Building A Defender 90 Into An Expedition Truck

#1
Initially we purchased our 90 to tow our off road camper & for my wife to use as the daily drive. After a few trips away with the camper trailer we decided that the type of touring we do was never going to really work pulling a trailer & we could not afford to change the 4x4 to a larger type.
This set a major change in motion, building a Defender 90 into an Australian remote travel truck. First we needed a rack to carry some of our camping gear on. After some time with a pencil & paper I came up with a design, send it off to my CAD man. I used all alloy box section, alloy sheet & stainless steel. I wanted it to be clean lined, strong, light & a little different. The rack legs are made from 6mm S/S & I came up with a tie down that is neat & tidy.
The ladder could not cover the number plate so had to be a small one like you can buy off the shelf but really how do you get your foot on the fist rung! With a little thought I really like the idea of a sliding ladder that when deployed was 400mm to the first rung & when closed up did not cover the number plate, win win. Now I only weigh 65Kg but I did get a mate that weighs 125Kg to test it due to the cantilever & it did not break or even bend.
Very happy with the first two items on this build up.

More of the build to come.

Cheers
Dave
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#4
Brilliant idea for table storage. Keen to see if you can add a solar panel without reducing cargo area up top. I was thinking of a slide of some sort under, or maybe a hinged pivot that’d double as a wind deflector when loaded.
 
#5
The next item of great importance on any vehicle that travels the Australia outback is the bull bar. first I drew what I wanted & got it ready to go to CAD man but before he got it I mocked one up out of 6mm craft wood to the exact size to see how it was going to look on the truck. Very happy so get the CAD work done & get this thing started. The main section in 3mm sheet steel with the winch cradle 6mm plate steel, the main hoop is 60mm dia 4mm wall pipe with the side hoops 45mm dia 4mm wall pipe. The recovery hooks are 12mm plate & the bash plate is 4mm plate. As winches are expensive I wanted to show mine of a little that is why the step down in the centre of the bar but that also works when we build the rear bar it will also have the same step down to be used as a step when accessing gear on the top shelf. A test fit once welded to ensure no adjustments need to be made as Defenders are not perfect & true, no adjustments needed send to powder coaters.

Cheers
Dave
 

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#6
While the bar was getting sorted I decided that the colour combination would be black accessories so we started with turning the factory alloy wheels into black wheels. Powder coaters wanted $600 to do all 5 wheels, no never. Down to the local hardware buy some gear to do the job $100 & a weekend + the painting was completed with the tyres on the wheels, win win. These have now been on the truck for 4 years & still look great.

Cheers
Dave
 

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#7
Very nice work. I would love to learn how you did the wheels yourself. That's on the agenda for me G wagon.

It's also interesting to see the look of a rectangular section roof rack on a Defender. I have always been partial to the tubular steel racks.

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#8
To maximise the rear of the 90 draws had to be made. First I laid down 2 top hat section & nutserted them to the floor of the back, then it was a matter of folding sections as required going up. The bottom draw needed to be as big as posable for all the heavy gear like tools, parts & recovery. I also need a place to put the camp chairs so that would go on the side where the door hinged from. The max hight of this draw system was controlled by the hight of the 40Lt fridge we picked to use. The plan was to have a full width top shelf for storage of soft gear like sleeping bags, pillows & blankets. All the sections are nutserted together so it could be pulled apart & carpeted & painted once happy. The fridge is mounted on a lock in lock out draw runner & to the far left so the rear step can assist accessing the fridge contents. The 3 draws to the right of the fridge has heavy cooking gear in the bottom draw, dry food in the middle & plates & cutlery in the top draw.

Cheers
Dave
 

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#9
On the front side of the draw system is a shelf that has all the switches, map lights & speakers from the UHF. The head unit for the UHF is also mounted into the face of the shelf. The barrier between the front & the back houses all the switching & electrical gear for the duel power. We have a 600W inverter for all 240V 3 pin outlets. Fuse boxes are also there for easy access. Under the self is an Enerdrive DC2DC 40+ charger as well as the main brains for the UHF.

Cheers
Dave
 

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#10
To really access the areas either side of the draw system the only option available was Frontrunner Gullwing doors. We did look at another brand & they were Chalk & Cheese. We also looked at making a set in our shed but the time was not worth the investment.
Removing the old windows was a right pain in the but. The first one took about 6 hours & that taught me a few short cuts & the next one only took 3 hours, the best part no scratches on the paint work. I cannot stress more use loads of paper tape to protect the paint work.
These would be one of the best fitments to any truck.

Cheers
Dave
 

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#13
Once the draws were complete & all the electrical installed & doing as it should, I removed it all & carpeted & painted all the sections that required that. While the draw system was out of the rear of the truck I took that opportunity to import & install sound deadening to all areas of the rear including the roof. This has made a massive improvement when driving on gravel tracks & roads.

Cheers
Dave
 

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#14
A compressor is a very much needed accessory when off the beaten track. I decided to go with a Boss unit with a 4.5Lt tank. As I had installed an ExBox under the centre console & moved all the electrics from under the driver seat into the ExBox from Mulgo. That now leaves room for the compressor & tank. I have allowed the only outlet to be in the seat box hatch once I make them.

Cheer

Dave
 

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