Anatomy of an overland vehicle

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This page is an amalgamation of the modifications we made to Maggie for our 2016 journey through eastern and southern Africa.

To read more details about the modifications made, including where and with whom we got the work done, read the articles below:

Before: Maggie pre-2016

These images of Maggie are taken from a previous owner Martin Solms who wrote this about Maggie in 2005.


After: the new and improved Maggie

New Interior Storage

In January 2016, we added some mounted drawers, courtesy of Hi Range Safari City in Gaborone, Botswana. These drawers were ordered for Maggie from Front Runner, with four small ammo boxes that slide out for easy access. These boxes will be used to store and organise tools and cooking equipment.


Body work

In February and March 2016, we got some body work done on Maggie to (finally) fix some damage caused by a road accident in Sierra Leone, courtesy of British 4×4 in Pretoria, South Africa.

Before

Maggie’s passenger side panel took a beating after a truck took a u-turn straight into her, denting and scraping the side panel from the front all the way to the rear. The door had to be replaced, but with a used door that had definitely seen better days!

After

We purchased a second hand door in great condition in Botswana – the previous door installed after the accident in Sierra Leone was in less than working condition after a few years!

The panel beaters at British 4×4 were able to save the side panel by rebuilding it, and riveting it to the interior panel for stability. They also fixed the side lockers and gave the whole passenger side a new paint job – of course preserving Maggie’s awesome African artwork.

Now the only problem is that the passenger side is in better condition than the driver’s side! But we’re sure that after our journey is complete, both sides will be looking the same again 🙂


Our new bedroom: the Howling Moon Stargazer

There was no question in our minds that we wanted a new roof top tent for Maggie. Maggie’s previous roof tent, an Ezi Awn, was about 15 years old and had reached the end of its life. Eventually, holes had developed in the canvas, and the cover had worn away, which meant that water had gotten in the tent and caused a considerable amount of mould and rotting.

There are many companies to choose from when it comes to selecting a roof tent in South Africa.  Marilu and I had researched several different options. At first, we had flirted with getting an electric ‘BunduTop’ roof tent from Bundutec, but ultimately decided that it was too risky of a choice. If the electrics were to fail, then we might struggle opening or closing the tent or to find someplace along the way to get it repaired. The tent was also twice the price of most others on the market, and we were told that there was a 2 week waiting list for installation.

We also looked into options from Ezi Awn, as this tent had lasted a good 15 years and we knew the quality of the tents.

But, in the end, we were ultimately won over by the Howling Moon Stargazer Delux 1.4, for many reasons. Most importantly, the the tent has many window openings, including two on the roof, which gives us access to starry nights in the breezy, cool comfort of our bed. But also, we were impressed with the quality of its construction and with the innovative design of the tent itself.


Dual Battery System

Replacing Maggie’s dual battery system was important to us, because it allows us to run our Engel 40L Fridge in the back of Maggie and to charge our various devices, without draining Maggie’s main battery.

British 4×4 installed a power inverter just behind the passenger seat. This allows us to charge laptops and other electronic devices while we are on the move.  So far we have found it very useful – although lesson learnt, we should have chose one with a plug socket that meets most of our needs.  The one we chose happens to have a European plug and so requires an adapter to be used every time!


Let there be light: our new spotlight bar

We decided to install a new spotlight bar for Maggie, as her headlights and spotlights are not very bright. The spotlight will help us on occasions when we need to drive at night. We have already tested this out and found it really useful when trying to find a camping spot in the dark!


Replacing the wooden board on the roof rack

The previous wooden board had been wearing away and had a number of cracks that were beginning to compromise its stability. With a roof top tent, we need to stand on the roof rack often. So, we decided to replace this, and to simplify what we stored on the roof. Now we keep just the roof tent, a spare wheel, a box with recovery gear (tow ropes, etc) and sand ladders. We are really happy with the refreshed look, which we think has removed a lot of excess weight from the top, making her a safer and more fuel-efficient drive.


New tyres: BF Goodrich All Terrains

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BF Goodrich All Terrain Tyres

We decided to replace our rather worn Dunlops with a new set of BF Goodrich All Terrain tyres.  They come at a hefty price, but we are hoping (with some luck) that we limit the amount of punctures we encounter over the next year. So far, we are really impressed with the quality of the tyre, especially when driving in rocky, sandy and muddy conditions!


Other modifications

 

2 Responses

  1. Iwe says:

    I love this. When finished I will have to steal this way of presenting my car. Really well done! Keep up the good work.

    Greetings,

    Iwe

  2. Noel says:

    Thanks Iwe, we look forward to hearing about your adventures driving to Mongolia (Jealous!)

    Noel

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