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Old 18 Jan 2012
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Overland Journal: Jack of all Trades

A good link for those who do not know how to use a Hi-Lift. They are not dangerous if you use your loaf.

Front protection in Africa is pretty vital. We hit all sorts in West Africa recently and a dog in Morocco. Probably would have been none damaging but not worth the risk.

To sum up this thread 'everything is possible'.

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Old 19 Jan 2012
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the other and main problem with a Hi-Lift is how unstable they are - it's so easy for the car to pitch over once it's lifted, and either fall on you or bury a wheel hub in the ground (or you). Even more prone to it with a loaded overland truck.
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Old 20 Jan 2012
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Back on the bottle...

With a HiLift lifting the chassis, you've got to jack the car up a hell of a long way before the wheel will leave the ground, due to suspension droop.
If you're just changing a wheel, far better and much safer to use a bottle jack under the axle, then you've only got to lift the car a few inches.

ARB puncture repair kit is a must. If you're lucky you'll not even have to jack up the car to fix a puncture. And a good compressor. You can use it to clean your airfilter and blow dust out of the car. And inflate your football...

All good kit that doesn't take up much space or eat into your payload.

Happy trails,

Peter Girling
Atlas Overland - Specialist adventure tour company providing off-road holidays for 4x4 enthusiasts in Europe and North Africa.
Tours to Morocco, Tunisia, Arctic Circle, Alps, Pyrenees, Corsica, Eastern Europe and UK weekend tours.
Atlas Overland - Specialist adventure tour company providing off-road holidays for 4x4 enthusiasts in Europe and North Africa.
Tours to Morocco, Tunisia, Arctic Circle, Alps, Pyrenees, Eastern Europe, Corsica, and UK weekend tours.
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Old 20 Jan 2012
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Peter sums up my thoughts. They are a flexible device, I’ve used them for example to lift a vehicle out of ruts. IMHO it’s a better plan to not get into that situation in the first place
Joking apart I really dislike them. Too big, too heavy, dangerous and unpredictable.
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Old 20 Jan 2012
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Originally Posted by RussG View Post
Peter sums up my thoughts. They are a flexible device, I’ve used them for example to lift a vehicle out of ruts. IMHO it’s a better plan to not get into that situation in the first place
Joking apart I really dislike them. Too big, too heavy, dangerous and unpredictable.
Flexible device yes, changing wheels probably use a bottle jack as its quicker but only if you can get under the axle.

they can be used to lift vehicles from ruts, lift wheels to allow sand ladder/logs/boulders etc to be placed under, winching and even to pry open vehicle panels (namely door frames) when you roll your overloaded vehicle.

Too big - maybe, depends on vehicle
Heavy - 15kg
Dangerous - only if your face is in the arc of the lever and you have not secured the handle or locking pin. They can slew when used in certain environments or if you jack around the centre of the vehicle, but if you have a wheel off you should have an axle stand/spare wheel underneath

unpredictable, not if you use your loaf and take your time... as with all repair/recovery situations.

Have a cup of tea and a think

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Old 20 Jan 2012
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An air compressor and a set of tyre valve pressure setting tools (4) and any vehicle will have access to twice the traction.
Snorkels are a must for normally aspirated diesels not just for dust and water but also they gain from a forced fed air stream into the engine when highway cruising.
I am not a fan of hi-lift jacks (I carry an inflatable), but they can be converted to a makeshift winch at a pinch.
If you're on the road for a while no matter what you take (we all take too much) consider the constant access and packing of gear is a pain. A set of drawers a long range fuel tank and built in water carriers open up the living space greatly.
I like to raise my cars but it's not necessary, what you do get though with a lift are stronger springs and gas shocks. For the difference in ride and reliability, imo, it will be the best value money spent on the trip.
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Old 21 Jan 2012
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Sorry guys we’re in danger of hijacking this thread so I’ll promise not to talk about this again.
G I’m sorry but you’ll never convince me on this. I’ve lifted, winched, pushed, pulled, tensioned all sorts of stuff with all sorts of devices (including hi lift jacks a lot of the time) in random, uncontrolled environments. I’ve witnessed supposedly intelligent people act in the most bizarre ways (I’ll include myself in that with the benefit of hind sight) and mopped up the blood and snot when its gone wrong.
Once you’ve figured out/risk assessed most situations the hi lift is not much use. One of the occasions when it may work is lifting a vehicle out of ruts. That IS unpredictable. Maybe a 3 tonne, unevenly distributed weight swinging in the wind on a potentially moving/slippery base which you then deliberately push over..........
There’s better ways.

It's just one of my things and I'll shut up now.
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Old 22 Jan 2012
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Originally Posted by Walkabout View Post
Good question, after your last one didn't work out - it took very little time for your well defined question, with the list of considerations, to become another thread about Toy LCs!

You keep asking them please, because we are thinking very much alike.

I have looked back in various threads here over the past few days and there are a few that relate to vehicles other than the Toy variety.

By the by, the rider on the C90 will probably have less hurdles than those on the latest big bikes
FWIW, I started another thread that, for me at least, relates to this:
It's taking a similar line of discussion about what is needed but specifically for the LR Freelander 4x4.
I am just flagging it up here because I think it contains some good posts that add value to this discussion (+ threads get separated over time).
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Old 24 Jan 2012
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Originally Posted by Warthog View Post
What should I not do without in my vehicle of choice in order to keep most routes open to us?
The question above is a bit ambiguous in the sense that there are many roads to take in Africa and Siberia. You could stay on paved or graded roads nearly the entire way from Cape to Cairo and never need 4 wheel drive. However you could take the rougher tracks to really SEE Africa, and you'll need a solid 4x4 and some gear.

Assuming you're not going to be just pounding pavement, here are my recommendations.

I would recommend starting with a Landcruiser or Landrover platform. Those vehicles are renown throughout Africa and you can get parts for the 70 & 80 Series cruisers and most Disco's & Defenders (TDI300) anywhere on the continent. I have my prejudices, but I'll leave those out.

Get a strong bull bar. If you drive at dusk or night it will probably only be a matter of time till you hit an animal or put a permanent pucker mark in your seat from near misses. A strong bull bar will save your car, and trash the animal.

Good set of A/T tires. You don't need mud tires and they don't need to be big. Stick with something that you can replace in Africa if/when you get punctures, but go with a proven tread pattern that does well in sand, rock and some mud. Also learn a bit about airing down your tires. A couple psi decrease can dramatically improve traction in sand and be the difference between stuck and forward progress.

Sleeping is different for everyone. Not sure you're going to setup a Cruiser, Disco or Defender for in cab sleeping, but a rooftop tent or canvas collapsible tent for the floor will work just fine and last a couple years.

Tool kit designed for your vehicle. In the event you have a breakdown, it's always good to have the right tools. This includes a good bottle jack. Also learn about the weak points of your vehicle as they all have them, and carry the appropriate spares.

Basic medical kit

If you hit the road with those things, you'll do well. Snorkels are nice and look pretty, but unless you're really crossing a lot of rivers aren't really necessary. Lockers are always a nice addition, but you can purchase LC's that come factory with them. Most LR's come with a factory center gearbox lock too. Off-road lights can be nice, but not necessary. Stay away from roof racks unless you go with the rooftop tent option. Most people tend to overload them and have put themselves in danger with roll overs cause of quick turns from as they try to dodge an animal.

Just my thoughts from traveling Africa.
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Old 22 Feb 2012
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Comng from another angle on this - Phil flanigan has been travelling in his Iveco van now for 4 years


Vans can give you more room, indoor facilities, good insulation and the same fuel miles as a smaller 4x4.

Or even use a 4x2 , but if you do then make sure you are able to lock the rear differential (i use the diff lock more than 4x4 on my truck)

Merc Varios and their predecessors are all over the place, so parts should be easy.

If I win the lottery i'd have either a 5.5 tonne dialy 4x4 or a bremach on order asap but thats me

Snorkels - more use for dust than water crossings, if waters reached the air intake on my truck then i'm already in trouble (saying that i have got one for a bit of bling )

Go buy a copy of chris scotts overland handbook , it will go thru alot of what you need to know and the advantages / disadvantages of various vehicles

there are links to chris's site on this one

People drive the silk road in standard campervans - if you look for the silk road club you'll see one on the back of a truck being rescued. The sahara is crossed every year by a bunch of folks who bought an old banger for 100 quid so get what works for you. Remember there are no right answers, everything is a compromise but with a difflock and a compressor I recon you can get most places

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