Bedknobs and Broomsticks...
Another day on the beach so to speak although we've not actually seen the beach at all. We spent another day in the campsite squatting (not paying) in their carpark doing stuff on the car.
The inside of Matilda is a bit grubby so she's had some insulation fitted to the cold windows and some new curtains. Mother made them for the second time and exactly like the first set so we look all clean in the back. I removed the mosquito net from the inside of rear windows and removed half the Sahara from behind them. New Velcro and fixings to hold it all in place although the mosquito screen isn't going back. Its held up really well considering its held on by VHB Tape. Quite a bit of Matilda is held by this wonderful invention. Number Plates, GPS mounts, Shelfs etc....
We're not sure but we might have a weak front left spring. Need to unload the car and find a level car park to see. Its only 1cm or so, Its probably just loading. It could easily be an empty diesel tank ! Today is check all the wheel bearings day so that should be fun.....back to the guy in the white suit. Isn't he called The Stig ?
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 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.
No not Baz Luhmann but instead silver backed sun shades for the side windows and windscreen with suckers so they can be firmly positioned. Should stop people peeking through the window and keep out the heat when we park up. The benefit of them is that we can now dispense with the front curtains and the fan in the front can be used at night blowing all the way down the bed. Cool !
GPS, Wheel Bearings
The GPS came with minutes to spare and i've spent the bank holiday weekend re-greasing the front wheel bearings. Not a job i like to do ! The first was a right pig and decided to spill its swivel grease all over the drive. Did the second one differently. I really should have cut the break pipe retaining clips so i don't need to undo the top swivel pin.
Forgot to mention the fan we bought is also fitted to the middle of the roof infront of the reat view mirror. Hopefully this will make some hot nights bearable.
How many bush jokes are there......?
She's back and with a nice new full bush kit. She actully rides better so the old ones must have been a bit tired. Took the garage 7 hours to do them and some needed to be burnt and cut out. Very happy with the work but i'm going to have a crawl under later to make sure everything is OK. The link to the garage is on the links page, recomended and ask for John.
Change to the bed....again!
Since fitting the roll out draw in the back we've not been able to use the tall Really Useful Boxes in the back as they wouldn't go under the bed frame. I ordered some 20x10 steel to replace the 20x20 for the cross member as 10mm extra was all we needed. I knocked up a coss member at lunch today in 10mins. We can now fit all 4 large boxes in the back again.
This is the third time i've had to re-weld the bed and its pretty much good now. Theres only one design flaw that can't really be altered but its not a big deal. Its sort of a six of one and half a dozen issue that is just staying like it is.
The cooking shelf is finally finished thanks to the farm shop. They came up with the idea of using a sash window fitch (yes its called a fitch, google it) to hold the shelf closed
Just got my arch fuel tank from Maverick4x4. We've had a few items off Andy at Maverick, Roof Rack and Steps, Shocks and now the Tank. Not the easiest thing to fit but took the opportunity to check the main tank and removed it to check it was all OK. Its not completed yet as it still needs plumbing in but i'm about 70% finished and i'm pretty knackered. Thats another 45 litres so about 250 miles more range. We should make 650 miles on the new setup and with a couple of Jerries we should make 800 miles at least.
Ordered the new bushes for the suspension. Going to get them fitted because i can't be bothered. I've been quoted an hour a corner which i'd say is OK.
Spotlights fitted and wired in. Not sure they are in the best place so might need to weld something onto the bull bar. We shall see (or not!). Need to go out to test them out tonight. Might be able to take some photos or them to see how bright they are.
Fitted a cooking shelf to the back door and I am rather proud of it. We've seem one at Billing for £90 and this cost me about £30 and its custom fitted. I'll post some pictures in later on. Still needs a bit of work but its 98% completed.
We've sort of decided to change the main tank on the defender from 80 ish litres to 120 litres. This is an expensive item coming in at £410 plus VAT, Ouch ! It will also mean moving the anti roll bar down by buying some spacers used for people with suspesion lifts. So its an expensive thing.
I should also change all the suspension bushes whilst i'm at it and i'm not looking forward to that ! Julie says i'm just going to have to knuckle down and do it. She's correct of course. It needs doing. Before we go. I'm tempted to get it done in a garage but it is a crap job and the one i've already asked said "no". You see what i mean.
Fitted the wheel to the bonnet and the steering damper. Took a few hours as the damn steering damper fouled on the steering guard. The only way i could get it to fit was with lots of manual sawing ! Couldn't get power tools in to get at it. Bugger !
More Equipment, More Money
Bought a new steering damper today and a mount to put one of the spare wheels on the bonnet. Another sunday job to fit them. The Britpart damper i have on has very poor quality rubber bushes which are split so its needs changing.
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