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  #1  
Old 26 Mar 2012
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Smile Whats the best vehicle for a Central Asia overland trip?

Hi Everybody,

I'm relatively new to the HUBB. I've been following for a few months but thought it was time to post a request for assistance.

I'm planning a overland 4×4 trip to China and back in 2013 (May - October approx) for 3-4 people. Travelling from London to Turkey the plan is to join the Silk Road and head east to China though the “Stans” north of Afghanistan. The plan is then to head south via Tibet/Nepal to India and head back west via Pakistan and Iran, and finally Europe to London.

From all the research I'm done on this site and others, the car of choice appears to be a Toyota Landcruiser 80 Series. Even more specifically 1994-97 range (due to some potential problems with the 1990-93 versions, though not a deal breaker) as it is less sophisticated than the later model LC's.

I've been following ebay sales for a while and the prices range from 3-6k pounds for unprepared car with 130-180k miles. In a number of cases the condition of the photos advertised look similar but the prices varies significantly. I can only guess this comes down to the quality of the engine, suspension and axles etc which you need to ascertain by viewing.

Due to vehicle carnet prices for Iran, Pakistan and India being based on the purchase price of the vehicle I'm inclined to buy something between 3-5k and then spend approx 2-3k some more getting it expedition ready. I've seen a couple of near expedition ready cars for sale in the 6-7k plus range.

It would be good to know if my research thus far is along the right lines and if my approach is reasonable. I'm on the look out for a vehicle in the next couple of months if anybody has one for sale.

You can check out my trip plans at Big O's Adventures

I'm also on the lookout for overlanders heading into China in the middle of next year that want to share China visa entry costs.

Thanks

Jon
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  #2  
Old 27 Mar 2012
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Overland vehicle search

Hi Jon,

first of all welcome on board.

If I were you I wouldn't exclude a 90/Colorado/Prado - come with a 3.0TD engine and are very capable. Generally similiar period of manufacture as the 80, but a bit cheaper to purchase.

However, no matter what vehicle you buy allow a decent chunk for the mechanical prep work, especially if you are not mechanically minded.
If you need workshop help, then contact Julian Voelcker, the other Hubb 4x4 Mod, he runs Overland Cruisers | Overland Cruisers, specialists in preparing and servicing Toyota Land Cruisers, and in my opinion is the UK's best Land Cruiser mechanic.
He can run you through what he finds needs doing to Land Cruisers in prep for a trip. Can be a fair bit and soon mounts up!
Whatever your decision - enjoy!

Chris
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  #3  
Old 27 Mar 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigO View Post

From all the research I'm done on this site and others, the car of choice appears to be a Toyota Landcruiser 80 Series.
Did you see this thread?
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...-x-trail-61322
It gets into the Nissan Terrano from around post number 10, with some interesting input about where they and the X trail can travel.
(Worth noting how far hodgea has travelled for a minimum of expenditure).
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  #4  
Old 28 Mar 2012
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Hi Guys,

Thanks for your replies.

Thanks for the suggestion on the Nissan Terrano. I hadn't seen one of those before. The Toyota Hilux and the Landcruiser appear to dominate the central asia region with a lot of Landrovers being used for Africa.

The 3.0TD 90/Colorado/Prado options are a modern and therefore potentially more difficult to fix, right? Have many people used this vehicles in central asia? and been able to find mechanics easy to any problems?

As I do not have a lot of experience fixing vehicles I'm inclined to stick with something simpler and more familiar to the region. Does anybody have any good tips to know when looking to buy a LC80?

I've already exchanged a few emails with Julian and know of his reputation. I'm wondering what a reasonable budget is for getting a car expedition ready. From many of the websites I've seen there seems a pattern of a base list of items. Then it moves into some specific high end stuff if you want to get fancy. Would 2-3k be reasonable as long as the car doesn't need any major work?

Jon
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  #5  
Old 29 Mar 2012
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Basically you trade one cost for another,ie the less the initial purchase price the more you will need to spend to try and ensure reliability . There is the argument that certainly at the lower end of the market you try and buy so that you budget for a total overhaul, and then try and buy the best vehicle you can for the money you have remaining , that way you hopefully end up with a vehicle that is a known quality . I would suggest that you buy a vehicle that is a standard as possible (not been messed about with),also not the top of the range version, and then bring it to specialisation that you need , without getting carried away by "bling". This will also allow you to gain the required knowledge to be able to fix en route , where allowing others to work on your vehicle will bring additional problems , as quite a lot are happy to use your car as a training aid , and charge you for the privelege . HTSH
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  #6  
Old 9 Apr 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tacr2man View Post
Basically you trade one cost for another,ie the less the initial purchase price the more you will need to spend to try and ensure reliability . There is the argument that certainly at the lower end of the market you try and buy so that you budget for a total overhaul, and then try and buy the best vehicle you can for the money you have remaining , that way you hopefully end up with a vehicle that is a known quality . I would suggest that you buy a vehicle that is a standard as possible (not been messed about with),also not the top of the range version, and then bring it to specialisation that you need , without getting carried away by "bling". This will also allow you to gain the required knowledge to be able to fix en route , where allowing others to work on your vehicle will bring additional problems , as quite a lot are happy to use your car as a training aid , and charge you for the privelege . HTSH
Hi Tacr2man,

Thanks for the advice. I've been thinking of an approach like you suggest. My research on LC80's shows a range of cars in the 3-6k range. I think you can find the odd car that has been looked after pretty well and not really taken offload. A reasonable car would be in the 4-5k range. then spend from there.

I have seen cars in the 2.5-4k range that look like they require work. Is that the sort of range you are suggesting? Then spend 2-3k on preparing?

I've also spotted a number of cars for sale from car yards for approx 5k. They seem to be prepared for sale and made to look good. I keep thinking that there is something they would be hiding? Or am I just being pessimistic?

J
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  #7  
Old 10 Apr 2012
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Hi BigO, The 80 will be fine, I have a 96' model and its the best money I've spent.
A two inch lift with an air compressor and the rest is bling. A thousand kilometres in two inbuilt tanks, they were made for long distance journeys. If there is anything specific, ask away.
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  #8  
Old 6 Jul 2012
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4 Runner

Another vehicle I think is worth looking at is the 4Runner. I bought the 3litre Turbo 1kz 1994 about 3 years ago for less than £2k. I originally bought it for a trip to Morocco. We did 2 months and 9k miles and it never missed a beat. I use it daily and am planning a Kazahkstan and Mongolia trip with the same truck. No fancy upgrading and 150k on the clock I would trust it to go anywhere. I know they are popular in the states and had been used on Argentina to Alaska trip.
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  #9  
Old 11 Jul 2012
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Toyota Hilux or Toyota Fortuner.

They are pretty common in Asia, Thailand / Laos and so on. For shure they could also fix them.

I had much fun in Laos and Thailand, with some rentals.

They build toyotas in thailand, i suggest to buy a used one there...
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  #10  
Old 4 Aug 2012
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Thanks guys. Its all been useful information to help the research.
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  #11  
Old 7 Aug 2012
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I agree with Tacr2man . Also take your time looking for the vehicle you are happy with, get the lowest mileage possible in your price range. If you plan going through the Stans' in summer it gets above 40 degrees, air conditioning is a plus. My girlfriend and I left Ireland in May we are currently in Kyrgyzstan. The most common Toyota 4x4 we have seen are landcruiser 100 followed by the 4runner and Prado. Diesel was almost impossible to find in Uzbekistan at the time we passed through. We found one working pump in 2000 kms'!!!. Every capital city we passed had a Toyota garage.

Fintan
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  #12  
Old 22 Aug 2012
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Hi BigO,

I would echo what Chris has said in the second post

"first of all welcome on board.

If I were you I wouldn't exclude a 90/Colorado/Prado - come with a 3.0TD engine and are very capable. Generally similiar period of manufacture as the 80, but a bit cheaper to purchase."

The SWB is the 90 series, the LWB is the 95 series.
The 90 series Colorado is too small for your travels.
The 95 is the 5 door, and far more suitable.
I suggest look for years 1996 to 2000
after 2000 they went to the D4-d engine, and will cost a lot more money.

They offer great value for money, and not too bad on the old diesel also.

Pull out the 2nd row, and the 3rd row seats, and they have bed sleeping sizes now available.
However, I guess you will simply throw a £600 roof tent up on the roof, and keep the inside for the fridge and supplies etc.

vette
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  #13  
Old 25 Aug 2012
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Please bear in mind 4 people, plus luggage. How much weight [including passengers] are you going to lug [RoofTopTent, spare tire, water, books, food, clothes, extra fuel] around in your vehicle? 500kg? 700kg? 1.000kg. That should minimize the options. I'd say the Colorado/Prado isn't an option due to very soft suspension in the back. Get something sensible; diesel, non airco, no electronics, leafsprings in the back, solid axles. Look around for those options. Should keep your carnet price down as well ;-)
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  #14  
Old 25 Aug 2012
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Being a 4 man team with associated kit I'm not aiming for a roof tent. I've been aiming for an 80. Preferably a 1993 onwards 80 with aircon due to travelling in high summer in central asia. I've seen a few 1990-1992 about but 1993 onwards are more tricky. I'm also looking at the 100's as well now. Research tells me that more and more 100's are making the journey. Trying to keep the purchase price down for the carnet is an important consideration for India/Pakistan and Iran.

Thanks to everybody for their contributions. I found the right vehicle a few weeks back but missed out. The Four Wheel Drive Club • View topic - For Sale - 1993 Landcruiser 80 4.2TD Auto

The search continues.
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  #15  
Old 30 Aug 2012
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Vehicle search

First of all, as I said previously, a Prado/Colorado is more than capable of this trip 4 up and loaded. Just make sure you prep the vehcile well and replace the suspension if necessary.
100 series would be a great choice, but will be pricey.

With known problems with the supply of diesel in some areas you are visiting, it might be worth considering a petrol engined car. Plus this would be considerably cheaper to purchase!

Just ensure you buy the best vehicle you can possibly afford, and you don't need loads of flash kit and mods - just well prepped/serviced.
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Last edited by ChrisC; 30 Aug 2012 at 23:12. Reason: extra info
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