Ltd of Leeds are going to build an external roll cage from scratch
in a week and incorporate a number of modifications at our request.
Mounting brackets on top of the hoops will allowed us to fix either
the roof tent directly or a roof rack. The idea being if we don't
have to buy a roof rack the money can go towards the roll cage as
well. We may still just mount a roof rack bed to the roll cage anyway.
Ultimately it would be possible to carry a larger load on the roof
as the roll cage passes the weight directly to the chassis but this
would cause serious problems for handling. As per the Tom Sheppard's
book "Vehicle dependent Expedition Guide" keeping you
centre of gravity load is very important when loading an expedition
vehicle - or so we are told, as we have no experience in this yet
but it seems to make common sense.
The roll cage
has been fine apart from rust appearing on the weld seams. Evans
Ltd sent down a little pot a black gloopy paint prior to our departure
to go over the effected areas. This cured the problem. We should
have placed the brackets for the awning higher. Roof tent fitted
easily onto aluminium box section which was in turn bolted to
the roll cage. Spare wheel carrier (bonnet spike) was bolted to
a sheet of ply which was bolted to the roll cage over the cab.
Plywood also carried the waffles. Worked well but better use of
the space could have been made by moving things around a bit.
Stuck some tie down points on during the trip and used these to
store the empty water jerry cans, charcoal and BBQ grill up there
We just managed
to fit in the container with the spare wheel on. But had to put
the roof tent on the bonnet.
Man EMU shocks and springs fitted.
upgrade definitely improved the body roll when cornering on tarmac
and the lift made the landy look a bit more meaty. However I could
not help but wonder if we had stuck with the original suspension
would the ride over those corrugations have been a little softer?
I don't know but something to think about. See roof tent section
on ladder extensions.
fitted a genuine parts bullbar ( with rubber sponge bits on the
It was only
on getting our first puncture at 6pm in the middle of nowhere
did we discover that the rubber sponge bits foul on the HI-Lift
defender jack adapter when you try and insert it into the front
jack points. A little modification with a stanley knife to trim
the rubber is all that is required. Made it a little more awkward
to remove the grill to replace the horn when it went faulty. Bullbar
was sometimes used as an excuse by corrupt Police to try an extract
a bribe. Kept meaning to fit some perspex onto the removal light
grills to protect the lights against stones.
Hella Comet 500's fitted on the Roll Bars and 2 Rally 1000's fitted
on the Bullbars.
at all as we tended to avoid driving in the dark. Handy in some
of the tunnels though. Will probably redo the wiring when we get
home and move the relays.
Batteries + National Luna Battery Monitor
Red Top and Yellow Top fitted.
here, everything worked fine. See fridge section.
Fitted a Minus
worked great and was very handy with beers, meat and dairy products.
In very hot weather it could drain the 2nd battery in 24 hours.
I suspect having the fridge vent outside the vehicle would greatly
improve this. The batteries only ran down when the internal temperature
in the vehicle was very hot, possibly caused by the fridge itself.
Solar power for the stationary days maybe? Having an isolation
switch just to turn the fridge off but have all the other aux
circuits working would be a good idea.
a snorkel was mainly to decrease the amount of dust and muck sucked
into the air intake rather than fording raging torrents. Installing
the snorkel with the roll cage proved to be problematic. The Safari
Snorkel for the 300 Tdi is of a single piece construction that
attaches to the RHS drivers door pillar and the air intake on
the side of the wing. Attaching the snorkel to the roll cage will
mean that the bottom of the snorkel does not line up with the
air intake on the wing.
the end we fitted a DSV snorkel from Mantec that goes straight
down through the top of the wing. No ram air effect but you cant
have everything. If you trying this yourself be very careful that
when the bonnet opens it does not catch the snorkel.
have just seen a conversion plate made by Frogs Island 4x4 (and one by Evans Protection) that
moves the air intake forward so that the Safari Snorkel will fit
- this mod does not require a new wing skin. A nice solution which
I had thought about but didn't have a Safari Snorkel to hand to
see what the plate should look like.
had side windows fitted in the back primarily to give better visibility
when pulling out at junctions. On a number of occasions when driving
the lanes of Wales on my own I had to practically get into the passenger
seat to see what was approaching from the left. They would also
help with ventilation if we needed to sleep in the back.
A waste of
time for the trip. We never slept in the back. We had to get grills
welded up for security. A much better solution would have been to
buy bigger wing mirrors for visibility.
will be more useful when we get back to the UK.
Protection Diff Guards
a front diff, fuel tank and steering guards. Pretty heavy and
if I was buying again I might look at aluminium to save weight.
We never came close to grounding out on anything - but you never
know when you might hit something by accident.
Volt 8W florescent strip lights, one in the cab and one in the back.
We also had one on a wandering lead that plugged into the Hella
accessory sockets. This was used under the car, under the bonnet
and in the roof tent at night. They work a treat and use next to
no power from the battery.
fit but came in very handy for storing fuel jerry cans and oils.
Most of the time the Jerries were empty as petrol stations were
plentiful on our route. We always kept one 25 liter jerry can full
for emergencies. The only time we filled more was for the trip
from Uyuni, across the salt flats and the western circuit to San
Pedro de Attacama.
In retrospect I would consider not fitting the lockers and using that space for an aux fuel tank and a water tank. Probably would have been a little more expensive but not much.
working in the back taking out the ply lining it was obvious how
hot it would be - the sun was baking and the roof panels became
very hot to touch. Fitting insulation to the roof and side panels
should keep the temperature down in the day and hopefully a bit
warmer at night when up in the mountains. Having read "Travel
Vans" we choose to use Reimo Xtreme insulation. It's rather
like the expanded foam kip mats. Nice and easy to cut and shape
into sections required to glue onto the panels. We
stuck it on with spray on contact adhesive.
kit from Footloose 4x4. Contents were 2 shackles, tree strop, tow
strap, kinetic recovery strap and a pair of gloves. Only opened
the bag once - to tow a Toyota pickup out of a stream. No problems
for the landy!
bought a hand winch as we felt we would only be winching in dire
emergencies. A little bit more flexible that just having a bumper mounted winch
on the front, but an awful lot slower. Storage of the winch cable
inside was problematic.
The roof tent
was a Howling Moon supplied by Trek Overland. Bit of a love hate
relationship with this. It was very comfortable, but not
ideally suited to the wet and windy weather we experienced. Tended
to flap a lot in the wind. Water would collect on the fly sheet
ready to pour down your back when you climbed out. If it was going
to be windy (which it was most of the time) we lowered the flysheet and lashed
bungy cord across. This made a huge difference but was a bit of
a pain getting in and out.
In many places
we camped it would have been impossible in a ground tent. The
ground being too hard or water logged. Sometime was camped in
gravel pits and quarries as these were the only areas you could
pull off the road.
When we raised
the suspension we had to get a ladder extension.
We used a
Garmin Etrex Vista and also had a Magellan 315 as a backup. Both
had cables to run off the 12v car supply.
The Garmin packed up with a faulty screen about a week before it ran out of warranty. Hats off to Garmin as they repaired it for free when we got back to the UK three months later.
burner multi fuel stove. 10 Liters of unleaded petrol lasted us
the whole trip. Worked fine, but get some long matches for lighting.
a Nature Pure Filter, pump and tap
Most of the
time we were able to buy bottled water, which we did mainly due
to the hassle of dragging the water carriers out from under all
the other junk in the back. At lots of petrol stations you could
buy the 18 liter water fountain bottles. If you tipped it straight
into your carrier and give the empty back you did not have to
pay the $30 deposit on the bottle.
The tap had
a built in switch that turned on the pump when the tap was opened.
It was possible to knock the tap such that the switch was on and
the tap closed. This would fuse the pump circuit. In one instance
on bad corrugations the tap vibrated on and pumped 20 liters of water into
the back of the landy. I fitted a momentary push switch in the
circuit, such that the tap must be open and the button pushed
before the pump comes on.
fine as far as we could tell. No stomach problems but it did not remove the plastic taste from the water when we used the plastic water jerry cans.
up some rear light guards at the Sodbury Sortout. Removed all the
peeling plasticoat and hammerited them. Looked very nice, but when
it came to fit them after the Mantec rear wheel carrier had been
fitted the RHS one would not fit. Needs a little mod with an angle
grinder and a welder. Something for after the trip.
that run from the Bullbar up to the roll cage. The idea is to keep
the branches away from the windscreen. Did not bother fitting and
would not have been much use on our trip. If we were spending time
in the jungle then maybe.
some second hand Outback draws. Very handy but does make it harder
to get in the back of the landy. The rear step fitted by Conrico made it a lot easier.
checker plate shelf to the inside of the rear door. Bought the plates
ready cut from Footloose 4x4.
Jate rings and recovery point on front bumper and rear cross
jate rings were added not just for recovery but for lashing the
weasel down when it is in the container. To be honest I am not
sure how useful they will be for recovery as they might not be
that easy to get to when you are stuck.
As it happened when we shipped the weasel, both times the recovery
points were used for lashing rather than the jate rings.