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I'm thinking of going thru Africa for 18 months or so (pretty much everywhere) and wondered how good an idea it is to go alone. I'm not talking about going alone off-piste in the Sahara, but rather driving alone thru places like Nigeria and the Congos. Have many people had there car pinched here? I'm quite an experienced traveller, but have never taken a vehicle on my travels.
Also, since I am alone would it be feasible to use a hi-ace rather than a landcruiser? Are they just as capable off road?
Finally, whats the comparison between to big 4L landcruiser and the shorter wheel-based 2.4? I need something that will tackle Central African excuses for roads.
Travelling alone is not a problem as long as you have the mental fortitude to bear(and enjoy)it.No amount of company in the car will stop the 'tiefmen'in Nigeria if they take a fancy to you.It can be a very dodgy place!If you're determined to travel thro Nigeria try and stick to the middle/North and stay away from the South.Try and arrange to sleep in secure village schools and churches where you will be well received.Avoid cities like the plague!Cameroon is also OK on this basis.Don't know about further South from there.
Don't go in a Hi-ace.Rugged suspension and high ground clearance are your priorities.Look at Hilux pickup/Landcruiser.
Hope this helps
The reality is likely to be that a pickup interior will be to small for your needs and you will have to spend a lot of cash preparing the back for overlanding.The same loot will buy you a good used LC or Defender or Disco.See other threads for massive amount of info on all the rest.Also,buy Chris Scotts book and Tom Sheppards Expedition book.Both crammed with info and essential auto traveller reading.
Both LC and Hi-lux are very common in Africa. Land Rovers less so, but still pretty much around in West Africa. I'm currently using a disco, but if I was to do it another time I might try a Hi-lux. Looks a sensible vehicle to me and consumption will be 50% or so less then an LC.
Came just trough Nigeria (went Parakou (Benin) - Kaduna- Zaria- Jos- Cameroon Border (not allowed in) - Calabar - Ekok (Cameroon)) All was problem free (except Cameroon visa). Loads of Bush camping opportunities and feels safe.
It's easy to meet up with other cars goin south in Ghana/Togo/Benin.
You drove thru Nigeria?? Cool. Were you forever paying bribes? Or were the officials quite friendly?
My main worry about buying a 4X4 is being labelled as a rich foreinger and therefore being treated differently to how I might be if riding a motorbike.
What sort of prepping would a pick-up need? Are you taliking stuff like suspension or more cosmetic stuff like an awning etc?
Also, doe the Hi-Lux have H2/H4/L4 like the LC or is it permanent 4X4?
Finally, what would your choice be between the 2.4L SWB Landcruiser or the 2.4 Hi-Lux? (Both diesel of course). What's your opinion of turbo-diesels in Africa? Too complicated? Also, when trying to get an insurance quote for a Hi-Lux, they are all marked as 'surf' models and imports... Does your regular Hi-Lux have a different name?
[This message has been edited by danielsprague (edited 12 April 2004).]
Originally posted by danielsprague: My main worry about buying a 4X4 is being labelled as a rich foreinger and therefore being treated differently to how I might be if riding a motorbike.
As long as you’re a foreigner there's little difference whether you're on a bike or in 4x4. In most poor African countries bikes cost just as much as cars and are considered a luxury item since only rich locals get them. You will be labeled as a ‘rich foreigner’ so I wouldn’t take that factor into consideration. The assumption that a rider is poorer than a driver doesn’t apply in most African countries. Your spending habits and where you’ll be staying (cheap hotel rather than the Marriot) will slowly degrade your rich boy status, but by then you’ll be heading to the next city .
Location: Leicestershire,UK, or in my Iveco Daily 4x4
>My main worry about buying a 4X4 is being >labelled as a rich foreinger and therefore >being treated differently to how I might >be if riding a motorbike.
You could be backpacking - you'll still be a rich european/american/whatever
>What sort of prepping would a pick-up >need? Are you taliking stuff like >suspension or more cosmetic stuff like an >awning etc?
Depends what age of vehicle you are taking - you could look at bhundubashers website as he is using a forerunner (hilux with a station wagon body) with a 3l turbo engine, don't know how the toyta standard stuff holds up as i'm a landy person really
>Also, doe the Hi-Lux have H2/H4/L4 like >the LC or is it permanent 4X4?
The ones I have driven lately (brand new) plus the ones i drove in SA are all 4x2 as standard with H4 & L4. Older ones also have freewheeling hubs I believe
>Finally, what would your choice be between >the 2.4L SWB Landcruiser or the 2.4 Hi->Lux? (Both diesel of course). What's your >opinion of turbo-diesels in Africa? Too >complicated? Also, when trying to get an >insurance quote for a Hi-Lux, they are all >marked as 'surf' models and imports... >Does your regular Hi-Lux have a different >name?
Your decision needs to be made after knowing how you are going to sleep in or on the vehicle and also what you can find out there to buy at the time, are you going to put a cover on the pickup - single cab hilux ? could sleep in the back of that I think
Turbo engines are fine in africa although the early 4.2 toyota na engine is a good slogger, just get everything checked out and remember always to let the turbo spin down before switching off the engine (30 seconds or so)
Didn't pay any bribes in Nigeria. There's loads of check points, most of them will ask what you brought for them. Just whish them good luck or so and they'll wave you trough with a smile (95% of the times). There where a few that needed some talking, but not more then let's say 10 minutes.
About the car, I'd built something to cover the load bed. Maybe a sleeping arrangement on top of that, but in a way that your kit is still accessible with the tent (or other mosquito proof cover) up. But that's my fantasy, any other thing you fancy will do.
The only car you see in every african country is the Hi-lux with a 2.8l non turbo. I wouldn't worry to much about the turbo/engine though. Change oil+filter frequently, and the engine will get you trough.
With reference to turbo engines. I have never (touch wood) had any mechanical problems with my turbo diesel (300 Tdi). Its a commonly quoted phrase - turbos are too complex / sophisticated. I think this arguement is outdated, so is a lot of other kit we use. It does not stop us using it. Turbos have now been around a long time and are no longer "bleeding edge" technology. By ensuring you abide by service intervals for oil and filter changes you should not have to worry about their existence.
The real drawback for me with turbos is that there is little low down torque which is so useful for driving in dunes.
On the flip side the big positive with a TDi is fuel economy, and this adds up to worthwhile savings on your fuel bills and increased range for travelling.
[This message has been edited by ctc (edited 22 April 2004).]
[This message has been edited by ctc (edited 22 April 2004).]
You are right, a 2.5 turbo diesel will use more fuel than 2.5 normally aspirated diesel.
However if you were designing a vehicle and were deciding which engine to put in it you could as an example either drop a 2.5 litre turbo diesel into it or a 3 litre normally aspirated diesel into it. Both would likely produce a similar amount of power.
The advantage then is that the turbo diesel would probably require less fuel.
So typically you either put a large thirsty normally aspirated engine in the car or a smaller higher revving econmical turbo charged engine.
"The real drawback for me with turbos is that there is little low down torque which is so useful for driving in dunes."
I think ctc was refering to LR Tdis - because this lack of torque is merely related to any small capacity engine when used for loaded dune driving. A turbo should make it better.
I found my TLC 12HT engine (4ltr six td) much more torquey and easier to drive than the preceeding 2H (same, but no turbo). It was a bit more economical too.
I suppose on a bigger cc turbo engine they can afford to tune it for low rpm pull without loosing too much at the other end (though the 'VX' engines which followed - 1HD-T - were faster, smoother but less tractor-like).
As regards to the original question, a Hilux would be fine, even a 2wd model, but TLC's rep is built of the 4-litre sixes, in petrol or diesel, a bit like the old LR petrol four.
It all boils down to how much time you want to spend in the Sahara - if you plan on doing a lot of sand driving, go for a larger capacity 3 or 4 Litre Turb0 - theres no substitute for cc's in sand. If you are spending more time in the Sahel, then the smaller capacity Turbo will do everything you need - and save you some money with fuel and servicing costs. Also think of the load you need to carry and the suspension set ups for each vehicle - especially on a longer trip, its gonna be your home for 18months- Leaf springs- easy to fix, but less articulation and a poorer ride, Coils- better ride, better articulation, but when they break you gotta replace them.
If you want to keep the costs down the HiLux will do everything you need, but a Landcruser is a better choice for a longer trip. What ever you do, use good quality gear, and try and keep the weight down.
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