Start of rear steel bumper install, initial bolt on with winch being installed inside the bumper. Next stop to install pivots for swing out wheel carrier and fuel container. Will update you on progress.
Hi, thanks for the posts. The winch is 3,000lbs, not enough to lift the van but hopefully enough to pull us out of a spot. All the times we have been rescued before we have always been pulled out backwards, so when I saw the size of the bumper I realise I could get a small winch inside it. I live in Dorset so it was probably my van you saw ( bit confused about the bumper covers) I do have wheel arch protectors on it though. As we are going to Mongolia in July alongside the organised Mongol Rally we thought we might be in a position to help people, so the winch might just come in handy. The winch has its own battery, which could also be used to start the engine if required, so another form of back up.
We finished the van in early July and headed for Mongolia via Russia. Mongolia is a whole different ball game, a virtually empty country with very few roads, driving mainly off road for days on end and stopping to help people wherever you can. The food was pretty lousy the people were fantastic, the van performed brilliantly but took a few knocks even breaking the welds on the spare wheel carrier on the rear bumper so is now in the repair shop having the dents knocked out and a two tone respray. We took two spares and never had a puncture, although we saw plenty of people who did, can highly recommend Goodrich All Terrains. Plans for next year include, Spain, Italy and hopefully Morocco.
We need to know a lot more about this trip and the van that you did it in. Sorry but a few words and pictures are just not enough.
PS. Having been there (albeit for work and 30 odd years ago) , I totally agree with your opinion on the local cuisine which could well be some of the worst that I have ever encountered anywhere in the world.
I didn’t want to bore people with our trip as I have been putting some posts on this list as I was preparing the van over the last 18 months.
We previously owned a T5 and travelled all around Europe, so we had some experience of both running a vehicle and travelling on the road. We purchased our 16 plate T6, T32, 4x4 with air con and cruise, nearly two years ago and set about preparing it for our trip. First up was a full set of Seikel underpinnings, sump guards, diff guards, raised suspension, rock sliders, heavy duty steel wheels (6) BF Goodrich All Terrain tyres, bigger front brakes, new steel bumper at the back to hold a second spare wheel, 20ltr fuel can and an integrated winch. Then of to various conversion companies to get different aspects of the conversion
CX - Thanks for the response. Point taken but never underestimate (or would it be overestimate!) the boredom threshold of people when it comes to tales of adventurous road trips, particularly when other continents are involved as well. That said, I've done a couple of those of my own (but not in a VW) and, like you, I would probably hesitate before imposing the detail on others!
I'll search for your other posts as I would be interested in all the stuff that you did to the van in preparation for the expedition.
Did write up the whole journey for you but it will only let you post what you see above.
Having completed the underpinnings the van went to Revampavan for Roof and Widows, then up to Martin at Travelvolts for a complete electric install, then up to Vamoose in Yorkshire for the floor and one of their sliding beds ( lots of space underneath)
Then over to T4 Campers for the interior including an 80ltr water tank fitted internally over the offside rear wheel. This was to be a plastic work of art and instead of taking 3 days it took 3 weeks and 2 visits to get it right ! That meant we missed our original build spot so had to wait another three weeks, if you do anything like this allow lots of extra time for hiccups like this !
When we got the van back we made a few more minor changes and started loading spares and supplies for a quick weekend away to try everything out.
At the same time as we were finishing the build we were sorting visas, routes , international driving license, and other paperwork. The visa for Russia was the biggest problem, two applications for a 90 day visa were turned down and all we could get was a 30 day tourist visa, this meant a total rethink (reversal) of our planned route and a risky return, we only received our visa the day before we left, very tight.
We left Bournemouth on the 19th July and went to the channel tunnel via Goodwood Racetrack, the original Mongol Rally start line, through the tunnel and on to a campsite east of Amsterdam. The rest of Europe flew by, and the roads through Poland, Lithuania and Latvia were much better than expected easily as good as the rest of Europe. We arrived at the dreaded Russian Border where patience is the key ! The queue of lorries waiting was miles long but we realised that you could drive past them to the car queue and that was only a couple of dozens cars long, we backed off for the night (technically our first ‘wild camp’) and went back early in the morning and joined a smaller car queue, and waited. We got into the Border Checkpoint by 9am and spent the next three hours being inspected, filmed, searched for drugs and guns and endless form filling, out by mid-day and on our way to Moscow a straight six hours drive along a pretty straight road. We camped in a pre-arranged camp site in a park near the middle of Moscow, we had to use sat nav to get in and out as the roads are complicated and VERY busy with no quarter given, just because your a foreigner. We stayed for a couple of days to do the tourist things in Red Square etc, then drove off in an eastern direction. . .
Nice job, you obviously got the spec right and some good luck with the punctures. How often did you get to refill the water? I only have a small tank and DSG but the rest is the same. Though not sure if VB suspension would stand up to that. Would you recommend dust protection and extra filters? I assume an 80ltr tank is handy.
We had both an 80 Ltr fuel tank (+20 Ltr spare we never used) and an 80 ltr water tank, inboard over the rear offside wheel. We had obviously done a lot of research about the trip and found that there was usually a fuel station somewhere in most towns and villages, even if it is just two pumps sticking up out of a lump of concrete (in Mongolia). Russia is loaded with fuel stops as they have so much traffic and goods being moved by road. B.F Goodrich All Terrains we’re brand new and brilliant and we carried two spare wheels and tyres “just in case”. I chose a manual for this trip but an auto would make cruising around in Europe a lot easier. I don’t know if standard VW suspension would stand up to this sort of trip, it might as it’s designed to stand up to the wear and tear you get with a commercial vehicle. . . I chose to use Seikel underpinnings as I felt that gave me an edge over standard. Having now been I think some people could make the trip on standard suspension, but be aware this is not driving like any other ! You can be ‘off road’ for weeks on end, you might not see anyone for days, the roads are not roads as we know them ! And sometimes the van feels like it’s going to explode with the vibration, so bad, that you just have to stop to gather your thoughts and your hearing, and when you stop the silence is complete, no noise! But fantastic people, fantastic scenery and the most amazing star lit sky’s that I will never forget. It’s no holiday but is probably our trip of a lifetime.
Sorry, forgot to mention water. The locals in the country fill their containers from a lorry that comes round or they meet in the local town. I know it sounds a bit crazy but we always bought filtered water in sealed containers (usually 5 or 10 ltr’s) usually 5 or 6 at a time in any major town we passed through. We are also fitted with a 3 stage filter that removes particles, bacteria and algae, and so far we have had no problems. I am taking the van to CamperMart in Telford (indoor arena) on 1-2 Feb so if anybody else is going, come and have a chat.