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 Overlanding by car

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SafariDude
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PostSubject: Overlanding by car   Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:16 am

Just been looking at the HUBB site (sorry Tom Embarassed ) and someone posted a question about driving from UK to Oz in a car, rather then a fully decked out 4x4. It got me thinking : what would the ideal car be for an overland trip? Clearly diesel. Preferably estate to get enough kit in .... but would you want to sleep in it as suggested on HUBB, or just take a ground tent?

There is a lot out there about older engines that are easier to maintain for a 4x4 trip, but which engine would be good in an estate? Something from Mercedes I guess - they seem to be everywhere abroad. Can you get an old Toyota estate with the same engine as an LC?

How 'tough' can you make a car? Upgrade suspension? Bigger, more sturdy tires? Winch (just kidding laughing pound)

Then it begs the question ... if you can do all this in an inexpensive estate, why spend a fortune on a Landie or LC and all the extra bits tongue

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PostSubject: Re: Overlanding by car   Mon Jun 24, 2013 6:02 am

The answer is yes it can be done and frequently has, the explanations why are somewhat complex though.

With a 4X4 you get a fully engineered vehicle designed and built to cope with a specific set of conditions, and for a specific use, and they are more durable and flexible than a car because the body is designed that way, try the same with a car and it will flex itself to pieces in a short time and be full of stress cracks everywhere, that is in addition to structural components such as windscreens cracking every verse end. 4X4's have a softer and longer travel suspension system to give increased articulation and more ground clearance, and their engines are often lower powered, even if they are generic engines, and tuned for torque instead of performance or emissions.

With a 4X4 you get an engine and transmission which is geared down to ensure most of its off road life is spent in the torque band, totally opposite to a car, and has low range for total control over rough terrain. Try this with a car and its gearing will be too high, it will be stalling or revving its nuts off, and with no low range the driver will have little control, and couldn't pass over rocky terrain unless they don't give a damn about the car. Cooling is another major area of difference, a 4X4 has to dissipate masses of heat with no or little airflow, do that with a car and it would overheat in seconds and trash the engine, so the cooling system is massively uprated to cope with this issue.

Being such an uprated vehicle a 4X4 has much stronger mounting points for everything from suspension components to tow bars, and these have to be carefully designed to stand the loadings and specifically, the angles of loading, do this with a car and it would tear the back end off is you used a heavy trailer.

So:

Buy a car and uprate it;

New transmission with at least a crawler first gear.
New cooling system.
Total upgrade of the vehicles shell??? forget it as it isn't designed for such an upgrade and will always be a weak point. Much simpler to reshell a 4X4 with a separate chassis and rotten body.

Cost? more than buying a decent 4X4.
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PostSubject: Re: Overlanding by car   Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:00 am

Chris scott tested this in a merc 190 a few years ago, bigger wheels and a sump guard (anyone who knows chris will know he's not keen on spending money where its not really needed)

I've just finished reading this

http://www.troubador.co.uk/book_info.asp?bookid=1812

Didn't see her talk at the Hubb, but won the book in the raffle and really enjoyed it (Tom - possible speaker for Adventure Overland ?). So yes it is possible

Remember alot of the french exploration of the Sahara was done in 2CV's. Peugot estates are the car of choice for african taxi's

It depends on the terrain, remember a lot of miles are done on good dirt roads or tar) so a car could be a cheap overlander, I'd go older and diesel (so an old merc really, my mate used to drive one in classic rallys, great cars and no real problems), also rear wheel drive.

If you want to do the high dunes or really rough terrain then you'll need a 4x4 but you can get a long way without 4x4, search for the silkroad motorcarvan club and see how far they can get in 2x4 motorcaravans

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PostSubject: Re: Overlanding by car   Tue Jun 25, 2013 5:49 am

That's just put a new book on my reading list Rich - thanks for that thumbsup

Clearly a strong 4x4 will last longer than a saloon if you go off the beaten track, but in reality how many travellers take what is effectively their home off the main roads. Dune bashing and rock crawling is great on a 4x4 weekend in the UK or a Morocco holiday, but when traversing Africa I guess most people treat their cars with kids gloves.

Just read another thread on HUBB that suggested there was a tar road between Senegal and Morocco via Mauritania - I guess it depends on the quality of the road, but even so scratch

Clearly older cars survive in these countries as the locals own and drive them all the time. Would you want to risk a car when a 4x4 is safer is a good question, but if you want the challenge then I can see why people choose something less muscular.

I assumed Merc too Rich - see them everywhere abroad so must be a lot of mechanics out there happy to fix them. I bet they can run forever too!

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PostSubject: Re: Overlanding by car   Tue Jun 25, 2013 6:52 am

Heres Chris Scotts adventure with it, seems to have had alot of fun

http://www.morocco-overland.com/merc/maroctest.htm

or a 2wd merc van - might have a locking diff available,  Tunisians seem to like peugot expert vans

And look at the proliferation of banger rallies that use 4x2's and get to interesting places

My mate took a 205 to west africa. Bought for £100 here, sold for over £1000 for charity at the desination.

So now we've esablished it can be doe - what are you planning.......bounce

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PostSubject: Re: Overlanding by car   Tue Jun 25, 2013 8:08 am

I was thinking London to Beijing in a TR7 .... until the wife reminded me that the last TR7 I had couldn't even make it to the chippy at the end of the road let alone China affraid

TBH, I'm like most - if I ever do 'the trip' it will be in a over prepared 4x4. I was just interested in what standard car people would choose today if they were to go that way.  Black cabs, 2CVs etc have all been done, but a Passat? Rover 75? Volvo? Are they too modern to consider still or just made so badly these days that no one considers them viable?

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PostSubject: Re: Overlanding by car   Tue Jun 25, 2013 9:41 am

TR7 !!!

Now what about a moggie minor - more spaces, easily repairable

These journies have been done in everything - hmm maybe not a unicycle yet but i bet someone proves me wrong

Bangkok to brighton in a tuk tuk ?

http://www.theitinerant.co.uk/adventures/tuk-to-the-road/

Wouldn't trust a 75 to get me to the m1 (unless it was diesel) and low parts availability 

Probabily toyota, merc, or the fiat, pug, citoren group for parts availability

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PostSubject: Re: Overlanding by car   Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:33 am

One problem with the 2CV, it was initially conceived as an off road vehicle. Its original design specification was to give it good off road performance, good ground clearance, a smooth bottom for sliding over rocks and furrows, and light weight.

Its long travel suspension ensured it could cross a ploughed field with a tray of eggs in the back without breaking them, ground clearance was ensured by utilising 15" wheels when everyone else were using 10 and 12" wheels, its monocoque was immensely strong, and its light weight was ensured by a small air cooled engine and compact transmission.
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PostSubject: Re: Overlanding by car   Tue Jun 25, 2013 8:45 pm

2CV's are brilliant! If a car is your mode of transport, then why not go down the four-wheel-drive-car route? It may be small, but an old Fiat Panda 4x4 will take you virtually everywhere.

Assassin has it spot on, hit the corrugations in Africa and it will shake a car to pieces, 4x4's are built to flex.

Also many will sleep in or on (via a roof tent) a 4x4, so unless you go for the longest estate car, that's not an option either. However, there is another option, to invest in the world's most ill-conceived idea. I give you the DoDo ...





My first thought - "What's the date? It has to be the 1st April!!!" Ugly or what??? Very pretty inside, but would you really want to drive about with a portable toilet strapped to your motor? Mad!

Would love to hear their comments on Dragon's Den!

Appropriate name though, it's like a pile of dog's dodo! Razz

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PostSubject: Re: Overlanding by car   Tue Jun 25, 2013 8:54 pm

Just in case you think this is a wind up, thought I'd let you see for yourselves - www.dodoo.be

All I can say is the Belgians must have a great sense of humour. Don't all rush to buy one! Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Overlanding by car   Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:25 pm

Good dirt roads are all well and good, well at least in good weather, and due to many countries hot conditions and prolonged periods of hot conditions they are ideal as they are cheap to construct as anyone can build them or even repair them, but try driving on them during a rainy season and they totally change, even the camber can cause a vehicle to slide off them sideways.
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PostSubject: Re: Overlanding by car   Wed Jun 26, 2013 6:25 am

It answers the question "should we take a porta potty or not" ... clearly 'not' as we can take a full size porta toilet!  I guess they called it 'Dodo' as it'll be extinct soon enough geek

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PostSubject: Re: Overlanding by car   Wed Jun 26, 2013 6:28 am

I'll keep an eye on the Hubb thread to see what the guy finally goes with. He says he's done it before in cars and he's determined again, so be interesting to see what the final marque is. My bet is on a Merc Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Overlanding by car   Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:36 am

Probably right. He may even make a few pennies on the way as folk will be jumping in the back seat every time he stops at a set of red lights! Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Overlanding by car   Fri Jun 28, 2013 7:09 am

iveco4x4 wrote:

Now what about a moggie minor - more spaces, easily repairable

Morris Minor would be an interesting choice ... but I think you would need a hell of a long time for your journey in that. Top speed of about 45 mph laughing pound Would take you a month to get through France Wink

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PostSubject: Re: Overlanding by car   Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:01 pm

SafariDude wrote:
iveco4x4 wrote:

Now what about a moggie minor - more spaces, easily repairable

Morris Minor would be an interesting choice ... but I think you would need a hell of a long time for your journey in that. Top speed of about 45 mph laughing pound Would take you a month to get through France Wink
Then again ... maybe not!


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PostSubject: Re: Overlanding by car   Fri Jun 28, 2013 10:56 pm

You're just being silly now Tom ... look at the ground clearance on that car, it'd never make it on those rutted African roads Laughing

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PostSubject: Re: Overlanding by car   Sat Jun 29, 2013 11:11 am

Soon fit hydraulic suspension to it, plenty of spare power to drive it.
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PostSubject: Re: Overlanding by car   Sun Jun 30, 2013 5:43 am

Spookily I saw one of those Morris Minors with the huge engine comming out the bonnet today. Was driving some lanes and roads of Kent and came across a summer fete with a small car show. And someone there had a black one Very Happy  I didn't have my camera with me so failed miserably getting nowhere fast 

Some other unsuitable overland cars there too, including a Ford Capri, a cortina and a MGB GT V8

Someone did turn up with a fully loaded Disco G4 though, which looked nice.

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PostSubject: Re: Overlanding by car   Sun Jun 30, 2013 9:11 am

Better?


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PostSubject: Re: Overlanding by car   Sun Jun 30, 2013 11:46 pm

Slightly more practical Laughing 

What I did find interesting yesterday, was how much weight was added to the car to hold the engine in place. It was a kind of roll cage type setup in the engine bay, with the huge engine mounted onto that. Of course, huge springs too.

I'm sure I saw somewhere once a trip in a Mazda MX5. Possibly a RTW trip. Must see if I can find a link. Being a 2 seater must make it a little more difficult in those countries where you have to take a 'guide'.

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PostSubject: Re: Overlanding by car   Mon Jul 01, 2013 7:33 am


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PostSubject: Re: Overlanding by car   Mon Jul 01, 2013 10:24 am

They are brilliant. Have you heard of this guy?

www.barbour4x4.com

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PostSubject: Re: Overlanding by car   Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:25 pm

My Moggy van had a 351 Cleveland engine in, not fast enough so fitted a 6/71 blower to it, nothing could beat it on the 1/4 at good old pod.
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PostSubject: Re: Overlanding by car   Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:54 pm

Tom Mc wrote:
2CV's are brilliant! If a car is your mode of transport, then why not go down the four-wheel-drive-car route? It may be small, but an old Fiat Panda 4x4 will take you virtually everywhere.

Assassin has it spot on, hit the corrugations in Africa and it will shake a car to pieces, 4x4's are built to flex.

Also many will sleep in or on (via a roof tent) a 4x4, so unless you go for the longest estate car, that's not an option either. However, there is another option, to invest in the world's most ill-conceived idea. I give you the DoDo ...





My first thought - "What's the date? It has to be the 1st April!!!" Ugly or what??? Very pretty inside, but would you really want to drive about with a portable toilet strapped to your motor? Mad!

Would love to hear their comments on Dragon's Den!

Appropriate name though, it's like a pile of dog's dodo! Razz


NO,NO,NO,NO,NO,NO,NO,NO,........NO........this looks scary 70 mph and it falls off,,,,,,,,,,affraid ......NO

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