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Readers' feedback

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BenT., USA: A great primer on Expedition vehicles, filled with valuable lessons from an advanced do-it-yourselfer

I've dug around quite a bit for information on building your own Expedition Vehicles. There are several online sources (expedition portal, silkroute dot org) but Mr. Dolde's book is by far the most compact, all-in-one source I have been able to find. He chronicles his individual build-out of a military shelter and several modifications he has made as he lived in / explored with the vehicle. Along the way, he shares a lot of objective wisdom about truck choice, materials, size, weight, etc. The only shortcoming is that almost all of his sources and suppliers are in Europe. He does address North American topics at times (like the viability of using a US military surplus LMTVs), but there is only so much someone building in Germany and traveling in Africa can know about North American resoucres.

You can find similar materials here in the US and *some* european parts (like windows, Webasto Diesel heaters, etc), but in general, we in the US either have to fabricate things ourselves, explore yacht suppliers or settle for the rinky-dink, plastic hardware you'd find a camping world. All in all, a great primer on building your own monster expedition RV.

Ben T., USA

Beth K., USA: This book gives you confidence and inspires you to dream big!

I had the good fortune of listening to one of Ulrich Dolde's presentations and purchasing the book from him. If you are buying or building an expedition vehicle, then this is your bible! Knowledge is power and Ulrich's book is a vast source of knowledge. It is also a great read, because it is written from a personal perspective of trials and tribulations. He describes every detail of his own build and why he did what he did at that time. He goes further by letting you in on what he would do differently now, as his own experience and knowledge are ever growing. That kind of insight and honesty is refreshing in any book. Whether you are a butting self builder of vans or a seasoned pro, this book is an invaluable resource. True that many of the vendors are located in Europe, but many of then are available here or sell on-line. Motorhome self-build gives you confidence and inspires you to dream big. By buying this book, you also become part of Ulrich's ever-growing online community of do it yourselfers and explorers. Well worth the price of admission!
Beth K. 

James H., USA: ... this is a great book that will save you the price of it many times ...

 
For many years in USA getting information on overlanding has been a challenge. Let alone information on how to build a vehicle for the purpose. Ulrich has done a great job here doing just that. The book is not limited to overlanding. If you are a boondock camper or even just enjoy extended back-country trips this is the book for you. Power systems and water systems are covered in great depth.

I had the pleasure of helping proof the English edition and can tell you this is a great book that will save you the price of it many times over in your travels and adventures of building your own overlanding vehicle.
James H. 

Matthias P.: I would have paid the triple price for the book as it is worth every cent!!!

Hello Ulrich,
Your book seems to be the best that I have bought in my life!
I am so grateful that you have written this book because it is such an informative and helpful work.
If I had to gain this diversity of information with Google, I probably would have been busy many months.
Your book has given us so much courage that we build up two expedition mobile stations.
I would have paid the triple price for the book as it is worth every cent!!!
Thank you again for your personal (free) advice on the building of sandwich boards for the cabin.

Thanks for all
Best regards
Matthias

Philip, South Africa: Your book is filled with all the required detail ...

I have successfully downloaded your book!! As you will notice from my email, I am a Lawyer by profession and not very technically minded. I spent most of the weekend reading your book and have a very clear overview of what I need to do to fulfil my dream. Your book is filled with all the required detail, and I am sure that in following same, a good result will be obtained.
Philip, South Africa

Dr. Nick S.: Fantastic book

Dear Ulrich

Thank you for mailing the book, you should feel really proud of the final English version.  The amount of detail is fantastic and I have learned much from it already (have not finished reading it yet).  Make sure you get you get to Australia one day and I’ll buy you a beer

Cheers, Nick

David K.: ... you have the magic touch for simplifying the complex

Dear Ulrich, I purchased you ebook a while ago. I would like to provide some really positive feedback on the book. Whilst the internet is useful your book just blows it away.

I think you have the magic touch for simplifying the complex and making good selections from the massive amount of information on products and services potentially available. Your vehicle design outcome and the way you describe its construction shows a touch for making good practical choices.

In particular your coverage of the following greatly helped me escape from the “too many choices” syndrome of using the internet.

  1. Demystifying adhesives – I previously found it was quite hard to know what to use and when. Your section completely clarified it all.
  2. Spring mounted sub frames – I want to construct a body that is physically connected to the cab of an Iveco Daily 4x2. No-one seemed to know if this was a good idea (its widely used on motorhomes in Australia) and I was unsure if you could fix the sub-frame at the cab end since some guides don’t recommend it. But your advice was that as long as the springs are at one end it does not matter which end. By the way I do not need an extreme off road vehicle.
  3. Edge reinforced GRP panels. Here in Australia a lot of people use “Styromax” panels just glued without reinforcement or use heavy aluminium sections at the corners (think fridge trucks). Your insight that the panels are the weak point at the corners that no glue can overcome was brilliant.
  4. I think the best parts of your book are accurate reports of your real experience and your interviews with experienced commercial builders. This is a great alternative to internet opinion forums which can be difficult to assess as to reliability.
  5. Its great that you went to the trouble of naming all you suppliers.

There are lots of other jems – I think you handled the motivation to build quite well especially the initial gasps from amateur constructors when they discover how much money and time they will have invested in the vehicle.  How you went about getting the pros to help you was very intriguing – I am still looking for a pro who will let me use his shed J . Here in Australia their insurance policies prevent it I think. Thanks again for all that effort.  

David K.

Associate Professor University of South Australia
School of Information Technology and Mathematical Sciences

 

Jonathan C., USA: I feel confident with your book as my bible that the upcoming Stewart and Stevenson 6x6 will be an incredible improvement.

Greetings, Ulrich.


The book is wonderfully translated, has an intuitive order, and excellent images. I could not be happier with my purchase. I previously purchased the Haynes manual. It is very brief and limited in value when compared to your text.

I previously constructed a U900 Unimog camper in the 90s with very limited success. I feel confident with your book as my bible that the upcoming Stewart and Stevenson 6x6 will be an incredible improvement.

Best of luck on your travels and I hope to see you on the road one day.
Jonathan

Richard Robertson, Publisher and Managing Editor iMotorhome Australia & New Zealand: What can I say, other than wow?

Richard Robertson, Publisher and Managing Editor iMotorhome Australia & New Zealand

Thank you for the book, which arrived in good condition despite its long journey! What can I say, other than wow? I’m including a news piece in tomorrow’s Issue 111 of iMotorhome Australia and will also include it in April’s Issue 6 of iMotorhome New Zealand. If I can work out how best to tackle it, I’ll do a book review in one of the next issues too.
All the best with your travels and epic publishing adventure, and I look forward to catching up with you one day!

Kind regards, Richard

Dave R., UK: What an absolutely stunning piece of work your book is

Hi Ulrich

Your book has arrived safe and sound and we have registered on your site.  What an absolutely stunning piece of work your book is.  We will now spend some time reading it which will guide us with our planning of our project.  We currently share our travels with a Land Rover Discovery and a 23 feet twin axle caravan but have a desire to build our own motor home.  Our current thoughts are around a long wheel base Mercedes Sprinter Thin Wheel rear axle and 4WD van or mini bus.  We are still very much in the planning stage so your planning tools will be invaluable.
Thank and Kind Regards, Dave R

 

Pedro S., Portugal: ... the best book I have ever had

Hi Ulrich,

I just want to let you know I have already received my hard copy of your book. I can say it is, probably, the best book I have ever had. Thanks a lot for sharing all this knowledge.  

Cheers.

Pedro S.

 

Dr Neil A., UK: It's almost like xmas again :)

Ulrich, It is a dark miserable day here in West Midlands, UK, but my day just became a darn sight brighter because the postman has just delivered to me your book....

It's almost like xmas again :)

Love to you and your wife

Dr Neil

Mikael Galvér, Editor in Chief Husbil&Husvagn, Sweden: What a masterpiece ...

Hi Ulrich, Thank you for the book. What a masterpiece it is. I will read it and write a review for my magazine as soon as possible. 

Mikael Galvér, Editor in Chief Husbil&Husvagn, www.husbilhusvagn.se

Mark S., South Africa: A MASSIVE BIG THANK YOU

Dear Ulrich, Edith & Sternchen.

I have just finished reading the most recent edition of your book “MOTORHOME; Self-build and Optimisation.” I feel it appropriate that I express my gratitude to all three of you whom I feel I have come to know well, for documenting your self-build journey in such fine detail. I now have a good idea of the content in the book and will become my textbook for the duration of my own self-build journey. 

In my two months of research before purchasing your book I have been confined to exploring an array of expedition vehicle products on the internet, resulting in much fragmentation & confusion as to the best solutions for the key sub assemblies, most notably the electrical and water systems. Your book has helped demystify aspects of the build by highlighting essential issues that happen below the surface and has given me much more clarity in identifying the best solutions and best practices. In researching “my own” project, I have found myself continually being diverted to relevant forums and can safely say that for all the time invested, have come away with little or no benefit other than a few worth while contributions, BUT; most importantly a complementary endorsement from expeditionportal.com, prompted me to buy your book.  

The key benefits/ realisations that I have derived from this book are;

  • A clearer understanding of what lies ahead enables less debate and more focused direction and the ability to plan better.
  • Your recommendations of when to outsource assemblies to experts, enables multiple mini projects to happen concurrently which will result in shorter project duration.
  • The realization of how close I imagined my camper build would be in terms of component systems & make-up and how you have resolved Sterchen, suggests that when confronted with a similar problem the solutions are really quite narrow.
  • The importance of avoiding weight accumulation every step of the way on every component.
  • The legalities and technical specifications around best safe practice for gas systems as one example among others, based on German standards (widely regarded as the highest quality benchmark in the world today), suggests that these guidelines will qualify for virtually every where else in the world. This is important if one intends travelling in the first world. (And in the third world, with component failure less likely to happen as a consequence of better quality)
  • The realization that my “dream build” is going to cost more than I had hoped. This said, your detailed comparison of product options such as window/ hatch assemblies enables one to prioritize ones spend with the knowledge as to which components can be upgraded when cash-flow, recovers.
  •  A reminder that my journey has already begun.
  • Being in Africa with a small population of people able to afford such an endeavor results in a scarcity of resources when seeking advice or product information as well as products that will need to be imported. Your book, which is now my textbook, offers a world of avenues to explore solutions and product, which I will refer back to ongoing.
  • I had reservations about your claim of saving $100K with the assistance of the content of your book. On reflection, having read the book, factoring in the cost of time and getting it right the first time suggests that the savings will in fact equal an immense sum of money.
  • Like you this has been a dream that I have dismissed for many years on the premise that it was not affordable. An event occurred in September 2016 that enabled me to realize that I could do this. I am fortunate to now be the owner of a new Iveco Daily 4x4 chassis cab. I am now fully committed and have experienced the emotional extremities of delight to anxiety and everything in between. Having read your book, I now know that realizing this project is well within my grasp.
  • Finally the enjoyment of reading about your journey with Sternchen during my new year break leaves me with a feeling that I know you and the possibility that we will probably meet one day. I hope that we do. Please look me up if you are in our neck of the woods?

Once again thank you for coming into my life through the medium of your book. This chance encounter gives me purpose to realize my own travel dream of exploring places that I have witnessed in documentaries or out of the window of a plane.

 

Well done on a great book. All of the best and safe travels.

 

 Mark S., South Africa

David V., UK: ...its fantastic and an excellent resource for all the questions

Hi Ulrich,

I have just received your e-book - its fantastic and an excellent resource for all the questions I have regarding the building an overland truck. Thanks again for the effort you have put in making it available in English, it really is greatly appreciated.

Best regards, 

David

Ralph H., UK: its excellent!!!

Hi Ulrich, 

I have just had a quick look and my initial impression is its excellent!!!

It is going to make planning my build much easier and i have changed my mind about a couple of things already and thats after 5 mins of looking though the information and layout tools.

Congratulations on  doing a great job....the best christmas present i have had!!

Best Regards

Ralph

 

great guide how to build an expedition vehicle with a reasonable budget

Hello Ulrich,

thank you very much for sending me the code to your ebook. I immediately downloaded it and started to read through the chapters. You did a great job to introduce readers to all the different aspects of building their own or improving an existing expedition vehicle in a very structured and comprehensive way. It is very easy and fun to read and provides a lot of technical details, practical solutions, and references to where materials can be sourced. As with lots of things in life, there is not a single solution to a problem, and your book follows this spirit and presents the pros and cons of different components, tools and ways of how to design your dream vehicle. I found it also very valuable to read about your experiences building your own vehicle throughout the book and learn about the things which turned out great and why you would do others differently next time. This book is a great guide how to build an expedition vehicle with a reasonable budget and the use of your own skills. Thank you very much for all the work you put into this book to help travelers realize their dream vehicles and get to discover the world off the beaten path!
Günter

Joachim: Must have!

If you are looking for a book that covers preliminary considerations, detailed planning, execution as well as problems and errors, then this is the one you need! The refreshing style in which this is written reflects the 4x4 mentality.

This book is a must-have for anyone considering building their own motorhome!

Joachim

Remco v.d.V.: Best money can buy

Dear potential buyers,

this book is the best money can buy if you are serious about building your own (4x4) camper. It may not look cheap at first glance, but the effort that went into this book is enormous.

Even if you do not agree with the things the author has done or choices he has made (though I found them an inspiration, also because most where based on experience), the Excel floorplanning tool alone is worth its weight in gold. You can configure your own vehicle as you wish, check out various possibilities and be less dependent on trial and error.

Thanks Ulrich

Remco v.d.V.

Thomas R.: It’s worth every cent!

A very thorough and detailed book for anyone considering such a project. It’s worth every cent! You don't have to make all the mistakes yourself and you can find a lot of inspiration between its covers. To the point: Thank you Ulrich!!!

Thomas R.

Jennifer N.: Excellent aid to turn your dream into a reality

This book is really an excellent aid to turn your dream of a 4x4 motorhome into a reality.

We studied it in depth and, thanks to its guidance, we are now a big step further.

Enjoy!!!

Jennifer N.

M.v.E.: For anyone taking a serious interest in building any motorhome

I bought the book on CD and read it on my iPad. Well written and very informative especially because the author uses his own mistakes as an example. I was most impressed by the way he always explains why he made certain decisions. This helped me to determine whether I should do the same or find an alternative. This isn't just for people wanting to convert a truck, but also for anyone taking a serious interest in building or modifying any motorhome. There are many good tips, detailed graphics and it is well written making it easy to read and understand. All in all brilliant.

M.v.E.

V8-Tom: I am not aware of anything comparable

This CD is an extremely detailed account of how to build your own motorhome, whereby the main focus is on expedition vehicles. However, or maybe because of the complexity and demands set upon such a vehicle, it is an extremely useful aid when building a more conventional motorhome. The author goes to great lengths to describe each step of his project from buying the truck through to its completion. In many cases, alternatives are weighed against each other and the final decision for a given component is explained thoroughly. The multitude of pictures are explanatory and representative of the end-product. Nothing has been done by half and the result can be directly compared to that of a professional. On top of that, the author writes in his uniquely motivating style to the extent that the reader will want to commence his project without delay. If there is a downside, then it can only be that this is a CD and not a book — but that is what makes the expanse of this work viable. It would be difficult to publish a printed version for an acceptable price. All in all, highly recommendable. I am not aware of anything comparable and I have read a lot on this topic.

V8-Tom

Norbert L.: This book makes me want to start my next project

So far I have built 2 motorhomes. It’s just a pity this book wasn’t around at the time because it would have saved me a lot of effort. From the basic planning through to the finished motorhome: everything is covered with the most intricate detail. There are clear explanations of potential problems and their solutions. Different methods are compared to one another with all their pros and cons. And the package is completed with a design tool and a beautifully written travelog with inspirational photographs. This book makes me want to start my next project, but this time I’m far better prepared. Thank you, Ulrich Dolde.

Norbert L.