With every epic adventure comes epic headaches.
Planning for the Mongol Rally has been one of the most difficult things we have done in recent years. While juggling our travels through New Zealand, Thailand and finally Rancho La Puerta in Mexico, we have felt that we have really let our team mates down lately when it comes to the finer details.
Car Limitations in the Mongol Rally
Sherry has done an amazing job fund raising and getting us information on Visa requirements and Rick has planned our route out almost to the day so that we will be able to put a proper date on our Visas when we do manage to send them in.
Our fundraising efforts fell flat, something that we are hoping to rectify when we get home from Jordan at the end of this month.
However, we were extremely excited when we met with our now good friends All Ways Rentals in New Zealand and they decided to sponsor us. Eran and Merav know cars and we are in great hands.
Lucky for us, they are experts and that is what makes their business in Christchurch so successful. We have never met anyone so passionate about their work and for their love and knowledge of cars.
That is why when we emailed The Adventurists to ask permission about using a 1.5 litre car instead of the 1.2 litre engine, we were happy to have a voice of reason ease our fears. Why? Because they told us that they cannot approve a 1.5 litre engine for us.
We were under the impression that we could take a larger engine size as long as we donated 100£ for every .1 litre above the rally limit. Sherry had already done an incredible job with her end of the fund raising, so we had the funds to donate to charity and we thought that they would be grateful for the extra money.
Apparently, things are not as clear as we thought.
Governments have different rules and apparently Mongolia will not accept a 1.5 litre engine unless it is very clearly an emergency vehicle. The Adventurists emailed us back to tell us that we cannot take a 1.5 litre car. It can be up to a 1.5 litre engine, but not including 1.5 Litre engine…Okay?
We emailed AllWaysRentals and they put our mind at ease.
Like I said, they know cars and they know rules all around the world. They assured us that car manufacturers know of taxation rules (it is not just Mongolia with these rules, it is the same all over the world) thus a 1.5L car engine is actually registered as 1497cc or 1499cc.
So it looks like we will still be able to drive our Nissan Almera that is a 2002 model or newer. We will end up driving slower and using more gas, but we can do it. We also may have to squeeze into a 3 door vehicle as opposed to a 4 door. Things are going to be cozy on our way to Mongolia!
Diesel or Gas
After talking with Merav and Eran, they explained that a gas engine is far superior than a diesel engine, especially when buying used car. One never knows the exact history of a car and if the owner missed a service or two with a petrol driven car, it won't effect it as much as a diesel engine.
Also, after checking the forums on the Mongol Rally, we learned that a petrol car is the most appropriate car to bring. There are not many diesel engines that are less than 1.6 litres let alone 1.2 litres and since Mongolia is a cold country, gas is better since diesel freezes at a higher temperature.
So where do we stand?
Well, AllWaysRentals is keeping a lookout for an appropriate car and we are going to send another request to the Mongol Rally to ask them if we can drive the 1497 cc or 1499 cc engine. If they don't approve that, well, I think I will roll up in a ball and cry. (obviously Dave isn't writing this post)
As travel bloggers we will be carrying more gear than other people. Between our computers, photography and video gear, we are going to be weighed down a lot. Plus, we are a group of four. A 1.2 litre engine would be appropriate for a team of two, but the car will have a difficult making it with 4 of us piled in.
Honestly, when planning this trip last year, we never thought about 4 people being a problem. But as we do more research we realize that we are going to have to be creative to survive the entire 10,000 miles.
No matter what, things always work out in the end and we have faith that we will make it all work. We just may have a few nervous breakdowns in the meantime, but hey, what is life without a thrilling adventure?!