View Full Version : Expedition weight???

11-30-2006, 04:13 PM
I am going to be talking with Rocky Mountain Parabolics about making custom springs for my 1966 2A Ambulance. Right now my ambulance's lean mean fighting weight is 4665lbs on fumes of gas:eek: . I will have currently have the 2 front tanks and a SW rear tank. I will be adding a Koening winch, an additonal spare, expediton/camping gear for 4, 4 people, 2 dogs, recover gear and spares.

Any guesses on how much it will weigh fully kitted? I figure it will weigh as much a expediton weight 110, any one know how much that is?


11-30-2006, 04:36 PM
WE have a 1968 Marshall ambulance/camper. With a month's worth of gear, a Caranex tent, the two of us and our 115lb kuvasz, we were 6200lbs with all the tanks filled.
Might me hard to find correct parabolics for that. A Dutch couple that ws traveling the length of Africa started our with parabolics and finally gave them up becasue of too many breaks. Jim Would liek to see what you have done with your ambulance.

11-30-2006, 06:03 PM
OK I'm no purist but here is what I think:

I think I'd get a good set of new proper ambulance or one ton springs and then outfit them with the plastic inbetween the leaves as outlined on TAW's page.


I think for a top heavy ambulance parabolics F+R might not be a good idea, I doubt they'll control sway very well and if a parabolic breaks on a real expedition it could be a real pain in the butt. I like parabolics but for true expedition use I'd stick to what Rover originally designed.:thumb-up:

FWIW I think most of the nightmare stories about truly broken parabolic springs have been with european made parabolics.

Man you guys with your ambulances almost tempt me to use mine... I still think I'd rather build a 109 high cap Pickup though...

11-30-2006, 08:05 PM
I must agree with the other posters Parabolox springs are good for normal vehicles at highway speed but once you start loading up and add some kit they quickly reach their limits.

Basicly they are Ford Explorer style springs and they are made for a specific load range, anything really over that for periods of time they will sag quickly and fail or break. My 88 with 109 wagon rear Parabolics is very bumpy when empty but once loaded with about 200lbs I think they are just right and much better off road then the regular springs because of the extra flex.

If you really wanted to you could get some parabolics springs made that would work, but I think going the 10 leaf plus original route is much safer and easier to fix specially when far away from home.

Just my 2 cts

11-30-2006, 11:29 PM
. I will have currently have the 2 front tanks and a SW rear tank. I will be adding a Koening winch, an additonal spare, expediton/camping gear for 4, 4 people, 2 dogs, recover gear and spares.

Any guesses on how much it will weigh fully kitted?

I bet you could do better than W.A.G.s from others. Figure gas is about 7 lbs per US gallon. How much fuel can you carry? Figure 8 lbs per gallon of drinking water. How much are you loading? Another spare? If its the same rubber as you have on your current spare pop it on th bathroom scale. I bet a weight spec for a Koening winch exists somewhere on the net.

Your vet has dog scales. Take them in for a weighing. Take whatever vehicle you have running, fill the tank & take it down to your local public scale (public dump usually has one) & weigh the vehicle. Bring it home & load it up with everything you might take on a trip minus what you have already weighed. Don't forget a big bag of dog food. Refill the tank & take the loaded vehicle back to the public scale. Put any people not in the car during the weighing on a bathroom scale.

Add it all up then add another 100 lbs for the stuff you forgot to weigh. Add that to the empty ambulance weight and you should be pretty close to your expedition weight. At least closer than any one would come with a W.A.G.

Its just simple addition and some effort on your part and you can get closer that any one else will guess.

B.T.W. You might recnonsider installing parabolics. There is a reason Rover put anti sway bars on a Land Rover ambulance. They have a much higher centre of gravity than I would trust with parabolics that would actually flex under the weight of your rig.

The real question is do you have a Salisbury under the rear with all that weight??

Good luck designing & building your rig.

12-01-2006, 02:18 AM
I figured around 6500 lbs as the very top end of the weight scale, running weight at 6200 lbs. I am trying to keep all the weight as low as possible, with the SW tank filled the amby handles quite well. I will be putting a Al water tank in the cross box storage area.

I was talking with a guy in UK who has a ambulance with 5 parabolic springs in the rear and 3 in the front. He had done some traveling in Morroco and thought the setup work pretty good. Unfortunately I lost his email.

I am going with RM springs because they will make a custom set with added leafs to my weight specs.

Axles: I have decided to keep the rover axle for now although I will be swapping in custom toyota axles (http://www.seriestrek.com/parts.html) and third member F&R. I actually thought about putting in a 101FC in the rear (width and Sals would help out) or a Sals with a JacMac 35 spline axles($$$). I have been pondering making a 6x6. First I extend the frame the back to the ambulance body (actually adding frame horns) then cut the back off the 109 rover axle housing, install a normal third member then its twin upside down without out a ring gear, a short driveshaft, then a 88 axle(overlapping the 88 and 109 springs). Something like this (http://de.pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/einnutzer/album?.dir=3f5f&.src=ph&store=&prodid=&.done=http%3a//de.pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/einnutzer/my_photos).

This is going to be a long process, but I am looking at springs first because I have some lean and they seem pretty flat.

12-01-2006, 05:12 AM
I put in a Salisbury rear and promptly broke and axle in that. WE use our ambulance hard. Great Basin rovers provided upgraded axles and flanges and they are great. Check out Caranex tents too, they made one that fit the back of the ambulance perfectly. I have some photos of our camping set-up if you are interested.

12-01-2006, 07:11 AM
What engine are you going to use to motivate this boat? a 4bt? 6.2? I can't remember what you said you were going to use. :D Improving a sals should be easy, The guy I swapped the sals from my ambulance to has already upgraded it to 35 spline 1.5" shaft regular Dana 60 stuff and discs. I think he got his shafts from Dutchman.

Definately take your existing sals apart and check it out- mine was VERY worn, probably had 106k on it and the wear and tear could easliy add to the potential breakage. There are a lot of these used sals floating around from Gabor Antalics in Philly.

12-01-2006, 07:15 AM
OK there is a lot going on in this thread, so I'll add my two cents for each point I think is relevant...

1) Parabolic springs. I wouldn't use them on a bet. Especially for a real overland expedition. If you are just outfitting your camper for US based weekend road trips to the local camp ground, that's another story. I can say with authority that if you applied for one of our (Drive the Globe) trips abroad, the springs would have to be changed for all the reasons Terri Ann pointed out. It is not a good idea to go 'custom' on a rig used in other countries either. Keep the Toyota axles under a Toyota. It doesn't make sense. Also, the proper leaf spring pack has much more torsional stiffness than a parabolic could ever hope for (which is partly why they articulate so well). The torsional stiffness helps greatly with body roll. You have testimonials from others, but they are not you, with your truck and your driving style. I strongly recommend avoiding them, and getting new 1-ton springs and either oiling them frequently, or adding the plastic as stated earlier. I run 109 1-ton springs on the rear of my 88 that was used in North Africa, and I had no spring related issues at all (and the ride quality is fine). Others in the group (with 109 station wagon springs) did have serious problems. Adding a 110 rear sway bar is not a bad idea either, but requires a bit of fab work...

2) Rear axle. The strength of the Salisbury is there. I thought all the ambulances already had these installed. A good idea if you don't have one for some reason... NOTE: the 101 axle uses different gear ratio than the series, and will require a gear change (Also not a bad idea, and for the record,no one that I know of has ever broken a 101 axle shaft). If you go with the Rover axle, get the Great Basin axles as recommended. I tested the prototypes in North Africa fully laden and they are great. Be aware, the weak link in the system moved up-stream in this case. For me, it was the ring gear I broke...

3) The final frontier: If you are really serious about making a proper expedition vehicle out of this ambulance, please give this idea serious consideration. Get a new galvanized 110 frame from RN and build the truck up on coils. I run the 130-style 1-ton dual rear springs, and the ride is fantastic heavy or light. (by light I mean un-loaded. With a truck cab and an empty bed, it could get bouncy). Beside the obvious load-carrying capacity, you enjoy fantastic articulation (even with the rear sway installed) and the ride is smooth enough to reduce a lot of the noises that occur over the road and trail. This alone can reduce driver fatigue significantly, making the drive much more comfortable, and increase the amount of time you can spend "in the saddle". If you use it around town empty and then the occasional trip, the inner springs can easily be removed in a few minutes, although I never bother, as the ride is fine. How long does it take to change springs on the ambulance now? The 110 Salisbury axles are nearly bullet-proof. Again, like the 101, the gears will have to be changed to retain the 2.5l engine. But, it's a great time to get a 300Tdi or International 2.8 in there. You will enjoy more power, lots more torque and double the travel range on a tank of fuel. Fully laden I get 20MPG from my 300Tdi; my series 88" (light or heavy) gets 10MPG. I easily go 550 miles on a fill-up, and all I have is an additional 10-gallon piggy-back tank from Mantec, so the added fuel weight is not huge.

Think it through well. There are many options out there, and if you are serious, you have to take every detail seriously. Cutting a corner here or there can cost you your trip, or worst case, your life.

12-01-2006, 07:19 AM
While I agree that you can break any axle even a Salisbury I think the upgrade to the Salisbury is by far the most sensible.

While even the normal Rover axle is strong enough to safely move my friends airstream trailer into it's winter parking spot on a slippery hillside, coming in at easily over 7000 lbs combined weight.

You could even look at ENV axles from a FC.... parts might be an issue, but breaking those is also not that easy.

12-01-2006, 07:48 AM
OK Fruity, I've got to ask.....

I realize moving an Airstream to a parking spot isn't towing it far, but that's as closest that I've seen to something that I've been wondering about....

I know an 88" is an awfully SWB, but for one of the smaller Bambi's, at non-interstate speeds, is it doable or not? (Local use, not cross-country...)

12-01-2006, 09:18 AM
Well I did not tow the Airstream thru the Catskills to it's current location, I only used it to get it up a mountain in low range and onto it's parking spot.

I am plannning to throw out the 2.25 original gas motor and move to a 2.5 N/A Rover diesel sometime this winter. When that is done I will see how she can handle that Airstream. I assume it will be slow at best, but hopefully fast enough to take it out West in the Summer. And back roads not interstate.

I would be happy with 50 to 55 mph towing that size trailer,..... I know I'm crazy

12-01-2006, 09:25 AM
We are getting off topic here, but I would be far more concerned about the "tail wagging the dog" and stopping that beast than making it go.

At the very least, up-grade to a 109 fromt axle and brakes to help stop that monster. Heavier rear springs are a good idea as well. Not for the weight, but for the sway.

My professional opinion: don't tow that trailer with that truck on the public road system more than a mille or so.

12-01-2006, 10:26 AM
I'm pretty sure Kingslug is going to use his truck for expeditions within Hawaii for the time being, probably to North America as well, not sure about any aspirations to Africa or Siberia or other remote destination. For his needs an upgrade of the rear Salisbury to US HD dana 60 spec makes sense and the upgrade of the front end to Toyota center + axles wouldn't be a bad upgrade to consider either, especially since he could use a brand new toyota E locker and pay less for it than he could for a rebuilt rover front end with ARB. Parts for the Dana and Toyota are readily available here when and if he needs them.

The stock rover drivetrain MIGHT be satisfactory with the stock Rover engine but I suspect he won't be sticking with a 80+- HP 2.25 for long with this truck! Going from 124ft-lbs@2500rpm vs a potential of 485 Ft-lbs for a 4bt...well ok stock it would be 105 @2500 and torque is 265 ft lbs @ 1500

12-01-2006, 12:05 PM
If the DANA 60 rear is done custom, why not do the front as a custom DANA as well? Or, better (arguably) yet, why not go with a pair of Ford 9-inch axles, so the diff can be pulled/swapped easily in the field for quick repairs?

I had considered this for my 88", but since it is basically stock, I did not see the need. In fact, I enjoy the way it annoys those who have spent tens of thousands on their rigs with big motors etc. only to be stuck as I putter by in first gear low-range at idle... The looks on their faces are worth more than the money invested in their trucks by a long shot!:thumb-up:

Once I did the North Africa expedition in an antique Land-Rover, I was quite convinced this was NOT the correct vehicle for an overland expedition. I spent years doing research, and settled on the 110 I now own for several key reasons reserved for another post.

12-01-2006, 01:37 PM
I living in Hawaii (Big Island) and will be building my beast here. I will be eventually shipping this back to the mainland and running a 2 part trip Artic Circle to US-Mex border then Mex to South America. Then who knows...

Custom is custom. I am going with the toy axle shafts and third member because both parts are tougher than stock (axles and diff), offer easier access to parts including lockers. A few are using the HD Toyota axles/diff on Disco/D90s, RoverTracks (http://www.rovertracks.com/tech/index.html) and SeriesTrek (http://www.seriestrek.com/) are making them. I went with Jim Young because he has them on his series and have bought stuff from him in the past. My toy axles are 30 spline 1.29" and made of better materials. ENVs would be nice but what about parts and lockers? 101s would be neat but I would need to custom the hub and width is a little wide and require inset rims. A Sals would be cool if upgraded, but without going 35 spline the axle is 1.31" and the toy axles are much cheaper as a complete setup. I think everyone needs to carry a spare set of axles, especially if you are traveling. Early ambulance came with a ENV or a HD rover axle (fully welded trusses top and bottom).

The motivation for this vehicle I am a bit in the air. I am leaning toward the MB 300TD, I have a MB 240D now and love it. Figure 125 HP more if adding an IC. Longevity, reliability, and access to parts is key. I have seen one in a 404 Unimog and thought it a great setup. I think gearing will be more the key to the vehicle than engine kind of like the unimog again. A 4bt would be sweet but parts could be an issues, check the rebuild price on a 4BT. I am not looking for speed at all cruising at 50 mph is fine. I am leaning toward a LT95 with over drive and using the OD as 4th.

Back at the main subject. I cant see parabolics being bad if designed to a load range and using good materials. 5 or probably 6 springs. I have thought of adding a sway bar to control roll, parabolics w/ a sway bar seems like the best design between ride comfort and body roll.

I am suprised no one blasted my 6x6 idea, putting an axle further rearward protects my backend overhang. This would spread weight load and offer traction advatages. Here is a setup kind of like what I would use here (http://www.thomasschnell.com/projekte/projekt1.html), except for 88/109 combo with overlapping springs rather than 109/109 setup.

12-01-2006, 02:44 PM
yeah, I didn't touch the 6X6 idea, but in a nut shell, don't do it.

We were tracking the progress of a guy in Central Africa with a 6X6 and he spent the bulk of his time fixing the beast. WAY more trouble than any benefit you could gain from it.

As we monitored his progress to assist us with our route planning, we realized he was reporting more about fixing it than any other part of the trip.

They look cool, are unique and fun for the show circuit. Otherwise, they are way too maintenance intensive.

If you do build it, I hope you will share your experiences with us...

12-01-2006, 05:54 PM
The Mercedes engine is a much higher reving engine, 4bt shouldn't go much above 2000 rpm so that makes higher gearing a must. With the Mercedes you have more leeway.

I'd upgrade the sals, it isn't that difficult. A friend of mine is doing it on his lightwight if you want I'll put you in touch with him. Or get ahold of Keith from Rover tracks. If you make it into a true HD dana60 you'll have a lot more peace of mind. The toy front is ~Dana 44 strength so with the Sals you'll be in good shape. A toy rear is stronger than a stock sals but once upgraded the Sals can be stronger than a Toyota rear end ever dreamed of. Think about it- you are essentially building the equivalent of a 1 tone or 5/4 ton vehicle, you want all the margin of strength you can have. Build for beef- think M715!

The LT95 is a good tranny but do you really want full time 4wd? the U joints in Jim's toyota conversion aren't ideal with a full time 4wd system. You could get longfields I guess which might be the way to go.

With my 109 P/U I'll go with Toyota FJ40 axles F+R and upgrade them both with longfields and stronger rear axle shafts, probably also conver them both to Disc Brakes as well. Engine axle and drivetrain are still up in the air. Possibly a US V8 or diesel V6 coupled to a SM420 or SM465 adapted to the series transfer case. Othe Options include a NP205 converted to Passenger output F+R maybe with a NP203 reduction unit if I have enough room for that length.

I've pondered using parabolic springs, I've always been an afvocate for them in SWBs but I don't think I'll do it for this project, a good quality set of traditional springs is better suited to HD use. I've even read about 101s breaking their 2 leaf springs on expeditions in Kenya not fun! I'd rather have the security of a well tuned regular set of springs with the military wrap.

12-01-2006, 11:18 PM
I will be putting a Al water tank in the cross box storage area.

I would advise against an aluminum drinking water tank. Aluminum is chemically active and will affect the flavour of most drinking water. Also remember you will want to sanitize your drinking water tank periodically. A weak clorox solution is the typical sanitizing agent.

When I had my tank made up, I went with stainless steel. It makes for a mostly inert drinking water tank that can be sanitized over & over without problems.

Don't forget a drain at the lowest point.

Axles: I have decided to keep the rover axle for now although I will be swapping in custom toyota axles (http://www.seriestrek.com/parts.html) and third member F&R.

Think about what happens when you break a part in the field and how long it takes you to replace it. Parts can be from other brands of vehicles if they are unmodifed AND easy to source. But if you need to get a part fabricated or machined before you can get one to replace the part you broke, you could be in a world of hurt waiting for the part.

Think long and hard before adding a custom drivetrain/suspension part. I'm not saying don't do it, just know what you are going to do if that custom part breaks out on the trail.

I have been pondering making a 6x6.

That adds a lot of weight to your rig. It adds significantly to the things that could go wrong while on the trail. It might help in deep sand, but so does lighter weight. You are likely to loose out on articulation.

There are somethings that cry out for upgrading, Rover axles, the Rover gearbox but beyond this make every additional part justify itself. Know what will happen if that item breaks in the field and how you will recover from it breaking.

12-03-2006, 09:07 AM
Think about what happens when you break a part in the field and how long it takes you to replace it. Parts can be from other brands of vehicles if they are unmodifed AND easy to source. But if you need to get a part fabricated or machined before you can get one to replace the part you broke, you could be in a world of hurt waiting for the part.

TAW has a good point
The Series Trek http://seriestrek.com/parts.html front axles are a nice beefy upgrade for the Rover front end. Especially with CTMs in them but if you lock up the front end they too can break- remember at best they are similar to a 10 bolt or Dana 44 front end units that in the USA are considered 1/2 ton to 3/4 ton at best. you may want to buy a spare set of shafts, certainly spare U joints to take with you. Are you going to use Toyota E lockers? Also if you are really thinking about changing to full time 4wd with a LT95 of R380 or something similar you might want to consider the impact on the CTM/371 U joints. CVs or Birfs:eek: might be more appropriate? Personally I'd stick with part time and use the Rover, Dana 18, or NP205 swapped to passenger output with NP200 bits.

12-03-2006, 05:36 PM
TAW has a good point
The Series Trek http://seriestrek.com/parts.html front axles are a nice beefy upgrade for the Rover front end.

Custom parts made by essentually a one person shop may be "in production" but the owner just might be doing the Golden Spike trail when you just broke down on Poison Spider. He might be out on the trail for another week or two before you can get in touch. Then you may discover there are none on the shelf and materials need to be bought before making another one up. Oh, and the guy who does the castings just got married and is on his honymoon.

Some custom parts just won't break unless a whole lot of other damage gets done (like a transfercase adapter plate), but some things like custom axles or a shaft of some kind just might. If you are doing serious traveling the best thing to do is have spares for your custom parts, already boxed for shipping accessable for a friend to ship to you upon request. You may never need to replace a stub axle drilled out for a 35 spline axle, but you will feel better knowing one is an email/phone call away. BTW I did break a stub axle once. Right where the race for the inner oil seal rides against the hub flange. So it does happen. The only thing keeping the front wheel on was the knuckle for the front axle U joint.:eek:

Oh, & incase some people don't know, the Salisbury diff used the same parts as the old style Dayna 60. So you can get things like seals & bearings for a Salisbury from any company that stocks dana 60 parts. Plus both Rovers North and British Pacific stocks the parts in the US.

12-03-2006, 07:50 PM
So in the end rather than the custom route it might be better to stay stock or upgrade to something entirely taken from another vehicle and adapted simply by using axleshafts and brake lines. In the end I think I'll end up doing the later with my 109- I don't want to have to buy 2 sets of custom 24 spline Rover or 30 spline Toyota axle shafts- that gets expensive in a hurry! Instead I can buy whole Toyota axles for $100 each.

12-03-2006, 08:09 PM
Keep the Toyota axles under a Toyota. It doesn't make sense.

How do you figure?

The Toyota center conversion has been run extremely hard in heavy coiler trucks with no failures reported yet. There are Rangies and Discos locked front and rear on 36"s and 38"s and no one's breaking anything. It's pretty much agreed upon that this is the way to go before going to a 60.

I've done a lot of thinking about this set-up, Jim, and there are a couple of very good reasons I went with it.

1) The factory Toyota diff is incredibly strong for a stock diff and can be had with a factory installed electrically actuated locker.

2) The complete factory E-locker third member costs me less then an ARB.

3) They are a third-member type of diff. (for those of you not familliar with diffs, the whole ring and pinion comes out in one chunk.)

4) Both the front and rear axles run the identical, removable third member. In the (unlikely) event of a rear diff falure, I can pull the front and rear diffs, swap them and drive home in 2wd happy as a clam. It's a hell of a lot easier than trying to set-up a Dana-style diff in the bush, even if you can find a ring and pinion and an intall kit!

5) The E-locker can be actuated manually if need be. There's no way to actuate an ARB without having and maintaining air pressure.

6) The 1.290" 1541-H axles are MUCH stronger than the stock Salisbury axles. Yes, of course you can build a Salisbury with 35 spline axles and an ARB but you'll spend at least twice the money.

7) If you do break an axle, you can lock the diff and strill get home.

And Jared, don't let the weight scare you. A stock 2006 4x4 Dodge p/up weighs 6500lbs dry and they come with 44s. (Well, they came with 44s...Now Dodge uses AAM axles, but you get my point.) It's heavy for a Rover but not alarming.

Custom stuff is fine but make sure you build it yourself so you can repair it yourself. If you send your truck out and pay someone to put a 300tdi in it, you're not going to be much help if something happens to it on the trail. I've made a lot of changes to my truck, and all have been an improvement (in my opinion) and have been done with proven parts. And all have been done by me.

And if you do break an axle on the road, I've got them sitting here on the shelf. I'm usually home except, for the one month every year I'm on expedition with my completely unacceptable Rocky Mountain parabolics.


12-03-2006, 09:31 PM
Jim (Mercedesrover),

What does your 88 weigh loaded up for an expedition?

You forgot to mention the Toy Diffs are a hypoid design, another advantage in their favor over Rover's IMHO. Comparatively hypoid differential is much stronger than the spiral differential. Plus a greater variety of gearsets available to accomidate different tire sizes and engine choices.

Any thoughts about your U joints in full time use? (Jared is thinking of using the LT95 apparently)

And, don't take this as a slam, but if someone is going to take their vehicle to some far away s-hole 3rd world nation and use your axles it would be a good plan to have a spare set along for the ride. It isn't as though they could scrounge them from a local junk yard to repair them if needed.

All in all they are a pretty elegant solution, if I didn't have ~12 TLC axles laying around I'd probably do the Toyota swap to Rover cases. I've seen what stock TLC axles can withstand and have a lot of appreciation for them- the first time I saw them break was this year at Guy Fawkes and that was with stock 35 year old Birfs...

Matt Nelson

12-04-2006, 12:47 AM
After I get my axles setup, I am ordering a spare set of axles. Heck I carry a spare set of rover axles and a third member everywhere I go in my rover, I doubt I would change that practice. I would rather swap a third member on my back than on my belly in a wave check position working on a Sals/Dana. I dont see ujoints being a problem under full time load, if they are I will have to change it. The difference between the toy and after market Sals axle is 0.10 and both are built of better materials than stock. I am not really worried about my the axles.

The reason I am think about running a LT95 is because I have one local and cheap and its still Roveresque. Its pretty tough, I should be able to fit a custom MB flywheel (read heavy) and a Gwagen clutch for a MB 300TD. I don't think I could fit a Gwagen clutch in a 2.25 rover housing. One reason I am going toward a MB diesel is because gas on the islands hasn't dropped below $3 and WVO here abounds.

As to working in the bush, parts for everything are hard to find. Thats why I carry spares of vital items including especially custom items, but you cant take everything. Heck the only vehicle I have seen in use in every country I have been to and I been to a lot, is the 2wd Toyota truck. Where are you going to find a Rover/Chevy/Dana parts in Chile 30 miles from no where? Much less fix a busted engine rod or shift fork. Do I think SeriesTrek will fold tomorrow? No. But I have full faith in the business or I wouldnt have send MercedesRover(Jim) my duckets. Actually I pestered him to build me the axles for a longtime. Yes I will be ordering a spare set.

12-04-2006, 05:09 AM
Keep it simple stupid, not bad words to live by. You break down in South America somewhere and the chance there are old LR's sitting around you can strip for parts is very good. And no one can tell me that parts Never break, certainly not a good belief is one is about to leave the paved world of travel. YOu do not wantot have to carry an entire spare car of parts with you....you lose space and weight for food , water and fuel. If you really want a 6x6 have you considered a Pinzgare?

12-04-2006, 08:19 AM
If you order an extra set then you should be fine.The only parts that are custom are the shafts the other parts of the conversion are readily available arguably more so than Series rover bits. If you can source a new drop out for the prices Jim can get them at it isn't a bad deal at all considering you are getting a whole new differential. $550 for an all new locking diff is an awesome deal, even at Inchworm's retail prices it isn't a bad way to go.

I didn't realize your Amby didn't have a Sals fitted already- in that case the swap makes more sense. A Toyota rear end will be stronger than a stock 24 spline Sals any day of the week with 1541-H it will be even more so. Sure you could get HY-Tuff axles for the sals but what will that cost are they still readily available? Plus you still would need to buy the sals and a locker. Since you've already invested in the Toyota conversion the issue is moot anyway, go with what you have ordered and have fun.

If you have to go with a Roveresque tranny the LT95 is the way to go. I'm considering the same thing since I have one available locally. Other alternatives abound too- a lower 1st gear would be nice. With 4.88s your low ratio will be what? ~63? with 4.10 diffs ~52. Either would be ok with 33" tires+- especially since you aren't going to take this rig on the Rubicon or rock crawling in Moab.

As for U joints in FT use- I don't know the answer- thats why I asked. Most FT rigs have Birfields or CVs even tractas not U joints. If it is an issue then perhaps you can Longfield the front end?

I'd still use standard springs and bring a spare main leaf for them to boot. Parabolics might be ok, they DO use them in large trucks without difficulty but when and if they break it is often more of an issue than if a leaf breaks in a regular spring pack. With the weight you are likely to have even regular springs will ride pretty nicely so I wouldn't allow comfort to be your compulsion to buy them. If you have other reasons and feel confident in them then by all means go ahead and give them a try. With the greater weight and higher COG I'd feel more comfortable with standard type springs.

I think you've pretty much made up your mind about your build, go forward with it and have fun. Let us know how it goes.

Matt Nelson

12-04-2006, 10:52 AM
Why the hate on for parabolics anyway? I don't think they're the right choice for Jared's truck but I've heard about very few problems with them. I run RM 3-leafs in the rear and 2-leafs in the front and they've been ok. I did bend a front spring a few years ago but I was hammering on the truck at the time and have a hard time blaming the springs. The rears have been in for 6 years now and have never given me a lick of trouble and haven't settled a bit.

Rocky Mountain parabolics in the Rocky Mountains:


Rocky Mountain parabolics in Wyoming:


Rocky Mountain parabolics in Mass:


Rocky Mountain parabolics in Labrador:


Hmmmm.....they seem fine to me.


12-04-2006, 11:49 AM
I don't know about anyone else but I don't have any partcular animosity towards parabolic springs. Hell they've worked ok on the fronts of 48 passenger buses without any issues for a long time.

I think they are fine for a SWB, not the thing for a 1 ton type 109. I may use them on my 109 PU but the ambulance body is going down the road and the truck will be a 109 GS again.

Honestly the stock springs work fine in a SWB or 109 too if well maintained. Not rusted together in a solid lump. I frequently oil my springs and have since I installed them in '97, they work great ride as good as any parabolics fitted truck I've been in. I've beaten the hell out of them for the better part of 10 years and never so much as bent or broken one. On the other hand a badly rusted set of regular leaf springs is a terrible thing... most people why talk trash about regular leaves have had a bad experience with a crapped out set! After that anything new would feel great!!!

You do run into parabolic horror stories, usually it is with the european brands and when they are being used with heavy loads on crap roads in Africa.

The only problems I've seen here with RM's is sag, I personally know of a couple trucks where this was an issue and they had to be re-arched. This was with earlier RM production so any issues are probably solved by now.

12-04-2006, 03:10 PM
And getting back to 30-spline axles and Toyota centers, here are a couple pictures of Larry's Rangie on 37's at the Chile Challenge.

Something tells me they'd be strong enough for most applications.




12-04-2006, 03:41 PM
cool pics! Don't forget the OBC- Even upgraded rover bits didn't fare too well. Toyota and Nissan GR swaps did. http://outerlimits4x4.com/viewtopic.php?t=87390


12-04-2006, 03:58 PM
That's true Yorker. Remeber "Big-A$$ Rover". I can't imagine the money he spent going over there from Florida and completely TRASHED his truck. He broke everything there was to break and then some. Last I heard that truck was still in Australia getting Nissan axles stuffed underneath it.

Rover axles:


And remember that shortened Disco? That truck was running Rovertracks axles and Toyota centers. If I remeber right he didn't break anything.

Toyota centers / Rovertracks axles:


Here are some pictures of a Disco II on 42' Iroks over in Lebanon. This truck runs Toyota V6 thirds with ARB lockers.

I can't understand why anyone does this conversion!!




12-04-2006, 05:22 PM
Didn't Jason from Red Rhino literally break off the swivel ball? Something drastic like that IIRC. I can't remember now. These conversions have been all over Oz and South Africa. Were well proven in Toyotas prior to that.

12-04-2006, 06:16 PM
I just looked up Red Rhino's website get-rhino.com...Nothing there any longer. That kid was sure a flash in the pan. A year ago he thought he'd light the Land Rover world on fire. I haven't seen his name around in quite some time now. Still, I admire the kid for draining his dad's bank account and giving it a go.

12-04-2006, 06:40 PM
So much for being the "drop ship king". I know Draken/ Equipe4X4 had problems with him too, Don't think they ever got paid for everything they shipped him.

Ah well it will be interesting to see the next US entrants in the OBC will be. Rovertracks was going to do it again in '08 I think?

12-05-2006, 09:10 AM
I put in a Salisbury rear and promptly broke and axle in that. WE use our ambulance hard. Great Basin rovers provided upgraded axles and flanges and they are great. Check out Caranex tents too, they made one that fit the back of the ambulance perfectly. I have some photos of our camping set-up if you are interested.

I would definitely be interested in looking at the tent set up and I have a few questions about your axle upgrade. I left you a private message.



12-05-2006, 11:14 PM
Jim-"Mercedes Rover",

Your axles are 1541H aren't they? Any chance you could get them made in other materiels? 4340, EN25, or HYTUFF? I know a lot of people seem to be having trouble getting MD axles and other stuff- someone needs to fill that void, I think there is even a market for HD 10 spline axles, quite a few people have already invested $$$$ in 10 spline traction devices and they need something better than stock axle shafts...

Matt Nelson

12-06-2006, 11:08 AM
Here's a bump for yaa guys. Nice photos! :thumb-up:. Keep up the good surfing :sly:.

12-07-2006, 11:28 AM
I would definitely be interested in looking at the tent set up
I had a Carannex tent for a while in the late '90's. They seem best suited for good weather use. The frame creates a flat rectangular section that traps rain. A heavy rain will create an ever enlarging pool of water inside the frame as the tent canvas gets drawn into the flat frame area by the weight. Then the stretch pulls out the ground stakes. The cure is to put a higher peak at the flat top with something like a frame modification or boards so the water runs off and does not puddle. If they just would have put arched top cross members in the frame instead of straight ones there would be no problem.

The interior is good enough for a single cot/sleeping bag and walking space or 2 cots/sleeping bags and no walking space (inside person has to go over outside person).

I found the door awning to be too narrow to use for shade or to protect from rain coming in the door.

They say you can drive off, leave the tent free standing then come back and "redock" to the tent. The reality is that the tent is a good seal aound the rear of the Rover and there is no way you are going to back the LR into the exact same location. You get the LR as close as you can to the original location, pull the tent stakes and move the tent back into alignment with the LR then restake it.

For a whole lot less $$$ you can get a nice stand alone tent with more space, better rain protection that you don't need to move every time you bring your LR back to base camp.

12-08-2006, 04:52 AM
I have to dissagree completely....we have a Caranex made for our '68 ambulance/camper. There is the option of an extra set of poles that help with the flat section of the tent top. We spent an entire month, most of which was constant rain, up in Maine one summer. Drove away and left it at the campsite set up everyday. It is really handy when working form a base camp site to be able to leave the gear you need at camp but not in your vehicle. Never had a problem backing up to it when we returned. We sleep in the ambulance and our dog in the tent, and it gives you a place to stand up and dress, and or cook inside if it is pouring rain. Basically adds a very useful room to the back of your vehicle, and gives you a place to store stuff when you are out exploring. Jim

12-09-2006, 01:54 PM
I have to dissagree completely....we have a Caranex made for our '68 ambulance/camper.

Hi Jim. Our tents are different in that one that fits the rear of an ambulance is wider and I think maybe taller than the non-ambulance series version.

When did you buy yours? I got mine during a sale in 1996 and I don't recall any optional poles to put a peak in the flat section. If yours is significantly newer they may have made improvements to the design. I stand by my statement that my tent was a disaster in heavy coastal downpours. :eek:

Either way I glad that you are happy with your tent. Could be a better version than I had or it could be that you are just better at setting them up than I. As far as docking them, with the Dormobile lifting roof I had very little rear space for the cover that goes over the back of the LR and had to get the location just perfect to get a seal with that little overlap. Could be that a flat roofed Rover doesn't need to be criticaly placed to reseal the tent.

Either way I'm glad your tent works for you and I love your ambulance :thumb-up:

12-16-2006, 11:10 AM
Do you realize that weight is only 500 lbs more than a JK jeep? 300lbs more than an Unlimited and 1000lbs less than the curb weight of a Dodge 2500? It seems heavy when compared to a 2900 lb 88 but in reality it isn't huge. With a decently overbuilt axle and power train you'll be fine.

TAW- what is your curb weight fully kitted out for a trip like when you went to the ANARC ralley?

Matt Nelson

12-16-2006, 05:46 PM
TAW- what is your curb weight fully kitted out for a trip like when you went to the ANARC ralley?

Fully loaded for a trip, wine cellar stocked, all three fuel tanks full (42 gallons), the 15 gallon water tank full, me and an adult Irish Wolfhound aboard comes to 5650 lbs as the public scale reads.

Comfort weighs.

12-16-2006, 06:34 PM
That really isn't that bad at all, I imagine it is a joy with the power to weight ratio you have now... Maybe I'll end up with a 302 in my 109. I'm curious to see how yours works out with the EFI conversion. I'm still in the planning stages but lately I've been moving in the Ford direction rather than a 3.5 Rover v8.

Matt Nelson

12-16-2006, 08:43 PM
I think I'll install a sail on the roof of mine....


12-17-2006, 11:25 AM
I imagine it is a joy with the power to weight ratio you have now... Maybe I'll end up with a 302 in my 109. I'm curious to see how yours works out with the EFI conversion. I'm still in the planning stages but lately I've been moving in the Ford direction rather than a 3.5 Rover v8.

The days of driving West into Flagstaff (slight uphill grade), into a strong wind blown storm with the engine floored, going between 40 & 45 MPH (depending upon gusts) and being on the CB telling the 18 wheelers coming up behind me at 70+ MPH about the slow Land Rover ahead are indeed over.:D

So are the days of focusing on each upcoming hill, gaining as much speed as possible before the hill and watching the tach to down shift at the best RPM. Now I ignore the hills and enjoy the scenery.

And no more failed ascents because the engine just ran out of power and ground to a halt.

The 302 has more torque and HP at idle than the 2.25L has at peak and can outrun 4.6 Range Rovers uphill. I have no problem going the speed limit anywhere. The funny thing is that with the carb on the 302, I have been getting identical fuel mileage as I got with the SIII 8:1 2.25L engine that the 302 replaced. And since I have the low compression heads, I do it with regular petrol.

The primary purpose of the EFI conversion is to see if I can get even better fuel mileage and a little smoother engine operation at high rock crawling angles. As it turns out the EFI conversion ended up being less than half the total project. I'm just now in teething phase.

During the previous start up phase I discovered that I had forgot to put the fuel pump relay it its socket and had purchased a dead computer unit off ebay. It started right up with those two items fixed.

So far in teething phase I've discovered that the throttle body I bought on ebay was mislabeled and wrong for my application. I'm in the process of replacing the plugs & plug wires today (I remembered that they are almost 8 years old and probably not at their best). My new exhaust headers leak on the right side. When checked I noticed that the collector flange was solid up against the corner of the starter motor. The muffler shop put a notch in the collector flange to accomplish the connection. The exhaust leak is upstream of the O2 sensor so is causing the computer to feed the wrong air/fuel mixture to that bank of cylinders. I have a smaller reduction geared starter on order and will reseal everything when it arrives. I'm finally starting to focus in on a proper intake air filter system.

My hope is to pick up 2-3 MPG highway and a 50-70% increase in fuel mileage around town and on the trail. The EFI is a LOT more flexible than a carb. The Ford system even has a atmospheric barometer that adjusts the air fuel mixture for altitude as I drive. I should end up with more HP & torque as well, but since I have enough already it is irrelevant to me. Cars that came with this same EFI on a 302 were stickered in the area of 26-27 MPG highway, 18-19 MPG city. I figure the LR's lack of streamlining will reduce those numbers somewhat.

I figure the advantages of using an American small block engine in North America over a GM/Rover V8 are numerous. The cast iron engine is way more forgiving of overheating, the American engines can be set up for better fuel mileage and more power on regular than Range Rovers get on Premium fuel. I can buy a water pump for $30 and a rebuilt distributor for the $60-70 range. Every auto parts store in North America has engine parts on the shelf and every shade tree professional mechanic in North American can rebuild the engines in their sleep.

I have yet to see anything except a weight advantage by installing a GM/Rover aluminum V8 in North America.

2.25L petrol engine (3 main) - 450 lbs
Ford 302 - 460 lbs with cast iron heads, 425lbs with aluminum heads
Chevy 350 - 575 lbs with cast iron heads, 525 lbs with aluminum heads
GM/Rover 3.5L engine - 318 lbs

Sorry I don't have weights for the 3.9 & larger GM/Rover engines or for he Jag/Rover engines. Weights depends upon accessories attached. US engines lighter with aluminum intake manifolds & headers.