We are GO for launch….

To say the last week has been emotional, would be an understatement of enormous proportions. To have come so close to getting my truck registered, only to find that the transmission was damaged, was to say the least, heart breaking, but if I’m to make it around Africa I need to have an “OK, problem, let’s solve it” attitude, so that’s what got me through the last few days.

Finally, following the repairs at Emirates Motor Company, my truck arrived (again) at Tasjeel in Warsan on Tuesday 24th January, and this time I was determined not to leave without a registration card. Which is just as well, since in the end it took me SIX hours to obtain the necessary approvals, during which time the vehicle was inspected on three separate occasions, by about eight different people in total. I spent 90 minutes sweet talking the manager of the test centre, persuading him that since Oberaigner was a Mercedes, n approved vehicle modifier, that the rules of ‘no modifications to chassis’ could not possibly be applied to MY vehicle. Thank You Henrique Pimental of Daimler Middle East for the letter confirming Mercedes’ relationship with Oberaigner.

Plates, plates! I got plates!!

Then there were the inevitable “But it has to be registered as a commercial vehicle”, “But it’s a heavy vehicle not a light truck”, “We don’t have that engine option for a Sprinter on our computer” and other such tiresome arguments to overcome, but I got there, having displayed the patience and understanding of a saint. Anyone who knows me will understand that for me to display such behaviour is nothing short of miraculous, but NOTHING was going to get between me and those number plates this time. So it was that at 8.20pm, more than five hours after I’d first arrived, I walked out of the office with the personalised plates in my hand. Having fitted them, I then had to walk back into the office, and spend another 40 minutes getting the registration card changed to show the correct gross vehicle weight. You see, I’d noticed that problem when the card was printed, but decided that ‘owning’ the card, and thus being able to have my plates printed, was more important than having correct details on the card. So when I raised the issue AFTER fitting my plates, well, they really had no choice but to correct it, right? I wasn’t born yesterday……

The video below is rather long, but it covers the whole gamut of my emotions, from receiving the truck the first time, realising it was damaged, getting it fixed, returning to Warsan and ultimately, my first drive of the truck on a public road. Bear with me for the plate fitting sequence – it gets better at the end 🙂
I hope you enjoy the video as much as I enjoyed driving those first few kilometres.


13 comments on “We are GO for launch….

  • Yeay!!!!! Fantastic news mate! I really feel for you and understand your pain when it comes to the bureaucracy here!!! Congratulations and enjoy it! Long and safe travels! Oh maybe this will inspire me to Finnish mine 😀

    • Hey Torsten – I hope it will inspire you, yes, especially since you get to drive mine before I go – you lent me your Mog when I first met you, so it’s only fair!

  • Got a link to the site from your parents in our annual exchange of Christmas cards.
    Checked out the site to see what you were up to and extremely pleased to see you’re still crazy after all these years!
    I’m sure you won’t remember but my date of birth is 25.02.63 so, it may just be me, but I’m considering the 2563 plate to be a good omen! Best of luck mate

    • Michael! Hello mate, how the devil are you. OMG, it must be 20 years? Yes, I’m still crazy – you taught me well ;-). How’s tricks? I have SO many family birthdays in February it bankrupts me every year! I shall do my best to honour your birthday as well as I honour mine – which is also clearly visible in that plate 😉

  • Ah sorry just found your post re the front drive shaft.
    That’s odd imho. Although not a good idea it shouldn’t have snapped due to the diff lock being engaged. Does it have diff locks “normal” 4×4 NCV3 Sprinters don’t.

    I had to change one on mine, knackered cv, lots of money:-(

    • Hi Russ, the Oberaigner has 5 diff locks, between the transfer box and mid axle, mid and rear axle, and across all three axles. If I get stuck in mud it’s my own bloody fault! The front driveshafts are probably the weakest point in the system but act as a ‘fuse’. Better to break one of those than a transfer case… Takes two hours to change one and I’ll be carrying a spare (it’s the same both sides). We think the diff locks were engaged on the RoRo so it would have been subject to very tight turns at low speed – something was going to break! I’ve had a clear Perspex cover made to go over the diff lock switches so I’ll never knock them on accidentally. Cost me 30 quid as it was tailor made but that’s a lot cheaper than a drive shaft!

      • 5 diff locks😀
        Yep if you get stuck, you’re going to be really really stuck. As someone once commented about my G Wagens diff locks “all they do is make the walk back to find a tractor longer”😂

        I see you’re learning to ride a bike, same here. I survived SE Asia on one but can’t ride one in the UK yet.
        I’ll hopefully hang a light weight one off the back of the Sprinter.

        • Hi Russ – well I probably need the exercise 🙂 I’ll also have a chain hoist to be used as a manual winch, and a professional “Fire and Rescue” grade lifting bag by Paratech USA to help me get myself, literally, out of a hole. But it’s OK, I grew up on a farm, borrowing tractors when needed is nothing new to me 🙂

  • Hi, I’m glad that you are up and running. Now I get to live vicariously through you.
    How have you got around the ultra low sulphur diesel issue?

    • Hi Gareth. My engine is the OM 651 Euro 3 spec. So no DPF, no EGR. So it’ll (hopefully) run on very poor diesel in Africa. I’m having a Unimog pre filter fitted too – almost 1 litre of water filtration capacity!

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