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TheWarden 8 Oct 2011 18:27

Morocco Vehicle Prep & Essential equipment

First post although I've been reading the forum for a while. I've been travelling Morocco a lot over the last decade or so but never really ventured onto the pistes in a 2wd hire car (except some detours with dodgy moroccan's). Recently I had the misfortune of being made redundent so I now have a bit of time and cash available so have been thinking of heading out to Morocco mid Nov for a month before Christmas.

Never really been into 4wd but ! am pretty handy with the spanner building old fords. Currently I am thinking of purchasing a nissan patrol for the trip, although mainly because there are some fairly cheap locally. I plan to sleep either in the truck or in B&B's as roof tents are too pricy.

What would you knowledgeable folks reccomend as essential for a trip to morocco in terms of vehicle prep and equipment?

I'm thinking AT tyres, 2 batteries and some bash plates should see me fine but as I said I'm new to this



RussG 9 Oct 2011 11:19

Patrol Prep.
Sorry to hear about the redundancy but every cloud has a silver lining:thumbup1:
AT Tyres – Yes. I like BFG. Coopers have a good reputation and I think are cheaper.
Two Batteries – If you are alone I guess yes that’s a good plan.
Bash Plates – No need IMHO. Just drive sensibly and a Patrol will not need these.
Keep it light. Weight kills vehicles.
My spares consist of bodge it stuff. Cable ties, duct tape, various bits of hose, jubilee clips, liquid metal etc. and wheel bearings, belts and a second hand alternator. Thats about it.
We use a £50 ground tent. I couldn't justify the expence of a roof tent.

Other than that my prep would consist of getting the suspension and cooling absolutely sorted. My approach (which others may not agree with) is to not mess with things too much, especially on something like a Patrol which in standard spec. is more than up to a trip through Morocco. Standard is good.

From your description you will have the time to take things easy and not stress the vehicle. My limited knowledge of older Patrols (I was tempted a few years back and looked at some) is that they can suffer from pretty terminal rust. I’m not talking about body panels here but critical things like chassis/suspension mounts etc.
Good luck and let us know how you get on.

grizzly7 9 Oct 2011 11:52


I would agree no bashplates. We havn't done the gorge to gorge route which is supposed to be the most likely place for damage, but everywhere else was fine. We met a woman who had done it in a standard Kangoo, but it cost her two tyres and a wheel!

Are you aware of Chris Scott's Morocco book of pistes? Well recomended.

Maybe a jerrycan of fuel, definitely a decent amount of water either in jerries or bladders (swiss army 20l bladder is something to google for, usually used or oldish but very good even with the odd bit of rubber coming out!)

Olaf maps are free and very good, but the Garmin one had a lot of tracks that Olaf didn't and is routeable so you can concentrate your brain onto the mad traffic a little more!

A tow rope and jump leads. Puncture repair kit wether tubes or not. Make sure everything is regularly tightened. Despite weekly checking a battery terminal wiggled loose and disappeared. A local garage used half a mile of solder to create a new one, so weekly checking is not enough! Strips of 2 foot wide carpet to put under the tyres if sunk in sand, a shovel, and a Hi-Lift jack maybe to get it up in the first place without needing to get underneath to place a bottle jack. HiLifts need something suitable to attach it to the bumper though, a Landy has a suitable metal bumper, Japanese stuff won't without alteration I think.

The garages seemed very knowledgable but lacked parts and tools so take your own. Take a few extra bits maybe bulbs, fuses, adjustable spanner, welding glasses (I don't think I ever saw anyone use anything, other than the odd pair of broken sunglasses! :() anything that maybe you can find cheaply that they just can't get. The three hours of faffing with my battery cost me a t-bar from my socket set, some RedX, some cable ties and a £5 penknife from Ebay. The penknife alone would have done considering his reaction when he saw it! Despite the Dakar convoy in the past coming past his garage, his number 2 had never seen an unused cable tie!

As you may have noticed on your trips there are a lot of Landcruisers, so that alone from a parts and local experience point of view might be worth looking at?

Happy travels


TheWarden 9 Oct 2011 13:30

Thanks for the replies

I've read Chris's book cover to cover a couple of times now also got Olaf maps running in mapsource on the pc. Are the Garmin topo's good Grizzly?

so far my kit list for the vehicle runs along the lines of
20l diesel
20l water
hi lift jack
split charger/twin battery
jump cables
tow rope
at tyres
Tools & Spares

I also have basic camping equipment as required, I have been tempted with the expense of a fridge, nothing like a cold Flag Special at the end of the day :)

I will be on my own so won't be taking many risks but I am experienced in Morocco enough to get through most issues with a little patience and inshalla attitude.

Originally I was thinking of a defender but after thinking a little harder teh comforts of a jap 4x4 would be approeciated. Landcruiser would be nice but the ones for sale locally are too pricey. Less intial outlay means more tavelling :Beach:

twenty4seven 9 Oct 2011 14:03

Hello Mark.

I echo what the others have said, good tyres, suspension and preventive maintenance is the most important essential equipment IMO.

Don't overload and keep everything simple.

Your list so far is similar to mine + Russ's bodge it stuff.

I sleep inside, which is so nice and easy.

Have fun bier

TheWarden 9 Oct 2011 18:43

Hi Matt,

Another Dorset person i see! BTW What do you sleep on? a thermorest type mattress?

tacr2man 9 Oct 2011 19:34

Re nissan patrol , perfectly adequate vehicle. Only weak point really is that a lot of rear axles had bearings direct onto axle shaft , so you need to check these are in good condition ie no end float as unlike landy and toyota which are fully floating if the bearing goes the axle shaft tries to exit the vehicle,
and they are a press fit bearing to axle so you cant really do in the field.
Other than that they are pretty reliable , and lend themselves to bush fixing . Two spare wheels are a good idea , saves having to worry when you get first flat , tyre repair gear good idea . twin battery setup so you have one in reserve for self jump start. As mentioned keep it light . HTSH

twenty4seven 9 Oct 2011 20:10


Originally Posted by TheWarden (Post 351874)
Hi Matt,

Another Dorset person i see! BTW What do you sleep on? a thermorest type mattress?

An Argos shorty sprung mattress, I took my 8 year old on the last trip and he has a cot mattress (although I would never tell him that) so the fridge fits in.

It would take a lot to get me into a tent now :)


Big Yellow Tractor 12 Oct 2011 07:13

Gotta love that set-up.

Beds, fridge, bog-roll.......Let's go !!

As the little fury fellas in the telly would say "Simples"

twenty4seven 12 Oct 2011 17:25


Originally Posted by Big Yellow Tractor (Post 352216)
Gotta love that set-up.

Beds, fridge, bog-roll.......Let's go !!

As the little fury fellas in the telly would say "Simples"

Glad you like it, you missed the inside line for drying our clothes during the day though :Beach:

TheWarden 13 Oct 2011 10:36

That does look comfy :)

Off to look a landcruiser today thats popped up locally, fingers crossed its a good one

JulianVoelcker 13 Oct 2011 11:38

The key thing, regardless of the vehicle make, is to ensure that it is mechanically sound and unfortunately if aiming for a 4x4 at the lower end of the market you are going to struggle to find an example that won't need money spending on it.

Unfortunately most older vehicles only ever get irregular engine oil and filter changes and basic repairs to get them through MOTs each year so key things like gearbox oils, diff oils, and wheel bearing maintenance just gets ignored.

On the Land Cruiser front we are finding customers having to spend on average £2-5k on 80 series and £1-2k on 90 series to get them properly base lined - so that is a full fluid, filters, belts, etc service, checks on the starter and alternator and then a full check on the bearings and seals in the axles (we would always strip, check and repack with grease where appropriate), check the integrity and thickness of the brake disks, pads and also the quality of the seals, etc.

You can save a lot by buying smartly, doing the work yourself and using cheaper components, but obviously they have their own issues so you need to pick and choose a bit.

We would expect a fully baselined Land Cruiser to be able to do something like a Cape Town trip without incidence and without having to take boxes of spares.

As for other prep, yes Land Cruisers and Patrols were designed for travelling around the likes of N. Africa in standard form, but they would normally be equipped with different suspension setups which are a far cry from the tired European spec suspension that you will find over here and also they aren't usually heavily loaded like the average overlanding vehicle (although it sounds like you are being quite sensible about it).

One other point, don't forget with high lifts you need to mount them to something. Most people I know are like me and hate the things. As long as you have time and a good spade you should get out of most problems in Morocco, although do consider taking an airbag jack instead of a high lift.

TheWarden 15 Oct 2011 11:42

Fortunaelt several LC Colarado's popped up locally this week, went a looked at a few and I've just put a deposit down on a 99 VX bier

158000KM 2 owners in Black via a local 4x4 center. It's well known to them so I have some comfort in that.

Think I got a fair price, didn't knock them down much but it will get a full service, MOT, timing belt change and valet oh and 5 new BFG AT's for £275

Pretty pleased so far. Collect it on Friday leaving weeks to prep before I'm thinking of leaving for Morocco :D

twenty4seven 15 Oct 2011 12:49

Good choice Mark IMO

Some basic stuff Here for that model.

RussG 16 Oct 2011 11:46

Your LC purchase sounds like a good choice. I also agree with pretty much everything Julian has stated but feel like I need to clarify my first post with respect to keeping things standard. I’m not saying keep 20 year old saggy standard suspension and un serviced mechanics.

Apologises if this now goes off topic as I will use G Wagens as my example but same applies to just about every other 4X4 I have used/seen, most of all LR’s due to the abundance of questionable and cheap modifications available.

Standard suspension set up on mine is either Bilstein or Sachs HD shock and progressive rate springs, that’s it. No “European Spec” that’s pretty much how they are across the world. That’s what mine has and apart from maybe swapping to Koni Raids that’s how I’ll keep it. Some have changed this setup to ORC non progressive heavy duty springs and Koni Heavy Tracks. End result being a harsh ride and unless very heavily loaded next to no axle articulation (it’s an urban myth that G Wagens don’t have this in the first place). Of course they have diff locks so they only need traction to one wheel. Um yes but now unless you know what you are doing the half shafts and diff’s themselves get stressed. That harsh ride is also an indicator of unintended consequences to other parts of the vehicle.

I’ve pondered changing the standard suspension bushes to Poly but having seen what stiff poly bushes have done to other suspension components I.E. transferring stress to where the original setup / design didn’t envisage I’ll stick with OEM.
Suspension lifts. I lifted my old G by 40mm and got away with it. Improved off road performance with only a slight pay off on road. Plenty of people go for 60mm plus and don’t understand the consequences with respect to camber, steering geometry and lack of self centring. Vibrations due to altering prop shaft angles, stressing UJ’s etc. So my current one is un lifted.

Bigger wheels / spacers. Reduced torque/power at the wheels. Increased stress on wheel bearings. Enough said.

My basic premise here being that manufactures have spent millions and many hundreds of thousands of hours testing and through warranty feedback developing vehicles (hopefully!!). Far too often people are seduced by the words “heavy duty”, get convinced via forums that they need to modify and change just about anything that can be unbolted. I understand that for some that this is part of the enjoyment, the anticipation etc. That’s OK so long as they actually understand the knock on consequences of what they or their supplier are doing!

A standard well sorted LC Colorado will be more than capable for your trip. Enjoy bier


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