The Unimog Mercedes Truck Unexpectedly Makes History at Ojos del Salado
The Unimog Aims High
In an unexpected twist of events, the Unimog truck built by Mercedes-Benz set a new altitude record for wheeled vehicles after climbing up the Chilean volcano, Ojos del Salado a.k.a the highest active volcano in the world at 21,962 feet above sea level.
The Unimog truck, which is a multi-purpose all-wheel drive medium vehicle, was one of the two trucks being used by a scientific voyage. The Unimog 2023 model is that was used is a 4×4 commercial truck with a gross vehicle weight of over 14 tons. It’s revved-up by a 5.1-liter 4-cylinder turbodiesel rated at 231 horsepower and 663 lb-ft of torque.
Initially, the goal of the expedition was to install four emergency transmitters at high-altitude campsites around the rocky slopes but after completing the planned work at 20,013 feet, the team utilized the opportunity to beat the world record.
A pair of Unimogs were specially modified with extreme off-road tires as well as big winch units on this challenging course. The Unimog trucks were altered especially for the task with winches (a mechanical device used to pull in or let out the tension of a rope or “wire cable”, particularly for tow trucks, steam shovels and elevators) in order to help maintain their centers of gravity during intense maneuvers.
According to Fox New Autos, only minor modifications to the engine mapping and fuel injection systems were necessary in order to cope with the lack of oxygen at such high altitudes.
A series of videos on Teche Blog shows the crew setting up equipment at various base camps before arriving at the monstrous volcano. Presumably, after the crew set up the radio systems, the drivers struggled as they attempted to climb up a very rocky (and slightly snowy) terrain for an uncertain amount of time.
The first Unimog truck assisted the second by hauling it upwards. It appears that both vehicles were assisted with chains that were attached to the tires in order to prevent unnecessary tire spin. Finally, towards the end of the third video, the two Unimog’s separate from one another and the team celebrates at it reaches its highest altitude.
Taking Back The Title
The previous world record that The Unimog broke was set by a Suzuki Samurai with 21,942 feet of altitude in 2007. The Samurai was built by the custom truck company, Twisted Andes.
In a way, the Unimog truck reclaimed the title for Mercedes-Benz. According to Autoblog, the Samurai obtained their record just weeks after it was claimed by a Jeep Wrangler, which was previously produced by (the past parent company of Mercedes-Benz) Daimler-Chrysler corporation.
Additionally, trucks were equipped with a system that allowed them to move counter-weights forward and backward in order to adjust the vehicles’ centers of gravity while in motion.
Matthias Jesche of Extrem Event led the expedition and succeeded in breaking his own altitude record, which was set in an old Mercedes Zetros, at 6,675 meters in 2014.
As of the publication of this article (January 27, 2020) Guinness World Records has not yet certified the Mercedes-Benz achievement.
John Sisson Motors
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