20 June 2011
While I was in South Africa some friends had come to visit and borrowed my Landcruiser to drive around and had driven out to Kedagou (where they blew a tire on the bush trails near the border with Guinea), Touba, and down to Banjul in the Gambia. When I got back we tried to find a replacement tire for the truck since the tire was ruined with a sidewall blowout, but it turns out that my Landcruiser was a custom special ordered model. The 17inch rims are unusual for Senegal and even the Toyota dealer did not have them in stock and couldn't order replacement tires. At his suggestion we tried to throw some 16inch wheels on the truck but the rims wouldn't fit the oversized brake calipers. Finally we were able to to find a used replacement tire through a friend of a worker at a tire dealer who had a small shop next to the Grand Mosque for 40,000 CFA (we were able to negotiate the price down from 75,000 CFA). The tire had a couple plugs in it but the patches looked good, so at least I can use this as a spare until I can figure out how to get a replacement tire from the states.
The moral of the story is if you are gonna bring a truck to Africa make sure you can not only get spare parts and have mechanics that know how to work on try truck, but that common things like tires are available. If not, bring the tires with you.