Fuel haul across the Empty Quarter in Saudi

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Oct 31, 2019
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Dubai, UAE
Good morning from Dubai,

We are planning an expedition across the Empty Quarter from the East to West of Saudi covering 1200km to the UAE border. I have been thinking of using marine fuel tanks and a simple transfer pump over jerry cans.

I'll need at least 250L of fuel until we hit our first possible fuel stop.

Throwing this out there. Collective minds please give me your suggestions or ideas
 
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Dec 29, 2014
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I have a similar 150 Liter setup in a 100 Series Petrol Land Cruiser. It is fits in the factory spare tire location and used a Aus spec dual filler.
It is aimed at extending the range for mostly long road trips vs expeditions. It is very convenient in operation. I have 4 additional rotopax (cans) for an additional 45 Liters of fuel that I can take.

If your doing this as a one time expedition I would consider Jerry cans as a 1st approach. They have the advantage of not modifying your vehicle to make them work. In addition perhaps you can borrow them from your friends and remove much of the expense.

I really like having my system but I use it weekly. I also plumbed an additional vapor canister to the aux tank as to not overload the factory one. My tanks is a replacement steel fuel tank intended for a jeep.
 
Joined
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Location
Dubai, UAE
I have a similar 150 Liter setup in a 100 Series Petrol Land Cruiser. It is fits in the factory spare tire location and used a Aus spec dual filler.
It is aimed at extending the range for mostly long road trips vs expeditions. It is very convenient in operation. I have 4 additional rotopax (cans) for an additional 45 Liters of fuel that I can take.

If your doing this as a one time expedition I would consider Jerry cans as a 1st approach. They have the advantage of not modifying your vehicle to make them work. In addition perhaps you can borrow them from your friends and remove much of the expense.

I really like having my system but I use it weekly. I also plumbed an additional vapor canister to the aux tank as to not overload the factory one. My tanks is a replacement steel fuel tank intended for a jeep.
Do you have pictures by any chance?
 

e9999

You want to do what...?
Moderator
 
 
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I have used marine outboard cans on the roof rack with a simple bulb siphon hose to drain them in the main tank. However, that was usually only one or 2 cans of 25L each or so. I have gone up to 80L (in Jerry cans) with no trouble, even over pretty rough terrain, but am a bit skittish about too much weight up there. Then again, I would be uncomfortable too about 250L inside the cab. That is a lot of fuel.
I'll throw in another line of thought: how about an off-road trailer? Could store all the fuel there with added peace of mind plus a bunch of camping gear if necessary. And you could be the star of the trip with room for extra cold beverages...
 

george_tlc

 
 
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1200km, not too far at all. Taking the diesel 200 or petrol guzzling patrol?

The diesel should give you 1200km range with maybe 160l of fuel usage depending on how much soft sand you have to drive.

I use jerry cans (for diesel) and on the roof (5 of them) and use a jiggle siphon to tranfer to the tank (don't need to pull them off the roof that way). With 160litre in the tank and 100 litres on the roof I get about 2000km range (diesel patrol) fully loaded up and offroad.

cheers,
george.
 
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1200km, not too far at all. Taking the diesel 200 or petrol guzzling patrol?

The diesel should give you 1200km range with maybe 160l of fuel usage depending on how much soft sand you have to drive.

I use jerry cans (for diesel) and on the roof (5 of them) and use a jiggle siphon to tranfer to the tank (don't need to pull them off the roof that way). With 160litre in the tank and 100 litres on the roof I get about 2000km range (diesel patrol) fully loaded up and offroad.

cheers,
george.
1200km through the desert dunes off road. If it was on road I wouldn't worry. This is the emtpy quarter....think Lawrence of Arabia scenery
 

george_tlc

 
 
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yeah, we have a bit of desert in oz as well, 1200km is a pretty common distance with no fuel, towns, facilities. There's quite a few places where 1800km range is a necessity.

What is your typical mpg through soft sand? I would presume you have a pretty good idea of what your vehicle(s) average when traversing sand and loaded up with gear for several weeks of exploration.

Again, are you going with your diesel vehicle or the petrol one?

cheers,
george.
 
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yeah, we have a bit of desert in oz as well, 1200km is a pretty common distance with no fuel, towns, facilities. There's quite a few places where 1800km range is a necessity.

What is your typical mpg through soft sand? I would presume you have a pretty good idea of what your vehicle(s) average when traversing sand and loaded up with gear for several weeks of exploration.

Again, are you going with your diesel vehicle or the petrol one?

cheers,
george.
Around 50 to 55l/100km. We are making fresh virgin tracks
 

george_tlc

 
 
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Around 50 to 55l/100km. We are making fresh virgin tracks
50l/100km... I presume that's not PER vehicle?? That's about 5mpg (US) and would be what I'd expect from a hard working petrol engine. Since you have a diesel 200 series, that implies you have access to diesel vehicles. I'd highly recommend using diesel to cross sand & dunes. A hard working diesel will use a LOT less fuel than a hard working petrol. I'd be ensuring that tyres are deflated to sand 'friendly' pressures as that will reduce the work the engines have to do to climb dunes.

Obviously it also depends on the type of sand you encounter. Most australian desert sand is quite soft and typically requires low range and low pressures to be able to climb dunes. Also, making your own tracks in australian sand is often much easier than following an existing track that has been dug up and turned into powder. Virgin sand is usually somewhat more packed and the vehicle starts at the sand level versus in a pre-dug rut.

cheers,
george.
 

tmarx

 
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1200km through the desert dunes off road. If it was on road I wouldn't worry. This is the emtpy quarter....think Lawrence of Arabia scenery
Do you have to do 1200 km in one go ? or is there a fuel stop in between and if so what is the longest distance between re-fueling points ?
For extreme high dunes like we do in the Namib down here, you should try to keep the COG as low as possible(ie avoid roof rack completely) however if you are forced to load the roof rack then rather use smaller containers like Jerry cans, that are easily unloaded and emptied into the tank on the fly.

2c
 
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We are looking at a possible fuel drop at 800km in...but worst case 1200km


Do you have to do 1200 km in one go ? or is there a fuel stop in between and if so what is the longest distance between re-fueling points ?
For extreme high dunes like we do in the Namib down here, you should try to keep the COG as low as possible(ie avoid roof rack completely) however if you are forced to load the roof rack then rather use smaller containers like Jerry cans, that are easily unloaded and emptied into the tank on the fly.

2c
 

tmarx

 
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At your indicated 2 km/l you will then need 400l ?
Do you have a LRT as aux tank already ?
How many pax in your vehicle as I have seen fuel bladders used in rear passenger foot wells and also jerry cans housed in temporary brackets where the front and rear seats would normally be ?
 
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I’d suggest speaking with one of the local fab shops about building some storage tanking in the bed of the Patrol - I’m assuming you’re taking the Beast?

My VDJ on road will just about cover 1200km on 170l of diesel, and with off-road, even the tamest, that can dramatically reduce.

The Rub Al Khali cannot be compared to the desert in Australia. There is a reason they call it the Empty Quarter. The dunes put everything in Australia to shame, they’re some of the tallest in the world, and the sand is incredibly unforgiving and soft in places.
 
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We are looking at a possible fuel drop at 800km in...but worst case 1200km


Do you have to do 1200 km in one go ? or is there a fuel stop in between and if so what is the longest distance between re-fueling points ?
For extreme high dunes like we do in the Namib down here, you should try to keep the COG as low as possible(ie avoid roof rack completely) however if you are forced to load the roof rack then rather use smaller containers like Jerry cans, that are easily unloaded and emptied into the tank on the fly.

2c
I’d suggest speaking with one of the local fab shops about building some storage tanking in the bed of the Patrol - I’m assuming you’re taking the Beast?

My VDJ on road will just about cover 1200km on 170l of diesel, and with off-road, even the tamest, that can dramatically reduce.

The Rub Al Khali cannot be compared to the desert in Australia. There is a reason they call it the Empty Quarter. The dunes put everything in Australia to shame, they’re some of the tallest in the world, and the sand is incredibly unforgiving and soft in places.
This is what I'm trying to figure out. Either beast or great white.
 
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Rub Al Khali is a military zone , off limits .
i hope you have the right permits . you know that they can track you easily , via drone .
conseguenze can be harsh .
despite this comment , I have made many long desert trips in the Sahara desert , all with HD-T diesel motors .
consumption is aprox 7,5 to max 5 km /L .
as many have already suggested DON'T go in there with a petrol car , high consumption , non vantage of extra power , very high risk with petrol fumes from extra tanks , and jerry cans .
pls study in detail your route , select the smartest way , you can do it efficiently today with satellite image and high definition maps .
1200 km is the actual route or a strait line across ?
for 1200 km I would expect to have 250 L , plus 50 extra , 300 in total .
place the as low as possible , best would be under the car .
with some work you should be able to do find place for it .
I have 400 L under my car , with out any problem .

would like to do a trip like that again

bye Renago
 
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Thank you very much for the useful comments.

My land cruiser diesel won't be ready in time for this trip and since I'm not in the position to take an unknown factor on such a long trip...i will be taking my Nissan patrol pickup.

Two marine fuel tanks of 137 plus two Jerry cans and my stock fuel tanks should give me 450L of petrol.

By the way... When did you go and what route did you take? Do you have pictures?
Rub Al Khali is a military zone , off limits .
i hope you have the right permits . you know that they can track you easily , via drone .
conseguenze can be harsh .
despite this comment , I have made many long desert trips in the Sahara desert , all with HD-T diesel motors .
consumption is aprox 7,5 to max 5 km /L .
as many have already suggested DON'T go in there with a petrol car , high consumption , non vantage of extra power , very high risk with petrol fumes from extra tanks , and jerry cans .
pls study in detail your route , select the smartest way , you can do it efficiently today with satellite image and high definition maps .
1200 km is the actual route or a strait line across ?
for 1200 km I would expect to have 250 L , plus 50 extra , 300 in total .
place the as low as possible , best would be under the car .
with some work you should be able to do find place for it .
I have 400 L under my car , with out any problem .

would like to do a trip like that again

bye Renago
.
 
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Hi Adashoe , if you decide that the PU will be the horse to ride so be it .
I don't have any experience with the Nissan petrol engines , and it's efficiency, but a 4,5 L Toyota 6cilinder similar motor normally does 3-5km/L .
Considering that you have all sand , and un known territory, 400 L are absolute the minimum , with nothing to spare .
Haveing a pick up truck , I would go with 2 ,maybe 3 petrol drums in the back , 180/190 L each.
Simple, safe , economical , once the trip is over you get rid of them with no big fuss.
Tie them down and against the wall of the truck with HD ratchets.
Every night refuel the standard truck tanks , so you have a close eye on fuel consumption and reserve left over .
 
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Forgot to mention , but sure you thought about it , petrol when shakes up produce a big quantity of VERY flammable vapors .
After a day going up and down the dunes you will build up a consideral amount of vapors.
That is not safe neither healthy.
So pls consider a vapor valve to avoid all this .
 
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