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Old 11 Oct 2003
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Toyota Hilux and RIM


in february im planning a trip to mauritania
via marocco and western sahara by atlantic
the trip we are giong to do with 96' Toyota Hilux 2.4D
that will be my first desert expirience so i got a few questions about that.
the main thing is the car, what is the most important thing that i should take a look at?
second thing is tyres. what do you think about BFG AT? are they good enought for desert driving?
And now about our route.
marocco we are going to do as fast as possible so all the way only tarmac...
in mauritania our route is via nauadhibou, atar, chinguetti, tidjikja, aleg, rosso, nauakchott, nauadhibou...
so sometimes i think it is going to be not so easy... what do you think about that,
will my toyota hold all that trip?
what are the most important things that i should look at planning such a trip and
getting my toyota ready for that?

hope i'll find some help.
thanks a lot
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Old 12 Oct 2003
ctc ctc is offline
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I would consider buying Michelin XS desert tyres on the way down (Spain or Morocco)and fit them when you exit Morocco (or whereever you intend to start offroading). You may even be able to stash your road tyres at that point for retrieval and refit for your homeward bound run. Save you wearing out your new desert tyres on the tarmac.

Whilst BFG are great tyres, there is no price saving, they are not as good in the sand and you wont find spares in Mauritania.

The Toyota Hilux is the locals vehicle of choice in Mauritania and they are mostly shod with standard 7.5 rims with Michelin deserts.

When in Rome etc etc...
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Old 12 Oct 2003
ctc ctc is offline
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Re vehicle preparation: Start by cleaning and washing your vehicle down thoroughly and steam clean the underside. Then give or get a full vehicle service. Open, clean and regrease wheel bearings. Change ALL fluids, oils and radiator hoses (if worn). Check for play (excessive movement) in the prop shafts. If your clutch is worn then get it replaced.

Drive it around. Check operation of high and low ratio gears and then perform a vehicle inspection. Check for leaking hoses etc.

On expedition perform a vehicle inspection at the beginning and end of each day so that you catch anything before it stops you in your tracks.

As mentioned the Hilux is widely used and local mechanics will know the vehicle intimately (though they may have difficulty getting spares).

If you are at all worried about travelling alone then hiring a guide in Mauritania is an option (though expensive). You can also hire another vehicle and driver (at a price) if you want additional support for more remote travel. For a guide expect to pay between 10-35 USD per day. Keep in mind what you want from them (ie local knowledge, mechanical ability an extra pair of hands) and pay accordingly. It is also normal to pay them an allowance to return to where they came from.

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Old 12 Oct 2003
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thanks for your reply!

i really would like to buy another tyres
for desert driving but my budget is not too high.. so i probably will buy BFG AT
265/75R16 and use one complette spare wheel
with the same tyre... ewentually i'll
take with me one more tyre but without rim..
what do you think about that plan?
I have changed all the fluids(oils) 2000km
ago so, is it still important to change them
one more time before the trip?
im going in january/february so till that time i'll do no more than another 5000km...

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Old 13 Oct 2003
ctc ctc is offline
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If you have not yet had the vehicle fully serviced then I would change all fluids.

If you have owned the vehicle for a while then you will know its history. If this is the case I would change or at least check the fluids you have not changed before (ie think oil for differentials (front and back), transfer box, gear box, engine. Fluid for power steering, radiator, brakes and clutch. Greese for wheel bearings & hub swivels) If in doubt do the work it will give you peace of mind and you'll appreciate that on your trip!!

Re tyre choice the BFG is great but I'm suggesting you drive down on your current tyres and then pick up some desert tyres on your trip. You will find them no more expensive than your BFG and the standard rim sizes mean you don't have to carry six tyres.
If you are set on BFG's then great its a personal choice. I used BFG Trace Edge on my last trip but my plan next time is to pick up some deserts.

Have a great trip.
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Old 13 Oct 2003
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Personally, wouldn't bother with the desert tyres. They will no doubt be better but probably not worth the extra expense. Your BFGs will be fine, just make sure you have a compressor and a tyre gauge with you so you can drop the pressure and then pump them up again when it gets harder again.
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Old 14 Oct 2003
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i agree with Toby2, buy BFG (AT) if buying anything new and you only use/own 1 car. How long will you actually be in dunes after all, compared to 1000s of kms of road driving to get there and back. The reason locals all use XS (or copies, most likely) is there is nothing else easily available.
I never noticed any difference on the dirt changing to tubeless ATs apart from no more punctures - on the highway and in the wet they were better in all ways and last much longer. In my experience the XS-tread pattern era is over for real world desert driving. Cars and tyres have got a lot better since they came out. Airing down is what counts.

However, I would advise getting the commonly found 7.50 equivalent which is 235 85 R16, not what Merv mentioned. In this case it IS worth immitating local/overlander practises. If they are new one new spare will do. Running 235 85s, you will then find something locally you can use should you wreck 2 tyres.

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Old 16 Oct 2003
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thanks for your replys.
i must say that things a little changed
because last days, me and my friend was
wondering about changing our way of transport form 4x4 to TTR and Tenere
what do you think about that change???
its a little bit funny but true
waht are advantages and disadvantages
of doing such a trip by 4x4 or by 2wheels?

waiting forward for your replys.
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