Tag Archives: Truck technical

New Map, New Brakes!

Look, look, looook……. a new map of all our favourite bits of South America!  Zoom in, scroll around, click on the links!  If you’re itching to find out how we came to have such a fab new South America highlights map on our website, and how Cuthbert came to have such beautiful new brakes… read on below 🙂


New Brakes and More Parts

fitting new brakes

New brakes surgery in the campsite work-shop

Okay… we know… it’s been a bit quiet on the blog front recently. We’ve been holed-up in Medellin, Colombia for a whole month now. Regulars may recall that over two months ago  we ordered some spare parts from Iveco for Cuthbert maintenance. Well… the parts arrived in Medellin two weeks late, but at reasonable prices – the same as we would have paid in Europe with no shipping or import fees added. Can’t complain!

Down-town Medellin workshop

Down-town workshop

At a great campsite of Al Bosque just outside Medellin, Marcus cracked-on with the truck maintenance, so Cuthbert is now the proud owner of new front and rear brakes (discs, pads, drums and shoes), new universal joints in the front axle, new front shock-absorbers, new bushes in the rear anti-roll bar and a new aircon condenser. Phew!  The work was relatively straight-forward (well… straight-forward if you know about that kind of stuff 🙂 ) but there were a few of the old bits that refused to come apart. Our 4 ton jack/press couldn’t press the hub from the wheel bearing. So we borrowed a 10 ton jack/press from another overlander, but that wasn’t up to the task either. We ended up spending three days schlepping swivel-hubs and nefarious truck parts by bus and taxi to a workshop down-town Medellin; a 100 ton press finally did the trick!

New Map and More Time

Meanwhile… there’s only so much shopping and sight-seeing to be done in Medellin… so I did a bit of messing around on our website and found a WordPress plug-in to create this rather stylish new map. Given my limited IT skills, I’m rather proud of this!  It has icons, links, photos, videos and all-sorts!!  Please have a zoom in, scroll around, click on the links and let us know what you think… always room for improvement 🙂  (credit for the snazzy little icon designs goes to Maps Icons Collection, https://mapicons.mapsmarker.com).

What else? Oh yes… we also used our time in Medellin to extend our entry-permits and the vehicle temporary import permit (TIP).  Colombia gave us 90 days on arrival which has almost expired, so now with the extension have can stay another 90 days. The personal permits were pretty quick and easy (once we had mastered the compulsory on-line application process), but the TIP took a whole week to arrange. Good job we weren’t in a hurry!

Anyway… now that we have almost become permanent residents of the Al Bosque campsite and familiar faces in the local hostelry, it’s time to move on. Just got to decide where to go now…

Suriname time-out

Suriname RiverTeeeny update… After the excitement of French Guiana with turtles and rockets, we’ve been parked up for a while, doing not a lot, chilling-out by the river in Suriname with a different type of traveller! These guys are taking some time out from sailing around the world. Yup… across the high seas in those little boats. Makes overlanding look a bit tame by comparison! If you want to see some awesome video diaries of their life on the ocean waves, see www.seachangelog.com.

Arduino Due projectMarcus has been doing a bit of geekery… building and programming a computer system to replace the Iveco computer controlling  Cuthbert’s diff-locks (Afam computer  replacement). Any brain-boxes out there who can work out the square-root of a jar of pickles might find the write-up interesting 🙂

Click on the picture for link to page.

Heading off for a week of jungle-exploring. If we don’t get eaten by a caiman, there might be an  interesting update soon 🙂

Link to next blog: Suriname: 21st Century Jungle    Link to full South America Blog


Preparing Cuthbert for South America

After a year of operating Cuthbert in Africa we can say (at the risk of inflating his ego 🙂 ) that he really is a great truck and has exceeded our expectations in many respects. But even with Cuthbert’s level of greatness there is always scope for a few ‘technical tweaks’ to add ‘the icing on the cake’. We are now preparing Cuthbert for his next expedition to South America in September.  So what’s being done?

Brakes – installing an electro retarder. Like many other Iveco Daily 4×4 users we have spoken to, we have been disappointed with the brakes.  The problems are not significant with general driving around flat and low-hilly areas where only minimal braking is required, but the weaknesses become apparent on descents of long, steep mountain roads. So far we have had a couple of ‘hold-your-breath’ moments (in Lichtenstein in the Alps and in Lesotho, Africa), and as we are heading to the Andes later this year, we though we had better get this sorted. If you know or care what an ‘electro-retarder’ is, click here to read more.

Extending the range – extra fuel tank. Cuthbert currently has a total fuel capacity of 240 litres and a range of around 1,600 km/1,000 miles. So far so good. But from our research we’ve discovered two potentially limiting factors in South and Central America: first, between Panama and Mexico there is only very high sulphur diesel available – not good with Cuthbert’s Euro 5 engine. Secondly, due to government bureaucracy, it can be difficult for foreigners to obtain fuel of any quality in Bolivia.  With Cuthbert’s new additional fuel tank, he will have a total fuel capacity of 400 litres, giving a range of around 2,630 km/1,630 miles to get us through the ‘trouble spots’ without needing to refuel! Impressive, huh?  Click here for the detail on how we squeezed the extra capacity into Cuthbert.

Cooling the fuel. It seems that under certain driving conditions, the diesel in Cuthbert’s tanks can get a bit too toasty. Even the least technical amongst us could hazard a guess that the words ‘over-heating‘ and ‘diesel‘ are an undesirable combination for a vehicle. Click here for the solution sported by the ‘new, improved’ Cuthbert.

Phew!  And as if all this isn’t enough excitement… Cuthbert is also sporting a new Multi-voltage Battery Charger (click here for more info) and a Gearbox temperature monitor (click here for a clue as to why…).

See Modifications and Repairs for a list of all Cuthbert’s other upgrades that we have fitted.

Tom Sheppard’s VDEG

VDEGReaders of the Truck and Kit section of our website will have seen that we carried out some extensive research before choosing our vehicle and embarking on our Africa trip. One of the books that we found most informative and helpful, and which we highly commend to anyone planning overland travel in any kind of vehicle, is Tom Sheppard’s VDEG (‘Vehicle Dependent Expedition Guide’), published by Desert Winds.

Tom is one of the leading explorers and over-landing legends of our time and has accumulated more than 100,000 desert and over-landing miles over the years.  His travels such as leading the first coast-to-coast crossing of the Sahara (Atlantic to the Red Sea – for which he gained a Royal Geographical Society award) and his outstanding books on his extensive explorations of Algeria, have both informed us and helped to inspire us for our far less intrepid travels around Africa and beyond.

We are delighted and honoured that Tom has chosen to feature Cuthbert in the new 4th Edition of his VDEG book, together with some extracts from the technical sections of our ‘Tucks’ Truck’ website.

Full details of Tom’s VDEG 4th Edition can be found at: http://www.desertwinds.co.uk/expedition_guide.html