Modifications

Despite the fact that our landy could probably have made it to Cape Town in its original condition, there are a few modifications we’re making so that we too can reach Cape Town in one piece (or two at most).

First and foremost is a roofrack. Most overlanders fork out shed loads of cash for a nice fancy roofrack so that they can fit a nice fancy roof tent to it. Unfortunately for us, we’re skint. Our alternative idea was to get a roofrack with a whole in the side so that we can attach a big piece of wood which will extend over the side and allow us to sleep on top of it.

This is the design we came up with:

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MCB4x4 managed to make this design a reality for a very reasonable price and we’re dead pleased with the way it has turned out:

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As for the gentlemen’s quarters, we ran through a few ideas but the winner is the one shown below. It is essentially a shelf that slides ‘out’ when sleeping and ‘in’ when driving. It’s a pretty simple design and has been vetted by not one but two trusty engineer chaps.

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Our good friend Sam Harding helped us to build this little feat of engineering.

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The design was this:

  • Take two 1m lengths of 6”x1/4” aluminium plate, cut them to size and countersink bolt holes so that it attaches flushly to the roof rack
  • Take two 1m lengths of 4”x2”x1/4” aluminium L-shape and drill M10 bolt holes through both that and the aluminium plate in positions that correspond to the drawer runners being ‘in’ and ‘out’
  • Countersink bolt holes on the underside of the 2” length of the L-shape so that you can attach a sheet of 18mm ply wood to the topside whilst keeping the underside smooth so that it slides on what lies beneath it
  • Assemble (see above for the general layout)

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The landy is now pretty much expedition ready, with just a new battery and a few tyres to be added.

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The flat bed has been turned into a thing of ergonomic wonder. In the photo below you can see we eventually figured out a way of mounting the high-lift jack (bolted on on the right hand roof rack rear support leg), the tent slots into that hanging green tarpaulin which simultaneously creates space above it to hold sleeping mats etc, the empty black frame on the right hand side is bolted onto that wooden shelf and is a lockable jerry can holder which can carry up to 60 litres (which, on top of our 70 litre tank, gives us a range of almost 600 miles), the ammo boxes are in the corner just out of sight and hold all the bits and bobs for car maintenance, the drawer you can see there is on runners and fits snugly beneath the shelf and holds all the cooking equipment and food.

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The seat we removed in the rear has created space for a 25 litre water tank and all of our bags. On previous trips we’ve found it annoying having bags inside the car because they fall on you in the corners so we’ve also created a wooden partition which will stop the bags falling on whoever is in the rear of the cab (this bit of wood will also serve as a fixing point for the fire extinguisher). Finally, hanging above the bags is a mini-hammock which will take odds and ends like camera bags whilst we’re driving, to keep them nice and accessible.

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From the driver’s side, you can see in the rear that we’ve managed to recline the rear bench seats (which were incredibly uncomfortable before) and create handy storage spaces like the seat-tidy on the back of the driver’s seat and the velcro straps on the ceiling to hold the camera stabiliser, tripod, medical kit and EPP (emergency poo paper).

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In the front, we’ve got our coffee table in between the seats, the compass and thermometer mounted up on the dash, a cigarette lighter socket splitter with two sockets and two usb ports and the converter to give us 240v electricity. We also have a smiley air freshener which does absolutely nadda. It still smells like your granny’s wardrobe in there.

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The snorkel has finally been fitted, along with a nice big dollop of grease to seal it.

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A short video of the assembly and the following test-run can be seen here.

4 thoughts on “Modifications

  1. Robert from Mombasa says:

    Hi Fellars,

    Dont forget a good sized fire extinguisher. Egypt will gladly sell you an overpriced one. The police in Zambia, Kenya, and Tansania like cashing in on fictive fines for not having one.

    regards,

    Robert

  2. Hi, it’s me again. Your plans look like mine but my trip was 20 years ago..
    If you are travelling with those dainty alloy wheels fitted with thinwalled tubeless tyres, I would advise taking at least one truck spec innertube. Size is 7.50 x 16 which should be a unversal fit in an emergency.
    Thanks for the tip about those ex-army cot mosquito nets. A UK company didn’t want to send them abroad but I got some from Germany, same as yours and they are good quality. Will be needing them along the east african coast.
    More tips if I’m not a bore,
    Robert

    • Hi Robert, a bore? You must be joking, anything that involves thinking about our trip is infinitely less boring than studying for exams! We had had concerns about the alloys and were thinking about changing them for steelies but our budget won’t allow it. We are trying to get sponsorship for a set of mud-terrain tyres by Michelin so we’ll see how that goes. If you have a spare moment, do you think you could send us a link to the kind of inner-tube you’re thinking of?
      Much appreciated,

      The Gents

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