WHO AND WHERE TO
Today 10 August 2007 you finally you meet him now. His name is “Bumblebee” and he has the big task of bringing us safely down to South Africa by roads and tracks of sand, mud, gravel, rocks, water and hopefully some asphalt too. He will be our home for the whole trip, so we must prepare him well, as we don’t want him to have bad memories of his first adventure.
We like him and we are sure you too, but…who is he?
Name: Nissan Patrol 260
Nickname: “The Bumblebee”
Date of birth: October 1992
Build: Strong and robust
Heart: 2.8l TD/85Kw
Size: Short wheel base
Profession: 4x4 driving
He likes: water, hills, stone and mud
In the beginning there is always the big question…what car? How big? what should it have on or around it? Petrol or diesel? How old? Etc etc. For crossing Africa you can go with whatever has wheels, by bicycle, by motorbike, trucks like Unimog or Tatra or even by tractor, it all depends on your personal preference, feeling and budget! We chose to cross Africa by 4x4. In our decision process we spent quite some time on the internet trying to find the right “bumblebee” for us! The choice for us wasn’t that difficult, as there are only 3-4 brands offering heavy-duty 4x4 suitable for an expedition.
The most famous and most used are Landrover and Toyota Landcruiser and another possible choice is Nissan Patrol, which we bought. The Patrol is tough and robust, easy to fix and able to endure difficult situations! It is not a too usual car to go on expedition to Africa in, but Japanese cars are more and more going into the African market and we rely on skilled African mechanics! ;o) And because older models are not so stuffed with electronics, they are easier and cheaper to fix, that’s why we chose a 1992 short wheel base version. Shorter is more flexible offroad though has one disadvantage: There is not so much space. To compensate this you have to organize and pack skillfully. So finally only the really needed objects get packed! (you know...more space, more unnecessary things! And for such African roads the chassis and suspensions don’t like being overloaded!)
Our “partner” we bought in Germany, but wanted to have it registered in Czech Republic, as here is no road tax! So our first hurdle was to get all the paperwork and inspections done. Then we started to make plans about how to prepare the car, what to put on or in…a lot of research work and hard to make decisions as everybody we asked had some different hints and tricks! One thing is sure…the car must be thoroughly prepared before setting out on this hard and long trip! First we start with the usual service thing…oil changes (motor, differential, gearbox), new filters (air, oil, diesel), new drive belts and a new cam belt, as well as check brakes, gearbox, engine and clutch. We worked a bit on the corrosion when the weather was nice.
The more difficult stuff is to fit everything around the car…new reinforced bumpers for our winch and the spare wheel and jerrycan holders, a roof rack for our roof tent and a drawer system for inside the car. Of course there is much more to be done…the 2 battery system, extra lights, etc etc.
We are looking forward to put him to the test, once he is finished and all ready to go! But before we go on the big adventure, we want to try the car, see how it works offroad with all the load on!
So…let’s go to work!
At the top of the page in the first line there are 2 links (which you can reach from the Equipment section as well):
Equipment & Costs: On clicking here you find all our “outside” and “inside” equipment and prices, as well as necessary repairs and changes of parts.
Modifications: In this link you will see the transfomation of our standard Patrol to the expedition model step by step in pictures..