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  1. #41
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Quote Originally Posted by Roberto Betta View Post
    I would personally go double cab. If your beat and want to take a midday nap before heading out again for a late afternoon shoot the last thing you want to do is pull down the RTT and have to load it up again a couple hours later. That back seat can come in real handy.
    Each to their own. Too much wasted packing space for me, not to mention the increased wheelbase and vehicle weight


  2. #42
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Quote Originally Posted by Pieter de Waal View Post
    At our age, I will go for a ground tent built for overlanding. It can have huge space and shade and if properly designed, set up in less than 15 minutes.
    Hi Pieter, I agree with everything you said except the above - we travel with a ground tent and a RTT, there are places where a ground tent just doesn't hack it, and an RTT is great for overnighters, of which there are a lot when you're on the road for a long period of time. Here are two instances when a ground tent would not have been much fun:
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    Tony Weaver

    1991 Land Rover 110 Hi-Line S/W 3.5l V8 carburettor
    Cooper Discoverer STT tyres, four sleeper Echo rooftop tent
    2012 Mitsubishi Outlander.

    Previously Land Rover 1968 SII, 1969 SIIA, 1973 SIII, 1983 Toyota HiLux 2litre, 2006 Land Rover Freelander TD4 HSE.

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  4. #43
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Weaver View Post
    Hi Pieter, I agree with everything you said except the above - we travel with a ground tent and a RTT, there are places where a ground tent just doesn't hack it, and an RTT is great for overnighters, of which there are a lot when you're on the road for a long period of time. Here are two instances when a ground tent would not have been much fun:
    I agree, having both is the best of both worlds.

    What we do to ourselves and then we convince ourselves that it was fun

    RTT
    Some reasons in my opinion: (Lots of people will differ, I know but that is my opinion.)
    I hate that ladder.
    I do not like putting my pants on while lying on my back.
    I cannot put my chair in it when the weather is off.
    My wife finds it claustrophobic.
    You cannot get into a normal garage, shopping mall, overhanging trees or park in the shade for that matter. (Cannot do the Lower Mango Route.)
    It may be quick to pitch but you have to do it every time.
    Most of them you cannot reach from the ground and have to climb up into awkward and sometimes dangerous positions to pitch.
    Too little living space. (Do not try to cook in it. I have had to do it in a sandstorm in the ground tent)
    Makes the vehicle top heavy and unstable.
    Eats fuel.
    Finding a level spot for the vehicle with enough head clearance in the shade is more often than not an issue.
    Pretty expensive.

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  6. #44
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Quote Originally Posted by Tijmen van der Steenhoven View Post
    It sounds awesome.

    I would recommend Dual cab, simply for those days you have to sit and wait at a border post or any such occasion because though you could... one rarely pitches the roof top tent just to sit and wait where in a dual cab you could recline the seat and rest. One also never knows what situation you might be in that would require you to sleep inside the vehicle.

    Keep the vehicle as standard as possible. I drive on 35" tires and lost a tire in December in Botswana and the biggest size I could find anywhere was a 32" tire. All other tires are standard hilux and Cruiser tire sizes 265/65/R16. My recommendation would also be to keep the original spare in place underneath the fuel tank (a flat spare is better than a punctured fuel tank especially if you have 2 spare wheels) and one spare inside the load bin near the cab for weight distribution.

    Weight and weight distribution is crucial to an overlanding vehicle. Weight is the biggest killer of overlanding vehicles and puts enormous strain on axles (that is why there are so many stories of normally aspirated donkey diesel cruisers that break sideshafts) My last trip to Botswana made this very clear to me since every bakkie get stuck on the salt pans except my Station wagon, before the trip I weighed my vehicle and there was only a 100kg difference between my front and back axles on a total weight of 3 tons. Upon reviewing the videos of the pans it was clear that all the vehicles that got stuck because the rear tires just started sinking in first, because they were unevenly loaded. Overlading a bakkie is very easy.

    Since you are only a single person in a double cab, I believe you can fit everything inside, not ontop. It is my OPINION that if you have to put anything on top for one person that you are taking to much with. You will easily fit: 80L water, 50L Fuel, 1 Spare tire and all your kitchen, fridge etc inside without having to put anything except the nights fire wood on top. The perfect setup would be to slightly lower the top of the canopy so that the roof tent will not protrude on the top and thus lowering wind resistance and improved fuel consumption. I would avoid the tire carrier on the back because now you will have to open 3 different thing only to get to something in the back of the canopy

    Hope my 2 cents is worth something.

    I cant wait to start reading the trip reports and photos, Might there also be a youtube video or two?
    This is the best advice you can follow..weight distribution is crucial...keep stuff stock standard like tyres.
    No rear mounted tyres for me as well....extra weight and mountings that are under stress over time and stuff that breaks.
    Gone are the days that you have to travel 1500 km to find fuel in Africa....so long range tanks are more a convenient factor than neccesary nuisance. If the long range tank give you problems...leak or blocked...you are buggerred. Work with jerry cans and you do not need to drag along 80plus kilos of fuel.
    Keep most your belongings inside the cab/canopy.
    I support the suggestions on a double cab.
    Enjoy your planning, trips and photography.
    Jannie Engelbrecht

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  8. #45
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Weaver View Post
    The only two items I would personally not be too fussed about are the water tank and the bull bar with winch, the rest is necessary equipment :
    I am coming to the conclusion that the bull bar and winch are probably not essential. My Navara has a winch and in 10 years I have never need to use it.
    Last edited by smcs; 2019/02/05 at 01:59 PM.

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  10. #46
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Weaver View Post
    Hi Pieter, I agree with everything you said except the above - we travel with a ground tent and a RTT, there are places where a ground tent just doesn't hack it, and an RTT is great for overnighters, of which there are a lot when you're on the road for a long period of time. Here are two instances when a ground tent would not have been much fun:
    I have a OzTent RV4 that will be going along. It gives me a place to work/edit photographs and video when staying a few days. RTT for one-nighters. The RTT will be a a bundutop or clamshell.

  11. #47
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeml View Post
    I can't agree with a double cab though, or even extended cabs for solo travel. No arguments that they might be a nice to have features at long border stops, for camera gear etc, but is a luxury, at the expense of valuable space, weight and longer wheel base which equates to worse turning circles and break over angle.

    Don't skimp on solar and battery capacity and charging quality of associated electrical components.
    - 9 out of 10 people have recommended the double cab over single cab. I am still not convinced. I'm tending towards the single cab for the reasons (amongst others) that you mention.

    - Electrical and charging is a TOP priority for me. I am very happy with overkill in this department.

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  13. #48
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Weaver View Post
    Hi Sean, definitely double cab so that you have quick and secure access to photo and video gear. Also, all the advice about keeping the vehicle as bog standard as possible is good - standard bakkie tyre sizes, and keep the suspension standard as well. Maybe have a look at how Bushlore have equipped their Land Cruisers that they rent out - they also sell them second hand, fully equipped at a pretty good price. Their Cruiser with an AluCab pop-up tent is pretty useful for a solo traveler.
    I have look at Bushlore used sales. Like what I see. Prices are right but - 185,000 km seems a little too high for comfort for me. Maybe not a problem on this vehicle? Maybe just accept that wheel bearings, shocks, and obvious wear items need to replaced immediately after purchase?

  14. #49
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Quote Originally Posted by W3771M View Post
    You might want to look at ASPWs Land Cruiser. I think there are a few good ideas that will help you. https://youtu.be/IwfXNrH3XPk
    Thanks. Have watched all of his videos. Some great ideas.

  15. #50
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Quote Originally Posted by Tindo View Post
    Sounds like you are going to have plenty of fun. After picking and modding your car just make sure you give us a link to your blog where we can follow your trips.
    Once the site is up I will advise.

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  17. #51
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Quote Originally Posted by smcs View Post
    I have look at Bushlore used sales. Like what I see. Prices are right but - 185,000 km seems a little too high for comfort for me. Maybe not a problem on this vehicle? Maybe just accept that wheel bearings, shocks, and obvious wear items need to replaced immediately after purchase?
    We went on couple of trips, Zambia and Botswana where some of the vehicles in the group were rentals. The saying that a rental is the best 4x4 is there for a reason. Rather buy a good second hand from a private seller if you ask me.

    My bakkie has almost 400 000km on the clock and I will still prefer it over a new vehicle of another brand or model for reliability.

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  19. #52
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Quote Originally Posted by smcs View Post
    I have look at Bushlore used sales. Like what I see. Prices are right but - 185,000 km seems a little too high for comfort for me. Maybe not a problem on this vehicle? Maybe just accept that wheel bearings, shocks, and obvious wear items need to replaced immediately after purchase?

    A LC 1HZ on 185000 is low mileage. If it is well looked after you might not have to do anything much to it.

    Plus 1 for the DC, in fact I would go for the station wagon version/troopie myself, for so many reasons, some of which have been already mentioned (safekeeping of gear, weather etc).

    No winch or winch bar, pointless xtra weight.

    Very exciting project and trip ahead , enjoy!

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  21. #53
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Quote Originally Posted by smcs View Post
    I have look at Bushlore used sales. Like what I see. Prices are right but - 185,000 km seems a little too high for comfort for me. Maybe not a problem on this vehicle? Maybe just accept that wheel bearings, shocks, and obvious wear items need to replaced immediately after purchase?
    200 000 + is not a problem. We used diesel 79's in Botswana as workhorses and the only item that really needed attention before a million km were gearboxes. Have the whole vehicle checked by a reputable Cruiser expert. Replace hub and Birfield grease, as well as all oils and filters, grease the prop shafts and check brake linings. Also, replace alternator and starter brushes. Listen to your vehicle with some mechanical sympathy and it will tell you well in advance if and when something is on its way out.

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  23. #54
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Quote Originally Posted by smcs View Post
    I have look at Bushlore used sales. Like what I see. Prices are right but - 185,000 km seems a little too high for comfort for me. Maybe not a problem on this vehicle? Maybe just accept that wheel bearings, shocks, and obvious wear items need to replaced immediately after purchase?
    For whatever it's worth, I bought a ex-Bushlore LC 79 d/c 4.2 in 2017, 165,000km on the clock. We've put on ~20,000kms and so far we've the following work done on it:
    -Replaced a/c condensor (evaporator? I can never remember which is which) - the inlet pipe was cracked, probably from many kms on corrugated roads
    -New rear Toyota leaf springs, our choice, the old ones were functional, but tired.
    -New rear shocks.
    -Replaced some suspension bushes.
    -replaced front brake pads
    -replaced front wheel bearings
    -new steering tie rod ends
    -replaced exhaust pipe brackets

    We did quiet a lot of kms on dirt and gravel, so I'd estimate that a good portion of this was our own doing and just the regular fate of a 4x4 that is getting used. I do think that some of the bushings were probably near done when we got the vehicle, and the leaf springs were also pretty tired. Clutch is next on the list.

    Writing it all out now seems like this might be a negative endorsement, but really that work was all done on two shop visits months apart planned. And a used car sure is less expensive than a new one, it freed up quite a bit of cash for us for the odd repair here and there. To each their own of course.

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  25. #55
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Quote Originally Posted by smcs View Post
    I did a weight estimate of what the vehicle would be carrying. Very enlightening! One third of weight will be fuel and water.
    Thanks for sharing these. I've been working on something similar myself, though still a work in progress. We did go to one weigh bridge a while back and if I recall we came in with about a 1000kg payload, so overloaded. So obviously I need to through some stuff out, and I must be missing some stuff from my spreadsheet. I'd say I've overestimated a few things on that list, but on the other hand looking at how flat my leaf springs are I must be not accounting for some stuff.

    I'm quite keen to get a hardshell RTT and 270° awning someday, but it's another 40kgs, up high, and I'm struggling to justify this. I need to figure out some stuff to throw out.

    Vehicle weight estimates.pdfVehicle weight estimates.pdf

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  27. #56
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    One common cause of overloading when it comes to saffers overlanding ( at those I have come across) is that they think that they have to take everything bar the kitchen sink with them .

    Those days are gone , SA supermarkets are all over Africa, and so are filling stations , tyre shops , tool shops, butcheries, pharmacies etc.

    You can even find some half decent biltong in neighbouring (and even non neighbouring countries).

    Leave light and buy stuff as you go along, support the local economies.

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  29. #57
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Something fresh for your photography and doing it solo:
    If you buy an older model I would suggest an electric window on the left side at least. Quite often you need to take photos through that side and then the window must be open.
    If you do just about everything with 2 lenses, get 2 bodies. Dust is a big issue and you do not want to change lenses all the time.
    Infrared lighting is nice for those nighttime visitors and black ultraviolet for scorpions and the like.
    I take a camera toolkit with and some clean compressed in a can.

    If the vehicle does not have central locking, install an audible reminder that the key is still in the lock and also when the lights are still on. (At my age )
    Hide a spare key outside the vehicle.
    Have dedicated 12v plugs that switch with the ignition for your inverter and maybe the bigger battery chargers like the laptop. They will drain your 105 batteries quickly and it is not necessary.
    Have a hard look at the lighter and Hella plugs and sockets. There are real scrappy ones on the market. The lighter socket must have a 'gripper' and the plug the right groove. I do not have bad connections anymore.
    Install insulation in the roof and under the floor right up to the firewall. Huge difference.
    Get a proper grass net for the radiator not this shade cloth over the grill type.
    Make yourself a grass hook to get the stuff out around the exhaust. (The 70 series standard exhausts are not a big problem)
    Install highlift points on the corners of the vehicle and get the hook from the rim to the highlift jack.
    Consider the little black box or an obd ll monitor like Torque. The standard guages will not warn you in time. (It can also tell you how much fuel you have left when stretching it)
    By the way the comfort of those seats can be improved.
    Last edited by Pieter de Waal; 2019/02/06 at 09:01 AM.

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  31. #58
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    There is a Troopy with low kilometers for sale in the Classified Section with all the important accessories ie dual battery system, standard 180l fuel tank, drawer system, 60l water tank on floor in the centre of the vehicle, roof rack etc. It has the 1HZ engine. It will suit your purpose.

  32. #59
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    My Cruiser for extensive solo off grid tours in Africa .
    Some Specs:
    500 lt fuel , easy 2800 km range
    150 lt water couple to Katadyn water cleaner
    90 lt fridge/ freezer
    2 x 100 amp batteries
    2 x 90 watt solar panels connected to Ctek DC 2 DC charger
    12 volt Microwave for the bad weather days in the Africa bush .
    2 x gas bottles which last for 2 people 8 weeks
    12 volt electric kettle
    All the recovery equipment who will need , winch included .
    Cruiser was rig with weight distribution in mind and wash achieve .
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Cruiser 76 EFI 4.5 FullTime 4x4
    Cruiser 78 4.2 Diesel
    Cruiser 79 4.2 Diesel Full Time 4x4

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  34. #60
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    A lot of very good advice on this thread. My 2 cents:

    1c: sleeping: we had a turbo tent, and a way of sleeping inside. Not comfortably but we could. Ground tent would be better if you plan to camp for a while at the same place. But tastes differ, some people swear by rooftop tents.

    2c: Suspension: I would be wary of aftermarket mods, you might break a spring and have to DHL a replacement. Standard is better. I would not get air springs: ours was badly installed, and had to be taken out in Ghana. Problem is, for the installation they removed the rubber bump stops, so I had to scour the markets in Accra for 'bumpy rubbers'. I also had an overload leaf off a truck installed at the back, after 30 years the Toyota originals sag a little.

    Enjoy!

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