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Northern Asia Topics specific to Russia, Central Asia (also known as "the 'stans"), Mongolia, Japan and Korea
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  #1  
Old 9 Mar 2006
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UAZ 39625 (452 Ambulance)

(Cross posted from: 4WD Overland Tech)

Hi there,
I wondered if there is anyone who can tell me something about how useful a UAZ 3962 4x4 minibus (used to be numbered: UAZ 452A) is for overland travel.

They seem to be the vehicle of choice in Mongolia and (eastern-)Russia. (along with the jeep-like model build on the same wheelbase) and I was quite impressed with there off-road capabilities in mud, water and on lose rock. Also: they seem to be very self-serviceable.

However I don't know how reliable they are, how they compare to other vehicles (defender, landcruiser etc.) and whether it is possible at all to register one in (main-land) Europe.

My questions are:

Is there anyone out there who has experience in diving these minibuses?

How reliable are they?

How do they compare to other 4-wheel drives?
and
Is it a realistic option for an overland trip (to Mongolia and back or from mongolia to europe)

-greetings-
Jacco




[This message has been edited by jacco (edited 09 March 2006).]
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  #2  
Old 10 Mar 2006
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Location: Vladivostok, RU -> Auckland, NZ
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You knoow, russian cars - sux.

You can ride by it, by will be hav many good time of repair ))

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  #3  
Old 10 Mar 2006
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Jacco: The UAZ minibus and jeep are very common in the Mongolian countryside. When they are running, they are very capable 4wd vehicles in sand, mud and water crossings. Good ground clearance. And they have a crank, so you can start them when (not if) the starter stops working. They are cheap to buy and to fix.

The drawback is that they are not reliable. They break down frequently, especially the engine. Mongolians who drive the UAZ vehicles are generally great mechanics and can fix them quickly. I've traveled many thousands of kilometers in Mongolia in UAZ jeeps, but always with an experienced driver/mechanic.

So, the short answer: don't use one unless you have a good mechanic who knows the UAZ well. If you don't have the mechanic you are much better off using a Japanese 4wd. Toyotas (Land Cruiser/Prado/Hilux, etc.)have the best reputation in Mongolia, but the Mitsubishi Pajero and Nissan Patrol are good also.

Hope this helps.

-Scott
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  #4  
Old 10 Mar 2006
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Thanks a lot for your reply.

Reliability is one of the key requirements so your info makes the decision easy -> no UAZ for me
To bad though, because they are the right size and stuff.

-greeting-
Jacco
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  #5  
Old 11 Mar 2006
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What you need is one of these!!!!!!!!

www.russiantruck.co.uk/ural4320d.html

Andy

Toyota H60
Landy 101 ambie/camper
1968 morris minor traveller
www.plymouth-dakar.com

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  #6  
Old 11 Mar 2006
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That isn't really in the same league as:

http://www.baikalex.com/photos/olkhonwinter/uaz05.jpg

is it?

-greeting-
Jacco
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  #7  
Old 14 Mar 2006
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kinda cute in it's own way though!

At the weekend I went to collect a big pile of school supplies for my forthcoming trip to the Gambia. The guy I got them off is from an outfit called simply clive racing (they have a website). They are running a trip to vladivostok in July (him in an old london taxi), in the manner of the plymouth-dakar. I was suprised to see he has a couple of these UAZ things in his yard, one a runner, one for spares he found sitting in a field near 'nam, cheltenam that is! he confirmed that they can be a bit tempremental but score on being very basic to fix. I suppose one option would be to run it around the uk for a bit first to iron out any teething troubles and get to know the vehicle. Most failures on vehicles this basic are relatively straightforward, usually ignition or carburation issues.
you could always get the british equivalent of course, a land rover 101. fit it with LPG and it will be very cheap to drive right across europe and into russia, where gas is still cheaper than petrol, which in itself is very cheap.

Andy

landy101 ambie/camper
TLC H60
1968 morris minor traveller
www.plymouth-dakar.com
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  #8  
Old 28 Mar 2006
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Hi Jacco
When do you plan to leave ?
Phil.
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  #9  
Old 3 Apr 2006
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Hi Phil,

I'm not in the phase of setting a departure date yet. (I'll have to work for at least one year)
I started looking into options for my next trip in an attempt to keep myself sane after returning from a year of travel.

But I'm not even sure yet where to go yet.

1. from Europe to Mongolia (and on to Kamchatka?)
or
2. a trip through North and/or South America.

the UAZ van is only an option for the first trip because of spare parts and stuff. Also I'm still not sure about how there mechanical simplicity compensates for there reliability. But there price is OK (less than 7000 euros new, it seems, if you would buy one in Russia) and there are plenty second hand vans available.

-greetings-
Jacco

2 more pictures:
http://www.netsilik.nl/UAZ_2206.jpg
http://www.netsilik.nl/UAZ_39625.jpg
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  #10  
Old 29 Apr 2006
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Location: Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia
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Hi,
we have also a van and I have to say that this car is the coice to go to the countryside in Mongolia. When you buy it take a Mongolian driver with you and afterwards learn some mechanic from him and you'll be fine. The car costs at the moment 12.000.000 Turgrug at the market. But i9n summer the prices are going up. 1 Dollar is 1180 Turgrug
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  #11  
Old 22 Aug 2010
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Uaz

Hi,
Do you know if you would be allowed to enter any country (outside europe) with a UAZ minibus or 469b?
Jacco, where would you buy yours?
(I plan to buy one in Armenia but I will probably have no other choice than to sell it before I leave)
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  #12  
Old 13 Oct 2011
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Hi,
some italian and northern-europe travellers use their 452 with great satisfaction since 70'. 452 were prepared for Iceland and Sahara experiences, with few works (and the correct maintenance that nobody in East countries do..) the russian "breadloafs", as are called in Russia, became a reliable little van. try uaz web club sites and forums in east europe (uazbuka.ru) or in italy (uazitalia.net) where were built different customization (try "cirami" on google), they are very useful and interesting: with manuals, tips, FAQ and improvements guides.. and someone talks english too
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