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1993 NAS Defender 110 Expedition Vehicle
This 1993 NAS Defender 110 is a vehicle that ECR converted in a capable expedition rig a few years ago. Since then it has been from Labrador to California and all points in between. It has come back to ECR for some service work and some more upgrades to make it exactly what the customer desires. For details and images of our past work on this 110 go here: Expedition NAS 110. Upgrades to this 110 will include a hot water system, Underdrive, 4.11 gearing and much more.
Here you can see the Great Basin Rover rear 4.11 ring and pinion set for the Salisbury rear axle in the 110. We'll be installing this to help along with a matching front set so that the 110 will have some more low end grunt at the customer's request.
Under the 110 we have removed the rear ARB air locker and removed the 3.54 gear set. Next we'll build up the new differential and then shim it correctly for the axle housing.
Here you can see the 4.11 gear set has been installed onto he ARB rear center section and is now ready to go back into the axle. The front differentials on a 110 are pretty simple, but the rears are quite tricky. At ECR we have all the proper tools and gauges to get your gears set up correctly for long life, and better yet, no on trail failures. The driveshaft yoke has to be changed in this gear conversion as well, but we can cut and balance your driveshafts to fit any application, so this 110 will have no gearing issues for all the miles that it travels across country and to far off places.
To help the 110 in its off road ability we will be installing an Underdrive for an ultra low range. This will help keep the 110 under control during steep descents and also help is crawl over obstacles that would stop other 110s in their tracks. The Underdrive will give the 110 both a standard low range crawl ratio that is good with the 4.11 gearing, as well as an ultra low over 100:1 crawl ratio for when the going gets tough, or for when you just need a little slower speed for more control. For more information about Underdrives go here: Underdrives.
And for our next trick... Seriously though, the next upgrade we will be doing to the Expedition 110 is installing this marine on demand hot water unit. It will allow the 110 to have true hot and cold running water, and a hot water shower. The unit pumps out plenty of gpm and can heat the water to regular household temps (115 degrees). It is propane fired and will run off the same rack mounted propane bottle that currently powers the stove in the 110.
The front axle of this 110 has already been converted from 10 spline to 24 spline and it runs our heavy duty CV joints and heavy duty axles. In the image above you can see we have converted the ARB air locker with a 4.11 gear set to match the rear axle. This unit will now be installed into the front axle to give the 110 the grunt it needs even when it is loaded for a trek.
Now back to the hot water system business. We need to rebuild the water system in the 110, so that means that everything needs to be removed so that we can upgrade the system from the small "camp style" system to the full "home style" system that it will now be running. So we have removed all the gear and equipment from the back end of the 110.
As we know things have to be rebuilt and serviced, we originally built all the sections of the camping gear as units that can be removed form the 110 with relative ease. Here you can see we have removed the RH sink/stove unit from the 110.
The LH side of the 110 is a different story. We have removed the ARB fridge and its mount and now we need to start making changes. The hot water heater needs to go in this area so we will cut apart the 12 volt boards from the tower that held the Pelican cases, and remove the case tower. You'll also notice we have removed the rear quarter window, more on that later.
This image shows the start of the hot water system install. For space reasons we had to remove the pieces of the system from the enclosure you see it in in earlier photos and re-plumb and re-wire everything to work in the space we have. The customer had specific demands for the water system. The system had to work better than the original coolant to water heat exchanger (that when used with the cool running diesel basically didn't work at all). It had to be mounted so that the water wading depth of the 110 was not compromised, and he wanted to loose as little interior space as possible. So this was the solution, the RV-500 on demand water unit custom installed in the 110. As the 110 now has two propane fired pieces of equipment we had to remove the old rubber line and hard plumb everything in copper. That is the supply line you see running back down the 110. The water lines are now run under more pressure so all the old hoses had to go. The new lines are all run with PEX lines to withstand the new pressures and temps from the water heater. To get that pressure also means a new water pump and regulator. More on the water install soon.
The owner of this 110 has now driven it from Labrador to Utah and lots of places in between. He gave us some feedback on things that needed some modification from using the 110. One item was that you could periodically hit the dual battery control switch as you moved gear around in the cabin. To solve this problem we fabricated these small "guard bars" that allow you to easily operate the switches when you want to, but make it harder for them to be tripped accidentally. We also added an LPG sensor and alarm (the white unit in the 12 volt panel) so that if a leak ever does happen the alarm will sound so that action can be taken.
Another area that needed work was the Dormobile top. The upper roof vent had a habit of lifting the front edge at highway speeds, and this scooped dirt and debris directly into the cabin when the 110 was used at speed on dusty roads. We solved this by fabricating a wind deflector that mounts in front of the roof vent so that no lift will occur. As you can see the roof vent itself still opens and closes as it should, but it won't pump dust inside the cabin anymore.
The image above shows that we have now re-installed the sink/ stove assembly into the 110. The first water system in the 110 just had cold water, so there was just cold "on" and "off". Now with hot water on board a new mixing valve was required as seen above.
All new copper hard lines were required for the stove and heater . These have now been installed and leak tested. This image shows the area under the stove. We also installed a new bulkhead fitting and modern low pressure LPG lines for the tire carrier mounted LPG tank. A cover plate will now be made to make this look complete and to keep gear from hitting the LPG lines.
Another area were the customer said the 110 needed some help was the rear door. The original 110 rear door lock only had the ability to lock/unlock from the outside with the key, so we installed the newer latch so that the door can be locked/unlocked from inside or outside. Also, the Safari Gard tire carrier, when loaded with 10 gallons of diesel fuel, a spare, an LPG bottle and a Hi-Lift was hard to keep open. To solve this we have installed a small marine jamb cleat and spliced a section of rope to the carrier. Now you can open the door to any angle you desire and keep it from closing. Sometimes the simple answers are the best, and this simple solution works great.
Now back to that rear quarter window we removed. As you can see in the image above we have fabricated a cover plate for the window and installed it where the window used to be. You'll also see that we have installed a locking box into the new plate.
Open the locking box and you will now find a fully functional hot water shower just like your house. We aren't talking a little warm either, this new system allows you to have a proper shower on the trail or anywhere you see fit. As long as you have water and LPG you can have not stop 115 degree water. Here at ECR we always love a challenge, and installing a true working shower in the limited space of a 110 with the customers parameters was a challenge, but the slogan says, "Our only limitation is your imagination" and we have proven it again.
Here you can see under the rear body of the 110. The hot and cold PEX water lines are run as close to the inside of the body as possible and are securely tied in for the rigors of off road use. From this point we will be making a full set of stone shields for these pipes. The pipes won't last long if left exposed to the rocks flying from the tires on dirt tracks. The shields will be made from alloy and then coated in Rhino-Lining to keep the rock noise down. They will be easily removable with hand tools so that if any plumbing service is required it can be easily done, even on the trail.
The water system in the 110 is now very flexible. It can run hot and cold water from its on board stainless steel tank, or it can pick up water from a nearby stream or pond. It can also be plugged directly into a garden hose or camper outlet with city water pressure so that water is on demand. This pocket is built into the RH side of the 110 and the green fitting are split into "Stream" and "City" so that the customer can run the water system the best way possible.
At this point with the 110 (shown here with the top up) we need to finish up the linkage for the new Underdrive and make the needed guards and cover plates so that the systems are protected and look correctly finished off.
After we installed and fully tested the hot water system we needed to protect the unit and make it look better. The image above shows the LH side of the 110. The hot water unit has been built in to match the look of the rest of the interior. All of the pieces are hand fabricated and made from alloy so they can be strong and as light as possible. The unit can be easily serviced in place and has full access to all is important parts. The Corian counter top has been modified to fit with the new heater unit and even a new "hot water heater" decal has been added to the fuse panel to make the install as seamless as possible.
This image shows the LH side of the 110. We have fabricated and installed the required vent system for the hot water heater. The vent was installed as high as possible so that the wading depth of the 110 stays in tact.
Here you can see the back side of the new shower install. The hot and cold feed lines look OK, but as the shower head is removable the hose for the head needs to be contained better. To solve this problem we will fabricate an alloy cover panel for this area so that the shower head hose can still be used, but it won't get caught on anytime or crimped.
This images show the shower interior trim panel installed. We painted it in Alpine White so that it would blend in with the interior. In this image you can also see that the other interior items are going back in as well. The ARB fridge/freezer has been installed and is ready to go. The fridge unit is clipped in place and there is still full access to the fridge controls and contents even with on board hot and cold running water!
To make the 110 do amazing things while off roading we installed an Underdrive. This unit basically will give the 110 3 transfer cases ranges. Hi range, Low range and Double low range. This will be great for steep descents and other obstacles where the ultimate in slow speed control is needed. Above you can see we have installed the unit onto the LT230 transfer case, now we need to fabricate the linkage.
This images shows our simple and rugged linkage. It comes up near the driver's right hand (where it needs to be) and shifts smoothly. A retainer plate and a vinyl shifter boot top off the install. The underdrive will be a great asset to such a large heavy vehicle off road.
To protect all the under vehicle plumbing from stones and rocks we fabricated these alloy stone guards to protect the hoses. Each stone guard is easily removed with a wrench so that field service can be done quickly and easily. After the stone guards were fabricated we Rhino-Lined them so that when rocks and debris flings off the tires you won't hear all kinds of loud noises inside the cabin.
In the image above you can see we have started to load up the 110 with the customer's equipment. Notice how our custom made racks hold his sleeping bags up and out of the way. Once the rest of the gear is loaded we'll deliver the 110 to the customer so that he can do the final packing for his off road trip out west.
This images shows the completed interior of the 110 from the passenger's seat looking back. The 110 still has lots of room inside even with all the gear loaded and our recent additions to the systems. Keep in mind this 110 sleeps 2 in comfort, has a 2 burner stove, hot and cold running water, a shower, a fridge/freezer, seating for 4 and standing headroom!
The last thing we did to the 110 was to add a set of 32" Good Year MTR 285/75 radials. These will be great for all the on road driving the 110 does, but will also give the 110 very capable off road performance.
Now loaded with gear and ready for anything the 110 will be taken to the airport to meet the owner so that he can begin his journey. If you have Defender needs, from a glitch that your local mechanic can't figure out to the need for a fully prepared expedition vehicle we can help. We can turn your Rover dreams into reality and make your Defender world class... just like this one.
Some gallery photos posted below: