series3 overland preperation
planning a trip to cape town and back withing the next 3 years and i'm rebuilding the 109 with the trip in mind. wanting it fairly standard (no camper body etc) for use at home ie pay and play or just load lugging as it's a van body so considering dragging sankey behind. never driven outside the uk before so any advice and suggestions while i'm at the nut and bolt stage would be great.
leave the sankey at home.
Pop in a 200tdi or run on the petrol engine (200 would give you more range and safer fuel)
Go thru everything on the truck , make sure you've got no issues with chassis, electrics, hoses etc.
I'd go for a trip to morocco before embarking on the big one, that will show you what works and what doesn't - not the truck but your living arrangements
Set the truck up so you can sleep inside it even if you plan to camp / use hotels etc
Cool. Was planning on north africa a few times first to get some experience. Was thinking of a roof tent as it frees up space inside and i'd rather tent than hotel (although i'll bet that'll change as i go). Sorting electrics today and this weekend and am wondering if it's better to plumb in solar trickle chargers to run extras or have them seperate? Gone with my heart and fitted a 3.5 v8 carb for simplicity and ease for maintainance.
Overall it's remarkably clean for an '84 just need to rewire the army's version of cables and do the suspension (again any advice appreciated). Apart from that just need to fill it with what's needed but that can wait until next year when i'm looking at maybe tunisia.
I would have left a 4 cylinder in there, the gearboxes could be stronger.
You don't have to worry about shock absorbers as much as the coilers, I've driven around in my 109 with them broken, something I'd never try with the 110.
Van back is good for security and simplicity.
Most of the electrics you can bodge in the field.
Check the Chassis carefully, I cracked mine badly in Iceland.
Offset rims will give you some badly needed steering lock.
Overall If you'd left the 4 cylinder in there you'd have one of the simplest best tested cars out there, Enjoy it.
Took the old 2286cc out as it had siezed up when i got stuck in a river. My own fault entirely but i was offered the v8 dirt cheap and as i have a gas conversion kit fitted makes it easier over here. Got loads of queries about extra fuel tanks and equipment but i think i'll go over them when the time comes. Cheers for the answers.
feel free to pm me regarding fuel tanks etc , I currently run V8110 but have travelled with various landrovers starting with 109 back in 67 :thumbup1:
Was only thinking as i've got the military 109 there's just the 2 underseat tanks so is it possible to fit a rear fuel tank and maybe undersill lpg tanks if gas is avaliable in africa? Also wondering about water tanks but the fuel ones are more important as i'll have to fit the exhaust around it.
make sure the seals are good on the underseat tanks. a OTC girl was fried a few years ago in a roll over when the tanks leaked and started a fire.
you will need a lot of fuel! I have never driven a V8 in sand but I would imagine 10mpg would be good going.
you will need to beef up the half shafts, even with a salisbury axle they won't take a v8, especially in the sand. I've broken half shafts even with the standard 21/4 in a military vehicle.
Have you thought about using the santana gearbox, I think it's the LT85. that would give you 5 speeds and a tougher box. there are quite a few about as they used them on the rapier carriers. I am pretty sure it will mate to the part time 4wd fairly easilly (but ask an expert, don't take my word for it!)
good luck, a lot of people still rate a good series 3 as being one of the best expedition motors you can have. not the comfiest, but solid, reliable and simple.
The V8 was a common engine transplant for the SIII in Australia - BUT some problems.
Cooling - needed the larger radiator to ensure that it did n't overheat once the temps got above about 30C. Which then needed a few plumbing mods to get it to fit.
Front cross member - depends on how you fitted the engine, but mine needed to be scalloped out to let the engine move when the chassis was twisting.
Firewall - needed the V8 version of the firewall as the engine would rub against the firewall in some circumstances.
Most engine mods work fine in a flat garage, but when you start twisting the chassis you find a few more problems.
Parabolic springs as per the Santana will make a big improvement in ride.
I'd pull a Sankey trailer - loaded with fuel. They are incredibly thirsty.
You can fit a sw rear tank , use this as the main (pump other tanks to this) this also gets rid of switch over tap which can be a source of leaks when old.
You can also fit aux tank under o/s/r wheel arch behind wheel , it just increases volume of main rear tank and fills thru the standard filler location at same time. Forget about lpg outside europe. Use jerry cans for water . If you use fixed tank , you can loose all your water at once thru contamination, leak . Fit engine oil cooler , as this helps with heat dump, and assists water rad. The cab will get very hot thru floor/seatbox as V8 pumps out lots of heat, insulating exhaust helps, there is not a lot of room round engine with V8 in series , cutting louvres in wings and bonnet help get rid of heat and drops engine bay temp. Work on 15mpg on highway and half that in heavy sand going . Forget towing trailer. You will need to be really careful at watching weight , with mods and kit you need a lwb can just cope with 2 person travel . There is useful space to be utilised under wheel boxes in front of rear axle, either from outside , or by cutting down thru wheel boxes inside behind bulkhead. two spare wheels good idea. Keep heavy objects down low. If having roof tent make carrier strong enough, and fit load spreading bars on bottom of feet . roof tent will just about use up roof load limit. Standard shocks are perfectly adequate for leaf springs. and cheap enough to take spares. Steering damper is good idea . HTSH
I'd have to say a V8 would be my very very last choice to put in an overlander.
prone to head gasket failure
prone to head warping
water pump failures
running hot - crappy electrics, probs with carbs..list goes on...
Spend a couple of grand on a rebuilt one and it might just get you there, but an old lump someones dropped out of a scrapped rangie will only cause you grief.
Then you've got the fuel consumption, which is mega. Which means you've got to carry loads, which is real heavy, which means your fuel consumption gets worse, and you might damage your chassis with the extra weight.
Running down through Egypt and Sudan, temps can get up towards 60c on a daily basis, and I just wouldn't trust an old V8 to hold it together - get bogged in some sand, and wollop, blown gasket, warped head, dig a hole and bury it.
harsh I know, and waiting for the tirade (and I do love V8's!) but at this stage of the game when you've got carte blanche to build the ideal car, and with much better engine options available, don't let your heart do all the decision making! (edit..oops, just re read your post and you've already fitted it.. rag it round a bit, bust it and drop in a dirty diesel ; )
Also bear in mind that fuel prices are increasing all over Africa, getting close to UK prices in some areas - and this may well be your single biggest cost. Spending a bit more cash on a diesel now will save you a fortune - I worked out that swapping my V8 for an Isuzu 2.8 diesel (same power as V8 but 30mpg) saved me nearly 2,000 pounds, even after buying the engine and associated stuff to install it. Plus I didn't have a single problem with the engine over 30,000 miles.
Have you thought about a 2.5n/a?? Not a powerful lump by any means, but they pull weight well, are pretty economical and I found them really good off road and in sand - maybe better than the Tdi in really soft stuff as they just keep going - would be pretty much a direct replacement for your 2 1/4 I think?? and people are giving them away to change to Tdi.
I would say sell the 109 and buy a 110 with a diesel. As above, you will save a fortune compared to using petrol, and avoid fuel problems.
There are hardly any running Series in Africa now, so parts etc would be a problem etc etc etc.
Rooftent is the way to go without a doubt, I used one of these which has been much better than the Eezi Awn type tents for a variety of reasons:
A bit late to the party I know, but with 3 years to play with I thought I'd add my tuppenth worth.
I shan't make any comments regarding the vehicle becuase I drive a discovery but I can add some observations on sleeping arrangements.
If there is just one of you travelling then I would seriously suggest you consider setting up a bed inside the vehicle. If you're a couple then it may still be worthwhile.
We (my wife and I)travelled to Tunisia (trip report) and will be going to Morocco next year as a build up to a much longer trip later. We used a Howling Moon 1.4 Tourer rooftent. With some minor reservations I can say that the tent was excellent, so why am I recommending otherwise?
Firstly with 5 nights wild camping in the desert and several others in basic campsites, there wasn't anywhere where we couldn't have used a ground tent.
Secondly. the tent added £1000+ (£1700 if I'd bought new) to the bill and added 60kg+ to the roof loading.
Thirdly the setup and put away time for these 'folding' type tents is longer than you think and does involve handling a road dirt smeared cover and a lot of climbing up and down.
3 others in our group (110 hardtop, Disco 2 and Toyota troopie) all slept in their vehicles and had virtually no setup or put away time. If you are travelling each day, this can become a grind.
Sleeping in you vehicle will give you the ability to 'leg it' quickly if any situation dictates it. Whereas this is difficult (if not impossible) with most rooftent arrangements.
That said the 'pop-up' type, roamingyak.org refers to, does improve this greatly but still leaves you witha hefty initial cost (resale cost does mean you can recoup a fair bit after your trip though).
With a bed in the vehicle and a simple small 'pop-up' ground tent for the times when you want a change you could have the ideal combination for a lot less cost and hassle.
However, if you do go for a rooftent our experience would suggest a Howling Moon or Eazi awn. We found the quality of these two far surpassed other brands. When choosing one look at things like the ladder (sturdiness, width, confort with bare feet, etc.) as well as size, flysheet, awning fitment etc. Test the comfort and try putting them up and down and especially fitting the cover (the HM is zippered whereas the EZA is secured with a strap this seemed better and easier). Check if you can leave your bedding in there when closed. They all claim that you can but not many live up to the claim. The HM did (just) the EZA was not quite so generous.
If you are going on an extended trip then a comfortable bed is a key requirement. The rooftent does give you a flat, 'normal', comfortable bed every night and can be put up in car parks and laybys (usefull on the French motorways where you can stay overnight for free in the Aires).
On the downside it does add to the vehicle height and (probably) wont fit in a container if you want to ship the car home after the trip. You may also have problems in hotel (or other) car parks due to height restrictions. It also needs consideration when booking ferries/Chunnel and could add to the price.
Rooftent were designed for the bush and if that's where your going then it fits the bill and will keep you away from the creepy crawlies. However so will a zipped up ground tent. For lions and cheetas etc. the rooftent has the edge although if an elephant wanders into the camp, inside the car is the only safe bet.:helpsmilie:
Now we've got one, we wouldn't be without it.
If we didn't have one would we buy one again? Tricky question; for a couple of 2 weeks trip to North Africa probably not, for a trip to Cape Town probaly yes. If we did buy another it would probably be one of the hard shell 'pop-ups' from James Baroud or Autohome.
By the way we encountered some pretty fierce storms and torential rain when camping in the desert and in the UK and although it felt like we were about to be blown off the roof, in reality we were very secure and slept well.
I hope that helps.
Well put mate.
I'd add that in Morocco and the rest of North Africa, if you go in winter then it is very cold at night and sleeping inside is warm and toasty, if very very dusty in the back of a Series (assuming it is the same as my landy).
However on my current trip, as soon as I got south of Mauritania it was far too hot inside to sleep my landy - no air circulating.
By the time I got to the middle of Ghana (the tropics if you like) then the roof tent with a excellent quality Hella fan was the only way to go. (run a cable up from the cab for the 12 volt fan).
For a long trip across Africa a roof tent with a fan is highly highly recommended...... I also have in my tent led lights, electric sockets to run my laptop etc and a huge duvet with 3 pillows, sheets etc. No problem with shutting it, and stays dust free.
I'd highly recommend the winter cover also - nylon with sprayed on Aluminium - blocks 80% of the light, makes it warmer and 100% rain proof etc
My tent was £500 on ebay and the winter cover £180 - Boab sucked customer service wise for me though, try and get one 2nd hand!
Never heard of this brand, but a good price:
Other tents 2nd hand there also etc
massive responces. bit overwhelmed. thanks to all. the plan is to spend a year from autumn 2013 heading to south africa and back. this is a one off trip so i'll be planning to use it for local pay and play site trips and weekend camps here in blighty. however i do also want a safe vehicle to use on local overland trips as i'm sure i won't stop after this. maybe north africa and east europe.
with that in mind it'll only be an occasional toy back home with more of a recreational aim so don't wanna go the hard core overland route as then i'd end up with loads of kit i don't need. still a bit lost but definitly learning slowly! if anyone has been on such a trip, or is planning to go i'd be happy to team up and swap advice as i need to start planning soon i fear.
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