I guess I'm your average bloke. Middle aged, work in an office, "typing" all day long (I work in IT).
A couple of years ago, I realised I was bored with your standard "travel operator" run holidays - and was itching for something else. My brother bought himself a 110 Defender back in 2007 - he suggested I should get a 4x4 and we could go to "interesting" places.
So, I bought my 1st Land Rover in January 2008 - a 1996 300TDi Disco, for a trip to the Western Sahara planned for the summer of 2008.
Six months of preparation for the trip - wasn't enough! So many "lessons-learned" . All I can say is... buy a decent Fridge/Freezer!
Two years later, in July 2010, I have just about finished the "snag-list" - of things I wanted to improve after our first expedition. The car has been transformed. He's a list of some of the modifcations and repairs I've done since the 1st "Big trip":
- New Door Sills (see gallery)
- New Rear body cross member (see gallery)
- 2 x replacement Diffs - 1 from Rimmers (£400), 1 from "Landysom" on eBay £60 - which was just as good as the Rimmer one! Frick.
- Replaced Turbo (it broke!) + Wastegate shortend
- Fitted new Defender brakes (vented front discs, bigger calipers)
- Braided Brake Hoses all round
- 80w Solar Panel
- Hannibal Tent, Jumbo Kit and Awning
- "Air-Lift" Helpers (rear Suspension)
- Koni Shocks (reduce body roll)
- 30mm Wheel Spacers
- Bearmach HD Springs (no lift)
- Light Guards - LR Genuine
- Extended Wheel Arches
- Modular wheels + BFG All Terrain Tyres
- SUPERWINCH EPi9.5 + bumper, with Plasma Rope
- Steering Guard
- Diff guards
- Ladder to roof on back door
- 4 Roof Lights!
- Running water system - built from Caravan parts (Whale pump)
- Cooker on back door
- Tinted windows
- On-board air system (based on t-max twin cylinder compressor)
- Ripped out all the seats! (just driver + front pax seat remain)
- Designed and built a Storage Solution in the back (see my Gallery)
- Engel 60 Litre Freezer + TwoZone Extension + Slider (from MPS)
- Mud Dash Pod,
- Turbo Gauge,
- Exhaust Gas Temp Gauge,
- 12v Cigar Socket,
- Winch Activation Switch (via Albright Solendoids)
- 3-Position Roof Light Switch ("High beam linked", "Off", "On")
- Coolant Alarm LED + piezo speaker
[*]1000w Inverter (240v mains)
[*]35mm2 Battery cabling for Winch
[*]Massive Aux battery (220 amp hours)
[*]LED lights everywhere! Including in the Alpine Windows (sausage shaped windows in roof) - for lighting campsite at night
- Turbo Gauge,
- Cruise Control (google "Conrad Anderson") - great for long journeys
- Aftermarket Intercooler + tweaked bosch fuel pump
- Silcone Hoses Throughout + Super strong hose clamps
- EGT (Exhaust GAs Temp) Sensor
- Removed EGR assembly, fitted blanking plate on manifold
- Beefy Split charger system (800 amps). based on IBS unit (I've posted an article on this on LR4x4)
- Coolant Alarm System (google "Haydn Coolant Alarm")
A few jobs remain... including:
- Replace dodgy old radiator/coolant hoses
- Fit HID headlights (Zenon type)
The turbo boost increase, and Defender brakes, where fitted after I took the car to a public weighbridge. 2.9 tonnes! Yikes. That was a wake up call.
Things I ain't gonna do:
- Not going to fit Kenlowe fans... Whilst they save a bit of fuel, They ain't suitable for desert driving. It's viscous fans all the way.
I've done all of the above myself (with help from various LR forum's along the way). I wanted to do the work myself for 2 reasons:
- Keep the Cost down
- Understand the car
As we learned in the Sahara, these "big trips" often involve break downs and "issues". So, it's important to know your car. I'm still a bit weak on the Engine / gearbox front - but the rest of the car I think I know have a "reasonable " understanding of.. Anyway, there's always Sat phones and Fedex!
If your thinking about modifying your car too, and you want to know how much this lot cost... let's just say, if you buy the car for £3k (as I did), you won't get much change from £20k by the time your done... I have to say though, one unexpected thing about this hobby is the fun to had from pimping up the car! The exciting trips we planned have almost become an after thought. Almost.
So, hopefully, in the next few years, there'll be a few adventures ahead!