What Should You Take, and Why?
A safe approach to take is to ensure that you carry enough oil for a complete lubricant change in case of lost oil from any component of the engine or transmission.
For servicing a grease gun is a useful addition, and will extend the life of your bearings and universal joints, which particularly suffer in the heat and dry dusty conditions of the desert.
You should have a very good idea of the fuel consumption of your own vehicle on different types of terrain so that you can ensure you have sufficient range to get you to your next fuel stop with a good reserve to spare.
The checklist below is for most Diesel Land Rover types – exact lubricant specification will vary from model to model, so be sure you know what you need for your vehicle
Fuel & Oil Checklist
- 2×5 litre15W40 Engine Oil
- 1 litre Break/Clutch fluid (DOT4)
- 3 litres of Gearbox Oil
- Transfer box oil
- Differential Oil
- Injector Cleaner
- Grease, with gun
- Silicon grease for locks
- Injector Cleaner
- WD40 – never leave home without it…
Extending Fuel Range
With a standard Land Rover fuel tank holding some 85 litres, and a fully laden vehicle with roof rack consuming about 11 litres/100km on a good road, your maximum range will be approximately 750km, or 470 miles. In sand driving you may need to halve this range, and of course in the desert fuel stops are few and far between.
Extending your fuel range has advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side – apart from going further you can stock up on fuel where it’s cheap, and skip it where it’s not. On the downside you are going to carry far more weight, which will adversely affect your fuel consumption, your suspension and shocks, and may mean you are going to get bogged down more often. Moreover your vehicle may be less stable if you’re carrying your extra fuel on the roof (not to mention the strain on the roof rack and gutters).
The reality is that you will rarely use this extra capacity anyway – mostly you will keep a small reserve for emergencies, and only in extreme situation carry a full fuel load. But as the adage goes, it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
Understand the issues of a lot of weight at the highest point of the vehicle. If you can live with that then ensure the cans are strapped down – ideally using the LR11/LF jerrican securing frame shown here – laden jerricans which move will damage other equipment as well as themselves. Cans can be filled in-situ, but to use them you will either have to manhandle them down from the roof, or siphon fuel down using a hose. The hose will need to live outside of the vehicle unless you like the pervasive smell of diesel – get a dust proof box or bag for the purpose.
If you don’t want to siphon from the jerricans you will need a good strong back and a filler spout that you know actually fits your jerricans – there are variations out there. Avoid ex-MOD cans – as cans get
older or when they are damaged they may lose their internal coating and start rusting into you lovely clean fuel. We offer great deals on new jerricans, and our spouts fit!
You can get funnels for filling with diesel, but in dusty or sandy conditions these are going to encourage contamination. And on the subject of dirty fuel – and there is a lot of it out there – We’d recommend a filter for filling from other people’s drums or jerricans – A bit of wire gauze and fine cloth on a funnel will do the job.
Jerricans are cheap, and flexible in that you can off-load or cross load them as you need to, but for convenience, and a lower centre of gravity, secondary tanks are unarguably a far easier option. We can advise on the types of tank available for your vehicle, as well as costs for supply and installation.
Fuel Tips and Tricks
- Work out the fuel costs and availability of the next country you’re going to visit, and plan accordingly. Turkey boasts fuel that is as expensive as in the UK, but next door in Syria they practically give it away.
- Always fill up at the smartest looking big-name gas station you can see – their tanks may be cleaner.
- Unless you’re sure about availability, never pass a gas station by on less than half a tank.
- Avoid filling from drums and jerricans – the fuel may be contaminated and the jerricans may hold less fuel than you think.
- Keep a rag under your filler cap flap, and use it to clean dust away from the fuel pipe before you fill up.
- Never tilt a jerrican to fill it all the way – the air space allows heat expansion.
- Always carry spare seals for your jerricans.
- Never completely drain your jerricans unless you are sure your fuel is clean.
- Change your fuel filter and drain your sedimenter often in dusty conditions.
- Ethiopian diesel is notoriously bad – use it sparingly!
- Diesel from hot countries may go waxy in cold conditions, and your vehicle will run badly or refuse to start. Diluting diesel with up to 10% petrol can resolve this as a temporary fix (at your own risk!)