I would love to tell you all the details of the mystic metamorphosis of Karossi from his former being as a purely functional fire fighter transporter into a mobile home with all capabilities of accommodation for two people with essentials like water purification, conveniences as multi-zone foam mattress, basics as table and chairs to more sophisticated electrical transformation into a two-battery supply, everything neatly wrapped into a homogeneous restoration clearly keeping apart old from new. Instead of boring you with all descriptive transformation steps throughout the last 9 months, I will provide you the full programme in only a bunch of pictures. Here we go...
Roof-mount consists of two 60l former German military weapon storage boxes, four 20l petrol cans plus the second spare wheel, the first is placed below the front passenger seats. The remaining space remains reserved for now, most probably for sand plates.
The passengers cabin is cleaned from obsolete wiring, the only modification on the dashboard is a cork finish to hide the topology recalling good Swiss cheese plus a small compartment for miscellaneous items, most probably Aga's preferred place to put sun cream and other cosmetics.
Looking backwards from the driver passenger seat we see the water basin, the bed frame (mattress folded to access the central storage area) with two additional tweeters, storage nets along the side windows to pack sleeping bags and other light items such as jackets and - my biggest pride - the central control unit to operate the electrical system of the entire vehicle.
The direct way back from the cabin to the rear is blocked by the cooling box and map compartment, both can be crossed easily for the rare rainy days. Hopefully we will be able to get access to the living area more frequently from the side sliding door. Easily accessible are the two folding chairs and the rollable table, properly wrapped in their green bags inside the kitchen box.
Back-to-back with driver and passenger seat we have placed the cooling box, a highly efficient compressor model to save a maximum on battery power from Engel, monopolist to build products with the Sawafuji swing compressor (Japanese-made), ruggedized and absolutely immune to inclination which is absolutely crucial given the road condition in most countries we plan to travel. Additional information for Engel MR-040F. What remains in the cold for days will eventually end up in the pan. Liquid gas burners would be useless in most countries unless we wanted to carry large amount of gas cartridges or countless adapters for the incompatible national systems. Although disliked by many due its pyrotechnical surprises that may happen at any time, we will do most of our cooking on a Coleman Burner Dual Fuel stove, fed by unleaded petrol that also feeds our Karossi. Self-importing this burner from REI in Farmington Hills (Detroit, US) saved me about half of the price, but I admit that airport security did not share my enthusiasm.
The water tank is placed below the bed, the basic capacity is 65l which allows us to travel the deserts of Mongolia and Iran safely, an additional two water bags with 20l each adds safety margin and can be stored on the roof. There is no need for drinking water access at any time thanks to the (Swiss!) Katadyn Superdyn filter (similar to Katadyn Vario but optimized for automatic operation) which filters water mechanically to assure biological cleanliness and chemically to neutralize any non-organic toxins. The water tap delivers up to 12l/min either filtered or unfiltered, the pressure is generated by a Fiamma Aqua 8 water pump, a reliable and economic product from pretty Italy!
Water tank and engine control unit (probably the only part in the bus which can not be repaired using a screwdriver, a hammer and pliers) are hidden by our traveller's sized bed, 110cm in width and 190cm in length, just 4cm too short to put myself asleep.
Despite the fact that we take off on brand new tires, the probability of flat tires is as good as assured. A wheel change on regular roads is simple, but on sand or in mud this becomes rather difficult. Also when the car is buried in unstable terrain, the best solution is a so-called High Jack or Farm Jack. At 16kg of weight, we found the perfect spot for it right beneath the kitchen box, rather than shifting the center of gravity even higher up by fixing it on the roof carrier.
Minor detail on the left will allow us to attach rather essential gear. A mosquito net is urgently required for anyone travelling the Russian wetlands during summer time. We will provide you with a detailed analysis of the scoring effect of these beasts only two months from now. Roof lights are made of Osram LEDs, just the best in energy efficiency available on the market today. Some may recognize the goose neck on the right. Yes, it is Swedish and costs 9,99Euro at IKEA. Minor modifications allow to run them on a 12V car battery.
Plenty storage space is available in the side lockers along the vehicle.The plan however is to start with little and return with plenty, but we will see... (I'll keep you posted on Schnuffka's desperate trials to fit all her dresses on her side of the vehicle).