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Sahara Travel Forum Topics specific to North Africa and the Sahara down to the 17th parallel (excludes Morocco)
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Desert Travels - Motorcycle Journeys in the Sahara and West Africa!

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Old 24 Apr 2008
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Question Auto in the Desert ?

Our next trip will probably be to south west and southern Libya in 2009, visiting all the usual haunts and travelling with a group of friends. They're in 300 Tdi Discoveries, but I've got a choice.

I've got the 1972 200Tdi 5 speed Range Rover we took to Morocco two years ago, but we've just added a 300Tdi Discovery to the fleet and it's an auto. I'm tempted to take the Discovery, as we would be able to share more spares with the other cars. I know we're going to encounter a lot more sand than the last trip and I'm aware of the strain it has on the car.

So, The question is:
Does anyone have any experience of going on a similar trip (6 weeks) , to the Libyan Sahara, in a Tdi auto? What was it like in sand and can you get it fixed if it goes wrong?

Maybe I should forget about modern comfort and air-con and just take the Range Rover?

Any views, opinions or feedback would be most welcome.
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Old 24 Apr 2008
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The only issue is overheating, we've took auto's to Morocco & Tunisia with no problems. If you can, get an upgraded transmission oil cooler to 'middle east' spec.
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Old 25 Apr 2008
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I have no experience of Discos...

... as I drive an auto 80 series TLC but in general terms, an auto box is very good in the sand as you can feed the torque in more gently. Good advice to get an additional oil cooler for the ATF. Not sure how the box is configured on a Disco but in thick sand it would be best to keep the selector in '2' - if kept in 'D', the box doesn't lock up and the gearbox oil works hard and gets very hot. In '2' in my car, the box is mechanically locked up, runs cooler and plenty fast enough if you get out of the thick, soft stuff. Probably the same with a Disco. Provided the box is in good nick, change the fluid before you go and check for leaks from the additional cooler unions and pipes.

As far as aircon is concerned, avoid using it IMHO. Apart from using fuel, it dehydrates you very quickly and very efficiently. Same as long haul flights by 'plane.

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Old 25 Apr 2008
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I've a Def 300tDI+Auto since almost 8 years and I have travelled in Algeria,Morocco,Niger,Mali,Mauri with it ( desert pistes and ergs ).
Before , in this car , there were a 5speed and a 200TD and for me the difference is fantastic : less time stuck in sand because this box changes speed very quickly and at the best moment . The comfort of driving is also improved .
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