Andrea and Mike Kammermann present their Axor-based expedition vehicle – Part 2

Series: 4-Xtremes

The ideal mobile.

With an Axor-based expedition vehicle, Andrea and Mike Kammermann will be moving forward into the vastness of Asia – aiming as far as Russia's far east. In part two of our series, you can read all about what the truck is capable of and why the adventurers wanted this particular one.

Motorcycle on board: during their journey, Andrea will be using the motorcycle to undertake tours to explore and take pictures.

"Here you notice that the vehicle has to work hard," says Mike Kammermann, shifting down another gear so that the truck can manage the steep ascent. The little roads all around the Klöntalersee in Switzerland's Glarus canton aren't exactly the worst terrain for running in the Axor-based expedition vehicle in readiness for the mega-tour that will kick off very soon.

Meanwhile, the starting shot has been fired: since 9 June, Mike and Andrea Kammermann are on tour as part of their "4-Xtremes" adventure, driving on roads that are often unpaved, unlike in their native Switzerland. The couple wants to advance right into Russia's far east before heading back to Switzerland. This superlative journey will stretch over eleven months and approximately 45,000 kilometres (see the info box for additional information about the stages of the journey and their most important destinations).

All-wheel drive and extra-large diesel tanks.

But back to the Klöntalersee, with its surface shimmering mysteriously between towering rocks – and back to the expedition vehicle. Which is based on an Axor 1829 with a 6.3-litre six-cylinder inline engine, eight-speed manual transmission with an additional crawler gear, engageable all-wheel drive with three differential locks and reduction gear. Built in 2007, the vehicle was previously owned by the German Bundeswehr armed forces.


Tough box body: in their expedition vehicle's box body living area, Andrea and Mike have all the amenities – ranging from a sophisticated heating and air-conditioning system to technology that can be remote-controlled using a tablet.
Tough box body: in their expedition vehicle's box body living area, Andrea and Mike have all the amenities – ranging from a sophisticated heating and air-conditioning system to technology that can be remote-controlled using a tablet.
Tough box body: in their expedition vehicle's box body living area, Andrea and Mike have all the amenities – ranging from a sophisticated heating and air-conditioning system to technology that can be remote-controlled using a tablet.
Tough box body: in their expedition vehicle's box body living area, Andrea and Mike have all the amenities – ranging from a sophisticated heating and air-conditioning system to technology that can be remote-controlled using a tablet.
Tough box body: in their expedition vehicle's box body living area, Andrea and Mike have all the amenities – ranging from a sophisticated heating and air-conditioning system to technology that can be remote-controlled using a tablet.
Tough box body: in their expedition vehicle's box body living area, Andrea and Mike have all the amenities – ranging from a sophisticated heating and air-conditioning system to technology that can be remote-controlled using a tablet.
Tough box body: in their expedition vehicle's box body living area, Andrea and Mike have all the amenities – ranging from a sophisticated heating and air-conditioning system to technology that can be remote-controlled using a tablet.
Tough box body: in their expedition vehicle's box body living area, Andrea and Mike have all the amenities – ranging from a sophisticated heating and air-conditioning system to technology that can be remote-controlled using a tablet.
Tough box body: in their expedition vehicle's box body living area, Andrea and Mike have all the amenities – ranging from a sophisticated heating and air-conditioning system to technology that can be remote-controlled using a tablet.
Tough box body: in their expedition vehicle's box body living area, Andrea and Mike have all the amenities – ranging from a sophisticated heating and air-conditioning system to technology that can be remote-controlled using a tablet.
Tough box body: in their expedition vehicle's box body living area, Andrea and Mike have all the amenities – ranging from a sophisticated heating and air-conditioning system to technology that can be remote-controlled using a tablet.
Tough box body: in their expedition vehicle's box body living area, Andrea and Mike have all the amenities – ranging from a sophisticated heating and air-conditioning system to technology that can be remote-controlled using a tablet.
Tough box body: in their expedition vehicle's box body living area, Andrea and Mike have all the amenities – ranging from a sophisticated heating and air-conditioning system to technology that can be remote-controlled using a tablet.
Tough box body: in their expedition vehicle's box body living area, Andrea and Mike have all the amenities – ranging from a sophisticated heating and air-conditioning system to technology that can be remote-controlled using a tablet.
Tough box body: in their expedition vehicle's box body living area, Andrea and Mike have all the amenities – ranging from a sophisticated heating and air-conditioning system to technology that can be remote-controlled using a tablet.
Tough box body: in their expedition vehicle's box body living area, Andrea and Mike have all the amenities – ranging from a sophisticated heating and air-conditioning system to technology that can be remote-controlled using a tablet.
Tough box body: in their expedition vehicle's box body living area, Andrea and Mike have all the amenities – ranging from a sophisticated heating and air-conditioning system to technology that can be remote-controlled using a tablet.
Tough box body: in their expedition vehicle's box body living area, Andrea and Mike have all the amenities – ranging from a sophisticated heating and air-conditioning system to technology that can be remote-controlled using a tablet.
Tough box body: in their expedition vehicle's box body living area, Andrea and Mike have all the amenities – ranging from a sophisticated heating and air-conditioning system to technology that can be remote-controlled using a tablet.
Tough box body: in their expedition vehicle's box body living area, Andrea and Mike have all the amenities – ranging from a sophisticated heating and air-conditioning system to technology that can be remote-controlled using a tablet.

As the most important modification to the truck, whose clock showed 72,000 kilometres at the time of acquisition, the Kammermanns had the diesel tanks replaced in favour of two extra-large tanks with a total fuel capacity of 800 litres. They enable a range of around 3500 kilometres between pit stops, giving the 4-Xtremes team a high measure of security even in sparsely populated areas.

Heated tanks and a safe spot for Aimée.

In addition, the tanks, fuel lines and diesel filter are also heated. "Diesel freezes at minus thirty degrees and we will be experiencing considerably lower temperatures than that," Mike explains. Another change that only seems to be secondary: installing a secure and comfortable basket on the engine tunnel for Aimée, the two adventurers' ten-year old Belgian shepherd. "She's already been with us on previous travels," Andrea tells us. "Which is why it was absolutely clear to us that we'd take her with us this time, too."

Regardless of whether the couple and their four-legged companion stop off in the Iranian desert or in Arctic Siberia: life continues as normal in the 4.5-metre-long box body living area which the Kammermanns have had installed by Dutch supplier Bliss Mobil. The steel-frame body with its glass-fibre reinforced plastic sandwich panels is remarkable in every way: "The box is insulated very well against both heat and cold," says Andrea. But still, it features electric floor heating and a separate air conditioning unit. In addition, there is another heating system for emergencies, which runs on diesel stored in small canisters.


Robust components, excellent spare parts supply: it was clear from the start that the 4-Xtremes tour should take place in a Mercedes-Benz. Thus, finding the right vehicle took even longer.
Robust components, excellent spare parts supply: it was clear from the start that the 4-Xtremes tour should take place in a Mercedes-Benz. Thus, finding the right vehicle took even longer.
Robust components, excellent spare parts supply: it was clear from the start that the 4-Xtremes tour should take place in a Mercedes-Benz. Thus, finding the right vehicle took even longer.
Robust components, excellent spare parts supply: it was clear from the start that the 4-Xtremes tour should take place in a Mercedes-Benz. Thus, finding the right vehicle took even longer.
Robust components, excellent spare parts supply: it was clear from the start that the 4-Xtremes tour should take place in a Mercedes-Benz. Thus, finding the right vehicle took even longer.
Robust components, excellent spare parts supply: it was clear from the start that the 4-Xtremes tour should take place in a Mercedes-Benz. Thus, finding the right vehicle took even longer.
Robust components, excellent spare parts supply: it was clear from the start that the 4-Xtremes tour should take place in a Mercedes-Benz. Thus, finding the right vehicle took even longer.
Robust components, excellent spare parts supply: it was clear from the start that the 4-Xtremes tour should take place in a Mercedes-Benz. Thus, finding the right vehicle took even longer.
Robust components, excellent spare parts supply: it was clear from the start that the 4-Xtremes tour should take place in a Mercedes-Benz. Thus, finding the right vehicle took even longer.
Robust components, excellent spare parts supply: it was clear from the start that the 4-Xtremes tour should take place in a Mercedes-Benz. Thus, finding the right vehicle took even longer.
Robust components, excellent spare parts supply: it was clear from the start that the 4-Xtremes tour should take place in a Mercedes-Benz. Thus, finding the right vehicle took even longer.
Robust components, excellent spare parts supply: it was clear from the start that the 4-Xtremes tour should take place in a Mercedes-Benz. Thus, finding the right vehicle took even longer.
Robust components, excellent spare parts supply: it was clear from the start that the 4-Xtremes tour should take place in a Mercedes-Benz. Thus, finding the right vehicle took even longer.
Robust components, excellent spare parts supply: it was clear from the start that the 4-Xtremes tour should take place in a Mercedes-Benz. Thus, finding the right vehicle took even longer.
Robust components, excellent spare parts supply: it was clear from the start that the 4-Xtremes tour should take place in a Mercedes-Benz. Thus, finding the right vehicle took even longer.
Robust components, excellent spare parts supply: it was clear from the start that the 4-Xtremes tour should take place in a Mercedes-Benz. Thus, finding the right vehicle took even longer.
Robust components, excellent spare parts supply: it was clear from the start that the 4-Xtremes tour should take place in a Mercedes-Benz. Thus, finding the right vehicle took even longer.
Robust components, excellent spare parts supply: it was clear from the start that the 4-Xtremes tour should take place in a Mercedes-Benz. Thus, finding the right vehicle took even longer.
Robust components, excellent spare parts supply: it was clear from the start that the 4-Xtremes tour should take place in a Mercedes-Benz. Thus, finding the right vehicle took even longer.
Robust components, excellent spare parts supply: it was clear from the start that the 4-Xtremes tour should take place in a Mercedes-Benz. Thus, finding the right vehicle took even longer.
Robust components, excellent spare parts supply: it was clear from the start that the 4-Xtremes tour should take place in a Mercedes-Benz. Thus, finding the right vehicle took even longer.
Robust components, excellent spare parts supply: it was clear from the start that the 4-Xtremes tour should take place in a Mercedes-Benz. Thus, finding the right vehicle took even longer.

Show piece of the kitchen unit is the in-built two-ring hob. "They have the great advantage of not heating up the interior during cooking," Mike explains. A three-kilo washing machine ensures a clean wardrobe, and the flat-screen is used by Andrea, who works as a photographer, to edit pictures taken on the road. All devices in the box that consume electricity are supplied with energy via solar panels on the roof.

The energy storage units, two packages with a total of 16 lithium-ion batteries, are invisibly stored beneath one of the U-shaped bench seats. "Thanks to the solar power system, we have a self-sufficient system." And the entire technology is connected to a wireless LAN configuration which allows it to be operated using a tablet – this is truly de luxe camping! 

"We wanted to have a Mercedes right from the start."

How did the Kammermanns actually obtain their ideal mobile? "It was clear from the start that we wanted to have a Mercedes," says Mike. The proven high quality of the engines, transmissions and axles in vehicles that bear the three-pointed star spoke in favour of that. "Those are simply the components upon whose reliability we are especially dependent." Still, the outstanding supply of Mercedes-Benz spare parts throughout the world is at least an equally important argument, 32-year-old Mike explains. "Regardless of all the quality: in view of the enormous demands placed on the vehicle during the tour, the question isn't whether there will be some sort of defect, rather more like when."

In order to reduce the risk of breakdowns even further, the couple decided early on to look for a military truck, a vehicle with the reputation of being particularly robust. What's more: it had to be a truck which met the Euro IV emissions norm. That's because there is almost no suitable fuel for Euro V and Euro VI trucks available in the far reaches of Asia, and at the same time, important a Euro III truck into Switzerland would have proven costly for the Kammermanns.

With such a limited choice, a total of three years passed before the two found their Axor via an advert from a dealership in Fulda, as Andrea recalls. "We drove there in a cloak-and-dagger operation – and were lucky."



Stay tuned! Part three of the RoadStars series, and thus the first on-the-road report from Andrea and Mike Kammermann, will be published at the end of July. After which the two adventurers will most likely be reporting about their travel experiences here every month.



Photos: Alexander Tempel, 4-Xtremes
Video: Alexander Tempel


21 comments

👍👍👍👍
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Bin ja gespannt, auf den ersten Etappenbericht. Der sollte ja noch durch Regionen mit guter Infrastruktur führen... aber... Sommer - schön Bilder könnt's geben...
Gruß und gute Reise
Klaus
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Buen viaje, espero vuestras noticias.
Saludos desde España
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Hola Juan, muchas gracias :) Hasta ahora todo va bien, esperamos que sigua asi :)
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Hammer 👍😊 Gute Fahrt
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👍 Danke
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Heel veel Plezier en een hele goed reis !!👍👍
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👍
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Dank U om ons een technische uitleg te geven van jullie voertuig .En naar ik kon opmerken of foto's video waren de zonnepanelen volledig ingebouwd in de wooncontainer. Prachtig gedaan en technisch enkel een voertuig met perfekte doordachte techniek . Verwarming en water en electro zijn perfect functioneel . Dank U om ons mee te laten genieten . Succes en wij duimen . Mark
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Dear Mark, thank you for your comment. Yes, everything is built in very well and all components work nicely with one another. Until now we haven't had any hickups at all, let's hope it stays that way :D
Cheers, Andrea & Mike
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Guter Bericht, beantwortet gleich mehrere Fragen zur Technik, bevor ich sie stellen konnte - klasse!
Ein zusätzliches Stromaggregat ist nicht an Bord?
Und wie werden die Tanks beheizt?
Gruß
Klaus


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Hallo Klaus,
die Tanks werden mit einem Durchlauf vom Kühlmittelkreislauf vom Motor beheizt. Das siebte Bild in der unteren Slideshow zeigt der obere Teil dieser Installation. Dieser Durchlauf wird über ein Magnetventil bei -5C automatisch eingeschaltet.
Auf ein zusätzliches Stromaggregat haben wir verzichtet. Der Wohnkoffer wird mit Solarenergie geladen, kann aber auch vom Alternator während dem fahren geladen werden und umgekehrt können wir die Batterien vom Fahrzeug mit der Energie des Wohnkoffers laden, falls diese mal leer wären.
Liebe Grüsse aus Griechenland, Mike
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Danke Mike,
werde gespannt verfolgen, ob/wann Ihr diese Heizung brauchen werdet. Dann muß der Motor in sehr kalten Regionen ohne (längere) Unterbrechung laufen...
Gruß und gute Fahrt
Klaus
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Hallo Klaus, genau, der Motor wird eigentlich ab der Mongolei durchlaufen. Sofern alles funktioniert... :)
Lg
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👍 Weiterhin eine ereignisreiche und sichere Fahrt
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Hallo
Gute Fahrt und viel Spaß und Glück
😍💖💥👍👍👍💑
Gruß Richard
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Deleted user
Hallo Mike

Ich weis nicht ob du mich noch kennst, ich bin Thomas Mäder wir sind zusammen in die Schule gegangen, und die Mofa zeit durchgemacht. :)
Ich bin per zufall auf das gestossen, und finde das eine schöne sache was Ihr da beide machen dürft.
Ich wünsche euch alles gute, und Gesundheit auf eurer Reise.
Geniesst es. :)

Liebe Grüsse
Thomas
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Hi Thomas, klar mag ich mich an dich erinnern. Ein blauer Puch Maxi N 😉 War ne tolle Zeit.
Cool dass du auf den Artikel gestossen bist. Bald kommt der erste "on the road" Bericht.
Vielleicht treffen wir uns ja mal wenn wir zurück sind.
En liebe Gruess us Griecheland
Mike
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Ihr macht das super ...ihr lebt euren Traum ..weiter so...!!!
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Schön, wenn man so ein Abenteuer umsetzen und realisieren kann 👌Wünsche den beiden ein gutes Gelingen und vor allem sichere Reise 👍✌️
Grüße aus München
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👍👍👍
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