Microexpeditions

 Real world adventures 





Our Adventures

By Raymond Perry 01 Oct, 2017
The steering box on The Frankenwagen had been clonking on the odd occasion since we'd had him and the extreme off road driving in Iceland and the long drive back meant that it had become very noisy. Last weekend we had been at the Adventure Overland show in Stratford-On-Avon and before that, Busfest at Malvern. We couldn't put it off any longer.
        
By Raymond Perry 04 Sep, 2017
Today we were going to tackle the 2nd section of the F910. This has quite a reputation and we were slightly nervous about tackling it as even the Frankenwagen only has 33" tyres and we had limited experience of driving off road. The sign on the track got us worried to say the least.
We spoke to the ranger about the 'new lava' section near Holuraun about 25KM away and we set off. This entire section was deep sand and was pretty straightforward requiring 4wd. 
The original road had been covered with Lava in the eruption of 2014 and you can see where this happened, the new track venturing to the right.   Apparently the road was guarded by armed police for some time after this as there were quite a few Icelandic people visiting to video themselves next to the Lava flows. 
Some of the videos on you-tube look pretty exciting.

By Raymond Perry 08 Aug, 2017
Today we planned to drive the F 910 all the way to Askja. This is a volcano with a mountain lake and a sulphurous hot spring in a crater. The area is in the Highlands and also has a mountain campsite. We'd chatted to an Icelandic chap who gave some advice about tyre pressures and the route and we were  looking forward to a real off road driving challenge. 
Technically these tracks are in fact roads and we are not really off roading at all, but even the locals say they're tough going. 

By Raymond Perry 05 Aug, 2017
So finally we have arrived!!
We have been planning this trip for some time and travelled via a 2 day ferry from Hirtshals, Denmark. This in itself was a 20 hour drive from home and an adventure on its own.
Some background info for anyone considering bringing a vehicle to Iceland: There are 2 ways of doing this. You can put it in a container or a flat rack via a commercial shipping company Emskip which leaves from Scotland and then fly out and collect it. This option saves the long drive in Europe, but you'll still need to get it up to Scotland.
If  like us,  you choose the ferry option,  it is a 2 day cruise with cabins provided. There's a couple of restaurant options, a cinema, pool, gym and hot tubs. There is also an option when booking, to stop over at the Faroe Islands. 
Our crossing was pretty flat and the weather was great, having said that, it was sure a great relief to drive off it!

 
By Raymond Perry 15 May, 2017
After what seems like an eternity, we've finally found the time and gathered together all the parts we needed to replace the CV joints  and replace any worn wheel bearings on the front axle.
The worn CV joint was identified by Simon at Brickwerks in January and it was important that this was addressed before we hit the brutal Icelandic F roads and fords in the summer. I've read quite a few blog posts about collapsed wheel bearings, tow trucks and expensive repair bills so a bit of preventative maintenance would be a sensible idea.
I'd managed to track down a pair of joints with help from a very kind chap called Josef in Austria and Brickwerks were able to source some boots from GKN, bearings were stock items from SKF.  
Fortunately our good friend David had agreed to help and called in a favour from Sid at M-Tech to use one of the lifts at his workshop.
What follows is essentially a photo based write up of 'how to change a CV joint/boot on a 4x4 LT'  as promised.
This is also useful information if you are replacing a  brake disc or a wheel bearing.
By Raymond Perry 31 Mar, 2017
So here it is at last, my handmade aluminium super lightweight CCM GP450.
I first saw one of these at the Overland show in Stratford last September. I had previously posted this shot of the bike belonging to the bike's designer, Chris Ratcliffe.
 

By Raymond Perry 20 Mar, 2017
The standard fuel tank on the Frankenwagen holds a paltry 70 Litres which only allows a range of about 280 miles max. In reality, by 175 miles we start to think about topping up.  On a recent trip to Denmark, we passed dozens of them and typically when we needed to stop, there weren't any. We needed to do something about this.
Luckily, the parts van in Martin's unit had more to give and we were able to recycle a rare 110 Litre tank. These were an option from VW when new and we were pleasantly surprised to find it when we were last robbing parts from the van.
Removing it was interesting as it was full to the top with diesel.

By Raymond Perry 16 Mar, 2017
So after our visit to Brickwerks in January, it may seem that things have been quiet. Behind the scenes there has been much emailing and researching for parts and planning upgrades etc.
I've picked the bike up too and haven't been able to write anything about that or even ride the thing as we've been so busy.
There is an issue with one of the CV joints and since these are pretty rare vehicles, getting spares has been interesting!
The joint is badly worn and could fail at any point, so needs sorting pronto. 
Some of you may remember that we have some spares squirrelled away in Martin's unit on the Danish border and we recently completed the 1600 mile round trip in a Hire van to collect our spare front axle, a rear axle for Martin and 2 long range fuel tanks.
Luckily our friend Jan was on hand and with fellow T3 enthusiast Marcus, was able to use the forklift to load the van for us.
We were going to take the CV joints off this, but as ever, there's always a plan B!
I had posted a parts request on a forum and amazingly, a very kind Austrian chap called Josef, made an impossible find and secured a pair that had been gathering dust in a parts store.



By Raymond Perry 10 Jan, 2017
The summer seems a long way off at the moment, especially with reports of snow storms hitting the UK soon. 
When it comes to preparing for trips and getting those jobs done, allowing a bit of extra time can take the pressure off.
We have our Iceland trip looming in July and I knew there were a few niggles with The Frankenwagen. 
The major problem being a nasty noise coming from the front of the van when in 4wd.
So we made the journey north to Brickwerks near Holmfirth, who are a garage well known for having OCD when it comes to getting stuff right. Also a good excuse to check out Michael's minty Golf Country and have a mooch around on the moors.
They did a service and detailed inspection, a few bits to sort on our return in a couple of months giving time to get some of the hard to find parts. 
The noise was quickly diagnosed as a worn CV joint. 
Not a game changer as we have a spare axle on the Danish border tucked away in Marlow's unit.
Another trip to plan then!




By Raymond Perry 12 Dec, 2016
Sitting in the van in a pub carpark in the dark with the windscreen wipers going isn't a good start to any camp, especially a hastily arranged xmas 'do' in the middle of the Surrey Hills.
The default spot we had in mind was off the cards and conversations along " yeah I'm sure you'll get through the green lane this way" were slightly worrying and "I have the tree saw in the back too" was hardly confidence inspiring!
We had met up with Dan and Jed with their families and opted for a quick pint in the pub at Coldharbour which miraculously saw all fears of ensuing fibre glass roof injuries disappear. 

After the pub, we followed Jed with his 1 million watt light bar through the green lane mud and eventually got to a small clearing in the forest.
Awnings were wound out and many beers opened. Despite the grim weather we remained outside, buoyed by the Gin and listening to Dan and Jed's adventure stories. These are great times to get together and share these stories and plan new trips.  


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