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Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Newsletter No: 75
JUNE 2010
P O Box HG 594 Highlands Harare Zimbabwe

The Chairman and Editorial Team:
CHAIRMAN: Tim Thorburn 498723 / 0912.645.518
EDITORS Mike & Pat GILL 494028 / 0712.400.243 / 0712.440.794
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. It is available for hire for weddings, conferences, kids parties, 21st birthdays, etc.
News, comments and opinions expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily those of the Club or the Committee

THE EDITOR’S DESK - Michael and Pat GILL

What happened five years ago this winter? We had the Bush Pig at Beatrice and it was freezing cold, good reason to hold it in September. Much work went into the Jamboree in July which was also rather cool for the campers. Then in August a group went camping at Tashinga on the South shore of Kariba. The Zambezi Valley seldom gets cool. A great time was had but the road was bad enough to destroy one trailer. So? We are camping, in the cold again, at the Eco Challenge, we are camping, after a long bush drive, on the South shore of Kariba, a small group will be going to the Eastern Highlands to beautiful Aberfoyle and not camping. But the Bush Pig will be much warmer at Beatrice in September.


This year's Castrol Jamboree was a very successful event with 31 entries and good crowd attendance, leaving the club in a good financial position for the year. I would like to thank all those involved in the organization of this event, and especially Mark Benzon and his committee for the effort they put in.

Coming up in July is an expedition to Sanyati lead by Kelvin Weare. If you are looking to explore, here is your chance. It is a wonderful opportunity to see a part of Zim that you are unlikely to go to any other time. Flyers will be sent out with details later. Don’t miss it.

Also coming up in August is a trip to Aberfoyle Tea Estates over Heroes weekend. Places are going fast, so book early to avoid disappointment.

On a lighter note, have any of your teams made it through to the last 16 of the world cup. I don’t see any flags flying on your cars, or wing mirror covers. All of my family’s team flags, bar SA, are still flying. With relatives in USA, UK and Germany, our loyalties are divided. Someone is going to lose out when UK & Germany clash.

Drive safe and I will see some of you at the Eco-weekend this weekend.

Cheers for now. Tim Thorburn


This month we welcome Stuart and Bernadine GEACH. Son of our new committee member Gareth. Stuart and Bernadine have been out with Gareth and Ashleigh on a number of outings and finally decided to join the family.

Maurice Ades, joined in 1992 but let his membership slip. Maurice has been the commentator at the Jamboree for the last couple of years and so decided to re-join the club.

We take this opportunity to wish you a long and happy association with our club.


OBITUARY: Some of you may remember Lance Abel. They were Marondera farmers and emigrated to New Zealand a few years ago. Sadly Lance lost his battle with Alzheimer's Dementia earlier this month. Lance was a keen Off-Road motorcyclist and then bought a Cournil and joined the Club. His car was bought by Mass Kirk when they left for quieter pastures.


Please note we have closed our post box and are using the Box for the Motor Sports Club House. In future all correspondence should be sent to The 4x4 Club, P O Box HG 594, Highlands, Harare. The Street Address is: 2 Annan Road, Eastlea. Harare.

More on Lead-free Fuel:

This is for those running "Old" petrol engines. Diesel owners can skip this.

The original seals and 'O' rings are not compatible with unleaded fuels and will harden. As a result any sealing rings disturbed during a service are unlikely to seal and should be replaced with new ones. Fuel injection delivery valves in the metering unit, the vacuum diaphragm and injector seals should be replaced with seals made from unleaded fuel compatible materials. Unleaded fuel additives or LRP will not make any difference to the need to replace pump seals. Your car may be running well but you should also change all injectors for unleaded compatible sealed ones on a service exchange basis when using lead free fuel.

Owners will have found it necessary to retard the timing by a couple of degrees. It is unlikely that engines will run indefinitely on unleaded fuels without hardened inserts fitted into the cylinder head exhaust valve seats. This may well be necessary later and yet a few may never require new valve seats at all. The exhaust valve seats longevity will depend on a number of factors, but largely the way you drive the car. Many were originally machined straight into the cast iron head (classic cars) and will not withstand continuous vigorous driving using unleaded fuel. But don't panic. You have been using leaded fuel in your engine for a number of years so a thin but very worthwhile protective lead deposit will have built up on the working surfaces and could last for thousands of miles. Obviously if you do a de-coke, drive flat out for hours, or tow a caravan, the "lead effect" is dramatically shortened but with light driving it could last for several years.

In due course you will have to adjust the tappets with increasing frequency, signaling the start of valve seat recession. So what; tappet adjustment takes but an hour. If you are covering under 10 000 kms. per year you could go many years with just an annual tappet adjustment. Do not worry that you are doing your engine irreparable damage and running the risk of needing a new expensive cylinder head. Eventually, when the time comes to have the head modified, the valve seats will be machined out and replaced with a hardened insert. By adopting a "wait and see" policy you are doing your engine no damage whatsoever.

Thanks to VCCZ Newsletter. (Condensed - Ed)


You start off arguing that you do not need a winch, and then you convince yourself that you NEED a winch. Once you have the winch you have to mount it on your car. Whatever you mount it on has to be strong and it must be mounted correctly. Any twisting when bolting down or due to load can stop it working. A 9000 lb winch can exert 9000 lbs pull that is 4.5 tons. Any welding must be very good and all bolts HT. If in doubt get it done professionally. Pulling the front off your car, and it has happened, will spoil your day and make you look awful silly.

Winch makers say you must be able to pull at least 1.5 times the weight of you truck, that is the bare minimum. Do not overlook the fact that the maximum pull is only on the first wind of the wire on the drum; each extra layer looses 10% of the pull. A snatch block will make you unwind more cable and will double the pull strength. In fact your truck can take even 20 000 lbs pull to drag it, with all the extra mud out of the gloop. Parts breaking or coming off at this load will injure, destroy or kill. Be careful.


What will do 180 kph down the Donnybrook main circuit straight, +/- 145 kph through the sweep and proceed to do a competitive lap time then drive directly to the 4x4 site and proceed to traverse various site obstacles, including part of the X-treme area without a glitch? It is the new Range Rover Sport – V8 Supercharged engine, +/- 500bhp, 620 NM Torque and every off-road gismo you can think of.

Range Rover (Land Rover) has been pioneers of luxury off road vehicles from the introduction of the Range Rover in 1969. Jeep had their Wagoneer prior to this, but Range Rover really established the bench mark for luxury off roaders and have been leading ever since.

I, and some others, were fortunate enough to attend the demonstration day held by Premier Auto Services (the new Land Rover and Jaguar distributors in Zimbabwe), in conjunction with Land Rover S.A. where the new Range Rover Sport and Discovery 4s were being demonstrated. The Range Rover Sport is simply an astoundingly magnificent vehicle with, I believe, no equal!

The Disco 4s were equally impressive off road with all their electronic traction, drive and stability programs with cameras and V6 diesel engines. We saw the amazing new Toyota Prado at the Jamboree and it would be a great experience to have both these vehicles do a head to head comparison at our site.

Land Rover and Toyota – are you willing and able?!
Cheers, Ralph

(Ed. I too had the chance to test the Disco – it makes a mockery of slippery steep slopes. The Defender was a base model pick-up but with the new Puma 2.4 ltr motor. It idles at 800 rpm and climbing the steep concrete slope at 1000 rpm without driver input, even if the brake is put on a bit to make it harder. It will not stall. The new 6 speed box with a very low 1st gear is impressive. We are told that all Defenders are now imported from Britain complete, not assembled locally.)

The trouble with bucket seats is that not everybody has the same size bucket


SANYATI EXPEDITION Date: 16 - 17 - 18th JULY 2010

Kelvin Weare has organised a fabulous off road adventure for the club.

Here is a chance to go somewhere different, into the wilder parts of the Kariba South shore.

The plan is to spend Friday night on a farm near Vuti (after Karoi). Saturday will be a long and hard drive so the plan is to leave before sparrow and have breakfast and lunch on the road.

We will drive through the hunting area towards Kariba and camp the night overlooking the Sanyati Gorge at Second Cross Roads.

The drive back will be via the fly gate and Magungi. If you have trailered your car then we will split up here and you will return to the farm and the others will continue back to town.

Please note this is not suitable for SUV's.



How do they do it? Another action pact week-end with a bumper crop of competitors and commercial stands all adding up to a good event enjoyed by the Public and Members alike. Well done Mark and all the team of officials that you had, not forgetting the many Marshals without whom we would not have an event. Some of the side shows did not go off without a bit of drama. One skydiver had a narrow escape when his shute became tangled and his emergency shute filled in the nick of time. The model electric plane demonstration came to a spectacular end with a power dive into the ground, splat!

With just over 30 entries and several for the first time, either driver or car, there was keep competition in all classes, with exception of the Long Wheel Base that had 2 cars and Murray, in his Patrol, was a lone finisher when Dale's Disco munched its diff. Due to engine trouble Adrian had to borrow a Cournil from Maas and then demonstrated the "Drive it like you stole it" technique and rolled twice. Our Treasurer Kelvin also added to the fun by rolling his Series 1, which I am informed, does take some doing. Then there was an unconfirmed report that Bright Bvukumbwe finally managed to park his Series 3 on its side. Your Editor managed to destroy his front prop shaft, at high speed, in the Mud Run. Too much wellie at the start. But how do you find a meter long prop shaft in a 100 m long muddy trench? A $20 reward failed but the $30 had many children and helpers splashing about for quite a while till it was found.

There are many stories to tell and our congratulations to those who finally triumphed.

The Barzem Extreme. 1st Sonnie Rousseau (Range Rover special)

2nd Shane Ellis (Range Rover special)

SWB Modified. 1st Michael Maas (Jeep)

2nd Alex Hawkins (Jeep)

3rd Rodney Beckley (Suzuki)

SWB Standard. 1st Tim Thorburn (Jeep)

2nd Ian Robertson (Jeep)

3rd Kelvin Weare (L/R S1)

Specials 1st Mass Kirk (Cournil)

2nd Trevor Butler (Jeep)

3rd Peter Dobropoulos (L/R S1)

Long WB 1st Murray Upton (Patrol)

2nd Dale Kiggen (Disco)


Just a simple social trail drive turned into quite a big event. We had 17 cars and 35 people so you can imagine how long the convoy was. We made good use of the new Club radios and with various stops: 1. Pete Benzon found a sharp spike in his tyre; 2. The younger ones got lost after lunch; 3. Tony Jordan's Merc had a fuel blockage and had to be towed home; 4. Kelvin nose-dived into an unseen ditch and had to be pulled out.

The "3-Rivers" crossing was hard work with much sawing of overhead branches to make a route and unlike past visits the open sand banks had gone and a deep grass carpet covered the unseen pitfalls. The exit water was bonnet deep for a meter or two which was not so much fun for Ian Robertson in his open Jeep.

The drive took us through every terrain with stream crossings, large smooth rock climbs to wonderful views, narrow trail tracks, mud marsh crossings to a peaceful shady lunch stop. And deep water etc.

Just as we were finishing lunch we were very surprised to be joined by the Pemba family in two Toyotas, they had followed our tracks, remember there were 15 cars to follow, and had done some very good tracking. They said they had to ask a few times but a convoy of 15 cars does not go unnoticed so they get the Club Star for tracking this month. Will members please note that this is not an invitation to following along late!

Firstly we wish to thank Pete Jenkin and Gareth Geach for towing Tony home and secondly remind drivers that you must make sure the car following you is in sight all the time. We call it the "Buddie-Buddie" system.

If driving too far is not your ‘thing’… and you just want to mellow for a few days… why not stop at Camp Africa. Camp Africa is situated on the fringes of indigenous forest and has a beautiful view over Louis Trichardt. You turn off right at the first cross roads as you approach Louis Trichardt.

They have five huts and many camping spots. Each hut is a ‘family-unit’ with two single beds and a double bunk, i.e. four beds.

For the birders, a Crowned Eagle ‘couple’ have nested here for the last few years. Camp Africa is on the Soutpansberg-Limpopo Birding Route. Long Crested Eagle has also joined us at Camp Africa... There is much else to see and hear… so bring the family anytime for a short break from the mayhem of city life…

Activities include the vehicle trail, birding, tree-spotting, hiking, cultural tours, historical tours, mountain biking, butterflies, moths… to name but a few…

The Soutpansberg Forest Trail goes through Plantations with various indigenous sections in between. Highlights are some of the tallest trees (Redwoods) in RSA; the Fruit Salad Picnic Spot; the Angel Steps to Wim's View; a tea plantation; Botha's Pass; and so much more.


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.

July 16-18 Sanyati Expedition Away – Kariba South

August 7-10 Aberfoyle has been booked Away – Honde Valley

Sept 10-12 Bush Pig Away

October TBA Three Hills Harare local

Nov 20-22 Mutare Dungbeetle Mutare

Dec 5 Christmas Run Day


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.

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.

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

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.

Money can't buy happiness -- but somehow it's more comfortable to cry in a Porsche than in a Golf .

Michael and Pat GILL

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