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RHD to LHD conversion - 2006 Defender 110 CSW


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We want to convert our 2006 Defender 110 Kalahari (300 Tdi) from RHD to LHD in order to bring it with us back to South America (it's currently parked in South Africa). Since our Defender is one of the last ROW Tdi 300's it has the latest Td5 interior trim, dashboard and A/C panel, which I believe came out in mid 2002 (please see attached picture).

We are looking for one of the following four options:

  1. Someone in the UK or South Africa that has a same period LHD Defender with the same original Td5 interior dashboard/associated trim and A/C panel, and who wants to convert from LHD to RHD and hence are interested in swapping the required parts.
  2. Someone in the UK or in South Africa who is selling the LHD version of the same original Td5 interior dashboard/associated trim and A/C panel from the same period.
  3. Recommendations for a reliable repair shop in mainland Europe or the UK who can do the RHD to LHD conversion for us and supply the original required parts, dashboard/associated trim and A/C panel.
  4. Recommendations for a reliable repair shop in South Africa who can do the RHD to LHD conversion for us and supply the original required parts, dashboard/associated trim and A/C panel.

As far as I understand the following parts are required as a minimum to do the RHD to LHD conversion: Dashboard and associated trim incl. A/C interior panel and switches, LHD seat box, LHD steering box, LHD panhard rod, steering arm, steering pipes, brake pipes, chassis bracket, heater box, headlights, wiring loom. Also the bulkhead needs modifications.

Thanks in advance for your help, ideas and recommendations.

RHD example.png

LHD example.png

Edited by BizLightyear
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I've done a couple of conversions on older simpler Defenders, and the list of parts needed is extensive, the job is laborious and parts are hard to find.

I've also rescued a car for a customer that was having a lhd conversion with a specialist in Italy as after 12 months they threw in the towel and it came back in bits. 

A Kalahari is a nice Defender so I understand your thoughts, I'd steer away from having it done in SA just down to lhd parts availability and there are a lot of poor quality garages who will bodge it, though worth checking with Liemers in Jhb. 

LHD parts are pricey in Europe due to the very high demand in USA.  To be honest the sensible option is sell your kalahari and buy a lhd in Italy/France/Germany. 

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I would never do that. We live in the age of cheap USB and Bluetooth Cams and each electronic equipment has a display.

It's so easy to have a view to each angle of the car while driving. If the law allows to steer on the "wrong" side, put cameras in.

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9 hours ago, Eightpot said:

I've done a couple of conversions on older simpler Defenders, and the list of parts needed is extensive, the job is laborious and parts are hard to find.

I've also rescued a car for a customer that was having a lhd conversion with a specialist in Italy as after 12 months they threw in the towel and it came back in bits. 

A Kalahari is a nice Defender so I understand your thoughts, I'd steer away from having it done in SA just down to lhd parts availability and there are a lot of poor quality garages who will bodge it, though worth checking with Liemers in Jhb. 

LHD parts are pricey in Europe due to the very high demand in USA.  To be honest the sensible option is sell your kalahari and buy a lhd in Italy/France/Germany. 

Thank you very much for the valuable information and I will try to check with Liemers in Jhb. I agree that the sensible thing to do is to sell the Kalahari and buy a LHD elsewhere, but we've  spent two years finding a Kalahari and just finished an extensive rebuild that makes it as good as new. Selling it would be like selling a family member 🙂

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6 minutes ago, Sigi_H said:

I would never do that. We live in the age of cheap USB and Bluetooth Cams and each electronic equipment has a display.

It's so easy to have a view to each angle of the car while driving. If the law allows to steer on the "wrong" side, put cameras in.

That is unfortunately the challenge. Chile does not allow registration of RHD vehicles.

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What I would strongly recommend if you are committed to converting, is to aquire all of the parts in advance and only proceed with converting when everything is present.   Some parts are difficult to aquire, such as lhd swivel hubs, heaters, steering boxes, drag link brackets.

A lot of smaller parts like heater cables, hoses, dash parts, wiper arms are easily available new from the big aftermarket suppliers in the UK and SA (Paddocks, Rimmer Bros, LP4A etc)

The best way to start is by compiling a list of the parts you need, the part numbers, find what is available off the shelf then you know what you have to hunt for.  There are a couple of parts lists on old forum threads (though for older vehicles), maybe have a look on Defender Source in US.  

If I were in your position I would maybe buy as much as possible in SA, ship the car to Chile, find a good parts supplier in EU to ship a crate of parts to finish and get the conversion done at home or do it yourself so you have some control over your vehicle.   But see what Leimers say first, they may be able to help or recommend somewhere. 

 

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This may be a mad idea.....but would it be better to buy a LHD car and swap all parts over car to car and then sell it on as a RHD? Possibly only viable if you could do the work yourself as labour costs twice as high!

 

You would at least know you have all the parts then!

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Having done this a few times, and about to do it again for a Ninety and living in Europe, I suggest you reconsider this project.

The VIN will always say RHD and this could cause problems in certain countries getting it registered. The parts are, to say the least, not easy to get and serious money. Try buying the RH grab handle to mention something.

It is a lot of work, needs serious eye for details and a lot of space..

Selling the vehicle as is could be a more predictable route..

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Have chat with Matt Spencer of Carriage's Auto services. They're based in Manchester. They do a lot of insurance work, but they also build body assemblies for export so I'm sure they'd be both able to find the parts and also do the work if you're not looking at doing it yourself. Another place worth trying would be Arkonik, but they're the other end of country, down in Somerset, I'm also not sure if  they'll do work that isn't a complete build.

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On 5/14/2020 at 10:55 AM, L19MUD said:

This may be a mad idea.....but would it be better to buy a LHD car and swap all parts over car to car and then sell it on as a RHD? Possibly only viable if you could do the work yourself as labour costs twice as high!

 

You would at least know you have all the parts then!

Thanks for your reply - This is actually one of the options I consider 🙂

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22 hours ago, landroversforever said:

Have chat with Matt Spencer of Carriage's Auto services. They're based in Manchester. They do a lot of insurance work, but they also build body assemblies for export so I'm sure they'd be both able to find the parts and also do the work if you're not looking at doing it yourself. Another place worth trying would be Arkonik, but they're the other end of country, down in Somerset, I'm also not sure if  they'll do work that isn't a complete build.

Thanks for your reply. I have been in contact with Akonic already, but they replied that the do not do this kind of work. I will however get in contact with Matt Spencer. Thanks for the tip 🙂

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On 5/14/2020 at 11:18 AM, Arjan said:

Having done this a few times, and about to do it again for a Ninety and living in Europe, I suggest you reconsider this project.

The VIN will always say RHD and this could cause problems in certain countries getting it registered. The parts are, to say the least, not easy to get and serious money. Try buying the RH grab handle to mention something.

It is a lot of work, needs serious eye for details and a lot of space..

Selling the vehicle as is could be a more predictable route..

That is a valid point about the VIN always saying RHD. Thanks for your input 🙂 

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On 5/14/2020 at 10:40 AM, Eightpot said:

What I would strongly recommend if you are committed to converting, is to aquire all of the parts in advance and only proceed with converting when everything is present.   Some parts are difficult to aquire, such as lhd swivel hubs, heaters, steering boxes, drag link brackets.

A lot of smaller parts like heater cables, hoses, dash parts, wiper arms are easily available new from the big aftermarket suppliers in the UK and SA (Paddocks, Rimmer Bros, LP4A etc)

The best way to start is by compiling a list of the parts you need, the part numbers, find what is available off the shelf then you know what you have to hunt for.  There are a couple of parts lists on old forum threads (though for older vehicles), maybe have a look on Defender Source in US.  

If I were in your position I would maybe buy as much as possible in SA, ship the car to Chile, find a good parts supplier in EU to ship a crate of parts to finish and get the conversion done at home or do it yourself so you have some control over your vehicle.   But see what Leimers say first, they may be able to help or recommend somewhere. 

 

Thanks for your recommendation, it's highly appreciated 🙂 

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Have a chat with Mike at Britannica Restorations in eastern Canada (he has a YouTube channel).  I think he said he has a few LHD aircon units, so that’d be a start, and he has done a few conversions, mostly Tdi and earlier, but he would know a lot of the pitfalls, even though he’s at the wrong end of the continent to help you with the labour (unless you don’t mind shipping twice).  I think, like others have said, you’ll need deep pockets, patience and above all (especially dealing with customs and registration) a damned strong sense of humour.  Selling and buying a LHD replacement and modifying that to a similar spec would probably be the easier and cheaper thing to do.

 

 

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