A Year Sleeping In A Car You Must Be Mad

We are very happy in the car and our full size double. Its actaully better to sleep in than a normal double. You don’t fall out if you get to the edge so it feels bigger. It also have probably 5cm (more maybe) of additional width but i’m not sure what the window to window width inside the back of the 110 is.On the humid nights the boat fan is a must as it keeps the air moving. We can have the sides open as we have stainless nets on them and also on the rear door winding windows. We’ve fitted a hanging mosquito net so we can actaully have everything open. We’ve just purchased another boat fan (they aren’t cheap !) but we’re having fun trying to decide where to put it. Its a Hella Turbo and the old one is a Jet. The jet draws 300mA and the Turbo 600mA on full speed. It doesn’t make a dent in the 50Ah leasure battery. The constant noise also help drown out all other outside noise so It makes the noisiest places OK to sleep.With the fan on It worries me a bit as we cannot hear outside but if we are locked up its unlikely something could happen that wouldn’t wake me up even with the fan. The Alpine windows are our side security as we can sit up in bed and see almost 180degrees at each side. Julie looks out the back window and I can jump into the front. Not that we’ve ever had to.If we had to do the window tints again we’d get blackout on the sliders and rear winding windows, the alpines in 5% (as they are now) and the rear with blackout at the bottom and a strip on 5% at the top. We’ve also got blackout curtains on all the windows and these are supprisingly good for insulation and condensation protection. The sleeping bags don’t touch the windows and the curtains go all the way round the bed so it stops any dampness on the bags.  We bought the new fan because if the Jet breaks were are in real trouble. You couldn’t sleep in the car if its hot without one. The floor gets hot and when its 40c you need to park early otherwise the car is at 60c. The floor gets to 65c on a bad day and 50c normally. If its cool the floor gets to 30c so it helps keep it warm in the car but we have the diesel heater (Webasto Airtop 2000).We like being in the car more than a bed in a hotel. We can camp almost anywhere and it just looks like a parked car. We camped in the VA Waterfront Mall in Cape Town and along the Nile in Aswan and had no problems. You just need to choose the spot. Too quiet and we might have issues so if theres a few parked cars around we just park up. We do stand out obviously but most of the attention is on the many flags on the back door.Mechanically the car is good. Testament to changing almost everything before we left. Things that weren’t changed have failed. We’d not had a single failiure that stopped us and in fact we’ve not had a single failiure other than the clutch slave seal that meant I had to fix it right then. Although the shocks were changed we could have still driven. Almost everything is maintenance based on normal visual checks.We’ve had a clutch slave seal go in Kenya. I got a mouthfull of Dot4 from the housing.We keep breaking rear shocks. Top ring usually. We now have some BOGE 130 rears in the spares box as the Bilstien rubbish is leaking on one side but the Armstrong on the other is going strong . I put this down to being heavy and a weak anti roll bar although we are not sure. Stuck piston on front brake caliper but just needed cleaning. >400c on the wheel !!!! (stripped entire hub and re-greased on side of road) Wheel bearings keep coming loose but they get checked and sorted all the time. One is worse than the others so i might change the stub axle. Transfer box is a pain in the ass leaking so I had it sleeved in Cape Town. The centre diff lost its thrust washers. We’ve had the transbox out 3 times. I wonder if some very poor EP oil in Sudan affected the washers. Changed the airbags in the rear for 130 helpers in Tanzania as the airbag mount was broken, as they all do. Thanks Airlift….utter rubbish. Changed the rear anti roll bar UJs. First we made new bushes using my dremel and some spare old shock absorber bushes. Changed rear drive members and shafts . They were worn and not changed before we left.Changed a rear prop UJ twice as its not greasing properly so was wearing. Its still not right and its a Hardy Spicer. The Allmakes ones seem better as they have a metal seal on the cup. The Hardy’s have a rubber one and it doesn’t seem to keep the grease in. Wore some holes in the snorkle pipe, sealed with aluminium airconditioning tape.Leaking pipe on the power stearing res. New pipe clip but still leaking slightly. Needs sorting.Cap on clutch master cylinder broke. Used the spare.Changed the water pump as it was leaking a bit. Used the spare.Changed the fuel lift pump as it was leaking a bit. Used the spare.Changed the headlights to the other side ones and stuck with them even in Africa where they dive the same as us.Change the oil every 5000 miles / filters every other change but often every change.Change the transbox oil every 7000 miles. Change the axle oils every 10,000 miles. Check and grease about every week (or two).If I had to say (repeat other peoples wisdom) what made the difference is everything on the car is standard kit.  Its the best advice to other travellers I can offer. The other would be to take a Land Cruiser if you don’t  want to carry spares as theres 3 dealers in every village !The only thing that wasn’t standard was the crappy Big Bore shocks and these were a real problem. We ended up putting dropped shock mounts on the rear and normal length shocks. The shocks run smack in the middle of travel now but they are still breaking. A few have said we should go back to normal mounts and normal shocks but even carrying 2950kg we seem to be running with a lift. We will never fathom this problem. Maybe the BOGE HD 130 shocks will last the rest of the trip.Tyres are BFG AT and are flawless. The older BFG MTs split but the  newer ones do not by all accounts. East Coast ATs. West Coast MTs are a must. In South Amercia we shall see….I’ve just got new ATs.Set off in October and miss the rains all the way down the East Coast. Arrive in May in South Africa. 

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