Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 19

Thread: Series IIA "Bitsa" Dormie

  1. #1

    Default Series IIA "Bitsa" Dormie

    9-9-2014

    Had my '67 Dormobile for about 17 years and it has been dormant for several years….I am considering renovating it to be a contender for highway, mild off road, 4 season camping. emphasis on Winter camping and pipe dream of chasing snow on the Powder Highway…

    As is:

    70's era Chevy Straight six <> rover non-synchro gearbox/T-case with fairey OD <> salisbury rear axle/Stock (I think) front axle. Drum brakes on all four corners with a vac. assist hydro boost thing, painless wiring harness….3 fuel tanks….interior wardrobe, kitchen, etc. currently removed….

    Thinking:

    - diff gearing change to slow drivetrain down at highway speeds, Axle change to facilitate this??, maybe power steering, maybe increased engine performance or engine swap, Diesel? Maybe more robust tranny (5 Spd lose OD? disc brakes? Propane/diesel furnace? Lots of questions….Just starting to brainstorm and formulate scope/budget/schedule/resources/vendors/etc….Most of the work would be farmed out….The rig is a "Bitsa" and I'm no purist so I'm not glued to british parts…..


    Whaddaya think????

    Rob M
    Norwich, VT

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    298

    Default

    Be interested to hear what you do for winterizing. I've had visions of using mine to dirtbag in ski area parking lots, but it's a ways off yet. Adding a webasto or similar aux heater is high on my list, plus maybe some amount of insulation. I think they do make petrol parking heaters, but the diesel versions are much more common and simpler to install.
    '67 109 NADA #413 - rebuilding w/ TDI & galvy chassis.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Central Coast, Ca.
    Posts
    237

    Default

    If you are not doing the work get ready to spend big. I'd start with pulling the Chevy and getting it rebuilt unless you want to go diesel. disc brakes are from various suppliers when you can find em, the Timm Cooper conversion is being made by; http://forbynbros.com/
    Check out TeriAnn's website for tons of good info on conversions both engine and tranny. http://www.expeditionlandrover.info/
    Other than that Gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooogle is your friend. HTH
    1960 "bitsa" 88--Ignotus
    1960 109, 200TDI
    rebuild blog; http://poppageno.blogspot.com/

  4. #4

    Default

    yeah insulating a dormobile will be tough for sure….I was thinking diesel webasto for heat...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Flagstaff, Arizona
    Posts
    1,087

    Default

    Golly, where to start ...

    Drivetrain: I suggest 292 Chevy six if yours isn't the 292. Put a 1960's cylinder head on it. Most of the '70s heads are more restrictive and have small coolant passages so the engine runs hotter. I would couple it to a Chevy top loader 4 speed gearbox just because all the parts to connect it to the engine are off the shelf without modification. The five speed gearbox is longer and the shift lever is right up against the seat box. I've been in a 109 with 292 six and it had plenty of power.

    Go to Advance Adapter for a gearbox to transfercase adapter. Use either a Ashcroft high ratio modified Series transfercase or a stock Series transfercase with an overdrive. Heystee (Santana clone) or Romerdrive. Keep the stock R&P ratio. Going to a 3.54 R&P will do good things for your high range but would destroy your low range for driving off road.

    You can insulate as much as you want but as soon as you pop that top you only have that thin plastic tarp between you and the cold. The Dormie stove warms up the interior quickly. The cheap way to let it be cold at night and move around in your sleeping bag in the morning to fire up the stove. With both burners and the broiler going it will warm up the interior in just a few minutes. You can buy a propane heater but they do take up space and they are loud. At least the Esper exhaust is loud.

    As one bitsa owner to another ask away

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    N. York
    Posts
    1,635

    Default

    [VIDEO]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UC-jqHDsLk[/VIDEO Lump port it & get Leo Santucci's book.

    http://www.12bolt.com/lump_head_information

    http://www.12bolt.com/292_dyno_testing


    Any of the Chevy 6's would be good and have plenty of power for you. Swap to a US truck 4 speed and you can change ring and pinion ratios to get better highway cruising, if you aren't a purist consider TOyota Landcruiser axles, they are strong and come in 4.10 ratio stock(FJ40/45/55/62 US spec 60's used 3.70's), brake upgrades are simple and cheap, differentials are passenger side and adapting them to a 109 Land Rover chassis and drive shafts is pretty simple... With the truck 4 speed you'll have plenty of low range and with a properly tuned I6 you'll have torque at the low end right where you need it too. They make excellent truck engines.
    1965 SIIa 88",1975 Ex-MOD 109/Ambulance, 1989 RRC, blah, blah, blah...

    Land Rover UK Forums

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Phoenix AZ
    Posts
    1,358

    Default

    The early heads vs later heads is rather moot. The one you want to avoid is the version with the integral manifolds. If you want power then stump up the cash for the lump ported heads as stated by Matt above- its a night and day difference in the breathing and you can choose from several different valve sizes up all of which are bigger than stock. Also look carefully at sumps and swap for one that provides clearance over the front axle. Keep in mind that it is quite a long engine which can present some challenges if you wish to keep an earlier recessed radiator look. The water pump sits quite low compared to the Rover radiator so you'll probably end up with an electric fan. Now, if you get interested in the Chevy sixes the bible for building one is the Chevrolet Inline Six-Cylinder written by Leo Santucci. If you want more info go over to Inliners.org and you'll find more experts than you can shake a stick at. There is so much info on how to build for different applications that it is a waste for me to try and summarize here.


    The person to talk to on these engines is Tom Langdon of Langdon's Stovebolt fame. He does some very nice cast exhaust manifolds plus a host of other goodies. He worked on the design of these engines for GM and he's forgotten more than most will ever learn about them. The big take away from talking to him for several hours is that gearing is critical. The 292 is a torque mill with the peak way down the RPM range compared to a V8. As such you want to gear it for somewhere between 2200-2400rpm at 65mph. This means the 4.70 diffs will make you spin too fast and don't really buy you anything. If you want a higher revving engine go for the 250 as its geometry allows it to rev harder and it still has plenty of grunt. Look at the standard ratios used by GM on their vehicles with this engine to help design your drivetrain.


    The big six is an awesome engine. I'm running a '74 292, lump ported head, .060 overbore, 9;1 compression pistons, Cloyes timing gears, Clifford intake, Langdon exhaust manifolds, HEI, Megasquirt, Delco CS144 alternator, GM Spam can PS Pump and an AC compressor.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	engine-35.jpg 
Views:	527 
Size:	43.9 KB 
ID:	10171
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	enginebay1.jpg 
Views:	487 
Size:	53.5 KB 
ID:	10172

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Flagstaff, Arizona
    Posts
    1,087

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by yorker View Post
    Any of the Chevy 6's would be good and have plenty of power for you. Swap to a US truck 4 speed and you can change ring and pinion ratios to get better highway cruising, if you aren't a purist consider TOyota Landcruiser axles, they are strong and come in 4.10 ratio stock(FJ40/45/55/62 US spec 60's used 3.70's), brake upgrades are simple and cheap, differentials are passenger side and adapting them to a 109 Land Rover chassis and drive shafts is pretty simple... With the truck 4 speed you'll have plenty of low range and with a properly tuned I6 you'll have torque at the low end right where you need it too. They make excellent truck engines.
    4.10:1 is an aftermarket option made for Defenders that do some rock crawling. Use a coiler carrier off a RR classic or Disco I. I think that the ratio is the worst of both worlds. The highways revs would still be too high for good fuel mileage on the highway and you would loose gearing for slow off road travel. I'm still a fan of keeping the 4.75 R&P for off road travel and either an overdrive or Ashcroft high ratio modified transfercase for highway travel. Either will give you the range for both highway and technical off road.

    If you are only going to do mild off road work on maintained trails and don't need the low gearing you can just go to the coiler 3.54:1 ratio. The 3.54, Ashcroft transfercase and 4th overdrive all have a very similar ratio at the axle. A 292 will provide the power needed to push the 3.54:1.



    Quote Originally Posted by greenmeanie View Post
    The big take away from talking to him for several hours is that gearing is critical. The 292 is a torque mill with the peak way down the RPM range compared to a V8. As such you want to gear it for somewhere between 2200-2400rpm at 65mph. This means the 4.70 diffs will make you spin too fast and don't really buy you anything. If you want a higher revving engine go for the 250 as its geometry allows it to rev harder and it still has plenty of grunt. Look at the standard ratios used by GM on their vehicles with this engine to help design your drivetrain.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	enginebay1.jpg 
Views:	487 
Size:	53.5 KB 
ID:	10172
    Lots of good engine advice in this post. It is important that you decide how you will use the truck. If you are doing any sort of technical off road travel you will want low gearing to slowly take a big heavy Dormobile over the rough stuff and down hills. If you make your gearing changes at the diffs to get acceptable highway RPMs you will loose the versatility off road. That's why I keep suggesting making your gearing modifications in the middle with either an overdrive or high ratio transfercase. They allow you to have your cake and eat it too.

    Someone is bound to suggest 3.54:1 R&P and a gearbox with a granny first. Having lived with a granny first in a LR I suggest NOT going this route. Yes it gives you good highway gearing and a good low range first but there is this HUGE gear ratio gap between first and second gears. And most off road driving calls for a gear ratio within that gap. Also a granny first in high range is too low for starting off from a stop on pavement. You end up with 3 usable street gears. I suggest a close ratio gearbox.

    About engine modifications. Typically anything that adds HP adds it to the high RPM range by sacrificing low RPM power. Unless you are taking your Dormobile to the drag strip, when looking at any power modification be sure to ask what happens to power below 3000 RPM. Your best bet will be to look for mods that increase engine torque. Those will not hurt low end HP.

    About the picture: Greenmeanie that is about the cleanest conversion I remember seeing. Really nice job!!! I see you are in Phoenix. What are you using for a radiator to handle the summer heat on the trail? What dimensions? and what kind of electric fan are you using? Power steering and air conditioner too. Nice. You will have to do a writeup on your air conditioner for the web. if you don't have a site I would be happy to host a writeup for you.
    Last edited by TeriAnn; 09-15-2014 at 08:38 AM. Reason: typo

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    12

    Default

    I too would be highly interested in an article or post about the AC modification. Particularly the firewall/ heater core modifications and interior.
    1969 Series IIA 88
    LHD SW 2.25 petrol
    fairey overdrive

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Mystic CT,
    Posts
    583

    Default

    Was this door mobile in CT recently? A guy approached me in Saybrook and told me about a dormie with a chevy 6 that was for sale, but he never got back to my with contact info until the truck was already gone.

    Instead of propane/diesel furnace, look into a Webasto/Eberspacher/Espar heater. They run off diesel fuel and are commonly used in boats, semi's, and other applications where a vehicle will need a lot of serious heat.
    ------------------------------------------------
    72 SIII 88
    67 SIIA 109
    82 SIII Stage 1 V8
    -- http://www.youtube.com/barnfind88 --

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
About us
Unparalleled product knowledge. Our mission is to support all original Land Rover models no longer supported by your local Land Rover franchise. We offer the entire range of Land Rover Genuine Parts direct from Land Rover UK, as well as publish North America's largest Land Rover publication, Rovers Magazine.
Join us