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A few weeks ago you could already read about our field repair of the roof rack. That came exactly at this point, as we worked our way from Thessaloniki further on the coast. We drove the coastal road, which meant that there were rather small resorts and villages, as a place for us to find. But after some bumpy ways we found a little paradise. A mini-bay with a stony beach, uninhabited and behind so many hedges, that it was barely visible. So we stopped there to make some repairs. This short but well deserved compulsory break was not only used to screw on Ernst, but Martin was also able to prove his carving skills by replacing the broken frying pan handle with the new pocket knife from Mama from a piece of driftwood. This cherished pan was Conny year-long companion and has already made one or the other move to Germany’s shores (much more important is actually that her name is engraved and that’s something you can not just give away!). It feels now much better in the hand and is certainly even more unique.

But after a few days we moved further east. It seems Vanlifer all somehow head in the same direction to drive, because at our designated next place to sleep we finally met the first like-minded people on this trip. Linda and Jonathan had made themselves comfortable right on the small bay, which we had chosen from satellite pictures to be our nightly sleeping place. But you like to share, and so it was rather the convivial round of wine and cookies in the mustard-coloured Mercedes bus of the two, rather than a diligent work evening on the compute. Incidentally their bus is absolute unique, or who can show me another German car, which has a wood stove inside?


For Laika, this meeting was certainly the biggest friend of ours, because Linda and Jonathan had fallen in love with a puppy in a small Kosovar village and adopted him without hesitation and named it Reco. The first dog contact on this trip stnad Laika so before. So our – almost adult – bitch could show how to breed from dog to dog … or at least have a lot of fun on four paws.

The next morning our ways parted with the rather safe feeling to see each other again somewhere on this trip. But make an appointment, that does not really work in this world, because too often something breaks or a small nice dirt road attracts one to fantastically beautiful places and invites you to linger. Our route now follows the ancient marble road, past beautiful olive groves and breathtaking archaeological sites and through cozy herds of cows. Again and again through narrow paths, overgrown with ancient trees. Already during the trip, it seemed to us that this road is not necessarily suitable for campers, and a look in the guide revealed only at the end of the route that vehicles without four-wheel drive and over 3 feet in height should better look for another way , Still went anyway, albeit slowly.

And then there was this one fateful, rainy day just before the Turkish border. Fully stocked with greek goodies we were looking for a quiet place for the night. The small dirt road that led away from the highway also looked very tempting. A few fields left and right, small groves in the distance … it seemed perfect. Only somehow the sodden soil and Ernst’s stately 2.8 tons were not compatible with each other, and so we relatively unexpectedly stuck to the axis in the mud. You may remember our first Monday photo on Facebook. The great differential lock did not help any further. And of course, just in the moment from the light rain was a pretty considerable shower. So in the following hours (yes, hours) the streams that flowed down the slope to Ernst had to be diverted and many stones were dragged from the roadside into our lane. The winch also had its first correct use and was allowed to pull Ernst back several times to the firmer part of the path. But in the end, only the sand trays really helped us to pull ourselves on the mess like Münchhausen on its own Schopfe. And everywhere was mud. At the car, under the car, at the sand plates, the winch, the folding spade, the washing tub, the boots, trousers, in the car, the dog. Really everywhere. The 100 meters backwards had us done. Sometimes you learn to appreciate every centimeter that comes in the desired direction. So it was called to the place of freedom and the closing time (in the meantime, it was already dark and forget the rain).

Hopefully something like that will not happen to us again … or what will Turkey have in store for us? You can read it next time.

3 Comments

  1. Hi,

    Thank you for sharing so much experiences with us and great pictures!
    Some questions regarding your Florida, because I also own one and am thinking about some modifications with the aim to make quite a long trip in the next future with our kids. I’m sorry, this is a bit technical but I think your experience could give us Florida owners some nice upgrades ideas.
    – Is the Diff Lock system factory installed, or is it an upgrade you made later (if yes, which reference?)
    – What are your tire dimensions (BF Goodrich AT, isn’t it?), and what rim reference did you install?
    – Did you have to modify the front wheel arches, because of the bigger tire dimensions?
    – Did you lift the van, and if yes, by how much, and how did you proceed?
    – Can you tell us a bit more abour the other mods you made to improve AT capacities : winch, high lift jack, etc…

    Thank you for your help, and wish you all the best for your adventures that I will follow regularly!

    Pierre-Alan, from France

    • Hi Pierre,
      Oh, sorry for the late reply! These are quiet a lot questions… Actually we produce a video of all modifications, but we will give you a sneak preview on what we did.
      – BF Goodrich 245/75R16 AT KO2
      – little modifications on the front wheel houses were necessary. Maybe not if you choose a R15 option.
      – differential lock is ‘stolen’ from an LT35. So we took the whole rear axis from it.
      – due to the big tires, we also replaced the main gearbox with shorter steps
      – the rear leafsprings are reinforced lt45 springs with support bar.
      – heavy duty dampers Van Magnum
      – reinforced coil springs in the front
      – body lift kit (spacers front; scissors rear) lifted by around 10cm
      – storage box instead of spare tire underneath
      – 260w solar
      – Heki Midi rooftop window
      – 5,9t winch with synthetic 30m rope and an anchor
      – big intercooler installed
      – additional oilcooler
      – 3t hijack and 2 metal runners

      Basicly that’s it 😬
      Have a great day!

  2. Hi,

    Thank you very much,
    Wow, these are huge modifications! I think your video will explain a lot of things, but if you don’t mind, I have some other questions:
    – Tires : can you also give us the reference of rims installed (16 inches for you)
    – Do all LT35 have a diff lock? Is it a real diff lock, or only a limited slip differential?
    – Do you find this mod to be really usefull till now?
    – Gearbox : does it also come from the LT35? Did you make some tests first with the original gearbox, and what was your feeling? Was the engine really not capable to handle with the bigger tires (even with intercooler installed)?
    – Can you give us the reference of new dampers and coil springs installed (front)?
    – Can you give us the reference of lift kit installed (spacers front and scissors rear)?
    – Could you notice a difference due to intercooler installed? I have one late Florida TD, with intercooler already installed but compared to older TD Floridas, I couldn’t notice a real big difference.
    – What is your battery capacity and type? What type of equipement do you feed with this? What is your feed back with the 260W solar installation?
    – Did you also make some upgrade to the eber heating and the Truma boiler?

    Looking forward to hearing from you, best regards,

    Pierre-Alan

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