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HDJ-80 with 1HD-FT from Oxford to Cape Town

CJBNomad8654

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Jan 6, 2013
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We are building up a '97 80-Series with the 1HD-FT engine so we can navigate the ancient, but civilized European landscape in order to reach and cross the arduous and austere African Continent The purpose? To bring hope to the hopeless, healing to the broken, and to motivate others to dream, to believe, and to do. The goal is to stimulate interest in the charity organizations listed on our site, whom believe make a positive difference in the lives of the less fortunate, and in the lives of those who have sacrificed so much for us all. We are also raising money so we can send a wounded warrior on a custom safari hosted by African Eco Journeys. Each donor will also have the chance to win their own trip. Please visit our site located under my profile.

I am on the forum to get any and all advice on build, route, Carnet, visas, accessories, and any other wisdom that can be found. We will fill in details and photos on this thread, and the website will be updated with photos, videos, and stories from the road, but will begin with the process of outfitting the truck, as well as covering the administrative side of our preparations. While these details can be found on the blog, a more organized and user friendly version will be written into each page under the "preparation" menu. I hope to make this an effective roadmap for anyone else who wishes to venture out on a similar expedition.

I look forward to hearing all of the advice/jokes/comments and seeing you on our page. Not an after-thought, but I didn't know where to place it. I visited the Tedworth House while in the UK and thought what a great idea it was, but am finding criticism from wounded UK guys about their spending. I served with the United States Marine Corps and worked beside your Royal Marines in Iraq. They are my brothers and I wish to assist them in getting the help they need. I the US it was a long road and bitter fight to get service members the treatment they rate. So when I read comments like, "The investigation has uncovered examples of wounded veterans having to pay for physiotherapy and for prosthetic limbs which meet their requirements and reports of amputees with ill-fitting prostheses being told to pad their stumps with multiple pairs of socks." I feel I must do something. Does anyone know or are any of the forum contributors former military? I'd like to hear what charities are worth while so that I can contact them and discuss listing them on the site. It would be nice to send one of them to Africa as well!

Chris
 

Paul

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Welcome to the site.

Well you already know about help for heroes, i try to do things for them when i can, although not so much lately as out in Oz.

When were you in Iraq? I worked with the USMC in Fallujah during 2004 doing Tech Support.

Let me know if you need any help.
 

CJBNomad8654

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Hello brother. I was with 1st Force Recon in Fallujah in 2004 for Phantom Fury (November). I bet I walked past you somewhere on Camp Fallujah. We stayed in the ratty old canvas gym while there. We came up from Najaf for the battle. Have you moved or just touring down there? I'll post some of my ideas for our build so you can weigh in. Thanks for the response. Chris
 

Gary Stockton

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Great Chris - glad to see you've made it across here successfully. Hopefully you can pick up some hints and tips, and keep us entertained with your preparations too!

Welcome!

Gary
 
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CJBNomad8654

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We contacted Expedition Lighting Systems (ELS) in the United States to discuss their vehicle light bars. ELS is a startup company that we feel has the values we are looking for in a sponsor. They are honest, straightforward, professional and caring. They have an obvious passion for lighting systems that was developed through their experience in 4X4ing and time spent in Afghanistan serving our great nation.After talking with them about our project they have decided to design a custom light system for our vehicle and to deliver it to us in Germany. We thank them for their service in the military, and their support for the charities we are representing on our trip. What a great group of guys. We look forward to abusing their lighting system and reviewing it on the blog as the trip progresses. Let me tell you more about the light bars.Understanding both recreational and professional lighting needs they have designed a new line of LED light bar systems that are durable and far less expensive than other companies. In this case, inexpensive does not mean lower quality. Rather than using various “cheap” materials and leveraging inexpensive manufacturing techniques to line their own pockets, they decided to create a quality product affordable for everyone. Each light bar utilizes a modified PMMA lens, FF Reflectors, integrated aluminum end caps, and has a powder coated finish. They have 22″, 30″, 40″ and 2X2 light bars that can produce spot and driving beams as well as work and camp lighting. We will update you once we hear more about the design they choose for us and keep you abreast of shipping, installation, and function details as they progress. Experiences with LED lighting?
 

CJBNomad8654

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Make and Model

Thanks for the invitation Gary, and I am glad to be here.

1997 Toyota Land Cruiser Amazon GX (United Kingdom)

Model: HDJ80R-GNMEWW
Powertrain: 1HD-FT, 24 Valve, Turbo-Charged Diesel, in-line 6-Cylinder, 4164cc Engine; Manual Gearbox; Front, Center, and Rear Manual Locking Differentials

There are many powerful and durable trucks in the world. I had to wade through so many models and options to come to this decision. I have experience with a few U.S. made trucks and utility vehicles as well as the HWMMV, Mercedes G-Wagon (military variant), and various makes of Toyota. While all of these companies make some pretty amazing trucks, and there are a variety of opinions as to which is best, I steered away from the "cool factor" and wrote down my needs as I could see them. I wanted a tough, large, powerful, four-door truck with enclosed storage space that was accessible from inside the vehicle. I also wanted a truck with a reliable mechanical history, a wide availability of parts, and which had a good, collective, world knowledge-base supporting it. After reading many opinions, reviews, traveling overland through Botswana, crossing Kuwait and Iraq in a G-Wagon and a HWMMV, and talking to several 4X4 mechanics it seems the only sensible answer to the "which vehicle" question is the Toyota Land Cruiser 80-Series, specifically the models made between 1995-1998.

The comments from the South Africans I met up with put me on this path. They were all very experienced overlanders, having previously owned safari companies and 4X4 shops. There were a variety of vehicles present around the camp, but the discussion always turned back to the 80-Series. It is the last high end model that has minimal or no electronics, a direct injection engine, solid front and rear axles, and very tough gear boxes. They also come standard with manual lockers and have the most reliable history any of them could think of. They all swore they'd trade there 100-series if offered one, but that they were to expensive and too hard to come by in South Africa. By too hard to come by I mean, no one will sell them and f they do it's very expensive, and most of the SA versions have the 1HZ engine and no turbos.



While praise was given for the Land Rover, it was consistently followed by "You have to love them and you have to love working on them." I enjoy doing mechanical work, but on a trip that can stretch from 17,000 to 40,000 miles, I wanted to get something that would run reliably with minimal maintenance. I'm not going to blanket statement this, though. Many people have crossed Africa in Land Rovers, many in Land Cruisers, but people have used and continue to use other trucks as well. I think I was finally sold by the mystique and what I read about mechanical reliability.
 
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CJBNomad8654

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I am probably going to go with the ARB bumper. Are there any opinions on the with or without flares? I am guessing that this means whether you have the wheel flares installed on the vehicle. Ti would be the 80-Series bumper made for the Warn winch and the rear bumper with wheel carrier and jerry can holder. I was also looking at the hi-lift jack mount that goes on the wheel carrier. Experiences? Opinions?
 

CJBNomad8654

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Anyone use TourInsure Insurance? Any recommendations on worldwide or Africa coverage? Also, I was reading about getting a Carnet at the border in Egypt. It seems much cheaper than getting one from an automotive association. Thoughts or experiences?
 

CJBNomad8654

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I'll check the book out. I am securing some sponsorship. A light company from the US is sending out some LED light bars that I will review and a company in Germany is sending an offer to outfit the truck. We are pretty excited. The one drawback of outfitting a vehicle while not in your home country is that you don't get to work on it much. I have no tools and no bay to work in. I am hoping to work my way into the shop when the company starts work. I'll find a way. Thus far we have chipped a ton of rust from the undercarriage and had the brakes replaced, the axles overhauled, the fluids replaced/upgraded, the belts changed, and the shocks, springs, and steering damper upgraded. We went with Koni Heavy Track Raid shocks and TJM HD Springs. I read through the endless arguments on shocks, similar to the Land Cruiser vs Land Rover threads, and finally decided on the Konis after reading a very long and very detailed overlanders review of them. He attached temperature stickers to each of them, heavy loaded the vehicle for many, many overland tours, and noted the temperature, drivability, durability, and damage sustained by each shock after sprints though heavy corrugation, etc. Once I have link share capabilities I'll share the link.
 

Andrew Prince

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Hi Chris,

Welcome to the club! I have seen your posts over on LCCSA too.

I am probably going to go with the ARB bumper. Are there any opinions on the with or without flares? I am guessing that this means whether you have the wheel flares installed on the vehicle.
The ARB bumper is a good one and well-suited to your application in overlanding. Yes, the flares option is for trucks with the factory fitted wheel flares. The VXs usually have them.
Hi-lift mounting points are nice to have but the reality is you probably won't use/need them, so I wouldn't make a special point of fitting them as extras. If they come standard with your front or rear bumper, then great.

Remember that all the stuff you bolt onto the truck has to be hauled 1000s of miles over bad roads, sapping power and increasing fuel consumption. Bullbars and winches are really for going off the beaten track - driving dirt tracks through Africa probably doesn't need all this gear. Yes, a tough bullbar is nice in the event of hitting another vehicle or animal. But winches and steel rear bumpers really are luxuries for your kind of trip. I am a fan of minimising the weight of the vehicle where you can.
My 2c - you will find conflicting opinions on everything:icon-cool:

PS: Whereabouts in the US are you from?
 
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CJBNomad8654

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Thanks Andrew. I was born in Indiana and raised in Alabama. Once I sprouted wings I lived in Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Virginia, and California. I also lived in Japan for around 8 years and traveled much of SE Asia, a small bit of Australia (Townsville) and some Central American and Middle Eastern countries.

I may be biting off too much. I originally bought the truck so that I could use it as a support/recovery vehicle for safaris. I still intend to do that once I get to South Africa. I have been approaching the trip with the end state in mind. Perhaps I should focus on the trip, then the safari support once in SA. However, I got a pretty nice sponsorship offer that will offset some of the costs. So the extras are affordable at the moment. I am also not a typical guy. I am more likely to leave the road (where there are no mine fields) and go explore, so I thought maybe I should have recovery equipment. All of the time and experience I have driving four wheel drive vehicles has been off road, no trail, overlanding rocks and desert, with some time spent on regular roads. It is a weird level of experience as I haven't been 4X4 guy for decades, but the times I spent driving were stretches of 7-10 months. Kind of a steep learning curve. The places were not the kinds you wanted to have breakdowns and flats in. I understand this trip will be very different, mainly because I will have zero support in the form of other vehicles, etc and the truck is a civilian one with whatever upgrades I manage to get on it. I need to find a balance of being able to really get off road and out in the middle of nowhere, and having a vehicle that is road/mileage friendly.

Maybe I'm over thinking? I find that often times things are a bit easier than you imagine them.

I acknowledge that there is far more I need to learn. I remember some details from the course I went through, and there many simple things I just may not have thought of that can make life so much easier. I am hoping to pick up these tidbits as I read on the forum. I kind of want a review of everything.

I appreciate pieces of advice like the one you mentioned about not bothering to pay extra for the jacking points on the bumper. It was something I was considering. I am 100% open to anyones suggestions, and know you can leanr from the very experienced, and from the guy who just bought his first truck and went out with it for the first time. There are so many different perspectives.
 

CJBNomad8654

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We have collected some new sponsors. We are getting a full light setup from Expedition Lighting Systems, the vehicle overland prepped by Taubenreuther GmbH, an excellent deal for the overland safari for our service member and winner through African Eco Journeys, and a free advertising link on the 4X4CB.com.


Now we just need to get the truck from the shop it is in (ABS wheel speed sensors rusted off) and head down to Stuttghart to get the modifications rolling. With sound advice from our sponsors as well as the guys on this forum (I picked up the Overlanders Handbook as suggested and calculated fuel needs as advised) we feel the design for our truck is sound and look forward to getting the build going.
 

CJBNomad8654

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I'll be updating progress and some of the equipment decisions this week. Most likely, much of it will be written tomorrow. Topics include a new sponsor and some of the equipment we will be testing. Highlights: Expedition Lighting Systems light bars (as previously mentioned) and a modular roof rack built specifically for our 80 by Shane at LabRaks (more information to come). I am also going to post an equipment list and o my best to reference forum writers with the Land Cruiser Club's of Europe and Southern Africa as well as those suggestions made by our sponsors. Furthermore, I will let you know what is going on with our charity organizations. We are doing our best to include our brothers from the UK, and have contacted Help for Heroes to ask if we can represent them as well. We actually visited Tedworth House just after picking up our truck and will share the video we shot of the building they are constructing for their service members there (You may also see their official video linked to the name).
 

grantw

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Great that you purchased the book - let me know what you think of it
 

CJBNomad8654

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I have read a few of the chapters and, aside from being well written, is as near complete a resource as I can imagine. It is a wonderful book. I guess that I will endorse it this way. I spent around 15 years operating in US Special Operations, and so my planning is always worst case scenario, with some reliance on the knowledge that I can always ask for more if things go too badly. Even with the amazing equipment and vehicles we received, we would tear them apart and modify them to our needs. I wish I had known about this book then, it would have saved us a lot of time and headaches in many areas. Now, it is helping me not to under-pack (which I am more prone, too), but still lets me know exactly what I need. It is an enjoyable read, and I am taking notes as the writer has the experience, not sum BS theory and a bunch of opinions. I am humbled by his knowledge, and hope to attain as much. Thank you again for the recommendation.
 
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