Tom's Land Rover Defender 90 300Tdi Station Wagon - Modifications:
Here I list the modifications I have performed on my 90 in roughly chronological order; the latest at the top.
Roof Bar and Lights:
Having added a couple of spots to the front of my truck I have developed a liking for seeing where I am going, strangely. And have noticed shortcomings in my current set- up, mainly long range light, over crests etc, and wide spread at close range for manoeuvring and going around corners. I therefore decided upon a roof bar and four lights. The two central ones being Driving lights to add to the long range lighting (couldn't afford spot beam ones) and the outer two being of Fog beam pattern to disperse a wide field of light, these I would angle drastically down and outwards to maximise peripheral vision.
Straight Through Stainless Steel Silencer Replacement:
At the Driffield Show I bought a mid (and only) silencer replacement pipe from the purveyors of orange expensive shiny things. Wow I never thought a Tdi could sound so good and I swear I have more under my right boot as well. Fantastic.
Insa Turbo Special Tracks 265/75R16:
These tyres were an amazing bargain at about half the price of a BFG and they looked fantastic. The verdict having driven them off-road a couple of times: Very loud on the road, it literally sounds like a prop driven plane, but they are stable and predictable and surprisingly comfortable on road, but off road they are something else. Finding grip where my Colway MT's would have been scrabbling for purchase and in the mud they just chew their way through. I am mightily impressed. I think they also look pretty good mounted on alloys.
By replacing the down pipe on my Defender with an equivalent one without a catalytic converter, I hope to allow exhaust gasses a less restricted exit from the engine thus being more efficient and perhaps more powerful? Anyway the jury is out on those benefits, but a new pipe with cat is £230ish and one without is £30ish. I would rather have the cheaper one on the truck rusting and save the expensive one for if ever emissions tests require it.
Removal of EGR:
EGR or Exhaust Gas Recirculation is literally a valve in the engine which, at certain revs, releases exhaust gas directly into the air intake system... hay what a great idea! Yes I accept that it was required to pass EU emissions concerning nitrogen compounds but as this isn't measured (especially since this is a G reg 300tdi) I have removed it with a blanking plate as the pipe leaves the exhaust to the inlet. Although I have noticed a performance increase, how much of this is purely in my head I don't know...
Front Dislocation Cones, Spring Retainers and anti-roll bar:
In order to improve the front suspension articulation I have removed the front anti-roll bar which allows more travel upwards and downwards of the front wheels, whilst sacrificing some of the road manners, although with the heavy duty springs and not usually carrying allot of weight I don't see much difference. More articulation however means that the distance between upper and lower spring mounts can exceed the length of the front spring, in a worst case the spring could be 'spat out'. To avoid this I have fitted spring retainers to the bottom of the front springs which permanently fix the spring into the lower spring seat. To re-seat the top of the spring after 'dislocation' I have fitted cones (actually tubes in this case) similar to the rear suspension. Only one side is currently done however as the top nut on the right hand shock is rusted in position at the moment. One day... The increased articulation makes a big difference off road as the weight distribution across the front wheels is much more even reducing the frequency of a frontal 'spin out'.
On a recent camping trip into the moors with Emily where we did much driving in fog, rain and dark I realised that some more light would come in handy for aiming at the road and for putting up tents in freezing dark rain. So I got the cheapest big new lights I could find, 100 Watt, 8 inchers from paddocks, for a very reasonable price, though the wiring kit was useless. I therefore ditched most of the wiring kit and sourced the necessary stuff from Maplins and Halfords, which I thought was extortionate. I wired them direct to the battery with a 30A fuse in line operated by a relay wired into the main beam circuit with a light to tell me when they are on. Therefore when their switch is off they are always off, when their switch is on the operate whenever the main beams do - including the flash and when engine and ignition is off. They are very bright and I think they look good where they are, but then Emily says they look silly?
(Pics from before lights)
Strengthened Track Rod:
After an incident at the North Yorkshire Off Road site See Here I decided to strengthen the new track rod. I decided to specify a stainless rod to sit inside the new tube and a second stainless tube to fit around the new bar. The Rod would add strength and the outside tube would also act as a 'dan-bar' rolling over rocks. However due to hasty and basically crap measurements by me and the limited size options from the company, when the new items arrived neither fitted! The rod was slightly to wide to fit the new track rod and the tube would not go over... So I cable tied and jubilee clipped them to the rod. Looks strong to me.
Painted the Rock Sliders:
A nice coat of 'Hammered' Silver Hammerite, they look good but the paint is already cracked and scratched from rocks and the jack. Re-coat soon I think.
Chained Mud Flaps:
When reversing off road it is common to get your mud flap caught between obstacles you are trying to get across and your wheel, you can then, without realising, rip off your mud flaps. The purpose of the chains is to allow me to tie my mud flaps up out of the way saving them from damage. The rear chains tie to the grab-handles on the corners of my Defender, whilst the front ones wrap around a chassis member Gaffer Tape prevents damage to paint where the chains make contact.
My 90 is a station wagon but it does not have the plastic linings which cover the side walls as it was converted to a CSW later in life. This did not matter until I gave my father concussion when he was in the rear seat and I crossed some deep ruts with a little too much vigour. I therefore have padded the offending metalwork with pipe insulation which fits perfectly and looks pretty good for what it cost me.
Detached Anti-Roll Bar:
The anti-roll bar is a U shaped metal bar which fixes to the axle at each end ant to the chassis rails in the middle, its job is to minimise the amount of body-roll when cornering on-road. However, I found that it was limiting the amount of axle articulation when off-roading and decided to remove it. I found that I could detach it from the chassis but leave the main fixings to the axle in place removing its limiting effect. To stop it trailing on the ground I fabricated a strap which suspends it close to its normal position but allowing it to move with the axle. I can now attach and detach the bar in a couple of minutes whenever I go off-roading.
One belt existed in the rear but it was not easily adjustable and for safeties sake I felt it best to fit a good fully adjustable lap strap for each seat in the rear. They were sourced from PaddockSpares.com and sturdily fitted with huge square 'washers' in the wheel arch. When not holding people they make handy seat holders.
Ensure that the rear springs relocate in their seat on the chassis after dropping away with the axle during extreme axle articulation. The springs however are a tight fit in their seat, and whenever they dislocate or relocate they do so with a loud 'thwak', which is quite useful as I know when driving if I am close to lifting a wheel.
Very useful for jacking and have seen action fending rocks whilst navigating a tight gully at Wolds4x4OffRoad.co.uk's recent event, hence the scratches which are soon to be remedied with a coat of paint.
Obviously vital as it has already suffered doing its job; and not only scratches, but a dent from a boulder in a mud run and a bent recovery eye from another boulder. I purchased the guard with the Defender from the previous owner who kindly included it along with the Rock Sliders, Dislocation Cones and 5 Colway Mud Terrain tires on Steel wheels (The Defender fitted with All Terrains on Alloys when I bought it)
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