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

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  #1  
Old 28 Jan 2002
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The ideal Vehicle?

I am planning a trans-Aftican trip starting in August and I have been deliberating over the right vehicle. I looked at a well equiped Land Rover 110 which turned out to be about to break in half and would welcome views on the way forward.

While you don't want a flashy motor, because it might attract bandits you also want something which will make it. Chris Scott in Sahara Overland (my bible) suggests the Toyota Land Cruiser and this weekend I viewed at Series 60 (non turbo) which was structuaraly sound but with no history. I am eager to collect opinions on how I can feel more assured about the machanicals as I am no expert and I am not sure the AA/RAC inspection service is up to it? I am also concerned about getting spares in the UK - does anyone know of any good links? Thanks,
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  #2  
Old 28 Jan 2002
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Hello,

is there any doubt in your mind? The best and most stylish 4X4 for an African adventure is ofcourse a Land Rover 110 with the 300 tdi engine.

In the UK you have a lot of LR-magazines : Land Rover Owner International, Land Rover Enthusiast, Land Rover Market. Look in the bookstore, buy one of these : they feature a lot of information (on the net as well) on where to find spare parts worldwide.

Karel.

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  #3  
Old 28 Jan 2002
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I found that in the UK car history does not mean much - generally the way the check ups are done is a lot of c*** and they do not do anything special apart from changing breaks, oil and winscreen spray. You should be able to do just that if you intend going to the desert. The money you pay for that kind of thing is completely diabolical and in no way it guaranties that the car is OK. So if looking form the other side if the car does not have history it does not mean it is rubbish.
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  #4  
Old 28 Jan 2002
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MickeyB,

I agree absolutely. I wouldn't trust a vehicle history as a bill of health for a vehicle to be taken to the desert even if servicing was carried out by a LR dealer with a whole palmery in the customer lounge.

A good mechanic can spot the trouble at the time of purchase. So before you become one yourself (the best way to keep you going at all times) have someone qualified to go with you for a test drive and you will save yourself a bob.

No matter what you pay for, some vehicle systems are best taken to pieces and replaced if necessary before, not during the trip.




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  #5  
Old 29 Jan 2002
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The worst thing about an old 60 is rust - if its not rusty then you're well ahead - other than that is is the usual wear you have to look out for on a high mileage machine. Then again, my first 60 puked up its engine with only 120K on the clock... Very rare I'm told. I would not pay more than 3k for an old 60 with no history.
Spares in the UK are not a problem - you dont need much if you renew hoses, belts, rad and other bits beforehand - and Milner's in Derbyshire (p.516) have it all. Genuine Toyota bits can be cheaper abroad or in Africa - no surprise there! Australia is the best - It was still half price to airmail an HD clutch kit from Darwin than to buy from poxy Tojo UK!
You wont find much in English on the web for TLC. In the UK no one's got a clue (esp Tojo dealers - very much the 'palmery in the lounge' syndrome) and in the US its all FJ petrol engines with fat tyres, etc. The links on p.66 are as good as I know.
I just read an Aussie 4x4 mag with a 'what to look for' when buying old 60s. I'll scan it and send it over. I agree AA/RAC are not worth the call. The only way is to educate yourself to the best of your ability (as you're doing already) and take the plunge,
But what you want is a desert-ready 61 mate! I'm selling mine in April with 30 gals of free derv ;-).

Chris S


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  #6  
Old 29 Jan 2002
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Chris Scott:
The worst thing about an old 60 is rust - if its not rusty then you're well ahead - other than that is is the usual wear you have to look out for on a high mileage machine. Then again, my first 60 puked up its engine with only 120K on the clock... Very rare I'm told. I would not pay more than 3k for an old 60 with no history.
Spares in the UK are not a problem - you dont need much if you renew hoses, belts, rad and other bits beforehand - and Milner's in Derbyshire (p.516) have it all. Genuine Toyota bits can be cheaper abroad or in Africa - no surprise there! Australia is the best - It was still half price to airmail an HD clutch kit from Darwin than to buy from poxy Tojo UK!
You wont find much in English on the web for TLC. In the UK no one's got a clue (esp Tojo dealers - very much the 'palmery in the lounge' syndrome) and in the US its all FJ petrol engines with fat tyres, etc. The links on p.66 are as good as I know.
I just read an Aussie 4x4 mag with a 'what to look for' when buying old 60s. I'll scan it and send it over. I agree AA/RAC are not worth the call. The only way is to educate yourself to the best of your ability (as you're doing already) and take the plunge,
But what you want is a desert-ready 61 mate! I'm selling mine in April with 30 gals of free derv ;-).

Chris S


<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

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  #7  
Old 29 Jan 2002
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Thanks everyone and in particular Chris for the information. The upshot seems to be that it is best if the vehicle is machinical good, that the driver knows how to do most things on it and that external appearances are not a factor - worse appearence the better, which is where the HJ60 is good because it has to be fairly low appeal to the wrong sorts.

The vehicle I looked at was from a trader who was asking £4300, with an auto box. The car is tatty although it has no corrosion and everything seemed to work. It did not appear to have been seriously off-roaded.

Chris, I would be very interested in anything about buying these things second hand. I would also be interested in any details (price?) of your HJ61. Ta again.
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  #8  
Old 30 Jan 2002
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Hey Mickey,
In case you like to more about an hj61 with auto gear box: I bought one last year and have found out some interesting bits in the mean time. There are a few subtle differences viz-a-viz the manual version. Let me know if you want to know more.
It's definately smooth to drive!
ta,
Camiel
transafrica2002@hotmail.com
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  #9  
Old 30 Jan 2002
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Chris - you've got a deal, I'll take the 30 gallons of free diesel.......What do you mean I've got to have the Landcruiser aswell , ah poo it just won't fit in the back of the 101

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  #10  
Old 30 Jan 2002
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So many wise words in this interesting dialogue, especially RClafton who will take Chris’s spare gallons and… run.
The problem is a simple one, Mickey; do you want a single-use car or a dual-purpose car?
Land Rover Discovery is a dual-purpose car – you can drive it to work, drive t to the supermarket and drive it to the desert. I’ve done all these.
Classic Range Rovers do the same, I’ve done those too.
Toyotas are different, I used one in Saudi. Strong, robust, unbreakable, reliable (usually), and at the same time slow, uncomfortable, noisy, primitive… and horrid!
If you want a dual purpose car, get a Land Rover
If you want a desert-only car, the Toyota wins.
I’ll stick with my Land Rover and arrive, maybe late, but with a smile on my face!
Good luck


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  #11  
Old 30 Jan 2002
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Salute Mikeyb,

"Oh my God", all those people, with all there arguments, and all those 'offers', and all these and that/ things, what do you think Mikeyb.., well, my sugestion is: you need a Camel, yes, a good solid Camel.
The Camel prices are quite good these day's.

Tim
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  #12  
Old 30 Jan 2002
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"The Camel prices are quite good these day's".
Gosh - do they come second hand - with MOT...?
Kitmax
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  #13  
Old 30 Jan 2002
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Any thoughts on the humble Citroen 2CV. I know people have used these before - Seems to make some sense to me. Simple, light and effective. Good ground clearance, low fuel consumption, all parts serviceable without lifting gear. Interested in doing desert in something I am familiar with - I race them. Investigating 4*4 conversion (louis barbor). Okay not macho but if it doesn't sink, doesn't lose coolant, cost the earth to build properly - it must have some merit. From reading petrol (of any quality) is generally avaiable - true

Chris C


<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Roman:
MickeyB,

I agree absolutely. I wouldn't trust a vehicle history as a bill of health for a vehicle to be taken to the desert even if servicing was carried out by a LR dealer with a whole palmery in the customer lounge.

A good mechanic can spot the trouble at the time of purchase. So before you become one yourself (the best way to keep you going at all times) have someone qualified to go with you for a test drive and you will save yourself a bob.

No matter what you pay for, some vehicle systems are best taken to pieces and replaced if necessary before, not during the trip.

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

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  #14  
Old 1 Feb 2002
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I've lived in West Africa for some time and have crossed the desert several times. From experience I can only say this; the best 4WD for West Africa is a Toyota Landcruiser HZJ 75 Station Wagon with the non-turbo engine. Put on 9.00R16 Tyres and you cannot go wrong.
Second place goes to the 60 and 80 (if you can afford it)series, but just as good as them is a Nissan Patrol 160 (85-89 model). I´ve had five of them altogether and have never had a serious problem, and I would rate the engine as good as the Toyotas. Worth considering too is a Hilux with the 2.8 engine.

I've driven two Landrovers down here from Europe, one 1962 and one 1968 model, I didn't have any problems with them but I've met loads of people who have. Don't get me wrong, I like Landrovers but unless you are in some way mechanically adept I wouldn't give them too much consideration, and it probably sounds strange but it isn't really easy to get spare parts for them now (especially the 110 series). Japanese 4WD's dominate the scene in West Africa at the moment and parts are not a problem anymore.

Whatever you do avoid the old 1980's Pajero with the 2.5 engine. I've seen a few of them pack up under stress. Best of luck with whatever you do!
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  #15  
Old 2 Feb 2002
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Hello, everyone.

Chris mentionned that there is not much information in English on the Web on the subject of Land Cruisers. Allow me to suggest 2 sites with which to start:

1. The Toyota Land Cruiser Assoc. (North America) http://www.tlca.org/

2. Landcruisers@Off-road.com, for their decent FAQ http://www.off-road.com/tlc/

------------------
--
Mike Taylor
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(28 mos.)
and Jaxon (10 mos.)
Sec.-Treas.-Membersh
ip
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'84 BJ42
'84 BJ60
'85 BJ70
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Mike Taylor
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and Jaxon (10 mos.)
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ip
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