Mechanical Preparation

Mechanical – Getting Stuck In

My initial lack of confidence in anything practical led me initially to want to pay people who know what they are doing to get the vehicle ready for us. With Caroline’s encouragement and reasoning that if I did it I would know how to fix it I slowly started to get my mind around doing some of the jobs myself. I quickly learned that there is a humungous friendly and helpful community of like minded people out there who just love Land Rovers and others who just love getting out there. There were so many sources of information and advice. I really had had no idea that people would bother to take the time to video themselves doing jobs on their vehicles but these were soooo useful. Youtube became a friend and so did several specific websites and characters.

The first job I really embarked on was to investigate a wheel bearing which had come up in an MOT advisory. This also seemed to be a common replacement item so figured I better learn how to deal with one. By this stage I had thankfully met Dave from Bush Mechanics at 2016’s Adventure Overland Show. The Haynes manual says ‘chock the wheels, hand brake on, jack up the vehicle and place on axle stands’…. Sounds straight forward enough… The first three were easy but where to put the axle stand??? It seemed to need to go in the exact same place now taken by my jack! Plus my 6 ton axle stand bought on a whim also at the same show was never going to fit under my axle! Feeling rather downbeat at failing at the first hurdle, I picked up the phone to Dave… After a lengthy conversation, during which Dave must have been thinking how does this bloke get out of his door in the morning let along think about driving through Africa, he eventually said to me ‘look, just jack up the vehicle and get something under there to support it’. Now somehow those words clicked something in me… My mind went back to trips in Africa where we’d had vehicles supported on tottering towers of rocks and objects of various shapes and sizes just to get out of a spot… ‘Aha’ I said, ‘I think I’m getting the idea’. I went back out, found some solid pieces of wood, jacked up the vehicle and soon it was resting safely on a couple of blocks… Feeling rather chuffed with myself I realised it was now well into the afternoon and I had not made much progress!





6 tonne axle stands up for sale


The next couple of weekends were spent happily following the Haynes manual, you tube videos and rushing off to Halfords every time I needed a new tool or material. Wheel bearings were regreased, swivel joints regreased and adjusted, brake calipers replaced and brakes bled. Yes, it all took quite a bit of time but it will take much less time next time!

Blackpaw4x4 quickly added a snorkel and replaced the cambelt.

Electrical Preparation

During our trip to South Africa in 2016 we had purchased a National Luna split charge system. I knew this needed fitting to our vehicle but had little knowledge of the electrical setup. However, I knew a man who had… I phoned up my brother-in-law Dave who was ‘on-the-bench’ workwise a the time and he quickly agreed to a meet up at my folks in Suffolk in April where we got started on the electrical stuff. We had acquired an inverter from Tina and we initially thought this would be useful mounted in the rear… Dave quickly informed me that we’d need a hefty cable to run from leisure battery to inverter if it was situated so far away from the battery.  I quickly found a dual purpose battery which would fit in to the small space available in the engine bay. This was only 75Ah but it was also only £75.

Kitting out the Rear

We’d picked up from a youtube video on an expedition prepped vehicle that a good rule is ‘you should only have to move one thing to find what you are looking for’. The idea is always to keep things simple and accessible. In the end we played around with various ideas then getting the Mobile Storage drawer fitted pretty much dictated the rest. We engaged Nick the incredibly innovative everything engineer on our boat mooring in York to build some shelves in plywood around storage boxes from Staples. The original design worked around easy access to table and chairs then changed when we found more comfortable chairs! The high shelf which we relieved from Tina stores the chairs. Vehicle fluids go the left and long tools such as a monkey wrench, tyre levers and warning triangles go in the right. The storage drawer itself is used for food stuffs and the Staples boxes hold cooking equipment and our personal effects.

First iteration of rear storage kit out