Unfortunately the saga of deep cold has raised its head again. Not only has our Webasto heater failed (we are still looking to get a new one), but our Ford Ranger suffered a “Diesel Runaway” where oil from the turbo is sucked into the engine and causes the engine to run very fast and out of control until the engine runs out of oil. This Ford Ranger, for you gear heads, is what we call a Ford Thai Ranger (basically a Mazda BT-50) and are thought of very highly in Asia. We have had great luck with ours until recently.
We think the severe cold (-47C at the time) could have caused the turbo spool to sheer breaking the oil seal, immobilizing the Ranger. MBDP was forced to purchase another vehicle quickly, since transport to the countryside is absolutely essential to the program and providing for the dogs at the facility. We chose to buy a 1997 Land Cruiser 80 series, a legendarily tough vehicle; this one is a right-hand drive gasoline (much more reliable in very cold conditions) with a manual transmission. A minus of the gas 80 series is terrible fuel economy. Through the generosity of a long time supporter in Mongolia, Mongolian Outdoor Travel, we were able to purchase the vehicle as a very reduced price. We will outfit this truck with Old Man Emu Suspension and ARB bumpers; we have found their gear to be unbeatable and perfect for the Mongolian conditions. We hope that the Ford Ranger’s engine has not been permanently harmed and we will see when we rebuild the turbo this week.
There are many things that can go wrong with a vehicle when it’s used for constant overland driving, so our team must be vigilant of issues and regularly investigate any potential damage or malfunction. However, sometimes even this level of care of a truck can’t save it from a serious breakdown. We are thankful for our friends at Mongolian Outdoor Travel for the extra work they have put into our new vehicle. Keep in mind that expenses like this are funded directly by donations from supporters like you.