What’s wrong with the Iveco?

by | Aug 12, 2022 | Articles, North America, United States

Five years later, our relationship with our Iveco reminds some old couples who can’t stand each other but still can’t live without.

text & photography: Akis Temperidis

Besides the low cruising speed (65-75 km/h) and a an unbearably noisy cabin, we can’t complain. Our VM90 has the size, the off-road capabilities and the adventurous character we wanted for The World Offroad.

It also looks like a bad ass on the road and thanks to this we have met a lot of people, who seem to be very curious about And most important, It is a particularly reliable vehicle considering that after 85,000 kilometers in five years, we only had to repair the turbo so far. But there is another issue about this vehicle. While it is rugged built for low speeds and short distances on rough terrain, we mostly use it as a cruiser, doing many kilometers, mostly on tarmac roads.

Since it’s an old-school medium-size truck, it wears itself out, requiring constant maintenance. Engine oil and oil filter need to be changed every 6,000 kilometers and the transmission shaft needs frequent greasing. Struts and suspension links wear out quickly. Accelerator and clutch cables are getting worn and can easily break as it happened in Oregon. The brakes are the vehicle’s Achilles’ heel, because total weight is roughly 4.5 tons, instead of three and a half. 

It makes sense that following a monumental maintenance and repair project at Pavlos Kontellis SA back in spring 2019 in Athens, where were engine was dismnantled and dozens of parts were replaced, we had to get through as similar repair in Italy two and a half years later in Italy. 

In the same period and driven kilometres, a more modern 4×4 would barely need a handful of parts. The brake booster issue we faqced in California is probably due to a failure of the brand new component that was fitted a few months before. Be reminded that this an old military vehicle with parts waiting for years on Iveco’s shelves, if still available. The starter for example works erratically even if we had fitted a brand new one in Athsns. At least the engine comes into life with the slightest push. 

Ou VM90 was rebuilt in 2011 by a specialist workshop in Italy and there. It’s chassis was lenthened, transmission and suspension revised and a brand new engine was fitted, among myriad of other interventions. The A/C is an after market component coming from a Lancia Kappa and fitted in the best. – but not good enough – possible way in the limited space inside the bonnet. The engine is fitted with an after market intercooler and a different turbo by Japanese IHI, so when we asked from Iveco to ship one in norway, the  original didn’t fit. 

However, travelling around the world in an old-school vehicle with analog technologyhas its advantages. There are no ensors or electronic control units that can leave us stranded in the middle of the road without warning. Almost all possible problems can be solved on the road, as long as you have some mechanical skills.

By experience we can say that our Iveco is not suitable to developed countries like the USA, where most workshops don’t know how to deal with it. It’s a vehicle made to travel in developping countries, where you can always find a local, skilled mechanic to maintain or repair it._A.T.

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