design - Land Rover section

 

Green Rover design specifications

 

I now have over 20 weeks experience of living inside The Green Rover while on trips. I have camped in over 100 degree temperatures and in well below freezing temperatures. I have camped in gale force winds, day after day of rain, snow and sleet. I have been amazed at how well my original expedition design worked. All the parts worked together well with very little refinement.
 
However I think that there is room for improvement. Based upon my experience living in the original design, I am ready to make the car even better for her intended mission. Her intended mission is basically to carry me, my Wolfhound and my camera anywhere I want to go and let me stay out in the field for at least a week without stopping to refuel or resupply. Since I frequently travel alone, robustness of the car, the capability to perform field repairs, ability to transverse obstacles and to be recovered from those she gets stuck in are very important.

Anyone can put up with just about any living conditions for three or four days. However, the longer you are out in the field at any one time the more the level of your enjoyment depends upon your level of comfort.

Safety above all, but close on safety's heels is that I just want to have fun. That means the car needs to go where I want her to and it needs to do it in reasonable comfort.

Here are the problem areas that I have found during my first 20 weeks on expedition:

Major field repair
I only carry a high lift jack, factory manuals, a full set of tools and some spares. This was not enough to handle things like replacing 'U' bolts, broken shackles, broken engine mounts or replacing front axles in the field.
 
I have run out of places to store spare parts and would like to carry more for field repairs.
 
Off roading
The car does not carry the capacity to air up.
 
The gearing is not low enough for some of the obstacles that I drive over. Lower gearing would help me get over them safer with less chance of damage.
 
I am limited by the length and steepness of hills that the car can climb because the engine is under powered for the weight and grade. The engine gives out before the tyre grip or suspension.
 
Basic structure
I worry about the vulnerability of both under seat fuel tanks and myself to side impact.
 
Better braking, especially with wet brakes would make the car safer. Esp on steep down hill sections.
 
The plastic cloth on the pop up has deteriorated to the point where it is very stiff and cracks easily
 
Gearing is only high enough for highway driving with the overdrive engaged. The engine occasionally does not have enough power to maintain the posted minimum speed limit. A V8 Rover can usually get to a destination a day or two faster than I can.
 
There are road conditions and off road conditions that require chains. I want a place to store them that is easily accessible.
 
Comfort
Staying warm during cold nights has been a major problem that a warm sleeping bag has not been able to adequately address.
 
Quick and convent source of hot water for cleaning myself right after a day on the trail would be nice. Especially if it did not compete with my ability to fix dinner.
 
It would be nice to have steps to make getting in and out of the back of the Rover easier.
 
Mosquitos and bugs who are attracted to light are real problems.
 
The rear interior camping space is basically four feet by six feet. I like to place boxes and such on the lowered tail gate while I am cooking for easy access. The lowered tailgate is exposed to the weather.
 
I drink a LOT of tea. The best place I have found to store my teas is behind a fold up seat at the base of a wardrobe. This is fine if the toilet is in it's stowed position and I have not moved any boxes in front of the fold up seat. I would like to find a place to store my teas that is easier to get at.
 

Refining this wish list I have come up with an

Initial mark II design specification

  • Additional power from the engine. I would like at least a 50% increase in HP and torque without loosing fuel efficiency. This means a minimum of 106 BHP. Gains in fuel efficiency with the additional HP is highly desirable.
     
  • Lower first gear ratio without lowering the overdrive fourth gear ratio. Since the overdrive is no longer available, is a high maintenance item, and the weak link in the gearing I would like to replace it without loosing the high ratio.
     
  • Replace the side skirts with a side impact protection bar that is anchored at the front and rear fuel tank outriggers. The goal is to keep a car height impact at a front door from rupturing an under seat fuel tank or to collapse the side in to impact the driver or passenger.
     
  • Install additional storage for chains and spare parts in unused areas inside the body. Preferably at frame level to keep the centre of gravity as low as possible.
     
  • Decide on storage space for an additional jack and a pair of jack stands. Create a parts cleaning kit and decide where to pack it.
     
  • Increase braking capacity. Consider 6 cylinder front brakes or late Santana disc brakes.
     
  • Construct bug screens for all openings that should be kept open during warm evenings.
     
  • Replace cot material with design that is insulated to provide insulation below the sleeping bag.
     
  • Install a heater that will heat the interior while parked away from external power. I strongly prefer propane since it will not take away from the car's driving range and current propane use is about one tank for about 3 and 1/2 weeks of camping.
  • Install an air compressor and filling hose connection. A small reserve air tank would be nice.
     
  • Design a rear awning/bug screen/tent that is easy and quick to erect.
     
  • Design and build a conveniently located tea cabinet that can hold containers for at least three, preferably four kinds of tea .
     
  • Consider some kind of water heater/solar bag that can provide quick easy hot water for cleaning at the end of a day's travels.
     
  • Install an inside dual 120 V outlet for use when the car is located where power is available. This would allow me to close a window/bug screen if I wanted to run electricity into the car.
     
  • Permanently mount a battery charger that can keep batteries charged while 120V is available.
     
  • Look into replacing the plastic cloth part of the pop up roof.

 

PROGRESS

Once the mark II specifications were decided upon I started looking for and installing items to bring The Green Rover into specification. Here is a description of the progress I'm making towards meeting the MK II specifications:

MK II spec - Increased tea storage

I have fabricated a wide tea cabinet that just fits above the rear door opening. It stretches across the entire rear body and has space for seven standard Tea boxes. The location is out of the way and handy when brewing tea. The cabinet is fabricated out of sheet aluminum and painted silver hammerite to match the rest of the furniture.

MK II spec - Decide on storage space for an additional jack and a pair of jack stands. Create a parts cleaning kit and decide where to pack it.

I have obtained a surplus German machine gun cleaning kit to use as a parts cleaner. It has a container for clean solvent, one for dirty solvent, a cleaning basin and a box for storing brushes & rags. I have added a series screw axle jack and a Discovery hydraulic bottle jack to the kit. For the time being the jack stands, additional jacks and a box of more spare parts have been moved to the roof rack. I'm not pleased about the weight addition but it will do until I come up with something better.

MK II Spec - Adding onboard air for airing up tyres on the trail

After looking at specifications of a number of 12V air pumps I decided upon the Quickair 2 compressor by Sun Performance Co. This is a compact rugged high output pump with a good reputation. I was originally going to mount the pump inside the right rear toolbox where it would be out of the way and protected. However the duty cycle is thermal dependent and there is no real airflow inside a tool box. The life expectancy of the pump is reduced markedly if run at high temperatures. Also the pump has a small air cleaner that should be cleaned occasionally. To access my right rear tool box I need to remove the refrigerator and the read folding jump seat. After much thought I decided to mount the pump at the rear top of the side bench just behind the toolbox lid. There is just enough space with the rear lamp cover removed. Access to the quick connect air connector, power switch and pressure gauge is just inside the right rear corner of the Green Rover. I found space for a long narrow air tank just behind the transfer case crosswise between the frame rails. The tank sits above the rear prop shaft. There is a pressure cutoff switch that keeps the system from overfilling.

MK II Spec: - Adding an inside 120V receptacle and permanently connected battery charger for the second battery circuit.

The secondary battery is a gel cell deep cycle group 24 battery located in the right rear toolbox. I purchased a fully encapsulated marine 10 A, three stage battery charger designed to be permanently connected into a battery/charging circuit. The charger is also located inside the right rear tool box. I added a metal outlet box inside the right rear toolbox alongside the second battery emergency shout off switch. This is about halfway up the side of the right rear bench. I used a duel outlet and exterior face plate with spring loaded outlet covers.

When the Green Rover is parked for the night in a location that has 120V available I can run a cord to my rear inlet that provides 120V for the refrigerator, up to 10A off the charger for interior 12V usage and power for two 120V outlets. On long cool weather trips I carry a small 120V electric heater. Before the conversion I had to run a cord through a window (leaving it partially open) to run the heater.

MK II specs:

  • Additional power from the engine. I would like at least a 50% increase in HP and torque without loosing fuel efficiency. This means a minimum of 106 BHP. Gains in fuel efficiency with the additional HP is highly desirable.
     
  • Lower first gear ratio without lowering the overdrive fourth gear ratio. Since the overdrive is no longer available, is a high maintenance item, and the weak link in the gearing I would like to replace it without loosing the high ratio.
     

 I have spent a great deal of time researching engine, transmission and gearing options. I ended up rejecting many options that initially looked very good. When I combined all the variables such as initial costs, ruggedness, long term cost, parts availability, ability to meet my design specs and weighted conflicting specs like fuel mileage vs. power, low end performance vs. freeway performance, most of the interesting engine options dropped out.

I decided upon simplicity, brute strength, low initial cost, availability and cost of parts and just plain ruggedness.

I have decided upon a Ford 302 engine, Borg Warner T-18 transmission with granny first gear and a stock series LR transfer case. My Salisbury axle is up to the additional power.

In addition I added power steering to further open up the engine bay and to make handling more like a leaf sprung 110. This makes the large heavy Green Rover much easier to handle in very slow speeds and reduces driver fatigue.

Timm Cooper of Medford Oregon to made the engine and gearbox swap during the Great Rebuild of 1999. He also added the power steering. I love the results of Timm's work.

The Green Rover no longer slows down when driving paved roads through the hills. I can easily climb hills off roading that would have bogged the original engine to a stall. Basically the car will go anyplace I point it and the tyres can find traction. I added an ARB air locker to the rear Salisbury to help in the traction department. And best of all is that I'm getting the same fuel mileage as I got with the LR four cylinder engine. Which is better than the EFI 3.9 Defenders are getting.

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