Defender Dormobile

Camel51

New member
Here I will post the transformation of my Defender 110 into an expedition vehicle made for my wife and I. The plan is to be able to fit it into a shipping container and travel the world one day, hopefully sooner rather than later!

P_20201104_213444.jpg (Nov. 2020) Here is when I first got my Defender after it was imported to the USA from Holland. It's a 1995 110 2dr LHD 300TDI.

20210213_102207_20210213_123718.jpg P_20210213_125104.jpg (Feb. 2021) My wife and I picking up the Dormobile pop-up roof from Marcus in Tuscan, the owner of Sonoran Rovers. He has a fantastic shop full of unique Defenders, some of which you can rent. The pop-up roof is the key to making our Defender the mobile house that it is to become. We'll be able to stand in it and sleep up top so there is no wasted space below converting it to a sleeping area. Convenience is the key to my build.

P_20210713_113521.jpg P_20210713_105132.jpg P_20210713_103556.jpg (Jul. 13 2021) Assembling and painting the roof is the first task. My friend and I taped off the parts we don't want to become casualties of war, or paint I mean.

P_20210713_151039.jpg (Jul. 13 2021) Trying our best to make a great paint job out of rattle cans. Prep work will make the difference. The finished product has still yet to be seen but it's turning out fantastic so far.

P_20210712_120119.jpg P_20210712_120100.jpg P_20210713_100353.jpg (Jul. 13 2021) Here are some of the extra pieces that we'll be fitting. I'm marking off the mounting point for the new updated gas struts that are replacing the old struts from 1980 or something.

More to come!
 

vintageracer

To Infinity and Beyond!
One suggestion.

EVERY rattle can brand of paint I have tried (tried em all) never holds up well at all when exposed to sun, rain and elements. They ALL look good when you spray em on HOWEVER they ALL fade badly and look crappy very quickly when exposed to weather.

I know you probably do not want the hassle of using automotive paint and an automotive sprayer on your toppoer. Using a quality automotive paint you only have do it once. For longevity of the finish I suggest you reconsider your paint choice for your "World Traveling Rover".
 

Camel51

New member
One suggestion.

EVERY rattle can brand of paint I have tried (tried em all) never holds up well at all when exposed to sun, rain and elements. They ALL look good when you spray em on HOWEVER they ALL fade badly and look crappy very quickly when exposed to weather.

I know you probably do not want the hassle of using automotive paint and an automotive sprayer on your toppoer. Using a quality automotive paint you only have do it once. For longevity of the finish I suggest you reconsider your paint choice for your "World Traveling Rover".
So far I've been using the Rustoleum automotive sandable primer and enamel. It's too late to change up our process now but I'll keep what you've said in mind as I pay attention to the finish degrading over time. If it gets bad fast I'll change it up as you've suggested. I appreciate your experience and advice.
 

Camel51

New member
(Jul. 14 2021) The dried paint looked great when I walked in this morning. Luckily no bugs were stuck to it! Today the focus was installing the new gas struts and sanding and painting the lid section.

P7141649.JPG P7141647.JPG The new strut is soooo much smaller and less obtrusive than the ancient one. There will be more head and legroom as well as less of a chance of smacking my head into the base. I believe these are pre-production mounts as they required boring out the hole to fit the strut bolt. No problems fitting after that.

P7141648.JPG One of the struts can be locked so the roof doesn't collapse while sleeping! I didn't expect to see this feature but sure am happy to see it.

P7141650.JPG The finished piece, and we installed it correctly the first time! We had to drill new mounting holes in the lid and base and bore out the brackets. The measuring was funky along the curved edges and nerve-wracking. It opens and closes easily. When it's sitting closed the roof stays closed, rather than immediately popping open. With a small nudge, the lid pops open with a confident force but not too much where it's violent. Excellent 👌

P7141652.JPG We protected the fresh paint job from yesterday and then sanded the lid. There was lots of dirt and old crusty tape. Now it's ready to be painted tomorrow.
 

Camel51

New member
(Jul. 15 2021)

P_20210715_092100.jpg Applying a new type of primer. This one is gray which makes it much easier to see and apply evenly.

P_20210715_144000.jpg You vs the guy she told you not to worry about :unsure:

P_20210715_143708.jpg P_20210715_143736.jpg The painting turned out great! I'm excited to buff it tomorrow and see it really shine!
 

Camel51

New member
(Jul. 16 2021) Today's first order of business was buffing the paint. Nothing seemed to be happening, don't know why. I'll have to look more into the process and buff at a later date. So next we moved into installing a "sunroof" into the roof lid window position.

P7161653.JPG P7161659.JPG It was awkward to fit. The metal bracket on the inside that clamps the sunroof into place doesn't fit the same on a Dormobile as it does in a typical Defender roof. All we needed were slightly longer screws and it worked fine though.

P7161654.JPG P7161657.JPG P7161658.JPG Here I am installing the velvet trim around this inside metal bracket. The genuine Land Rover sunroof is quite nice, though I wish it opened further.

P7161661.JPG The last thing to install today was the edge trim around the lid. It really brings together the look I think. Monday might be the last day!
 

Arjan

Paperwork Specialist
Good luck with the conversion.
1626817082571.png

I've been with many converted 110's and most people were quite happy with them

Make sure you get a good night heater as they are quite cold at night and your in the middle of that cold on your stretcher.
 

Camel51

New member
Love this !!

I've been noodling on this just the past week or so...install a hard top on the Perentie or replace the '97SW with a 110 ????

More noodling is required :)

Happy Travels !!!
No way should you put a hard top on a Perentie! Too classic! I'm not sure what the '97SW is but it sounds like you need another Defender ha! These pop-top roofs are super cool
 

Camel51

New member
Good luck with the conversion.
View attachment 672195

I've been with many converted 110's and most people were quite happy with them

Make sure you get a good night heater as they are quite cold at night and your in the middle of that cold on your stretcher.
I'm glad to hear that most people enjoy their Dormobile's. My wife hates the cold so a diesel heater is definitely in the works!
 

Camel51

New member
(Jul. 19 2021) The final day of the project! Today was the installation of the last window, removing the old roof, and installing the new Dormobile!

P_20210719_113504.jpg P_20210719_103459.jpg P_20210719_104036.jpg Had to remove all of the old camera's, lights, CB mounts, trim, etc.

P_20210719_115433.jpg It's coming off!

P_20210719_104631.jpg Hey you!

P_20210719_113756.jpg Next, I removed the snorkel head and hi-lift jack to level the top and have no snag hazards for the roofs.

P_20210719_122541.jpg P_20210719_121356.jpg Interesting look... Was fun to drive to lunch like this, we got many strange looks.
 
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Camel51

New member
(Jul. 19 2021) It's on! Actually mounting the roof was quite a hassle. I asked my father-in-law to lend a hand as well which was a huge help. It weighs slightly more when empty but with those windows in too the weight was quite a bit more. We had to do an awkward overhead press at an angle. I can see why the pros use a crane. It was pretty straight forward. Caulk, mount, and bolt down. Only had to drill a few holes through a reinforcement bracket for extra screws, one of which was for the seatbelt (kind of important). Anyways, the finished product is amazing! There is an incredible amount of room to stand up. Next will be to create the sleeping platform so stay tuned!

P_20210719_154859.jpg P_20210719_154912.jpg P_20210719_154923.jpg P_20210719_155104.jpg
 

Arjan

Paperwork Specialist
Well done - make sure the windscreen gap is 200 % sealed..
Have you seen the stretchers they "standard" come with ?
 

Camel51

New member
Well done - make sure the windscreen gap is 200 % sealed..
Have you seen the stretchers they "standard" come with ?
Thank you!

Currently I have one layer of Sikaflex on (as I ran out). It rained a decent amount yesterday and no water came in. I did though just get more Sikaflex in the mail so I'll for sure be putting another layer on. I definitely don't want any more leaks!

Are you talking about those cots that fold out of the way up top? I've seen those but I plan on building a complete platform that can be pushed out of the way.
 

Arjan

Paperwork Specialist
Yes - fold out stretchers (sorry - not a native English speaker here..) that are not too comfortable...

Interesting to see how your platform will turn out.

And make 300 % sure the roof / windows / fabric is actually waterproof before you put the bedding in.....
(... no points for guessing here....)
 
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