Vehicle Prep, Mods and Things To Take


Toyota Land Cruiser VX 80 Series 1997

4.2 Automatic Diesel

Intercooler (this vehicle came with this as standard – apparently quite a handy thing to have for warmer climes)

Built in Winch (came with vehicle as standard)

Side Runners (came with the vehicle – super useful for that little bit of a step up)

BF Goodrich All Terrain Tyres (came with the vehicle)


by Julian Voelkar of Overland Cruisers (Hereford, UK)

Front and Rear Axle Rebuild

New Brake Discs and Pads

Power Steering Pump Rebuild

Oil, Air and Fuel Filters Replaced

Diff & Gearbox Breather / Cooler Kit

Safari Snorkel

Air Con Fixed and Re-Gassed

Old Man Emu Shocks

T-Max Split Charge System

Leisure Battery in Rear

Rear Frame Build for Useful Boxes and additional Shelves

Aluminium Bull Bar (useless…) replaced with an ARB Bumper in Nairobi

Replaced Headlights with HIDs (and have been blinding drivers ever since)

Covered the Tailgate with a Stainless Steel Panel (my boot opens up and down so this made for an excellent shelf at the back!)

Modifications by my superbly practical father, Barney Dillon

Wiring of Leisure Battery

An Additional 12v Socket next to Gear Lever

Three Additional 12v Sockets in Rear

Custom Built Clamps for Roof Top Tent to fit onto Patriot Roof Rack

Crash Course in Engine Maintenance

Taught me how to change a tyre when I was about 10 years old…

Recovery Gear and Spares

T-Max Air Compressor

Winch Kit complete with Kinetic and Static Ropes

Booster Cables (the thickest ones I could find)

Air Jack – never got to use this as didn’t get one puncture

Spare Belts, Oil Filters, Air Filters, Fuel Filters

Things I Added:

Garmin GPS with Tracks for Africa – undoubtedly the best piece of kit for planning (use BaseCamp on your PC to plot routes etc and transfer information to the GPS).  Without the help of a second person in the vehicle to help me check maps etc, this was an absolute life saver.  The roads are all graded so you also get a fair idea of how long journeys will take on various roads – super useful!

Howling Moon Roof Top Tent – the most comfy night’s sleep you’ll ever get! Holds out well in rain but I found out the fly starts to gather water a little in a 3 hour downpour…  You can pack the tent away with your bedding inside which is handy!  My mum custom made two fitted sheets for the mattress and I took a silk liner, spare sheet and sleeping bag to sleep under.

Extension Room for RTT – this four sided room hangs down from the extended portion of the tent, creating an additional room in the ladder section below.  I only used this once when I was stopped for a few days in Malawi.

Howling Moon Awning – an excellent piece of kit, but I barely used it.  As with many other things, if I’d been stopped for longer periods, I would have used it for sure.

Patriot Roof Rack – spent a lot of money on this and it was worth every penny but could probably have gotten away with something a little cheaper.

ARB Fridge / Freezer 40l – this is pure luxury and you can do without it, but it’s so nice to be able to carry milk, cheese, beers and have cold water on demand.

Two Plate Coleman Burner – far more useful than a smaller camping type burner

Gas Bottle and Regulator – bought in Kenya

2x 20l Jerry Cans for Diesel – used the spare diesel once in Botswana

2x 20l Plastic Cans for Water (also had a 12v water pump and a syphon) – used for showering and washing

1x 20l Lifesaver System Water Jerry Can with Carbon Filter – started using this but found it easier to buy large 5l bottles of water and decant instead.

Pots & Pans – I only needed one of each

Cast Iron Dutch Oven – never used, didn’t stay anywhere long enough to make a nice stew…

BBQ Grill (a double one that you can close over the meat and secure) – useful for cooking over open fires

Kelly Kettle – a clever little aluminium kettle that boils water from the inside out, using dry leaves and twigs.  I used this quite a lot when I could find enough dry stuff to burn.

Camping Chairs – the normal camping style chairs are great, if you’re pushed for space, get the little tripod chairs.

Fold Away Table – the ones where the legs come off and fold underneath the table top.

Useful Things to Take Along:

Bungee Cords – great for washing lines, holding things back or in place in the vehicle

Pegs – 10 will do, for hanging washing and other bits and pieces up

Carabiners – you can’t get enough use out of these, get a range of sizes for hanging, securing etc

Head Torch – essential for light when you’re moving about, cooking etc – and need both your hands!

LED 12v Rechargeable Lights – the long, hanging kind – amazingly useful for getting light into the back of the vehicle and for hanging in the tent

Range of 12v chargers – for the laptop. the camera batteries

Radio with a USB Dock – make sure the USB will play your iphone/ipod and not just charge it, I found this out before I left and changed the radio for one that actually played music from the iphone – charges the phone when plugged in, as well as the GoPro or anything else with a USB charger.

Leatherman – or any other multi-tool.

Collapsible Bucket – I can’t rate this highly enough! Used for washing mostly and due to space, it had to be collapsible.

Cable Ties – range of lengths for fixing any item to any thing!  Also used quite a bit to make loops on the ends of tools for hanging them up.

A Few Helpful People Chipped in Along the Way…

My organised and super attentive mom, Margi Dillon – what would I have done without her?  Coordinating banking issues, insurance claims, and a range of other issues back in the UK – in exchange for as many location and news updates as I could manage!

My practical and mechanically minded pops, Barney Dillon – who I have been handing spanners and pliers to since an early age. He helped me prepare the Beast before leaving, getting the wiring sorted, adding additional 12v sockets for charging and custom building the clamps to secure the RT Tent to the roof rack – clever huh? Amazingly we also got the roof rack and tent on just the two of us!  Barney was also the first person I would call whenever the Beast showed the smallest sign that something was up.  We spent quite some time in Harare together over Christmas getting the Beast ship-shape for the final part of the trip.

Matt & Helen, thanks so much for taking deliveries when I didn’t have a home prior to the trip.  Matt also helped with last minute drilling to get the awning secured the day before the Beast was due to be shipped…

Mike Sewell, Lizzy Franklin, Mark Fitzgerald and Michael Green – thanks for having me to stay in your homes in the months prior to leaving, and for taking a million deliveries of small and large parcels for me!

Ready to go… let’s do this!

5 Comments on “Vehicle Prep, Mods and Things To Take

  1. Excellent advice and photos, thanks for sharing. My wife and I have a great 60-series that I bought from my parents. I follow your trip on FB regularly.

    • Colin, you’ve been a great follower the entire trip! I hope you too are having adventures of your own in that awesome 60 series! I can’t believe it’s almost over, would do it all over again in a heart beat… All the best, Shara

  2. Shara, my wife and I having been living and working in the Middle Eats for the past 10- years, 7 in Dubai an d3 now here in Doha, or “The Rockpit”, as I call it. We did some 34 trips to Oman, in our Prado, which is our favourite part of the GCC. Our 60-Series in back in Sydney, and we bought an 8.5 acre farm some 4 hours north of Sydney, from which we plan to numerous trip sin our Landy. Keep up with your great adventure, pity you missed the Aussie Overlanders.

    • No problem Soren, and thanks for being an avid follower! I will try and update the blog as soon as possible – lagging a bit with the whole story but will get there in the end 🙂

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