Archive for ‘Man vs Land Rover’

One man’s struggle against the pinnacle of British engineering – tools, blood, swearing – what’s not to like?

Build Update from Galway


So… due to circumstances out of our control (i.e. Phil had a rather bad reaction to some jabs that we need for Africa) we ran out of time to complete the landrover build before heading to Ireland. We have only got one of the steel bumpers mounted, the winch is bolted but not wired in, the replacement sunroof visors aren’t fitted, the “light cannon” spotlights are languishing in the garage, and the water tank and filter set isn’t fitted either. Still lots to do once we get back from this trip!

However, the Taniwha is running pretty well, with just the expected moans, groans and niggles that settling into a new chassis and bushes entail (a bit of tightening up to do I think, plus one wheel hub needs replacement).

We have been spending a lot of time talking over packing strategy and modifications we need to make to the way we are doing things (nothing worse than a handful of felt tip pens shooting forwards off the day fridge and ending up under the pedals…)

Speaking of the day fridge, we have had a disappointing experience with our “old” Ironman 30l fridge.  A few days befiore heading off on this trip, it started madly freezing everything while insiting the temp was 11+ degrees…  clearly the thermostat has failed. It’s under warranty still, so we will get it fixed, but will not trust it for Africa.  We have sourced a replacement (36l SnoMaster) which is South African, and is the same brand as the big fella in the boot.  The Ironman will be sent home in disgrace in Margaret’s car.  We are also rather disappointed with the PVC “truck awning” cover for our rooftent – the seams in the corners are splitting, they are only single stitched.  Lazy design. Easy to reinforce – we will sort it before Scandinavia – but it’s highly irritating –  products designed for offroad should be better thought out.  Time for a shitty email to customer service methinks.  (Nakatanenga, Germany, if anyone is curious).

We have been really lucky with the weather so far – a few spots of rain today, but the sun is back out again.  Off on a daytip to the Aran Islands tomorrow…

Ship of the Desert?

It was stupidly hot in London today.  An appropriate time to turn my mind to the onboard water tank that has been languishing in the garage for the last month or so – this guy needs to be fitted imminently, as we get the Taniwha back from SpannerMonkeys tomorrow or Tuesday, and are off on our shakedown trip to Ireland and the Isle of Man on Friday…

The tank is a 60l stainless rear footwell tank (with baffles to stop sloshing and the corresponding rapid weight transfer).  It will bolt in under the kids feet, and is shaped to fit exactly (I hope!).  I have noticed that it gets REALLY hot (untouchable) in the sun – not good with small paws in close proximity, so time for a wee craft project.  I have leftover automotive carpet from another job, plenty for the task at hand.  Carpet + Scissors + Contact Adhesive, job done!

Once we have the Taniwha back, I will fit the tank and plumb it in (electric pump, 3 stage filter to sieve out the nasties).  Running water, super fancy…  We will have a filter bag and a 20l jerrycan which will be used to fill the main tank, however no need for that until we get to Africa really, so still mulling over our options.

A Giant Meccano Set

ejector.jpegSo…  it’s been awhile since I updated the world on vehicle prep progress.  As I write this, I am gazing at an empty driveway – the Landrover is up in Newcastle at SpannerMonkeys getting its underbelly tickled, and the Jaguar is at the chop-shop having all its ailments treated in preparation for shipping back to NZ to be put on ice for awhile…

SpannerMonkeys – great people, I can thoroughly reccommend them to anyone else wanting open heart surgery on an aging Land Rover.  The list of jobs they are ticking off for me is significant: a new hot-dip galvanised chassis (painted black so as not to scream “steal me”), new bushes all round, new brake lines and calipers, a 2″ suspension lift (heavy duty springs at the front, +2″ spacers under the bags at the rear), the engine bay and underside will be stripped and coated in “Lizard Skin” to enable easy cleaning, a bit of cutting and welding, new high pressure hydraulic lines for the ACE system (Active Corner Enhancement).  There are also a few electical niggles that are being sorted, and they are fitting my front and rear airlocking differentials as well as some Safari Equip long range stainless fuel tanks – we will have 160l in total onboard, plus a 20l jerrycan – so should get around 2000km before sucking fumes.

Waiting here in the garage for fitting is a 60l stainless water tank that will go in the footwell under the kids feet, angry steel bumpers front and rear (I am still deciding on what winch and rock sliders to get).  I need to fabricate a shelving solution that takes my rear fridge/freezer into account as well…  it slides out halfway for easy access, but Scotland taught me that unpacking around it a few times a day is a pain in the bum.

I have delayed the writeup on rear electrics and onboard air, as I had to strip the vehicle completely before delivering it to SpannerMonkeys, when I reassemble I will take better photos and do a proper writeup.

So – only a few big purchases left: a winch (choices, choices…), tree/rock sliders, anti-truckdriver spotlights… maybe a fat airhorn.  16″ steel rims and agressive tires (I am a bit torn on what tires to buy, down to BFG or Cooper).

I have also started the painful process of working out what tools I *really* need to take. Harder than it sounds…

Getting there, slowly but surely.  Ireland and Isle of Man in a few weeks for more shakedown time!

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.


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…