- Ensuring that there is sufficient storage and that the internal space can be effectively used
- Making sure that extremes in driving conditions can be dealt with (as far as practicable)
- Reducing the risk that something untoward will cause a problem
- Making it as comfortable as possible to drive many hours in an old car
After removing all the old and rotten woodwork, wings, doors etc my main shell was dipped and etched then sand blasted to expose all the bits that needed welding and repairing.Basic bodywork repairs were carried out and chassis members replaced as necessary. There were some modifications also made at this time to allow for the suspension upgrade that was going to be needed to ensure driving on rough roads wouldn't, or at least shouldn't, be an issue. The following pictures are just some taken during the basic bodywork restoration.
All the additional bodywork parts such as wings, bonnet, grill etc were mainly replaced depending on their condition. It was decided that due to the extreme road conditions that I was going to experience that the body work should be in as good order as possible without compromising the integrity of the component part. Once the bodywork had been completed then painting was order of the day.
After painting the wood work was added. In the Traveller the main structural element is the wooden frame making up the rear section of the car. My old woodwork was beyond saving and so brand new wood was bought. The wood was put together and then the rear wings and rear roof section as well as the rear doors were fitted to make sure everything went together properly.
Now that the bodywork was complete then the mechanical modifications could be made. A number of 'special' modifications were made. The first was to design a long range tank that would sit where the rear seats in a typical Traveller are when folded down. As my purpose was to be for over landing then there is no real need for rear seats. The long range tank was designed to give me around 1100 miles range assuming a 30mpg fuel consumption rate. The tank was built by Concept Racing and filled with explosion suppressant safety foam. The hole left by the original tank was filled using the bottom of the old tank to give an area for storing spares.
Having the extra weight of 160 litres of petrol plus the fact that the rear storage of the car will be full of spares (2 wheels, half shafts, bits for services, and other 'stuff') as well as camping equipment, water, food and if possible some bits and pieces for some of the charities we intend to visit has meant that a suspension upgrade was called for to ensure that when full and driving along rubbish roads I can handle everything thrown at me.
With the exception of the diff, a reconditioned axle was fitted. The axle has ‘special’ Rossendale uprated leaf springs made to cope with the additional weight I'll be carrying, The rear suspension has been raised one spline and long travel dampers fitted. Jonathon Heap's specially designed turreted rear suspension replaces the standard Armstrong lever arm dampers with telescopic dampers. New triangulated radius arms and pan hard rod complete completed the rear suspension modification. The front suspension has been completely overhauled with adjustable tie bars, and new lever arm dampers. Poly bushes have also been fitted front and rear.
Once the suspension and running gear was sorted time for the engine, gearbox and all the little extras that make me go. To make sure that I can use poor quality petrol as well as coping with altitude variations I have had installed a low compression 1275cc MG Midget engine which has been fully rebuilt and balanced. MED Engineering rear oil seal conversion kit has been fitted to prevent oil leaks from the standard scroll type rear main bearing housing. So, no more leaks. An MG Metro head and carburetor with a three branch stainless manifold and system complete the power unit.
A reconditioned MG 1275 Midget gearbox has been installed with a new clutch and mechanism. By replacing the standard 4.2 diff with the earlier 4.55 ratio diff I'm hoping that I'll have more torque in the lower gears making going up steep hills easier when under load.
To make sure I can stop uprated 240mm vented disc brakes have been fitted to the front with a modified master cylinder, header tank and servo making the rear drum brakes that much more effective.
A new radiator with a pair of electric fans and an oil cooler make sure that everything stays nice and cool while we are driving through deserts where temperatures can exceed 42 degrees at times. The use of electric fans means that I can turn them off when fording rivers and the like and avoid spraying water all over the electrics. Electric ignition makes reliance on poorly made points from China unnecessary.
In order to ensure I have a spare battery available whilst also being able to power certain things while stationary I have had a second battery installed with a voltage selective relay and high output alternator to allow both batteries to be charged while I am running. A battery protection solenoid has also been wired into the lighting circuit to ensure that in the event Matt, or Sarah, forget to turn my lights off when I am stationary my battery cannot be completely discharged thereby making sure I can always be started. Daylight lights have also been added to make sure I comply with various country's laws and so don't get into trouble unnecessarily.
For driving comfort a pair of Saab 9000 seats are to be installed as well as other bits and pieces such as oil and water gauges, map reading light ,two speed wipers, stone guards for headlights, reversing light, rear fog light and anything else Matt can think of. There are still some little bits that need to be done but nothing major and all related to making best use of the internal space.