HoSS

Volvo C303 Overlander Build

157 posts in this topic

I bought myself a Volvo C303 back in 2011, firstly because i always wanted a 101FC and then fell in love with the Volvo which i'm reluctant to say is better. Its definitely proven, this is mine in Finland before i bought it.

IMG_2808_zps748946d3.jpg

I wanted to make it into an expedition vehicle, and my plans have steadily expanded.

I did initially plan something like this example:

131_0904_02_z1975_volvo_tgb_111_c303with

It already had a diesel conversion, power steering and a few other enhancements when i bought it, but needed a lot of tidying up. The Diesel was D24TIC from a Volvo 940, so not the quietest smoothest motor.

I had recently acquired a semi-decent alu/zinc replacement front cab, and am half way through painting that.

In the meantime i decided to change the motor for something more modern, quieter, smoother with more power & more economical - a OM606.962 which has been extracted from a E300 Merc.

IMG_0170Medium_zps38f61ccf.jpg

And shoe-horned into approximate position:

IMG_0175Medium_zps505563b7.jpg

So i'm currently in the process of making up new engine mounts and the gearbox to transfer box coupling.

I will stick with the Merc 722.6 electronic autobox, it supposed to be a superb and reliable unit. And rightly or wrongly i will keep the Om606 under ECU control. Have the whole loom out of the E300, just wading through it to see which bits i need to keep.

It will also get converted to discs, probably with CTIS. And i did have some musings on installing the ABS system from the donor Merc.

In the meantime the plans for my expedition vehicle have expanded. I'm going to get rid of the old rear body altogether and build a custom camper body. This will get me something larger & more fit for purpose. I plan to do it in steel box frame & alu panels.

Here is my latest model:

VolvoTGBcamper_zps92293c23.jpg

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An excellent project HoSS, and your initial model looks good , the detail on the ECU and loom will be useful to have

recorded along with the gearbox control too

I'll be reading this as it develops with interest

cheers

Steveb

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Interesting thread! Those Volvo's sure a capable little trucks, and with a size much more suited to the narrow roads and tracks here in the Northern hemisphere than "real trucks".

A question than do spring to mind though is how much modification do you have to make to the cab to fit that engine under there? I know it left the factory with a 6 cylinder, but the Merc engine is probably a bit bigger?

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Hoss,

Coachbuilding companies (like Albert Jaggers, http://www.albert-jagger.co.uk) sell all the parts you need for your body. Lovely aluminium extrusions for the corners/uprights, laminated composite insulated panels, etc.

A box steel frame with Aluminum skin feels a bit 1980's to me. If you get it right you could get a panel for each side, curt the doors, windows out and your done. Slot into the purpose made aluminium corner section and so on.

I used to use a company that made custom windows and doors as well. If your interested I could dig out the name.

Adrian

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The engine does fit, i'm following 3 previous builds on the Swedish forums. I will have to make a custom inlet plenum, and i may or may not have to raise the cab by 40mm.

Interesting suggestion Adrian, i'd not thought of that method. I'll look into it thanks. Although one option im thinking of is to make the rear body removable, that way i could drop on a flatbed if i need to. So any solution would need to be strong & self-supporting.

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The engine does fit, i'm following 3 previous builds on the Swedish forums. I will have to make a custom inlet plenum, and i may or may not have to raise the cab by 40mm.

Interesting suggestion Adrian, i'd not thought of that method. I'll look into it thanks. Although one option im thinking of is to make the rear body removable, that way i could drop on a flatbed if i need to. So any solution would need to be strong & self-supporting.

Hoss,

Look at how they build new modern horse boxes and trailers for HGV's. Easily made to be removable.

Adrian

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Interesting project! keep the updates coming.

Daan

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I'd seen references to C303 on the forum before, never seen what they look like though!

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The engine does fit, i'm following 3 previous builds on the Swedish forums. I will have to make a custom inlet plenum, and i may or may not have to raise the cab by 40mm.

Interesting suggestion Adrian, i'd not thought of that method. I'll look into it thanks. Although one option im thinking of is to make the rear body removable, that way i could drop on a flatbed if i need to. So any solution would need to be strong & self-supporting.

If the 3 swedish builds have lots of picture, have you got links to them, please?!

Thanks

Steve

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Adrian, That Jagger site has all the fittings etc, but i dont see any panels or extrusions, do you have another link?

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I bought all my aluminium sheet and tubing for my trailer from Aalco. Just checked their site. No Bristol depot though.

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Thanks, but Adrian was talking about pre-made insulated panels and corner extrusions, i would like to see that system.

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Hoss

There is a firm in Stoke on Trent called GM panels they will make the panels and supply you with the extrusions , hth

Also try service metals , they have branches all over the uk and they're website is pretty good , they supply coach builders.

GM panels usually make the panels for service metals by the way , afaik

Your project looks good , is there a reason why you haven't built your camper above the cab to give some extra room ?

http://www.gmpanels.co.uk

http://www.servicemetals.co.uk

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Adrian, That Jagger site has all the fittings etc, but i dont see any panels or extrusions, do you have another link?

Hoss,

I used to use Service metals for aluminium extrusions - they were good. We looked at fancy honey comb panels, but never used any. There are other companies that I looked at at a trade show, however the names escape me. They had a bigger selcetion of sections than Service Metals.. Google is your friend.

The truck will be top heavy, so personally I think it's worth the effort to source light weight materials. It would make the end result stand out.

Adrian

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Looks like a great project HoSS.

Some interesting suggestions for coach building options there. Are you actually doing the build in Switzerland or Brizzle? There are a few coach building outfits over there, Vogt springs immediately to mind - they do fire trucks and the like (they did some interesting G-Wagon builds IIRC). I would’ve suggested going to an agricultural-type show such BEA in Berne and talking to some of the coachbuilding/horsebox vendors there and seeing if you could do a deal. Unfortunately it appears that particular show was 2 weeks ago! Not sure if there’s a similar type of show at the Geneva exhibition centre.

Matt

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Thanks for all of the links and advice guys.

I'm building it out here in Geneva, but its also possible i may be back in Brizzle before the rear body work begins.

Your project looks good , is there a reason why you haven't built your camper above the cab to give some extra room ?

I want to keep the height down and with a 3m roof the room above the cab didnt look sufficient for a bed. And with this design i can still put a roof rack on the cab.

With the space available in this smallish body, theres just not room for a permanent bed, but i think i have a neat folding scheme above the rear seats.

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There is a coach building/motor industry event at the NEC each year. A visit to that and you will not be short of idea's. Unfortunately I have binned the literature from my visit a few years ago. Well worth the effort to go and find the right parts

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Good luck with it, looks like it could be a very interesting build.
Which transfer case will you use? The original Volvo or a divorced LT230?

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Great Idea, i've been looking at the 303 to convert to a camper myself, I'd love to see how the enginge conversion works out.

I'll be watching with interest

regards

Gren

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Jamie is the Volvo transfer case divorced by the merc flex coupling and a custom input shaft which I need to get made.

The engine will work out well, check the 3 tgb links above

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I'm getting closer to getting this running with the electronic IP & ECU. Apparently its possible with a small mod to the ECU to emulate the key module. Then it should run standalone. Others have done it, i'm not the first.

I've also discovered that i can fit an oil pump & sump from a OM648 (W211) which has the low part at the rear and give me more clearance over the axle.

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A bit of an overdue update. I'm making progress.

- Cab is in the process of being painted

- I've put in the hinges and pads to allow it to tilt up for access to the engine, just have to source a hydraulic cylinder and pump.

- have the foot handbrake installed from the merc donor

- started to make the ECU wiring

IMG_0178Medium_zps64d2f3eb.jpg

IMG_0180Medium_zpse39df743.jpgIMG_0181Medium_zpsda0a0072.jpg

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