Partners 4Alpes for the second year in a row, Eric asks us to come this time to participate in the Staff, as a parts supplier and mechanic!
For this super tempting adventure, the idea is mainly to move the spare part after 4L. This Raid taking place on our holidays, it was necessary to combine the spirit family and mechanic / storekeeper. Proposal is made to leave with my faithful ... Camping car Surfwagon Hifly!
Far from being a show car, he is ready to go barouder! Already proven on many road trips, this super reliable truck is not afraid of drops, pebbles or water. Briefly arranged inside, it will be perfect to ensure logistics!
After the agreement of Eric, we begin to prepare the beast to face the Raid that will take place in the Alps from 4 to 10 August 2019!
We will be 4 aboard the Estafette, The boys, Sandrine and myself (Martin). Anthony can not come, having to insure on another event.
The first preparations!
Much of the development (in test) was to resume and finish. Some changes would still be needed, but we will not have time. The main thing is done!
The installation of a secondary battery and a heating Webasto type will be the only "luxuries" on board! The superfluous does not interest us, the various and varied conveniences are already well managed in our regular road trips, without need of heavy installation.
This part of life must be sufficiently well organized to accommodate the part Stock of parts that will ensure repairs on the Raid! So, optimization will be the key word of this preparation!
A 4 in a Estafette, the fact that it is raised roof is a plus! The boys sleep high in their dedicated beds. The Youtube video will offer you a solution if you are looking for ideas :-) We are delighted with this solution!
When you take a truck into the pebbles, everything has to have a place, and everything is well anchored!
The protection of the mechanics!
Since the time I had to work, it now becomes absolutely necessary to protect the engine cantilever front! Already looking for a place to sleep we had some frights and cold sweats when thinking about the position of the crankcase, it is out of the question to leave without a protective plate!
The gearbox does not require special protection. But the main job will focus on the engine oil pan. The manufacture of protection plates now marketed on the site is launched (available here) !
The production of a towing ring (available here) is also launched to provide 4x4 towing assistance in the event of a problem.
The tyres !
Big rider in Estafette, we have already eliminated this issue for our road tires. We now exclusively mount reinforced (C) and 185 80 / R 15C truck tires. For example, the Nankang CW-25 are excellent. But these tires are perfect for the road, what about in the paths of the Alps? Their profile seems insufficient!
So, two cases are to study as well as the logistics that goes with it. On the 4L, the problem is easier to solve because the excellent SG2 profile tires are formidable efficiency and allow road use then ground breaking, slippery ...
But for a ride in 185 15, it's more complicated!
So, the choice is as follows: we will test! Anyway, we have not much choice since we have comparative experience in the field of Estafette!
The Estafette will be paved with M + S Hankook RA-10 M + S tires, well reinforced in 8-fold, and, in case of lack of traction, tires completely delirious and very aggressive, the tires Malatesta Kobra (intended for mounting only at the front)!
Tires with an aggressive profile are very pleasant to use on terrains that require good traction, which the Estafette has thanks to its super short box!
During this test phase, the field was still quite easy, and to convince ourselves of the capabilities of the Estafette, we have been doing a test in more complicated corners!
This video was taken while we took the powder off to test all that! In the rest of our tour, we met some passages much more hard, but all passed brilliantly! Click on the image to be redirected to Youtube!
The studded tires will be stored on the gallery, as well as the breakdown equipment (jack etc ...) so as not to take up space inside the Estafette!
Contrary to what appears the video, the gallery will be reorganized to better focus the weight.
The weak points of the Estafette.
We are not talking about competing with a real 4x4 or TP3. We are interested in exploiting material available on accessible and exciting outings, which change the beaten track. The small challenge to take up here is to have fun playing the adventurers and to join the dream of the arranged truck, of the freedom within pure nature and ... hard !!
The weaknesses of the Estafette are primarily its hub / gimbal assembly in the front! The risk of wheel loss is too great not to be corrected before participation in such a Raid. This car benefits from this new technology, it will also be a very good test for the kits we offer on the site (available here).
Another weak point is its very low lower triangles. The general ground clearance is good, but it is common to feel the lower arms pushing some pebbles into the complicated passages. But by going slowly, we manage to pass without damage.
The exhaust line, and in particular the double silencer line appeared on recent models (the same one that I mounted a few years earlier on my Estafette Hifly to reduce noise) decreases the ground clearance in the center of the vehicle . However, on all the path tests I have done so far, I have never degraded this element.
Being installed on the front wheels gives a strange feeling to driving on the road. On the way, it's more delicate, because the donkey's effect in Estafette is permanent. It is done however once we have passed the fear of the fragility of the oil pan and the reaction of the Estafette on the roads.
Before thinking about more radical solutions to evolve in this discipline, we will use this experience as a starting point to evaluate the capabilities of our dear vehicle!
If a check of all items of the car is provided, no special preparation of planned. This Estafette carries a mechanical fan that has already been proven to handle properly heating situations! The water lines will be changed, the water circuit cleaned, ... in short, general maintenance in short.
The next coming soon!