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Namib Dunes in a VW Syncro
10-04-2012, 12:45 PM
Post: #11
Re: Namib Dunes in a VW Syncro
Id go for it,ive got a ford ranger 2.5td and my syncro is heaps better than that in the sand.ine got the andreno 2.3

you could also ask Russel to give your bus a nose job,mines had one and it greatly increases approach angle
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10-04-2012, 03:29 PM
Post: #12
Re: Namib Dunes in a VW Syncro
I think this question has 2 parts to it:
1) Has anyone in a Syncro done Luderitz->Walvis or Faces of the Namib. Answer seems to be NO
2) Would it be unwize to try. On this one, my feeling thus far is that I dont see any real reasons not to try when looking at 4x4 capabilities alone. The approach angle ain't so bad as the Syncro has been lifted and has larger tyres - and the bumper can always be ripped off ;-) My bigger concern would be the reliability of a 23 year old vehicle tackling 6 days in the dunes after a 1500km trip up there and being able to drive out... remember that if the car breaks down in the dunes, its not like you can tow it out. It needs parts flown in and repaired on the spot. I guess that begs the question as to how reliable the drive train and suspension are. The engine should be fine as its not that old.
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10-04-2012, 05:27 PM
Post: #13
Re: Namib Dunes in a VW Syncro
PCB Wrote:I think this question has 2 parts to it:
1) Has anyone in a Syncro done Luderitz->Walvis or Faces of the Namib. Answer seems to be NO
2) Would it be unwize to try. On this one, my feeling thus far is that I dont see any real reasons not to try when looking at 4x4 capabilities alone. The approach angle ain't so bad as the Syncro has been lifted and has larger tyres - and the bumper can always be ripped off ;-) My bigger concern would be the reliability of a 23 year old vehicle tackling 6 days in the dunes after a 1500km trip up there and being able to drive out... remember that if the car breaks down in the dunes, its not like you can tow it out. It needs parts flown in and repaired on the spot. I guess that begs the question as to how reliable the drive train and suspension are. The engine should be fine as its not that old.

Well said. I think the weight is the advantage. Also - look at what you needd to tackle, and the gut will let you know.
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10-04-2012, 05:52 PM
Post: #14
Re: Namib Dunes in a VW Syncro
If the syncro to be used is well maintained then it will be no more reliable or unreliable than any other more modern vehicle.
Any vehicle can break. Thinking you are better of in a new vehicle is a false sense of security.
The 2 biggest factors in dune driving in a syncro are: driver experience and weight.
Approach angle is overcome with experience.
Russel
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10-04-2012, 08:14 PM
Post: #15
Re: Namib Dunes in a VW Syncro
craig Wrote:Id go for it,ive got a ford ranger 2.5td and my syncro is heaps better than that in the sand.ine got the andreno 2.3

you could also ask Russel to give your bus a nose job,mines had one and it greatly increases approach angle


Any pics of the nose job?

[Image: SyncroSignature.jpg]

Life's a journey, not a race. Enjoy it.
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10-05-2012, 09:12 PM
Post: #16
Re: Namib Dunes in a VW Syncro
I have driven a bit of sand. There is definitely a knack that is learnt through experience because it is not just all balls to the wall and foot flat to get over a dune, but if your machine is not capable, then it is just not capable - but -

I looked into it a while ago to take some tourists on the trip [I am a SA Guide] who were interested in a trip through SA and Nam to Vic falls.
There are operators that have taken people with Syncros along the coatal dunes trip, and they are not keen to repeat the experiences because the reports have all been that the Syncros have battled. They have reported that they spent more time towing the Syncros that what they were going under their own steam.

My findings from a professional aspect were to acknowledge the caution of the operator and not to risk an uncomfortable or risky trip for my clients. If I was to be doing the trip on my own - aaaaaagkak man! If it breaks then we fix it and drive it out - if we cant drive it out then we tow it out with something that can! But my woman would not have been with me as a trip like this is not passenger friendly. However - If the Krauts and the Poms crossed over masses of dunes with marie biscuit tyres and little side valve engined trucks in the war to moer each other - dammit then how much of a challenge can it be to drive a Syncro through a trail that hundreds of vehicles have crossed in the past few years???

The following needs to be seriously considered;-
1/ It seems that the Syncros the operators refer to were hopelessly overweight and packed to the roof racks, the more you pack the more you give to gravity - whatever you do you can only fight gravity with horses and moerse traction - both of which the Syncro shorts. Solution - pack wisely. Buttt, remember on this trip you are carrying half a ton of water and fuel alone.
2/ The Syncros couldnt get momentum for the biggest dunes becuase the nose dug in if the base of the dune was attempted at speed - The Syncro does have a problem with approach angle. It seems the vehicles experienced were standard - 15" wheels, raised suspension does help - and take the front bumper off.
3/ A standard Wasserboxer, or a 2 litre petrol or diesel in line 4 just doesnt have enough balletjies at the revs where you need it most - under 2000rpm. This is where the mamas and the papas change sides in deep sand with gravity pulling you down and back. You want to keep the wheels turning with as little spinning possible becuase that is when you get stuck - and this is where the Andreno motor earns its stripes - under 1000rpm and still pulling. Even in the small dunes that we work on, the diesels, 5 5Cyl motors and the in line 4's which like the highway - they need revs to develop power and this starts the spinning which gets you stuck.
4/ Probably the most critical factor - tyres. The "footprint" that you create is absolutely critical, and to get the optimum traction does not mean moerse knobblies, thick sidewalls and wide tyres. Stewart can tell you from experience on adventure challenges that a tyre has to be able to deflate and create this footprint for you otherwise you can have all the power in the world and you cant keep it on the ground. We generally run at below 0.8 bar in soft sand, in hot weather like you will experience in Nam probably even as low as 0.5 unless you are right next to the ocean and the sand is damp. This creates other problems such as tyres popping off the bead, sidewall overheating and also just simply the sidewalls wearing through because you end up actually riding on the sidewall.

If you are uncertain and you are not looking for a hair raising adventure, then have a chat to the operators in Solitaire. They have a trip through the dunes to Walvis which gives you a taste of the dunes but you approach mostly from the back and are taking the "easy" side of the dunes and also a lot of the trip is in the marambas. I would really like to do this trip myself because it sounds like you get the best of both worlds with a bush camp experience, dune riding and less days battling with sand and more sand. Time and money though, time and money, sigh...
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10-09-2012, 04:59 PM
Post: #17
Re: Namib Dunes in a VW Syncro
sorry bhm,dont have a camera,perhaps russel could post some,i think he took pics
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10-17-2012, 09:52 AM
Post: #18
Re: Namib Dunes in a VW Syncro
O well, the tour operator of the trip we want to do (faces of the Namib) will not allow a Syncro to do it. Based on experience they say the Syncro is not capable of doing a trip like that. They are the ones who take responsibility for the enjoyment of all the guests so its their prerogative. No hard feelings but clearly a bit disappointing.
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10-17-2012, 02:36 PM
Post: #19
Re: Namib Dunes in a VW Syncro
Well as you already mentioned it's not worth taking a risk with your parents or have them battling and not enjoying the trip. Maybe one of us will give it a go sometime and then we'll know. I'd be willing to try it but I'd also be willing to accept the risks and I wouldn't try it the first time with my family.

Enjoy it and give us a short report back here if possible.

Ian
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10-17-2012, 09:04 PM
Post: #20
Re: Namib Dunes in a VW Syncro
PCB Wrote:Hi,

Does anyone know of a VW Syncro doing the Namib dunes - e.g. Luderitz to Walvis or Faces of the Namib?

They seem capable on sand but do they have the power for dunes? My folks have one with the 2l petrol golf engine conversion done vy Stuart. Its been lifted and has larger tyres than standard. We are keen for the syncro to join us on a trip in the dunes but want a heads up on whether thay are up to it. Its been kitted out extensively so carries quite a bit of weight above standard.

Thanks
Paul

I use to know some of the older guys with Syncros and the WBX6 motors and 2.5 WBX Oettinger motors was used to climb the hills with as it had the Torq but they had lots of Overheating problems with the WBX6 motors on the dunes but they could play for a while and then had to get the temps down before attempting next dune

But I still want to do it with a modified Golf 2L motor and I am going to
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