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  #1  
Old 7 Nov 2002
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Trans Africa trip in Range Rover

Hi,

I've been lurking on this forum for 6 months or so now, maybe it's time to say hi!

I'm planning a trip from Leicester to Cape Town in my trusty Range Rover and have a few questions.

The vehicle is a 4 door, 1984 Range Rover 3.5 V8 petrol with carbs - The four speed, pre-flashy agricultural model. I know everyone likes to list the positives of diesel and the negatives of petrol but I would like to know is there any reason that would make me look at getting rid of it and buying something else?

On plus sides:
1. It's had new suspenders all round.
2. The engine has done 90K miles but I put in a new cam, timing gear and rebuilt the heads on it.
3.The chassis and sills are almost perfect (sills replaced recently).
4. It's smooth, quiet and comfortable.
5. It's the 4-speed LT95 box which is renowned for strength.

The cons:
1. It uses more fuel than a diesel & costs more to run.
2. Diesel engines are possibly more reliable and the fuel is cheaper.
3. It has a relatively short wheelbase with large overhangs front and rear, limiting take off and departure angles.
4. You can't fit taller tyres without 'adjusting' the wheelarches.


Is it worth me looking at something else or will the 'agricultural' Rangie do the job without any fuss? Should I convert it to diesel? Maybe a GM6.5 V8 diesel (Normally aspirated and not in the least stressed)?

many thanks!

Ben
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  #2  
Old 7 Nov 2002
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Go for it. That's a fine machine! After all, Tom Sheppard did the Sahara in one a few times, though he took a Sankey trailer full of jerry cans for the fuel that she ate. (hint) Have you got his book? Its worth reading.

One of the things that put me off Rangeys in favour of Defenders is lack of internal space.

If you can fit a GM V8 diesel, thats a better bet. I drove a Hummer out here with one fitted and whilst I wouldnt touch the car with a bargepole the engine was soooper..... though think hard about your drivetrain and spare parts/mechanics out in Africa. Mind you the engine is not unknown in Egypt (esp Sinai) and Morocco... anywhere there is a Yank military presence you will be able to find help.

Good luck and if you need a place to stay in Egypt look me up

LRN
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  #3  
Old 7 Nov 2002
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Quote:

If you can fit a GM V8 diesel, thats a etter bet.
LRN[/B]
Most people would argue with that. Also, see Chris' chapter about modified vehicles.

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  #4  
Old 7 Nov 2002
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The only two reasons I can think of for swapping to diesel are economy and that diesel is less volatile than petrol when being heated and shaken around.

An engine conversion would cost in the region of £3500 wheras the difference in the cost of the fuel for the trip would be about £1000. Sort of like spending £2500 for a greater fuel range!

Any other reasons for changing to diesel?

Ben
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  #5  
Old 7 Nov 2002
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Roman... that's a fairly unsupported statement there.... 'most people' I talk to about the engine like it. Have you got any evidence or are you just giving unsubstantiated opinion? I do have doubts about the drive train, i must admit

Lower fuel volatility in high ambient temperatures and a longer range for a given mass of fuel (less need for jerry cans/extra tanks/trailers) are very convincing reasons for an engine swap, if one can afford it, IMHO (Tom Sheppard also). I wouldnt use petrol for an overland trip, but then that's just opinion, albeit backed by some experience.
Also, 90k is a fair old mileage, even for Rover's long-lived V8.... it could be argued that an engine swap will prolong the life of the vehicle.
With engines other than the Rover V8 (eg 2.5 diesel, VM td etc) there are issues of reliability, power, noise an vibration also that could turn an otherwise sound vehicle into a rattletrap.

There *are* opinions other than Chris' on modified vehicles - for example the Australian Army turning 110s into Perenties... a factory conversion. Where does 'conversion' (when done by reputable mechanics) become unwise/unreliable?

If it works, what's wrong with it?

[This message has been edited by LandRoverNomad (edited 07 November 2002).]
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  #6  
Old 8 Nov 2002
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LRN,

On the transmission side of things, I've no problems with the LT95 gearbox - it's the strongest of all the Land Rover gearboxes. I've just had mine rebuilt too, so there shouldn't <touch wood> be a problem on that side of things.

The only trouble with the GM V8 is keeping it cool! Then there's the fact that you'd need to change the diffs for a higher ratio - the low-revving GM engine severly limits speed with a standard diff.

A friend of mine did the conversion a few years ago and has been very happy with it. He's not an overlander though - he's into mudplugging here in the UK.

A conversion that has been proven time and time again should hold no worries.

Is there any real reason why I shouldn't do the trip with my petrol V8?

Ben
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  #7  
Old 8 Nov 2002
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Hi BenW,
I am using a 109V8 and an Range Rover Classic 1985 for my Sahara trips. Fuel economy is poor, but affordable in north africa.

The Range is a fine machine! With the V8 you will outperforem most of the very reputable diesels :-) His advantage is the very broad, flat torque curve.

For two people there is enough space - if you don't want to sleep in it.

My experience so far:
- LT95 is very solid, but check before leaving that the transfer gears don't jump out in 1st and max torque. Cheap to fix.

7.50R16 tyres are simple to fit (+2"), you will need to fit stronger springs anyway.
I recommand tubeless.

Engine is just great - if you have an 1:8.13 compressed one!
For a high compression engine (9.35) you will neeed at least to put a thicker, composit head gasket in. And it will still knock on poor fuel (90 Octane).
With a high compression engine I would go for an additional oil cooler to prevent overheating (from merlin). I will fit one to my Range before 30.11.02
Alos: fir oil preassure an temp. gauge to detect any weekness in the oilpump area (sticking oil preassure reliev valve).

Fuel consuption with roof rack:
expect about 16-18 L/100km on tarmac.
On piste about 25L/100km.
On very soft ground (sand) and in the djungle: anything from 30 to 80L/100km (corresponding figure for diesels: 20-50L/100km or more)

A V8 in good order (check www.v8engines.com) is very reliable and simpler to fix then any diesel!

Don't undertake any conversion! It will probably be expensive and introduce a bunch of weeknesses you will discover only during your trip.

The loading capacity is almost as good as in a 110 because the rangy is wider and access better!

After raising the suspension about 2" the aproach and take of agles will be fine!

Genuine RR gearing in High Range seems too long for 7.50R16 Tyres, at least o me. I would replace the H transfer gears with the much shorter ones from an 1090V8, cost about 100£ (gears from Bearmach).
I consider 245/75R16 the tallest ryre with the std. gearing.

Week point: air filter. Improovment compulsory. (raised air intake or cyclonic prefilter.

Week point 2: camshaft wear, look at V8engines.com and:
http://www.sahara-info.ch/forum3/veh...sts/2447.shtml
(sorry, german only)

If you could take enough fuel with you for the trip then stick with the V8, otherwise go for another car. 300L is no problem, even with 3 people in it. 400L should be possibel.

I will follow the thread an supply more infos if required.

Bye, Yves
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Old 8 Nov 2002
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Yves,

I replaced the cam, timing chain and heads about 2 years ago - though the originals were still in good condition. I wanted to ensure the engine was in tip-top condition before using it off-roading here in the UK.

I'm fitting a snorkel at the moment so that takes care of weak point 2!

How do you suggest carrying the extra fuel? I was going to carry the jerry cans in the footwell behind the driver & passenger seat, to keep the weight down low and keep it out of the sun. There seems to be a 'bit' of a debate about keeping the fuel inside vs on the roof rack!

Thanks

Ben
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  #9  
Old 8 Nov 2002
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How reliable are the fuel pumps on a range rover?

I know the disco's and 110 V8's have a weakness in this area. Perhaps a spare worth taking.

I've always thought that a range rover would be a fun choice if you can carry enough fuel.

Would also recommend reading Tom Sheppard's "Vehicle Dependant Expedition Guide."
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Old 8 Nov 2002
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Hi, Yves and I count among Roman's "most". If it ain't broke, don't fix it; why dismantle a working setup for something that is bound to have teething pains, if not worse. Unless you spend LOTS on R&D (how much did Perentie cost to develop?) right first time on a conversion, even a previously proven one, is highly improbable.
When you're on the trip, it must be more reassuring to know that any LR mechanic can sort you out; with a conversion you risk having to look elsewhere.
I'm not a fan of the rover V8, or petrol engines for that matter, but the glorious simplicity of carbs compared to diesel injection pumps means you will cope better with dodgy fuel.
For the money you save by not converting you can install an aux tank, giving you the range you would have and then some. At the risk of provoking another dispute, jerrycans are a lot of metal per litre of fuel, they rub and wear unless you create a dedicated attachment system, in which case you come back to fabrication and installation of an aux tank. With jerrycans every time you stop for a break you'll be transferring fuel rather than admiring your surroundings.
The roof of that generation of RR needs reinforcing to take any weight, and as I remember they already wallowed so much that I wouldn't have the courage to put anything other than a tent on top.
Another way of spending the money you save could be to get a PTO driven trailer (is the Sankey the driven one?). You could kit that out with a tent and water tank, you'd be 6x6, and when you want to go play you can detach and have the performance of a less laden vehicle. The 101, which apparently shares the same gearbox as your RR, had the pto trailer as an option. I think you'd have to change its diff ratio though.
Whatever you choose, it is a well proven law that however much packing space you have, it ends up being only just enough.
Happy preparation, when do you plan to go?
Luke
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  #11  
Old 8 Nov 2002
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Hi,
keeping the fuel, water and other heavy items behind the front seats is the best for weight distribution. Some don't like the idea of inflamable fuel inside the car, others don't worry, like me, but use only top quality cans and lock them to prevent unindended openingand lash them down carefuilly.
I use to syphon the fuel out of them, so don't have to take them out to refuel.

You could put them, or at least some onto the roof. You will need a very solid roof rack (I use one from Hanibal) and will loose stability.
Another solution is to have a flat tank made out of steel, with about 200 or 250L, which you put into the load bay. You could connect it directly to the inlet of the old tank and install a new, raised filler. Very convenient - if your main fuel tank doesn't leak.

What about putting some cans lateraly at the outside of the car, may be 2 on each side? I wonder if this could be possible without too much work.
Any ideas are welcome!

Unfortunately ther is not much space below the body. Probably the effort to buikld and install custom fuel tanks beside the chassis rails is too big, compared to the volume, only about 2x40-50L max).
But you could store some heavy spare parts below, like spare drive shafts, track rod.

And yes, the fuel pump is a week point too. Never one of mine failed, but I met travelers were brand new ones failed! I suspect a storage or aging problem, may be some of them don't support lead less fuel.

BTW: I am interested to see your raised air intake, could give me some ideas (yves.l@suisse.org)

Bye, Yves
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Old 8 Nov 2002
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What about tanks situated under the rear wings? That'll keep the fuel low down, plumbed into the main tank, so no need for syphoning or extra pumps.

I'm off to Morocco in March/April for a couple of weeks to test everything out - a dry run really.

I only intend to keep a rooftent, high-lift and a spare tyre on the roof, in an attempt to keep stability.

Ben
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  #13  
Old 8 Nov 2002
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Quote:
Originally posted by LandRoverNomad:
If it works, what's wrong with it?

[This message has been edited by LandRoverNomad (edited 07 November 2002).]
Yes, if it works. What if it isn't?

Besides, a factory converted vehicle has gone through extensive trials which you can't afford. You can only try your one-off creation by taking it to the desert. Weekend off roading near the home doesn't count as testing, would you agree?

Yes, I use substantiated opinion. On a trip two years ago the vehicle that broke down most often was a GM V8 converted LR90. On another trip the engine in my Disco, "professionally converted by a by reputable mechanic", packed up whereas other stock LRs managed to finish unscathed.

Why introducing an unknown quantity when the odds are not quite in your favour from the start?


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  #14  
Old 9 Nov 2002
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There are 2 and a half rangies at our house.
You know the obvious problems and tradeoffs. Most importantly you know that car and that engine. Very usefull when something does break in the bush.
To maximize space and efficiency you need to be smarter with a rangie. Crawl under and look at all that wasted space. It's common to see gas bottles underneath on LPG conversions, you can use that space for a second petrol tank, or an ammo box full of spares.
Fuel economy isn't much worse than in an overloaded series with a 2.25
Early rangies have a ton of space under the bonnet. I have seen entire tool kits, spare parts, extra oil and even a hi lift under there.
Use a rear bumper mounted carrier for your main spare tire.
-Ed
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  #15  
Old 9 Nov 2002
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I reckon your old RR as standard will be a good old trans-Af bus. You know it well and know its limitations - that counts for a lot.
I've often thought of going out there in an an old carb model like yours just for the crack.
I saw one in Tam a few months ago with an oil drump in the back for the fuel... thats the way to do it.

Re conversions - good point about Perentie but you can be sure they sussed it out very carefully and got that one right.
I've heard many probs with conversions that would work fine running about the UK for the rest of their naturals getting into trouble soon in the dz

It will be a fun trip

CS
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