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Old 10-21-2010, 02:51 PM   #1
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Americas 2011 expedition Part 1/2 - Need help/advice/opinion

I am planning a trip across the three americas next year with my son, just bough the car for it and although I'm not new to car travel, this is my first Jeep and the longest of all trips.
There are many items with brand and model options that I don't know which one is better. So any input from you will be appreciated. This will be kind of a long post and I'm new to forums so I ask for you patience and excuse if it is not on the right place.
All of the pictures shown here and many more can be also seen in a larger format on a page I set up in my server at Options
So lets get started:

1- Tent: Rooftop for sure. Minumim width of 71". Brand are CarTopCamper (130lb $1680), MyWaySerengeti (?lb $2180), AutoHomeOverland (125lb $2600) and EeziAwn 2200T (242lb $2935)



Drawings with the fiting position of all these tents are in the link "options" above.

Things to consider:
1- I like the size of the EeziAwn;
2- I like the price of the CarTopCamper;
3- I am affraid of the quality/durability of the CarTopCamper (it is made in China);
4- I am ready to spent some nights at hotels in rainy situations.

2- Suspension: Do I need reinforced springs? The JK will be very close to its maximum load. I will change the shock absorbers to a Rancho 9000.



3- Roof rack: Things start to get complicated as the number of variables increase... Flat, Semi-flat or basket type? Fixed or lift & tilt? Top only or cage type?



4- Back Tray: This seems a pretty good idea if you need to carry extra stuff, especially if tent of choice takes all the space in the roof rack. Nice place to put the generator too and avoid flammable vapors inside the car.



5- Sand Tracks: A must have! Besides the old style aluminum, there is also plastic and fiberglass to choose from. ARB even has a folding model made of heavy duty rubber.



6- Snatch Block: Large variety of makers and huge differences in prices. Does it worth to pay for the brand name?



7- Air Jack: The concept is great and as far I could find, there are only this two options. The flat hose on the X-Jack appears to take less space when packed. Which one is better?



Decided to divide in two parts not to be boring, please follow up on Part 2/2...

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Old 01-06-2011, 09:04 PM   #2
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Rooftop tent wise have you considered ARB?

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Old 01-07-2011, 05:36 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by lperal03 View Post
Rooftop tent wise have you considered ARB?
ARB is being produced in Chine, by the same factory producing the CarTopCamper. Material and quality are the same, and honestly, CarTopCamper have a better design.

EezAwn is the best, but cost 3x more and weights 2x more.
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Old 01-07-2011, 06:29 PM   #4
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Nice to know. Thanks for the t
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Old 01-07-2011, 06:30 PM   #5
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Old 01-08-2011, 04:15 PM   #6
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Note: you might want to take a look over at ExpeditionPortal, in addition to posting here. Additionally, many of the products you are looking at have been examined, tested, and reviewed in Overland Journal.

My 2 cents:

1. RTT is your call. Lots of folks I know have been satisfied with CampingLabs. I'd consider the hardshell ones from AutoHome, also, as they seem to keep dust and moisture out better than the fold-up RTTs do.

2. New springs, well probably not, unless necessary for terrain and tires you intend to use. If you're going to be at max GVWR, consider your terrain choices carefully. To manage load, you'd probably be better off with AirLift air bags, particularly in the rear, even if you also swap springs. They hold up really well, but considering how light they are, I'd consider packing an extra set for spares.

3. Not my area of expertise on the new Wranglers. Again, many others have already done precisely what you're aiming to do and have provided extensive write-ups and product reviews at ExPo.

4. I wouldn't. The tailgate and tailgate hinges are not going to want a generator sitting up there. And realistically, you already have plenty of room inside the vehicle for 2 people and gear; I've done it with a TJ quite comfortably for extended periods. Plus you're just asking to have it stolen south of the border if it is stored outside the vehicle.

5. Sand mats - probably not necessary, if you do your part and if you carry a shovel. They are bulky as sin, expensive, and unless you're off to certain parts of Africa, I'd skip them.

6. I've used the one from T-Max with good results for a number of years. It seems better built than the off-brand ones I've seen locally, dissembles easily for cleaning/servicing, and was priced competitively (eBay).

7. Why the air jack? You'd probably be better off with the OEM LandRover hydraulic bottle jack and a good base, in my experience. It takes up less space, isn't prone to punctures, and costs a lot less.
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Old 01-10-2011, 04:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by computeruser View Post
Note: you might want to take a look over at ExpeditionPortal
I am also a member of ExPo, its a great site. One of the reasons I have registred in other forums was to make an invitation for people to join the expedition and be part of the adventure (and the book) even if it is for a couple hundred miles, the thread is here.

Quote:
My 2 cents:

1. RTT is your call. Lots of folks I know have been satisfied with CampingLabs. I'd consider the hardshell ones from AutoHome, also
I did check almost all the available options, even draw their outline on top of the JK, if you care to see, they are here.

I would really like to have the Eezi-Awn 2200T, but is too damn heavy. I've made contact with a guy using the CTC for more then two years and he have no complains.

Quote:
2. New springs, well probably not,
I will go for the AEV Nth Degree, and yes an AirLift too.

Quote:
3. Not my area of expertise
I am between the FrontRunner 2-2M Slimline and the Gobi

Quote:
4. I wouldn't. The tailgate and tailgate hinges are not going to want a generator sitting up there.
You are right but the Honda EU2000iA is very light and the basket would not be fitted in the stock hinges. The geni would also only be outside wile turned on to recharge the bikes.

Quote:
5. Sand mats - probably not necessary
Agree, maybe I will carry two large straps of old carpet

Quote:
6. I've used the one from T-Max with good results for a
$56 on Amazon, thanks for the tip.

Quote:
7. Why the air jack?
Because it may be the only way to get out of a mudpit. I've seen jeeps so stucked that the winch alone could not do the job.

Thanks for the input!!
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Old 01-10-2011, 05:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vizoo View Post
I am planning a trip across the three americas next year with my son

1- Tent: Rooftop for sure. Minumim width of 71". Brand are CarTopCamper (130lb $1680), MyWaySerengeti (?lb $2180), AutoHomeOverland (125lb $2600) and EeziAwn 2200T (242lb $2935)
Did you look at Howling Moon also?
Out of the 3 you listed, I like the EeziAwn 2200 also ---- but I'm 6'5" and camp with the wife and dog. The 2200 is huge. Would a smaller tent like the 1600 work? Lighter and less expensive.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Vizoo View Post
2- Suspension: Do I need reinforced springs? The JK will be very close to its maximum load. I will change the shock absorbers to a Rancho 9000.
I would buy stiffer springs.
My OE springs were the second softest stock; I installed the stiffest.
For you, I'd suggest OME and their Overlanding shocks. I've been to a couple of countries in South America and some of the roads have no right to call themselves roads...
Don't do air-helpers; I tried that and they fail catastrophically after being beaten for a while.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Vizoo View Post
3- Roof rack: Things start to get complicated as the number of variables increase... Flat, Semi-flat or basket type? Fixed or lift & tilt? Top only or cage type?
Call Baja Rack; they make a strong one.
You can also rig an ARB if you're handy.





Quote:
Originally Posted by Vizoo View Post
4- Back Tray: This seems a pretty good idea if you need to carry extra stuff, especially if tent of choice takes all the space in the roof rack. Nice place to put the generator too and avoid flammable vapors inside the car.
I'm not a fan of these; I don't like to put weight at that height rearward of the axle.
If you do get one, have it mounted on a tire carrier on an aftermarket bumper.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Vizoo View Post
5- Sand Tracks: A must have! Besides the old style aluminum, there is also plastic and fiberglass to choose from. ARB even has a folding model made of heavy duty rubber.
I like the fiberglass waffle kinds. Light and can be used as bridges too.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Vizoo View Post
6- Snatch Block: Large variety of makers and huge differences in prices. Does it worth to pay for the brand name?
Maybe. Sometimes you get lucky.
But, if you want to rule out luck and be sure, think Viking, Masterpull, or ARB.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Vizoo View Post
7- Air Jack: The concept is great and as far I could find, there are only this two options. The flat hose on the X-Jack appears to take less space when packed. Which one is better?
I never used one. I guess I'd rather have a Hi-Lift along since it can do so many other things.

Voce fala Portuguese? Entiendo Espanol?
Have a network of contacts down there?
Es peligroso...

Talk to Nate at Pangea Expedtions; he'll give you some pointers.



If you can, go to Overland Expo 2011 and you'll meet many people who have done things like this. They have classes and seminars to help you be prepared.

Have a good time. Let me know what parts of Brasil you'll be in and a time frame and maybe I can get you a hot meal somewhere.
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Old 01-11-2011, 06:15 PM   #9
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Hi Bill, thanks for taking your time to reply!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hilldweller View Post
Did you look at Howling Moon also?(...) Would a smaller tent like the 1600 work? Lighter and less expensive.
I did, but the CTC is a bigger (183 x 160 cm), ligther (130 x 145.5 lbs) and cheaper (1680 x 2495 $) and since I have not yet found any complain about it (except people claiming it is not "proudly made in the USA"), I will go with it. If you want to see all the options I have considered, they are here.

Quote:
I would buy stiffer springs.
I've been talking with Dave (AEV) and seen how he overloaded his JK with the 9th Degree, it was enough to convince me

Quote:
Don't do air-helpers; I tried that and they fail catastrophically after being beaten for a while.
Was it overlanding or rock crawling? I am really interested in hearing some negative details about it.

Quote:
Call Baja Rack; they make a strong one.
Been on their website righ now, there is no details nor pictures of the Jeep Series (or any other series).

Quote:
I never used one. I guess I'd rather have a Hi-Lift along since it can do so many other things.
I will also carry a Hi-Lift, I like these air ones because it is easy to fit under the car if you are in a mud pit.

Quote:
Voce fala Portuguese? Entiendo Espanol?
Have a network of contacts down there?
Es peligroso...
Yes, I speak portuguese, spanish, italian and french. Don't have a network of contacts yet. What do you mean "its dangerous..." ?

Quote:
Talk to Nate at Pangea Expedtions; he'll give you some pointers.
Just noticed that they will do an expedition though Belize and Guatemala, maybe our path will cross, will drop him an email, thanks!

Quote:
If you can, go to Overland Expo 2011 and
I will not be in the US Will go to Miami on Jan 22 to pick up the JK at the dealer and start preparing it, then back to Brazil on March 23 and return to Miami late May to begin the trip.

Quote:
Have a good time. Let me know what parts of Brasil you'll be in and a time frame and maybe I can get you a hot meal somewhere.
What? Are you in Brazil?
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Old 01-12-2011, 05:37 AM   #10
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Was it overlanding or rock crawling? I am really interested in hearing some negative details about it.
Just using them on some forest service roads with rolling offsets while pulling a trailer. The first failure happened in the same spot that this video was shot; they can't take the range of articulation that a JK has:



Quote:
Originally Posted by Vizoo View Post
Been on their website right now, there is no details nor pictures of the Jeep Series (or any other series).
They make one; I have pictures of it somewhere and spoke to them at length about it in Arizona. The product is very durable. Give them a call; I don't think I kept the emails from them since I decided not to install one yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vizoo View Post
I will also carry a Hi-Lift, I like these air ones because it is easy to fit under the car if you are in a mud pit.
True. But the waffleboards will get you out of mud faster and easier too... ...as will a winch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vizoo View Post
Yes, I speak portuguese, spanish, italian and french. Don't have a network of contacts yet. What do you mean "its dangerous..." ?
My brother-in-law has been shot at many times around his farm in Cristalina, Br; when we were down there, we traveled armed.
Went into Paraguay and had to leave in a hurry when the military decided to have an uprising.
Don't want to scare you; just keep your eyes open, don't get too drunk, and watch out for scammers. Street thugs work in teams and look for touristas.
If you wear bdu's, they think you're military and stay away.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vizoo View Post
Just noticed that they will do an expedition though Belize and Guatemala, maybe our path will cross, will drop him an email, thanks!
Nate's a good guy and knows his way around.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vizoo View Post
I will not be in the US Will go to Miami on Jan 22 to pick up the JK at the dealer and start preparing it, then back to Brazil on March 23 and return to Miami late May to begin the trip.
What route are you taking? We'll be in NM & AZ at that time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vizoo View Post
What? Are you in Brazil?
My wife is from Cascavel in Parana (near the Foz); she moved to Curitiba when she was a teen-ager.
We've got lots of family all over Parana and Jaime is still up in Cristalina (Goiás, a few hours from Brasilia)
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Old 02-28-2011, 11:12 AM   #11
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Hi Bill,

Sorry for the delay in getting to you. Do you have plans to go to Cascavel or any other part of Brazil in the near future?

My Rubi has finally arrived and I am preparing it to the long expedition but still waiting for some sponsor's replies.

Last week I was comming home when stopped behind this truck, the scene was so weird I took the picture :-)



The countdown started, if you plan to join, write me on the link bellow!!!

Renato
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Old 12-13-2011, 11:22 AM   #12
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Ongoing

Hi guys!

I am sorry for the lack of posting... I hope most of you still subscribe to this thread and get this message. The expedition is a reality, we have made to Alaska and the Rubi is parked in San Francisco until Jan 15. We are now in Rio de Janeiro for Christmas and New Year.

The blog is not updated but we have hundreds of pictures at our facebook page at facebook com/americas2011

And if anyone is interested on tag along or any other private matter, please use contact@americas2011.com

Good trails, be safe and godspeed!

Renato

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