Project: Expedition Alaska. - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old March 30th, 2009, 02:52 PM
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Ryan Hoffmeyer
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Project: Expedition Alaska.

I bought my Defender november of last year for just one reason. To do a 5 months expedtion in it up to Alaska. This will be my first expedition and I thought what better way to do it in, then in a Land Rover. So I sold my Chevy and decided to buy a rover that needed a little bit of work.

I just dropped off my rig this morning to get pulled back to straight and new rear quarters put on. I had to do some looking around to find a body shop that would even consider working on a defender. And if they would work it, their work wasn't cheep. I did find a respectable shop that works on a lot of Rovers and have worked on defender in the past. Which is good because they were more in my budget range of what I expected the job should cost. I did the front wings last month when I did the motor swap. Every panel except the hood and tailgate is getting replaced. I have some issues with a passenger side door not staying closed. especially when I take corners. I guess its expected when its been on its top. Thought I would post some pictures up here of the progress.

The rebuilt motor is a 3.9L that came out of a 95 Defender. I did a complete gasket and seal kit. A performance cam done by Bullet Racing Cams, new lifters, new timing chain and gears, A custom head shop did a complete head job, and a new clutch. when doing the swap, I noticed the lack of head bolts in the newer motor. My 3.9L that was in my 94 has twice as many bolts around the heads. Anyone know the reasoning for the change? Just something that caught my eye.

I have plans to do a roof top tent set up with changing station, Dual optima battery. I need to rig up an inverter to 110 to run some of my accessories (laptop, cameras, etc), roof rack, solar, mini fridge, I have an idea for a stove to hinge off my tailgate, and a lot of aux lights on it. I think that is pretty much what I have planned. If anyone else has any interesting ideas of whats needed or what I am forgetting, I would like to hear about them.

estimated departure date of June 1.
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  #2  
Old March 30th, 2009, 03:46 PM
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Is this the one madcowdungbettle was selling?

What are you planning to do for a top?
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  #3  
Old March 30th, 2009, 04:01 PM
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thats the one. I drove the thing home from Charlotte. Its got a brand new soft top for it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dave_lucas
Is this the one madcowdungbettle was selling?

What are you planning to do for a top?
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  #4  
Old March 30th, 2009, 04:06 PM
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Wow that truck looks a bit tired, but saveable no doubt. Interesting how the block has burnt oil in the oil galley, guess it means the oil wasn't changed often enough with clean synthetic. I would of had it pressure tested and thoroughly cleaned.

neil
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Old March 30th, 2009, 04:06 PM
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Sounds great - we don't have enough of these types of projects going on around here - everyone should be restoring at least one rover at any given time. And we definitely don't have enough reports of people out roving in their rovers. Good luck with this and make sure you post updates more frequently than ECR and Ron.
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  #6  
Old March 30th, 2009, 04:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimC
Good luck with this and make sure you post updates more frequently than ECR and Ron.
You mean once every eight years is not enough?
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  #7  
Old March 30th, 2009, 04:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimC
. Good luck with this and make sure you post updates more frequently than ECR and Ron.
I am putting together a web page that I will be documenting the entire trip as I go. Updates during the trip should be every couple of weeks, depending on how remote of a spot my defender can get me.
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Old March 30th, 2009, 04:41 PM
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ryan,
what kind of expedition are you planning up here? you probably already know this but even though alaska is huge we have very few roads and not a lot of areas where you can off road. that being said there are plenty of cool places to drive to such as the dalton highway(haul road for pipeline) that goes all the way to the arctic ocean, the road to mccarthy in the wrangell mountains, the denali highway(not in the park but close by and does have some offroading possible). you might also consider the dempster highway in the yukon that also goes to the arctic ocean but is even more remote than the dalton. i would make a couple suggestions
1- get a copy of the milepost which is published by alaska magazine, it is a complete description of every major road in alaska paved and unpaved. it shows where you can get fuel, where you can camp etc etc
2- there is a land rover dealer in anchorage but they dont stock defender parts. you should consider bringing any parts you think are likely to fail on a long trip. you can get overnight parts to anchorage if needed however.
3- you said 5 months leaving june 1 - if you are driving up here via the alcan remember that summer is pretty much over the 2nd week of september and the snow is usually flying by october. 20 below is not unheard of in october here in anchorage and it can be much colder on the alcan in october. another option on the way back might be the marine ferry from haines to bellingham. you can put your car on the ferry and enjoy the ride and avoid the drive in the cold.
if you have any questions feel free to ask. maybe i'll see you up here this summer
rj hall
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Old March 30th, 2009, 04:46 PM
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www.alcan5000.com

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  #10  
Old March 31st, 2009, 11:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akfisher
ryan,
what kind of expedition are you planning up here? you probably already know this but even though alaska is huge we have very few roads and not a lot of areas where you can off road. that being said there are plenty of cool places to drive to such as the dalton highway(haul road for pipeline) that goes all the way to the arctic ocean, the road to mccarthy in the wrangell mountains, the denali highway(not in the park but close by and does have some offroading possible). you might also consider the dempster highway in the yukon that also goes to the arctic ocean but is even more remote than the dalton. i would make a couple suggestions
1- get a copy of the milepost which is published by alaska magazine, it is a complete description of every major road in alaska paved and unpaved. it shows where you can get fuel, where you can camp etc etc
2- there is a land rover dealer in anchorage but they dont stock defender parts. you should consider bringing any parts you think are likely to fail on a long trip. you can get overnight parts to anchorage if needed however.
3- you said 5 months leaving june 1 - if you are driving up here via the alcan remember that summer is pretty much over the 2nd week of september and the snow is usually flying by october. 20 below is not unheard of in october here in anchorage and it can be much colder on the alcan in october. another option on the way back might be the marine ferry from haines to bellingham. you can put your car on the ferry and enjoy the ride and avoid the drive in the cold.
if you have any questions feel free to ask. maybe i'll see you up here this summer
rj hall
wow...you are full of all kinds of good information. The expedition is put on to enhance my photography business. taking pictures of wildlife has always been a hobby of mine and now i plan to do it full time. I have some friends near Copper Center where I will be doing most of my stay. I can branch off from there in my rover when needed. Some of the major national parks are on my list of places to see. Katmai is one of them for the bears. My parents have some friends in Denali so I will be there a few weeks, and i will be doing a lot of hiking in the wrangels. The reasoning for my extended stay into the fall is I would like to be in Haines when all the bald eagles start to gather. I was told late september and october. Other then that, I plan to get some good fishing it, camp, hike, and have a good time.

Parts....I haven't owned a defender very long so I dont know what tends to be their week points. I plan to bring some basics, but anything that is recommend i will put on my list. extra belts, fuel pump, etc. full set of tools.

ryan
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  #11  
Old March 31st, 2009, 04:45 PM
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ryan,
you are probably coming to alaska at the perfect time. due to the economy they are expecting tourism to be way down this year and there are all kinds of deals to be had. usually brooks camp at katmai is booked well in advance during the prime bear viewing season but i bet this year there are still openings and probably at great rates. bear viewing is becoming a very popular activity and the flight services all over are developing other areas to go that arent as restrictive as a national park. just google bear viewing alaska and you will get all kinds of ideas. you can even go down and see tasty timmy treadwells bears by flying out of kodiak or homer. your friends in copper center can give you better advice about the wrangells but i can recommend both the mccarthy and nebesna roads as fun, scenic drives. if you are going to be hiking in the wrangells one option is using one of the air services in mccarthy to fly you up high in the mountains and then you can hike your way out, down hill all the way. wrangellmountainair.com if you have time i would also highly recommend the dalton highway, it is very cool to drive over the yukon river then cross the arctic circle and then up and over the brooks range mountains and then over the plains of the north slope all the way to the arctic ocean. the bummer is that the last mile or so is on oil company property and some years they let people drive it and some years they make people pay to take a tour. as you can see you'll find once you get an alaskan talking about alaska its hard to shut them up.
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  #12  
Old March 31st, 2009, 07:01 PM
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Ryan, was that cage bent? I almost bought it..... But found another truck.. More Build Pix too..
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  #13  
Old March 31st, 2009, 07:30 PM
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I took some measurements throughout the cage. Across the top it all measures pretty sq. My defender is in the shop getting pulled as we speak. I will know how far the roll bar is out when I get the 90 back and everything is where it is supposed to be. There wasn't any signs of damage on the cage. luckily, the way the cage is set up, it absorbed the impact where there are joints are on the cage. The rear quarter collapsed with the impact across the top cap where the roll bar mounts to, so there was no damage to the wheel well in the tub. which is nice.

I am stopping in the shop tomorrow to see how the work is coming. should have some pretty good pics to post tomorrow, maybe some with the rear quarters pulled off and new tin going on.

you can see where the majority of the impact was place on from the cage. a few weeks ago I was on the north side of denver and just happen to stop in to the flatirons LR dealership, it turns out they had my top rail for the tub.....in stock. I couldn't believe it. I had him check on ordering the part, and he comes up from the back with the part. I about fell over. apparently, they ordered it for someone about 2-3 years ago and for some reason, they never came and got them.
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Old April 1st, 2009, 01:25 AM
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Old April 1st, 2009, 06:54 AM
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And if the expedition rover plans fall through, will you just take a caravan of minis?
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  #16  
Old April 1st, 2009, 10:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimC
And if the expedition rover plans fall through, will you just take a caravan of minis?
I dont think I can out run a bear in a mini. I could probably out corner him.
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  #17  
Old April 7th, 2009, 05:16 PM
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Here are some progress pics of the rear quarters. They have most of the pulling and allignments done. They still have the both cappings to do on the driver side quarter. Looks like they might be done towards the end of the week. We will see how far they get done in the next few days.
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Old April 7th, 2009, 05:24 PM
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Wasn't there a new tub available from the same seller of this truck?
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Old April 7th, 2009, 05:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evilfij
Wasn't there a new tub available from the same seller of this truck?
There was. When I bought the truck, the price on the tub was 2K. and if I remeber correctly, some of the cappings were banged up from moving it around and such and probably needed to be replaced anyway. and who knows how many more dings from transporting that back from charlotte that would occur.

So what I did was:
both rear qrts - 120 for the pair,
both top cappings - 112 each,
one rear corner capping - 11.
bag o rivots - 30
labor for install - 550

All and all, I am under a grand.

The key to this was finding a Land Rover body shop. Every other body shop goes by the book on how many hours the book suggests. and in the european body shop book, it list that each quarter panel takes 17 hours. one shop actually quoted me over 3K just to do the two quarters (and I provide the panels) Luckily I found a Rover shop that has delt with defenders before so the price was much more affordable. they bid the job on how many hours it really does take. which was nice.
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  #20  
Old April 7th, 2009, 06:51 PM
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Make sure they paint under the cappings...

Are they spot welding the rear 1/4s in?
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