If you build it, they will come

Factoid

Three criminal heroes
#1
Based on various conversations, threads and PMs I have received, I've been doing a lot of thinking and planning for my next build. Originally, I wanted a reliable, comfortable overland traveler for my wife and I. We are both in our 50's, retired with four kids now all off the payroll! Over the last several months as I have researched and considered options, my thoughts have shifted a bit. While my initial priorities haven't changed, I have added a few.

We want to be able to travel off the grid for extended periods of time. This calls for sufficient solar and superior battery storage.

We will need water storage and potentially the ability to filter and/or purify surface water.

We require a secure vehicle with reasonable protection from intruders, nature (and zombies).

We must be self-contained in a vehicle that has sufficient off-road capability. This means no trailer and a pop top bed with internal access to the vehicle (RTT which I originally considered is out). This makes my wife very happy as she wouldn't have to climb her naked *** down an exterior ladder for a head call in the middle of the night.

We require the ability to shower, use the bathroom and cook without leaving the vehicle and without generating excess moisture (this will be fun). This doesn't mean we won't ever leave the vehicle, cook or bathe outside or are nomadic hermits! If all goes well, we will visit many of you characters in the coming years.

And finally, I need to be able to maintain it myself. This is actually the easiest as I've built a few dozen vehicles over the last few decades, but presents a challenge as to what heavy tools need to be self contained.

If all of this wasn't a big ask, our budget is $50k! Not as bad as it sounds as I already own the vehicle which will surprise, perhaps shock many of you (maybe seal your belief that I am a madman) when I share a picture below. So let's get it out of the way. The vehicle is a 1976 Land Rover 101 Forward Control. WHAT??? ARE YOU CRAZY???

Actually, no. The previous owner had a vision that could never be. He wanted to use it to ferry his guests around his estate. He spent countless hours/dollars upgrading it mechanically. A new engine, new auto tranny, ARB air lockers front and rear, new prop shafts (we know these driveshafts), new power brakes, new front seats, completely redone electrical (it is a LHD 24v system), and perhaps most importantly, a rust free completely restored undercarriage.

I won't get started until May, but will finalize my design over the next couple of months. I also promised the wife I would finish it by the end of the year so we would have a bug out vehicle in case the zombie apocalypse started early.

Here's where I am currently and where I would like your input:

- Pop top using a Fiberine van top. Still have to pick the correct one as my roof is perfectly flat (flange must be flat) and I have a 67” by 120” area to work with. Originally, I planned to buy a CCV diy kit, but they have been completely unresponsive to my many emails and calls, plus, well, read the reviews for yourself. I've completed and posted my design on another thread and am now looking for a source for the insulated canvas sides. The existing max fan will be installed in the top.

- Originally I was going with standard fresh/gray/black water tanks, but have since decided on a Thetford cassette toilet with the SOG ventilation kit. The toilet will sit inside the shower enclosure with a high cfm fan inside the enclosure. I'll size fresh and gray water tanks as I complete the design. I haven't finished filtering/purification design and options for simple ways to take on water. Also, the pump and water heater configuration. Thoughts?

- Renology 400w panels and a Volta battery/charging system (assuming they get their **** together in the coming months). I'll add their alternator to the 101 engine.

- Power steering. I'm excited by this and the design challenge presented by the forward control configuration and have completed my design and have all the parts required.

- Cooking capabilities will consist of a single burner inductive cooktop and microwave yet to be sourced.

- The 101 currently has no a/c, so I'm planning on using one of these with the ability to redirect the vents into the top at night: http://www.cruisencomfortusa.com/truck-series/

- Still considering refrigerator choices but a 12v/24v/120v only. No propane in this rig. Have you ever seen the comparison FitRV did on propane vs. electric cooktops and refrigerators?

I'll start a build thread in a couple months, but any thoughts, ideas, criticisms are welcome as I finalize the design.

Some pictures:

D89BF073-F375-4771-A0EE-09998DAE61CD.jpeg D6E6CC91-C34C-46BB-A431-7812325DCF39.jpeg 6E57E424-D972-491F-B445-C5F4DFF4679F.jpeg

Also, here's a link to a video on my YouTube page. There are three in total.

https://youtu.be/i_ZKi42fDQ8
 
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Factoid

Three criminal heroes
#3
That's a step to use to climb into the front seat.

Yes on the roof. I've designed a pop top and am looking for a source for the insulated walls.
 

ersatzknarf

lost, but making time
#4
So very cool ! ! ! :D

So, it is not a Vampire, cuz' dat would be sacrilege ;)

Digging the SSRs, too. 35" or 37" ?

What is the engine, please ? Have heard of 5.9 6BTs being installed...

Sure hope you can figure out what to do for insulated walls. Are you talking about replacing the existing ones or just insulating those ? Bet you could insulate what you have and be happy ?

Think it's fricken beauuuuutiful ! :)
 

Factoid

Three criminal heroes
#5
Hey, Frank!

Thanks for the comments, I'm really looking forward to the build. It is a Radio body with some discussion by the “experts” of it being one of the VAMPIRE escorts. Doesn't really matter to me as it has received a significant amount of modification by previous owners. Including a Rover 4.9L zero balance crate engine, ZF automatic with overdrive, ARB lockers front and rear, enhanced cooling and rust free restored and painted chassis.

I plan on removing the interior panels to inspect the walls/roof and then insulating the existing walls roof and floor. I may need to reinforce the roof for the pop top, but I'll determine that when I get there. I don't want to change the exterior other than new paint and the pop top. The tires are 37's and I think it's fricken beautiful also. My challenge is making it as self-contained and as reliable as possible. As you know, Land rovers tend to be only as reliable as their owners are proficient!

I'll start a build thread in a couple of months.
 

ersatzknarf

lost, but making time
#7
Hi Mark !

Ah, so it *might* be a VAMPIRE, but since it was already "improved" by someone else, you are completely off the hook ;)

The drivetrain sounds like it should be very nice and please be sure to put the compressor and valves for the ARBs somewhere with good sound deadening, as the "PSSSSHT!!!" might annoy someone - don't ask me how I know :p

Good. Sounds like a very good plan for the walls and insulation. I agree about keeping the exterior, if possible.

Most groovy about the 37" SSRs ! ! ! :D

Oh, and look at Suaoki for possible solar panels... maybe ?

They make some nice, thin, light 100W ones.

"Land rovers tend to be only as reliable as their owners are proficient!" - - - YUP ! Truer words have never been . . . LOL !

Looking forward to the new thread :)
 
#8
Wow what a cool starting platform. You should be fine adding a large array of solar on that flat roof. What kind of room is underneath the chassis to fit water/extended range fuel tanks? As for insulated walls, something like Nida-core might be a good starting place. It is light, strong and creates some dead air space. I don't know if it is provides enough R-Value on its own but it is a relatively easy material to source, shape and use for this application.
 

Factoid

Three criminal heroes
#11
Wow what a cool starting platform. You should be fine adding a large array of solar on that flat roof. What kind of room is underneath the chassis to fit water/extended range fuel tanks? As for insulated walls, something like Nida-core might be a good starting place. It is light, strong and creates some dead air space. I don't know if it is provides enough R-Value on its own but it is a relatively easy material to source, shape and use for this application.
Thanks, Drew. There is plenty of room. The one fuel tank sits midway back in the right side. There is an air tank on the other side, but plenty of room given the height and that both driveshafts are offset to the right side.

That Nida-core is pretty cool. Unlike most vans my walls are flat, so I have more insulation options. I'm most worried about getting a tight vapor barrier as we will have a shower and induction cooktop inside.

The pop top will be tall (16”) and more of a 3/4 top (approximately 100” long) with a sloping front. I should be able to get 400w of solar panel on the top plus move my current fan to the top center. I'm excited to get started, but still have a couple of months before I can start.
 
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