Call me crazy, but......

Submitted: Thursday, Apr 21, 2005 at 12:06
ThreadID: 22257 Views:8501 Replies:12 FollowUps:6
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I am thinking of building a four wheel drive from the ground up. It started out as a search for an old series landrover to do up, but then I got thinking.

What if I could change the suspension to something a bit better. What if I wanted a diesel motor. What if I could get better seats. What if I had something that people had to stop and look at and say "DAMN...I WANT ONE!!!"

Anyway, my question is - what would different people recommend as the best options off of different cars to include in my project. Remembering it will probably be based on either a defender 110 chasis, or a perentie if I can find one.

Also, has this been successfuly done before?

I am looking for a 5+ seater to take off road mainly, but something that will travel at 110 fairly comfortably, and have enough room for a family of 4 to camp out of. This will be a long term project (I just don't have the funds right now), but I think it would be worthwhile.

thanks in advance...
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Reply By: chris_legend_25 - Thursday, Apr 21, 2005 at 12:32

Thursday, Apr 21, 2005 at 12:32
Sounds like an interesting project. You must have wayy too much spare time! lol

I have thought this in the past, but never had the time, or money to get started. One of those things that I think would take too much time.

Anyway, I would be looking at a new Common-Rail diesel engine, with a 6 speed gearbox if I were you. Don't know sizes, or if it would fit, but that would be a start.

Let me know when you get to the recovery side of it, as I know a guy this is going to start selling full kits for around the $900 mark soon. Comes with a 12000lb winch, drag chain, shackles, snatch block, tree protectors, etc.... Comes with a 12 month warranty.

See you next thursday, anyway Catherine.
AnswerID: 107666

Follow Up By: mr_nissan - Thursday, Apr 21, 2005 at 12:43

Thursday, Apr 21, 2005 at 12:43
$900 bucks? What brand?
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Follow Up By: chris_legend_25 - Thursday, Apr 21, 2005 at 12:47

Thursday, Apr 21, 2005 at 12:47
The winches are Gruntgear, or Grunt, or something like that. The straps and bits and pieces I am not sure. I do know they come with a mounting plate, and a nice canvas-like cover for the whole unit.

He builds them as they are ordered, so I think the wait time is about 4 weeks. I'll find out some more info, and let you know.

My email is chris_legend_25 at Send me and email, and when I have the info, I'll send it to you direct.

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Follow Up By: chris_legend_25 - Friday, Apr 22, 2005 at 08:17

Friday, Apr 22, 2005 at 08:17

I think the high number of views on this thread are to do with the winches I mentioned above. Someone must have told someone else...

I have received quite a few emails (but not almost 3000...damn thats a lot!)

I might actually post on here when I get more info.

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Reply By: Peter 2 - Thursday, Apr 21, 2005 at 13:13

Thursday, Apr 21, 2005 at 13:13
Like has been said it takes a lot of work and time, I know I spent 8-9 months of my spare time converting the Humvee to RHD and doing all the work to get it ADR compatible for rego. Have a long talk with a friendly engineer before you start and be fully aware of what it is going to cost (work it out and then double it).
I made a point of coming home from work and spending at least an a hour a day/night doing something however small a job it was. Otherwise it will never be finished. I did 99% of the work at home in the garage with basic tools and no I'm not an mechanic or engineer, comms tech actually.
I would stick with something that is basically what you want (110 / 130 defender) and then work from there. I have an aquaintance that has taken a RR chassis, fitted a LWB panelvan Landy body to it (shortened etc) and it has Toyota 12HT, 5 speed/transfer, diffs and PTO winch. It is an extremely capable bush vehicle and with camo paint easily touched up.
Are you capable of doing 90% + of the work required? costs escalate rapidly if you have to pay someone.
Personally I would steer clear of late model common rail diesels, too much crap hanging off them and nigh on impossible to fault find by the average joe. Injectors and parts cost way too much and longevity is suspect when you are getting such high outputs from small engines.
Anything you build has to be grassroots stuff to enable the non professional to work on it. KISS!
AnswerID: 107667

Reply By: Member - Oskar (Bris) - Thursday, Apr 21, 2005 at 13:40

Thursday, Apr 21, 2005 at 13:40
I built a Hilux from the chassis up (panel by panel from a roll-over write-off) a few years ago and it was a very big job but very rewarding as far as skills and knowledge goes.
Be aware there are traps everywhere and you will need lots of time and a fair bit of coaching from time to time if you are a newby at the game.
I ended up with stress related illness after 6 months being at it every afternoon and on weekends because of the time and $$$ constraints.
The end result was very pleasing.
It would be interesting to see a progress photo essay as you go.
Then .... you may well end up foul of the vehicle design rules etc.
....... Dream on.....
Another Fraser Is. pancake dear?
Pic No2: Walkers Crossing track in winter

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AnswerID: 107671

Reply By: Member - iMusty (VIC) - Thursday, Apr 21, 2005 at 13:50

Thursday, Apr 21, 2005 at 13:50

But what a marvelous idea.

Two things to remember...

1. Go as far as you can see, and when you get there you will see how much further you can go.


2. If one advances confidentially in the direction of his own dreams
And endeavors to live the life that he has imagined
He will be met with a success unfamiliar in common hours.

AnswerID: 107674

Follow Up By: Nissan_Catherine - Thursday, Apr 21, 2005 at 14:19

Thursday, Apr 21, 2005 at 14:19
That is way too deep for a Thursday afternoon!

but, thanks!
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Reply By: Peter 2 - Thursday, Apr 21, 2005 at 14:18

Thursday, Apr 21, 2005 at 14:18
I forgot to add, if you are in a relationship or have a family fully explain to them what you are going to be doing with ALL your disposable income and spare time for the next 12 months, avoids grief down the track when you are given an ultimatum either me or it!
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Reply By: Rosco - Bris. - Thursday, Apr 21, 2005 at 14:53

Thursday, Apr 21, 2005 at 14:53
Sounds like an awesome project. I'd reckon go with the perentie and a low tech turbo diesel, but bigger than the 4BDTI Isuzu. Perhaps a 6 cylinder of the same vintage. They were/are a very strong and durable donk.

Good luck ...
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Reply By: V8Diesel - Thursday, Apr 21, 2005 at 15:06

Thursday, Apr 21, 2005 at 15:06
Good old GQ Nissan ($15,000) + 6.5 V8 Diesel ($13,000 - optional and can go in later) + Detroit locker ($1,200) + 50mm lift ($1,500) + snorkel + good tyres and all the additional goodies required ($???).

A fully capable, practical, reliable, different, roomy, cheap to fix 4x4.

From experience, Land Rover = abject misery and constant headache. Stay away, stay well away. Strictly for the "enthusiast" only (but that's just my opinion - I don't want to get into an argument) I know you'll take absolutely no notice of this, because I wouldn't have 20 years ago either, but "ground up's" will always work out more expensive and troublesome (especially if you choose a poor platform to begin with)

After saying that, go for it, it'll make you laugh in the years to come and there's lots of satisfaction in building something yourself.
AnswerID: 107687

Follow Up By: Nissan_Catherine - Thursday, Apr 21, 2005 at 15:27

Thursday, Apr 21, 2005 at 15:27
But everybody has a nissan, mitsubishi or a toyota! When push comes to shove, most landrover guys and gals drive them because they are not just another four wheel drive. Thats why we wave to each other!

I want something that stands out a bit from everything else in the car park.

I have had 3 landrovers, no problems with any of them. One was an ex army type, absolutely no features, but is by far my favourite ever car.

I drive a patrol now. 50mm lift, bull bar, roof racks, etc... It is still just a patrol.

Please don't let this degenerate into a Land Rover mud slinging post
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Follow Up By: V8Diesel - Thursday, Apr 21, 2005 at 16:59

Thursday, Apr 21, 2005 at 16:59
Sorry, didn't mean highjack this post into the same old boring Jap vs Pom slinging match. I was honestly trying to be helpful and offer genuine advice based on my personal experience.

Drove an ex-army 2A from Perth to Kununurra once, grew up in Landy's (Dad drove his around Australia in 1964), was driving a Series 3 for work last year, have used them as farm vehicles etc.......I know and like Landrovers well. They have character alright. But there are also many very very good reasons 'everyone' (and more tellingly - everyone who's livelihood is dependant on 4x4's excluding government) drives Tojo's / Patrols etc. It's each to his own and that's what make the world interesting.

You sound like you fit fairly and squarely into the "enthusiast" category so go for it! No point spending hard earned on something you won't enjoy. I saw a heavily modified 110 with an all alloy 350 Chev in it, Santana / Tremec (?) drivetrain doing four wheel power slides at Gascoyne Junction once. That was different.
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Reply By: Black Jack - Thursday, Apr 21, 2005 at 18:05

Thursday, Apr 21, 2005 at 18:05
You might be crazy, but look at the number of hits your thread has. 1860 hits in 6 hrs. That's just over 5 per minute. Ther must be a lot of ather crazy people interested in your project. Also it shows how many are reading this web site.

Go for it and keep us posted on your project.

AnswerID: 107704

Reply By: Steve - Thursday, Apr 21, 2005 at 20:16

Thursday, Apr 21, 2005 at 20:16
And after 40 odd years of stuffing around you will end up with a Toyota Landcruiser REPLICA !!! Now just buy one and cut the crap !!
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Reply By: Pterosaur - Friday, Apr 22, 2005 at 10:33

Friday, Apr 22, 2005 at 10:33
No comments on sanity (or lack of) wrt your project - it's YOUR trip after all. I worked recently with a bloke who had spent several years working in the Middle East (Egypt mainly) and similar projects there seemed to be the go. Maybe you can link up with someone who has more info. there ?
I think he said the cost of parts in the ME made it viable.

good luck
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Reply By: Rod W - Friday, Apr 22, 2005 at 12:09

Friday, Apr 22, 2005 at 12:09
You will get a great deal of enjoyment and pleasure in doing it and the end results. You will also get frustrated with the tricky bits. Then there is the ADR rules, Engineer's cetificate and vehicle licencing/compliance.

I did a major rebuild/conversion. It was with a 1972 Toyota Dyna Twin Cab ute body. Started with a diff lock (single diff at the time) and replaced the dyna diff centre with a landcruiser diff centre. Then installed a 253 Holden V8. Then after a while decided to make it into a 4x4. Installed a 1979 landcruiser front diff with drum brakes and changed them with Hilux discs (needed to do this for steering arm linkage connections). Installed landcruiser 4 speed gearbox and transfer case. Had a floor type gear shift with a linkage shaft coming up over the top of the motor. To engage 4wd was with two cables. Shod it with BFG A/T 285x16. It was a very capable vehicle.

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Reply By: dindy - Sunday, May 08, 2005 at 20:06

Sunday, May 08, 2005 at 20:06
go to and look at what you can stick on nissan chassis
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