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Trans-Africa in a 200 Series Land Cruiser, The Build

We find some fascinating stories within the pages of the Expedition Portal forums. This piece in particular captivated our attention for weeks and we felt it needed to be showcased on the Expedition Portal front page. Swiss adventurer Stefan, known on the forums as 4x4tripping, completed an ambitious vehicle build and with his partner, put that build to the test with a two month expedition through Africa. It’s an inspirational journey from the first stages of the planning to the recap of the trip. As Stefan is quick to point out, it all began with the truck.

The Build

Starting with a 200 Series Toyota Land Cruiser, Stefan set out to build an overland platform with a mix of modifications designed to increase offroad capability as well as add the necessary creature comforts needed for extended travel. Each modification was added with a great deal of thought, and executed with exacting precision. The base platform is impressive on its own. Fitted with a 4.5-liter twin turbo V8 diesel, the 200 Series offers almost 300 hp and excellent fuel efficiency. A hydraulic suspension system provides variable ride height, and a full compliment of traction controls gives the truck sure footing on the most challenging terrain. Stefan bolstered the truck’s abilities offroad with the addition of 33″ mud terrain tires, an additional fuel tank, locking differentials, sand ladders, a winch, snorkel, roof rack, and ground anchor. He didn’t skip many details. He even went so far as to include a fuel prefilter to deal with the dirty diesel frequently encountered in Africa. 

 

Stefan wanted their Land Cruiser to serve as their sleeping quarters. There is ample room for two plus all of the additional equipment required for a long journey.

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Dual fridge/freezers are not a common sight, but it makes perfect sense.

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The lightweight drawer system Stefan installed included locking handles for added security. Careful attention was given to overall vehicle weight by using light materials.

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The water tank was placed in the center of the vehicle for optimal balance. A heating element and pump delivers hot water on demand.

 

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Power was provided by an auxiliary battery management system. Few details were overlooked.As is customary for such an ambitious build, Stefan set out to test the modifications as often as possible prior to their trip. Some of those testing sessions proved to be quite arduous, but that’s the best way to get to know a new truck.

 

Testing

As is customary for such an ambitious build, Stefan set out to test the modifications as often as possible prior to their trip. Some of those testing sessions proved to be quite arduous, but that’s the best way to get to know a new truck.

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The Journey Begins

The build and testing phase complete, the only thing left to do was load the Land Cruiser on the Ferry in Barcelona and let the adventure begin.

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Stay tuned for the second half of Stefan’s adventure!

Christophe Noel is a journalist from Prescott, Arizona. Born into a family of backcountry enthusiasts, Christophe grew up backpacking the mountains and deserts of the American West. An avid cyclist and bikepacker, he also has a passion for motorcycles, travel, food and overlanding.

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