Our customer’s vehicle, a 1992 Land Rover 90 with a 200TDi engine, was looking a little weary so he asked specialists Devon 4x4 to carry out modifications in two separate stages. Firstly, they carried out a full rebuild which included replacing any worn or damaged parts and the addition of a galvanised chassis and a disc braked rear axle. Stage 2 involved further modifications needed to get the vehicle ready for the -40 degree temperatures which would be experienced during an Arctic expedition in February 2012.Scroll Down
Stage 1 - Vehicle Modifications
The first step in this rebuild was to strip the vehicle down completely in order that the new galvanised chassis could be installed. The bulkhead also needed some work, the axles were stripped back, prepped and painted and the radius arms were zinc washed and coated. Once the strip down was complete, and the new chassis had been prepped, primed and painted black, the work of putting it back together could begin! New Polybush bushings, an A frame ball joint, callipers and brake discs were added and the axles were upgraded with a new OE specification suspension. With new wheel bearings, gaskets and seals, the axles were now as good as when the vehicle first left the factory!
The existing seat / battery box had rusted and so a new one was made. The existing 200TDi engine, the LT77 gear box and the LT230 transfer box were given a good clean and re-attached to the new chassis. New brake lines were also fitted, as was the new, freshly painted bulk head, followed by the dash loom. The cooling pack and inner wings were next, together with the zinc plated front radius arms, panhard rod and mount. The heater was also repainted before being put back in place. This was followed by the fan cowling and some other engine parts. Then the rear tub, van sides and windscreen surround were bolted back in place. The gear box tunnel was put back and then with the roof bolted back on, it was starting to look like a Defender again! All that was left for this stage was to build up the front end and add the finishing touches such as plugging everything back in where it belonged and adding a Mantec rear wheel carrier. With all the new paint, it was transformed!
Stage 2 Vehicle Modifications
In order to cope with the freezing temperatures of the Arctic, our customer wanted a Webasto Thermatop C engine preheater and a Webasto Airtop 2000 to warm the cabin area. The engine preheater needed to be installed where the existing washer bottle was sited and so the existing washer bottle was replaced with the later Td5 version which was sited under the wing. The fuel pumps for both the Thermatop and the Airtop were placed next to the side mounted fuel tank on top of the chassis rail and extra fuel pickups were added. The Oval Timer was positioned on the MUD Console dash.
The Airtop had to be positioned just behind the bulkhead. Holes were cut out for the fuel intake and exhaust and a hole was also cut out in one of the access panels so that hot air could be channeled through to the foot wells via ducting. The air intake panel was laser cut and a hot air delivery manifold was fabricated to connect this ducting. The other access panel was removed to enable air flow around the unit, which was then covered with chequer plate in order to provide protection in the load area.
Next up, the recommended choice was to upgrade the battery system with the Odyssey twin battery setup which can cope with Arctic conditions. It also enables separate use of vehicle systems and accessories whilst the engine is switched off. The electrics were upgraded and extra fuse boxes and relays had to be fitted into quite a small space! 12v sockets were added to the side of the MUD Console for charging of cameras, mobile phones etc. and also to the rear for a fridge and other electrical products.
Another necessity was, of course, full insulation! A closed cell reflective foam was used on the sides and roof, together with a combination of Noise Killer and Exmoor Trim moulded matting system. Our customer then decided to have the old LT77 gear box replaced with a R380 gearbox and Discovery transfer box from Ashcroft Transmissions, in order to improve cruising speeds.
Improved storage was required in order to take all the kit our customer would need for a challenging expedition and so a new roof rack was installed, followed by a dog guard to stop any contents in the back ending up in the front cab, in the event of an accident! This was completed by the addition of a Mantec parcel shelf to make the most of the space. In order to be able to cope with this extra kit, the suspension was then upgraded using Koni Heavy Track Raid shocks and Devo-Tech springs.
Finally, to help with the lack of daylight in the Arctic in February, some yellow Lightforce 170s driving lights were added to the front of the vehicle. The standard sealed beam headlights were also upgraded with Nightbreaker bulbs and WipacS6071s..