MAN/RMMV HX60 Overlander's Guide
The MAN/RMMV HX60 (otherwise known as the MAN 18.330) is becoming an increasingly popular choice for overland vehicle conversions. This is partially due to the rugged nature of an ex-military vehicle and its very competitive price. Its predecessor, the Leyland DAF T244, is also a prevalent choice within the overland community.
We believe there is no other truck available on the market today that offers the same comfort and capability as the HX60 in this price bracket.
Expect to pay £15,000-30,000 depending on use, condition and supplier.
All HX60's that are currently available on the market at the time of writing are RHD. There may be some LHD vehicles in the future, but this is currently unknown and not worth waiting for. Motorcraft do offer a conversion to LHD, but at £14,950, it is often more cost-effective to buy a commercial LHD vehicle from the start.
The HX does not have an automatic gearbox. It does change gear automatically but is actually an automated manual gearbox and, therefore may seem slightly different to drive. The advantage is that for off-road driving, you can (and should) switch to manual gearbox mode and therefore don't have the risk of the truck changing gear at the wrong time, potentially causing you to lose drive and get stuck. Just allow time to learn how to drive it off-road, and don't expect to just point and press.
Although it is a 4WD vehicle, when driving on-road, the HX runs in two-wheel drive to save fuel. It features switchable 4WD and separate front and rear diff-locks to ensure it is exceptionally competent in most conditions an overlander is likely to experience.
The HX60 is plated to 18tons, but overland experience suggests you should never travel anywhere near this limit - it'll cost more in fuel and risk wearing out parts sooner. It does mean that when unladen, it can feel skippy or bouncy, but once you have a box mounted on the back, you'll likely end up around 12tons, and it'll be well behaved and well within the maximum weight capacity.
There is a winch variant of the HX60 with a chassis-mounted Rotzler hydraulic winch. A popular choice for overland conversions, but you should expect to pay approx £8000-£10,000 more for a winch truck.
If you are buying a winch truck, try to make sure it has the controller included, as a new one costs £1400 and has an eight week lead time. To date, there have been no sales of second-hand controllers.
If you want to fit an electric winch retrospectively, there are limited options given the vehicle's weight. Motorcraft offer both front or rear mount options for the Sherpa Stallion 25,000lbs winch.
The cab on an HX is very different to a commercial vehicle with no luxuries. As standard, they have three seats, the driver and passenger seats of which are comfortable and air-sprung, while the centre seat is rigid. It is possible to add a fourth seat in line with the original seats. Motorcraft manufacture internal door pockets, rear speaker mounts and high-level shelves to add a bit more functionality to the cab. The truck also includes an enormous, engine-independent air conditioning unit, making it a pleasant place to be when the mercury begins to rise. This is part of the basic capability of the trucks, which were designed to operate from -37degC to +50degC without alteration.
Due to the age of these vehicles and the new rules on tyre age on HGVs, you should budget for a new set of tyres before use. A set of five 14.00r20 tyres, when bought new, will cost around £5000. It is possible to fit 16.00r20 tyres with a greater rolling diameter. These would improve ride comfort, and the wider footprint would reduce ground pressure, thereby increasing the off-road capability of the vehicle. Larger tyres would also potentially affect the fuel economy of the vehicle. It is currently estimated that they consistently consume 11.5mpg (24.9l/100km) with the 14.00r20 tyres, but of course, this will depend on driving style, weight and terrain.
When buying a vehicle, it's not uncommon to see some fault codes on display - don't necessarily let this put you off as most seem to be caused by the batteries going flat and the ECU not completing the startup cycle. Replacing the batteries and resetting the codes normally fixes this. If you are worried, the full list of fault codes can be found online - there is a FaceBook group dedicated to the MAN HX truck, which has a collection of documents that may be of use and interest.
EDC - 3850 is one prevalent fault code to look for. It relates to the EGR valve, but the good news is it typically clears with a bit of use.
Most of the trucks being released by the military are in good condition - certainly, nothing that a paint-job won't sort out. However, there are some things that you should be aware of, specifically anything with cab damage to the steel structure. While in theory, it is possible to replace these parts, this will require a donor vehicle, and to date, the only ones sold for breaking or spares are those with cab damage, so sourcing parts would be hard.
The front "bonnet" is one area that shouldn't be worried about - it is common for there to be damage when the cab is tilted without the bonnet being opened. This, unlike the steel structure, is a relatively easy fix.
Early examples of the HX60 have been known to suffer rust at the base of the exhaust curve, where water has got in, sat and rusted through. This is easy to sort, and Motorcraft have two solutions - either a replacement stainless steel exhaust section or a cut-off and finish solution so the exhaust exits low - if you choose an alcove style box for your HX60 this will be required by default to ensure clearance.
Crawl throughs on the HX60 are problematic. There is a significant number of critical components mounted behind the cab that prevent access.
While a keen self-builder can relocate these components to allow a crawl through to be fitted, it is often cost-prohibitive to do it commercially. The cost would soon make the HX60 the same cost as an equivalent commercial TGM 4x4 where you do not have the same issue.
Both our rail-on-rail subframe and our 4-point subframe are suitable for the HX60, with the latter being more geared towards off-road performance. See our page on subframes for more information. While it is possible to build on the load bed of an HX60, we feel this is a sub-optimal solution because it increases overall vehicle weight by around 1ton. That said, if you want a demountable option, the standard flatbed does feature twist-locks, but they have a non-standard pitch, so it won't take a standard container. Motorcraft manufactures a demountable body that mounts directly to the bed, saving the need for a subframe
Motorcraft would recommend a body of 5.4-5.5m. We have built bodies up to 5.6m and feel this is the maximum and is not recommended from an aesthetic perspective as it looks pretty tail-heavy. For the box width, we recommend matching the cab with a body 2.5m wide.
A big thanks to
David Wilson from Project.Overland Info
David Newton from Global Traces
for helping compile this guide. Be sure to go and follow their adventures in their HX60's