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Planning an east africa, cairo to cape in a 101. Original route did not include sub-saharan Africa so conversion and build were done with different criteria in mind. Most of these are not problematic. However fuel certainly is.
We have a 3.5l V8 and a 100l fuel tank. Space where a reserve tank could sit has been taken up with a 120l LPG tank. As autogas will still be very useful during our extensive european leg we don't want to rip it out now. It's a 101 so fuel economy on petrol is dire - 12mpg at best.
A) With only, at very best, a max range of 250 miles on petrol, are we mad to try and do even the east africa route?
B) Is there LPG anywhere on route and if so is it going to be available when we need it most?
Solutions we have already thought through are not ideal...
Thought of a trailer as a bowser and a bit more carry space, but the rear of our truck is not a standard 101 and would require extending the hitch by at least a foot. Think this could cause handling issues..... Also no power steering so not really happy to be pulling and maneuvering a trailer if there is any alternative.
We are near plate weight and I don't want to stress the springs too much more, but option 2 is to find some way of carrying jerrys. At a real push we could mount 4 on the rear and 4 on the front. Really not happy about the front mounting as I think it would be pretty damn dangerous. Mounting on the rear has its own issues as we already have a big rear extension and it would make the steering vaguer than it already is... Putting them along the side could work, could it?
Could slough off some weight by loosing one of the 2 spare tyres or by loosing the winch off the front. Although the winch is the most disposable it sits on the front so does a good job keeping the front wheels firmly planted to compensate the tyres that are hanging off the back...
Whatever way I look at this I see no clear solution. Any ideas anyone??
What I have suggested is probably illegal in UK , just about everything IS illegal in Blighty .
But reducing the problem to it's very simplest principle :
A propane tank is a container .
I am assuming it will be redundant in Africa , so make use of it .
There will be a threaded fitting through which it can be filled and another threaded fitting that conveys liquid propane to the vapouriser .
Adapt the filler so that you can pump petrol in .
Insert an electric old fashioned low pressure fuel pump into the liquid line .
Route it to your existing petrol tank or insert a T into the line and feed your carbs directly .
I am sure that a bush mechanic will be able to rig this up for you ,just have a bunch of pipe fittings handy .
It might be a good idea to purge the propane tank with Nitrogen or fill it with water to remove any combustible residues while you work on it.
Do the job on the top of a hill on a windy day and Bob's your uncle !
I haved rigged up auxilliary tanks on tractors and the like in a very similar way ,just using what ever was available for a tank .
It may not be pretty and certainly there will be some naysayers ,but it can be made to work .
I travelled from Cape to Cairo on my motorbike which has a range of 230 miles maximum and never ran out. I was prepared to carry extra fuel as and when I needed to but this was never needed. In the more remote areas use a bit of common sense and ask people where the next fuel is available.
I think for us, Mozambique was the trickiest point, but again we were OK. I know quite a lot of people insist that a bigger fuel tank is needed for Africa but I met many people doing the East Africa route with standard fuel tanks and we all got through OK.
Even better, I did this journey 10 years ago and there will be many more fuel stations now than there were then.
I really don't think you will need to make any modifications to your vehicle, but if in doubt, just be ready to carry a jerrycan of spare fuel.
Location: Leicestershire,UK, or in my Iveco Daily 4x4
just remember with cans full of fuel you need to think ahead, try and fill the tank from the cans early in the morning, malcom woodhead took a 101 down a few years ago and he's got a photo thats both frightening and fantastic of the effect of opening a can when its hot and pressurized (it sprayed 10 ft into the air and 10ft away), 1 little spark and the outcome of the photo would have been very different (another reason why i have diesel vehicles)
^^^ and thats probably a good reason for not converting the LPG tank - all fuel tanks are designed to have an expansion void so hot fuel can safely expand. if you overfill the lpg tank you might find your fuel hoses popping!
Thanks for the suggestions so far - still not made a decision but getting closer to one.
Was originally favouring a trailer but edging towards trying to carry more on-board fuel.
Can't ditch the V8 at this very late stage - was hooping to set off early jan so petrol it is.... Thanks for the warnings about opening the jerries in the cool of the morning Rich - very good advise but if I wasn't worried about petrol already, I am now!
Unfortunately ditching the LPG isn't an option as the European leg is at the end of the trip and will be the long way round eastern europe and scandinavia so will have to carry it around as a passenger for all of the African leg - though it will of course be full for use in dire emergencies...
Going to upgrade to a larger tank - looks like 160l may well be possible. Also going to beef up the suspension with helpers and if I can sort it, third leaves to the springs.
I may well put a four jerry rack on the back for the worst legs though this won't help my already rear-heavy truck. Has anyone ever mounted them along the side of the vehicle on the outside?
If it comes to the crunch and I have to leave something behind for weight sake - what would you guys say... ditch a spare wheel or the winch? Know the winch might not see much action but it is at the front of the vehicle so has the added advantage of acting as a counterbalance to the weighty rear. Taking a spare wheel off the back would help this imbalance and as running tubed tires are 2 really necessary?
I'd go for getting the biggest feasible tank fitted, storing a couple of jerries and when LPG runs out, keep the tank empty as you don't need even more weight slowing you down and adding to your fuel toll.
Given the distance you're doing, I personally would be picking up a TDi engine right now and dropping it in, as that would give me twice the range, free up 120 litres of space inside, and make the car lighter and more stable. got to be worth considering, and the conversion would even pay for itself on such a long trip. I've just done exactly that on a range rover ambulance I'm taking to south africa in a few months for exactly the same reasons. I do miss the noise though
on your weight saving question, I'd drop the winch, and if you're taking two spares take one on a rim, and the other just a tyre carcass, and a set of repair plugs and spare tubes.
Location: Leicestershire,UK, or in my Iveco Daily 4x4
I only ever carry 1 spare wheel, I carry a another spare tyre aswell but thats lighter than carrying the full made up wheel
160 litre is possible - tiggurrs second tank is 160 litres
your truck is based on an ambi i believe, width 2130mm , european max width is 2550mm so in theory you might be able to put cans on the side, ferry companies might no like you though as they don't like cans anywhere
3rd leafs - go looking at the scrappy for vauxhall combi vans, their rear springs make good helpers for 101's, or go to full air suspension thats adjustable (talk to roger hill cottingham or climbing chris on the 101 forum for air suspension and jon with the yellow elephant about combi springs as helpers)
another option is to leave europe with full gas tanks and use that as your reserve supply , in that case putting a bigger tank on maybe a good idea too but it would give you a reserve and 50 percent more range without all the hassle of cans
winch - although i have one now i've never needed one on a trip, neil lawson (bumble the 101) said the only time he used his was to help other people
Location: Leicestershire,UK, or in my Iveco Daily 4x4
but i would agree with eightpot, a tdi upgrade would solve most of your issues, keep standard tank and you can fit another tank or just jerrycan holders (i used bedford mj jerrycan holders), probabily less work in the long run, extra weight on the front and there are folks around sussex that have done the conversion , andy @ allisport has a design for a 101 intercooler
had a look at your website - the truck looks real nice.
I see you've only recently had the LPG fitted and other bits and bobs done to the engine, so you will probably be reticent to swap for diesel at this stage, after spending probably a fair amount of dough, which would be very understandable.
A TDi might be a little underpowered in that as well, it looks like it weighs a fair bit! I've dropped a 2.8 Isuzu engine in mine for that reason, which feels much more comfortable with the weight, though took a bit more fettling to do succesfully.
reckon you just need to look at getting a long range tank made and then being as ruthless as you can with weight, which is always a good idea anyway in my book, and do as much planning as you can on fuel stops along the way. Others can perobably tell you better, but I'd imagine that as in North Africa, if you run dry, a local entropreneur will be along without too much delay with a couple of gallons of dirty benzine in a wholly inapropriate container...
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