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Let's Not Be Practical (or, Chad's New Build Journal)

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#1
AdvRovr

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BUILD JOURNAL - ENTRY 001 - 25 JULY 2017

The Current State:

Since diving into this world of actually using Land Rovers to go off-pavement (gasp!) a few years ago, I've been evolving and trying to find out what I enjoy, and more importantly, what the rest of my family enjoys.

I REALLY LOVED my old Classic and regret selling it all the time. I even emailed the new owner and asked if he might want to sell it back to me. He didn't. :(

I've also really enjoyed the P38 that I have now, but it's built up to the hilt for rock crawling and I've discovered that neither the wife, the kids, nor the dog enjoy moving along at 2mph over boulders. For everything besides serious hard trails, we were just taking the Land Cruiser, and how boring is THAT?!

So....what to do?

The Answer:

Clearly, the answer is MORE ROVERS!

The new idea is to build more towards moderate off-roading and longer-range expedition style trips, while still retaining on-road comfort for the long pavement hauls to the trails. And, most importantly, I wanted something I'd fall in love with. The LR3 is great and probably a better fit for us, but it doesn't tug at my emotions.

Enter: the Range Rover Sport

I love the design both inside and out, and it still has the practicality of being an LR3 with a different body shell so some of the parts development that goes into LR3s also unintentionally benefits the RRS. And while the LR3 would have much more space, the Sport just grabs me more.

The Build Candidate:

With that in mind, I picked up this 2009 Sport last week in Stornoway Grey with the Ivory/Ebony interior.
She has 111k miles now, has the Luxury Package, and the straight grain walnut wood which I love.

Is an off-white interior practical for a family dirt/adventure vehicle? I suppose about the same as choosing the less-developed platform with half the interior space. Hey, if I'm going impractical with this, I might as well go full-bore.

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And Sophie picking out her car at the dealership. Good choice, I approve:

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The Build Plan:

So, the build list I've planned so far is:
  • 18" 5-Spoke LR3 wheels
  • 267/70/18 Cooper Discoverer AT3 tires (32.6" dia)
  • Lucky8 2.5" lift kit with spacers
  • Voyager roof rack
  • Voyager rock sliders
  • Voyager hidden winch kit
  • TBD Winch
  • LR snorkel
  • LR pet barriers
  • LR lamp guards
  • Custom armor for front/rear bumper protection
  • Custom rear tire swingout
  • Ladder - TBD if I'll integrate into the swingout like Slee Land Cruiser bumpers, or if I'll go with the LR genuine ladder
  • Overland Pros foxwing awning
  • Roadshower
  • Hella front aux lights
  • Generic Amazon-sourced LED side/rear lights
  • OTRATTW switches...need to figure out where to mount these
  • Various bumper trimming and such to accommodate offroad clearance
  • Rubber mats everywhere
  • Other fun stuff as we go along
The idea is to start buying this stuff as soon as the P38 sells. At this point, it still remains to be seen just how quickly the Turtle of Rover Repair Progress decides to let me build this out, but the hope is that this build is mostly finished by the end of the year.

Heeere weeee goooooooo!

Edited by AdvRovr, 25 July 2017 - 11:30 AM.

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Chad // Instagram: @AdvRovr
2009 Range Rover Sport // 2001 BMW 330Ci // 2000 Toyota Land Cruiser // 1996 Triumph Tiger 900

FOR SALE: Built 1997 Range Rover 4.0 // 2006 BMW 330i 6MT 


#2
AdvRovr

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BUILD JOURNAL - ENTRY 002 - 25 JULY 2017

First thing on the agenda is sorting a low battery. It seems to start OK, although it cranks over quite slowly, but I've gotten the cornucopia of every error message a few times after letting it sit for a while. I was gone for a 4 day trip and checked the battery when I got back and it read 10.24v after sitting 4 days. Somehow, it still started, which surprised me.

So, tonight or tomorrow night will be a quick dive to see if I have parasitic drain or the battery is simply past its prime. It's on a smart charger now to top it up before the fun begins tonight.

I also bought a full set of genuine LR waterproof seat covers off Craigslist to pop on before trips.

And, my tires arrived! Have a used matching spare that I'm picking up as well to save a few pennies.

Re: the tires, I should note that Cooper makes the Discoverer AT3 in both P and LT sizes. For anyone else looking into these, make sure you get the LT rated tires for these heavy beasts.

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Edited by AdvRovr, 25 July 2017 - 11:31 AM.

Chad // Instagram: @AdvRovr
2009 Range Rover Sport // 2001 BMW 330Ci // 2000 Toyota Land Cruiser // 1996 Triumph Tiger 900

FOR SALE: Built 1997 Range Rover 4.0 // 2006 BMW 330i 6MT 


#3
DiscoDavis

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#4
AdvRovr

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How about now?

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#5
Jethro

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Working for me but had to refresh on the app.

Just was looking at the new AB iLand tool similar to the GAP tool but less expensive and seems like the user interface is easier too.

Probably something to add to your build list and might help you sooner with the battery challenges.



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#6
AdvRovr

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Gap tool was in the plans already. But now I'm intrigued, I'll have to do some digging on the AB one and compare them.

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Chad // Instagram: @AdvRovr
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#7
AlysonH

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I think Martin was having a battery issue as well and he has a RRS. He's posted about it on the forums somewhere.

#8
Phil.

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woohoo another RRS in the club. congrats on the new addition. +1 on the gap tool or some other diagnostic tool. might also wanna swap out the cargo area light with LED.


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#9
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It will be interesting to see what sort of tire fitment issues you have with that size.  I don't know the specifics on the RRS as well as the LR3.  I assume you'll still have to re-route the driver's side front wiring and trim back the frame horns in the front.  Maybe a little inner fender trimming as well.

 

Feel free to come on over.  I have many cutting implements at my disposal.   :P


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#10
AdvRovr

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Battery issue looks to simply be a bad cell. I let it charge a full 24hrs and it still won't come above 10.6v and the charger is warning "bad cell". Interesting - I didn't realize you could still start an engine with a bad cell.

I still did a parasitic draw test and it was only pulling about 19mA in sleep mode so it's off to the parts store tomorrow.

Don, I am told the tire will fit without any mods besides lift rods. I do plan to relocate the wiring but it seems the more common size is 285/65/18, which is the same diameter but wider, so hopefully I'll have less chance of rubbing with 20mm in my favor.

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#11
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I've seen guys run 285s on the LR3/4, usually in a 60 it seems, but I don't know how they do it.  Must be down to the specifics of the given tire.  My 275s have less than a 1/4" clearance at the upper ball joint at full droop.  It's tight in there, but that may be down to the bigger lugs on the sidewall of the Coopers.


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#12
AdvRovr

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Catching up here. Managing this thread in two places is apparently too much for me.... LOL

ENTRY 003: The Waiting Game...

I've managed to hunt down the tow hitch attachment locally from Craigslist, which was a pain and way too complex and expensive for what it is. Also ordered the trailer wiring from Atlantic British and I'll have to get around to installing that at some point.

I also ordered the GAP tool from Lucky8, along with their Proud Rhino 2.5" lift/spacer kit. They were awesome and overnighted the GAP tool to me, but now I need that lift to arrive...
I hunted down 18" 5-spokes from Abran (CARRS 4x4) in SoCal and picked them up on the way back home from my Baja shakedown run, and he also replaced the battery in my spare remote (thanks!)
And, I've made some customizations to the Voyager roof rack, sliders, and winch mount, so hopefully those don't take too long too build.

The waiting is killing me. :D

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#13
AdvRovr

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ENTRY 004: Baja Shakedown Run

What's the best way to find out if a new-to-you, 100k+ mile, British vehicle not known for reliability needs some work?

Take it on a 1200+mile trip to another country, of course! :jumping::sombrero:

We headed down to Ensenada and spent some time looking around, eating great food, tasting great wine, and relaxing. The Sport did great and didn't give us any trouble. We did, unfortunately, have a local back into us and scratch the bumper, quarter panel, and crack the taillight. Bummer, but not a huge deal. :(

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Chad // Instagram: @AdvRovr
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#14
AdvRovr

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ENTRY 005: Giving Up

Well, just giving up on pushing the tire size envelope.

Spent some time with Don test fitting my 32.6" and discovered that, while doable, I'm pretty sure I'll have more rubbing than I'd like. I have up and shipped them back today, and ordered the AT3s in 275/65/18. Hoping to have them installed before the weekend.

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But, we did spend some time cutting the frame horns out and welding in some end caps. And by we, I mostly mean Don. Also, we pulled the rear fender liners and hammered in the body seam that hides behind the plastic like a razor blade for the tire.

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The Lucky8/Proud Rhino lift kit was.... disappointing. The spacers arrived badly beaten up, so we had to paint them over the bare metal spots. Lucky8 was willing to replace them, but that's a hassle and I was impatient. Definitely should've been packed much better. The real clencher was the limit strap: I was told a new bracket to hold it in place was developed and would come with the kit. Fivespddisco has mentioned it on here as well. But, it didn't, and there's no way to mount without wheel rubbing.

More importantly, the front upper control arm is a different design and simply doesn't have anywhere to mount the strap. I'm waiting for a return call with some ideas, but considering that they've done upgrades on their Sport I'm disappear they didn't mention this in the product page. See the different control arm design - the hood over the link mount prevents the bracket from going on there.

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I installed the Proud Rhino lift rods, which generally went well and did their job. At that point I was rather annoyed with Lucky8 and was really getting nit-picky, but the stock height rods have a thick washer to fit solidly on the mounts. The Proud Rhino ones are much narrower and slide back and forth. Is it a problem? Who knows... But it seems a little chintzy.


I did luck out and score a genuine LR pet barrier for a good price on Craigslist with with all the mounting hardware. That was on my list to buy from the dealer, but keeping a few hundred in my pocket is a nice treat.

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Test fitting the AdvPup

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#15
DHappel

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'Test fitting the ADVPup'

LOL
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Don
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#16
AdvRovr

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ENTRY 006: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back (Aug 26 2017)
 
Warning: I'm pretty pissed at the way things went today, so this post is a bit of a rant. But, everything here is an exact description of what occurred and what we found from experimenting. 
 
Today, I was supposed to be elated, seeing the first big step of the build come together. Unfortunately, the Proud Rhino spacers were a total bust and will be coming back off the truck. But more on that in a minute....
 
Thursday night I got the new tires mounted (Cooper Discoverer AT3 275/65/18 = 32.1" true diameter). I'm thrilled with the fitment and the look of the new wheels. It does make the truck look a bit bottom-heavy, though, so I'm hoping the rack, tire carrier, etc will balance things out - whenever they arrive. The ride was much smoother even than stock ride height with stock tires. That surprised me; the Coopers are E-range tires so I expected it to be stiffer. 

 

Attached File  IMG_20170825_122837b.jpg   259.29KB   4 downloads

 
I only put about 150 miles after the tire mounting, but it was very comfortable over a variety of speeds and surface qualities. I got to thinking that adding the Proud Rhino spacers might even make the ride too soft by decreasing the air bag pressure further. I started thinking that maybe I shouldn't put them on since I didn't have limiting straps that would work anyway. 
 
Boy how I wish I listened to that thought-turned-premonition. But, up on the lift she goes!
 

Attached File  IMG_20170825_113344b.jpg   192.71KB   4 downloads

 
I should mention here that again, I am not trying to crap on Lucky8 and love that they're tapping this market, but here's the blunt truth: the lift kit is just not any good. The quality/fitment was lousy, and the end results even worse. It's a damn shame, because I bought this in spite of some of the known downsides, and now I wish I had listened to everyone else. 
 
This is a list of the problems I had. I'm repeating some things from earlier just for completeness.

  • Both front spacers simply did not fit the struts. The holes were improperly spaced and we had to ream them out. We tried the old set from Zelatore's truck (which he had since removed) and they fit fine, so I don't know if it's just my set or if this whole production run had an issue.
  • Welding slag was splattered over one of the surfaces where the nuts torque down, so we had to sand that down to remove.
  • Front spacers are too tall. This is what kills ride quality and, I believe, what prevents the truck from going into access. Rears could also be a bit shorter.
  • Arrived badly dinged up, had to repaint them myself (mentioned earlier)
  • Rear limiting strap doesn't fit properly (known issue, mentioned earlier)
  • Front limiting strap impossible to fit on the Sport (mentioned earlier)

Most of those speak for themselves, so I'll focus on the spacers being too tall. We spent some time measuring each corner in different heights, and the difference in height was only 1.5cm from sitting on the bumpstops with all air evacuated to sitting at normal ride height. Even with the entire system fully deflated, there was an incredible amount of extra room around the front tire. The front could EASILY be over 1"  shorter and still have plenty of room for the tire to turn in an emergency.  With the truck on the bump stops, the back wheels just barely tuck into the rear wheel wells. I need to spend more time measuring, but I think the rear kit could probably be about 1/2" shorter without issues.  
 
The spacers being too tall causes it to bottom out over every....single....bump and feels like it's on race-ready coilovers. Compounding the issue is the difference in front to rear. The front is incredibly harsh as it rebounds off the bump stops, while the rear is pretty soft since it raises up higher off the bump stops. This means the front and rear of the truck behave completely differently over bumps, and going across bumps while midcorner is downright unnerving. It was the complete opposite of what I expected and desired. I even used the Gap tool to raise it up a bit more, but didn't want to go much further without limiting straps. I expected better ride quality with the spacers on, and instead it got indescribably worse. Also, I think this is what causes the access mode failure, since the truck can barely go down at all before it's on the bump stops up front. 
 
So now, after spending the whole morning installing them (including taking today off work!), I have to find more time to remove these things and send them back. :mad: I'm partly annoyed at myself for not listening to the people mentioning issues with this kit, but I really didn't expect a prominent company like Lucky8 to be selling something as half-assed as this kit seems to be. The truck does need some kind of spacers for emergencies, but it needs some that were actually engineered and tested to work with the truck. Selling "complete kits" that don't fit the struts, don't have functional limiting straps, and don't let the suspension do its job is really inexcusable. :mad:
 
/rant
 
Video of issue with spacer fitment on front struts: 
 
https://youtu.be/xVUfT01UstY


Chad // Instagram: @AdvRovr
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FOR SALE: Built 1997 Range Rover 4.0 // 2006 BMW 330i 6MT 


#17
AdvRovr

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ENTRY 007: When Backward Steps Are Actually Forward Steps (Aug 27 2017)
 
Zelatore was supposed to be on a trail run today, but I benefited from his mechanical issues and convinced my wife to let me head over to his place to pull the Proud Rhino spacers. 
 
We spent some time doing detailed measurements to dial in what I think would be the perfect heights for a balanced ride and sufficient clearance. I'll add more on that a little later, but the gist is that the rear spacers are a pretty good height. They could be 0.5-1.0cm shorter but that could cause problems with 33s. The fronts, as mentioned before, are the ones that are way too tall for a Sport. They should be more like 2cm average height, as opposed to the current 5cm they are now. 
 
We pulled the spacers and did a bunch more measuring the testing using the Gap tool to adjust the heights. With the truck completely on the bump stops with 32s, I could turn the front tires lock to lock and roll on level ground without rubbing. Intentionally driving over some small bumps did produce a tiny bit of rubbing the fender liners, but not much. Having just a couple cm of clearance would be perfect. Definitely don't need all 5+. 
 
I'll post some more of the measurements and thoughts in the next couple days.
 
But, there's more! I spent more time looking at my spacers compared to the earlier kit that Zelatore had. Honestly, mine look like garbage in comparison. I already knew my welds were lousy, but seeing the difference to his was shocking. No splatter, no giant messy welds. Not sure why mine are so much crappier, but it doesn't give a good feel about the quality. (Mine on the left)
 
I also used the Gap tool to program in a little lower ride height for daily use. The rods are still in place, but dropping it a bit is good for the long commute I have. And, I programmed a setting to lift it just a bit for off-road use. Should be plenty of flexibility. Anyway, the ride home was much more enjoyable without the spacers. 
 
@Longtallsally, yep, spent lots of time reading Chris's Expo RRS build. Also really liked the Offroving RRS. The pup was a rescue so we're not totally sure, but we think he's part Ridgeback and part other hound. Good to know about the seat belts.... He's a big chewer.
 
@AJM, yes, maintenance is occurring too. ;) 
 
@Victory, yes, the limiting straps are really just one small piece of the puzzle now. I don't mind paying for quality engineering and R&D, since I know that's a big piece of the cost of products for such a limited market. But the further I got with these, the less and less evidence of R&D I could find. It's a damn shame, because these could have been a great product with a bit more work and QC.3925252a8f8679d1dd3fda6aece5ac92.jpgc1f078f9f44388f2b5e9f52cb17c50e9.jpgec2d98df4430adb705bdc56417832c74.jpga0bae88c8b1725c1560f133b31c6bb57.jpg4fab6a765a471cd0414467ee657e64ad.jpge4de36e30717e489b8aef1650f5b5253.jpg
 
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FOR SALE: Built 1997 Range Rover 4.0 // 2006 BMW 330i 6MT 


#18
AdvRovr

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Small update:
I talked to Lucky8 today, and they apologized for the issues and offered a good resolution. They also are working on shorter versions, so it will be interesting to see if that comes to fruition. Obviously, I'm disappointed about the way this worked out, but I was glad they stepped up to resolve this. Owning up to mistakes and handling things well goes a long way in my book. 
 
Nothing major happening right now on the build, but I did play with the Gap IIDtool to adjust my tire size to correct the speedometer.....which then triggered a Check Engine Light for vehicle speed sensor plausibility. :/ Hopefully that is an easy one to solve.

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#19
DHappel

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I've never gotten around to trying to correct the speedo on mine.  It's about 5 mph off at 70 (indicated 70, real 75)

 

This fits a certain logic as the tires I run are about 10% larger than stock, so you would expect it to be 7 mph off, yet the stock speedo was a little optimistic as pretty much every stock speedo is, so 5 mph fits right in.


Edited by DHappel, 29 August 2017 - 09:25 PM.

Don
'07 LR3 HSE/HD - slightly non-stock

'96 D1 - even more non-stock


#20
AdvRovr

AdvRovr

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Gap responded that they think the system will allow for a certain offset, but not sure exactly what. So, looks like I'm back to my product testing role...lol.

Stock tire radius is 364mm in the CCF for the Sport. 32.09" is 815mm diameter, so I did 404mm to try to balance the speedometer optimism. And promptly got a CEL.

At 384mm, no CEL but the speedo is off. It's just under 106% of expected value.

At 394mm, CEL is back and speedo is pretty good. That's just over 108% of expected value.

At 390mm, CEL is gone but speedo is just a hair off. That's about 107% of expected value.

I've set it to 392mm to try in the morning. That's about 107.7%. We'll see if my theory of 8% fault tolerance holds true. Either that or the car is programmed not to like above a 390mm value.

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Chad // Instagram: @AdvRovr
2009 Range Rover Sport // 2001 BMW 330Ci // 2000 Toyota Land Cruiser // 1996 Triumph Tiger 900

FOR SALE: Built 1997 Range Rover 4.0 // 2006 BMW 330i 6MT 





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