Hello from London

alle Tips und Fragen, die bei der Neuanschaffung eines KAT anfallen

Moderator: D-Platoon

Beiträge: 5
Registriert: Mi 23. Aug 2017, 11:36

Hello from London

Beitrag von tooFATtoDRIVE » Di 17. Okt 2017, 00:10


I am a new forum member and I would like to introduce myself here. My name is Jerzy. I live and work in London, UK. My brother lives back in Poland - it would be our project. This is where a truck would be registered, built and have its base.

I will write in English as my German is not good enough for a detailed discussion. Fell free to respond in German, I will try to translate it. Also, Google translate should be of assistance here.

MAN KAT A1 8x8 are of interest to me as well as trucks such as Tatra 8x8 and maybe Swiss Saurer 10DM. At this stage no decision has been made as to which truck I want to buy. It is more of a research stage where I am trying to get as much info about each of the above trucks as possible.

In terms of MAN KAT trucks, I am really fond of their sturdiness, excellent off-road abilities and relatively good network of MAN worldwide in case I need spare parts.

The proposed use of the truck is not 100% defined. Initially it would be used to go to local military shows back in Poland and also for training in off-road driving. My brother has a lot of experience with 4x4 trucks, for me it will be all new. Perhaps it is also a project for my brother and I to commemorate my Dad who passed away last year. He loved big forestry trucks and taught my brother and I lots about all things mechanical.

In due time it would be converted for an expedition/overland camper truck, in so called stealth mode so the exterior would be as simple and basic as possible. Something like this https://i.pinimg.com/originals/87/af/78 ... a9bebe.jpg and https://i.pinimg.com/564x/f1/64/7f/f164 ... ampers.jpg but in some more understated colours. Btw, does anyone know anything about this truck? The habitation box appears to have the top part lifting up but it is hard to be 100% just by looking and the pictures.

You will understand the reliability is the most important part for such a project. For that reason the less electronics the better.

Initially we would like to take it to Eastern Europe, Scandinavian countries, South-East Europe, Turkey, Iran, Georgia, various former soviet republics, Mongolia and Kazakhstan, Russia, maybe Siberia one day. In the future we would also attempt the Silk Road (Silk Route) starting in Poland and ending somewhere in China. This, however, is only on the paper type of project at this time. Some of the countries on our way are currently unstable politically and there are also other deadly threats there. Africa is not of that much interest to us at this time. South America probably not as the shipping there would be just too expensive and the truck is likely to be way too big.

Now, I really like the idea of KAT 8x8 for a number of reasons. One of them is lots of space to use, including room for a quad and other gear. The very short rear overhand would also be a great advantage. What I do not like is the turning circle (Wendekreis) of the Titanic. Does anyone here know what would be involved in having the rear axle (or even both axle) able to turn. I am not really interested in the Unicat MAN 8x8/8 capabilities. All I am interested in is reducing the turning circle. Perhaps there are other real life-proven solutions. I must admit, I have not seen anything like this myself but I see no harm in discussing this idea on forum.

The second question I have is whether there is anyone on forum who works at MAN dealership who could read/interpret the VIN number of a MAN KAT. From my experience with Mercedes Vario vans, the dealer can provide a lot of info which is "coded" into the VIN number. So if you can help, please send me a message and I will send you the VIN number.

Also, is there anywhere on the forum some sort of check-list designed for potential buyers of KAT A1 trucks? It can be in German, no problem. I will translate/interpret it myself. Obviously, there might be areas of these trucks that require more attention than than in other trucks so please feel free to post your suggestions.

Lastly, I look forward to posting on the forum!

Beiträge: 1015
Registriert: Fr 18. Jan 2013, 17:35
Wohnort: MA/LU

Re: Hello from London

Beitrag von A N D R E A S » Di 17. Okt 2017, 11:49

Hello Jerzy,

you find a checklist for buying a KAT I here.

To change the turning circle is possible but very expansive.

The code of VIN for the KAT I:

451xxxx: KAT I 4x4 5to
452xxxx: KAT I 6x6 7to
453xxxx: KAT I 6x6 7to tipper winch
454xxxx: KAT I 8x8 10to winch
455xxxx: KAT I 6x6 7to folding bridge
461xxxx: KAT I 4x4 5to winch
462xxxx: KAT I 6x6 7to winch
463xxxx: KAT I 6x6 7to Rak
464xxxx: KAT I 8x8 10to winch crane
465xxxx: KAT I 4x4 5to artillery (control) computer

It was a cooperation of MAN, Mercedes, Deutz, ZF ... only leaded by MAN. So the MAN dealer (or Mercedes or ...) doesn't understand the VIN code because the KAT I was not only build by MAN.
Zuletzt geändert von A N D R E A S am Di 17. Okt 2017, 13:04, insgesamt 1-mal geändert.

Beiträge: 915
Registriert: So 1. Apr 2012, 14:49
Wohnort: Bremen

Re: Hello from London

Beitrag von Zentralgestirn » Di 17. Okt 2017, 12:09

Hi Jerzy,

and welcome here.

It´s like Andreas told you. You don´t need the VIN. These 10 typical types you can find. There are still some prototypes out there but only a few and some one of a kind modded vehicles build by the troops.

You know that this are only the German Bundeswehr trucks first generation. You can find two successors from the KATI from the Bundeswehr. The KAT1A1, with newer air cooled engines, tilting cab and the KAT 1A1.1 with liquid cooled engines and other trannys. That are only the main advantages.

There are some more 8x8 from US Army and the Britisch Army has some too.

And last but not least, normal road trucks with the cap design from an KAT but not with the typical coil spring and finest off road capabilities. In some cases the better option if you are traveling a lot on streets and earth roads but not that extrem off road sand pit something something hardcore fun making stuff. ;)

Best regards


Beiträge: 59
Registriert: Mi 27. Sep 2017, 13:10
Wohnort: nähe Bern (CH)

Re: Hello from London

Beitrag von pat » Di 17. Okt 2017, 12:34

there are quite some KAT 1 and A1A for sale at
philipp currently has a Saurer 10DM for sale at

Beiträge: 609
Registriert: Di 10. Apr 2012, 22:20
Wohnort: 49624 Löningen

Re: Hello from London

Beitrag von HugoVogelsang » Di 17. Okt 2017, 17:52


First: why a KAT 1A1 and not a KAT 1?

A 1A1 is much more expensive and can (not must) have much more electrical probelms than a KAT 1.
The advantage of a 1A1 are differential locks for the front axles as standard (you can add them for a KAT 1) and a gearbox with 8 or 16 gears instead of 6.
The rear axles have 10 cm more distance than a KAT 1, so the 16" tires have some more space, but that increases the turning diameter slightly.
Spareparts vor a KAT 1A1 are much more rare and expensive, than for a KAT 1.

Turning diameter: There ist no real way to reduce it, because you can't realy change the steering geometry.
making the rear axle steerable will have only a slight effect.
Making both rear axles steerable, will have an effekt, but keep in mind:
The distance does not fit for the steering parts of the front axles.
At the KAT 1 the brakes at the steering axles are hydraulic operated and not as powerfull as the Brakes at the rear axles.
(1A1 has airbrakes at all axles.)
There has been the Idea of steering the rear axles by makeing the guiding rods variable. But this causes other problems...

Shortening the Frame between the second and the third axle helps, but not too much and then you can have the same place vor the payload with a 6x6.

Disconnecting the first axle from the drivetrain reduces the turning diameter (at solid ground) by one meter. (I tested that.) But no one build this as a swichable feature by now, as far as I know. (Disconnecting the last axle has no effect.)

As a matter of fact, an 8x8 is a long truck wich uses a lot of space. You must life with that anyway.

Greetings Hugo

Beiträge: 5
Registriert: Mi 23. Aug 2017, 11:36

Re: Hello from London

Beitrag von tooFATtoDRIVE » Mi 18. Okt 2017, 00:41

Thank you all for your posts - this is very helpful.

Few additional questions:

* I have found this very helpful post by andreas (viewtopic.php?t=2449&f=22) regarding differences between KAT 1 and KAT A1 and I wondered if any of you familiar with the 8x8 KATs would add anything specific to the 8x8 version

* I have read somewhere that there were both air-cooled and water-cooled engines on the KAT A1 8x8 trucks. Is this factually correct? Is there any additional info on the net about this?

* does anyone know anything about this habitation box (repeated question from my initial post): https://i.pinimg.com/originals/87/af/78 ... a9bebe.jpg and https://i.pinimg.com/564x/f1/64/7f/f164 ... ampers.jpg
I really like how stealth it looks, of course painted in some natural colours.

Ideally, in due course, I would like to have the ability to relatively easily remove the habitation box if needed (example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYJf94NbR78). In other words, to follow the concept by Bliss Mobil. Of course, the habitation box would be nowhere near the luxury and standard of the Bliss. Simple, reliable, functional, comfortable, clean - that is what I like. Not to mention the financial side of this - cheap and cheerful, homemade - that's the idea.

Hugo: I accept that making the truck able to turn rear wheels is rather a very difficult task so at this time this is more of a research and gathering information stage.
Few questions for you, though:
* what sort of price difference between KAT 1 and A1 are we talking about here?
* what particular electrical problems on KAT A1 which do not exist with KAT 1?
* are there any particular electrical/mechanical/other issues that KAT A1 trucks are suffering from?

Thank you all once again for your comments.

Beiträge: 609
Registriert: Di 10. Apr 2012, 22:20
Wohnort: 49624 Löningen

Re: Hello from London

Beitrag von HugoVogelsang » Mi 18. Okt 2017, 11:21


you can easily double the prices for 1A1, minimum.....

the 1A1 has just much more electrical contol boxes. At the KAT 1 are, besides the converter control box, only simple relays. And since a lot of people are not that fammiliar with electrics, the 1A1 makes more problems. At the KAT1 you can fix the most problems with some wire.....

the most 1A1 are equipped with the air cooled engine. As far, as I know, the water cooled engines are 1A1.1....

The motorhome in the pictures has a liftable roof. I dont know if you want to do that much efforts.....

Greetings Hugo

Beiträge: 1748
Registriert: Do 1. Nov 2012, 21:07

Re: Hello from London

Beitrag von AndreasE » Mi 18. Okt 2017, 14:31

Hi Jerzy,
thanks for your exhaustive introduction to the community, and welcome!

A few answers to your questions (they will probably raise more questions ....):

1) Kat 1, KAT 1 A1 and KAT A1.1
The largest volume of standardized cars produced are the KAT 1 (approx 9000, about 3000 still in military service in Germany, an unknown number in Nato allied countries).
The KAT A1 are available with air cooled Deutz engines (approx 1200) produced for the German Air Force. The second version (preferred by MAN, with liquid cooled MAN engines) are much less available. Mostly produced for smaller contracts (Oman, ...) the numbers are unknown, but most likely in the range of 50-100 produced. The most famous liquid cooled are the A1 6x6 for the Belgian Army (about 60 pieces produced, if my memory is correct)
The KAT A1.1 are the next generation, about 400-600 pieces produced for the German army, mostly still in service. The Bundeswehr had to conceed their desire for air cooled engines (about 45% of all truck losses in combat are due to the watercooling system - the single most frequent failure reason) due to national legal exhaust requirements and moved to watercooled engines.

2) Electrical system
The increase ion complexity can be seen in the size of the maintenance manual for the elctrical part. For the KAT 1 about 150 pages, for the A1 about 400 pages and for the A1.1 about 700 pages. Based on the famous wording "What is not in, can't fail" many prefer the simpler architecture of the KAT 1 if reliability is of utmost importance (and cheaper fixing is not a bad thing either).

3) habitat box
The green camper boxon the KAT A1 8x8 is new to me, haven't seen it before. Looks like a mechanical/hydraulical system is applied to lift the box when the truck is parked and lowers the box (and increases safety vs. burglars) when travelling. Looks like an interesting concept though.

4) The VIN you asked via PN pointed to an A1 8x8 FSG (flexible road system). Usually these trucks don't have many km on the odometer - 15000 to 35000 km is in the normal range. As with all used things. Some can be in excellent condition, some might have some hidden or pending issues you will only find out when owning and driving the truck. The old saying: "No risk, no fun" :-)

5) Spare parts
As you mentioned the worldwide availability of MAN spare parts. This is partly true. Not all things are still orderable by MAN. Of those things still orderable, there are many things you don't want to order - based on the prices being asked. Don't forget, that their "only" customers are the military services and the stock keeping had been going on for 40 years. For instance if you want to change all the dampers on the 8x8, expect to pay 18.000 (incl VAT). Similar range are the coil springs. So, most of the private community member owned trucks are KAT 1, where a decent "3rd party" used spare system exists among the members and some dealers.

6) prices
I'd recommed to differentiate purchase and maintenance budgest:
Due to availability of surplus trucks there is a natural slope in purchase prices.
KAT 1, about 6000-6500 sold off
KAT 1 A1, about 700 sold off, but a large part are the 2900mm wide 8x8 (which are a bit inconvenient for normal road use)
KAT 1 A1.1, don't know the exact number, but probably less than 30 (mostly A1.1 6x6 from Patriot units), less than 5 pcs A1.1 8x8 are known to me

The slope of price differences grow for maintenance. Less in the list prices of MAN (all 3 series are expensive), but more on the lack of "alternative sources" available for the A1 and A1.1. - like scrapped trucks, some people selling their trucks and spare parts, etc, etc ...


Beiträge: 5
Registriert: Mi 23. Aug 2017, 11:36

Re: Hello from London

Beitrag von tooFATtoDRIVE » Sa 21. Okt 2017, 19:19

Excellent posts all, thank you. Let me consider and come back :)


Wer ist online?

Mitglieder in diesem Forum: 0 Mitglieder und 1 Gast