bed design than was originally planned. Access to that area was supposed to be from inside, with no external hatch at that location.

The door was sold to RUF, Inc. as a "locking door", but was misrepresented by our supplier and there was no time before delivery to install lock sets. Locks can be installed in that door with ease by the customer at his discretion.

2) There are BOTH sliding and hinged windows in the camper. Hinged windows can be open in the rain when the vehicle is parked, but can not be open while under way. Sliding windows can be open while underway, but aren't so great in the rain when parked. The windows are mixed so that in any condition, a good natural cross-draft can be achieved.

3) There are two roof vents, not one. There is a large one in the bunk area allowing egress to the roof. There is a power roof vent in the shower area which can be used to draw fresh air into any open windows, using just 1 amp of current.

I do appreciate your positive comments. Criticism is also appreciated IF it is accurate!

Michel Szulc Krzyzanowski said...

Darrin Fink is a fabulous builder of expedition vehicles.
And a very nice guy.
He has all my respect.

But this doesn’t mean that the expedition vehicles he builds are perfect.

He has a comment now on my blog and as an exception I respond.

To call my remarks as false when they are not, is not the way to improve the next vehicle.
Or to make right what is wrong.

Not only the access door to the plumbing is accessible to anyone.
Also the stairs can be pulled out by any unauthorized person.
The same goes for the spare tire.
There is a handle to operate the lifting and descending of the tire and it is without a lock or any protection.
Anybody can use it unauthorized or vandalize it .

The window next to the bed is not a sliding window.
It can only be opened by swinging it.
To open this window is impossible when the door is open.
A major design flaw.

Vents were counted in the living and sleeping areas and there is one only.
A vent that is in the bathroom is not counted as it serves only that space.
Or is the concept that to have more fresh air the bathroom door must be opened that will be the view to the right when seated at the dinette?

In Darrin Fink’s comment is nothing about the dangerous situation with the unprotected propane tank.
Nothing about the overflowing and 40 % loss of water of the fresh water tank.
Nor about the fact the door has no screen door.
Lack of Darrin Fink’s response to these important issues is revealing.

As mentioned in the blog. there is a lot more to contemplate about this Fuso FM Fink.
And what the owner had to say about it.
But if the things mentioned result in Darrin Fink becoming unreasonably defensive, it is OK.
It is not my truck.