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Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Newsletter No: 71

P O Box HG 641 Highlands Harare Zimbabwe

The Chairman and Editorial Team:
CHAIRMAN: Tim Thorburn 498723 / 0912.645.518
EDITORS Mike & Pat GILL 494028 / 011.400.243 / 011.440.794
4x4 Club Website:
Face Book Site: 4x4 Zimbabwe
The 4x4 Club is affiliated to the Zimbabwe Motor Sports Federation - ZMSF
Our Club is a member of the Mashonaland Motor Sport Association Club House, situated at: 2 Annan Rd. Eastlea. Support your Club House. It is available for hire for weddings, conferences, kids parties, 21st birthdays, etc. Lunches and dinners at reasonable prices.
News, comments and opinions expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily those of the Club or the Committee

EDITOR’S NOTE - Michael and Pat GILL
We have returned from a whirlwind tour of Kenya and north Tanzania. We flew up to Mombasa, drove about 3000 kms in a lengthened Land Cruiser, which handled like an oil tanker, and drove roads that tourist do not see. We were invited to do this by Ralph and Rose Stead so that we could be the Mobile Controllers on the East African Safari Classic Rally. Many of the roads the cars raced over would have done us well as a 4x4 trail drive and we wondered how these pre-1975 cars (a Ford Mustang, Datsun 260Z’s; 240Z’s; 1200’s; Porsche 911’s; two Renault Alpine’s and others) made it to the end of each stage. Many didn’t and their mechanics were kept very busy each night. Ralph was happy that a Kenyan Mustang won but was also very sad that two Renault Alpines fell to bits on a daily basis and missed many stages. African corrugations, jumps, pot holes and speed bumps will destroy anything including well re-built 35 year old rally cars. Out in the wilds there were plenty of LR Series 2 & 3's, local gentry in older Range Rovers. The tourists, and there are plenty of them, are moved about in lengthened Land Rovers and Toyotas with pop top roofs. What an amazing time we had.

We wish all our club members a very happy and peaceful Christmas and may all your dreams and ambitions come true in 2010. Michael and Pat GILL.

Christmas, hooray, what a year it has been, with all of us facing so many different challenges, some of which we have got over but many still ongoing. We look back and are thankful to have survived another year in Africa/Zim, but it’s home.
We as a club have had a very successful year in terms of events and participation in those events. I thank my committee for all their assistance in putting together these events, most of which we had on the calendared day (it makes life easy when you can plan ahead). In the New Year, we have most of the dates sorted for the normal events, and a few dates planned for some expeditions – should be fun.
Don’t forget our annual Ngomo Kurira run in Domboshawa in January, and as soon as you get a chance, you can pay your annual subscription to our membership secretary, Pat Gill, details available in this newsletter.
We are all looking forward to the break, those of you going away, please take care on our roads.
On behalf of the 4 x 4 club of Zimbabwe, I would like to wish you all a safe, healthy and happy festive season.
Cheers for now. Tim Thorburn

We are coming to the end of the year so regret there are no new members this month.

Subs for 2010 have been set at US$25 a year. Joining fee will remain at US$10. See Renewal Notice at the end of the newsletter. I will start to hound you for your subs soon!!

THE AGM The AGM is calendared for 14th March and we desperately need at least two new members to be on the committee. Please offer you services, it is not a daunting task and we have a lot of fun together.

Michael Gill: Your editor had a nasty accident while in Kenya; he fell in the bathroom of the hotel and severed the tendon on his knee. He will be in hospital for a couple of days and will then have his leg immobilized for about two months. Mrs Ed is not looking forward to this period of his recovery.
THE JEWEL IN THE CROWN by Richard Macdonald Chitake has been referred to as ‘the Jewel in the Crown’ of all Zimbabwean wildlife destinations and I can certainly confirm the title. Five of us, being Scotty Crockart, Phil Archenoul, Jimmy Whyte, Mac Bailey and myself, spent three nights there and what a wonderful trip it was.I managed to get the camp site booking due to a cancellation whilst in the National Parks office. The guy was standing ahead of me in the queue so a quick negotiation took place and I was the proud owner of three nights. Normally you have to put your name in a hat and if extremely lucky you might win a booking.The Chitake Spring is in Mana Pools National Park. During the dry season the water seeps out from under a big rock and runs down the river bed in numerous rivulets to disappear into the sand after 300m. The banks of the river are quite steep so obviously during the rains the river must flood.Chitake has three camp sites: the first is only available to commercial operators and is on the south bank. Chitake 1 is the other side of the river and immediately opposite the commercial camp site. Chitake 2 is maybe 2 km away amongst five large baobabs but well away from the river; beautiful views but quite windy. We found a spot upstream from Chitake 1 and a little way off the river’s edge, which proved to be ideal.At any time of the day there is always some sort of wildlife activity on the go. The area is well known for its lion prides but during our brief four days we only came across one lion during the day. One night five lions came into our camp and took up temporary residence right outside Phil’s tent. That was our only encounter with them. Other animals were in abundance. We estimated one herd of buffalo at 300, saw about 50 elephant, numerous impala, kudu and the bird life is prodigious. The day after we left wild dog killed an impala in the river bed.Be prepared to walk around a bit but with eyes wide open as it is too easy to walk into a pride of lion. I think the better option is to set up your deck chair on the bank, making quite sure you are protected from the rear, a cooler box near your right hand, binos in your left hand, and be patient.If you have never ‘done’ Chitake you are the loser. So make a plan, you can’t afford to miss out on this jewel. Richard MacDonald.

Have you had a look at our website and Face Book recently? They have both been updated with all the latest photos and news items.

Those of you playing with the older Jeeps, Land Rovers and classic or vintage cars will know that there are a multitude of different bolts used on these cars.
Metric: Easy and common and apart from some being fine thread or odd 7mm size you should be able to get what you want. All Japanese and European cars use these.
UNC and UNF: These are American and British bolts. Inch sizes. There was a period when Land Rover used a mix of these and Metric. Are you surprised that you find many stripped threads because the nuts and bolts do not match?
BSF or BSW: The older the British cars get the more you will need these. Trouble is you cannot buy them from the nut and bolt shop.
A couple of tips: Look at the tops of your bolts for the makers name and thread. Not many have it but once you have one like VERBUS UNC R you have a sample. VERBUS is the manufacturer, UNC is the thread and R is the strength (high Tensile).
Avoid using bolts marked BMA M. These are metric mild steel and not suitable for use on a car, too soft.
I have a selection of BSF nuts and bolts if you need some, many are new and some are galvanized. I also have a few ½” drive Imperial sockets, surplus to my needs.

Seat belts are not as confining as wheelchairs.

Having at last overcome the rough idling and poor fuel consumption of my Peugeot 306 1.8, I thought Club members may be interested in the start and end of these problems.
Back in the days when I stored a few liters of petrol and diesel for our family vehicles, I inadvertently mixed around 30 liters of petrol and diesel. Not wanting to discard this fuel mix I began adding 5 liters of mix to the fuel tank but only when I refilled with 60 liters of petrol. The engine would run a little sluggish for the first couple of km, thereafter appearing normal, though always with a rough idle. Given a 50-50 mix of diesel and petrol, the diesel would have been around 4% of the tank contents. All in all I had probably added 10 liters of diesel over 8 or so tank fillings.
Fuel consumption was noticeable poor. Engine oil level after 2000km was found to be high, I drained off 2 ltrs. Replacing the oil and checking the level much more frequently than before, the oil level began to rise again.
Sensing a link to the diesel mix and possible injector problems I stopped adding the mix a while. After a talk with our son in the UK I disconnected the battery, allowing the electronic engine management to revert to factory settings. Immediately the engine returned to its normal idle, fuel consumption to 13 km/l, and engine oil level has since remained steady. Maybe the higher viscosity or change in fuel mass upset the fuel management; diesel was not burned and ran down the bores and into the sump. Needless to say, I won’t be adding any diesel to my petrol engines again. David Rock

We still have a number of shirts from various events that we would like to get rid of before next year begins.
We have 12 Bush Pig; 15 Jamboree and 15 Club Air Back shirts.
If you would like any, please contact me. Pat Gill: 494028; 011.440.794.

Please note: If you wish to go to Donnybrook to play and there is another event on, then the organizing club can charge what they like for you to enter as they will have hired the entire complex for that day. Please don’t try and argue with the gate attendant as they will just be doing their job. Either pay-up or go away and come back on a free day.
You will note the seesaw in the children’s playground has been refurbished. The committee has thanked Mike Gill for this refurbishment.

These dates will change as the year progresses, but flyers will be sent out before each event.
This is a very full calendar and there are still a number of events we would like to add.
January 24 Ngomo Kurira Run Day
Feb 12-14 Bulawayo Jamboree Away
Feb 28 Day Event Day
March 14 AGM Day
March 26-28 Sanyati Expedition Away
April 11 Day Event Day
May 8-9 Course Building Week-end
May 21-23 HARARE JAMBOREE Week-end
June 25-2 Eco Challenge Away
July 16-18 Crocodile Crawl Away
August 6-10 Away Weekend Away
Sept 10-12 Bush Pig Away
October TBA Three Hills Away
Nov 20-22 Mutare Dungbeetle Away
Dec 5 Christmas Run Day

School Terms
1st Term Opens 7 January - ends 31 March - half term 18 Feb
2nd Term Opens `10 May - ends 5 Aug - half term 17 Jun
3rd Term Opens 6 Sept - ends 2 Dec - half term 14 Oct

To enter Donnybrook on a non-event day it will cost you $1 per car, providing you have you membership card. Non-members will be charged $5 per car. You must sign the book at the gate and put your name, you Club and membership number. Do not pay without signing the book.
If you have paid your subs and have not received your membership card, please contact me to make arrangements to collect. Pat Gill 494028 011.440.794
Have you had a look at our Web Site. Grant Weare, Kelvin’s son has done a really good job of updating it. Go to:
We have a Face Book site and for those members, who are on Face Book, feel free to join the site: 4x4 Zimbabwe

If any members run a business and would like to contribute to this facility, we would be most grateful. Just think, it could improve your business as well as being an advantage to club members.
The coordinator is: Tim Thorburn: 498723 / 0912.645.518
To take advantage of these discounts you MUST produce your 2009 Membership Card and ask for your discount. If you don’t ask you don’t get!!
If you have not got your 2009 Card please phone Pat Gill, 494028 to arrange collection/delivery.
Discounts on offer so far:
Maguires in Willowvale for Filters etc.
Telford Mica for Tools.
Big Sky, Pomona. for Selected items.

Motor Sports Association Club House
MSA Membership: The Club House bar works on a Swipe Card basis and any member of an affiliated club can join. Bar prices are double for non-cardholders.
Hall for Hire - Hire our affordable Club facilities for parties, Wedding Receptions, meetings, seminars, courses and other functions. Assist us in this way to obtain funds required for the upkeep of the Clubhouse.

Do you realize that in about 40years, we'll have thousands of old men and old ladies running around with tattoos? (And rap music will be the Golden Oldies!) No! Say it isn't so!

Michael and Pat GILL


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Annual subscription for 2010 is US$25
Please advise me as soon as you have paid, or we will not be able to reconcile the account and you will not get your Membership Card.
Pat Gill: Membership SecretaryPhone: 494028 Cell: 011.440.794 Email:

1 comment:

  1. 4X4 is one of the most reliable car ever built in the history of automobile industry..And Japanese cars are one of the good option. I have heard that there are a lot of cheap but quality car that can be found Zimbabwe.