Land Rover Defender Expedition Camper conversion – Part 1

My Defender Touring Vehicle

A few days after Christmas 2011 I began my preparations for my 10 month trip around Australia. I decided to begin converting my Land Rover Defender 110 wagon into a touring vehicle. My intention was to properly kit it out for up to 2 people to travel and sleep inside comfortably, and to have plenty of storage space with gear easily accessible. The vehicle interior was stock standard having rear seats which were rarely used and a lot of rattling plastic trim and rotting carpets which for my sanity would need to go.

I began by stripping out all the interior roof lining, door panels, seats and carpets so I could clean out all the accumulated dirt and expose the areas in need of rust removal. I would recommend if you only have 2 people on your trip to remove the rear seats. They take up a lot of room and are unnecessary weight which will reduce your available payload. With the amount of gear, tools and supplies you will want to take for an extended trip, reducing unnecessary weight to free up space is paramount to a successful conversion. Check with your state transport authority if you will need a compliance plate to reduce passenger capacity. In Australia this is necessary and for only $100 or so I got compliance plated.

defender interior strippedMost of the interior trim is straightforward to remove. The door panel cards are clip on and can be prized free with a screwdriver. Some of these clips will break, so you’ll need to order some spares later. The roof lining can take some manoeuvring. If you intend to reuse yours be careful not to crack the fibre board which it is made out of. You’ll require new push fittings when reinstalling the roof lining.

For removing the old foam-backed carpet and rubber mats a paint scraper is ideal. To remove the remaining glue residue I used an industrial solvent, paint scraper or wire brush. This can be a messy job but is necessary if you want to add self adhesive soundproofing later to ensure a good bond.

I completely stripped the interior alone in 1 day using basic screwdrivers, sockets and spanners so it’s not very difficult. Two books I recommend which can help guide you in the stripping process if you are not mechanically minded are: Land Rover 90, 110 and Defender Diesel Service and Repair Manual: 1983 to 2007 and Land Rover 90, 110 and Defender Restoration Manual: The Step-By-Step Guide to the Entire Restoration Process (Haynes Restoration Manuals).

Read Part Two of my progress here: Land Rover Defender Expedition Camper conversion – Part 2

If video 1 did not display above you can watch it here:

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Brett is a film maker, hiker, adventurer and Defender owner. He loves the outdoors and feels most at home travelling remote outback places in Australia. The idea of waiting till retirement to begin exploring Australia is not the path Brett has chosen, instead choosing to live life now. Join him on his adventures.

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