My Tdci 130 set up


Hi, here is my 2010 130 Tdci. I have built this for many years of traveling around Australia in mind. We have done two 5 week central Australia desert crossings, one being the very remote Madigan line. And a trip to the Victorian high country. We also get away camping a fair bit on weekends, and have a week of so annually on one of the 4 islands off the east coast of Brisbane and to the North.

In Australia dealers often use the amount of cup holders a car has for its occupants as a selling point, sometimes 8 holders for 4 passengers, something every one needs. But true to Land Rover form the back of a Defender has 0. So I made this for the kids. Also doubles as a storage hidi hole when I pull the moulded plastic bit out.

Also made this to house the UHF, papers, and a few 12V sockets. The extra light works well for the rear seating. Icom make a beautiful hand set, crystal clear and easy to follow. I have tried to mount electronics as high as possible in this vehicle. The last one didn't go so well so lesson learned.

Due to the canopy on the back, rear vision was blocked. This reversing camera mounted on the sun visor doubles as a vanity mirror, plus reduces the amount of clutter on the dash. I also added some extended wolf mirror arms which work a treat getting a view past the canopy.

Stereo, a no brainer. I added the speakers in the head lining which gave the car a “full” sound complemented by the standard under dash and rear speakers I also added. The rear speakers are mounted in ply, with marine carpet to trim them up. I put them towards the outside to try and get them projecting past the seats. The sub is grand. You can see later in the water tank pictures I mounted it on the rear wall of the car. I also added some self adhesive insulation to the rear wall as it was a bit drummy, but don‘t think its pictured.

Hard to work out why LR don't do this stuff. Simple and effective.

I had this metal plate bent up to fit into the original battery box. Basically it leveled out the floor so I could fit a 105Ah deep cycle in with the huge standard battery.

And powers my circuit board.

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Had a canopy made for the tray. I off set the tie rail to accommodate a wrap around awning. This allowed the awning to stay snug to the vehicles roof line for tight tracks. It gives us 3.5m coverage down the side before wrapping around across the width of the tray, and 2.5m in width. I also put little gutters on the roof to channel any water to the corners of roof. We hang a couple alloy tables with fold out adjustable legs off the tray. The awning creates a large shady or water proof living space.

Decided to put both spares up top. Side by side worked fine when I was running the original 31' wheels. The arrangement is now end on end due to 33's. My gas bottles tie onto the wheel mounting plate, and sit in the middle of the wheel

Made some use of empty space. Being the daily work truck I have to basically leave the back as a tray. Also fitted a parts box above the rear cross member amongst other things.

Put a 80lt water tank under the tray, this gives me 70lt of usable water..

Plus another usable 50lt in the rear seat box, and other 50lt on the floor. The floor tank is independent of the others for redundancy. The two main tanks run a small 4lt p/min electric pump.

There has been a few key accessories very close to my heat that have been added. I used the logo from a key ring that came with the vehicle, and glued it onto a generic opener to create something quite useful.

Put a set of these long range sill tanks in. It helped keep the weight low and central, and gave me anther 140lt on top of the standard 75. They equalize themselves and have a gauge, but just pump into the standard tank when it's empty.

I bought some turbo heat shield to have an attempt at reducing the heat coming off the motor and exhaust. I succeeded to a degree, but it still gets warm in the foot well. Has me beaten why somedays its as cool as, and others really quite hot. I used Sikkafex to hold it on and left a 5 to 8mm gap as to not trap water. I also wrapped the exhaust at a latter date. It seemed to do very little. I may have bought a budget focused wrap however.

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Because the type of touring we like doing consists of reasonably high speed over corrugations, or almost full articulation at low speeds we needed a shock that would do it for hour upon hour upon hour at GVM. I added some Koni 90's to the set up, and can't fault them. Beautiful shock and well worth the money. Also added some heavy duty trailing arms that weren't cranked. Had a mate bend his standard ones and holy smokes the whole set up falls apart.

Also added some taller springs, but at the same compression rate as standard. This allowed the vehicle to sit at brand new empty height, but when it was loaded for expedition; and keep that classic landy ride. The springs were 1.5” taller in the front, and 1” in the rear.

On the front I run a steel bar with electric winch with synthetic rope. I also have brush bars and side steps adding to the weight. My estimates is 65 to 70kg. But then there is also sill tank weight to add in the weight distribution. My car at GVM, 3.5T, has it's weight evenly distributed over allowable max axel weight. 1580 front, 2200 rear.

I lost faith in the factory P38 diff. The short pinion nose, flexing ring gear, and what seemed like endless set up issues on forums, I picked up a trusty Salisbury from another 130.
Some HD axels, flanges, Detroit locker, new diff hat, and a shave and we were set for anything.

My warranty was up, and just so happened 1 week later the EGR valve failed again. So it was time to rectify it once and for all. An ECU remap would disable the EGR, plus give me a bit more zoom. The choice was easy. Installing the map was easy as well. The car is still no rocket, but it's far more drivable. Has a better spread of power and the torque is far better now days. The little 2.4 now pushes 120Kw, and 450Nm.

Fitted this bad boy in the process. This was not so easy, but persistence will get you there. Hard to say it's worth the money, but it does do noticeable improvements, minor they may be.

I had been watching solar for a while, but always seemed to expansive to sway me from running the motor to recharge the battery on those week long camps. But alas, the prices have come down. I should have done it earlier really, this thing just cranks all day without a hassle or care. I can keep my fridge and beer at 1˚ and add what I like all day long. Run lights and what I like when I like, and by mid morning the next day the battery if full again. I made the panel quick release but don't bother due to the MPPT controller, it works so well I just leave it where its mounted. The panel is 120W monocrystal, I went bigger in the hope when shaded it would still cover what an 80W would do. 80W is adequate for my setup needs theoretically.

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Well that's about it. The family really enjoy the personality of the 130, and the places it gets us in what seems effortless comfort and capability. Love them or hate them we are happy with ours. Of course we have plenty more trips in mind around Australia, the world will have to wait until the kids have grown and gone. Until then, I'll keep reading and taking notes. Thanks for reading, hope you get something from my contribution.

take care

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Good lord. Your truck is the stuff dreams are made of.

Very thoughtful modifications. And good on ya for getting your little ones into the bush at an early age.


Trying to stop the floor panels etc getting hot by fitting the heat barrier to the outside is a bit of a waste of time with a defender!!
I had a 110csw v8 out in Australia , and a 300tdi 130 DC HCPU , and they both had hot floors and seatbase, the V8 generated the heat quickest , but both got very hot when it was 45C :Wow1: but the csw had the better interior , standard fitted carpets, including the seatbox , and seemed the better result , both had aircon the130 factory , and the 110 Red dot aftermarket . Getting more airflow into the engine bay that didn't go thru the rad also helps . Totally agree with the Konis tried a couple of the other top options but both were disappointing HTSH


Love it. What I love the most is that it's got all the bits you'd need, rather than all the bits you'd want, and looks simply 'ordinary' but underneath is simply beautifully sorted. I wish you all good health to use it and enjoy it. Thanks for taking the time to share.


pimping the puma

Thank you gentlemen, I have tried to keep it practical rather than bling. Accessories really start to eat into GVM for a expedition truck, so I feel you really have to be careful and prioritise. Also the sleeper look keeps the police uninterested in a chat as well.
I have to admit it does look rather dull, classic white and black. I have amused myself with some doodling in the past. Using themes from past models, but all I get is boos and jeers generally. My wife says "haven't you spent enough money" already. Still I wonder if a little stipe somewhere could make it come alive. For some giggles this has been those past ideas.

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Stripes can really set off a truck. I like your build and it gave me a couple of ideas. Here is my current truck.

I also had one of these once upon a time. It just didn't do it for me the way LR's do. But stripes really liven up a dull exterior.


The ol leaf spring land cruiser, I once had a 40 series troop carrier that I just couldn't live with anymore. Amazing what marketing does, but reality reveals.

You are a lucky man owning a county wagon. Don't see many of those anymore. Have to say I do like the county stripes. I would replace the wording County with Defender; or with the big black SVX stripe have Defender cut out on the angle like the Tdi's do. I'd like to put a subtle new spin on an old design, that's Defender all over.


@Newhue: a fine-looking vehicle, stripes or not. Does LR sell a lot of 130s in AU? What does a new one cost? And do they make, or have they ever made, a "station wagon" model of the 130 truck?

chris snell

Those who know me know that I'm not a fan of most "expo" builds. That said, I really like your truck. You've made a number of decisions that show your experience with offroad travel and camping (versus someone who just copies whatever trends they see around here). In particular, I love:

- Your single, huge battery and your Blue Sea Systems fuse block. You keep your electricals clean and simple. Unlike some of these dual battery setups out there, I don't look at your panel and say, "What the fark?".

- You sleep in a tent, on the ground. You live in a country with a huge number of things that can kill you, but you know that your family is going to be just fine in your tent. You have a nice family tent, too. It's not some giant tent city with adjoining ****ter. Just a nice little tent with room for the family, situated next to your truck and field kitchen. You don't bother with a top-heavy RTT setup.

- Speaking of top-heavy, it looks like you keep your weight centered on the chassis and down low. I'll bet your truck handles beautifully. You travel with lots of fuel and water but you know better than to put six jerry cans on top of the roof. Your fuel and water are all within a couple feet of the ground.

- Two spares!

- Nice, clean Icom radio install. No silly Super Trucker CB radio with 10' Firestik antenna. Just a small radio that works well, mounted cleanly above the center console.

Very nice work.

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@Newhue: a fine-looking vehicle, stripes or not. Does LR sell a lot of 130s in AU? What does a new one cost? And do they make, or have they ever made, a "station wagon" model of the 130 truck?
Does LR sell many Defender anywhere? No not a big seller here in Aus. I'm guessing, but perhaps 1 to every 10 110's. The 130 does come in style side ute version, but no wagon. Of course people put canopies on and make it like a wagon though. You'll pay 56 to 60K on road depending how much you can persuade the dealer. They don't move on them much, I think they feel if you walked in here you want it, so you'll pay for it.