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  #1  
Old 8 Jan 2012
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Question Crossing to the darker side. Advise me on 4WD

Well, I have always been a two wheel fan, only veering off the"path" when I bought a Ural sidecar.

That was (and is) my choice of overland vehicle, given that we have two dogs as well as my wife.

However, as time has gone by, and the option of a family is also on the cards, I feel I cannot ignore the possibility of our next trip (still Tallinn to Kamchatka and still no closer!!) will be in a car/van/truck of some sort.

I don't claim to know everything about bikes, but I do claim to know next to nothing about cars!!

So this is where you come in with viable options based on the following criteria.
  • Buying should not break the bank. I guess under €10K, kitted up, would be ideal.
  • Newer the better, of course: I lack any mechanical know-how unlike for a bike which I comprehend more or less.
  • Should be big enough for at least three people and 2 pooches + kit
  • Should have a rear section that we could at least lie in at night
  • Preferably with either a soft top or hard top covering to that area
  • Failing the tail boot option, scope for a roof tent contraption
  • Mechanically reliable.
  • Relatively easy to acquire in Europe (Estonia does not have the biggest market so the nearest used car market of note is either Russia or Germany. The latter would be easiest)
To give you an idea, I had first thought of a Mitsubishi Delica, but they are now old and long in the tooth, mostly and I think are diesel: how available is diesel out in the wilds: I don't know.

Then I thought about the other end of the scale: some Pinz-gauer (Sp?)type thingy, or the Volvo equivalent that I've seen parked at a local mechanic's. Then I've see a long wheel base Mitsubishi 4 seat pickup, but I'm not sure two adults could sleep in the back, comfortably etc.

No offence to the affecionados, but I don't think a landie is for me: it seems you do need a degree of mechanical skill: they look very cool though!!

What do you suggest?
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Old 8 Jan 2012
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It's an interesting question and one that will get many different answers...

I evolved my requirements from an old Series Land Rover to a Defender, later a Toyota and eventually onto a Double Cab with Demountable camper (Truck camper).

The demountable (read more) is very capable when fitted to a good double cab vehicle. This setup below cost me 9000 Pounds in 2009. It would handle any terrain that I could drive the vehicle on however rough corrigations did shake up the interior a little.



Good luck with your thinking... the options are endless!
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Old 8 Jan 2012
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Warthog has got in ahead of me on this question and it has been burning a hole in my head for a while, because, as per the last post, "the options are endless!" -- the options are clearly even more wide ranging than for two wheels.

I have also read some of the mountain of stuff about LR Vs LC in the various fora here and, so, I too would like to hear of experiences and potential solutions in response to Warthogs question.
If it is not hijacking this thread, I would very much like to hear about the aspects of mechanical reliability in particular --- there are quite a few 4x4 vehicles on the market nowadays but the engines are becoming ever more electronic rather like the BMW 1200GS.

Put another way, for Mitsubishi, Nissan, Isuzu and all the others, what is the equivalent of the 200/300TDi engine? (not really much to ask ).
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Old 9 Jan 2012
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Have you considered a Toyota LandCruiser 78 series (Troop Carrier)?

They are without a doubt one of the most basic and reliable vehicles on this earth. Their largest market is Africa and Australia. I don't beleive they were ever imported into the UK, but the 1HZ engine is popular amongst many other Toyota's, so parts should be easily found world wide.




This one has a fold up bed, fridge, filtered water, a heap of roof storage and under bed storage. They carry 180L of diesel for an easy 1000KM of range under most scenarios.
Hope this is of help or at least provides some inspiration. Let me know if you have any more questions.

Last edited by Grazer; 9 Jan 2012 at 08:35. Reason: Inserted URL rather than PIC
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  #5  
Old 9 Jan 2012
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Overlanders' Handbook, grab it!

Get right now Overlanders' Handbook, by fellow Chris Scott. Really, really good, tons of great info.

BTW, I was wondering about electronics and reliability in newer Toyotas until I talked to several drivers in Egypt 1 month ago: 1) 2nd hand Toyota Hiace D4D, 562.000 kms "any problem?" "No, no problem, every day, new car"; b) NEW 2010 Toyota Hiace D4D: "Everyday, 1000 kms and not a problem. Now, 500.000kms on the clock, I expect as usual to reach 1 to 1,5 million easily". Not bad, um? I only forgot to ask if they placed a good fuel filter to protect the common rail engine (I guess they did).

I'm no expert at all, but IMHO, I wouldn't go for a Pinzgauer or similar if you can get a more confortable/reliable piece of Japanese engineering.

PS: Your wife might not read "we have two dogs as well as my wife" in that order...
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Old 9 Jan 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estebangc View Post
PS: Your wife might not read "we have two dogs as well as my wife" in that order...
Ha-Ha! Quite!
I think a psychologist would have a field-day with that sentence. Let's hope she doesn't get a HUBB account soon!!

Well, so far I like the rigs that people have chosen and the likes of the Toyotas would be fine. I think Pinz Gauers would be perhaps a bit expensive, but I also saw a Volvo C303 advertised that would be a nice option: but probably better for a Cape Town trip...

I guess there are many options, but I've been under the impression that 4-5 seats and leg room to sleep in the back would be the limiting step.
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Old 9 Jan 2012
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Hi there a very good question without a definate answer however here's my opinion.

1) diesel fuel all the way, it available on all but the most remote of loacations failing that, a pre electronic diesel engine will run on veg or olive oil & diesel is a safer fuel to store and carry.

2) do you really need a 4wd,? a 2wd commercial van is more than adequate as an overland vehicle, the running gear is normally heavy duty and if you pick a well known model spares will be widely available.
a van is very secure and does not attract attention like a 4x4 with rooftent etc.

commercial vans tend to be good on fuel and easy to maintain, & you can equip the interior to suit as most are designed to take a 1.2. pallet so they are easy set up with square storage boxes etc.

I have been fancying a VW synco camper, 4x4 in a small package I saw lots of nice well sorted ones @ bad kissengen last june.

regards

Gren
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Old 9 Jan 2012
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You want to go bigger rather than just enough, LC , LR Nissan et al are OK as as you are at present 2 adults + 2 dogs (just) . What I am suggesting is that you need to look more in the future, as you mention additions. The expense of aquiring and building/modifying a vehicel for reliable overland travel is is not inconsiderable esp from a time invested point of view . You also need to consider the trip lengths you are planning , as anything can be endured for a short time , put can cause real problems over a longer period . It can also be much the same cost wise to choose a bigger vehicle. JMHO
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Old 9 Jan 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grazer View Post
Have you considered a Toyota LandCruiser 78 series (Troop Carrier)?

They are without a doubt one of the most basic and reliable vehicles on this earth. Their largest market is Africa and Australia. I don't beleive they were ever imported into the UK, but the 1HZ engine is popular amongst many other Toyota's, so parts should be easily found world wide.

This one has a fold up bed, fridge, filtered water, a heap of roof storage and under bed storage. They carry 180L of diesel for an easy 1000KM of range under most scenarios.
Hope this is of help or at least provides some inspiration. Let me know if you have any more questions.

My tuppance: Having driven a borrowed 1978 TLC BJ75 Troupie around southern Africa for 6 weeks in 2009, I'd have to say it fits your requirements exactly. It's also been described as "too stupid to break down", which is nice if you don't like fixing it. Pics and vids at Southern Africa 2009 TBSdotCom

Best wishes to Tallinn. I'll be there at some point between now and the summer to collect my Trannie from J and K.

Chris
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Old 10 Jan 2012
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The tough bit will be finding such Toyotas, but I will look around.

Meanwhile, what are the general opinions of the likes of the Isuzu Trooper (a bit small, unless a roof tent is used), or the Mitsubishi L200, in its various forms? This latter model has a great long-wheelbase option with a big boot area: that could make both indoor and roof sleeping an option!!
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Old 10 Jan 2012
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As a dyed in the wool Land Rover man there is only one vehicle you should consider....


....the Land Cruiser Troopie. There I've said it now.

As discussed above it is the ideal vehicle, simple, well proven, reliable and bombproof. If I was starting again it is definately what I would go for.

As you rightly say, finding them is the big problem as they were not imported into the UK (other than by individuals). However as only the first few hundred miles of you journey will be driving on the left it makes sense to look for a left-hand drive.

I don't have the links (I'll try and dig them out) but thse come up quite often on European secondhand websites. Especially in Germany. try doing some searching with google.de or google.fr etc. etc and see if you can spot any. Then it's just a weekend trip over the pond to inspect and pick it up.

I don't know all the ins and outs of registering it but I'm sure it won't be too difficult.

In addition I would advise getting hold of a copy of Tom Sheppards 'Vehicle Dependant Expedition Guide' as it has a raft of valuable information on vehicle choice and preparation.

EDIT:

Links now found: http://www.buschtaxi.de/ (click on 'marktplatz'), and http://www.mobile.de/

If you use google chrome as your browser with the translate function on it wamkes it much easier. Unles you can read german of course.
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Old 10 Jan 2012
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As much as I agree that a 78 series is a very desirable vehicle, can you get an up together one in Europe for 10K € or even £?
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Old 10 Jan 2012
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Originally Posted by twenty4seven View Post
As much as I agree that a 78 series is a very desirable vehicle, can you get an up together one in Europe for 10K € or even £?
The local's would be best to advise, but I suspect not. They are expensive enough in Australia. Mine is a 2001 model, but if you were happy to have a ~1990 one with leaf springs all round, you could get to that price.

That's the beauty of these things, the design has changed so little in it's production run, so provided you get one with relatively low kilometres, you'll be a winner.
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Old 10 Jan 2012
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Originally Posted by Warthog View Post
The tough bit will be finding such Toyotas, but I will look around.

Meanwhile, what are the general opinions of the likes of the Isuzu Trooper (a bit small, unless a roof tent is used), or the Mitsubishi L200, in its various forms? This latter model has a great long-wheelbase option with a big boot area: that could make both indoor and roof sleeping an option!!
We might be selling ours in Oct...it is in south Africa at the moment (SA registration)...but it will cost more than EURO10k...2000 model with 195k km on the clock...
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