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Sahara Travel ForumTopics specific to North Africa and the Sahara down to the 17th parallel (excludes Morocco)
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o.k thanks. i was also plannig on having a small winch that i could put either on the front or the rear depending on the situation and a large spike to ankor to. make sense or not ? also there is an old off-road trick Rod Hall used with a length of old conveyor belt, cabled around the rear tire and to the rear bumper. so once you got out and momentum up it dragged behind you til you got on stable ground. has anyone ever use it? i,m not very computor literate so could any let me know if your able to pull up the pictures of my bug? thanks marko
Yep the photos work. Looks like a good project - are those 2.5" Fox's on the rear?
A winch is no use. There is nothing to winch from.
More useful is a set of 4 sand plates, alu or GRP (they are often wider than they need to be so you could buy 2 and then cut them down the centre to save weight); a bottle jack with something to use as a base and a good foot pump. Low tyre pressures and patience are the best recovery tools. Helps to be mentally and physically ready to dig.
Fuel-wise. Once you know your consumption in soft sand I would break the normal desert driving rules and calculate exactly what to carry within a fine margin of error. Leave the contingency behind.
Why? Struggling with excess weight at the start of this piste is more of a liability than the risk of running dry toward the end. As long as you can reach Oualata with certainty you are safe and can always arrange for fuel to be brought from Nema. After Oualata the going is comparatively easy.
so you dont think a winch with a long steel spike to drive in the ground would work? and i was thrown a little of with the bottle jack, first thing i thought of was a bottle of Jack (Daniels)and i,m sure that would help in alot of situations but not digging out of sand . what are the laws on alcohol are they really strict on it at most borders ? my shocks are Fox 2.0 with nitrogen res. double in the rear and single in the front. for tires i,m going with the Yokahama 31/700/15 in the front and B.F.G 31/10/15 all-terrain in the rear.is it better to go with tube or tubeless ? is there any advantage either way? and as far as fuel economy i wont know til i get a chance to take the car to the Mojave desert where there is alot of dunes and soft sand to test it in.all part of the fun! thanks marko
You can use your winch and a good anchor (forget about the buried wheel trick!) and you will get out of any hole. But they are very heavy (55-60 kg), you need another guy to hold the anchor, and there are very very few situations in which that would be the only way to get out.
I've carried a Warn winch and an ARB anchor in my Wrangler for the last 5 years and I have used them many times when stuck in mud or snow with no rocks, trees or another car around, but sand is a very different game and almost every time a bit of digging and a couple of plates (I prefer the lightweight syntethics over the metal ones) will get the job done faster and with less fuss.
I don´t carry a winch in my 110 and I have never regretted it.
so you dont think a winch with a long steel spike to drive in the ground would work?
In 90% of sand boggings - my guess is no. Try it in the Mojave and let us know! Maybe in rare cases and with a specialist ground anchor - but like Pedrofconti says, the weight Vs. reward equation doesn't add up.
Originally Posted by marko
and i was thrown a little of with the bottle jack, first thing i thought of was a bottle of Jack (Daniels)and i,m sure that would help in alot of situations but not digging out of sand . what are the laws on alcohol are they really strict on it at most borders ?
Pack one of those too - the weight Vs. reward equation is good. There are searches and confiscations at the Mauri border however.
Originally Posted by marko
my shocks are Fox 2.0 with nitrogen res. double in the rear and single in the front. for tires i,m going with the Yokahama 31/700/15 in the front and B.F.G 31/10/15 all-terrain in the rear.is it better to go with tube or tubeless ? is there any advantage either way?
Tubeless. Better at low pressures, no friction flats and thorn punctures are easily plugged. Inners in the spares box just incase. We use run-in BFG MTs which are tougher than AT's on rock and good in sand once the 'grab' has gone. Same size front and rear is practical.
thanks everyone for your input. Lorranie didnt get much info from that site but sounds like they had a great trip. they did have a smaller engine and more weight with that van than i will . so i feel much more confident with the set up i will have,also that couple lived only 5 miles from me. looks like two plates and a shovel should get me out of most anything .and richard i will definitly have a couple of "Bottle Jacks" stashed somewhere (know what i mean) and you feel BFG mud terrains over all terrains, is that because the tread wraps the sidewalls?
Please, keep in mind that a test in the Mojave is not gonna give you that much information. Both places can be quite different in sand characteristics, rock formations etc.
Besides being in the middle of Mauritania, surrounded by hundreds of miles of sand and rocks puts you in a quite unusual state of mind, both fascinating and vulnerable.
- The BFG MT will give you some more needed protection on the sharp rocks you will encounter easily buried on the piste. They are great in sand at low pressure.
- Have you read Sahara Overland ? Plenty of good advice and great bed reading.
- As Richard and Pedro say: every kilo really counts. Both in weight and space, specially in an small vehicle.
Probably best if you think as a biker.
- I'd put a new clutch on the vehicle and/or carry and extra one. That thing is gonna get hot.
- RIM fuel can be low in octanes. I'd carry some octane boaster in order to use less fuel and keep the engine happy. Also extra on-line fuel filters.
i havent bought the tires for the trip yet .but will go with the MT,s on the rear. but,they wont fit in the front so i,ll stick with the Yokahomas on the front.how bad is the fuel ? i,ve kept the compression down to 8.5/1 with the expectation of low octane petrol. i will also have the type of fuel filter that seperates water from fuel. is there anything else i might need.i have an electric fuel pump with 2 spares for back up. how well do Sat. phones work in the Sahara? thanks marko
Both Iridium and Thuraya satphones will work well in the Sahara. Since you are based in the US you may find that you can only get an Iridium before leaving - they are more expensive, more fragile (I keep breaking or losing the antennas so make sure you pack the magmount car antenna too - you can use the phone holding the magmount antenna in the other hand!) and the signal is a real pain in towns - but in the desert you should find they are fine.
A Thuraya is a much better phone for Africa - the geostationary sat is over Mt Kenya - so just point the antenna towards the middle of Africa ie, if you are North of the Equator then stand facing north while calling - then the antenna points south past your ear and straight at the satellite.
The Thuraya has GPS built in, and can send the GPS location by SMS to another phone, as well as doing SMS to any normal mobile. It can also take most GSM SIM cards, so your normal number roams onto the Thuraya network. And the modern Thurayas have bluetooth & do GPRS data to satellite. Iridium can just about do data, but very slowly and they took out the Infra-red port for some reason (the window is still there, but no receiver behind on later phones) so you have to have a bulky serial adaptor cable, and a laptop with a serial port or a USB-serial adaptor.
I wouldn't really bother with any of the other satellite phone services, for Africa (& east as far as Indonesia) the Thuraya is the best bet, if you need something which works everywhere (including the poles) then Iridium with it's moving satellites is the solution
As Tony Tea says, Thuraya is the best choice - and it's what the locals use.
The fuel generally isn't that bad, octane booster should cure any pinking you might get. We had 2 high-compression 450's on our last trip and they both ran fine on the local brew.
The expensive fuel funnels that separate out water are a waste of money imho, and turn filling into a messy business. I've invested in them and wish I hadn't - a piece of fine gauze and a cheap funnel is all you need. When buying a big batch, its prudent to pour 500ml into a clear bottle and see if there is any separation, but tbh I've bought thousands of litres of diesel and petrol in the area from all sorts of containers and never had serious problems.
Thanks , been in Mexico for a while.I checked on Thuraya sat. phones and I can get one here in the U.S . I,ve got an IGN map 1/1000000 (the one I have is for Tidjikja and I know, I will need many others) but, are these the maps I would want to use? Thanks, Marko
-Thuraya, the past model : 7101, can be found en ebay for less than 500 eu or used in Thuraya shop in Nouadibou or Nouakchott for less than 350 eu, all basic things included, of course you get that price after some talking and a bit of patience.
- Cheap on line transparent filters do the job. I dont know where the dirt was coming from, perhaps the tanks breathers? but the filters do get very dirty out in the piste.
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