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Generation 4-1 Pajero NS Model 2006 - 2009

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Old 15-05-18
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kiwi1973 kiwi1973 is offline
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Default 2019 Siberia and Central Asia overland thread

In a year from now my family of five, all things going to plan, should be unpacking the Shogun from a container at the East Russian port of Vladivostok, from where we will commence our predominantly offroad journey back to Europe. Before then there is much to do to prepare the vehicle, arrange visas, documentation and generally plan out the trip details. We are currently still in New Zealand, so the Shogun will have to be shipped from here to Russia in good time.

And with all this in mind I thought I'd put up a thread now that I will update from time to time with progress on our preparations. This will also be the thread that I will update with trip reports and photos during the actual trip, or at least post links to a blog that we'll be updating regularly.

The initial plan for the route looks a bit like this:



This adds up to over 21,000 km's as far as Istanbul, Turkey on Google Maps, but hopefully it may actually be a bit less to Istanbul, mainly because the route shown above includes driving the 'Road of Bones' through the Siberian wilderness twice, whereas actually I have a shipping agent currently researching whether we can ship the car one way between Magadan and Vladivostok.

We'll spend some time in Mongolia, as we wish to spend time touring there and visiting such places as the Gobi Desert. Mongolia is an interesting destination - only roads in the capital of Ulaanbator and main routes to there will be paved. Most of the country is just covered in hundreds of dirt tracks making 4wd essential. In the dry they're dirt tracks, but after rains it will turn into mud all the way. I've been watching plenty of videos on YouTube of various 4wd and adventure bike expeditions across Mongolia and I don't think there will be anything to challenge a Pajero with mud tyres, but I totally misunderstood how tough those motorcycle adventurers have it when a dirt track turns to mud - they're constantly falling off and having to lift their heavy bikes back upright. By the end of a day those riders are soaked and thoroughly exhausted. We 4wd'ers have it so easy by comparison!

From Mongolia into Kazahkstan, then into Kyrgyzstan (where most of the country is at high altitude) and Tajikistan. We will likely be following the rough Pamir Highway, an old silk route, with mountain passes on the route as high as 4,655 metres - I wonder how the Pajero will perform at that sort of altitude. Then some pretty extensive touring around Uzbekistan. Our primary plan is to then enter Turkmenistan to get to a port on the Caspian Sea and try our luck finding a freight ship that will take us all across to Azerbaijan. However, Turkmenistan is still said to be one of the more difficult countries to be permitted entry to. We could also consider reaching Azerbaijan via Iran. We wish to go up to Georgia anyway, as it looks like it could really be one of the highlights of the trip, but we will need to go that route to get safely to Armenia anyway, as there is war along the border between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Our trip won't actually be ending in Istanbul, I've just shown it to there for now because we've been as far as Istanbul previously on our previous European trips and will be back in familiar territory when we get that far. Basically after Istanbul we expect to do further travels in Europe, up as far as Lithuania and Latvia through to Moscow, have a white Christmas with extended family in rural Southern France, and very likely a 3rd offroad tour of Morocco (it will be warm south of the Atlas mountains in the Northern Hemisphere winter) - after which I might consider myself sufficiently familiar with offroading in Morocco to write a book and offroad guide to 4wd touring Morocco.

Vehicle

I have been recently considering whether the Shogun/Pajero is the vehicle I should be taking for this trip, mainly from the angle that the kids are getting bigger and space is getting increasingly tight, especially given I carry quite a lot of spares and tools on a trip like this. With this in mind I have had a look at some of the new double cab utes, and even the Landcruiser range. Triton is a bit small for a family of 5. Ranger looks good, but I don't think I would trust its reliability on a remote expedition like this. And so I thought surely the new Hilux would be worth a look - roomy enough and the Toyota name, but my research suggests there have been more reliability issues with the new Hilux than I would have expected and generally feedback from new Hilux owners is considerably lower than I would have expected. Using www.productreview.com.au as a resource it's rare to find a vehicle so highly rated by owners (the people who ultimately know much more about their vehicles in real use than motoring journalists) as the Pajero. The Pajero (and now Pajero Sport) have vastly superior owner feedback than any of the new double cab utes. The only near rival with good feedback is the Prado.

And so the Pajero/Shogun it is, which is the practical choice given the vehicle is so extensively set up, I have many spares and I know it back to front and can fix most things myself. However, I have just recently made a few modifications to address the above-mentioned internal storage capacity issue inside the car. When I first got the Shogun I built a set of storage drawers and frig slide, which I thought was brilliant and posted photos of on this forum, mainly because I'd never built anything like that and felt a sense of pride over my developing DIY skills. (Seriously, back then I didn't even initially know how to use the circular saw I bought to cut up the plywood!) But six years on and it is clear that my original design failed to eek out every last square inch of available space - and whilst it didn't matter then, it does now. So I removed the unit, stripped it back down to bare wood and rebuilt it a little bit differently this time around. The main change has been to convert any remaining shelves to drawers, each as long as possible, taking account of the tapered shape of the back side of the rear seats. Bottom drawer is on 125kg slides and is 900mm long, the middle drawer is 800mm and top drawer 700mm.



In this next photo you can see that the entire unit is like a complete module that connects to heavy duty wiring in the car via an Anderson connector. The 120a/h deep cycle battery has been moved from its original position to make way for the now 900mm deep bottom drawer. So the battery now sits on a custom welded bracket/platform as shown, which was previously unutilised space.



In the photo above you can see a water filter below the DC-DC charger - it feeds a tap mounted on side panels not shown in the photos. The cavity below the unit contains two electric pumps and a 43 litre water tank, all as before.

The other aspect to maximising the Shogun's storage capacity will be to upgrade my 1.8m long steel mesh basket to something 2M to 2.2M in length. I'll also finally replace the roof rails with a track mount system.

Otherwise the Shogun is all ready to go. I recently fitted a front E-Locker, which is something I wanted not only for a general capability improvement, but equally to ensure I always have a some form of traction aid available in the event the traction control system goes down. I intend to tour with the existing still fairly new set of 32" STT Pro's.

How can we do this

In case anyone wonders how we do trips like this with a young family, which we're expecting will take a year, here's how. Until now only one of the kids has been school age, although now that my eldest daughter recently turned 5 we have two of school age. It is fortunate that we have complimentary skills - my partner Sylwia is a primary school teacher and attends to all things education when we travel. And it seems to work well - my 9 year old son is at the top of his class here in NZ and measures in tests nearly a year ahead of his age academically. As for how we afford this, I had a background in corporate finance in London. These days I generate an income online - and I can do what I do from anywhere in the world with an internet connection, in just a few hours a week. So I'm not tied to any location to earn my salary. We'll need to get in from the wild's regularly to find internet - but it won't be difficult (even in the Moroccan desert we found a place with a reliable satellite internet hookup!). I am very grateful to have this freedom - if I followed the normal path and had to wait until retirement to contemplate trips like this one I might not be fit or healthy enough by then - who knows!? I see the purpose of life as having experiences.

One final thing - does anyone want to join us, even just on a part of the trip? I realise for most this is not a realistic question, but if anyone out there in the Pajeroclub has contemplated something like this but been afraid to go it alone..... It is a bit scary going these sorts of places alone, as at least in the Aussie Outback you'll be able to converse in English with anyone you might need assistance from - not so in Siberia etc. I would have been out of my comfort zone doing this trip a few years ago, but we've gotten here from doing the other trips successfully. I see there is now a NZ company offering tag-along trips across Russia/Asia, but they're charging about $80,000! I find this staggering, as participants still have to provide and ship their own 4wd and cover all running costs.

That's more than enough for this already lengthy first post, but for anyone not familiar with our previous international expeditions using our Gen 4 Shogun you could have a look here, which has many photos that I still treasure:

https://www2.pajeroclub.com.au/forum...ad.php?t=43395
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2007 Shogun 3.2DID. UK Diamond Spec. Harrop Eaton front E-locker. MCC Bullbar. Runva 11XP winch. 17" Dotz rims with 32" STT Pro. Koni HT RAID 90 series with +2" EHD Lovells springs. ASFIR protection plates for engine & transmission. DIY steel rocksliders. LRA 81 litre auxiliary fuel tank. Waeco CFX-40. Home made drawers & fridge slide. Dual power - 120a/h AGM with CTEK DC-DC. LED lighting. 43 litre water tank with two electric pumps - one for tap (via filter) & one via heat exchanger.

Last edited by kiwi1973; 15-05-18 at 11:22 AM.
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Old 15-05-18
craka craka is offline
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Wow,

I'd be lying if I wasn't slightly envious. Awesome position to be in. Can I ask without offending what sort of cost is involved just in freighting over the pajero?

Sounds like it going to be an excellent experience.
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NS SWB X 3.2DiD - Factory locker, Hella spotties, GME UHF, roof racks otherwise stock as a rock.

Retired: 1991 NH SWB 3.0L V6 5sp Manual, Mickey Thompson ATZs, GME UHF TX3200.
Wanting: Rocksliders, 2" lift, snorkel or perhaps I should wait and purchase a NS swb in 12months time.
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Old 15-05-18
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kiwi1973 kiwi1973 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craka View Post
Wow,

I'd be lying if I wasn't slightly envious. Awesome position to be in. Can I ask without offending what sort of cost is involved just in freighting over the pajero?

Sounds like it going to be an excellent experience.
I've just had an up to date quote of NZ$5,770, one way to Vladivostok, which includes 20ft container, destination port charges and unloading, but excludes any Russian inspection or customs charges.

My research so far indicates that Russian customs can charge import taxes of more than 100% of the original value of the vehicle in some cases. But this shouldn't apply to us, as I've found some reasonably clear guidance in English that indicates a vehicle registered in a foreign country may enter Russia for up to a year exempt from taxes. I've also read that port charges can reflect more the mood of the Russian official on the day than their rule book. But I think we'll be ok.
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2007 Shogun 3.2DID. UK Diamond Spec. Harrop Eaton front E-locker. MCC Bullbar. Runva 11XP winch. 17" Dotz rims with 32" STT Pro. Koni HT RAID 90 series with +2" EHD Lovells springs. ASFIR protection plates for engine & transmission. DIY steel rocksliders. LRA 81 litre auxiliary fuel tank. Waeco CFX-40. Home made drawers & fridge slide. Dual power - 120a/h AGM with CTEK DC-DC. LED lighting. 43 litre water tank with two electric pumps - one for tap (via filter) & one via heat exchanger.
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Old 15-05-18
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kiwi1973 kiwi1973 is offline
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I should add to the above that it costs quite a bit for a family of five to fly internationally, so our trip begins with some large upfront costs. While the car is on the water between NZ and Russia we'll travel overland though Vietnam, Cambodia, Philippines and China. But we're still working on pricing a budget for the part of the trip before we meet up with the car in Russia.

But... once we meet up with the car costs should be modest from there on. We camp. And in these countries there mostly aren't campgrounds, you just camp wild, which is no cost. Also diesel is often about half the price paid in Aussie, UK, NZ etc. So for the most part it's food and cheap diesel (though a fair bit of it).

I've been testing a Darche Air Volution AT6 and the plan is to take this, which I feel is a robust quality tent. I'm still working out how we'll cook. I don't intend to take gas bottle and gas cooker as there may be all sorts of bottle incompatibility issues, which we've encountered previously. So I may get a Coleman dual fuel stove that can run on petrol.
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2007 Shogun 3.2DID. UK Diamond Spec. Harrop Eaton front E-locker. MCC Bullbar. Runva 11XP winch. 17" Dotz rims with 32" STT Pro. Koni HT RAID 90 series with +2" EHD Lovells springs. ASFIR protection plates for engine & transmission. DIY steel rocksliders. LRA 81 litre auxiliary fuel tank. Waeco CFX-40. Home made drawers & fridge slide. Dual power - 120a/h AGM with CTEK DC-DC. LED lighting. 43 litre water tank with two electric pumps - one for tap (via filter) & one via heat exchanger.

Last edited by kiwi1973; 15-05-18 at 02:54 PM.
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Old 15-05-18
craka craka is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwi1973 View Post
I've just had an up to date quote of NZ$5,770, one way to Vladivostok, which includes 20ft container, destination port charges and unloading, but excludes any Russian inspection or customs charges.

My research so far indicates that Russian customs can charge import taxes of more than 100% of the original value of the vehicle in some cases. But this shouldn't apply to us, as I've found some reasonably clear guidance in English that indicates a vehicle registered in a foreign country may enter Russia for up to a year exempt from taxes. I've also read that port charges can reflect more the mood of the Russian official on the day than their rule book. But I think we'll be ok.
Ouch but to be honest less than what I thought it may have been.
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NS SWB X 3.2DiD - Factory locker, Hella spotties, GME UHF, roof racks otherwise stock as a rock.

Retired: 1991 NH SWB 3.0L V6 5sp Manual, Mickey Thompson ATZs, GME UHF TX3200.
Wanting: Rocksliders, 2" lift, snorkel or perhaps I should wait and purchase a NS swb in 12months time.
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Old 15-05-18
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Thats going to be epic, If I win a big lotto a mate and I are in for sure...

May I suggest (if not already planned) a secondary fuel filter.
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Last edited by Phil; 15-05-18 at 09:07 PM.
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Old 15-05-18
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Quote:
One final thing - does anyone want to join us, even just on a part of the trip?
Yes! As certain as I would love to do a trip like this I am certain life circumstances won't permit it particularly within a year

With regards to fuel have you heard of a product called "Mr Funnel"? It would be another layer of defence against contaminated fuel.
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Old 16-05-18
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kiwi1973 kiwi1973 is offline
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Yes I've heard of Mr Funnel and will likely take one of those. I will also be installing a Donaldson secondary fuel filter with water trap. Some of you will know from another thread that I only recently got my Shogun back from a full fuel injection rebuild that was necessitated due to getting contaminated fuel. So I'm particularly sensitive to fuel quality issues and recognise this is an issue likely to be compounded by some of the locations we will be going through. Consequently I plan to install an auxiliary fuel tank - both for extension of touring range in remote stages of the trip, but also to be able to drive on by when the only fuel station in a village looks risky.

The only auxillary tank that I'm aware I can get in NZ is the one made by Outback Accessories. Does anyone have any feedback on this brand? To my current knowledge they're a quality brand.

I plan to get the 80 litre tank and realise that in order to install it I will have to remove the rear air conditioning unit.

This will essentially double my touring range. I.e. you'd never want to go down lower than say 8 litres remaining in the main tank, so 80l useable in the main tank plus 80l in the auxillary. Should give us over 1,000km range in normal to mixed conditions.
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2007 Shogun 3.2DID. UK Diamond Spec. Harrop Eaton front E-locker. MCC Bullbar. Runva 11XP winch. 17" Dotz rims with 32" STT Pro. Koni HT RAID 90 series with +2" EHD Lovells springs. ASFIR protection plates for engine & transmission. DIY steel rocksliders. LRA 81 litre auxiliary fuel tank. Waeco CFX-40. Home made drawers & fridge slide. Dual power - 120a/h AGM with CTEK DC-DC. LED lighting. 43 litre water tank with two electric pumps - one for tap (via filter) & one via heat exchanger.
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Old 16-05-18
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Jealous.

Watching with interest.
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Project: NJ SWB. 285/75R16 ST Maxx, 2" OME suspension, 2" body lift, ARB 110, 120l tank, bullbar, scratches, no major dents. Fully engineered in SA. NW DiD & auto in place - a long way to go....
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Old 17-05-18
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This photo nicely sums up my concerns about the risks of fuel contamination on parts of this trip. In remote parts of Siberia something like this will be the only fuel station for 100's of km's around.



I'm currently researching and making a list of known fuel stations, such as the one pictured above. Our touring range isn't really going to be an issue since most vehicles on this route won't have the twin fuel tanks that we are going to have, but equally I can't just use that as an excuse to drive on by fuel stations like the one pictured, as the next one will likely be similar.

So (1) filter the diesel with a Mr Funnel, (2) any remaining water should be taken care of by the secondary filter with water trap, (3) add a diesel lubricity enhancer (such as CRD Fuel Enhancer by Cost Effective Maintenance), (4) cross fingers for luck.

Here's another that looks welcoming, though I don't see any bucket of water and brush to clean the windscreen.



When we're near more established cities we'll likely have access to fuel stations of similar quality to Europe/Australasia standards, so it's just the ones in remote legs of our journey that are somewhat worrying.
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2007 Shogun 3.2DID. UK Diamond Spec. Harrop Eaton front E-locker. MCC Bullbar. Runva 11XP winch. 17" Dotz rims with 32" STT Pro. Koni HT RAID 90 series with +2" EHD Lovells springs. ASFIR protection plates for engine & transmission. DIY steel rocksliders. LRA 81 litre auxiliary fuel tank. Waeco CFX-40. Home made drawers & fridge slide. Dual power - 120a/h AGM with CTEK DC-DC. LED lighting. 43 litre water tank with two electric pumps - one for tap (via filter) & one via heat exchanger.

Last edited by kiwi1973; 17-05-18 at 12:04 PM.
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