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Old 6 Jul 2003
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Utrecht, Netherlands
Posts: 26
burglar proofing your 4x4

If you take a 4x4 into Africa...do you burglar proof it more than a solid lock on the doors? I have seen vehicles with metal grating (or even solid bars) over the windows. A system that is locked but can be taken off when wanted. I liked the idea but other people tell me that a highly secured car looks more interesting and therefore the proofing has an adverse effect.
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Old 7 Jul 2003
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Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: UK
Posts: 473
Locals will be just as interested either way. Compared with their relative worth, rocking up in any sort of 4x4 is going to make you look loaded.

Part of it is how you operate - for example, even when staying at hotels, we tended to camp with the vehicle. Its easy to pay people, especially kids to look after the vehicle whilst you go wandering. Just tell them you will pay them when you come back if it is all fine - don't tell them how much just give them something when you return.

There are options, such as on a Defender, you can drop out the rear windows and replace the glass with metal panels, easy to fit. Big companies such as utilities tend to do it on their landrovers.

Isolator switch can be good for piece of mind. Grills can be good, although they are probably more protection against stone throwing than break ins.

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Old 15 Jul 2003
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: CT, USA
Posts: 43
I think it's a good idea, especially if you don't have AC. It's hard to resist opening all windows when the temps pass 45C.
We've had kids reaching in all open windows when we were stuck sitting in the thruck at crowded checkpoints or on a ferry.
The grate is just as usefull when driving down the road- it keeps things from blowing out the window.
I think a good compromise are grates that mount on the inside of the vehicle- it doesn't look like an armored car, but still offers protection.
Ed Messenger
VRAA Expedition Society
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Old 15 Jul 2003
ctc ctc is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Lincolnshire, England
Posts: 249
I have a 110 defender CSW with grills on rear side windows (riveted to outside) and rear window (riveted inside). The vehicle also has a metal load guard behind the rear passenger seats which is bolted to the internal roll cage. You therefore end up with a very secure load area. On my last expedition I also whitewashed the rear load area windows such that people could not see inside. A smarter method is to get an adehesive sticker made to blank out these windows or a panel as suggested earleir in this thread.

I went to all this effort after a friend had the glass from one of the small rear windows (found on each side of the rear door)removed from his Defender by someone with a razor. The thief cut them out of the rubber mounts whilst he was asleep in a campsite in West Africa and stole various bits and pieces.

Also if you intend leaving the vehicle in a remote area (to go walking for example) I felt that it would make someone think twice about breaking in.

In the event the only theft I suffered on the ten month expedition was from a mechanic who was helping me fix the vehicle when he stole a pair of binoculars. Perhaps the grills helped in this.

The grills also stopped me getting smashed windows in one stone throwing incident in Jordan.

As a generalisation though I found the muslim North Africans less liable to steal than their Christian counterparts in sub Saharan Africa. For North African travel, knowing what I know now, I would just blank the windows with a sticker this may also help in the event of stone throwing as well.
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