Nelson Design Review – Russia trip

So we have been on the road now for three weeks and it is time to review some of the systems and design of our camper in real life


Things which are really working well

  • The pop top Alu-cab roof is brilliant, it gives us enough space to stand and get past each other in the evenings, plenty of space to sleep, with the option of two beds given the downstairs bunks converts, and it is warm with the insulation panels in place cool with the windows open but mesh in place to stop the mossies, just great all round.
  • Having a gas ring inside to make a cup of coffee in the morning has worked well as has the small sink, means we can stop at the side of the road and make a coffee or chill out for a bit.
  • The bench height is just right so sitting inside with the roof down is still exactly comfortable without you head brushing the roof (just) makes the inside usable trough the day without having to pop the roof.
  • The roof box means the inside of the truck is not cluttered as in the past with chairs, table and boxes so enables it to be used through the day.
  • No problems with power from the inverter for laptops even when off grid for a few days so the solar panel and the extra leisure battery work very well and the alternator has not had a problem charging all the systems on the run.
  • The high lift jack and the wheel lifting attachment has been my best friend for lifting the truck quickly even in stressful situations like being stuck in a bog in Poland, in that situation the two optional extras I bought proved their worth, a spreading plate for the base and the wheel mate for directly lifting the wheels was super.
  • Having the older version of the defender means I have the ventilation flaps in the front which is great for cool fresh air

Issues we have had so far (apart from me stupidly getting stuck in a bog)

  • I am hunting for the source of a vibration at 50mph which feels like a transfer box or a prop shaft issue, still not found it but its not getting worse and goes away at 60mph.
  • Oil lead from the back of the engine suggests the crank shaft output oil seal will need to be renewed in time, not serious yet and I have not had to top up the engine oil
  • Rear diff oil seal to the prop shaft is leaking quite a lot so I have so far put a liter of gear oil into it to keep it topped up in 2000 miles so that will need to be done when we are home, as long as I keep it topped up then no damage is done.
  • I did have some oil leaks from the oil cooler hoses and the rear diff drain plug but these are all sorted now just nipped them up and they stopped.
  • I did not get round to fitting the second fan which would move air around in the bed area and we could have probably done with that on hot nights (although not that hot yet) so that is on the list


Overall then things are going very well, we have not yet used the awning sides or the heating system as the weather has been too good !



About Gerry Mulligan

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