Land Rover







Let the work begin...


So far, the list of current modifications runs like:

Strip the remaining ambulance fittings. This wasn't too hard as the previous owner had already started to convert it to a camper. I had a fair amount of time to come grinding down and cutting out of various bits, ready for...

Removal of the bulkhead. The original ambulance has a rather cumbersome sealed bulkhead behind the front seats, ensuring that the casualty bay and 4 stretchers in the back is totally enclosed. This needed to go in order to make the most of the space, but my concern was whether this would compromise the overall strength of the body. Some many conversations and phone calls later, my understanding was that although the bulkhead obviously added to the strength, removal would not reduce the original strength as designed without it.

A few days with the angle grinder ensured that it went, although I left the side channels for both strength and as a conduit for wires. Removing the bulkhead also involved re-routing various wires through the roof space - a job which took far longer than I'd anticipated. Many thanks to Chris Parker for the hours of itchy (fibreglass everywhere as insulation) work making this neat and tidy - and of course, not forgetting that no military vehicle has coloured wires, just numbers to indicate what they're for (I still have one wire which I've no idea... Hmmm...)

Next task was to remove the medics seat and 'cubby' underneath (whilst still retaining removable panel to allow access to the top of the gearbox). This again involved more grinding, but the space which was left was ideal to fit the batteries. Re-routing the battery leads was fairly straightforward which meant that the battery box on the outside could go to make space for a 110L LPG tank.

Solar panels were fitted to the roof to provide 5A charging of the batteries when not being used.

A 'caravan' type 16A 220VAC inlet was installed as was 220VAC 13A mains wiring inside the body, with all wires channelled through the body and sealed with rubber grommets and silicone sealant.

12VDC and 220VAC fused outlets in the rear.

A 4 speaker 'in car' HiFi was installed along with a 60gigabyte MP3 library.
Sept 2005 - replace MP3 player with Linux based mini PC

A 1KW 220VAC inverter (sine wave stabilised) installed.

Wood panels (yacht varnished plywood) and aluminium extrusion for protection was installed around the remaining parts of the bulkhead.

Modular 'drop in' framework assembled and installed in rear. This makes the vehicle trully multi-purpose as I can lift in and lift out components depending upon the current planned use.

Install modular removable Gas cooker and Gas/12VDC/220VAC Fridge for beer ;-)
May 2003 - build new removable (but fixed) kitchen unit with water filtration, sink etc.
Engel MT45 fridge - cold beer...

MDF seating bases, painted with marine varnish to 'look like wood', which turn around to make a double bed, supported by removable brace in centre.
August 2004 - redo bed arrangement, use slats for bed base.

Carpet glued to sides of wall panels in the back for sound and heat insulation and general comfort.
Carpet removed (eventually, poor Charlotte) from sides of wall panels in the back as I hadn't got flame resistant carpet.
Flame resistant carpet glued to sides of wall panels in the back for sound and heat insulation and general comfort!

Changed door locks

Put bigger door mirrors on - well spotted by Rich Clafton at Billing 2001. Fifteen quid a pair and by far the best mod to date for making GRUMble safer to drive!

Safe installed along with two independent alarms, PIR, an immobiliser and Trakker. All of the security systems work in a dynamic relationship with each other and it would take around an hour to get to the central control system with an angle grinder if it ever goes wrong and I need to fix it - not easy, as it's also encased in epoxy resin... Duh...

Replace the seats!

Add GPS which can also link directly into laptop.
September 2005 - install Linux based PC, with SatNav.

Replace the Stromberg carbs with HIF SUs from an early Range Rover - What a difference in response and power - absolutely incredible. Set of SUs on manifold from Chris Perfect - 50 quid - thanks Chris!

Install Iwema LPG conversion with 110L external tank (see above) from Chris Perfect. Many thanks to Warren for planning and executing this installation with almost military precision!
A neat little switch on the dash enables instant switching between petrol and LPG - even at speed. I haven't really noticed too great a loss in performance with the LPG, but the really shocking difference is when you come to fill it up. I get a good 96L fill, and at 36p a Litre, I couldn't travel by bus more cheaply!
I also feel a lot happier knowing that I'm not helping to pollute the environment by using petrol. The emmissions from LPG are pretty much harmless.

Install Power Steering...
This was by far the most major task so far and again, with thanks to Warren, this was achieved without too much fuss or tears. Basically using Discovery and Range Rover parts, the job took two solid days and went to Warrens well thought out plan without incident. I did need to replace the box for a recon unit as the one from the scrap yard was leaking. Bleeding the system can take some time as the box is mounted on its side, but this is so worth doing, in my opinion, as it makes parking a dream!

I was going to do this last year after stumbling on a web site belonging to Mike Derrick (of whom we shall hear more in a moment) and in all honesty, really wish I had.

Fit small leather steering wheel. This would not have been possible without the power steering. The reason for fitting it was so my portly body can fit more easily into the drivers' seat!

Fit 180L Stainless Steel expedition petrol tank.
Purchased from Rich Clafton, this is one of the two made by Dunsfold and never used. Losing an inch or so of ground clearance for twice the capacity was very well worth doing. Warren had to modify the tank a little for the sender unit, but otherwise it was a fairly simple swap.

Fit Rimmer Brothers Large Bore Stainless Steel Sports Exhaust!
Well, the exhaust was going. The drivers side manifold had also gone on the way back from Billing (thanks to Craig Matthews for a speedy replacement) so I wasn't surprised when the box went. I managed to nurse it with bandage and gungum to Stoneleigh where I met the people from Rimmer Brothers, on their stand, to pick up the pre-ordered, shiney, immaculate (shame to put it on a vehicle... maybe not!) custom made replacement. Yes, I could very easily have got a much cheaper replacement, but after having spoken to Andy Thomlinson and having heard the sound file that Mike Derrick had put on his site, decided that the finishing touch to the superb Rover V8 had to be the Rimmer Sports Exhaust!

(Thomlinson and Derrick BEWARE. Charlotte would like to ask you where the planned shower replacement went...)

Waxoyl underseal everything accessible when doing stuff like changing fuel tanks and removing battery box.

Replace headlight bulbs and add a couple of halogen driving lights.
(More lights to go on at a later date).

Paint GRUMble Purple...

I have nothing 'per se' against green and black camo, but as we're intending using GRUMble as an overland expedition camper, I figured there was far less chance of being shot at if it looked less like a military vehicle!

Off I went to Stokes Paints - world famous specialist paint manufacturers, fortunately based in Sheffield, and ordered far too much specialist hardened Machine Enamel with added matting agent. This was made to a British Standard colour 24-C-39 - or 'Purple', and applied after much rubbing down and other preparation, with a 4" gloss paint roller :-)

I then had some signage applied giving the web address, and a few nice "Green Oval" stickers to show, a Marque of Respect!

Replace engine - see elsewhere... :-(

Fit Lumenition Optical electronic ignition system and replace all HT leads with a Lumenition set

Fit Pacet 16" variable thermostat controlled electric fan
May 2005 - Replaced electric fan for another viscous unit - sured overheating.


Replace rear 'smoked glass' interior windows with clear glass - this involved first removing the outer windows to get to the inner - urgh...

Replace front and rear propshafts with GKN 2015s - this has substantially reduced the 'rumble' on the over-run and generally quietened the drive.

Recore the radiator - this hasn't really cured the running hot problem, but the temperature stays at a constant 85ish...

Replace temp guage for an electronic model - still hot!

Replace batteries with one Optima Red top and two Optima Yellow top
Replace Alternator.
Sept 2005 - add an additional 110Ah sealed marine Gel battery
Sept 2005 - add neat little 12v PSU and charge usint for use (automatically) when on a hook-up or running the generator.

Recore the radiator (again) for a (very) large core.
Still running hot...

New 4.6L Rover V8
Piper 285 Cam and vernier duplex kit
This vehicle now rocks!

High ratio Transfer gears
Wow! This and the engine have made this a very nifty vehicle!

Replace gearbox for an automatic - ZF 4 speed
This is now more comfortable than ever for both town and motorway driving.

I'm far from finished though. Watch this space for future mods :-)