Overland vehicle prep... What would you do?





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  1. #1
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    Post Overland vehicle prep... What would you do?

    I've been doing a lot of reading over the last while in terms of vehicle preperation for overlanding and need some opinions please. the intent is to have a reliable, safe tourer to cater for our essential overlanding needs.

    Context -
    1. Overlanding across Sub Saharan Africa
    2. 3 occupants (two adults, one child)
    3. duration 2-3 weeks at a time
    4. traveling mostly on our own
    5. will pull a Commander trailer
    6. not interested in going further north at this point in time


    Vehicle choice - 2005 Prado 120 4L


    Option 1: In the blue corner - Stock Prado

    Reasons for:
    - The car is very capable in stock condition, no need to mod
    - Most fuel efficient (this is a relative statement) without any extras
    - cheapest option - ie. cost me R0.
    - am due for new shocks - could fit toy OEM shocks to keep the ride hight the same and in complete stock condition
    - will add high lift jack points
    - Sand tracks, high lift jack in trailer or in back of Prado



    Option 2: In the red corner - Slightly modified Prado

    Reasons for:
    - Better clearance
    - Protection around the front end bits gives a bit of insurance against small to medium mishaps
    - Winch for incase, seeing as I am traveling on my own
    - I'm due for shocks anyways, so a set of OME will give me an inch or so lift. this would be the only 'non' standard part of the vehicle's "mechanics"
    - the rest mainly cosmetic changes.
    - Sand tracks and high lift jack on roof basket with space for a jerry can or two (the commander already has 2 jerry cans in the back) - combined it gives me a total of 250 liters of fuel if I include my stock dual fuel tank
    - Question: Am unsure about the giant spots in front of the grill - surely that must reduce airflow to the engine?


    What would you choose and why?
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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Overland vehicle prep... What would you do?

    hang about, I'm off to find my popcorn.............
    Jakes Louw
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  5. #3
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    Default Re: Overland vehicle prep... What would you do?

    I'll go slightly modified (ex the spots. You will not be traveling at night anyway)
    Gert Grobler

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    Default Re: Overland vehicle prep... What would you do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nys View Post
    You will not be traveling at night anyway
    On extensive overland trips the chance of travelling in the dark can often be a reality, although not planned it does happen. Then having decent light is very important. I would remove the middle spot though.

    as for the rest, there will be many more opinions to follow. But I would also go with the slightly modified.
    Walter aka "Meerkat"
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    Default Re: Overland vehicle prep... What would you do?

    Quote Originally Posted by AboutAfrica View Post
    On extensive overland trips the chance of travelling in the dark can often be a reality, although not planned it does happen. Then having decent light is very important. I would remove the middle spot though.
    Ja, also true. Question of "rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it"

    Dam, no I have to fit a set of spots as well
    Gert Grobler

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  9. #6
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    Default Re: Overland vehicle prep... What would you do?

    Good, important question.

    I have 30 years (I started young &#128513 over landing in various vehicles.

    Some wheels were my own and many via writing for www.leisurewheels.com

    So first principle is a good vehicle with spares and know-how available all over Africa: BIG Tick! You have it.

    My current vehicle is a 2010 Prado 150 V6 with only mods being Bilstein shocks from http://mikemsuspensions.co.za/ and my own home made dual battery system.

    Is did spend a bit of money, but that has been to fix/replace anything that vaguely looked tired or as preventative maintenance eg water pump.

    That's it. From really bitter personal experience, mods to suspension, electrics (including spots) engine etc have nasty knock-on effects and unintended consequences.

    May look good, but egos and the Bush are best when kept far apart.

    Mike

    Mozguide

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    Default Re: Overland vehicle prep... What would you do?

    Quote Originally Posted by mozguide View Post
    Good, important question.

    I have 30 years (I started young ��) over landing in various vehicles.

    Some wheels were my own and many via writing for www.leisurewheels.com

    So first principle is a good vehicle with spares and know-how available all over Africa: BIG Tick! You have it.

    My current vehicle is a 2010 Prado 150 V6 with only mods being Bilstein shocks from http://mikemsuspensions.co.za/ and my own home made dual battery system.

    Is did spend a bit of money, but that has been to fix/replace anything that vaguely looked tired or as preventative maintenance eg water pump.

    That's it. From really bitter personal experience, mods to suspension, electrics (including spots) engine etc have nasty knock-on effects and unintended consequences.

    May look good, but egos and the Bush are best when kept far apart.

    Mike

    Mozguide
    thank you for the input - I appreciate you sharing some real experience.

    I cannot agree with you more on looking at the condition of the vehicle carefully. I've replaced the waterpump and belts as preventative. Will do rubber hoses (due to age not condition) and keep the current ones as spares and replenish all lubes and liquids - coolant, brake and steering fluids, diff, gearbox and transfer oils case. Bushes and ball joints to be checked as well. thats should sort out the reliability. I'm not convinced of fitting a snorkel - will keep standard air box.

    In term of suspension - I would prefer to only do shocks - but suspect after 15 years the coils might be tired as well in which case I would do coils and shocks. If I replace the coils too I'll probably go a tad heavier on the back to carry the trailer load. I dont have any experience with helpers inside the coils? What would be the safest option for the extra weight? Progressive coils or helpers?
    Last edited by Boesman88; 2020/07/28 at 04:58 PM.

  12. #8
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    Default Re: Overland vehicle prep... What would you do?

    I would keep the vehicle close to standard in terms of engine and drive train, with few modifications:

    We have a 50 mm lift, upgraded suspension, and better dampers, however you really don't need more than the standard suspension, as long as it's in good condition. Probably worth replacing the dampers if they're original.

    High lift jacks? - No - they're heavy and bulky, and you can handle 95% of circumstances with a pair of bottle jacks.

    Sand ladders (sand tracks, recovery mats,...)? - yes - they're light and useful (make sure you have a light shovel)

    Winch? perhaps, although not my first modification. Take a sling and shakles though, and you can be pulled by others if need be.

    A couple of fuel cans, properly mounted - yes - you need extra fuel is some areas.

    Extra lights? Unnecessary - we don't plan to drive at night, and on the few occasions we do we simply drive within the capacity of the standard lights. We have replaced the standard "explorer light" bulbs with LEDs and this gives more light without adding more stuff.

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  14. #9
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    Default Re: Overland vehicle prep... What would you do?

    Quote Originally Posted by mozguide View Post

    ...egos and the Bush are best when kept far apart...
    I am going to steal this brilliant quote, Mike, if you don't mind.

    It should be made into a sticker/t-shirt/braai apron/mug... everything.

    You follow that philosophy, you will enjoy your travels.

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    Default Re: Overland vehicle prep... What would you do?

    I'd go option one. Reason, costs you zero and add what you feel you need after a few trips.
    Neil Rocher
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    Default Re: Overland vehicle prep... What would you do?

    Also (accessories, not mods) I have a tyre pressure monitors and "engine-guard" engine and gearbox heat sensors.

    Tyres are so safety critical and also the most important part of a vehicle. Then the engine.

    Don't buy the most expensive tyres, or the cheapest.

    Get a good tyre inflator too.

    Mike

    Mozguide.

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    Default Re: Overland vehicle prep... What would you do?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2.8i rocks View Post
    I'd go option one. Reason, costs you zero and add what you feel you need after a few trips.
    Forgot to mention I would need to add ball-pin type tow bar and decent recovery points. I regard those as essential items

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    Default Re: Overland vehicle prep... What would you do?

    Quote Originally Posted by mozguide View Post
    Also (accessories, not mods) I have a tyre pressure monitors and "engine-guard" engine and gearbox heat sensors.

    Tyres are so safety critical and also the most important part of a vehicle. Then the engine.

    Don't buy the most expensive tyres, or the cheapest.

    Get a good tyre inflator too.

    Mike

    Mozguide.
    i use Michelin LTX2 AT tyres. Have served me well in the past, currently on a new set. Equipment is sorted (tyre repair kit, compressor, quality tyre pressure monitor, pressure guage etc)

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    Default Re: Overland vehicle prep... What would you do?

    Quote Originally Posted by mozguide View Post
    Also (accessories, not mods) I have a tyre pressure monitors and "engine-guard" engine and gearbox heat sensors.

    Tyres are so safety critical and also the most important part of a vehicle. Then the engine.

    Don't buy the most expensive tyres, or the cheapest.

    Get a good tyre inflator too.

    Mike

    Mozguide.
    Tyre compressor. I carry two cheap pumps (were marketed as volcano, olive green). This comes after a day spent repairing an expensive pump deep in the bush with two flat tyres. Reed valve snapped, super glue and a rubber strip saved the day.
    If I am in a rush, I use both pumps.
    Kimball R. Pitcher

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    Default Re: Overland vehicle prep... What would you do?

    Quote Originally Posted by jelo View Post
    hang about, I'm off to find my popcorn.............
    Indeed.... and we are allowed to disagree according to our own experiences.

    My first overland trip was back in 2001, I have owned 13 4x4's since and not a single one of those were kept standard. Some better set up than others, some kit did not stand up to their sales pitch, but today I have gained enough experience (R's) to know what works for me as an overlander build, PLUS, choose your installer carefully!

    I'm not advocating taking a suitable overlander vehicle and modify it to do trails and competitions. Set it up to enable you to safely carry a set load, a safety-first mindset.

    I'd much rather go prepared and enjoy my trip than go with the mindset of how many times I'll get stuck for various reasons, vehicle too low, tyres not suitable, etc. Been there, done that. Nope, I like to be very well prepared. But then that is me
    Dirk Theron
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    Default Re: Overland vehicle prep... What would you do?

    I concur with opinions to keep the vehicle as close to stock as possible, this has also served me well on many travels. I would invest in decent under-belly protection, and up-rated shocks but not something that requires alteration to the standard set-up. I hope to read more about your travels...

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  28. #17
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    Default Re: Overland vehicle prep... What would you do?

    Quote Originally Posted by coi View Post
    I concur with opinions to keep the vehicle as close to stock as possible, this has also served me well on many travels. I would invest in decent under-belly protection, and up-rated shocks but not something that requires alteration to the standard set-up. I hope to read more about your travels...
    Underbody protection is a dilemma:

    The good news - protects stuff under the vehicle.

    The bad news- adds weight and may reduce clearance, also uses funds which could go towards something else.

    If you go for lightweight kit, it's either less effective or more expensive, or both.

    The other concern is that protectors also impede access to the underbody and running gear.

    We've so far decided not to add underbody protection and have, through luck or judgement, not damaged anything (we did once ding the sump - could have left it and would probably not have had any problems however we chose to replace it at the next service).

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    Default Re: Overland vehicle prep... What would you do?

    I'm also in the same boat.
    The plan is to head north on the eastern side of Africa when the borders open and I'm not sure where the road will end.

    I'm also in the process of setting my Jeep Wrangler Rubicon up for living on the road.
    My confidence for using the Jeep stems from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKokznz9v3s
    I follow a lot of overland travelling channels. My advice is to listen to people that have travelled the world in the last 3 years or so and not those that did it 20 years ago.
    It's amazing how the world has changed in the last 3 to 5 years from only using Toyota's and Defenders for overland travel to many other brands.

    I've now upgraded to a Mopar 2" lift and 33" tyres and will be fitting roofrack, rooftop tent, bumpers with recovery points and maybe a winch (but not all that important)

    I'm also looking at buying a Echo Kavango, seeming we are a family of 5. I really like the Bushlapa Miskruier and Echo Chobe Tec for their weigh advantage but I'm not too comfortable with the small living space, keeping in mind that we are looking at working and schooling while on the road, hence the Kavango with ample interior seating as a office. I also don't like the way the Bushlapa tent just fold over the lid with lastic. (not very good for idle hands and baboons in my opinion)

  31. #19
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    Default Re: Overland vehicle prep... What would you do?

    Some excellent advice here. In principle, standard is pretty good. Do mods or add ons because of very specific needs and not for looks or the ego. I believe it is 70% driver, 20% vehicle and 10% luck. It pays to get experience or training and bags of caution and common sense. Mechanical sympathy works wonders. If you can learn from others, talk to the old hands like you are doing here. You will always get better answers if you are a little more specific.

  32. #20
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    Default Re: Overland vehicle prep... What would you do?

    You got me going on his videos. Makes a lot of sense! He really has some good advice.
    Kimball R. Pitcher

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