Vehicle Hardware

Roof rack

Hannibal (£1,465 in black)

Our Hannibal roof rack came with the car. It is made with 6063 aluminium and weighs 40kg. It's a slim line design and has been very strong with us sleeping on it every night. We do have an issue with our roof at the moment with the spot welds splitting around the front windscreen and some stress fractures on the gutting that support the roof rack. This might not be the roof rack's fault but I have read that the roof need to flex somewhat and this rack has a full bar running down the gutting possibly making it too stiff. This is something that I may have to adapt but at time of writing I haven't done this. The rack has no signs of wear and tear and has been very robust.

Seat covers

Escape Gear (approx £500)

Very hard wearing and these take a real hammering. The seat underneath still look like new apart from the creases. We don't even clean the covers and they still look good if we get mud on them which we I do quite regularly it just drys and then brushes off. These are a great addition to the car and as our seat are half leather I think they keep us a little cooler in the hotter climates providing an extra layer. They never get sticky when we sweaty. They don't look brand new anymore but they don't look far off. I think after a wash they will look new again, a great quality product.

Vehicle protection


Steering guard, front diff guard and rear diff guard are all very important if you want to venture off road in my opinion they are cheep and easy to attach. Checker plate wings are a must if you want to walk on them to gain access to the roof and small bonnet hinge steps give a little support to the area that you are supposed to step on if you need to step on the bonnet and I think it looks a little better than covering the hole bonnet especially on a TDCI with the bonnet bulge. We have front light guard that should help to protect the head lights from stones etc. We also have rear plastic light covers over all rear facing lights that don't do anything apart from maybe look like they will protect them.

Side steps


​Useful for Me-An to get in the car and do provide a little protection against tree stumps or rocks (maybe). When using them to aid recovery, I used the high lift jack to lift the car to place sand ladders underneath the wheels. They did the job just and were fit for purpose but the door did bend and deform slightly on both sides. Better quality ones would be preferred. These ones do not limit ground clearance as they are in line with the chassis.

Shocks

Bilstien shocks B6

These shocks transformed the ride from the standard shocks. We replaced the standard shock after 30,000 miles. After fitting these, the ride felt slightly stiffer with less body roll and the handling was far more precise which was perfect for our overland set up. This was aided by the Polybushes. The shocks have driven 50,000km over all terrains imaginable and have been wonderful. On the corrugations (washboard roads where the surface is rippled with bumps of 20mm and up), driving at speed they work incredibly hard for hours on end. They do heat up yes but have never failed to dampen on the sometimes horrible road conditions.

We run single shocks on the front and double shocks on the rear wheels to aid with the extra weight of our set up and to share the load and the possible heat build up when they are working hard on corrugations for example. These shock have been up to the job so far. However, the bushes are not as robust and in Mongolia we had to change all of the bottom bushes for new as they had perished with the fronts once almost disintegrating.

Great shocks but upgrade the bushes if you are going to be doing a similar trip. We are changing all the shock bushes to Polybush.

Bushes

Polybush

We changed all our bushes to a sponsored expedition kit from Polybush UK to suit our Defender and the kind of trip we will be doing. They have tested and designed a bespoke set of bushes for each area of the car, with different area requiring different stiffness of bush. The ride of the car has been perfect and doesn't feel too stiff or soft when fully loaded. When the car is unladen it is on the stiffer side naturally but it is not a issue.  To date, after a recent check, all bushes are still in very good condition after 50,000km of very challenging terrain and climates. We did not change our shock bushes to Polybush and are now on the second set of standard Bilstien rubber bushes that are soon to be changed to Polybush before we continue to Australia and beyond. The added benefit of Polybush is that you can replace them easily in the field without the need of a 10 ton press. This is something you can't do with standard bushes.

Wheels

Terrafirma 16" modular wheels black

A very good value steel wheel. We went steel as if needed they will bend and not shatter as some cheaper alloys will. They can be hammered back into shape and an innertube can be added for a quick fix. Cost was a huge factor. I'm sure there are better wheels out there if money isn't an option. We chose 16 inch as this is a very popular size around the world and leaves plenty of rubber for low pressures. The holes allow the use of a high lift jack with a wheel adapter to lift a wheel out of a rut for sand ladders to placed underneath. No signs of rust or any other problem.

Tyres

BFG Goodridge All terrain KO 2 265/75 r16

What a tyre! I have had the old BFG A/T on another car and Cooper STT of the same size on this car. The ATs, being an all terrain tyre, are far quieter than the Cooper mud terrain. After extensive sound proofing on the interior, these made the biggest difference. We were supplied these by SCANSTONE as part of a sponsorship deal. We have used them for 50,000 km over every type of terrain (apart from snow) you can imagine and they have lost minimal tread. On wet road, I am still confident in the corners and have had minimal issues with loosing grip. Under breaking they are strong and don't easily slide even though we have no ABS. They don't struggle with the added weight of an expedition set up. We have had one puncture due to a screw that went through the centre of the tyre. We got this repaired and it is now on the back door as a spare. The only down side to this tyre is the shedding of sticky mud and that is why BFG also have a mud tyre. When the tyre is covered in mud, you really need to pick the pace up or get the wheels spinning for it to shift. Apart from this they are great tyres.  I believe this is the largest tyre you can fit on a standard Defender and there is never any rubbing. They might be slightly too wide as they do get the car very dirty. Big tyres is the best way to get as much ground clearance as possible.

Tyre repair kit

ARB

We carry  3 large tyre leavers,1 innertube, an ARB tyre rapair kit, one complete terrafirma wheel and BFG AT tyre on the rear door, and on the roof a standard LANDROVER 16" wheel and a Michelin road tyre 7.5 R16 that is the same circumference but thinner and a little lighter than the BFG. We also have an ARB compressor.

Lighting

LED lights

Lazer lamps 4" 

We mounted these on the roof to aid with depth perception when driving at night. As the light shines down it should be able to light the dips and holes in the road of a track better than standard height light. The lights are extremely bright and they do aid in lighting possible hidden dangers in the roads surface. A concern when roof mounting them was the glare of our white bonnet. There is glare and the cleaner the bonnet the worse it is. But your eyes adapt to the glare and I don't find it a problem. The Lazer lamps are far brighter than the Wipac spots and render them useless. I kept them because I couldn't afford to replace them with good quality lights and the bull bar looked stupid with out them. They are wired into a separate switch that can only be engaged when the high beam and the lower spot are on, if I take the high been off all spot lights turn off and this is needed for the MOT. We try not to drive at night, but it's a great option to light the road if you have to drive at night making night driving a lot safer. The lights are working perfect and there are no signs of wear and tear. They do turn night into day. But are very expensive.

Uses: 10+

Headlights

Britpart Lynxeye LED LHD (£299.95)

These light so far have been great. Yes, they are Britpart and this company doesn't have the best reputation for Land Rover parts. However, they were about half the price with all the same features and ratings as the more expensive lights. We had HID bulbs in before we upgraded to LED. The LED  are far brighter than the HID and make the Wipac lower spotlights redundant but not the Lazer lamps up top. They have been fully submerged in river crossing and are still going strong. The light pattern and range is perfect and we never get flashed for them being too bright when on standard pattern.

LED Cree work/reverse lights

LED Cree

We have very cheap Cree Chinese lights from eBay. They are very bright and haven't missed a beat. They are useful in the evenings around camp with use of the switch by the rear door close to the rear corner speaker and are very useful for reversing when off road or when your reverse light has broken, with the use of the front switch on the cubby box. It was really worth the extra effort to wire them so they can have two switches as they are now dual use. They have also been used for Chinese drivers who feel need to tail gate you when in a tunnel with high beam on. They are showing signs of wear with some of the black paint pealing off however still working well.

Other lights

Wipac side lights, break lights, reverse light and fog light

We swopped standard lights to LED on the side light, break lights, reverse light and fog light but not the indicators as they didn't arrive in time before departure. All are going well apart from the reverse light that has stopped working. The problem when overlanding with LED light is that if it breaks you can't get a replacement as easily as a bulb or carry spares because of the cost and bulk. In our case, the reverse light has failed. You can purchase a bulb anywhere for a very small price. I now have to order a whole new reverse light from the uk to replace it. Yes, they are bright and they should last a very long time however if they break it can be a lot more hassle. Overlanders take heed.