Preparation of the Weasel:

The Weasel is a Land Rover 110 300 Tdi Hardtop we bought from ACCV in Stourbridge. We spent many weekends trawling the country looking at vehicles ranging from ex-army NA diesels to Tdi County Station Wagons. Ideally we would have liked to have bought a vehicle about 6 months ago - something that looked a bit rough and would blend in - and spent time doing up the mechanics. However time was against us and we ended up doubling our initial budget (!) and buying something newer with lower mileage. Hopefully we should not need to get too much done mechanically to get it in tiptop condition for the trip.

Why not buy something out there?

We thought about this and looked into the process of buying a vehicle in South America. It appears that it is easier for a foreigner to buy in some countries than others (Chile for example). But we wanted to hit the ground running. By the time we had found a suitable vehicle, sorted out the paperwork and had it serviced etc. we could have been hanging around for a month. In the end we decided to ship our own wagon - more expensive but at least it would be exactly what we wanted (budgets allowing) and we would have some confidence in it.

So why a Land Rover?

I know lots of people say "get a Land Cruiser" but I have always wanted a Landy and besides they just look great. Enough said. ( I really want a 101 but that's another story.)

Diesel or Petrol? Turbo on NA?

It would have to be diesel due to the cost of running a petrol Landy in the UK. We initially started looking at Normally Aspirated diesels with the idea that they would be mechanically simpler and easier to fix than a turbo version. Our first trip in a Tdi made the decision for us. The extra power, better fuel consumption and the ability to still talk to each other at 50 miles an hour plus were all going to be worth the extra cost. The Turbo should hopefully help at altitude in the Andes as well. Power steering would also come in handy for Sue.

The Weasel arrives!


Although we will have a roof tent we wanted the ability to sleep in the back of the Land Rover when necessary. This was one of the reasons why we bought a hardtop instead of a station wagon. The plan is that all of the equipment will be stowed below bulkhead height and we will have some board arrangement that goes over the top for sleeping on. Initially we considered modifying the security bulkhead / load guard that was already fitted into something that could be unlocked and folded down into the back to form part of the bed. This would then give us easy access to the cab when bedded down. But that is proving to be too awkward.

By the time we packed the stuff in it was plain to see there was no way we would be sleeping in the back. In retrospect we took way to much stuff!


Modification / Equipment Details Pictures
Roll Cage Evans 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.

Post trip comment:

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 as well.

We just managed to fit in the container with the spare wheel on. But had to put the roof tent on the bonnet.

Suspension Upgrade Old Man EMU shocks and springs fitted.

Post Trip Comment:

The suspension 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.

Bullbar Conrico fitted a genuine parts bullbar ( with rubber sponge bits on the verticals)

Post Trip Comment:

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.

Extra Lights 2 Hella Comet 500's fitted on the Roll Bars and 2 Rally 1000's fitted on the Bullbars.

Post Trip Comment:

Hardly used 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.

Dual Batteries + National Luna Battery Monitor Optima Red Top and Yellow Top fitted.

Post Trip Comment:

No problems here, everything worked fine. See fridge section.


Fitted a Minus 40 fridge.

Post Trip Comment:

The fridge 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.


Fitting 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.

In 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.

I 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.

Rear Side Windows We 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.

Post Trip Comment:

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.

Maybe they will be more useful when we get back to the UK.

Underbody Protection Diff Guards

We fitted 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.

Internal Lights 12 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.
Side Lockers

Bugger to 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.

Insulation When 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.
Recovery Kit Recovery 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!
Hand Winch We 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.
Roof Tent

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.

Garmin/Magellan GPS

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.

Coleman Petrol Stove Twin burner multi fuel stove. 10 Liters of unleaded petrol lasted us the whole trip. Worked fine, but get some long matches for lighting.
Water Filter Fitted a Nature Pure Filter, pump and tap

Post Trip Comment:

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.

Filter worked 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.

Rear Light Guards Picked 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.
Brushwires Cables 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.
Rear Sliding Draws Fitted 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.
Rear Cooker shelf Fitted checker plate shelf to the inside of the rear door. Bought the plates ready cut from Footloose 4x4.
Recovery Points

Jate rings and recovery point on front bumper and rear cross member.

The 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.