It has been a few days since I last wrote. There is a good reason for that. I have been Busy, with a capital “B”. After ordering a multitude of parts, accessories and “stuff”, it began arriving. I ordered an extra heavy-duty front driveshaft for the Land Rover, as this is a weak spot on the drive line. The new shaft comes with heavy-duty u-joints that are greaseable. Take a look at the picture and you will see the difference in the new shaft. I was very pleased with this purchase. All three joints contain a grease jerk to offer future maintenance. I installed the shaft with little problem. As recommended, I replaced the 4 nylon lock nuts on each end of the shaft. This required 3/8-24 nuts. Lowes carried them, so easy replacement.
Next on the list was the brush guard. I had it sand blasted and powder coated by a company in North Augusta South Carolina called Custom Machine.
It turned out pretty nice. The prep work was not as good as I had hoped, however they did give me the option to use another sand blaster that did “show quality”. I decided against it, since this is an off road brush guard after all. This task of installation proved to be a little more time-consuming and difficult. First, I had to order a mounting kit, as the person I bought it from (used in Atlanta), did not have all of the required mounting kit. I found a company out of Utah called BPUtah. They were friendly and helpful even taking my order over the phone after hours. The kit arrived within a few days. In order to fit the new brackets, the front bumper assembly had to be removed and holes cut out for the brackets.
While working on the bumper, I got the call. The call that the Baja roof rack had arrived! Now this is one of the most exciting things I had been waiting on. This was what truly marked this vehicle “Expedition ready”. It was the key component to getting ready for our trip. I stopped and went to meet the UPS driver as it was in a semi truck. It was quite an undertaking getting it in the back of my truck, but I was determined. I hurriedly returned home to get a look at the prize. I was concerned and noted on the drivers slip that the box had sustained damages. I hoped that it had not passed through into the rack. I called Southeast Overland and spoke with Steve. I told him I hadn’t yet looked, but that the box was damaged. Fortunately upon opening the box at home……no damage! Yes, it looked every bit as glorious as I had envisioned, even sitting on the driveway. It seemed to say “Are we ready yet”. Now I was juggling installing the brush guard and wanting to see the roof rack installed. One thing at a time. Finally I was able to get the brush guard installed and secured.
So it was about 7pm, and dusk was starting to fall. I tried to talk Angela into grabbing the other side of the roof rack and helping me set it on top of the Rover. She did make a valiant effort, but she could not lift it that high. Fortunately, the instructions said to call a friend. So, I called Rich Hinson who happened to be close by. He agreed to come by and help set it on. Man, I wanted to see this on the roof! Rich, Jenny, and Evan stopped in and we commenced to setting the rack on the roof. Viola! It looked great. We are really getting somewhere now. It is really looking like an expedition vehicle.
It was too dark to get pictures by the time I was finished securing it down, but man it looked tough in the flood lights! I went out first thing in this morning and snapped a couple of pictures.
I drove it 20 or so miles and noticed a howl. I will need to check out the mounting and wind deflector to see if I can figure out where it is coming from. Oh Well, all in a days work. Or so I say. If you ask Angela, she says I’m playing with my cars…..
Bernard is in Florida this weekend. One of his “to do” items is to meet with Luis Vassallo of OGE 4×4 (another possible expedition partnership?). Take a look at how Bernard’s rig is coming along.
I received another notice of delivery today. This is probably one of the most important accessories. The roof top tent manufactured by Ironman 4×4 is scheduled to be delivered tomorrow! I cannot wait to get this. Along with the RTT (Roof top tent), is also the 2″ Ironman lift kit. It is going to be one exciting day. Stay tuned for installation and testing info. For those of you not so into the technical side of the preparation, hold on, we will be departing soon and the topics will shift to the trip. Angela told me this info was “boring for girls”. Well, hopefully you will hang in there for the long haul.