Dec 26 2009 – I Survived! All I can say is WOW! If you ever get a chance to take a trip like the Borneo Equator Expedition 2009 TAKE IT! This was truly a trip of a lifetime.
Shannon Bushman – XXXoffroad
All I can say is WOW! If you ever get a chance to take a trip like the Borneo Equator Expedition 2009 TAKE IT! This was truly a trip of a lifetime. I guess I should apologize to the many people that looked forward tow following my posts from the jungle but as it turns out that was just not feasible. The jungle is not a technology friendly place and the place we had to keep really left very little time to deal with computers and satellite systems. The best laid plans were subverted by a lot of rain, mud and winching and driving well past dark many nights. So I will do my best to catch up and tell you about the trip after the fact.
To get started here are a ton of photos from the trip, don’t worry I’ll explain them eventually.
What had been expected to be a 1500Km trip was more like 2100Km in the end. That’s right around 1300 Miles.
The Polaris RZR S performed well throughout the trip. I think some of my fellow travelers were concerned that this “little” rig was not up to the task. After all there were rigs with portal axles on this trip, that’s serious ground clearance. With the huge load of gear, water and fuel on the RZR S it was sitting pretty low. A few days into the trip we were launching off one morning when I heard a strange noise coming from the drivers rear axle. After a few minutes it got louder and louder and I had to pull over. Now this is not as simple as it sounds. The whole convoy had to stop. Within a minute or two I had a dozen guys trying to help me diagnose the problem. Of course none of them had ever seen a RZR so you can imagine the myriad of speculative guesses as to the nature of the problem. The general opinion was that I had lost a bearing in the rear differential. For a minute I was concerned they were right. The problem with that diagnosis was that it meant I was DONE. We were at least 500 miles from anywhere that we could get parts, if we could get parts at all. Now its kind of hard to thoughtfully diagnose a problem like this along side of the road when you are holding up a convoy of people who are anxious to get moving. After all we had just started rolling for the day when this happened. After a few minutes my dim bulb lit up and it occurred to me that this could simply be a loose castle nut on the axle. It was simple enough to check, I popped the wheel cap, removed the cotter pin and luckily I had thought to bring a socket large enough to fit the castle nut. It was quite loose and a simple tightening got us back on the road. It was never a problem again.
A few days later on a late night drive as we were pushing to make up lost time in our schedule we were crossing what I called the “Kalamantan Roller Coaster” I managed to starve the engine of oil for a short time. This stretch of so called road was very odd. It appeared someone had drawn a straight line on a map and then cut a really bad road with a really large bulldozer. It had sections of “road” that had to be 45 degrees. This stuff was so steep that the RZR was failing to pick up oil. After stopping and checking I realized the oil was dangerously low. The RZR had produced a very disturbing clatter before we stopped and I am sure there is some residual damage. On the last day of the trip this clatter returned under acceleration load even though the oil level was fine. The good news it didn’t stop us and I finished the entire trip. This is more than I can say for some of the big rigs. Seven of them had to drop out at about 1500Km mark and take the long way around to meet us at the end due to several mechanical problems that could not be addressed in the jungle.
On the second to the last day I tore a CV boot in the drivers front axle. This concerned me since I didn’t know what lie ahead and whether it would hold up or bust the CV. We pressed on and the CV held despite the torn boot through a lot of deep mud the submersed the open CV many times. It was a good thing because I needed all four wheels pulling all day long.
Other than that the only problem I had was somehow the passenger rear fender mysteriously disappeared one day. I really have no idea how this happened. I know were in tight spots a lot of times that day but when it was actually ripped off I have no idea.
Even with these problems I know the RZR-S will be back in prime condition after a little TLC when it returns. As I write this we are trying to get it on a boat in Jakarta Indonesia to send it home. It will take another month to get here.