Driving a Jeep Wrangler or a 4×4 pickup truck on the Hell’s Revenge off-road trail is a challenge in itself, but what if you are driving a giant Mercedes Unimog 4×4 semi-truck that weighs 13,800 lbs and rides on 46-inch tall tires? I meet up with Jay Couch of Couch Off-road Engineering in Moab Utah to experience this for myself.
Unimogs are world-renowned for having remarkable off-road capability and overall utility. They are made to be used by the military or other governments or utility companies as work vehicles. However, many people are also building these trucks as long-distance expedition and overland vehicles.
Companies such as Couch Off-Road update and modify these rigs to make them more easy to operate on the daily basis. They are still powered by a diesel engine, but you can get a more powerful version of the engine in order to help maintain highway speeds on your long journey. The other important aspect is the gearing. This particular truck is equipped with a manual transmission that is modified to offer up to 32 speeds! It gives this truck incredibly low crawl ratio and slow crawling speed, but also allows this truck to cruiser on the highway at speeds around 70 MPH.
This truck is about 9.5 feet tall, but Jay tells me that when you use the Central Tire Inflation System (CTIS) – you can quickly lower the tire pressures – lower the truck by about 6 inches and squeeze through many fast-food drive-throughs.
This 1990s truck is fully updated and costs close to $385,000 with the equipment it currently has. These trucks in good rebuilt condition start out in the neighborhood of $75,000. Of course, if you want to equip it with a camper body on the back – you may be looking at $500,000-$700,000. It is very expensive, but the price is competitive when you consider that a Ford F-550 EarthRoamer overland trucks cost north of $750,000.