Vehicle Preparation - big trip - preparation - vehicle

After sitting on buses for hours on end in Peru 2000 with cramped seats, extra loud videos of ear splitting folk music and hideous old mingers screeching things about gringos, we decided to travel with our own form of transport.   We're too lazy for bikes, too mad for motorbikes and too sensible to walk. The obvious thing is a car of some kind, a four wheel drive would be more versatile after seeing some of the terrible roads and could also carry more stuff.  A Toyota Landcruiser is the sensible choice as its pretty common in Latin America and parts and service is widely available.  We chose a Landrover because they're British and hence more wicked.

the landy at ACCV

Living in Switzerland makes it hard to find a decent Landy at the right price and spec.  I decided on an ex-MOD 110 as they have better wiring and more robust parts as well as useful jerry can lockers in the sides.  A suitable Landy was found at ACCV in Stourbridge, it was an ex-marines winterized 110 FFR (fitted for radio) 2.5 n/a diesel which is fully lined inside, has a Webasto diesel powered engine pre-heater which also heats the radiators running along the rear inside and a little radiator to warm the battery for good starting on those cold mornings.   I flew over and drove it all the way back to Basel and discovered (while stranded on the French autoroute!) that the alternator was knackered and hadn't been charging the battery.  ACCV sent me a new alternator which got lost in the post for a month!

Preparation work began slowly and meanwhile I was using the Landy for driving to snowboarding places.  I soon realised that some soundproofing was desperately needed so I ordered a load of that which has made a noticeable difference; i.e. its just a noisy rattly box of spanners instead of a really noisy rattly box of spanners!   Some speakers were fitted into the roof lining and an interior light too.  I made a cubby box at home on the kitchen floor to house the sub woofer and stereo head unit.  Unfortunately it was a bit big (could hardly change gear!) so I junked it and bought a solid steel one which is built like Fort Knox.

After the clutch master cylinder died I realised that, together with the now reluctant starter, a big service was needed.  Barry had the honour of driving it from Switzerland to Dunsfold in Surrey which he enjoyed immensely, especially spending one hour at a French service station wacking the starter with a spanner to get it to engage!

Dunsfold did a monster service, the monster bill for which can be seen here.   They also did some stuff which isn't on the bill which was nice of them.  The main things were the new clutch, starter and (the third) alternator.  Equipment fitted by them included a snorkel, Brownchurch roof rack and Southdown steering and diff guards.  They also let me have a Safety Devices fuel tank guard which they had off a Camel Trophy Landy.  I collected the Landy and drove up to Peterborough to sort out the roof tent.  The Landy was flying along now and not smoking under load at all.


The roof tent just fitted at Footloose

The roof rack was boarded out with 9mm plywood rivetted down and part of the back cut off to allow the roof tent to open out over the back door and make a kind of shelter.  The roof tent is very well made and the Footloose guys sorted out my roofrack and fitted the tent for nothing.  While I was here I spotted the wicked steel cubby box and had to have one.   While I was in UK I fitted a rear worklamp and a pair of loud air horns.

Back in Switzerland we bought a load of plastic Rako boxes which stack perfectly on top of each other.  Plastic sand ladders ('waffles') were fitted to brackets on the roof together with the high lift jack and we had a quick look at the Brano hand winch I brought over from UK which weighs a ton.  No doubt it'll come in useful (it did - look here!).

After filling the Landy with a fraction of the stuff we'll need, plus the weight of the roof tent, it was looking much lower on its springs and the handling was more like sailing a boat than driving a car!  A set of Old Man Emu heavy duty springs and shocks have been fitted and its already sitting higher and is much better handling than before.  More speakers have been fitted into the back making the total number of speakers 7 and total watts is 1000 powered by two amps! 

During the Spain trip we did quite a lot of work. We fitted protective light guards, an A bar which should save the
radiator if we nudge a tree or small children and the wicked spots (which seem to be wired up wrongly)! Also fitted the
inverter which is wired up to the second battery and a 4 way extension comes out of the battery compartment. The
two amps have been fitted behind the seats and a switch has been added to the MD player to cut power to it as it
was found to drain the second battery over a week or so. Also fitted a battery cut out switch to the main battery
as a rudimentary security measure. The rear door has had a fold out cooker shelf fitted and the cooker bolted to it.
The rear glass has been treated with mafia levels of black window film.

In the woods with John's immaculate 90.

Can't seem to kick the diesel drinking habit!

Spots have been fixed (switch poles were connected wrong, doh!) and they give a massive amount of light.  Rivetted some security mesh over the rear windows and finally got the flourescent light in the rear fitted and working, it needed its own live feed from the 2nd battery to get it to light.   A set of locking wheel nuts are now on too, new Michelin XZL tyres on new army wolf wheels will be fitted in England just before loading into the container.


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