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Defender 130

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Expedition 130

 Low Gear's Expedition 130 Prototype Camper

Construction has finally started! After more than one year in the design phase, Low Gear has started construction of its prototype Expedition 130 camper, a truly global expedition camper, based on the Defender 130 chassis. This vehicle is large enough to be comfortable for two travelers on extended overland expeditions yet small enough to fit inside a sea container.

defender130 0The base vehicle for this project is a 1999 Defender 130 Td5 that was first modified to include the following accessories:

Exterior Accessories Interior Accessories
  • Safety Devices external roll cage
  • Raised air intake
  • Warn winch and ARB bumper
  • Differential guards and skid plates
  • Checker plate body protection
  • Two auxiliary fuel tanks with gauges
  • 255/85 R16 BFG M/T tires
  • Safety Devices internal roll cage
  • Webasto Air Top 2000 diesel heater
  • Centre heater box with cubby box
  • Dual batteries with main disconnect
  • Chip tuning
  • Alarm system
  • Factory air conditioning

An Exceptional Vehicle for this Project

The Defender 130, which is 17 inches longer and can carry 500 kg more than a Defender 110, was a low production model to accommodate larger and heavier loads. The chassis for the Defender 130 was built on the same assembly line as the 110, but it was assembled by a separate group known as Land Rover Special Vehicles, in order to meet a variety of commercial and military applications. The Defender 130, completely out fitted as full expedition camper, is an exceptional vehicle for extended global travels.

The main features to be considered for building the perfect Expedition 130 full camper vehicle is listed as follows:
•    side door entry which permits sufficient floor space for two persons
•    pop top roof to give standing room, ventilation, and a low profile in it’s down position
•    one fuel source, diesel, for cooking, heating, and hot water
•    flush toilet with holding tank and macerator pump for convenient discharge
•    shower with regulated hot water
•    ample storage cabinets for easy access to your supplies
•    convenient fold down bed with mattress and bedding over rear seats
•    auxiliary fuel tanks to extend the range of the Expedition 130 Camper to over 2000 km

Construction of the Expedition 130 Camper

Construction of roof for the Expedition 130 Camper Construction started with the roof. A roof from a Land Rover 109 was modified with the addition of a wider centre panel.
A perimeter flange and structural cross channel ribs where fabricated and attached to the under side of the roof with rivets and adhesive. A set of scissor hinges, similar to the type used on the VW Eurovan campers were fabricated so that the roof can lift up with the aid of two gas springs.




Aluminum exo-skeleton frame for the Expedition 130 Camper The construction technique for the camper shell utilizes an aluminum exo-skeleton welded frame with aluminum / extruded polystyrene composite panels bonded into the frame with an industrial adhesive-sealant. This construction technique provided a light weight and strong camper shell. The floor was manufactured from thicker aluminum sheets and attached to the external frame with adhesive and rivets.
Composite aluminum panels are bonded to the frame The aluminum composite sandwich panels were made by bonding two sheets of aluminum to extruded polystyrene foam core.

The aluminum composite sandwich panels were bonded with an industrial adhesive / sealant into the exoskeleton frame. The panels were clamped to the frame for seven days while the adhesive fully cured.

Pop top roof on the Expedition 130 Camper Scissor hinges and gas springs were installed to enable the roof to lift up. This provided sufficient head room for standing up inside the camper. Canvas side panels will be made with window screens to provide light and ventilation.
The pop top roof in its down position The window openings were cut out to fit dual pane slider windows that have a dark tint.

The side entrance door was installed with two industrial style hinges having nylon bushings for smooth operation.

A lockable RV style door latch with dead bolt was also installed in the door.

The pop top roof in its down position When the roof is in its down position, it will provide a low profile so that the camper can fit inside a shipping container. The front panel has an opening to the cockpit of the Defender with a means to limit access to the camper during shipment by roll on roll off (RORO) freight service.
The pop top roof in its down position The lower back panel is at a 45 degree angle in order to maintain the high departure angle of the Land Rover Defender. The fuel filler for the main diesel fuel tank was fabricated and installed into the lower right panel.

Canvas panels with side and front screened openings will be fabricated at a local marine canvas shop.

The pop top roof in its down position A 90 L fresh water tank was custom designed to tightly fit behind and on top of the right wheel arch inside the camper. The water tank features a large diameter filler port so that the tank can be filled with water from a bucket, if needed. A liquid level sensor was installed in the tank which will be connected to a digital tank level monitor.
LG 03 53 The aluminium camper was epoxy painted at an industial coating company.
LG 03 48 The pickup box and the rear section of the cab were unbolted and removed from the Defender 130 chassis.
LG 03 51 The Expedition camper was securely mounted to to the chassis of the 130.
LG 03 52  A photo showing a front view the camper on the chassis.
 LG 03 46 A Safety Devices external roll cage was installed over the cab and bolted to the internal roll cage. A roof rack was designed and fabricated using CNC pipe bending. Four 100 watt solar panels are mounted to the roof rack and connected to four 120 Ah lithium ion batteries.
 LG 03 47  A rear rack was fabricated to carry the spare tire and a storage locker (which has not yet been fabricated). 
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The cabinets are manufactured using a welded exoskeleton aluminum frame with ABS / Polypropylene composite panels in order to maximize strength and minimize weight. The sink has hot and cold water and the shower has regulated warm water. There is a 1300 watt induction cooktop connected to a 1500 watt pure sine wave inverter with four 120 Ah lithium ion batteries. Under the sink is a 12 volt electric compressor refridgerator.

The rear seat slides forward and the back of the seat folds down so that the bed frame and foam mattress can fold out to make a comfortable bed for sleeping.

LG 03 45 A second spare tire can be mounted on the roll cage over the cab.
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A view of the back of the Expedition 130 Camper  We are offering complete detailed engineering drawings of the camper with a 3D model and a list of materials to anyone that wants to build the Expedition 130 Camper. We are also considering to offer a partially assembled kit that would include all the components with the detailed engineering drawings.
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