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1999 - W210 320 CDI Estate & 2004 - W220 320 CDI
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Discussion Starter #1
Dear Mercedes Lovers,

First of all - Thank you so much for the warm welcome on this forum, I feel like a fish in the water here. The replies to my first post were most helpful and I am really grateful for the time you guys have taken to respond - rest assured I will post replies and help myself once i get the hang of my car and have something to add. Now - on to this post...

I am currently in Sydney, Australia and in a year from now, somewhere in early 2009, I am planning to do what is probably the most daring thing in my life so far, which is to drive with my newly aquired 1989/1990 300SE from Sydney all the way to Europe. Yes, drive. If you are rubbing your eyes - trust me you're not the only one. When I call consulates and embassies to ask what kind of visas I will need, most of them say a variation of "You want to do WHAT?!?"and dont really know what to say. But, I have set my mind on at least seriously investigating the possibility of doing this trip, and have contacted my friends to see if any of them want to come along. At least one is interested, ideally I would want one or two more just to get that safe feeling going. Perhaps it is an interesting ideal to do it with more than one car, dont know, maybe worth thinking about. A whole motorcade of cool W126 cars - what can be more beautiful than that ;)

But - the reason I am posting here is because I am looking for some advise on what to do about the car to ensure it indeed will arrive in one piece after a 3000KM (SYDNEY-DARWIN) + 15000KM (SINGAPORE-WARSAW) voyage through some of the more hostile terrains of this planet. At this stage, I envisage three routes (MAP: http://irresistance.org/AustraliaEuropeDrive/CarTripMap.jpg) and to be frank I prefer the green one the most, through India, Pakistan, Iran and Turkey. Right now my main problem is Burma/Myanmar, as this seems to be a rather locked place with extremely bad driving conditions. I am sure the cyclone has not made it easier. The map is not entirely accurate, as Chengdu obviously isnt quite possible now after the earthquake, but the overall idea is still correct.

What I can think of right now is obviously to do the usual mechanical mega-checkup, renew every consumable (filters, brakes, tyres, etc.) as well as perhaps replace the timing chain and a few other things that may create slow but compounded issues which could cause the car to die on me in Iran without lights surrounded by Jihad-hungry warriors near the Afghan border. What I am looking for is people that have done 3000KM/2000MILE+ trips with the W126 and share their experiences on what kind of issues they have come across.

Also contemplating buying a small trailer but would rather avoid doing this, just more hassle and a magnet for theft. I want to take some spare parts like filters, a battery, maybe even a second spare tire, etc - if there is anything else you can think of, by all means tell me :)

The car has done 146.000KM and will get a major checkup when it hits 150.000, as well as one just before the trip (which should be roughly 165.000KM I imagine) It has no rust, and aside of the paintwork which is not bad but has seen better times, in overall excellent condition. In fact the fact paintwork could be better I see as an asset for this trip, making the car less attractive to theft and all. And once in Europe - boy oh boy will it get one big hug for driving my butt home!! Hug will include a total paint-over!

Also if you have any friends who have dome something similar, or driven with a W126 or similar sized vehicle through any of the following countries: Malasyia, Thailand, Burma, China, India, Pakistan, Iran or Turkey, drop me a line so I could get in touch with them and share experiences. I have never planned anything bigger, and probably will not for some time, so all and any help is greatly welcome.

AND YES - You will all get many pictures and a travel blog in return - of course !

My 300SE: http://irresistance.org/AustraliaEuropeDrive/Car.jpg http://irresistance.org/AustraliaEuropeDrive/Interior.jpg

Thank you and may the Benz be with you!
 

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1987 300SDL
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that is the craziest trip I've ever heard of, I wish you luck!
in one piece after all of that? I don't know.

in those areas you have to be extremely careful about gas, sometimes they have impurities, which is why you should bring, not one, but three fuel filters!

same goes for fueses, motor oil, tranny oil, trans axle oil, and make sure during the trip (and before!) you blow as much of the dust out of the alternator as possible or you WILL have a bad charge leading to possible lighting failure.

for the moment I am still trying to get over that mileage, how much is the entire trip in miles?

early 2009, plenty of prep time. oh, and a good place to put a blog is google blogger, it's a great ap!

BTW, GORGEOUS CAR :thumbsup:
 

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Mercedes
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Well, I saw that 2 of your routes go through Poznan and Wroclaw, Poland. I am in Poznan.. but make a trip down to Wroclaw about once a month or so. If you need someone to show you around town... let me know;) Interesting and a brave trip to do with a car! A classmate of mine at the university once told me how his father once drove a car from Norway to Pakistan... taking over a week to get there. Your planned trip would shatter the "craziness" scale in terms of long distance driving.:thumbsup:
 

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w126,2jz gte twin turbo engine,6 speed gearbox, aero 1, zender spoiler, 0 to 100mph 11.5 s, LPG
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hi
if you would like some company through thailand , would love to help , i live in bangkok and , would be happy to service the car , and give you somewhere to stay , for that time , what a great idea you have had , good luck
 

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CH4S Admin , Outstanding Contributor
1985 500SEC, 1991 190E 2.6.
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You would be using part of the old, and before 1978 fairly safe hippie route.
In the late 70's, a friend and I drove a Range Rover from Tehran to Bangkok, in one of half a dozen car trips to India and Nepal.
For Europeans the stops would be Istanbul, Tehran, Kabul, or sometimes Quetta in Pakistan, Peshawar, to Goa in India, or North to Nepal.
If you arrive in Singapore, you could take the cause way to Malaysia, and ship from there.
For Myanmar / Burma, it was even then next to impossible to get a permit to cross the Country. The alternative would be to use the Bangkok / Calcutta (Haldia) Ferry, or the one to Chennai, from where you could cross to Goa.
If you are able to cross Burma by car, the Indian area (Arunachal / Nagaland etc. sandwiched between Myanmar and Bangladesh should be traveled with caution, and in Pakistan, the road between Peshawar and the Afghan Khyber pass even more so.
That’s all Pashtun tribal land on either side of the border.
We used to drive only in the day time in a convoy of at least 3-4 cars because of highwaymen.
Some didn't take precautions, drove at night, and made the mistake of stopping for cows or sheep robbers had placed on the road. They were usually robbed of all belongings and killed.
I lived In Iran for 10 Years, speak Farsi, and was able to communicate in Afghanistan,
but even I would not attempt to drive through Afghanistan today.
The formerly good roads are completely gone, anything but an off road capable car would be ill suited, and you would have to cross some of the most hostile terrain on the Planet. Perhaps you can find some Afghanis to talk with in your neck of the woods.
The only place half way safe is Kabul, (that's why Afghanistan's President is called the Mayor of Kabul).... if you ever make it to there.
Otto's on Kabul's chicken street used to be a popular hippie hangout.
And then you still have to deal with Kandahar. Herat should be O.K. as should all of Iran.
In Turkey, you should take precaution in Northern Anatolia (take the military road through the mountains to Erzerum).
Cheers
 

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Slightly creased
2015 ML 400 x 2
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Sounds like a fantastic trip!!!

Maybe you should get in touch with the owners/editors of the Lonely Planet series of books and see if they would sponsor you somehow.

They are from Melbourne and their whole business was born out of their 'hippy' drive from Oz to the UK via some of your proposed and Teutone's described route (albeit in a kombi).

Who knows??

Still, sounds a blast - take a handycam and make a vid/doco to sell for sure...
 

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R129 SL 500 97, W124 E320 Coupé 96, W124 300E twin turbo 90, W126 300 SE 91, Ford Capri 2.8i 84
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Take plenty of USD (or perhaps euro for some places) for all those border negotiations, even if you do have the right papers. Tuck them away in a very safe place, dispensing in advance enough for each crossing point.

And I guess it would be worth hanging around a day or two if there is any prospect of travelling in convoy in the more hazardous places.
 

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1999 - W210 320 CDI Estate & 2004 - W220 320 CDI
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Discussion Starter #8
Burma does sound like a serious problem. Some people tell me it is impossible t drive through it using the route I am planning. I have been reading the Australia Travel advise on the countries along the way, and boy, reading that it sounds like I could not have gotten a worse idea in my life. Even Poland has a BE CAUTIOUS warning (which made me see all the rest of the advise in slightly different light... You would have to be a truly dumb cash-sticking-out-of-your-pockets while taking dumb tourist pictures and looking like a clueless american tourist kind of person to get in trouble there as a visitor....)

And Snibble - I am also Polish (mowie po Polsku :)
 

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I have no doubt that your 126 will make the voyage. Always remember that this is what these motorcars are made for. The amount of durability testing that went into the development of the 126 model is truly astonishing. (this was in the early 80's mind you)

good luck
ciao..
 

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CH4S Admin , Outstanding Contributor
1985 500SEC, 1991 190E 2.6.
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I guess the Kabul - Kandahar - Herat road has been re build. From Herat to the Iranian border is only 160 KM (100 miles).
From the Khyber pass (incredible scenery) to Kabul it is all mountainous (as is the rest of the Country), and if that road hasn't been re build, you'll need a good 4x4 with good ground clearance.

Edit: You may be in luck, I found this World Prout Assembly: Preparing the road to New Delhi - from Kabul

If you take the trip, you'll be traveling on (or next to) the thousands of years old Silk Route, or Road of Kings (Alex the Great & many others). Driving from Tehran to Turkey, you can still see parts of the old road with bridges to the right of the highway.
Another point of interest may be the Qanats, the historical ( WaterHistory.org ) under water irrigation system, pretty much un paralleled in the first millenium B.C..

Little tip: In Iran the tap water is fit to drink, actually all Tehran tap water comes from the Elborz mountain rang (part of the Hindu Kush), and tastes better then the bottled spring stuff we are used to.
Otherwise, take plenty of water purification tablets.
Cheers
 

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An SD would be more appropiate since gas quality varies a lot but diesel is OK everywhere.
Good look to you anyway.
I agree. Although I think the idea is phenomenal I think a diesel would be far more appropriate considering diesel is found everywhere.
 

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1982 300CD|1998 GMC Sierra 2500 6.5 Turbo Diesel|2008 Chevy Cobalt 2.2L DD
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Wow, that sounds like one hell of a drive!
 

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1999 - W210 320 CDI Estate & 2004 - W220 320 CDI
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Discussion Starter #16
Ok I rang the consulate of Myanmar and they flatly said there is no chance in hell I would get a permit to drive from Thailand to India via their Junta-jungle. So - new route has been planned and now that I have it, I am actually even more excited :) Tomorrow calling China to find out if the new route via Xinjang would be allowed by them.

Basically alll the way from Central south to North-west China (avoiding Tibet) and into Kazakhstan, then Turkmenistan/Uzbekistan and a short dip into Iran moving on to Turkey and into Europe. Of course alternative is to keep northern and go via Russia but I feel that would be significantly less exciting, and would love to have said countries uner my belt, I doubt I would ever have a chance to do this again.

Also the fact it is not a 4-wheel drive makes certain routes impossible - I want to avoid anything above 3KM height as well as stay clear of roads which seem likely to be snowed under in April/May. The only thing I'd be missing out on on this route is India and Pakistan, but who knows, the lady at the Myanmar consulte might have just saved my life ;)
 

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1999 - W210 320 CDI Estate & 2004 - W220 320 CDI
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Discussion Starter #17
And I agree a Diesel would be better, but here Down Under diesel cars are EXTREMELY rare (it is very hard to get any kind of non-truck diesel car) probably because the fuel is 25c more expensive (and most people seem not to have the intelligence to realise they DO get further per litre...)

I have spotted exactly ONE Diesel Mercedes on the road myself, an E-class W124. That's it. Loved the sound of it too...

Is anyone familiar with "steriods" for normal fuel - something I can add to gas which may be low on octane? Will help the engine survive lower-quality fuel? Any tell-tale signs (like different sound etc) that would indicate the engine is struggling with a given fuel?
 

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1983 Euro 500SEC AMG, 83 SEC custom convertible, 2x 84 500SEC, 02 w203coupe, euro 1985 300d
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it would be nice to go "into the wild" on a road trip like that, good luck--- I have made it to 27 countries so far but mostly on foot and by plane-----it would have been nice to have my w126 in most of those countries so i could get around better--- oh well
 

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1990 W124 300TE-24 3.4 AMG, 1991 W126 300SEL
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Hi
What a crazy idea but I like it! I recommend that you don't take the Burma route to India. The best alternative is by going up north towards Thailand, Laos, China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, Germany, Poland...

Leave me a message if you are passing Singapore!

Raf
 

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To get a feel for cross continent trekking & adventure I recommend that you read this book..

Long Way Down

Two guys (actors Ewan McGregor & Charley Boorman) decided to ride BMW R1200 GS motorcycles from John o'Groats to Cape Town, a trip of 15,000 miles. It was filmed for TV so there was also a camera crew with them.

Altogether they had 2 Nissan Patrol 3.0 diesel trucks, plus another BMW R1200 GS for road filming. The trucks carried spare tyres, water, fuel and components.

If the roads in Asia are anything like what was encountered in Africa, a solo saloon will simply not make it. You really need two 4-wheel drives travelling together, so that you can help each other out of deep mud, deep sand and other obstacles. Some of the 'roads' will be scattered with rocks, and not usable by a car - the locals use camels, donkeys, etc.

Maybe you should think this one out again....
 
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