Can it be done, (THE BUILD) a little back country trip to the USA


Expedition Leader
I carry a gun at all times in Bear country. I have lived in Grizzly bear country my whole life. A bullet will stop a bear. Pepper spray only pisses it off more. What happens when the bear is charging you with the wind at its back. Oh, that's right, pepper spray in your face and a nice snack for the bear. The bullet isn't going to come back at you with the wind. Tourists are funny and live in la la land.


ambitiose sed ineptum
I carry a gun at all times in Bear country. I have lived in Grizzly bear country my whole life. A .40 caliber bullet will stop a bear. Pepper spray only pisses it off more. What happens when the bear is charging you with the wind at its back. Oh, that's right, pepper spray in your face and a nice snack for the bear. The bullet isn't going to come back at you with the wind. Tourists are funny and live in la la land.
Fixed it for you.

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Well that's the thing outback, what to do with it. For my needs pretty much a bog stoke truck will do, but I have a yearning to do a little building in the rebuilding. Because I'd like to sell it at the end, and you guys do things a little different because your needs are different I'm not sure if I really should.

Most of my ideas revolve around secure storage, and mechanical soundness. I don't cope well with issues on the road while I'm travelling. I see it as poor planning, and would much rather spend the money at home and sleep in my own bed than in some dive paying 3 times the price for a half arsed fix.

Initially I thought bling it, bit like a jeep, the yanks will love it. But I have gone away from that as it seems Defender owners in the US and world wide are not really into that. Suits me.

Was thinking of rebuilding the trans and gear box and adding some reduction gears whilst doing so.
New clutch, new slave, possibly master.
New rotors and pads, Re kit the callipers if need so.
Re-bush the drive line, new ball joints, add some HD trailing ams. Some new shocks.
New bearings and seales in the diffs.
Add a detroit, HD axels and flanges in the Salisbury and float it all in oil.
Probably just upgrade the front diff to a 4 pin. A lot stronger than the standard 2 pin and for my needs that's plenty.
Add a winch, probably a Warn as they seems to be all that you yanks like.
Already has a 140lt fuel tank, so probably add 100t of water somewhere.
paint it, revamp the seats, detail the good trimings it has already, add a few gauges, stereo with sub, and maybe a double din screen.
Probably do a bit of heat and sound proofing.
Motor, have had the radiator flushed and checked already. Have done the timing belt and water pump already. Maybe some big end bearings not that it needs them but it's not hard either. Rear main oil seal, welch plugs that type of stuff. Actually I wouldn't mind a bigger turbo and a bit of fuel pump tweaking but that is low on the list.
And a new steering wheel, don't like the feel of an aged wheel. It's like good quality shoes, you feel smart with a new wheel in the hands.
Fit a Td5 or latter exhaust. Easy way to take it from 2" to 2 3/4" diameter. If a dirty ol Tdi needs more I'll be surprised.

Also thinking of adding a camera on the left front for overtaking purposes on the highway and for driving generally. Bit of a wank really as I'll be putting around at 55mile overtaking no one. But it may be able to be wired into a double din face along with a reversing camera.
That's about it. Chuck a wheel on the bonnet, new stickers, 6 tyres. Have some other ideas like a heat exchanger for a shower, I better decide on that first as it will determine the size of the water tank.
It's always evolving however. Like an idea to eliminate the heater intake from snow issues, see how it goes.
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My 2 cents worth. Throw some Wolfgang Tibus 1.16 Portals on it. This does a few things right of the bat. All new brakes are done so no need to spend the money there. Gives you a 4" lift so no need to spend the money there. The huge benefit is a BIG gap between your diff bottom and the ground! I would also take advantage of the CTIS capability. Just rebuild your stock suspension with new bushings ect and new shocks. You can add 35" tires with no trimming. Just fix any leaks and maybe throw on an additional fuel tank for the long distance trips. Clean the truck and bring her on over. Really that's all you need except for the camping stuff. I suspect you have 3.54 gears now. with the 1.16 portals its 4.10 gear ratio. So nothing you cant live with. Do you have the 5 speed trans? If so then you will definitely not have an issue with the lower gears. Locker in rear and a selectable up front would be a must. Or even both axles filled with selectable lockers. I would definitely change anything rubber under the bonnet and all of your belts. I would bring spares of those as well.


haha your 2cents worth cost 20K. The next bloke can do that, I just need a capable expedition truck, not a rock crawler. Might give that Sals a shave though.

The Rover Shop

If you're putting a bull bar on the front use one of the aluminum ones....we can't get them over here and they are the cats arse...if you're installing new welsh plugs put a block heater in one of them..but keep in mind we have a different plug and voltage here. The problem with setting up a truck expedition wise is that it's sooooo personal preference, what you need may not be what someone else needs..setup the basic stuff like you said with the extra tanks etc but for fook sake...don't bling it I may get flamed on here for saying this but most yanks don't set up expedition rigs here... Aussies do more travelling and expeditioning when we go out to get some milk or a weekender trip than Americans do... Sure, they do some traveling and light off roading, but nothing like you have experienced.. And for serious off-roading most people use a jeep due to the amount of easily attained spares over here, you can completely prepare a jeep over here for a fraction of what it costs for a landie.. May wanna throw in a set of ARB lockers and an air compressor capable of inflating tires..and a set of beadlocks if you can get a set reasonably..


Thanks Rover, alloy bull bars hey...seriously? You have some big stuff to run into over there. Cats arse hey, never heard of that...... polished or just plain, you said no bling.
I have an ARB steel bar I was going to customise. Sort of take the standard bar and cut the light hoops and grill uprights off and turn it into a bumper with a winch.

You guys don't like Detroit lockers? I had an ARB in another vehicle, all the on off, occasional air line falling off drove me to the No Spin. Can't say I have found it to be a hinderance at all. Just works away quietly deciding when and when not to enguage.

Was planning on onboard air, I'm a bit of a tyre pressure freak.

Can you point me in the direction of where I'd find a block heater, or a good reliable brand. We will be there for winter, or part there of. Can they be run from a vehicles aux battery as well, or just AC power. Just wondering if it is engaged after the motor has been running it may be possible on 12V to maintain some that heat. Oh hang on, am I showing my naiveness thinking I may be camping when it's cold enough to freeze a block. NA forget about that, just a good brand if you can.

The Rover Shop

The best sort of block heater is the webasto style diesel fire coolant heaters, but they are a bit pricey. Just order one from USA eBay and should be good enough.. Not terribly experienced with the units over here as I live in sth Florida (hot all the time) but a good deal of the USA gets cold enough to warrant it.. Re brush bars, we don't have wombats and big reds that we hit on the roads, if you hit a moose at speed a bull bar won't help you anyway as they are quite tall and long legs, so they just come through your windscreen regardless, the occasional deer might give you a headache but the alloy bars should hold up to that pretty well anyway.. While not bling they are pretty good looking and very rare here...I would trade steel arbs for as many alloy ones I could get.. More poseurs in defenders than hard core off roaders here.. Detroit lockers are readily available over here but only because the ARB units are so expensive.. If you've ever driven in snow or slick conditions with a Detroit or true trac unit you will see where their down side is.. Nearly impossible to steer in slick conditions because it makes the truck push from both the rear wheels and the front pull straight ahead with wheels spinning..can be quite the experience, I can tell ya...nice to be able to switch them on or off when needed..and the noise when unloading on the road drives me freaking nuts.. And the extra backlash in the gearing is a pain as well.. ( I have kaisers in mine that are pretty much a similar design...) and I have friends with detroits and trutracs and they are noisy too..and the fronts want to pull straight on the road as well and then when they release it's a sudden jerk or bang..


TJM pro locker? perceptions? ARB seem to have the market % right or wrong. I have a contact who may be able to help out. So if we plan back country, and will be hanging around until mid January a front locker would be wise by the sounds of it.

Slick? what conditions do your guys mean by that. Down her in sunny Brisbane has to be very close to Sth Florida.

The Rover Shop

Yeah, I don't think south Florida is gonna be your target sales slick I mean slippery mud that is like a skating rink, or ice and snow where traction is a straight line it's great but try and turn a corner and sometimes they just don't wanna's nice to have the control over locked or unlocked.. And TJM isn't a big brand over here.. My kaisers are a Brazilian company and work well but just looking for more controllability.. And yeah, arb have main market share for a


Well I have to tell someone. Secured myself some ARB lockers, heavy duty hi-tough HD axles and flanges for the front and rear today. Will float them in oil in due course. Also got a nice Thomas PTO winch to fit on the front of the dirty old Tdi. Just need some time now.