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Discussion Starter #1
Ok guys, here's the story..
I'm taking part in the Plymouth-Dakar 'rally' which leaves on Boxing day. It involves driving from England to Senegal (west africa)in a car that musn't be worth more than £200. We're using a 1989 9000i which somebody gave us. The trip is approx 4000 miles long and will take 3 weeks. At one stage the road runs out and we cross the Sahara, driving on sand (obviously!). Now, a heavy front wheel drive car like a 9000 ain't going to be the best in the sand although I think it will be an excellent choice for the vast majority of the trip (We're biased - both my brother and myself drive Aeros :) What precautions / modifications do you think we should be considering to help cope with the desert section, without seriously comprimising the on-road ability? Sensible answers please :)!!

Thanks everyone

Al
 

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Sand is likely to be a major problem- it might be worth fitting a coarse prefilter on the the air intake.

After that, heat build up. If it has it, I'd seriously consider removing the aircon rad.

Flush the cooling system, and run a weak antifreeze mix- sounds like you'll be junking the car anyway so you won't worry too much about internal corrosion. Water is a much better heat conductor than antifreeze.

That'll do for starters- I'm sure other folk will be along with more ideas soon.

Welcome to Saabscene BTW
 

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Al - wow, that's an interesting question to get people thinking

Make sure you come back to us with more info on your website: http://www.team202.co.uk/ Sounds like real fun.

One point I would make is that Saabs were so good in ice, snow and gravel due to their front wheel drive. Would FWD not be more of an asset to you across the Sahara? I suppose it depends on how soft the sand is? Two years ago tomorrow (It was memorable) I was going across the Sahara in a Landrover - the sand was not too soft - in fact there were a couple of normal cars driving across there, too. I'm sure that the terrain will be changeable, though.

Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks Mark, John.

As soon as we have something to show you on the website I'll let you know. I've got a feeling you guys are going to enjoy the picture of our 9000i (The Blue [expletive deleted]!) with its custom roofrack (AK47 proof) which incorperates a cylcops style center mounted spot light!!
I'm dead excited about this trip & I'm very keen to make sure the old girl makes it all the way to Dakar. There's pride at stake here chaps!
This trip is going to be expensive, and it's for charity (Macmillan nurses & Marie Curie Cancer Care). To help ease the cost we are selling sponsorship space on the car, at sensible money of course. Two Stroke to Turbo & Abbott Racing have already sponsored us, can anyone think of any other Saab related businesses that may be interested in this worthy cause? We are due to appear on Carlton TVs 'Pulling Power' and a whole bunch of papers / magazines (including Saab Driver) so there is some pretty good PR to be had I think (unless we expire in a heap at Portsmouth ferry terminal :)

Anyway, nice to join you on the forum.

Cheers,
Al.
 

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apart from keeping really low pressure in your tyres, which i'm sure you already know i cant think of anything. but i'd like to wish you the best of luck sounds like an awsome trip keep us all informed.
 

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Sounds like fun, best of luck chaps....

I pressume you'll be taking shovels and sand mats...

I hope Abbott have offered to make you a sumpguard, I'll think you may need one.....
 

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I don't think any of the UK cars ever had a second radiator cooling fan fitted. It could be worth sticking a second fan on it, even if it's just operated from a dashboard switch.

Fit an oil cooler, if it hasn't already got one.

Keeping the engine cool, relatively, will help prevent a lot of major problems. Driving in soft sand will work the engine hard and you don't have the benefit of speed to keep it cool.
 

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Hi Al, and welcome

I remember reading about the first Plymouth to Dakar and thinking I'd love to give it a go in a Saab - so good luck to you


As for sponsorship, have you asked the nice people at Elkparts ?
 

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Hi guys, (long post warning)

I drove a VW Golf across southern Africa a few years ago, including crossing the Kalahari, and have tried to list some of the things we took. It is hardly comprehensive, but for what it's worth:

Camping gear - Tent, sleeping bag, extra blankets and jackets (in winter), camp-beds (if you find them more comfortable than sleeping on sand), axe, shovel, cooker, water bottles, pots, non-breakable dishes and cups, torches, matches, tin-opener, knife, batteries, bulbs for torches (a good supply), candles, gas lamp (gives lots of light), folding tables and chairs, a large cold-box, masking tape, cello tape, safety-pins, sewing kit, penknife, first-aid kit, buckets and basins, Thermos flask, mosquito coil and insect repellent, sunblock, toilet paper and basic tools.

Water - At least 100 litres, depending on the area’s remoteness. Possibly more.

Petrol - Carry at least 100 to 150 litres of petrol in long-range tanks, if you have them, or in jerry cans (never use plastic containers). If you do not have a long-range tank, use a funnel or hand-pump to put petrol into the tank.

Spares - two spare tyres, spark plugs, jump leads, tow rope and cable, a few litres of oil, insulated wire, electrician's tape, lamp, fire extinguisher, wheel spanner and a complete tool-kit. I would add Sand mats or ladders. If you have to use Sand ladders, attach them to the rear bumper via a long cord so that when you are clear you don’t have to stop again to pick them up. Also a tarpaulin that can be rigged securely to create shade.

General red tape – Check the Foreign Office website, but also contact the British Embassy or High Commission in each country in advance to find out the situation on the ground. Let them know when you are expected and where. If things go pear-shaped they are the ones whose help you will need. They may also be able to tell you about Customs regulations about the importation of vehicles. I found that two countries I planned to visit would not recognize my Zimbabwean insurance policy, and had to buy temporary cover. Keep copies of all car info ie V5, MOT – you never know, it may just get you through a checkpoint. Further to that, take plenty of small denomination US dollars; $1, $5 $10. No-one will ever have any change. Be aware that a border crossing may take 2 or more days. Find out about medical evacuation by air – in Southern Africa we use MARS (Medical Air Rescue Service).

Hope this isn't either stating the obvious or scaring you off. As far as tyre pressures go, we kept 30 psi all round the whole way, unless we got stuck, when we reduced it by at least half. If you can get an old Landy winch fitted you can usually pull yourself out even with no trees if you bury a spare wheel 4-6 foot deep and horizontal with the winch attached. This saved me twice.

Hope this helps. Good luck and have fun.
 

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Fantastic post and mission Alasdair, best of luck fella!


Don't know how relevant this will be but on rally V4s (which can suffer from the heat!) it's a good idea to fit a double-cored rad. A remote oil cooler & higher viscosity oil would be good.

Make sure the heater valve works OK as the heater matrix can provide extra cooling (not good for driver/crew comfort though!).

Didn't see a foot pump on the list of goodies to pack.

Have you thought about relocating the inlet trunking to the air filter to a higher level (top of the engine bay) to avoid sand & water ingestion? Likewise running the exhaust out of the bonnet & over the top in 60s East African Safari-style?!

Final things I can think of to pack are LOTS of gaffer tape (as a teenage roadie I learned you can make/fix anything with it!) and always remember where your towel is
 

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Discussion Starter #15
What a damn fine bunch you all are! I've just scanned your various comments - I'll print them off and go and contemplate :)

Thank you all! I'll keep you posted.

Alasdair

PS I fainted after my Yellow Fever injection, hope that isn't a sign of things to come!
 

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A moderator might want to move my posting to a more appropriate place. But I'd be willing to cough in £10 as sponsorship, and if say we got tenovus (or more) together, then maybe that'd be enough to get a saabscene.com poster on the car?

What say?
 

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Nice idea, Gassy. I'd chip in a few quid, I'm sure.

Why don't you start a new thread in the 'News and Events' forum? I'd say this was definitely an event
 

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I'm not so sure other that think cooling...

It might be an idea to fit the widest M&S type tyres you can find to the front at the least (at 215/50*15 or similar) give you a wider footprint and some ability to most some sand if needed while still giving acceptable traction else where.

Andrew
 

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Hi there, keep the car light, remove all extra weight and get really big front tyres. I think the biggest for our 9000 is 225/60/15, and remember to let the air out.

Good luck, Jón Gunnar
 
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