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  #1  
Old February 18th, 2006, 08:21 PM
robisonservice
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John Robison
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Installing portal axles

If your Land Rover does not have enough clearance, and bigger tires just aren't enough . . . the next step is portal axles. This was discussed on the Pirate 4x4 forum (and I think briefly here) last fall and I've received many questions so I've put together a gallery so you can see the job from beginning to end.

Here we install a set of portals from a Volvo C202 troop carrier under a Series Land Rover.

The Land Rover we did was leaf sprung. The job would go really well on a coil sprung Rover chassis.

http://www.pbase.com/robisonphoto/richard_reaveys_tonka

John Robison
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  #2  
Old February 18th, 2006, 08:38 PM
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Wow!

What's the price tag on that job (on a D90)?
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  #3  
Old February 19th, 2006, 03:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robisonservice
If your Land Rover does not have enough clearance, and bigger tires just aren't enough . . . the next step is portal axles. This was discussed on the Pirate 4x4 forum (and I think briefly here) last fall and I've received many questions so I've put together a gallery so you can see the job from beginning to end.

Here we install a set of portals from a Volvo C202 troop carrier under a Series Land Rover.

The Land Rover we did was leaf sprung. The job would go really well on a coil sprung Rover chassis.

http://www.pbase.com/robisonphoto/richard_reaveys_tonka

John Robison

Okay,

Sooo, what do you want? Are you a vender? Do you want business?

Those are some sweet axles no doubt. I hope you don't mind some constructive criticism.

1. Your shock mounts are terrible (sorry).
2. There is no reason to have limiting staps on a leaf sprung truck unless something that shouldn't is holding up downtravel.
3. That steering arm needs to be fabbed out of new, not patched with solid-bar.
4. If the angle of the picture is not decieving, your going to bang the hell out of the pitman arm with the tie rod if you hit a bump hard.
5. You have too much lift for that wheel-base (my opinion).

That being said, that is something you should be proud of for sure. If this is your first one, you did damn good. I am just trying to point out a few things that would make it look cleaner and work better.
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  #4  
Old February 19th, 2006, 11:01 AM
robisonservice
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buckon37s
Okay,

Sooo, what do you want? Are you a vender? Do you want business?

Well, David, we are a Land Rover service facility but I am not particularly looking for business vis-a-vis this project. A lot of people have seen the truck and asked me about doing the conversion. So I put up a gallery for folks like you to see.

If you don't know us type the words "Land Rover Service" into Google and you'll find more on us.

Those are some sweet axles no doubt. I hope you don't mind some constructive criticism.

1. Your shock mounts are terrible (sorry).

The owner of the truck had the same reaction. But seen in real life they are more than rugged enough.

2. There is no reason to have limiting staps on a leaf sprung truck unless something that shouldn't is holding up downtravel.

Yes, there is a reason. The revolver setup will allow the axle to drop too far for some components if we don't limit it. Again, seeing the truck in action most would agree that the performance is outstanding. Would it be better with a few more inches drop in back? Maybe. We would need to engineer a differrent drive shaft and brake piping setup to do that. Maybe later on.

3. That steering arm needs to be fabbed out of new, not patched with solid-bar.

By arm I think you are referring to the front tie rod. That rod isn't "patched" as you suggest. It's a solid spring steel shaft inside hollow pipe ends that had integral tie rods on them. It allows a greater degree of strength and flex than we'd have had with a single hollow rod of the original type.

4. If the angle of the picture is not decieving, your going to bang the hell out of the pitman arm with the tie rod if you hit a bump hard.

The angle is deceiving. It does not hit.

5. You have too much lift for that wheel-base (my opinion).

Well, that's your opinion but this truck had lift before and the owner wanted more. Remember that the portal axles and wheels are very heavy compared to stock, and there is nothing up high on the truck with any weight. So the center of gravity is actually deceptively low.


That being said, that is something you should be proud of for sure. If this is your first one, you did damn good. I am just trying to point out a few things that would make it look cleaner and work better.
It is indeed the first portal axle conversion we've done. Thanks for your responses. I think you'll find it looks cleaner as it evolves. We are doing to other (different) D90 projects right now, and I will put links to them up, also.
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  #5  
Old February 19th, 2006, 11:13 AM
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Why do we skewer our vendors here at D-90? Just to make sure they dont come back I guess. Dang Buck - enough comments could be made about your carapace, exoskeleton, cross-braced extravaganza to keep us busy for a week, so be nice for pete's sake
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  #6  
Old February 19th, 2006, 11:47 AM
robisonservice
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimC
Why do we skewer our vendors here at D-90? Just to make sure they dont come back I guess. Dang Buck - enough comments could be made about your carapace, exoskeleton, cross-braced extravaganza to keep us busy for a week, so be nice for pete's sake
I'm OK. I think (hope) I contribute enough to the Land Rover community that most people do not see my forum posts, writings, or magazine articles as just some schmuck trolling for work. This truck is a pretty unique conversion in the United States and I think a fair number of people will think it's interesting.


When we do work like this we have photos to show the owner what we're doing. But in this case the owner and I both thought there was a wider audience for a writeup on this job.

Here is a link to an article on the truck before we did the portals, when it lived in Dubai:
http://www.gon2far.co.uk/index.php?d...s/richard.html

And here is an article the owner did last year:
http://www.jonfund.com/technical/roverportals.shtml


There is a good chance we will use this truck as a basis for a magazine article. Getting people's responses and questions now will allow me to make a more informative print piece.

Also in response to the person who asked how much a job like this costs . . . they are all different. Labor costs are going to be high, it's easy to sink 100-200-300 hours into something like this. And the raw materials - the portals, tires, brakes, springs . . . they are also at least a middle-four-figure investment.
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  #7  
Old February 19th, 2006, 01:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimC
Why do we skewer our vendors here at D-90? Just to make sure they dont come back I guess. Dang Buck - enough comments could be made about your carapace, exoskeleton, cross-braced extravaganza to keep us busy for a week, so be nice for pete's sake
Thats why I made the comments. When you do something original like this, there is a MASSIVE amount of problems/complications that come up where there is no way you can be prepared for all of them. Thats why I tried to make my comments as constructive as possible. In this case, with single-sheer shock mounts, mounted at the wronge angle, he is going to break them. And the interference on the tie rod pitman arm is a serious problem. Ask me how I know.

This way, he can get the small stuff fixed before he gets a lot of potential customers looking at what he does. Anyone with an eye for detail is going to have reservations about these type of things. Like I said before, it's a great job. Doesn't mean he should not fix the problems.

Robinson Service: I think that you should offer, if you do not already, finished Axles ready to bolt up to Defenders. I know there is at least 3 people here seriously considering the upgrade. This would probably be easier to find than full conversions. If I ever did this, I would just want a price shipped to CA and ready to bolt up. Anyway, great job.

And, as to my rig, people make a lot of personal preference comments about what they think it looks like, but not once on this site has anyone questioned the functionality. During various parts of the build (the finished version you have not seen), there were tons of comments like the ones I made so that I could fix my mistakes (many). This helped me to avoid some worse mistakes. Thats all I am trying to do here.

btw: The pictures you have seen don't have any crossbracing, so get it right!
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  #8  
Old February 19th, 2006, 02:35 PM
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Jim Cheney
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Maybe I'm just too sensitive

I just dont want to run anyone off, mentioning a sub-obtimal sheer angle on a mount is one thing, saying it sucks is another. I also think any reasonably informed Rover person would be aware that John Robison is a highly-regarded pro. Maybe his customer spefied "shock mounts that suck."

And Buck, I never doubted your functionality!

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  #9  
Old February 19th, 2006, 03:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimC
Maybe I'm just too sensitive

I just dont want to run anyone off, mentioning a sub-obtimal sheer angle on a mount is one thing, saying it sucks is another. I also think any reasonably informed Rover person would be aware that John Robison is a highly-regarded pro. Maybe his customer spefied "shock mounts that suck."

And Buck, I never doubted your functionality!

Your right. I might have come across as a Dick (wang on this site). I am sorry for that.
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  #10  
Old February 19th, 2006, 03:36 PM
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I'm actually glad this thread started. Since I've sold my truck I've begun to think about building my next, and though it's way off on the horizon, portals are something I want to go on it. I plan on making a list of all the crap I'll need so I can start sourcing it, and I think John Robison (and the rest of the D-90 source) is a hell of a resource for someone in a position like me.
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  #11  
Old February 19th, 2006, 06:22 PM
Eric Siepmann
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PT94D90
Wow!

What's the price tag on that job (on a D90)?
Phil,

You interested in Portals? Check the Franken Rover Thread for a real nice job on a 90 with Portals. I believe the thread is linked here as well. Search portals. Lots of Fab, Design and expensive materials and parts. . . I would not want to write the check myself...

EwS
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  #12  
Old February 19th, 2006, 07:50 PM
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Remember that Portal axles put an amplified amount of stress on all the links and/or springs..
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Big, Red and ... aaa Red..
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  #13  
Old February 19th, 2006, 09:09 PM
robisonservice
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimC
Maybe I'm just too sensitive

I just dont want to run anyone off, mentioning a sub-obtimal sheer angle on a mount is one thing, saying it sucks is another. I also think any reasonably informed Rover person would be aware that John Robison is a highly-regarded pro. Maybe his customer spefied "shock mounts that suck."

And Buck, I never doubted your functionality!

Well, our shock mounting seems to be the low point of the job.

All I can say is . . . if you were there looking at the truck they are obviously a lot sturdier than the photo makes them appear, and the choices were limited unless we wanted to get into a fairly sizeable fab job to move them somewhere else. Which we may do if they give trouble.

Overall the conversion is performing well. You would be amazed at the stuff this truck just motors over.

I think the Franken Rover thread you refer to was the one on Scorpion Racing's UK site . . . a coil D90. These potals are an easier fit there because they were designed for a coil truck.

As regards offering a bolt up kit . . . every job like this is different. Every time we do something like this there are minor changes. It's too specialized and costly to turn into a kit in my opinion for the limited number of buyers.

The next step on this truck is making a good roll cage that has integrated mounts for the spare, the power tank, and other things. Now that we've pulled off the roof that's job #1.
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  #14  
Old February 20th, 2006, 11:47 AM
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Here is more discussion on this truck
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  #15  
Old February 20th, 2006, 03:06 PM
robisonservice
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red90
The photos on the site you reference (which I took) show the surprisingly low center of gravity of this truck, even with the amount of lift.

At the angles shown you'd expect it to be on its side but it drove in and out of that situation without even any wheelspin.

The photos were taken at an outing we did on the power lines near Rattlesnake Gutter, Leverett, MA in November
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  #16  
Old February 20th, 2006, 05:40 PM
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I think the angle of the front shocks is probably fine since this is a leafer and the axle moves forward as it drops out vs a coiler moves back.
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  #17  
Old February 20th, 2006, 08:27 PM
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I think the Franken Rover thread you refer to was the one on Scorpion Racing's UK site . . . a coil D90. These potals are an easier fit there because they were designed for a coil truck.

FrankenRover is on the www.pirate4x4.com BBS not a UK truck. D-90 with mogs, 300tdi, et al. . .
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  #18  
Old February 21st, 2006, 10:58 AM
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Hey John when would be the next outing I might see these portals at? Quite a few Rover owners (at least here) have seen my 90 and or the way I drive and it would be cool to do some side by side comparisons of the 2 out on the trail. I know coils VS leafs and V8 4.0 vs the 4 banger 2.5 but just a few shots twisted up here and there would be good! Florida road or Ma bell would be ideal places to do this unless you know of someplace better. I think that would put and end to some of the questions of high COG and all.

OK I really just want to see it out on the trail and I'm kicking myself for not going out with you in November
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  #19  
Old February 21st, 2006, 03:49 PM
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MIke, We are hoping to do Ma Bell or some similar trail in about 2 weeks. I will let you know and I'll put it on the BSOA email list, too.
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