Transglobal 2010-2012 – The Vehicle

Our chosen vehicle / home for our adventure is a 1994 Land Rover Defender 110 Station Wagon.

We have assumed it’s a man car, because when he came to live with us he was a bit grubby, and smelled of sweat!  He seems to like being a man car too, standing proudly at the front of the house looking menacingly at all the shiny Fords, Volkswagens and Vauxhalls.

Rather unimaginatively, we’ve named him ‘Landy’.    Actually, rather unimaginatively, Helen called him Landy.  Her childhood naming of toys should have been a warning: whitey for a white teddy, woof woof for a woolly dog.  Descriptive, yes.  Imaginative, no.

Read on for more information about the history of our Landy, how we prepared him and what modifications we did.

Vehicle History

 ‘Landy’ as we have called him, was built by Land Rover Special Vehicles in 1994, and originally registered for first use in January 1995.  This meant he was one of the first Defenders to be fitted with the (then) new 300TDI engine.

Nepalese Traffic Police registration

Nepalese Traffice Police registration

He was immediately shipped to Nepal, where he worked hard in dusty conditions in the hands of the Traffic Police for almost thirteen years.  He was retired from duty there in 2007 and returned home to the UK, where he was put up for adoption on Ebay in April 2008.

We saw ‘Landy’ on Ebay, where he was being advertised privately by Huddersfield Land Rover Centre as being ‘rust free’.  After placing the winning bid, we soon picked him up and discovered that he was indeed in good order structurally, and appeared to run very well.  We also discovered that in relation to Land Rovers, the term ‘rust free’ actually means ‘less rust than you’d expect’!


 Vehicle Specifications

Make: Land Rover (Special Vehicles)

Left foot braking cures a cross axled dilemma
Left foot braking cures a cross axled dilemma

Model: Defender 110 Station Wagon

Year of Manufacture: 1994

Engine: 2500cc Turbo diesel, 300 TDI.

Gearbox: Type R380, 5 speed manual, permanent 4 Wheel drive.

Transfer Box: Type LT230, with manually selectable centre differential lock.

Wheels: 7J x 16 steel modular

Tyres: BF Goodrich, 265/75 x 16 All Terrain

Seats: 3 (Driver, passenger, and guide)

Fuel: Diesel

Fuel capacity: 186 litres; main tank 80 litres, auxiliary wing tank 46 litres, jerry cans 60 litres

Fuel consumption: 23 mpg / 8.14 kpl (fully laden)

Range on full fuel load:  950 miles / 1520 km

Water capacity: 130 litres; main tank 70 litres, jerry cans 60 litres.

Travel on full water tanks: 6 – 12 days, depending on temperature and workload.

Service interval:  6 – 10,000 miles / 9,600 – 16,100 kilometres depending on conditions.

Vehicle Preparations pre-departure

Preparing a vehicle for an extended trip overland is no small feat.  Off road travel places huge stresses on all parts of the vehicle, and vibration, dust, and extremes of temperature add to the demands.  Our approach to preparation was to start by getting Landy into a sound and reliable condition from which to undertake any modifications required for the trip.

Having been in Nepal for so long, at fifteen years old, Landy’s chassis was remarkably free of corrosion, but there was evidence of his age on some of his body joints (a bit like mine!).  Though not bad enough to warrant major repairs, this rusting did mean we had to replace his nearside foot-well as this was rusted through in one small area, and we also took some restorative action on some slight rust developing elsewhere on his bulkhead, mainly in seams.  On Defenders, the bulkhead is a common area of weakness as far as corrosion goes.

Landy’s doors were also quite rusty at the bottoms, but nothing that couldn’t be rubbed down and repaired.  We may rebuild the door internals before we leave, as they are quite rattly!

So, all in all we have a solid, well maintained, and relatively low mileage Defender, as a base from which to start.

Established wisdom suggests the mantra as far as the vehicle goes should be; “prepare impeccably, load lightly, drive carefully”

We have heard of intrepid individuals casting all caution to the wind and setting off on long trips without even changing the oil (slight exaggeration!), but as an engineer, and knowing where we were going, Paul chose to prepare Landy thoroughly.

Before making any modifications, the following work was done to get Landy in good shape:

1. Remanufactured engine from Turner Engineering
2. New 5 speed manual gearbox (R380)
3. New LT230 transfer box
4. New turbocharger
5. New fuel lift pump
6. New water pump
7. New power steering pump
8. New timing belt and tensioners
9. New diesel injectors
10. New glow plugs
11. New fuel injector pipes
12. New exhaust system
13. New prop-shafts front and rear
14. New door seals all round
15. New floor seals all round
16. New front door trims
17. New side, tail, number plate and indicator light units
18. New wheel bearings all round
19. New brake discs all round
20. New brake pads all round
21. New front axle swivel joints
22. New steering ball joints
23. New half shafts (front and rear)
24. New HD drive flanges
25. Overhauled differential units (front and rear)
26. New steering damper
27. New A frame ball joint
28. New engine and gearbox mountings
29. New coolant header tank
30. New engine, clutch, and brake hoses and flexible pipes (all)
31. New clutch assembly and HD clutch lever
32. New clutch master and slave cylinders
33. Re-spray in Swansdown white
34. Fully synthetic lubricants
35. New 100amp alternator

& Modifications

Our approach to modifications has been driven (like most people’s probably) by a cocktail of factors including cost, the attraction of ‘gadgets’, demands expected due to terrain and temperature, comfort, weight, availability, and probably a few more!

In the process we have already made a few mistakes, including buying readily available equipment and modifications off the shelf without realising they didn’t quite suit overlanding, or were unnecessarily expensive options.  A case in point was the chequer-plate for the rear door.  We could have used one piece of sheet aluminium for the whole door, or a sheet of 6mm ply come to that!

It’s important to say though, that even though we can show an extensive list of work done in preparing and modifying our vehicle, almost all of it was or will be done by Paul, by himself, in the road outside our house.  Even the engine and transmission change!  This highlights that with a bit of mechanical knowledge and the will and passion to succeed (and understanding neighbours!), you don’t need expensive facilities.  We don’t even have a drive, let alone a garage!

In addition to getting Landy into decent mechanical and structural shape we carried out the following modifications. In reality, as we write this we are still working on ‘sections’ of the rebuild (such as electrics, dashboard, axles…) making good each ‘section’ and modifying at the same time, all the time with an image in our minds of what needs to be done overall.

The list of modifications is shown here, which includes those for hot, and for cold countries.  With four months to go, the ones in italics are still to do!:


1. Air conditioning system removed
2. TD5 heater unit fitted
3. Spare wheel carrier on rear door
4. Solid ’C’ pillar bulkhead and rear partitioning
5. Rear side lockers replacing rear side windows
6. Rear door window and quarter light windows replaced with aluminium sheeting
7. Internal fluorescent lighting
8. Replacement ‘non air-con’ front grille
9. Deep wading axle and timing case breather kit with manifold
10. Wolf snow shroud on wing-top heater intake
11. Twin rear work lights
12. Side mounted work lights
13. Four 100w spot / driving lamps
14. North American Specification (NAS) fog and reversing lights
15. Custom dash
16. Chequer plating to wing tops and bonnet (3mm)
17. Land Rover under bonnet soundproofing
18. Noise Killer bulkhead soundproofing
19. Exmoor Trim acoustic mat system
20. Goodwinch heavy duty front winch bumper
21. Stereo radio – FM and long wave, with I-Pod facility
22. Roof storage net
23. Map and guide book storage
24. Eberspacher diesel cab heater
25. Hot water heat exchanger, with shower

Under-body & Protection

26. Front external roll cage, with internal ‘B’ pillar main hoop
27. Steering Guard
28. Diff guard front
29. Diff guard rear

30. Rock and Tree slider sills
31. Lockable, high security cubby box
32. Floor safe
33. Security film on side windows
34. Security locks on all doors

Wheels & suspension

35. Six new 7J x 16 steel modular wheels, with all terrain tyres (two spares)
36. Heavy duty shock absorbers front and rear (Twin ‘Vee’ mounted at rear)
37. Heavy duty front coil springs
38. Heavy duty rear coil springs, with Defender 130 helper springs

Engine & drive train

39. Raised air intake
40. Centrifugal air intake pre-filter
41. Up rated intercooler (+35%)
42. HD four core radiator
43. X-eng disc transmission handbrake
44. HD drive flanges


45. Goodwinch 9.5i TDS 9500lb front mounted winch with wireless winch control
46. Twin battery system with split charge
47. Battery cut out switch
48. 100A alternator
49. 12v pumped water filtration system (0.05 micron)
50. 12v – 230v 66watt inverter
51. Map light
52. Auxiliary fuse-box
53. Carling switches
54. 12v power outlets on dash, cubby box, roof, side panels and rear panel