2004 SOLIHULL SOCIETY NATIONAL RALLY
The D100 made its debut appearance at the Land Rover National Rally in
Moab, Utah September 14th - September 18th 2004 put on by the Solihull
Society (www.solihullsociety.org). It took nearly sixteen hours to drive the
vehicle from its home in Berkeley, California to Moab, Utah. It was a long
drive, but well worth it for the slice of four-wheeling heaven and to test out the
new rig in some very challenging terrain.
Although it was long for a maiden voyage, the trek from Berkeley to Moab
went without a hitch. The truck ran really smoothly, and as an added bonus
the "gas" was free. The truck was fueled with free waste vegetable oil (WVO)
during the entire drive to Moab. We even had enough WVO to last our stay in
Moab. One of the great things about a veggie oil conversion is you are still
able to fill up with diesel if you run low and don't want to bother finding good
WVO while on the road.
We arrived in Moab just past 2:00 in the morning, with enough time to catch
a couple hours sleep, before our first day of four-wheeling. We met up with
other Rover owners on the outskirts of town and decided to run Pritchett
Canyon with some old friends. Both Craig Reece (owner of the D100) and I
had run this trail together a few years earlier and thought it would be a great
test to compare the D100 to the D90's that we each drove before. The first
obstacle was quite the pucker factor as we both had not been 4x4ing for a
couple of years and the obstacle had eroded significantly since our last visit. I
got out to watch (ok I'm chicken) as Craig carefully drove off the ledge, making
it look easy. We navigated through the rest of the trail hitting all the tougher
obstacles along the way. The D100 performed great clearing all them until
we got to the Rock Pile where we decided to err on the side of caution and
used the winch.
Day Two we decided to stay back at the hotel and catch up on some sleep
before heading out to the vendors display.
Day Three we again met up on the outskirts of town to run the Golden Spike
trail. The first half of the day went smoothly as the D100 conquered every
obstacle we pointed in its way. After we stop for lunch we have our first
problem as the D100 refuses to stay running. We quickly realized it's a fuel
delivery problem, but what was causing it? We radioed ahead to the rest of
the group and we gathered together for everyone to take a guess at what the
problem could be. After a long session of trial and error we discovered we
were low on fuel! Turns out the baffles in the custom fuel tanks didn't work so
well with the steep slick rock trails and 1/4 tank of fuel. We borrowed some
diesel from a fellow tdi owner and we were on our way. We continued on as
the day turned into night. Others in our group experienced some carnage
adding more delays in the already long trail. Everyone couldn't wait to get
back to town for some food and refreshment!
Day Four we stayed in town to recover from the long day before. The D100's
fuel problems still didn't seem to be resolved 100%. We did some more
investigating and discovered the new after market lift pump had developed
some air leaks around the pressed in fittings. Luckily we had a secondary
electric fuel pump and were able to bypass the lift pump with a couple of
fittings from the local auto parts store.
So as we used up the last of our 75 gallons of WVO we fueled up with diesel
for the drive back to Berkeley. Overall, it was a very successful trip. The
D100 performed excellent off road as well as drove great on, and did it on
free waste vegetable oil (WVO)! I met some great Land Rover enthusiasts and
can't wait until next year's event.
By Shane Ballensky