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-   -   Overland in a van? (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/4wd-overland-travel/overland-in-a-van-31371)

JynnanTonnyx 2 Dec 2007 21:02

Overland in a van?
Hi everyone,

A friend and I are looking into converting a Mercedes Sprinter LWB into a camper (nothing fancy, mind) and driving to India from the UK. Depending on the political situation, our route will be either:

- Europe->Turkey->Iran->Pakistan->India
- Europe->Turkey->Turkmenistan->(various 'stans)->China->India

I've been researching the practicalities of it, CPDs, insurance, visas, etc. and it all seems doable, however I was a little surprised when I came to this site and saw that everybody else is using motorbikes or 4x4s!

Is there something I'm missing? Are the roads that bad, or are you guys just looking for more off-road adventure than we are? I'd appreciate any advice you have.



graysworld 2 Dec 2007 21:49

no problem
Hi, I did it myself in 93/94 in a 608 mercedes. there was only one section without tarmac and then only a few km just over the border from Iran into Pakistan. There were many bad roads but the locals dont have 4x4. so you wont have a problem.


JynnanTonnyx 2 Dec 2007 22:07

Hi Graeme,

Thanks, you really put my mind at ease! Good point about the locals, I didn't think of that.

Could I ask you just one more question as you've done the trip in a Mercedes - did you find it difficult to locate parts, or did you even need to for that matter?

Thanks again,


silver G 2 Dec 2007 22:22

Just looked at who was watching this thread - interesting:clap:

onlyMark 3 Dec 2007 06:49

No need
I've drove from Europe to Nepal and vice versa via Iran, Pakistan and India 11 times (but not since 1998) in a 2wd truck. Never got stuck.
The only section used to be a bit of that road between Quetta and the border with Iran, but it is a bus route and if they can make it, you can.

JynnanTonnyx 3 Dec 2007 13:35

Thanks guys, you've really given me the confidence to do this. Eleven times?! And I was worried about just one...

Thanks again :thumbup1:


bmw.bec 3 Dec 2007 13:49

We did this route in 2005/2006 and travelled with a dutch couple in a 1986 Hymer camper which was no problem. Stick to the main roads and their all tarmac.

graysworld 3 Dec 2007 14:24

I did not need many parts. I took plenty of oil and fuel filters, I did not need air as it had an oil bath type. I took an alternator because I had one, but did not need it. I bought spares in Iran for stock as they were cheap (brake shoes and steering joints). Also fuel and oil were stupidly cheap in Iran so stock up.did 36,000km had one puncture in Switzerland, shook a injector loose in turkey, broke a spring in India (had one made by a blacksmith). spares were not that available then in India, but now with internet and DHL if you need to you can wait for shipping.
go for it and don't worry, clean your air filter and change oil regularly, check for things coming loose and you will be fine.


Stephano 3 Dec 2007 15:43

1 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by JynnanTonnyx (Post 161715)
A friend and I are looking into converting a Mercedes Sprinter LWB into a camper (nothing fancy, mind) and driving to India from the UK.

We have a Mercedes Sprinter camper in the family. It apparently did Luton to Manchester on a regular basis for a few years before being sold and converted. It makes a great camper with plenty of room for two (or more).

It's very reliable and hardly uses any oil. It took us down to the Algarve in great style as well as to a HU meeting at Ripley. :)

It also has an after-market cruise control fitted that I found very useful on longer stretches.

You can see from the photo how the windows are configured in the conversion.

Simon Kennedy 3 Dec 2007 16:35

Lots of people on that route in vans.... just remember to bring an extra couple of jerries marked "for motorcyclists on the iran-pak stretch".


cedar 3 Dec 2007 16:59

2x4 Van
Hi Des
I hitched back from India in the 80s, and was surprised to find 5 British Pakistanis on the Iran/Turkish border in knackered old transits going home to load up with nylon shirts and saris.
They did it regularly. The roads were OK then, and should be better now.
Happy travels

JynnanTonnyx 4 Dec 2007 01:11

Wow, Graeme thanks for the info about parts, it's great to hear Mercedes can take a bit of punishment. I'll remember your advice.

Stephano your Sprinter looks great, that's exactly what I had in mind for ours! It's great to see someone else with one converted. I'll send that picture to my friend.

Bruce, Simon, thanks for putting my mind at ease. I was really worried for a while there. Don't worry, I'll help out anyone brave enough to do this on a motorcycle!

Thanks again for helping out guys, this forum is great. I'll make sure to check back regularly.


ZenSlo 4 Dec 2007 14:14

You don't need no four wheel drive?
It can be done via the Stans, China and Tibet in a two wheel drive 12-year-old Elddis Autoquest camper van with 150,000 miles on the clock.

See China 2002.

lorraine 14 Dec 2007 16:10

I'm doing S. America in a 1978 Chevy van, lived in Kenya for five years, and like others say, the locals don't have 4x4 and manage. I tend to go off the beaten track, and do get stuck. I carry a few tow roads, a shovel and have managed to get myself out of nasty scraps.
You'll be fine.

old punk 16 Dec 2007 00:07

1996 S280 S Class Merc across Siberia
1 Attachment(s)
Yo fellow travellers,

Prepin a S280 merc for Siberia in its summer, Springs, shocks, sump guard, pushbar,spots, roofrack, water tank, jerry cans, 6 gravel tires, sports exhaust, big big service check. Car in ace condition but worth nowt. so givin it one last run there and back for charity.

Any comments welcome re this as a bad, good ,daft or plain stupid idea.
Don't know why I'm askin as I'm doin it any how. The more people say I must be mad the more tanacious I become. Is that how you spell tanacious.


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