Planned modifications and kit

I have no intention of converting Arbie into a Mad Max Armageddon machine as I wish to keep him as standard as possible.  This will make it easier for servicing, getting parts and limit insurance problems.  However listed here are a few modifications that I want to do and kit that I want to add.

I have been used to ‘living’ in the ‘Land Rover World’ where every imaginable mod is available from multiple suppliers.  If I can think of it, someone else has done it, several suppliers sell kits to fit it and there are two dozen youtube videos on how to make it better!

However I’m in ‘Ranger-Land’ now and things aren’t quite so easy to find, especially in the UK.  The number of products and suppliers is limited and there are fewer forums where you can find help from someone who has ‘been there, done that’ and can help you out with advice.  Still that’s all part of the fun 😀

Some of these I see as essentials, others are ‘nice to haves’, some are just because I like them.

  • Winch – Not seen as essential by many overlanders, but we hope to travel solo to a few remote locations where having some form of self-recovery tool will be a great comfort.  I shall be going for a discrete mount with synthetic rope to keep the weight down.  At the moment I’m considering one of these: Winchmax military spec 13000lb winch.  It’s more than man enough, comes from a local supplier and is a reasonable price (Over £100 less via their ebay shop).
  • Air suspension ‘helpers’ – I want to try and keep the suspension standard, if I can, but carrying a 500kg demountable over rough terrain will have an effect.  I’m therefore considering air helpers.  This way I can go back to ‘normal’ easily when not carrying the camper.  These are an example of what I’m considering: Mad air suspension kits.  Once again available from a local supplier but I do have a lot more research to do about suspension before I go down this route.
  • Raised air intake – We intend to return to Iceland, needs I say more?  The actual design I want is the Ford OEM part that is only available in Thailand, Australia and South Africa and was the type used in the Ranger Odyssey event.  However there are far-east clone versions available through ebay: Ford Ranger T6 Snorkel.  Indications are that these are an equivalent quality to the Ford item (probably made in the same factory!) so I’m prepared to take the risk.  The good thing about this design is that it doesn’t require any permanent modification to the car.
  • Raised axle breathers – See Raised air intake.  This will have to be a home-made mod as there doesn’t seem to be any kits available.
  • Dual battery + solar – This may be part of the demountable but I would like extra power in the car as the standard battery is only 65Ah.  This will be very tricky as there is very little room under the bonnet to mount a second battery.  Many users have installed a second battery in the rear tub, but this is not possible for me because of the demountable.  One option is below the rear seat in the cab.  This will require parts only available in Australia or SA.  Once again there will be a lot of research required before I finalise the way forward.
  • Additional lighting – Probably LED lightbars of some description.  The cars headlights are pretty good and, to be honest, this is more of a styling thing than a necessity.  I shall probably go for a combi-light bar on the roof and some small spot/floods on the front somewhere.  This is a very low priority.
  • Diagnostic and monitoring equipment – Essential with modern electronics.  I shall be searching for the most user friendly, cost effective and comprehensive options.  There are a couple of options here; a wired tool such as the Scangauge or a wireless ELM327 transmitter linked to an iPad/iPhone App.
  • Height adjustment for passenger seat – This will take some doing but will probably involve a LHD drivers seat base direct from Ford.
  • Rear cabin storage arrangement.When not carrying other people I want to maximise the weight saving and remove the rear seats.  I shall then create a removable storage area to put in its place.  This will also help distribute some of the weight further forward.
  • Onboard air arrangement – This is a low priority but might happen due to storage restrictions.  I currently have a T-Max portable compressor.  This takes up a fair space and we may have difficulty storing it in the truck when the camper isn’t mounted.  I have seen other options that might fit behind the rear seat backrest such as this: ARB high performance 12v air compressor.  Although these are damned expensive! 😯 
  • Underbody protection – This is essential.  I’m looking at a variety of options including steel and alloy.  Whichever route I take the underside will be thoroughly waxoyl’d before it’s fitted.
  • Longer range fuel capacity – Probably looking at an additional tank to fit in the spare wheel well rather than a replacement tank.  This could add 60-70 litres to the existing 80.  A replacement tank won’t gain me much more, is more expensive, more difficult to fit and will have insurance implications.
  • CB Radio – Vehicle to vehicle comms.  Antenna mounting is a problem as is where to mount the head.
  • Wind deflectors – for that ‘defender’ arm out the window moment. 😎
  • VHF/UHF Radio – For longer range and 4×4 Response comms.  Mounting this is also going to present a challenge.

So, as you can see, there are several things to keep me busy over the next fews weeks/months and that’s without considering the demountable camper!  I’m sure that there will be some ‘fettling’ to do on that once we finally get one.

I shall update this article with more detail as time goes by and will be writing articles and reviews for each of the products we finally end up with.

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