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NL > South Africa TLC advice

Jamie Jenkins

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Hi everyone, spent the last couple of days checking this place out, what a great community!

My girlfriend and I are planning on driving to South Africa from Netherlands next July. With no 4x4 experience and no mechanical knowledge, I have a lot to learn to make the trip a success!

Firstly, we need to buy a 4x4, of course, a tlc would be ideal, I see that hilux's are good value for money too. The plan is to pick one up this coming January/February. We'll be heading to Tuscany to fix up my girlfriend's parents new farm and while we're there it would be a good opportunity to check some out and then drive back to NL if we find a good one. Then spend the following months back and forth to Italy (through the alps to put it to the test! And also to Scotland to whip up some mud). I've been looking at autoscout24.com and there are some really good deals on the 70 series, and for some reason most of those good deals are in Italy (no idea why, but convenient!).

For instance, this thing, what a badass: https://www.autoscout24.com/offers/...a8bbfae-1db2-47a3-8837-051105601ec9?cldtidx=5

And for only 3500e! (about 3100gbp).

But I need your help folks, I really have no clue in what I'm looking for, I'm a complete novice that's spent the last couple of weeks reading through build threads and recommended mods, slowly familiarising myself with the terminology. The above car I see has the wheels I need, snorkle for swamp emergencies/alligator pov's, some third party shocks, but judging by the trip meters inside it may have been trashed in some races. What would I check for, though? I'll be driving throush some pretty harsh conditions and the build threads make me more nervous, like using polyurethane bushings on the shocks instead of rubber since they withstand heat better, little things like this... are they such a necessity? Scared to be picking one up from some guy that has broken English... If I were to go out tomorrow to buy one, I may be p155ing my money down the drain.

Like I said, the plan is to head to Italy and hopefully pick one up there, if not there then I'll be heading back to my home country (Scotland), and I'll have the UK market accessible to me while I'm there.

Our budget for the vehicle is 4500e (4000gbp), with an additional 1500 for the necessary repairs/mods. So it would seem that it'll be either the 70 series or the 90/100 series that we'll end up getting for that price range. MPG is something to consider too I guess, a 10mpg compared to a 25mpg will add up with such a distance!

So, do you have any recommendations? What series/engine/checks etc. I should be looking for, bearing in mind it'll be a trip through Africa in some pretty extreme heats and conditions. I don't know what I don't know so any advice is welcome! :)
 

nick_the_fish

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Hi Jamie,

Welcome to the forum.

Which route are you planning to take? East coast / West coast? And what sort of conditions are you hoping to be driving over?

The reason I ask is that you can do the east coast route completely on tar now if you want (I believe the Moyale/ Marsabit road is now sealed) and you hop onto the dirt roads for the national parks/ desert fun/ sights etc etc. Or you planning to do, for example, the Lake Turkana route?

It'll make a big difference in the vehicle you need and the build. While it is doable on your budget, if you need to start upgrading the vehicle for the tough terrain you'll quickly burn through your £1500 even if you find a decent stock vehicle for £4000.

I would get something older and simpler that has less electronic nonsense on it and that is easier to fix if you have a problem. Nothing past a 100 series. I doubt you'll find a decent 80 for £4k. To be honest my knowledge of 70's isn't great but others own here will advise better.

Honestly (i'm going to get flayed love for this next bit) it might be worth looking at a 90 or 110 defender. You'll get better value (land cruisers have gone through the roof in the last few years), they are easy to fix, generally bullet proof, there are loads of aftermarket mods available for them and they'll be lots of other Land Rover overlanders in Africa to help fix it. It will almost certainly break at some point, but you'll only need a 13mm spanner to fix it.

Is there anyway you can up your budget?

Its a bloody brillant route tho (the east coast anyway) and you'll have a blast what ever you take.

N
 

Higgy

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Hi Jamie and welcome, That's a grand plan you have there.. There are lots and lots of things you need to know and understand .. But there are members here that have done such a trip, So im sure they will be along soon to give you their expert advise and opinions... Things like choice of Diesel over Petrol.. some parts of Africa will only have petrol.. But all the best with your plans, Never give up.. Go for it... EDIT.Sorry.. Nick Beat me to it.
 
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Jamie Jenkins

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Thanks :) I did not expect the first post to be advice to buy a landy! haha. But certainly worth considering, I just talked it over with my girlfriend and she fell in love with that idea "I watched a defender documentary with my dad and loved it"... from a girl that doesn't care about anything on 4 wheels hehe. The 80's are out of our budget for sure but some beautiful 70's available in Italy with snorkle/front bars/AT wheels already on for no more than 5000.

A quick search on autotrader and I find some good deals on landys, but you're right, might need to think about upping the budget, something like this would be a dream: https://www.autotrader.co.uk/classi...onesearchad=Nearly New&onesearchad=New&page=1

@Higgy, thanks for your input mate, really surprised to hear about the petrol/diesel consideration, I was looking solely for diesel just for the reliability. Hopefully others will be along soon to weigh in (and give nick a good earful for his sacrilege hehe). Cheers!
 

Jamie Jenkins

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@nick_the_fish yup! Looking to take the East route through Ethiopia and Kenya. To be honest I'm not looking for anything too rough, more like, if we see something in the distance over some sand dunes, I'd like to be confident that I can twirl the wheel and go straight at it like a pidgeon :)
 

Chris

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Sounds great. There's a real balance to be struck on which vehicle to take, especially with your budget. All I can say is that if comfort is of absolutely no importance to you whatsoever, then get the Landrover.

One of the things that we see a lot on here is people wanting to buy and build something. Terrific. But even done carefully, the cost on that just ramps up like you would not believe.

Now, what we also see if people who have done this and then want to sell the vehicle. In simple terms, no one wants them. We often see Cruisers worth (that cost to build) £50k being offered at £10k with no takers. People think they can build one for less. Well guess what. It's ends up costing them £50k and after 1 trip they look like a shed. They also don't want someone else's vehicle for some vain reason.

So there are some real bargains to be had if you can persuade your self away from the shiny new stuff that you'll want to get and buy something that's already been around the block. The truth is that a well sorted vehicle that's had a bit of a bumpy ride over the rocks will only need the consumables replacing. We've just done Russia the hard way and other than one or two bits that got bashed, it's just been a case of rubber bushes and so on. Easy peasy work.

Take a 25 year old anything and try to start undoing nuts and bolts to fit new bits and there'll be tears before bedtime. If you can't weld, machine, have all the tools, you'll wish you'd never started. Maintenance is easier than building.

I know you have a budget, but trust me when I say that I think that adding a little bit to that will save you a fortune.

Don't buy something off e bay that's advertised as 'expedition ready' built by Wheeler Dealers, because a roof rack and cheap Ring spotlights does not make it expedition ready.

OK - Get someone else to do all the hard work for you. If it get them there and back it must be a good one!
 
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Jamie Jenkins

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Solid advice @Chris, looking through a lot of Landrovers and one can be had for about 6000gbp that's already proven itself. Girlfriend agrees! A lot of good defender's in the UK, absolutely trashed in the rest of Europe for some reason.
 

Animal Mother

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For that money, and considering where you are located (mainland Europe), there's only 1 choice that I would consider, and that's a 90 series.

The 90 series, looking at the car sales website you linked to, are available in many specs, in many locations, and for a range of budgets.

In your budget, you could get a 90 series of any of the following:

Long or short wheel base
LHD or RHD
Petrol or diesel
Auto or manual
Leather or cloth
Standard or modified
3.0td or D4d

The 70 series cars in that budget will have the 2.4 which can be underpowered and unreliable. A good 80 and a good 100 are out of your budget. You could probably find a 120 series but it's likely to be ropey. My money would be going on a 90.

No longer for sale but something like this would probably hit all or most of your needs.
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hu...ted/toyota-land-cruiser-colorado-camper-84353

...have a check to see if this is for sale.
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hu...d/sale-toyota-landcruiser-fully-equiped-94906
 

StarCruiser

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@Trevor has a couple of well maintained Defenders for sale. Trevor is a well respected cruiser mechanic so well worth having a word with him.

Failing that a 1KZT engined 90 or 70 series would be good vehicles but I would caution anyone going on an expedition with a vehicle they don’t know well and have owned and used for a good few thousand miles.
 

Jamie Jenkins

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@Animal Mother WOW! What a find mate, that fully equipped landcruiser. I just messaged, fingers crossed since the car's only a 45 minute bus ride away haha.
 

Pesca

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@Jamie Jenkins I have made a number of trips overland, and am currently building a 78 troopy for some cool trips! Feel free to send me a message to chat about my experiences and tips.

First tip I would give you; any budget that you have in mind will be 25% more at the end ;)!
 

Higgy

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Good shout Animal M... I was going to suggest a good 90 series, very underrated Robust capable Truck.. But didn't want to start a debate regarding which is the best Land Cruiser:lol:
 

Jamie Jenkins

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Thanks @Higgy, I'll go look in my draw for a spare frame :) I'm happy to wait until January/February, but if it's like what @nick_the_fish and @Animal Mother suggested, I'd be happy to jump on it. I'm hoping more to have some suggestions on what I should be looking for in the car, like the 2.4 on the 70 not being very reliable (very useful info!) or if there's any extra checks to do when I view it (considering what it'll be used for).
 

Chris

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Charlie and Nina did 45,000 miles in 13 months in their Colorado. The crossed Russia out to Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and back through India, Pakistan and through Europe to home in the UK. They got married and used the Collie as their wedding car. They had a snorkel, some decent springs and shocks, no winch, no expensive drawer system, no roof tent sleeping inside on a plywood base. They probably saw more of the world than we ever will and got into some.. errm scrapes too, but that Cruiser got them there and back.

The lesson here I think is that getting something reliable in decent condition really is a good starting point. And frankly there's not many models of Landcruiser that don't qualify for the first one. There isn't an unreliable Landcruiser. Not by model. But by age? Ahh well, affordable does mean relatively old doesn't it. So then you're down to condition. We tell people time and time again. Look underneath!! Start there. I think that a Colorado would make a very good first choice and there's still some very good ones out there at decent money. They'd need little by way of modification for what you describe you'll be doing.
 

AndycruiserguyLomas

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If your'e going to consider a Colorado and want one with a perfect underside and don't mind it being a petrol then mines available, not actively for sale but is surplus to requirements so I would let it go. 78K miles only and would give you reliability and comfort.
Condition wise its better than any of the 120's i looked at ( and the one I bought).
Just chucking it into the mix.
IMG_1490.JPG
IMG_1487.JPG


You could do a lot worse and its well within your budget.
 
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Jacob100

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I agree with what's been said above about your budget being very low for this sort of thing, but also with what Chris said: Let someone else do the legwork and foot the big bills.

My first Land Cruiser wasn't heavily modified (and still isn't) but the chap I bought it from had done a few crucial things to it that were on my list so we had a deal. You get plenty of trucks that have been set up for that trip of a lifetime but for one reason or another never left the owner's drive.

Just have a look at this one that came and went on eBay the other night. Some lucky sod paid eight grand for a 2000 base vehicle with 158K and thousands and thousands spent on quality mods and equipment.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Toyota-L...=true&nordt=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557

The right vehicle at the right price will turn up if you put in the time and effort. I'm sure there's an obsessive streak in you if you're contemplating driving to SA. Good luck with the search.

PS. Following Nick's blasphemous example, Nissan Patrols tend to be a lot cheaper than LCs and were quite popular in Italy I believe ...
 
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