Thought this might be of interest, regarding Toyota legendary reliability. Following is an account of a delivery (humanitarian aid?), probably to Afghanistan and Iraq, through/via Iran, originating in Russia. The expedition convoy: an approx. 10-yr-old Toyota landcruiser, a few late-90’s Uaz 3160 Jeeps, another couple random vehicles, all escorting Kamaz heavy cargo trucks, and 5 tankers (and other various temporary additions as the trip wore on). The toyota looked exceptionally robust despite definitely being heavily used in its unknown previous life. It had the familiar vault-like feel, compared to the very obviously inferior build-quality russian jeeps. Engines far powerful than jeeps too, although as consequence also required much more petrol (and therefore drew on the petrol drums in the cargo trucks like a thirsty calf). It started off very well, with Toyota prowess implied: it ran tail-position. The least capable (a Volvo, that unbelievably made it the whole trip) in the front. The route was primarily due south, following approximately the 58E meridian, with GPS to allow the Europeans to feel comfortable with the accuracy of the two (Sunni) Kurdish guides. We started out travelling from Orenburg skirting the Ural Mountains-- following the northern bank of the Ural River to Orsk. This part of the Ural foothills (Kirgeze steppe), while fording a small stream, is where the starter quit giving warnings (i.e. taking dozen turns of the key before starting) and just bloody quit. Glad it wasn’t water in the cylinders. With no way to fix, from then on it was pull-start, or parking on a hill. Annoying, but small price to pay for the feeling of unstoppability. Neither the front nor the rear locking member would respond to the switch. This wouldn’t ordinarily be a crushing event as it probably didn’t need them, however the front (and front only) was apparently locked into engage, so steering would prove tortuous, particularly in the soft desert sand. Sometimes requiring multi-point turns to navigate gradual off-camber situations. Although almost all slow-speed driving, the anxiety this provoked at times did serve to maintain alertness, my cheery cab-mate offered. After the mountains receded to our backs, we crossed a checkpoint and entered Kazakhstan. The Russians in the group were visibly less at ease: I noticed there were far more Turks and fewer Russians here, and suddenly profound poverty became very common (home of Cossacks). We trudged past Aktobe to Oktyabr, which is the best spot (most recently built heavy-traffic bridge in the area) to cross the Zhem River on its path to the ever-expanding Caspian Sea. After re-freshening provisions at the river town, the caravan followed the heavily-used railway tracks to Embi, and then to Chelkar. While idling in the chalky heat (to avoid a pull-start), a small hose on the Toyota that had been dribbling rusty water since we picked it up, let loose. No one could fix it and so we just sealed it off. (Engine increasingly smoked and had a smell after than—not sure if that or the Agent-Orange-polluted mud splattered on the exhaust caused it). I took a deep breath (behind the cloth mask): this leak was discomfitting, as we were launching off here for an arduous, 300 mi. cross-country drive through white desert, to the NW edge of Aral Sea (the steep shore, that hasn’t receded despite losing 3 metres of water level due to the Soviet water-diversion programme). Somewhere along while following the shoreline, we crossed into Uzbekistan. As our petrol drums were getting light we finally entered Muynok. This defunct fishing village is now surrounded by fields of pesticide-soaked cotton and sharecroppers. That and white blowing nasty-smelling salt wind, and dunes. We closely guard our tankers until reaching Nukus. Just before the city my riding partner trades vehicles, as my antenna refuses to go up and she can no longer listen to the radio (someone has CDs, but my player doesn’t work anyway). We go into Nukus for re-provisioning. This foreboding town on edge of Amu Daryu is at the only major railway intersection for 100s kilometres, but only the bar appears to have any business. We backtrack as planned and cross into Turkmenistan, to take the only major road through Kara-kum desert. Through the dust cloud of the vehicle in front arrives to our last major stop before the plains end: Ashkhabad, the Turkmenistan capital. Before reaching the Iranian border, the tale ends shortly after my engine light (which has been a constant companion through the trip) goes out, in the city proper. As I rejoice and wonder at my good fortune, I back around a pile of smoked meat and pelts (yak?) on a hard-pack sidestreet, with my wheel cranked, and it happens: the clicking that came and went over the trip’s course mutates to a few very loud click/pops, then BANG! I thought I popped a tire. No, it turned out to be inside the front axle. So, after some agonizing, we stripped the dead truck of all useful parts, and donated the remains, in place, to the yak shopowner. I piled into one of the jeeps, and the next day continued the journey. Hopefully, in an industrialized developed country, where I get my landcruiser, its reliability can be upheld through constant, thorough maintenance. Or is that on oxymoron.