The Good , the Bad And the Ugly
The Silk and Bones Tour ( 25 /10/2015 - present )
The rebuilding of the Lizzybus
Gulp , it was bigger than we thought
North America , the Final Frontier !(15th January 2014- 2nd November2014 )
The Final Continent ( 15th Aug 2013 - 15th January 2014) )
South America Adventure (Jan 2013 till 15 Aug 2013 )
The odyssey continues( Feb 2010-Jan 2013)
The first chapter(Aug09-Dec09)
The Good , the Bad And the Ugly

This is our chance to give honest feedback about the choices we made when Lizzybus was being built to give others an opportunity to consider their options. We are not sponsored so this is an unbiased view

Let's start with the main player....Lizzybus herself.

110 Station wagon, 300Tdi.

No problems in the choice of engine. The station wagon gives you the opportunity to carry 2 extra passengers but at the disadvantage of loss of storage space. With a 2 door you can at least design things so you can sleep inside, safely whilst free camping. We have to open a roof tent up and this makes us fairly obvious to the locals.

But, the storage space towards the middle is a bit more difficult to get to.

As with all vehicles condition is everything. Ours had had a hard life and I think this has helped exacerbate the problems we encountered. No mechanical mods to the vehicle. We did consider an oil cooler for the gearbox but the consensus within the African experts is that you have the potential to loose a pipe and hence the gearbox oil. A good idea however is the Rocky Mountain transfer box cover; extra capacity and cooling fins.Dont weld up your rear shafts to the drive members. Despite what we where told they broke the weld

Chassis and polybushing

We needed the chassis, plating was not an option. We got had over on the "extras" that where done, i.e. clutch so I won't recommend who did it.Polybushing means the bushes last a lot longer, but do they make the ride harder?

Roll cage

I have seen pictures of Landies when they roll. Its a safety consideration but one with a weight penelty.Done by North Offroad ,welded to chassis could be used with roof rails instead of a roof rack to save on weight.Rocksliders keep other cars away.Lizzy looks mean and that's an advantage when in traffic


Do you need one? No, unless you get stuck was the advice.

Sand ladders

Same advice as the winch.

Roof Tent

We are spending a long time in the tent so we spared no expense .Their are various on the market , canvas type ones from South Africa , lightweight ones , pop up ones with hard flat roof .We listened to advice and plumbed for a Autocamp from Germany.

It's lightweight and apparently breathable. With rooftents they collapse in on themselves when you fold them down. This means if the material is damp then your bedding if left in situ will get wet. We chose breathable for that reason. One problem with this tent , the roof is PVC and if it gets cold, moisture condenses on it .This means that it defeats the object of breathability.It is not as well built as the South African kit , rather cheap ,i.e. plastic trim and staples .Not good value as it was 30% more expensive than the competition. On the plus side it is 1.6 wide and light and has an internal cotton liner/mossie net. We may change it for a pop up tent. I therefore wouldn't recommend it

Having made South Africa we have got rid of the tent and replaced it with a pop up aluminium based Outback tent. Should be fairly substantial plus we can claim the VAT back when we leave.

Side awning

2.5 m long with sides if required .Made by Howling Moon, gives shade and protection .a great bit of kit, easy and quick to erect .Bolted to roof rack .We haven't as yet used the sides to the awning and may return them to UK.A decision is in the offing

Roof rack

Brownchurch, heavy duty .Great bit of kit but heavy .Plus side is that if you break it you can weld it . May change for a few rails and a basket .Roof rack went, tent bolted to roll cage and heavy duty ali box and the awning also bolted to cage. Security is an issue so visible locked unmovable boxes are the way to go.

Wheels and tyres

Wolf rims with BF Goodrich 265/75x16 Mud terrains. Better than aluminium as you can't bend them and tyre fitters are not particularly subtle when it comes to tyre changes.

Tyres are a bit too extreme as we haven't really encountered much mod .All terrains are a better option. Some discussion about tyre wall strength at low pressures but we have had no problems .Michelin do tyres with steel belted tyre walls .Buy your tyres in UK, they are cheaper than anywhere else.

Keep a good tyre compressor to hand to air up after off road/desert work. We use a viair portable or if you have the space on board air .we have seen comp fitted in the engine bay

HID upgrade

Not legal (I think) in UK without self levelling and a cleaner. In Africa if you must travel at night these are the mutt’s nutz .Bright, low power draw and pretty indestructible they are becoming quite cheap to buy and install.


All I can say is ENGEL,it's never let us down and can freeze .Ideal to keep food fresh and beer cold

Split Charge system

Coupled with a second battery means that you will never have that "key in ignition and no power" must be isolated so that it cant draw from vehicle battery but runs all extras. Include LED internal lights to keep power draw down. We will be adding a battery condition monitor to prevent over discharging the second battery. Ensure yours can handle multiple deep discharges, i think we have ruined ours by fully discharging it.

Water system

We considered a fixed tank but it means you have to pull up next to a pipe to fill it. We ended up with 2 5 gallon jerry cans (go for the Canadian Sceptre Cans...superb).We filter our water with a similar system to the Brownchurch at about a third the coat. Pump by sureflow, filter by British Berkerfeld (Supplied by Greens) and filters ceramic/carbon .Fresh water all the time. We intend to put an in line particulate filter (spun filter) to prolong the main filter life.


Gas was our initial thought but it's not always possible to get a refill. So we plumbed for a Coleman petrol cooker. Runs on unleaded and a gallon lasts about 3 weeks. We have run it ion leaded for most of its life with no apparent problems. Take a pressure cooker, great for cooking stews and reducing fuel consumption on the stove.

Unpressurised great for rice and pasta. We cook off the rear door on a replacement ali door card and housing for the cooker. Spoke to Mobile Storage and they are in the process of making door housing for the Coleman. If you go down this route remember that the [pull out drawer my clash with the housing

Take a cooks blow lamp. Great for loosening bolts and cheese on toast


Mobile storage, second hand on flea bay .well made, sort out boxes to fit inside to stop everything crashing around. All other kit kept in Zarges or plastic shipping crates; again flea bay is the ideal source


Dog cage to prevent intrusion of objects and side /rear mesh to stop break ins.Some say that you make yourself a target by all the mesh. But just driving a vehicle sets you aside. Lockable centre consul to keep valuables in

Personal security was purchase in South Africa, 3 cans of pepper spray. In tent, 1 in sun visor last on person. Should have got these in France. Unnecessary we hope but then it gives you an escape route if you need it. The rear cab windows have the silver side of a windscreen blind fitted to keep heat and prying eyes out (Marjane )Any external padlocks can be keyed to 1 key and consider bicycle wire locks to wrap around objects. If they want it they will take it. This level of security will only deter the casual thief (which is most)

Always take spare remote fobs keyed to the vehicle. Padlock the rear door and you have a very secure storage area, we use an Abus Buffalo Lock. We deliberately haven’t oiled the locks as the dust would form a grinding paste on the internals. We just blow though to get dus out.


In Africa it must be "Tracks4africa" compatible. This programme is essential. We use a Garmin street pilot 3 .Ages old but it suffices. if you can get an external antenna as signal can be problematic in a window mount position.

High lift and adaptor

Now fitted outside but locked on. Scary when you use it but invaluable. Could do with a small bottle jack for repairs on the truck but space and weight are at a premium.


Kept as standard not worth the extra expense. With the advent of the spare wheel on the bonnet we will be fitting Mud Rails to raise the seat.

Dust pan and brush

Sling the pan keep the brush. You will be amazed how often you sweep out the front of the vehicle to rid it of dust, sand etc

Wing mirrors

Fit larger wing mirrors you will see so much more


HID is all you need. We put 2xspots on the bull bars and 4xspots on the cage .Look great but haven’t really needed them, sometimes its just looks right. LED for all the stop/indicator lights. Remember a pack of bulbs to keep the local Feds happy.

Tools and spares

We know of people who travel without spares. Not much help when the water pump goes in the Caprivi.

So, water and fuel pump minimum. Few rebuild kits, hose trape, duck tape, WD40.Good quality tools, and try wall drive sockets, less chance of rounding corners. Electric drill and spare drill bits. Bearings etc can normally be obtained locally. Filters are a must , oil changes in High sulphur diesel need to more frequent. Oil is easy to find at good petrol stations,ie Total 4x4 15/40 semi synthetic is pretty universal

Long Range Fuel Tank

Flea bay purchase, 13 gallon fits under offside chassis rail. Pumps to main tank. Better than jerry cans but only gets filled if diesel is either cheap or a long distance between fuel stops. Normally leave a couple of gallons in just in case