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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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  #1  
Old 9 Sep 2002
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Nissan Patrol & Mercedes G

I have noted the various views on Landcrusiers V Landrovers etc, on travelling in the Sahara. Can I have some views on Nissan Partols(LWB)& Mercedes G class.

Nissans have a good name in Australia with agruments on their merits V Landcrusiers etc.

I look forward to the views & debate.
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  #2  
Old 9 Sep 2002
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Patrols are good, I had one for a while in Aus before I got Landrovers. Up to the job, just Landrovers and Landcruisers are much more prevelant and therefore the corresponding availability of locals with mechanical knowledge, parts is much better. One of the large engined Aussie spec style patrols might be better, most of the Uk patrols seem to be running smaller diesels which might not be as good (haven't driven so just speculating).

G class are okay, borrowed one for a bit, quite good, but large engine figures didn't translate into lots of useable power offroad, torque range doesn't seem right.

Met tour leaders who regularly go down to Africa using both so they can't be that bad.
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  #3  
Old 9 Sep 2002
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Hi,

I've a Patrol 2.8 diesel six LWB, high roof, from 1995.
After 160.000k (this include 2 trips to Morocco and one to Morocco, Mauritania, and Senegal, and a lot of off-road in my country), the car behaved very good, and has never gave me any serious problem.
Concerning the engine, with proper maintenance, and careful driving, you won't have a problem !! Sandy pistes and dune crossing does not present a problem, even with a over-packed car (I’ve done the Saharan trips with 4 people on board, roughly 800kg cargo), because the engine is powerful enough.
An advice however: at least in Portugal they came with standard 215R15 tyres, which makes them a bit to low, especially for rocky terrain. I found it very useful to change to 215R16 tyres, or even 7.50R16.
Patrols don’t have a very good fuel consumption. On the road or rocky terrain they average 12 to 15 l per 100kms, while on sandy pistes and dune they top up to 20l per 100kms.

You may found more information under: http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/ubb...ML/000017.html

Good luck,
José
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  #4  
Old 10 Sep 2002
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I met a number of German scientists at El Garra (stalactite cave in Egypt) who crossed the Infamous Abu El Mahharik dune belt with 3 fully loaded G Series. They said that the cars performed great but they had a lot of problems with all the electronics and sensors use in the car. The desert sand caused a few problems but they managed to keep them going.

------------------
A.B.

OasisPhoto.com – Images from the Magical Sahara.
ShortWheelbase.com – Jeep preparations.
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OasisPhoto.com – Images from the Magical Sahara.
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  #5  
Old 10 Sep 2002
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It may not be of any use to someone in Oz, but if you're coming to Europe, an interesting variant on the G-Wagen is the Peugeot P4. Concieved for the french army it's the solid drivetrain of the G coupled with a Peugeot diesel engine; no frills, no complex electronics. In West Africa (the ex french colonies) the Peugeot diesel (mechanical injection) is legendary, almost unbreakable and very universal. Admittedly they're all LHD and the hard top version is rare but there are always after market options.
There's a lot of info on the web about the P4, it's mostly in french but there are also website translators.
cheers
Luke
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  #6  
Old 10 Sep 2002
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The Patrol is the most underrated of the Japanese 4X4´s. I had a GR for seven months in Mali, changed it for a Landcruiser, and there isn´t much difference between the two. Both the GR and the 160 (1980`s version have very solid engines and gearboxes. The body is virtually the same. I would even saythat the old SD (3.3 litre) engines are better than the new ones. There are enough of them in West Africa for spares and mechanics to be no problem, there are also Nissan dealers in every major capital and in a lot of big towns.

The G-Wagon is a different story, some people swear on them some don´t. In general theyare good off road, but they eat engines and gearboxes. A German off road magazine did a readers surveylast yearand found that the average life for an engine or gearbox for the older W460 models is 150.000km. The other side is that the engines are the same as in the Merc cars so spares/repairs are again no problem. The newer W463 models have, as mentioned above, a lot of problems with electronics, especially with the engine managment and the switches for the Diff locks. Seeminglythe best buy is the G290, which is the newer engine on the older more robust non-electronics body. The other disadvantage is that the Mercedes are veryexpensive second hand, but theylose very little value over the years.

If I was you I´d buy a Patrol.
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  #7  
Old 11 Sep 2002
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My opinion's going to be biased anyway, but my own preference is the Patrol. I drive the SWB version of the GU (unavailable in Oz) but with a 4.2 litre petrol engine. (Petrol is cheap in the UAE!)

Fuel consumption is a nightmare admittedly, so plan your long range trips very carefully. The 3.0 TD is a good engine, but if you can find a 4.2TD that is even better!

The G-Wagens are very capable off-road, particularly with the larger capacity petrol engines, but they are soooo expensive. The diesel engined version is a little gutless for serious desert work. On the downside, the G-Wagen is also extremely heavy but mechanically is almost unbreakable if well-maintained. It is also about the only vehicle (okay some TLCs have them) to have THREE diff-locks (centre, front and rear) and also has the ability to switch ranges from high to low and low to high on the move.

Both Patrol and G-Wagen have their plusses and minusses. You pays your money and takes your choice. Mine would be the Patrol though (but as I said I'm biased!).

------------------
Jon Harbour

Middle East Off-Roader
http://www.mid-east-off-road.com
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  #8  
Old 14 Sep 2002
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Thank you for your replies!

Very informative & helpful.

Regards

DAVID
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