Thursday, 26 June 2008

Temporary Vehicle Imports to Australia

After the hectic excitement of getting the Land Rover ready for shipping and into its container, we felt at a bit of a loose end. We had another week and a half in Cape Town, but after living out of the vehicle for the last ten months, we were a bit lost without it.

When arranging the shipping we had been told the transit time would be about 26 days. What we hadn’t been told was that this was time at sea, and there would be an extra eight days added for changing ships in Malaysia. All of a sudden our anticipated arrival date of 18 May became 26 May, and we had a bit of extra time on our hands. We even considered the possibility of extending our stopover in Dubai and getting some short-term contract work to generate a bit of cash. In the end, the extra time was easily used up in Perth as we tried to make sense of the process for temporarily importing a motor vehicle.

We had already spent ages researching the requirements before even deciding to ship the vehicle to Fremantle, but although we had some idea of what to expect we were still not fully prepared for the reality. We should add that, always looking to save a dollar or two, we decided that we would have a go at attending to all the necessary formalities and clearances ourselves rather than engage a customs clearance agent.

Our Land Rover is covered by a Carnet, issued by the ADAC in Germany, to ease the process of temporarily importing the vehicle. There is more information on this in previous posts. Bringing a vehicle into Australia is definitely easier with a Carnet. Without one, you need to apply for a temporary import approval and lodge a large deposit with Customs.

In theory, the process sounded simple – find out when the container will be available from the shipping company, arrange for Quarantine and Customs inspections, arrange a temporary vehicle movement permit to take the vehicle for a roadworthiness inspection, pay for compulsory third party insurance and off we go, into the outback. If only it was “that” simple.

I decided to start phoning the various government agencies in reverse order so that I could find what each needed completed by the previous step in the chain. The Department for Planning and Infrastructure, who look after vehicle licensing, were very helpful. Once the vehicle was cleared by both Quarantine and Customs we could arrange a temporary movement permit over the telephone. The permits last for 48 hours and are only valid for nominated journeys, which in our case would be from Fremantle Port to the vehicle inspection centre in O’Connor, and then, in the case of a failed inspection, to the address where we were staying. In fact, this part of the process almost did go this smoothly, but more on that later.

Customs were also very helpful. Once we knew when the container was arriving we would need to arrange to have it moved from the wharf to a bonded container store, then we could phone to book an inspection. They gave us the names and numbers of a few container depots who might be able to help. We would need to go in to the Customs office beforehand to fill out an unaccompanied personal effects statement for all our equipment contained in and on the Land Rover. Best of all, there would be no charge.

From the contact details Customs had given us we phoned around, but only found a couple that were willing to help us with our single container. Prices were similar, and we decided we would use Fremantle Container Depot (FCD), right by the wharf.

Quarantine advised that we would need to visit their office at the Perth International Airport with copies of our documents so that we could be issued a “WO8” number, as well as to pay the initial fee for documentation and the first quarter of an hour inspection time. This was beginning to sound relatively straight forward, so with high hopes we set off on our way to the Airport. The unfortunate thing about Perth’s international airport is that there is no public transport running to or from it. We had figured out enough of the bus system by now to know that we could get to within about three kilometres, and from there we could walk. The threatening rain quickened our step, but we were very fortunate that when it did begin raining a kind taxi driver stopped and gave us a lift for free. I had to take back all those things I said about taxi drivers… It still took us over two hours to get there.

Once we were in the Quarantine offices, all was not quite as simple as it had sounded on the telephone. It now seemed that in order to get our WO8 number we needed to first lodge our paperwork with Customs so we were “on the system”. Without that, Quarantine couldn’t do anything. It was now getting late on a Friday afternoon and we were starting to think we might have to wait until the following week to make any progress. The Quarantine officer we spoke to took copies of our documents, and once everything was set up we could make the payment over the phone, so at least we wouldn’t be forced to make the journey back to the airport again.

Seeing as we had got that far, we decided to try the airport Customs office to see if they could help, even though it would be the Fremantle office who we expected would actually deal with our Carnet. We explained that we were bringing a vehicle in on a Carnet to Fremantle, that it was due to arrive the following week, and that we needed our documents lodged so that we could go back to Quarantine for our elusive WO8 number. The Customs officer took our documents, saying he would see what he could do. Half an hour later he returned looking very pleased with himself, with our carnet duly stamped declaring that our vehicle had been imported! The ship hadn’t even arrived at the port yet… Trying to kill even more birds with one stone, we then confused matters even more when we asked about filling in an unaccompanied personal effects statement. We were now told that because we had personal effects in the vehicle, this changes matters considerably. These would need to be itemised separately on a “lower house bill” which we should be able to get from the shipping company (next week – it was now after 5pm). In the meantime, our customs clearance would be reversed and we would be taken off the system again. Arrgh! To cap off a great afternoon, we had a long walk in the rain back to the bus stop, just missing one bus with an hour wait until the last bus for the night. By the time we got off our train we had a long walk to where we were staying. We got back at about 9:30pm worn out and a little unsure about how things stood for the following week.

I had been calling the shipping company all week for confirmation that our container was on the right boat and due to arrive, but they had not been able to tell me anything. They wasted no time in faxing the bill for the remaining fees though. Finally after the weekend they were able to confirm that the container was on the ship, and that the vessel had arrived in port at 5am that morning.

Further calls to Customs (in Fremantle) revealed that a separate bill for the personal effects would only be required if we needed those items separately from the vehicle being cleared, which can take some time. We therefore didn’t need this. The Customs Officers in Fremantle made everything seem straight forward again, and put our minds a little more at ease.

The following day we made a first trip of the week to Fremantle. First stop was the shipping company so that we could pay their bill and collect a delivery order for the container. The only hiccup here was that there was no record of the release of the Bill of Lading from the Cape Town end, as we only had a scanned copy of the Bill that had been emailed to us after leaving South Africa. This didn’t cause too much concern though, and we were soon on our way to Customs House. The officer there couldn’t understand why his colleague at the airport had stamped our Carnet before the vehicle had arrived, but basically said that there wasn’t anything more they needed to do. As far as Customs was concerned the vehicle had been cleared. We filled in the personal effects statement, and again there was nothing there of concern to them. Customs complete.

On to FCD. We made all our arrangements with them, and they took copies of all the necessary documents. They informed us that there was a Stop Work meeting (!) on the wharf that day, so weren’t able to load or unload any containers for four hours, which would put things behind for the week. There was, however, still a chance that they could have our container off the wharf by late the following evening. Sure enough, when I called the next day we were assured that the container would be there ready to open the following morning. We fronted up early the next morning, but after standing around for a while we were eventually informed that, actually, our container wasn’t due off the wharf until the coming night. So close but yet so far. FCD were very apologetic, and dropped us back in the centre of Fremantle. Fortunately, two of the staff live near to where we were staying, and offered to pick us up early the next morning. It turned out that they had also driven to Australia, in an almost new Austin Princess in the 1970s. We had plenty to talk about on the 40km trip to Fremantle.

Soon after arriving our container was presented for opening, and after the straps and wheel chocks were removed I was asked to drive the Land Rover out of the container. FCD have Quarantine officers on site, and the officer on duty proceeded to inspect any items of concern. All of our equipment and personal belongings and the vehicle interior were cleared, but despite the time and effort we went to cleaning the underside of the vehicle in South Africa, a waterblast and steam clean was deemed necessary. What followed was a full day of cleaning. I even had to dismantle the front end of the vehicle so that the engine cooling and air-conditioning radiators could both be cleaned out. We were hanging around most of the morning, but after some encouragement decided (against my better judgement) to leave them to it and go for a walk and have some lunch. While we were gone, a senior Quarantine officer had come to carry out an audit (having heard a Land Rover had arrived from Africa), and things were a bit more serious when we returned. It was starting to look like the vehicle was not going to be passed anytime soon. The problem areas were pointed out to us, and we got stuck in again, cleaning behind soft linings, underneath the cubby box and beneath door trims. In the meantime water blasting continued, flushing everything conceivable until water ran clear. It was surprising how much soil was still washing out, so it is understandable why they go to such lengths. Even the inside of the roof rack rails were washed, although nothing came out of them. Denise the waterblaster operator worked like a trooper all day, and eventually we were ready to attempt a final inspection. The Quarantine officer spent nearly two hours going over everything, watching as all orifices were flushed with clean water. She even wanted the insides of the doors flushed out. Finally, as it was approaching 6pm and getting dark on a Friday evening we were given the all clear. The vehicle was dripping wet inside and out, but that didn’t matter, because we were free to go, after we had gone to the ATM to get out even more cash to pay for the cleaning (the extra Quarantine bill arrived by post a few days later). It had been a long week, and I have to admit, there were plenty of times I wondered whether it was really worth it.

By this stage it was far too late to get the vehicle inspected for roadworthiness and licensed. We drove back to where we were staying and had to wait until the following Tuesday, after the Monday public holiday, to arrange a new movement permit and drive to East Perth for the inspection. The inspection centres operate on a first come first served basis, and by the time we arrived there was a substantial queue. We were warned that as they were closing early for the day to attend a funeral it was unlikely that we would be seen, and maybe we should come back tomorrow. Seeing as there was nothing else we could do anyway we decided to wait. There were some guys in the queue who work for car dealers, and we got the impression that they spend quite a bit of their time there. Sure enough, just as we made it to the front of the queue we were told that since we were a foreign vehicle it would take longer to process us, and therefore there would not be enough time to fit us in today. “Come back tomorrow.”

We arrived the next morning about quarter of an hour after opening, but already there was a queue of about 20 cars, with some there having arrived before 6am. They only open at 7:30am! We reckon Western Australians like to queue even more than the British. We nervously waited, fully expecting to be failed on some minor point. I surreptitiously ducked under the car to wipe of the stubbornly remaining drip of oil. When our turn finally came, it was breeze. The inspection, including test drive, was done in about 20 minutes, with the paperwork taking a further 15 minutes. We were even complimented on how dry the underside was for a Land Rover.

From there we had to go to the licensing centre, where the paperwork was processed and we purchased compulsory third party insurance. This includes registration in Western Australia, which as far as we can make out is also valid in the other states and territories. It is only valid whilst both the UK tax and Carnet are current.

So there we were, free to roam. It is a long-winded process, and certainly takes patience to negotiate. Sometimes it seemed that it was so difficult that even some of those who implement it don’t fully understand it. As I mentioned, there were plenty of times I wondered whether it was really worth it, and perhaps buying a vehicle in Australia and then selling it again might have been a more prudent option. For us though, the Camel is part of the trip, so it wouldn’t be right to be here without the old girl.

It’s possible that we got off quite lightly, too. We recently met a fellow overlander who shipped his Land Rover directly from the UK to Fremantle. His took two weeks to clear Customs and Quarantine, and he was even made to empty the refrigerant from his air conditioning system!

Useful Information

Australian Automobile Association -

Australian Customs Service -

Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service –

Department for Planning and Infrastructure (Western Australia) –

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Soldiering on

The last update was in northern Namibia. Since entering Namibia, and then on into South Africa, availability of parts has increased (although that has never really been a problem), but most importantly prices have dropped dramatically. We have had a few more problems to deal with, but have also been able to attend to a few things that we had been putting off.

We had a fine time in Etosha National Park. The wet season had just started, so we compensated for the lack of animals at the watering holes by driving fast through big puddles. Good fun at the time, but as Etosha is a lime pan, the Land Rover ended up caked in lime. We managed to wash most of it off a day later at a campsite, but the bits we missed turned to concrete and have proven difficult to remove in our preparations for shipping the vehicle to Australia. More on that later.

A combination of a missed fuel stop and incorrectly read distances on the map lead to us fully testing our long range limits. With the additional 45L fender tank linked to the 80L main rear fuel tank, and the separate 45L side tank under the driver’s seat, plus two nearly-full jerry cans on the roof rack (filled when lying in the rack each holds about 18L) we had left Botswana with almost 190 litres of diesel. We ended up rolling to a stop on the service station forecourt having covered just over 2000 kilometres since refuelling. It was touch and go – we had bought five litres of questionable-quality diesel from a drum in a small town an hour or two up the road with the thought that at least the walk will be a little shorter… In the end, we only needed to dip into the extra fuel to get from the footpath to the pump.

Our next unforeseen problem came a few days later when our main tank started leaking. Luckily we hadn’t filled up completely this time so were able to siphon some off into the other tank and the jerry cans and then use the remainder. The underside of the tank has a separate steel stone guard attached to it, and over time it seems that water can get between the guard and the tank and cause it to rust. The use of salt on the roads in the UK probably doesn’t help. When we eventually bought a new tank in Windhoek, it seemed like a reasonably common problem as Johann at LR Parts didn’t seem at all surprised, and of the five he had originally held in stock, we bought the last one. The annoying thing was that when I had gone to remove the heavy duty tank guard and rear step, the three bolts fixing them to the rear cross-member all sheared off. In the end I had to drill all three out by hand and then re-tap the holes. It took ages.

Replacing the tank was a bit of a mission. As usual, fixings that hadn’t been moved since original installation refused to budge. The fuel pipe connection was corroded, so eventually the spindly plastic pipe it attaches to snapped – another common problem it seems. After a long day and with a new fuel gauge sender unit it was all back together. We tested it with a partial tank of fuel and it seemed alright at first. A week or two later, though, there was another small leak from the new sender unit. There was no easy way to remove it with the tank in place, as the water tank and sedimenter mean that access is fairly limited, so this job got left until we were staying in Paarl. After removing the exhaust, water tank, anit-roll bar and tank guard the tank was out once again. It turned out to be the connection where the plastic pipe pushes into the sender unit, and I was able to seal it using silicon gasket maker. While the tank was out it gave me a chance to really get in to clean out the dust and dirt in one of the chassis rails – another place the Australian quarantine officials would probably know to check.

Prior to arriving in Windhoek, we spent a few days camping and carrying out a few repairs in the sand dunes along the back road between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. On the afternoon before we had planned to leave, a minor squeak we had occasionally heard over a few days very quickly became worse. The front left wheel bearings sounded pretty shot, so the next morning was spent replacing these. We had brought spares for this with us from England.

We made good use of LR Parts in Windhoek, buying a new vacuum pump, anti-roll bar ball joints and front springs as well as numerous other small parts we had either used or now thought we might need. If you are ever in Windhoek and need parts for a Land Rover, Johann at LR Parts in Gutenberg Street is the guy to see. They have a branch in Swakopmund, too.

In the previous post I mentioned that we had removed the rear anti-roll bar after one of the ball joints had been pulled apart when we got stuck in mud in Botswana. After the initial installation of the new tank we were able to refit the anti-roll bar with the new pair of ball joints. Prior to this though, we needed to remove the old ball joint pin that was still attached to the rear axle. It would just turn whenever I tried to undo the nut, and nothing I had would hold it. I eventually ended up placing the jack under the free end of the pin and jacking it up so that the weight of the Land Rover jammed it sufficiently to get some purchase on the nut, and off it came.

After one of the front springs had broken in Tanzania we had replaced just the one with a second-hand unit. It had always been our intention to get a new set of good quality springs once we got further south. We ended up buying a pair of Ironman coil springs, and so far have been very impressed with them. They certainly levelled the front of the vehicle, and we also gained an inch or so in height, partially because the old springs had definitely sagged. They are the right colour, too.

One small but significant purchase was the four brand new rubber mounts for the air cleaner housing. The air cleaner housing had first come free in Slovakia and had been tied on with wire ever since, so it was good to finally have it fixed.

Just as we were preparing to depart Windhoek we saw our first Camel Trophy Defender. No sign of the owners though, so we have no further information on it.

After departing Windhoek we headed for Sossusvlei. Once again the wet season beat us there, and the normally dry Sesriem Canyon was flooded.

The knock-on effect was that the flash flood was blocking the road into the vlei, and the next morning, after getting up extra early to get through the gate at sunrise, we got half an hour down the road and had to stop. Plenty of vehicles were there, including the park safari vehicles, but none were willing to attempt to cross the very swift water. Everyone turned to look as we drove up in the Camel, all expectantly waiting to see if we were going to cross. The pressure was enormous. Catkin had a go at wading across, but after making it successfully half way decided that the next section was far too swift and deep, and turned back. We had breakfast and waited. Slowly every one else left, but after 7½ hours, and a few more wading attempts, it finally looked like it had dropped enough to get across. Catkin reckoned it had come down by about a metre since she had first tried that morning. I tried wading it, and managed to get there and back, so decided that we should try it. The water wasn’t very deep, but was flowing over the smooth concrete ford in the road extremely swiftly. We edged into it, but in the end made it through easily, with only a small amount of water coming in the back doors and into the battery box. No one was there to see us get through, so we had the place to ourselves. It was very special.

At the end of the sealed road into Sossusvlei there is another 5km of deep sand. Our sand experiences up until now had usually ended up with us travelling everywhere in a low gear with high revs, and then getting stuck, which we attributed to our heavy weight and narrow mud tyres. I had always been sceptical about just what effect reducing the tyre pressures would actually have. Anyway, we decided to try it and see what difference it made. It was unbelievable, and I only wish we had tried it sooner when we were in Wadi Rum in Jordan or in Egypt and Sudan. It was a totally different driving experience. Suffice to say, we cruised around the deep sand and didn’t even look like getting stuck. We have even now bought some Staun tyre deflators which you can set to your pre-determined pressure and then just screw on when you get to an area of sand.

We had been told about a man named Johann Strauss by a Land Rover enthusiast we had met in Walvis Bay, and he insisted that we should go and see him if we were driving through Keetmanshoop. Well, eventually we did find ourselves in this southern Namibian town, and after making a few enquiries, were directed to Steinfeld Farm, about 60km south-west of town. Johann is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to driving and repairing Land Rovers of all shapes and sizes. We spent an afternoon discussing various problems we had encountered and those still of concern to us. He took the Camel for a test drive to listen to our noisy gearbox, but thought it would probably be okay for a while to come yet. He has loads of new and used parts in stock, and was able to supply the fuel supply pipe we had been unable to replace in Windhoek. He and his wife even have a basic campsite overlooking a canyon, and we stayed here for the night. If you are in the area and need some work done, Johann Strauss is the man to see. Just ask around.

The good thing we learnt about buying spare parts in Namibia is that we can claim a VAT refund when we leave the country. We filled out all the paperwork at the border and posted it off, but haven’t heard whether it’s been refunded yet…

Once into South Africa, the transfer box oil needed changing. The box had been leaking oil at the rear output flange for quite a while. I had bought a new seal in Ethiopia, and now was the chance to put it in. To cut a long story short, we eventually got talking to Nico at Springbok Motor Rewinds, and he insisted that I do the oil change in front of his workshop. He gave me cardboard to lie on, a bucket to drain the old oil into, lent me a set of pullers in case I needed them to get the flange off and gave me one of his workers to help me out. He even took care of the old oil. He was very kind and we were extremely grateful. Unfortunately the new seal didn’t quite fix the leak.

On the same day, the ‘new’ speedo cable we had fitted in Addis Ababa snapped, after only about 10,000km use. Quite disappointing. It was an ‘Allmakes 4x4’ cable which I had liked because it had a metal spindle instead of the plastic one that had worn out on the previous one we had. Luckily we still had the old one, because this was again pressed into service until we could buy a new one in Cape Town.

On the open road approaching the outskirts of Cape Town we heard a muffled pop followed by the sound of escaping air. It sounded a bit like a blow out, but with any variation in the handling of the vehicle. It turned out to be a burst intercooler elbow hose, resulting in a very noticeable drop in power. We managed to tape it up with loads of duct tape for the time being, and bought a new one in Cape Town.

Once in Cape Town we took the chance to fit the new vacuum pump we had purchased in Namibia, as well as check and adjust the valve clearances. The engine was noticeably quieter and was definitely running better after the tune-up. We replaced the rocker cover gasket too. By this stage, the rear ‘safari’ door was getting a bit stiff and difficult to open, so I dismantled, cleaned and greased all the hinges.

Close to one of the campsites we stayed at in Cape Town we saw a sign for the “Gearbox Exchange.” We were still concerned about the condition of the bearings in both the gearbox and transfer box, so decided to go in and get their opinion. Geert confirmed it was the transfer box bearings making the noise we could hear, and although he wouldn’t give any guarantees he did think it may be okay to last the rest of our planned journey. We got some prices off him anyway and said we would think about it. Geert’s prices were quite good, so in the end we decided that it would be worth getting it looked at sooner rather than later. At the same time we would have the gearbox done and a new clutch installed, as well as a new crankshaft seal on the engine in an attempt to eliminate any oil leaks to the satisfaction of the Australian authorities. The Gearbox Exchange had the car for five days, and the only problem was that when Geert was test driving it on completion of the work one of the already-worn rear drive members stripped. We drove it home with the diff lock on and replaced the rear drive members and axle half shafts the next day. The improvement in the transmission was immediately noticeable. We still had some difficulty changing into low range, but this was remedied by adjusting the grub screw on the side of the box. We celebrated Catkin's birthday by going to look at our gearbox in pieces.

The focus of our efforts was now in preparation of the Camel for shipping to Australia. The authorities there are very particular about cleanliness of vehicles being imported into the country, both temporary and permanent imports. The main reason for this is, understandably, to ensure that no seeds or insects that could cause damage to Australia’s agricultural industry are introduced. We suspect that they will be particularly concerned about a vehicle that has travelled through the length of Africa. We’ve spent hours underneath the vehicle, scrubbing and hosing as best we can, as well as a trip to a car wash to use their water-blaster. The worst problem was the Etosha lime mentioned earlier, but we have managed to pretty much get it all off. Of course, some of the waxoyl protective coating was also removed. To finish the job off we purchased some specialist chassis and underbody sealer from a local paint factory and re-coated the whole underside. It has come up looking very good, hopefully good enough for the Australians.

Once through quarantine in Fremantle, vehicles being imported temporarily under a carnet into Australia need to go to a test centre for a roadworthiness inspection. One of the requirements for this is that the vehicle is to have no oil leaks. This is a particularly difficult state of affairs to achieve with a Land Rover – they all leak from brand new! Nevertheless, we have attempted to rectify as many leaks as possible. The work carried out by the Gearbox Exchange solved a few, but the sump, oil filter adapter and rear differential were still leaking. For the oil filter adapter we have replaced the O-ring that seals the oil thermostat to the adapter. That has stopped most of the problem, although there is still a small amount coming from somewhere. During the last oil change I took the opportunity to remove the sump pan, clean it up and refit it with new sealant, as well as taking out the dent that had been in it since before we had owned the vehicle. The leaks from where the pan joins the engine block have now stopped.

The rear diff pinion seal had been leaking a small amount for quite a while, but really became obvious when we were parked facing downhill on a steep slope in Hout Bay, Cape Town. There was a big pool of oil beneath the diff. We purchased a replacement seal, but I was concerned that the new one I had been sold looked different from the existing seal, and that it might not fit, so was reluctant to start the job until I was sure it was the right one. Looking on the internet and a quick check of the Camel Trophy Owners Club website left me none the wiser, although one of the CTOC members gave me some very good practical tips for replacing the seal once I was sure I had the right one. After speaking to a couple of local Land Rover mechanics, they assured me the one I had was right, and sure enough, it fitted nicely. For the record: the existing seal, Part no. AEU2515, was the old leather type; the replacement, Part no. AAU3381, is the new rubber type. While I had the prop shaft off I also renewed the forward universal joint.

Over the previous few weeks our power steering box had begun leaking, and seemed to be getting slowly worse. After a bit of shopping around, we had established a price at one workshop for a complete overhaul and from another for a replacement box. Replacement was about three times the cost of overhaul, which in itself was still quite expensive. They did suggest, however, that providing there was no lateral movement in the sector shaft (which the drop arm connects to), I could try replacing just the input and sector shaft seals without having to dismantle the whole box. They had even managed to do one still in the vehicle. It was the cheapest option, so I decided to give it a go. Sector shaft seal kits can be bought separately, but input shaft seals can only be bought in the complete kit for the whole steering box. After struggling with connections that were almost impossible to reach and then not being able to undo them anyway, I eventually decided it would be easier to take the box out to do the work. Once it was out, replacing the seals wasn’t too difficult, carefully drilling holes into the old seals and screwing in screws to enable the seals to be withdrawn. It was still after dark by the time I had it all back together. We had one circlip break, on the sector shaft, and Catkin was unable to find a replacement in her travels around the industrial areas so we put the broken one back in.

The clutch slave cylinder had sprung a small leak somewhere along the line, so one of the last jobs we carried out before shipping the vehicle was to overhaul it with a seal kit consisting of a new piston seal and dust cap.

In the meantime, we had washed the car, polished it and cleaned out the inside, all in preparation for the trip to Australia. The rear cross-member was showing a couple of rust bubbles, so we cleaned up and treated those and repainted it. The battery box needed a good clean out, and to do this I removed the tray in the base of the box. This was also looking a little rusty, so we cleaned it up and repainted it.

The vehicle was now spick and span and ready to ship. The only things we hadn’t done were to have the air conditioning looked at and to buy a pair of new rear shocks. The shocks we will definitely have to buy once we get to Australia.

We had been investigating shipping, both for the Land Rover and for ourselves, pretty much since we had arrived in Cape Town. The ideal option would have been a small ship that could have taken the Camel as deck cargo and us as passengers to keep an eye on it, but we soon realised that this option did not exist. The only way to ship the vehicle to Fremantle would be in a container, and it seemed that nobody took passengers between South Africa and Australia. We first spoke to Maersk, who gave us a freight price, but said that we would need to arrange it through an agent, giving us a number to call. Gordon at BALTrans was very helpful, and smartly gave us a quote and plenty of good advice. Next we started looking into agents in Fremantle. The few we contacted by email came back with quite high prices that were almost as much as the freight and South African agent fees combined. We started to wonder whether it was going to be just too expensive to include Australia on our itinerary. A cousin of mine in Perth had also been contacting agents, and luckily one came back with a more reasonable price. We decided to go ahead with it. Ships leave every week, and the container would go via south-east Asia, taking about 26 days to arrive in Fremantle. We are expecting the total exercise to cost about £2000.

The other concern was whether or not the vehicle would fit into a standard container. We already knew the roof tent would need to come off, but it was touch and go whether the roof rack, with the higher rails on the jerry can rack, would fit through the door. Measurement I had made indicated that the rails were slightly too high, but that if we reduced the rear tyre pressures to 1.2Bar the rear would lower enough to get through the door opening. Once at the port container depot we lay down the jerry cans, lowered the sand ladders and reduced the tyre pressures, and sure enough, it was just enough. I had measured the door at 2290mm, and we were just millimetres under it.

The Customs Officer arrived at the depot and checked chassis and engine numbers, and duly stamped out our Carnet.

Once in the container, the port workers strap the vehicle into the container using disposable strapping and buckles. They had intended to strap around the axles, but concerned about the vulnerability of the brake pipes, I requested that they use the towbar and front recovery points instead. Once it was secured the Zaptron pest control people came and fumigated the container, pumping in Methyl Bromide, again in an attempt to satisfy the Australian quarantine authorities. After fumigation the container was sealed using a special numbered bolt through the door latch. The seal bolt can only be removed by bolt cutters. I also put two of our padlocks on the doors for extra security.

As far as we know, the ship has now sailed, so hopefully we will see the vehicle in a few weeks in Fremantle. In the meantime we still need to collect all our documentation and fumigation certificate so that we can get it out again at the other end.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Just as well you brought that workshop manual...

Our regular schedule of fixing and replacing parts of the Land Rover has continued unabated since the last update.

The air cleaner housing bracket is still held on to its mountings by wire, although the wires have been replaced a couple of times. Hopefully we can get a new one in South Africa.

The universal joint that I replaced in the forest in Bulgaria didn’t last the distance, and I have replaced it again in Ethiopia. So far, at least three of the other four still seem as good as gold.

After the air conditioning system was re-gassed in Amman, Jordan, it worked well for a few weeks, then slowly it again seemed to not be as cold as it should until the point where it definitely wasn’t cooling at all. It was obviously still leaking somewhere. As yet we have not looked any further into this problem, although it would have been quite useful in Egypt and Sudan… Hopefully we can have it fixed in South Africa.

The day we were leaving Amman we had our second puncture, which we promptly had fixed at a Michelin workshop. We had been considering buying a new tyre to match our unused spare tyre, but we soon learned that XZL mud tyres are hard to come by in the Middle East. Once in Egypt we started getting punctures quite frequently. We sought out a puncture repair shop in Cairo, but weren’t too impressed with their work methods. In fact, after watching them remove our tyre by hand and fix our puncture, and then having to haggle over the price (despite having agreed the price before they did the work), I decided that I would be better off fixing the next one myself. Which I did, and the one after that, and all the rest after that. We have had 14 in total! I can safely say we have got our money’s worth out of the puncture repair kit and tyre levers we bought in the UK just before we left.

Every now and then when travelling on the open road, if one front wheel hit a big enough bump or hole in the surface, there would be a serious and potentially dangerous steering wheel shudder. After much investigation, and some trial and error, we eventually narrowed it down to a very small, almost undetectable amount of movement in the bush at one end of the panhard rod, part of the suspension that holds the front axle in place. We decided to replace the bushes at both ends of the rod and see if it fixed the problem. After finally finding the Land Rover dealer in Cairo, then driving 40km to a satellite city to their servicing and parts department, we got the bushes (and another oil filter), and put them in in the western desert the next day. Luckily it was the right diagnosis, and the problem was fixed.

Once into Ethiopia, the roads became very rough and very hard on tyres, so much so that the two front tyres that had worn considerably before we could have the wheel alignment corrected were now almost completely had it. After our fruitless search for Michelin mud tyres, we had emailed the company directly, and they responded (eventually) with the name and address of their importer in Addis Ababa. It was a joyous day indeed when we found the workshop and had three new tyres fitted, along with our good spare. Fortunately we have had no punctures since then. Touch wood. The day wasn’t without drama though, when the Michelin hoist suddenly lowered while our Land Rover was on it, with both wheel off on one side. It ended up sitting onto the brake discs in a pool of hydraulic oil while the workers scurried around trying to get trolley jacks underneath. No major damage was done (that we know of).

Even before we left the UK we had had the odd problem with the speedometer cable. We ended up buying a spare to take, just in case the existing one gave up completely. When travelling long distances each day, sometimes with considerable gaps between fuel stations, we have come to rely on the odometer to keep us out of trouble. Sure enough, the cable did eventually give up the ghost, and I replaced it while we were in Addis Ababa.

Just as we were looking for a spot to camp on our second night in Kenya, Catkin noticed that the transfer lever felt strange and would not engage the diff lock. As well as this, we could not change ratios. The lever felt like it had broken. We were still in Low, so it was potentially going to be a very slow drive from here on. The sun was setting, but I began investigating, and eventually had the transmission tunnel off exposing the transfer box and gearbox, and the transfer box lever housing in bits. The pin that holds the lever and its workings together had become dislodged, and once it was all apart was relatively easy to fix. It was a late dinner that night, but a peaceful sleep knowing that all was sorted.

Also on the bumpy roads in northern Kenya, one mounting on one of the guards for the rear brake discs snapped off. We managed to fix this using a piece of tin from a can lid that we had saved. So far it’s still holding.

Oil changes have been carried out like clockwork every 3000 miles, with changes in Egypt, Sudan, Kenya and Botswana. Indications are that the fuel quality has improved in southern Africa, but until we can be certain that the sulphur content is sufficiently low we will keep to the reduced intervals. Oil is cheaper than a new engine. The only good oil we could find in Egypt was Mobil Delvac MX 20W/50. Land Rover recommend 15W/40, but as we were in a hot climate we decided that the higher viscosity would be okay. In fact we bought enough for a couple of oil changes, and we ended up still running on the higher viscosity oil in Ethiopia in very cold temperatures. Not ideal, but we made sure to let everything warm up nicely before we moved off in the mornings.

In Egypt, the motor on the windscreen washer bottle stopped working. The Defender has identical bottles for both front and rear windscreens, and we cannot see out the back window anyway, so we swapped the bottles over.

We had a couple of occasions where there would be no power when we went to start in the morning. Twiddling with the battery keys seemed to help. The Camel Trophy Defender came with a large key switch on the positive battery lead, which when removed cuts power to all systems. This is also a useful theft deterrent. Before our departure, I added in a second battery key on the earth lead to the second battery. This enables us to isolate the second battery to save for starting duty while running all other appliances off the main battery while we camp each night. It’s a manual battery management system which relies on you remembering to turn the key off when we are camped and on when we are moving. It seemed that the second key wasn’t making a good enough contact to get a big enough current through for the starter motor. I ended up pulling the key apart and adding in a leather packer to make sure that the components made a good contact on to each other, and so far it has worked.

In Luxor, Egypt, we prepared the vehicle for our journey through Sudan. The road from the ferry port at Wadi Halfa through to Khartoum was reputedly rough, sandy, dusty desert track. We cleaned and oiled the K&N air filter, replaced the fuel filter, and checked the gearbox, transfer box and front and rear diff oil levels, topping up where necessary.

In the Simien Mountains in Ethiopia we began to notice a faint noise from the transmission system. It has been hard to determine exactly what is causing it, but it sounds a bit like bearings in the main gearbox. Since then it has become only slightly louder, but not alarmingly so, and we have carried on. We called in to see Nick at Foley’s Africa in Livingstone, and his advice, after telling us it takes 6-8 weeks to have a gearbox reconditioned, was “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” Ian, the Geordie from Holland who we met in Dar es Salaam has given me the name of a good mechanic he used near Cape Town, so providing we get that far, we are planning to seek expert advice there.

The transfer box has been losing oil from the rear output shaft. The oil runs out onto the handbrake drum (attached to the transfer box) and then flicks all over the underside of the vehicle. I managed to get two new seals in Addis Ababa, but as yet have not installed them. If we do end up getting the gearbox looked at in South Africa we will have the transfer box attended to at the same time.

The big drama in Kenya was the day our front right shock absorber blew up with a big bang. At first there was a loud noise and a funny smell, and we weren’t sure what it was, but it was the shock, and just when we were on the last bit of really bumpy road before Nairobi. We had heard of others having the same problem on this notoriously bad section of road, and had been driving fairly slowly in the hope that we would be okay. We were able to carry on towards Nairobi, but it was a very bouncy ride. Car parts are very expensive in Kenya, but shopping around we found the Monroe stockist and with a discount the shocks only cost twice what they do in the UK. It would almost be worth carrying a spare set.

When replacing the shocks, two of the studs on the retaining ring that holds the shock turret in place sheared off. We managed a temporary fix by filing and drilling out the studs and using bolts instead, and then found a cheaper parts dealer in Nairobi who had the correct retaining ring at a more reasonable price than the Land Rover dealer. They also had a rear bump stop, a rubber block that stops the axle hitting the chassis at extreme axle articulation. We had noticed one of these missing a while back, and have no idea when it came off.

A couple of weeks later in Tanzania, on our way towards Malawi on a smooth sealed road, we heard another loud mystery noise. This time it sounded like scraping metal, like we had scraped something on the road surface. There was nothing that could have done that, and nothing looked immediately obvious during a quick check underneath. We carried on, but noticed a new knocking noise occasionally when going over a bump. Closer inspection of the suspension revealed a broken front left spring. A helpful South African at the campsite we stayed in that night told us there was no chance of getting it fixed, “it’s all Toyotas around here,” he said, as he drove off in his Land Cruiser. We decided to head back the next morning to the last town we had passed and look around for a new or used spring. The people at the campsite gave us the name and location of someone in the town to ask. The person turned out to be a mechanic rather than a parts dealer, but loaned us one of his staff to help us locate the spring we needed. Sure enough, after driving all around town and finding out that new springs were far too expensivein this part of the world, we found a second hand one that looked okay and should do us until we get further south, where we will look for a pair of new springs. We stopped in a forest that afternoon to swap the broken spring over.

Before crossing into Zambia we filled up with diesel in Malawi, where fuel is cheaper. That afternoon, on our way to South Luangwa National Park, we noticed the rear side tank leaking from a small rust hole near the top of the tank. We siphoned a bit out into a jerry can to get it below the hole, but with the bumpy roads, still lost a bit, making an oily mess of the rear of the vehicle. We had travelled through some wet weather and on some muddy roads, and some dirty water had entered the tank. Catkin made a temporary repair using a piece of chewing gum, which worked a treat. Further south, in Maun, Botswana, I found some steel putty in a car parts shop and replaced the chewing gum with this. When I drained the sedimenter, loads of water and gunge came out but not much diesel! At some stage we will look at having the tank welded, or even replacing it with a new one.

At various stages, depending on road conditions, we had been swapping over two new tyres with our two old spare tyres. In northern Kenya, on the lava rock roads we put the old tyres on the rear, as they seem to get cut up the worst. For long stretches of seal we put the old tyres on the front to save wear on the new tyres. For muddy roads, like in South Luangwa National Park or north-eastern Botswana, we put the new tyres on all round for maximum traction. Because the old tyres had worn a bit unevenly they had become out of balance and were starting to cause steering wheel vibrations. In Lusaka, Zambia, we found a good tyre service centre and had one of our spare tyres changed with our extra spare and three wheels balanced.

Also in Lusaka, we met Kirsten in the supermarket carpark. She came over to see us and told us that she and her husband also had a Camel Trophy Defender, and were members of the Camel Trophy Owners Club. She informed us that there were actually a few Camel Trophy Land Rovers around Lusaka, and later that day we even saw a CT Discovery on the road, the first we had seen since leaving the UK.

In Botswana, on the muddy road to Maun, we got well and truly STUCK! The shovel, sand ladders and hi-lift jack were all needed to get us out and back on to firmer ground. Unfortunately, the rear anti-roll bar took a bit of a hammering, and one on the connecting links had come apart. The anti-roll bar is optional, and has now been removed, temporarily.

Also after this stretch of wet muddy road, we noticed a new whining noise from the engine. We have managed to pinpoint it to a bearing on one of the pulleys for the air conditioning drive belt. We have greased the bearings and the noise has all but gone.

Our most recent problem has been an oil leak from the vacuum pump for the brake system. We the pump has an end plate which is riveted on, and this joint seems to be leaking. In Maun, I tried applying a bead of silicon around the edge of the joint, which seemed at first to have worked, but the leak has come back. Now I have drilled out the rivets, sealed the joint and re-rivetted it all back together. I suspect that the leak is a symptom of the end of the pump’s life, and we’ll probably have to look at getting a new one before too long. Unfortunately they are quite dear.

More Carnet Notes
Our intention of travelling through Saudi Arabia on a transit visa to get to Oman and then onto Yemen was thwarted by the Saudi officials’ refusal to issue transit visas to non Jordan residents in their Amman embassy. Our chances were further reduced by the fact that we wanted to travel during the month of Ramadan. After a few attempts, each time getting the same negative answer, we reluctantly gave in and began assessing other options. We initially decided to look at shipping options from Aqaba to Port Sudan or Djibouti. After shopping around for a day we found a very cheap option with little or no security (deck cargo) and a couple of very secure but very expensive options (by container). Neither were desirable, so we were forced to reconsider our reluctance to drive through Egypt. When planning the trip we had excluded driving through Egypt, mainly due to the high carnet costs and troublesome bureaucracy, and our carnet specifically excluded Egypt. Closer inspection of the ADAC carnet application forms revealed that, due to the ADAC’s low valuation of a Land Rover Defender, there was in fact no additional deposit required, and the ADAC confirmed we would only need to pay a new application fee and courier charges and we could have a new document within days. This was the best option, and sure enough within a week we collected our new carnet from the DHL office and the very next day were on the Arab Bridge Maritime ferry to the Sinai Peninsula.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

On The Road - UK to Middle East

Since our departure from England we have had one or two things that have needed attention.

In the mountains of France we noticed the Land Rover began running very hot. This had never been a problem in the UK, but the vehicle was now heavily loaded, the hills were much bigger and steeper, and the air temperature much warmer. We replaced the thermostat as a precaution, but a check of the one removed indicated that it was working fine. Since then, we have taken the climbs slowly in a lower gear to keep the revs up and keep the fan spinning, and this seems to keep the needle out of the red.

After having the A/C regassed before we left, we have noticed evidence of the gas leaking around the receiver/dryer, with compressor oil being deposited on the receiver/dryer. As time has passed the A/C is not as cold is it once was. We have delayed having this looked at until Jordan, and hopefully our man Charlie Kayal will come through with the goods.

Also in France we noticed abnormal toe wear on the tread of the front tyres. This indicated the wheel alignment needed correcting, which we managed to have done by ESKA in Munich. We originally tried Euromaster, but they were too scared to put they vehicle on their hoist because they thought it would overload it! ESKA also balanced five of our six wheels. Just prior to doing the alignment they picked up that one of the tie rod ends needed replacing and pointed us to the local dealer where we could get the part. We ended up having both tie rod ends and the drag link end all replaced at once, keeping the old parts for spares. Pitstop in Munich, next door to ESKA, carried out this work.

We had a few fuel supply problems one day when we let the main tank get too low before switching to the side tank. The fuel system is self bleeding, so this eventually cleared. In the meantime, I gave the sedimenters both a bit of a flush through. These are like large initial fuel filters that get the worst of the water and contaminants out.

The air cleaner housing managed at some stage to shake free of two of its four rubber mountings. This has been secured with a bit of fencing wire for the meantime. New Zealanders know always to carry fencing wire…

Ever since we had owned the vehicle, there had occasionally been a bit of a ringing clunk when pulling away. It had sounded like a universal joint, but I was unable to detect any movement in the joint. This did eventually get worse and to a point where movement in the joint could be seen. We changed the joint in Bulgaria, and just in time because there were no bearings at all left in one of the cups. Normally I would change the joints at each end of the shaft at the same time, but because of the conditions (we were in a forest, not a workshop), I elected to just do the one.

After slightly more than 6000 miles we finally found a suitable location to carry out an oil change. We managed to pick up a few more filters at dealers along the way, so hopefully will have enough to keep us going. Once out of Turkey the quality of the diesel drops, with very high sulphur content, so consequently intervals between oil changes will need to reduce, even down to 3000 miles.

We have had one puncture so far, in Turkey. This was only a very slow leak, so initially carried on, reinflating the tyre each morning. There were a lot of “Otolastik” sheds around in Turkey, but we could afford to wait until we found a decent shop with balancing equipment. Lassa was just what we were looking for. Excellent service, and spotless workshop (that always impresses me), air conditioned waiting room, and it was cheap.

While the Camel was standing on the spotless Lassa floor. Catkin noticed a few spots of oil below the front diff (easier to see from her slightly lower vantage point no doubt). Closer inspection revealed very fine cracks in the welded seam on the front of the diff. The diff hadn’t had a knock of any sort, so we can only put it down to some stress in the weld manifesting itself. It was only losing a few drips a day, and the oil level was not noticeably lowering, but nevertheless it needed to be seen to. We managed to get it welded by Badia 4x4 in Jordan, and the problem is fixed. Because their service was so good and their rates reasonable, we also got them to inspect the front right wheel bearings, which were slightly loose allowing a small amount of movement in the front wheel, and while they had everything apart to check the CV joint. This had been making a bit of the clicking noise, so needed looking at. It turned out that the Swivel Housing, where the CV joint does its job, had no lubrication. In fact, some water came out! The Swivel Housing had at some stage been filled with Land Rover swivel housing grease, but over time this had all disappeared. The original bearings and CV all appeared suitable for reuse, so everything was reassembled with new gaskets and lubrication.

The left rear indicator stopped working in Damascus, so no one behind us could see the light. What I had hoped to be a simple blown bulb turned out to be a broken terminal in the bulb holder. Luckily, if you have enough different types of wire you can fix anything (not fencing wire this time though).

In Umm Qais, I noticed the clutch pedal suddenly felt very spongey. This was simple – top up the reservoir with fluid! Should have checked that sooner.

I know it’s a Land Rover and we should expect a few things to need fixing, but we haven’t even got to the really rough stuff yet!

Notes on the Carnet
We purchased our Carnet from ADAC in Munich. We originally enquired with the RAC in the UK, but the costs were much greater than from the ADAC. Catkin got to put her German skills to good use making all the arrangements by email. We went in to the ADAC office with 5150 euros in cash, 5000 of which we get back when we return the properly completed Carnet at the end of the journey. Total cost to us 150 euros. With the RAC, both the cost and the deposit were much higher.

Sunday, 24 June 2007

Preparation Stage 2 : Pre-Expedition

2006 was a busy year, with our participation in the Mongol Rally in our Blue Suzuki SJ410 "Bravo 5", and pulling out all stops to get the house finished and ultimately ready for sale. We decided during the year that time was up for us in the UK, and that our much talked about future move to New Zealand would be sooner rather than later. In addition, our attendance was requested at the wedding of Andy and Jen in New Zealand in February 2007. After some serious thought we decided now was the time to go, and in a very short space of time the house was on the market, notice was handed in at work and return tickets were booked to Auckland via Hong Kong and Los Angeles. We had decided that we would go to NZ then come back to the UK in 2007, in order to properly prepare for our overland trip back again, with departure scheduled for mid to late June.

On arrival back in the UK in March 2007, the serious preparation began, mainly focused on buying kit and prepping the vehicle. After a year and a half sitting on the drive some of the painted steelwork had started to rust. This needed stripping right back and repainting. Many hours were spent on the roll cage, winch bumper, bull bar, snorkel, rear crossmember and fiddliest of all, window grilles. The roof rack was removed, and as parts of this had seriously rusted the decision was made to replace it. Luckily we managed to source an unused second hand rack from our friend Dominic. In the meantime the original rack went to a member of the Camel Trophy Owners Club.

Door bottoms were also touched up to remove signs of oxidation. The load cage had been damaged and weakened over time, so was fully strengthened and refitted. The old cubby box between the front seats was smallish and had the radio fitted in an awkward location, so a new, larger model with a proper radio compartment and a locking lid was constructed and finished in leather. Canvas seat covers were fitted.

The new roofrack was primed and painted black to match the original. New work lights were fitted. An axe mounting kit was added to the roofrack, modified so the axe could be padlocked to the vehicle. The front of the roofrack was modified so that the spot and fog lights could fold down to accomodate the lower level mounting of the roof tent (reducing vehicle height and wind area). A small fridge/freezer was purchased and wired in to the vehicle. An awning was added to the left side of the vehicle.

Lots of rewiring was required to make sure that all circuits were properly connected, and a second battery switch was wired in to enable us to isolate one battery completely to save for starting duties. Low power fluorescent lights were installed to the front and rear compartments, as well as to the roof tent. No point roughing it too much! A special locking cupboard was built for the computer case, and to keep out prying eyes we fitted some blackout curtains around the rear loadspace.

Water supply will be important for the areas we are planning to travel to, so we have had a aluminium water tank made up by a local engineering workshop. This fits in the wheel arch behing the left rear wheel, and holds approximately 40 litres. Tanks can be bought off the shelf, but are very expensive, and having one made was much cheaper. We also have two 20L water jerry cans, and with camelbaks on our seatbacks, can carry about 86 litres when full.

Finally, in the few days before departure, all main fluids and filters were changed. This included engine oil, gearbox and transfer boxes, front and rear differential and the fuel filter. In addition, and reuseable K&N air filter element was fitted, meaning we don't need to carry a bulky replacement or try to find them enroute.

On top of all this, we have had to prepare ourselves, with immunisations and dental checks, and find out as much as we could about visa requirements for all the countries we intend to visit. We needed to arrange both travel and vehicle insurance. Our existing insurance policy could be extended with Green Card cover to Turkey; from there we have arranged an "Expedition" policy with Campbell Irvine.

All of this has taken most of the last three months! It is good to know now, however, that all is ready to go.


Over the course of 2005 and 2006 we managed to get away for a few weekends camping, in between rugby commitments and house renovations. We were immediately converted to sleeping in the roof tent (providing it's not too windy!).

A farm campsite near the Jurassic Coast

We had a great time in North Wales...

...and a nice night in a deserted New Forest campsite out of season

Preparation Stage 1 - Vehicle Purchase

We first started talking about the possibility of driving back to New Zealand not long after buying a rusty old Volvo 440 Turbo in 2002. At that stage we were only joking, but over time started thinking more seriously about it. In 2005 we were offered the option of buying our friend Brendan's Camel Trophy Land Rover Defender 110 Station Wagon, and that pretty much made our minds up. The Vehicl was a communications Support Unit in the 1995 Camel Trophy event, and was well equipped for an expedition such as the one we were contemplating.

Vehicle specs at purchase as follows:

Defender 110 Station Wagon 1994
Radio support vehicle on the 1995 Camel Trophy. Only 6 were built for each event
Engine 2.5L 300Tdi.
Roofrack with:
2 spot lights
2 fog lights
rear mounted worklight
rack for 4 x 20 litre jerry cans
1 pair of aluminium sandtracks + mounting brackets
Bull bar with 2 spot lights and bush wires up to roofrack
Front winch bumper with 2 recovery points' Electric winch controlled in cab or externally
Sump Guard
Front axle diff guard
3 Fuel tanks, main (80L) + rear underwing tank (45L)connected + 45L tank under driver seat
Full Internal + external Safety Devices roll cage
5 new + 1 used michelin XZL 7.50 x 16 mud terrain tyres
Rear mounted spare wheel carrier
Bonnet mounted spare wheel carrier
External window grilles to rear windows
Internal load guard
Rock Sliders (Side impact bars)
Valuables Safe
4ft Hi Lift (Farm Jack)
Riased Air Intake (Snorkel)
All axle / engine breathers extended to roof level
Shovel + Pick axe mounted on front wings
Front wings aluminium chequer plated
Twin batteries
Tow bar + electrics fitted
‘Trakker’ high back seats fitted
Air conditioning fitted
Rear anti roll bar
Heavy duty axles
Heavy duty ‘Scorpion Racing’ suspension
Battery cut out switch
Main Fuel Tank Guard
Chassis just been stripped and waxoyled
All suspension bushes replaced with ‘polybush’ kit
4 new Scorpion racing gas shock absorbers fitted
Roof tent, made by ‘Eezi Awn’
Webasto arctic pre heater fitted

Perfect vehicle for the job really, so an easy decision for us.

Following the purchase in 2005 came a period of getting to know the vehicle, as well as fully understanding what it means to be a "Land Rover Owner." This is more than just learning to wave at drivers of other Land Rovers as we travel around the UK... In addition, we had the responsibilty of being a Camel Trophy Owner! It took a little bit of getting used to the stares as we drive down the road, especially as we felt a bit like frauds, as we hadn't actually been anywhere dangerous or daring.