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Stuck in Iran (and now Turkey) with a broken down Landcruiser
I hope you are well.
No sooner have I escaped Baluchistan in Pakistan (a particularly dodgy, but friendly part of the world currently) than I've hit problems with my 4x4 in Iran.
Unfortunately my Land cruiser 1994 VX Auto 80 series is not so well. I'm currently stuck in Zahedan, Iran with potentially a failed gearbox, transmission or both.
I'm looking into my options for finding replacement parts in case the Toyota mechanics here can't fix it.
Does anybody have any contacts in Iran for toyota parts or a country nearby? Apparently Iran isn't bless with a big second hand parts market for 80 series.
It's quite an urgent issue I've got due to visa implications, so any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
p.s I can add that the border near Zahedan, Iran to Taftan in Pakistan is very straightforward to cross. You will however need escorts from near Bam all the way to the border. Then all the way to Quetta and onto Sukkur in Pakistan. Slow but you get there safely without to many other hassles.
As you have probably realised, the problem is a lack of spares for diesel models in Iran.
You are however close to two of the world's hubs of Toyota parts, The UAE (for new parts), and Pakistan / Afghanistan (for used).
Have you got the thing checked and diagnosed? An auto transmission specialist should at least be able to diagnose what the fault may be, even if they have no spares on hand. Have you checked that the ATF levels are correct in the transmission?
Otherwise, you need to make some connections in Quetta and have the part shipped to Zahedan.
I would find a decent mechanic first and have the fault diagnosed. Is the car totally undriveable? I am not familiar with 80 series transmissions, but it is likely that there are vehicles driving around with similar boxes.. If you could get the vehicle transported to Mashhad or Bandar Abbas, then you would have more knowledge / spares at hand.
If you have a few days to kill, I recommend a trip to Kuh0e Khajeh near Zabol, or to Mt Taftan
How are things progressing? What a horrible situation to be in. And right at the start of your time in Iran. I know Zahedan is not much of a town so your options there are limited. I don't know how long your visa lasts, but you now have a race against time.
You're probably aware of the following consequences, but for those who might not know...
The first time I crossed Iran, there was a British couple ahead of me who had a breakdown with their motorbike, they started the business of trying to get it fixed, the days went by and before they knew it, their visas had expired and they were immediately deported. WITHOUT their bike which they never saw again. You definitely do not want that to happen. If there is no-one in the Zahedan area who can help; this will be expensive but can you get your landrover trucked/towed to a bigger city?
Or closer to the the other side of Iran ready to leave? It's a shame both Iran and Pakistan are so particular about visas.
Iran can be a very tricky country to get parts sent in to it- DHL etc have specific caveats about Iran.
However on the plus side, the Iranian people are extremely friendly and they are resourceful, they are great at fixing things.
Good luck, but you should maybe look into getting your visa extended if that is a possibility (which may mean travelling to another city- a shame Zahedan is so isolated down there).
It's been a challenging couple of weeks. I was basically stuck in Zahedan which was the worst possible place. No freedom to move about due to security escorts. No internet at the rubbish hotel. And initially no local sim to make calls. It meant no comms to make arrangements. I had to got to Kerman for a couple of days to get everything underway. The Toyota lads in Zahedan wanted to help but ultimately it was too hard and I lost over a week with them and no progress. It took nearly 2 weeks but I'm now in Tehran with some gearbox specialists looking at the truck. It was a 48hour drive from Zahedan to Tehran in the world's slowest freight truck.
Hopefully I'll know if a day or two what the problem is. Then it's a matter of replacement parts or not?
Bertrand, a big thanks to you. The Toyota LC club have been a great help.
I've lined up a replacement gearbox, transmission from the UK if need be. However it's not cheap and I would prefer to source closer to Iran. Thanks for the tips above guys. We'll see what we need soon enough.
I've got a couple of weeks left on the visa and the ability to extend. the challenge is that I've meant to be in Istanbul by Dec 24th to catch a flight to Paris for xmas.
It sure isn't boring around these parts. A little more stress than I really needed though. She'll be right!!
Just read this story - I feel for you, BigO esp as I did the same trip but in the opposite direction and in the same kind of vehicle I'd specifically chosen for its reliability, just as no doubt you did.
It's probably too late now, but if I had seen this earlier I would have advised to see about getting a replacement transmission sent through from Pakistan - would have thought there'd be plenty of freight trucks making that journey.
I wish I'd been able to give you the contact dets of these people before https://www.facebook.com/IslamabadJeepClub - I know Ehsan Kiani the chair and stayed with him when there in 2007, where I had a LOT of work done on my LC80. PM me if the replacement txn from the UK option proves unworkable and I'll give you Ehsan's contact details. I can well imagine that a lot of the DHLs / TNTs / UPSs etc of this world either won't touch Iran with a 10-foot bargepole or it will be expensive.
Thanks for all the help and support people. I'm hoping to get Boris (my LC) back in a day or two. It was meant to be today but after repairing the gearbox they have found damage to the turbine system (I think they mean Torque Converter). The mechanics are working to fix as quickly as possible.
Fortunately I still have 8/9 days of my visa left as the breakdown occurred on my second day in Iran. 11 days stuck in Zahedan, 3 days on a truck to Tehran and just over a week in the capital wasn't quite how I planned my time in Iran.
My detailed write up about the first two weeks will be published on my blog on Tuesday 17th at Big O's Adventures. The title of the post is: Disaster Strikes in Iran, The Nightmare before Xmas (in Zahedan) & The 6 Disciples of Boris
I've had a quick look at Jon's blog and by the looks of it he did not make his flight out of Istanbul.
I guess we'll just have to wait and see what is unfolding in Iran/Turkey. I know the pain, as I've been towed across a border and I've also had to help people push their disabled vehicles through remote frontier posts.
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