Suggestions for making my Series III ready for overlanding?

Sleam

Explorer
I've had an on again/ off again relationship with this Land Rover but finally accept that Shorty is sticking around despite my moods. I've done so much work on the bugger, including rebuilt engine, cooling system, clutch etc. I'm getting new tires this week, Friday we're going in for BFG all terrains. It's a 88", RHD, and I usually travel with three medium size dogs. I tend to take back roads, some black top but mostly NF graded dirt. I camp in the forests but worry about bears. I've played with the idea of rtt but the dogs run away when i had one briefly so that didn't work. What do you think about towing an old Teardrop camper then? Or? What would you do to make this viable for camping/exploring etc for more than a week at a time?
 

Antichrist

Expedition Leader
Wow, a really open ended question there.

For the trailer you shouldn't have a problem with a small teardrop. I had a friend who used his 88 to tow a small airstream about the size of this one

Obviously you can't be in a hurry.

You'll probably want some storage built in the back, to about the level of the wheel wells with a place on top for your dogs. Alternatively you could go with a roof rack, but combining the wind resistance from that with a trailer might be too much.
I had another friend who made a platform bed in his 88 on the passenger side that extended from brackets on the rear of the tub where the side panels attach, rested on the bulkhead behind the seats and attached to the top of the dash panel. His was a SIIa so it was easier to attach there, but you could on a SIII with a bit more work. The section between the bulkhead and dash was removable. Something like that with a roof rack for gear might work for you.

Of course you'll want to make sure it's in top shape mechanically. I'd fit a winch. Warn 8274's are perfect for a Series Rover as they fit behind the bumper. Another very good choice would be a Koenig King 100 which you can often find used. That's a PTO that runs off the transfer case or the crank pulley (there were two models). If you go with an electric it would be a good idea to upgrade your alternator unless you expect very occasional winching. A capstan winch, MAP, Fairey, etc, would be a reasonable choice also if you just want something for lightly stuck situations.
Beyond that, I don't think you need much in the way of mechanical modifications.
 

Sleam

Explorer
Thanks Tom, I think you're right about a winch for safety's sake. I talked to someone at the LR tent at Expo and he mentioned getting a "come-along" for emergencies, also a sattelite phone. I'm glad that the 88 could tow a teardrop even if slowly, I'm okay with that. And I like the idea of making a bed that folds down across the bulkhead to the dash. I did put in a hammock one summer but that wasn't going to be the best for more than a night or two! Realistically I think that I'll wait until I'm back down to one dog and then it will be all much easier with a platform and gear underneath and a fold down bed for me on a slightly higher level than his. Mechanically, I'm getting closer! Bit by bit.

ollie in back.jpg
 

TeriAnn

Explorer
As you have likely discovered, Series Land Rovers do not handle roof top tents well. The truck has a narrow wheelbase and the tent plus roof rack raises the centre of gravity enough to make the vehicle really tippy. An 88 has enough cargo space to have a nice tent camp but evidently that is not your preferred camping method. So yes considering the roads you tend to travel a light weight trailer appears to be your best option.

You have 3 common options depending upon how much money you want to spend and your personal preferences. A tear drop style trailer, a tent trailer and a M416 style box trailer loaded with camp goodies.

If you decide upon the offroad style teardrop trailer option you should also look seriously at weather protective awnings to go with it. As some people at the Expo noticed weather happens. The inside is set up for sleeping and there isn't much space for any other activity.

A tent trailer gives you a lot more space inside but I have yet to see one with a high clearance needed for more primitive trails

There are a number of M416 style trailers out there with camp amenities built in. Some even have a roof top tent on top as well as kitchen facilities.

Another thing you might consider is an awning that can be converted to a tent or a bug screen room by adding snap on sides. You could even hang a folding chuck box to the rain gutter and have it rest against the side of the vehicle. This gives you versatility without the penalty of a heavy weight roof top tent. Something to think about.

Whatever you choose focus on a light weight solution. That 2.25L engine doesn't have a lot of power.
 

TeriAnn

Explorer
Thanks Tom, I think you're right about a winch for safety's sake. I talked to someone at the LR tent at Expo and he mentioned getting a "come-along" for emergencies, also a sattelite phone.
Vehicle recovery can be very dangerous if your gear is not up to the the stresses. Most come-alongs are rated for under 2 tons which is way too low for your vehicle. If you do not want to buy a winch a better solution than a come-along would be a Hi-Lift and a JackMate. Hi-Lift jacks are rated for a 7 ton lift. Of course you would need a tree strap, a polyester tow strap and anchor shackles rated at 4-3/4 tons. A polyester tow strap has a typical stretch factor of about 3% while a nylon recovery strap has a typical stretch factor of about 8%. You don't want to use up your jack pull length stretching a recovery strap.
 

LR Max

Local Oaf
I'm not a trailer fan so I cannot comment accurately. That said, I feel like for any rover that isn't one of these new fire breathing 300+ hp machines, you need the lightest trailer you can find. This is a problem since trailers, and off road trailers in particular, seem to keep getting heavier and heavier.

You say bears are you biggest concern. Keep everything in the vehicle and cover coolers/other containers that are synonymous with food. If a bear can't see it, they won't go for it. Also bears are easily scared off. A metal spoon against a fry pan is apparently very scary to them. Also being 14 years old, short, overweight, and using every curse word you know is also very frightening to a bear.

Go lightweight. Especially with an 88. Weight and bulky items are going to kill it. A Roof Top Tent is actually pretty awesome if you don't have any space restrictions and aren't taking the truck onto any difficult trails. Also you can keep all of your sleeping equipment up there. So no bulky sleeping pads, bags, tent, etc taking up room. But as mentioned before, its a giant heavy brick on the top of your vehicle.

People go nuts on the camping, etc. What I've learned is that when traveling solo, keeping it simple is nice. I use a jetboil, either to add hot water to something or to cook in/on. Works good and is compact. Sure I love my Coleman double burner stove. But I don't need that just for myself. Also its more that has to be cleaned.

As for the Series 3 itself, I've found a lot of issues are derived from having a crappy vehicle. When you get new tires, also get your rims checked. Bent rims cause a lot of issues, as I've found. Also upgrading the ignition and going through the carb make a huge difference. I replaced my rear axles to make sure those wouldn't be an issue. Also during inspection, I found the rear driveshaft was shot. Went through the brakes and steering as well.

I started daily driving the 109 just to work out more bugs. That has been extremely helpful and has allowed issues to be discovered 5 miles from the house instead of 50.

Dunno, just some ideas for you.
 

LR Max

Local Oaf
Oh and forget the comealong. You'll start using it and realize how horrible an idea it is. Instead, have a good bottle jack and some traction mats/blocks of wood. That'll get you through most minor/moderate obstacles easily and safely.

Obviously a winch is awesome but probably not needed.
 

evilfij

Explorer
I had a little fiberglass trailer that opened up into a tent. Something like a tentrax. Personally, I would just get an offroad teardrop trailer. I am not sure how close you are with the dogs, but if it is just you and the dogs, you all should fit fine in one to sleep and you can use the back of the rover for equipment.
 

Sleam

Explorer
Thanks everyone. Yes, lightweight is key. It's great to get more ideas, some that I've sorted of focused on, and others to think about. I like the idea of an awning type tent off the back of the rover, that could work. I've seen them as "SUV" tents online but not tried to put one up myself.
http://amzn.com/B0016DBTNC

I do like my ground tent. But I feel nervous and exposed when i'm up in the San Juan Mtns, so the dogs pick up on that, plus they can't see out and hate that! The tent I have is quick to put up though, did it at Expo in the sleet just fine. Hmm...I'll nix the come-along. I have a hi-lift and would love to get some recovery/ instruction sometime soon. It's not like I have any big expedition planned, I want to work towards being more able and safe for the kind of travel I like. My camp needs are simple, a one ring burner, a pan, a mug and a plate. Not much to it. A cooler too! I grew up traveling like this with my family in the seventies. Dad had a small trailer but we slept in a tent.

1915112_1207103497401_5665897_n.jpg
 
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Antichrist

Expedition Leader
Hmm...I'll nix the come-along. I have a hi-lift and would love to get some recovery/ instruction sometime soon.
I've winched with both my hi-lifts and my come-a-long. I'd rather use my come-a-long. But I'm talking about a quality one, not a Tractor Supply unit.
Like this: https://www.wyeth-scott.com/index.asp
Here's a thread on them: http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/19356-Come-along
Unless you go crazy and mire yourself up to the chassis something like the wyeth-scott or massdam will get you out. I've recovered my F-250 with mine.

IMO the only advantage the Hi-lift really has is that it does double duty, so less to carry.

Though, honestly, my preferred method is a powered winch. I'm lazy. You can pick up a used Koenig or 8274 for well under $500 if you're patient and ready to pounce when they appear.
 

Antichrist

Expedition Leader
Like that, yeah. But it shouldn't be too difficult to modify the suspension/axle to raise it some.
You could replace the stub axle/hubs with ones from a Rover and use the same wheels and tires as on your SIII.
 

LR Max

Local Oaf
Another trailer idea that I've seen recently. Take a standard pop-up trailer. Lift it and install matching wheel/tire package. That way you have common bolt pattern, more used trailers, and with more amenities.

The only downside is said trailers are probably still going to be ~2k weight with water, stuff, etc.
 
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