En cas de panne sèche

If you happen to pick up a Land Cruiser at a remote border crossing in Côte d’Ivoire one day, well over 100km from the nearest fuel station, and you find that your colleagues on the Liberian side of the border have kindly drained all the diesel out of the two 70L 90L fuel tanks, hence explaining why they were three hours late arriving, there are a number of potential solutions to get you out of your predicament.

Liberian border crossing at Pekanhouebli

The first solution is that you were already prepared, and brought some diesel in 20L jerrycans with you to the border, attached the roof of the vehicle that transported you to the border crossing (let’s call this Land Cruiser A, and call the other one Land Cruiser B).

Metal jerrycans

If you didn’t think of this, the next best option is to syphon some fuel from one of Land Cruiser A’s fuel tanks into one of Land Cruiser B’s fuel tanks using a syphon tube. Of course, while trying this option you may realise that Toyota had you in mind when they installed anti-syphoning guards in Land Cruisers, making it virtually impossible to get the syphon tube into the fuel tank of Land Cruiser A.

Syphoning fuel

Once these first two solutions have been eliminated from your list, there is a third option available: open the drain plug on the bottom of one of Land Cruiser A’s fuel tanks and place a container underneath to catch the diesel as it slowly pours out the small hole. To do this, you should park the vehicle on level ground or, if possible, on raised tracks so there’s more ground clearance between the bottom of the fuel tank and the container you’re using to catch the diesel. This is very time-consuming, as a Land Cruiser consumes about 13L/100km, and the fuel drains out of the tank pretty slowly. You’ll also be taking fuel from the very bottom of the tank, which means you get all the mucky sediment settled on the bottom, which is not good for your vehicle. Hopefully the fuel filter in Land Cruiser B can remove most of the sediment before it gets to the engine.

Draining fuel from reservoir

The fourth and final solution available, aside from parking the vehicle and coming back later (and probably finding it missing upon your return), is to buy fuel from a friendly Italian aid worker who happens to have just opened an office 50 metres away from where you’re trying to drain fuel out of your tank, and who happens to have made a fuel run the day before to stock up on hundreds and hundreds of litres of diesel, and who happens to have seen you from his office window trying the second and third solutions.

Disclaimer: The postings and views expressed on this site are mine alone, and do not represent the position or values of Médecins Sans Frontières.

2 thoughts on “En cas de panne sèche

  1. Love it! :-) I thought the LC had 2*90l tanks. At least it did in my day. Did I tell you about the use of the fan motor to wind the clock forward to steal fuel out of the LC’s in Burundi. Happy days!

  2. Yes, Fraser, you’re right! They’re 2*90L (though I saw a spec once that said they’re actually only 87L each, which is the size of many single LC Prado tanks, not sure if it was correct).

    Using the fan motor to wind the clock forward… how does it work? Did they connect the odometer cable to the fan motor somehow?

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