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Desert Travels - Motorcycle Journeys in the Sahara and West Africa!

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  #1  
Old 17 Apr 2002
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Dragging a Trailer across AFrica

Hi all,

What's the general opinion regarding towing a Sankey Trailer (with roof top tents fixed on top) across Africa. (Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.)

My wife and I are travelling in a 1998 110 County Station Wagon with 3 kids so not much room in the vehicle for sleeping. Also, roof top tents on top of vehicle effectively immobilise vehicle every time they're erected. Pain in a**e to put away every time we need to drive somewhere.

The trailer has had it's track widened (for extra stability)with Scorpion wheel spacers, new wheel bearings and Wolf wheels fitted carrying BFG 235.85.16 AT's. (Same as on our Land Rover so we can use the same spare wheels for everything.) Pictures of trailer on my web site http://www.a2b.uk.net

My worry is that it will either get stuck all the time, or flip over.

Any suggestions gratefully received.

------------------
Pete Sinclair.
Alnwick to Botswana
http://www.a2b.uk.net
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http://www.a2b.uk.net
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  #2  
Old 17 Apr 2002
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From your route I would say you won't get stuck much and it won't flip over if you keep your speed down in the rough.
The problem I would see is that it might prematurely stress your transmission and the stuff inside may get shaken to bits - so keep that stuff in the car.
It also costs more on ferries and adds to the fuel bill. But at the very worst you can dump it.

In the true desert a trailer is always a liability - Tom Sheppard trid it once and regreted it. It drags you down in the sand and makes reversing tricky. Bit late now, but did you consider a 130?

have a good trip

CS
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Old 17 Apr 2002
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Thanks Chris,

We did consider a 130, but we'd had the 110 from new and we knew the history etc. Also, a 130 would have been and expensive option had we wanted something in a similar condition.

It would also still leave us with an immobilised vehicle when we're sleeping in it etc. Our plan is a slow journey (because of the kids) with lots of stops for 4 or 5 days in one place. Then we can erect the trailer / tents, and go off doing other things during the day without having to put the tents away every time.

On the transmission side, which parts in particular are likely to be stressed, and is it worth replacing / renewing them before we set off? We've just replaced the clutch but is there anything else we should either replace or carry as spares?

Thanks again for your help.

Best regards,

Pete.

------------------
Pete Sinclair.
Alnwick to Botswana
http://www.a2b.uk.net
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Old 18 Apr 2002
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Ive no ideawhat kind of a trailer you are talking about but I drove a SWB Patrol 3.3 non turbo with a standard car trailer and motorbike weighing altogether 480kg on the Tanzerouft piste in Janurary from Reganne to Gao. There were no problems whatsoever with transmission etc. It was a bitch to reverse the two times we needed to.

Last year I met a Belgian couple with a 1997 Landrover SWB. They had a chopped off Landrover as a trailer. By the time they got to Bamako (via Atlantic route) they were desperate to get rid of it. I have no ideawhatit weighed but it was definitley overpacked for two people.
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Old 18 Apr 2002
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I would`nt be to worried at all towing a trailer around africa, as the south africa and Australia are two of the main manufactures of camping trailers, they certainly get dragged around all corners of Australia with out to much trouble. If you use some common sense and know your limitations you should`nt have any problems, tackling serious mud and sand dunes is asking for trouble but if your travelling with 3 kids your aim is`nt going to doing a camel trophy. As you stated you can always disconect it and leave it at a camp site ect if you want to go and play.

Col Campbell
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Old 19 Apr 2002
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>On the transmission side, which parts in particular are likely to be stressed,

Can't say I know on your car but I'm sure someone else does - if there's anything to know.
IMHO it's just general long term wear that will prematurely age a gearbox when towing off road.

CS
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Old 19 Apr 2002
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The gearbox is a good point, the main problem would be with towing in 5th gear, with all the drive going thru the lay shaft, and stressing the bearings. An LT77 could be a problem but the R380 should be alright. To be on the safe side give ashcroft transmissions a ring and get some avice from the experts, and if in doubt and the vehcile is laboring under load go back to 4th gear as it is a straight thru drive and should unload a lot of stress from the box.

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  #8  
Old 19 Apr 2002
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Hi Peter

I have done some of the route you are planning to do and you shouldn't have many problem areas - watch out for the Ethiopia - Kenya border crossing area particularly the Kenyan side which is often a quagmire and tests a laden Landie let alone one pulling a trailer.
Give it a go - dont be frighten to ask/accept help from locals, truckers or travellers and ask in advance about any sections you are unsure of. You can always find a way through or around.
Happy travels and if you want any info on places to go, things to do or places to stay then just send me a mail.


cheers

ChrisC

ps. friends of mine did the same trip about 4 years ago with 2 kids aged 5 & 7, so you shouldn't have any problems.

------------------
ChrisC

[This message has been edited by ChrisC (edited 19 April 2002).]
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  #9  
Old 19 Apr 2002
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Never towed in the desert but Ive towed a Sankey offroad.... they are heavy but stable if used carefully. Tom Sheppard's book has a good section on trailers, if I recall he comes down in favour of them. The RGS website has a free download copy of Tom's Desert Expeditions Handbook and there is some good stuff on trailers in there. In Egypt I think you will need to register the trailer as a separate vehicle rather than as an adjunct to your Landy and this will probably cost more (maybe another $400)

LRN

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Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but wheeltracks..... tread lightly.
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