Project History MaxiMog Vehicle MaxiMog Trailer Accessories Specifications FAQs Links MogCam Email Home Page Maximog Home page





SOME FREQUENTLY ASKED MAXIMOG® QUESTIONS


  • Why was it built?
  • Why a vehicle, trailer, and motorbike?
  • Why is it called an Expedition System?
  • What whas it based on?
  • What's its driving range?
  • How much does it weigh?
  • From the pictures, it looks top-heavy.
  • Don't those Nerf bars hurt ground clearance?
  • Why so much chrome?!
  • Does the Trailer have to be connected to the MaxiMog® Vehicle to get power and communications?
  • Can it stay in communication and conntect to the Internet in very remote areas?
  • What if it breaks down?
  • How good is it for rock crawling and extreme off-roading?
  • But won't it get stuck off road if towing the Trailer?
  • How do you change a tire and what do they weigh?
  • Why the big telescoping mast?
  • What if it gets stuck?
  • Is it legal to drive in the USA?
  • How is the trailer constructed?
  • How does the trailer fold and unfold?
  • Does it have a TV and AM/FM?
  • Does it fly?
  • Who designed it?
  • Who built it?
  • What does it cost and can i buy one?

    WHY WAS IT BUILT?
    The MaxiMog® vehicle and trailer was built because itís owner plans to drive around the world to remote and hard to get to places doing both photography and scientific exploration. Contrary to what many people believe, most of our planet is still relatively unexplored. After a year of research, he determined that a custom vehicle would have to be built to meet his requirements. The MaxiMog® is the first pass at that solution and is a work in progress.
    Back to Top

    WHY A VEHICLE, TRAILER AND MOTORBIKE?
    To provide the most flexibly. The hybrid system allows the vehicle or motorbike to go off exploring while the trailer remains behind as a base camp. The MaxiMog® vehicle alone can be used by itself for small expeditions that donít require sleeping, kitchen or toilet facilities.
    Back to Top

    WHY IS IT CALLED AN EXPEDITION SYSTEM?
    Because the various components including the vehicle, trailer, motorbike, underwater submersible (ROV), remote surveillance aircraft (UAV), Jet Boat, and modular electronics systems are designed to be easily interchangeable, and work together as a coordinated whole.
    Back to Top

    WHAT WAS IT BASED ON?
    The MaxiMog® vehicle is based upon a highly modified Mercedes Benz Unimog U90 chassis. At this point about 30% is original. The MaxiMog® trailer was designed and built from scratch.
    Back to Top

    WHATíS ITS DRIVING RANGE?
    The vehicle has a design driving cruise range of about 1200 miles without refueling. Obviously this MPG rating is affected up or down based upon speed and terrain.
    Back to Top

    HOW MUCH DOES IT WEIGH?
    The vehicle weights approximately 16,500 pounds loaded, and the trailer weighs about 14,000 pounds.
    Back to Top

    FROM THE PICTURES, IT LOOKS TOP HEAVY.
    While the vehicle has a high profile to provide adequate internal headroom (BTW - Itís the same height as the original Unimog U90 chassis on which it was based.), the center of gravity is quite low due to the placement of heavy items such as the Engine, Generator, Batteries and Fuel Tanks. Additionally, the vehicle has front and rear antisway bars and an auto leveling air suspension system to assist in dynamic stability.
    Back to Top

    DONíT THOSE NERF BARS HURT GROUND CLEARANCE?
    The Nerf Bars (side steps) are shown extended in the pictures on the site. When driving, they are pneumatically retracted.
    Back to Top

    WHY SO MUCH CHROME!?
    There is actually no chrome anywhere on the Maximog®. Everything you see that looks like chrome (including the 4 front bumper mounted 5 gallon water tanks) is solid 316 stainless steel alloy with a natural polished finish. Beyond corrosion resistance and appearance, the polished finish minimizes adhesion of snow, ice and mud.
    Back to Top

    DOES THE TRAILER HAVE TO BE CONNECTED TO THE MAXIMOG® VEHICLE TO GET POWER AND COMMUNICATIONS?
    While the trailer can be connected to the trailer for power, communications and data, it does not need to. It has itís own water cooled quiet 25KW generator which can supply power, air conditioning or heat, or hydraulic power to operate the wheel motors at low speeds (Both 4 wheel drive and steering) for campsite positioning or power assist for off road mobility.
    Back to Top

    CAN IT STAY IN COMMUNICATION AND CONNECT TO THE INTERNET IN VERY REMOTE AREAS?
    Yes. It has multiple long range communications systems for plain or secure message traffic in addition to short range VHF and UHF transceivers for short and medium range use. The principally long range (non-emergency) communications systems are Inmarsat-B/C/Mini-M, Globalstar LEO, and a HF/ALE (High Frequency/Automatic Link Establishment) transceiver for low bandwidth communications in areas where there is no satellite visibility. Asymmetrical data-only internet connectivity for wideband downloads can be accomplished via a tracking DSS satellite dish if within the satellite footprint. When wideband video Uplink capability is required an independent satellite system is carried on board the Vehicle or trailer.
    Back to Top

    WHAT IF IT BREAKS DOWN?
    The MaxiMog® carries a significant compliment of spare parts and tools to effect field repairs. It is also designed so that critical systems have backups and automatic systems can be isolated and operated manually if needed. However in the event of a serious component failure such as a broken drive-line component, the approach is to take the BMW R1150GS bike and get help, or use the global communications system to get parts and tools driven or flown in.
    Back to Top

    HOW GOOD IS IT FOR ROCK CRAWLING AND EXTREME OFF ROADING?
    Simply stated, itís an expedition vehicle, not a recreational vehicle. While it is designed for severe off road conditions whenever encountered, this is a vehicle that is intended for long duration expeditions, not ďseeing what it can doĒ by traversing technical trails created by off road enthusiasts. However, the Maximog® chassis provides 20+Ē of suspension travel, 25Ē inches of ground clearance (worst case, under the differential housings), positive locking differentials, CTIS, variable ride height, adjustable shock absorber compliance, and air shifted transfer case for low range operation. This makes it quite capable in a broad variety of off road conditions.
    Back to Top

    BUT WONíT IT GET STUCK OFF ROAD IF TOWING THE TRAILER?
    The Maximog® trailer is designed for the same off-road operation conditions as the Maximog® vehicle. It has a ruggedized chassis, the same 25Ē ground clearance, and the same air suspension and adjustable shock which are coordinated in operation with the tow vehicle. Additionally, the trailer is a fully powered 4X4 using computer controlled hydraulic wheel motors so the combined MaxiMog® + Trailer functions as an 8X8 with coordinated drive, suspension ride height and compliance, and CTIS operation. The front wheels are steered so the vehicle and trailer combined has the same turn radius as the vehicle alone.
    Back to Top

    HOW DO YOU CHANGE A TIRE AND WHAT DO THEY WEIGH?
    Fortunately, this size of heavy duty Michelin tire doesnít get a lot of punctures and if itís a slow leak the Central Tire Inflation System (CTIS) can often keep up with it. When you do need to change a tire, the vehicle has a tire lowering winch built into the swing away spare tire holder that easily lowers it to the ground or raises it into the storage position. Depending upon which tire size and tread pattern (highway, off-road or combination) is fitted, the weight is between 325 and 400 pounds each.
    Back to Top

    WHY THE BIG TELESCOPIC MAST?
    The mast has a variety of uses. It can elevate an electro optics package for long range observation and rangefinding (day or night). It is also used to mount communications antennas to increase point-to-point communications range. This is especially useful for flying the UAV (Unmanned Air Vehicle) at long range, and to increase the service area of portable communications devices like walkie talkies (using the onboard VHF and UHF repeaters). A chair can also be fitted to the mast to elevate a person for direct observation. The mast has a tilt-down facility which facilitates loading heavy items on top from ground level. It has a static payload capacity of 350 pounds.
    Back to Top

    WHAT IF IT GETS STUCK?
    It has 20,000lb capacity (continuous duty) front and rear hydraulic winches with 150í stainless steel cables. The winches are dual speed units and may be controlled locally from the drivers cab, or remotely via a safety interlocked radio remote control system. The vehicle also carries a variety of hydraulically powered accessory tools including an submersible chain saw, impact wrench, bolt/cable cutter, grinder, and multi-purpose push-pull jacks.
    Back to Top

    IS IT LEGAL TO DRIVE IN THE USA?
    Yes, once certified and licensed it is fully legal to drive on any road that is rated for itís weight (all major roads and highways) and height (10í6Ē). It meets California emissions standards and all applicable DOT/FMVSS/EPA regulations. The MaxiMog® is a Truck not an SUV and requires a driverís license for a heavy (over 12,500lbs) vehicle with air brakes.
    Back to Top

    HOW IS THE TRAILER CONSTRUCTED?
    It is a composite panel structure using a sandwich of fiberglass reinforced plastic, thermal insulating foam, and electrical shielding to provide lightning protection. These custom panels are fabricated with internal metal tubes and fittings to provide reinforcement where needed. Unicat in Germany is expert at this construction technique which yields an excellent strength to weight ratio and superior thermal insulation for extreme heat or cold.
    Back to Top

    HOW DOES THE TRAILER FOLD AND UNFOLD?
    The trailer uses a new system which combines a lifting roof with two interchangeable side mounted Swingout® modules (patent pending). These modules are electrically operated with a microprocessor based motion control and safety system doing the motion control coordination. It takes approximately 5 minutes to complete its fold/unfold cycle (limited to this speed for safety). When in its folded state the trailer is fully protected (all glass covered) and the overall size as the MaxiMog® vehicle. When it unfolds, there is approximately double the internal volume. There are seven steps to the fold/unfold process.
    Back to Top

    DOES IT HAVE A TV AND AM/FM?
    Yes to both with DSS satellite TV capability.
    Back to Top

    DOES IT FLY?
    Not intentionally...
    Back to Top

    WHO DESIGNED IT?
    The vehicle was designed by Bran Ferren of Applied Minds Inc in collaboration with Thomas Ritter of Unicat. He can be reached at bran@bran.com.
    Back to Top

    WHO BUILT IT?
    Thomas Ritter at his company Unicat based in HambrŁcken Germany was selected as the best and most experienced manufacturer to build the vehicle he designed, and the staff at Applied Minds in Glendale California did the technology systems design and integration.
    Back to Top

    WHAT DOES IT COST AND CAN I BUY ONE?
    Well, letís just say that it costs more than a Hummer and Less than a Boeing 777 -- and you canít buy this one. However, you can have one built just like it, or to your precise specifications by the same company, Unicat. For more information please contact Thomas Ritter
    Back to Top