The name says it all. The EarthRoamer XV-LT is a go-anywhere, four-season 4WD motorhome that's equally comfortable in a luxury RV campground in Sarasota, Florida, as it is rockcrawling through the canyons around Moab, Utah. Engineers from the aerospace industry have created this RV, one of the most innovative and versatile vehicles ever built.

The platform of choice is the Ford F-550 cab chassis truck. This package is only offered with the 6.0-liter Power Stroke diesel, a five-speed TorqShift automatic transmission, and a manual transfer case, but it represents a well-thought-out design that's unquestionably from the minds of engineers. The EarthRoamer XV-LT (the XV is short for Xpedition Vehicle) is available as a SuperCab or a crew cab, both with a GVWR of 17,950 pounds.

These aren't the Ford van chassis cabs mass-produced for the Classic motorhome market, with precut sections taken from the roof at the Ford factory. These are truck chassis. To avoid compromising the strength of the steel roof, EarthRoamer removes the rear window and cuts out a 19-inch-wide section that runs from the bottom of the window to where the truck bed would be (the chassis doesn't have a truck bed).

Immediately aft of the cab, a full-vehicle-width steel crossmember is installed on top of the longitudinal chassis ladder rails, with a steel pivot mount added to the center of a crossmember at the end of the ladder frame. This modification creates three mounting points where the single-piece molded fiberglass cabin is attached to the truck platform.

The camper body's a one-piece, molded-fiberglass structure handcrafted by EarthRoamer. Nine separate molds are used to create individual sections, the thickness of each depending on where they fit into the shell-construction pattern. The individual pieces are then fiberglassed together to make a single uninterrupted surface and shell structure.

Each of the nine pieces has its own mold, into which gelcoat is sprayed. Then fiberglass cloth and catalyzed resin (which serves as a chemical bonding agent) are layered in. Next, end-grain marine balsa is cut to fit each individual pattern being created. The balsa is set in place, layered with more fiberglass cloth and catalyzed resin. Once complete, the individual pieces are bonded together with fiberglass to form the monocoque camper body.

Set in place on the new steel crossmembers, blocks of urethane (spacers) are added between the floor of the cabin body and the steel members to dampen vibrations. The cabin is bolted to the truck chassis using one-inch-diameter Grade-8 bolts. Polyisocyanate, a foil-backed rigid foam made from at least nine percent recycled content, is bonded to the interior camper walls, providing excellent insulation. The interior is finished with maple panels. To further augment the already impressive thermal characteristics of the body, EarthRoamer installed dual-pane German-engineered windows with integrated shades and bugscreens.

Under field operations and living conditions, the choice by EarthRoamer to use only diesel (no LPG, no genset) pays huge dividends. The total standard diesel-fuel capacity is 59 gallons with an optional upgrade to 90. Not only does this fuel the Power Stroke, it's also the fuel source for heating and cooking. A hydronic-style system provides heated house water (fresh-water tank capacity is 85 gallons) and is a way to preheat the Power Stroke under extremely cold conditions. The central heating system uses a diesel-fired furnace that's ducted to the wet bath and the living area. Diesel fuel is used for the ceramic cooktop. Diesel is a popular choice in the marine industry due to its safe, low flash characteristics.

The galley includes a 12-volt DC-powered 7.0-cubic-foot refrigerator/freezer, a convection microwave oven, and a coffeemaker. And, a departure from conventional wisdom in the RV industry, all of the 110-volt power is provided by an absorbed glassmat battery pack and a 2000-watt inverter. The battery pack is charged by the dual alternators on the Power Stroke and by the massive solar-cell configuration that dresses the roof of the EarthRoamer. The battery pack is capable of powering the 6000-BTU side-mounted air-conditioner for several hours before charging is required. The unit comes equipped with a 30-amp shore-power cable when that resource is available.

While this unit can navigate through primitive back-area venues and stand alone in challenging environments, it also provides the creature comforts of home. The XV-LT offers plenty of standard luxury appointments. The galley countertop is fiberglass-reinforced thin-slab granite. It's low-maintenance, elegant, and weighs about as much as the Corian most RV makers use. The truck sleeps four comfortably. There's a cab-over king-size bed and the dinette converts into roomy sleeping quarters. The wet bath has a marine-style cassette toilet, shower, and lavvy, and every unit features an outside hot/cold shower. The holding tanks can carry up to 26 gallons of gray water and five gallons of black water. Don't fear that five-gallon capacity, though. The cassette toilet is removable, with wheels and an extendable handle. This allows waste to be dumped into a conventional toilet, pit toilet, or dump station. It's quick and easy to empty, and you're no longer tethered to an RV site for a dump station.

Inside the house of the EarthRoamer, audio and electronics options include a DVD/CD player with a 15-inch LCD television, two speakers, a four-channel amplifier, and in-motion satellite TV. The cab can be equipped with a state-of-the-art sound system, GPS navigation, and a backup camera. Additional overcab storage is available, as are HID off-road lights, a 16,500-pound electric winch in the front, and a 9500-pound winch in the rear.

As you might imagine, this vehicle's innovations, high-tech equipment, and advanced design carry a hefty price tag. Nicely appointed with the standard fitments, the base price is $201,165 for the SuperCab and $203,440 for the crew cab. Fully optioned, with the latest in satellite TV, entertainment systems, and GPS navigation, the crew cab's price goes up to about $231,000.

For more information, contact Earth-Roamer at 720/304-3174 or visit the Web site at www.earthroamer.com.

EarthRoamer XV-LT Crew Cab
General
Location of final assembly Broomfield, Colorado
Body style Cab chassis converted to crew cab
EPA size class Medium-duty RV
Drivetrain layout Front engine, 4WD
Airbags Front
Powertrain
Engine type 90° turbodiesel V-8, iron block/heads
Bore x stroke, in 3.74 x 4.13
Displacement, ci/L 363/6.0
Compression ratio 18.0:1
Valve gear OHV, 4 valves/cyl
SAE horsepower, hp @ rpm 325 @ 3300
SAE torque, lb-ft @ rpm 570 @ 2000
Transmission TorqShift 5-speed auto
1st 3.11:1
2nd 2.22:1
3rd 1.55:1
4th 1.00:1
5th 0.71:1
Reverse 2.88:1
Axle ratio 4.88:1
Final-drive ratio 3.46:1
Transfer case Manual, with manually locking hubs
Low-range ratio 2.48:1
Crawl ratio (1st x axle gears x low range) 37.6:1
Recommended fuel Diesel
Dimensions/Capacities
Wheelbase, in 176.2
Length, in 301.0
Width, in 96.0
Height, in 128.0
Headroom, f/r, in 41.3/40.8
Legroom, f/r, in 41.0/41.7
Shoulder room, f/r, in 68.0/68.0
Hiproom, f/r, in 67.4/67.3
Total cab volume, cu ft 132.9
Ground clearance, in 9.8
Approach/departure angle, deg 33.8/22.6
Max payload capacity, lb 2500 (est)
Max GVWR, lb 17,950
Max GCWR, lb 30,000
Max towing capacity, lb 10,000 (est)
Fuel capacity, gal 59.0 (std); 90.0 (opt)
Chassis
Suspension, f/r Twin-coil monobeam/live-axle, leaf spring
Steering type Power recirculating ball
Ratio 17.8:1
Brakes, f/r 14.5-in disc/15.4-in disc, 4WABS
Wheels 22.5-in Alcoa forged aluminum
Tires Michelin XDA2 295/60R22.5 M+S
Load/speed rating 150K
Price
Base price $203,440
On sale in U.S. Currently

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