Onboard air.

So… A key build element on the Taniwha is a reliable onboard compressor. Beer for scale.

This bad boy serves two main purposes – it runs twin air solenoids which actuate the shiny new locking differentials (yet to be installed, it’s a reasonably big job) as well as providing rapid inflation of the tyres (lots of airing up and down will be going on). The traditional place to stash ones compressor is under the bonnet, but that’s rather full now. Lateral thinking required here… My current plan is to mount it in the back somewhere, with an air chuck just inside the rear door. Mounting the chuck on the exterior would mean it gets full of mud and sand, as convenient as this would be I don’t think we can risk it. I think another beer is required.

Garmin InReach Explorer+ (i.e. where are we?)

Hi folks – its been quiet for the last few weeks (we are trying to get our house ready to put on the market).  However, we have a new shiny thing up and running – a Garmin InReach Explorer+.  You probably haven’t noticed, but there is a new “Locate Us!” link on the top right of the screen.  This sexy little beastie is a digital swiss army knife – GPS, electronic compass, satellite tracker, satellite messenger (yes…  no SIM required, we can be messaged from the Garmin site, and can reply back – and we can send out as SMS to any mobile number (globally) – replies come back to the Explorer+.  It receives detailed daily weather forecasts, tailored to our location as well. Last but not least, it has SOS functionality via GEOS, providing global Search and Rescue to our exact location, anywhere on earth (we will be adding the Medevac insurance just before we go, to pick up the *potentially astronomical* tab should the worst happen!).

So..  to see where we are on this shiny blue ball, simply go here:  Locate us!



snorkel schematicSo why fit a snorkel?  2 reasons – in dusty conditions (think deserts) the air at the roofline tends to be a bit cleaner than the air that is sucked in through the wing, and in stock configuration the “safe” wading depth of a Discovery 2 is only 500mm.  Which isn’t really very deep at all.  It is an absolute certainty that we will need to go swimming a bit deeper than that.  Raising the air intake by about a metre, as well as extending the transmission and differential breather pipes (planning this one at the moment) gives us peace of mind in this area.  donaldsonWe are also considering replacing the “Ram” snorkel head for a centrifugal pre-filter – these are very effective at removing 90% + of dust from the air, before it gets to the normal paper filter in the airbox.  BUT – they do slightly restrict airflow.  We shall see…

Fitting a snorkel is pretty straight forward – there are several designs out there, and we have settled for an Aussie one, from Safari Snorkels.  These guys have been around a long time, and have a premium product.  There are plenty of knockoffs available, however they are all compromised in one way or another compared to the original.  As getting clean, dry air is critical to the smooth running of our shiny rebuilt engine, shelling out for the best is a no-brainer.

scary snorkel holesCutting holes in a car is scary.  Very scary.  Safari provide a handy template to tape to the wing, clearly showing where to drill and cut, but even so…

The bolt holes  are drilled to 16mm using a step drill, and the slot is made from two 70mm holesaw cuts, then two parallel cuts to complete the opening.snorkel pillar  Deburred, then painted with hammerite.  Essentially, the snorkel bolts through those holes, and mates with the original air box (gunged up with copious quantities of sensor-safe silicone).  Obviously the drain holes in the air box are also blocked with silicone.  The snorkel is then riveted to the A Pillar, the air ram slapped on top, and job done…


Engine Rebuild

So…  a week ago, the head gasket blew on the Taniwha.  Somewhat inconvenient, however at least it didn’t go in a “bad” way (i.e. water in the oil) – we were “exhaust in the coolant”, which is a much better outcome.  In all honesty, getting the head gasket replaced (and possibly the engine rebuilt) was on our pre-trip do list, so it wasn’t the end of the world – Half Term activities for the kids were handled by the other car.  I rang my (already researched) engine rebuilder of choice (Southern Engines), to find they were delivering a vehicle back to Wokingham, so could collect pretty much immediately.  The lads collected the Taniwha, and took it back to their base in Greenwich for some open heart surgery.

If anyone in London is looking for an engine rebuilder, I can thoroughly recommend these guys.  She purrs like a kitten, after having all this done to her.  The engine characteristics are also quite different – loads more power, MUCH quieter, far smoother idle.  Fuel consumption is a TBC.

direnzaWe also had them swap out the slightly ropey original radiator for an uprated alloy one – 30% increase in cooling capacity, which will come in useful in the desert!  I can confirm that it works as advertised – pre-works, the block temperature after a long run was around 74 degrees, now its under 60 – in reality, too much cooling for the UK, might need to do some tactical airflow blocking until it gets warmer, as the heaters are struggling.

We also had them replace the aircon condenser which had seen better days – essential for Africa.

While access was easy (it is located in a bugger of a spot) the oil cooler was changed out for a new one (this is a well known killer of TD5 engines, so peace of mind to have it done), and the MAF sensor (Mass Air Flow – a dodgy one means unpredictable fuel/air ratios).

Next jobs – fit the new Safari Snorkel and install an oil separator to keep oil vapour out of my nice clean intercooler – this will require fabrication of a bracket to hold the unit in place, as the engine bay is getting extremely full…