Trans-Continental Off-Roading Expedition and Vehicle Specs
Want to combine your love of off-roading with world travel? Jeep can help you achieve that. A few weeks ago we wrote about worldwide off-roading trips and adventures offered by the German-based company, Extrem Events (Extrem isn’t a typo, it’s the German spelling of the word!)
Owned and founded by Matthias Jeschke, the company organizes some of the most extreme off-roading trips in the world — like traversing and scaling the Andes Mountains and an around the world road trips — and they make their trips in a Jeep.
Today, we are taking closer look at the modifications the company made to the fleet of their the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon JK’s for the the expedition, “Paris / New York – Transcontinental,” a cross-continental trip from Paris to New York in 2008 and 2009. The trip would be very long and the winter conditions would be some of the harshest in the world, so equipping the Wrangler Unlimited with all of the correct equipment was a very important part of the process.
Also, the trip was focused around traveling across the world in a vehicle with renewable energy and low emissions. According to the trip’s webpage (PNY2009.com), “It is our intention not to leave any traces in nature during this expedition. Instead, we rather want to leave our mark in contemporary history.” So, to achieve this goal, there were a variety of changes made to the vehicle’s engine and energy systems to make this possible.
What the team came up with was pretty brilliant and in 2009, OFFROAD, a magazine dedicated to off-roading, presented Jeschke’s team with the “Tuning Vehicle of the Year 2009” award for one of their expedition vehicles
First it’s important to know the conditions they were up against. Aside from powering through various mountain ranges, brutal winter conditions with extreme low temps, wind and snow, and traveling more than 25,000 miles, the most challenging part of the trip would be crossing the Bering Strait. The Bering Strait is about 50 miles wide and it partially freezes in the coldest part of the season. That partial freezing would (hopefully) make it possible for the convoy of Jeeps to float/drive across.
To prepare for the trip, many of the modifications made to the Jeep vehicles were to make it as waterproof as possible and to make sure it could endure a lot of ice and temperatures in the tundra. Here are some of the highlights, but trust us, there were a lot of mods.
Tires and Wheels
The tires on the fleet of vehicles were very important because of all of the snow and ice, even many of the best off-road tires wouldn’t be enough. The vehicle’s 17-inch Procomp Extreme Alloy 17×9 wheels were wrapped in specially designed Goodyear Wrangler MT/R tires 40×13.5R17.
In an interview with Jeschke on Off-Road.com, Jeschke gives the special Goodyear Wrangler MT/R tires a lot of credit stating, “For me, the Goodyear Wrangler MT/R are the absolutely best off-road tires in the world. I used the MT/Rs for all my expeditions so far … No other tire can perform like this one.”
The vehicle had a lot of extra equipment for the crossing of the Bering Strait. The trip was scheduled to cross the strait in one of the coldest times of the year with hopes it would be as frozen as possible. Did you notice we didn’t say completely frozen? That means the Jeep vehicles would need to be able to float, drive and be waterproof.
To allow the vehicle to float and to drive through the water, the Jeep vehicles were fitted with a special swimming system complete with an outboard motor. This special system is two large pontoon-like floats that sit on both sides of the Jeeps. The floats had a buoyancy force of 7.9 tons, so they were able to provide a lot support if necessary.
So the freezing water wouldn’t infiltrate the vehicle, they were completely sealed up to the middle of the windshield. Additionally there was a double air-snorkel system for the engine and passenger compartment.
An Eco-Friendly Promise
Jeschke made the vehicles and the expedition as eco-friendly as possible. The fleet of Jeeps were powered by biofuel and the vehicle’s batteries were powered by solar energy. The biofuel used on the trip was produced by Switzerland’s’ only bio-ethanol manufacturer. The company makes the bio fuel from from wooden waste, which is one of the most efficient ways to grow biofuel. All of the fuel for the trip was transported with the convoy.
In addition to the mechanics, other aspects of the trip were green. The time allotted in between daily spots was enough to allow the convoy to travel at fuel-efficient speeds. While the cold temperatures may have been more challenging for the vehicles and humans, the frozen tundra would absorb less of the C02 emissions that were released. And finally, after the trip, the expedition team will plant enough trees to neutralize all of the trip’s recorded emissio
So what happened in the end?
From our research, the convoy was stopped due to the winter storms before crossing the Bering Strait. However, Jeschke vowed to return to the same spot in 2010. The expedition “Paris / New York – Transcontinental” succeeded in March 2010.