The vehicle to be used for the drive home is a large SUV, a Ford Expedition. Details below:
Model: Expedition EL ( Extended Length ) XLT
Engine: 5.4L Triton V8 24v
Transmission: Automatic 6 speed 6R80
Wheel Base: 131inches / 3327mm
Length: 221 inches / 5621 mm
Width: 78.8 inches / 2062 mm
Height: 77.7 inches / 1,974 mm
Torque: 365 lb/ft ( 495Nm)
Towing Capacity: 9,000 lbs
Why an Expedition?
Once we had decided upon the drive home, I did some research into large SUV’s as we needed something that was large enough to sleep in if required, and also large enough to accommodate some luggage and some camping gear.
The other suspects were:
GMC Yukon XL
I’d kind of ruled out the ‘smaller ‘ version of Yukon and Tahoe and even the slightly smaller Expedition with shorter wheelbase, as I thought we’d need that little bit of extra cargo space. As it happens the GMC and Chevy trucks last row of seating does not fold fully flat into the cargo bay, so it didn’t allow for a ready made sleeping area. The Expedition won the competition mainly for this purpose so I went out and searched for an Expedition EL, eventually came across a decent enough example, with 4×4 drive, and bought it in October 2016. At the time, there were plenty of EL models around, but not many with 4 wheel drive. This took a little extra searching, but managed to find one I was happy with. White was not my favoured colour, but essentially, this colour is perhaps the most popular here in the Middle East.
At the time of purchase, the tentative plan was to make the drive in March / April 2017, and I needed to have owned the vehicle for at least 6 months if I was to import it into the UK as a personal possession. Hence, I purchased the truck in October 2016.
At the time of writing ( October 2017) I’ve owned it for nearly a year and it’s been a very reliable vehicle so far. As some of you may know, the Expedition is based on the same platform as the Ford F150 Pick Up – these are very popular in USA, and have an excellent reputation as a ‘workhorse’ truck, used daily in tough conditions. Owning an Expedition has far been quite easy, they are very popular here in Saudi Arabia and are quite cheap to buy compared to the equivalent GMC / Chevy. Due to their popularity, they are quite easy to maintain, spare parts are plentiful, and relatively affordable.
Pre Trip Maintenance
To prepare for the trip, I’ve had the following work carried out:
- Four new shock absorbers
- New brakes to front and rear
- Handbrake adjusted and re-calibrated
- New spare key
- New wheels and tyres ( downgraded from 20” wheels to 18’s)
- Full service by Ford Main Dealer ( all fluids / oils / filters changed )
- Regulation Saudi Vehicle Inspection ( MVPI ) done on 4th