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This page is also dedicated to describing how we can deal with some of the common annoyances of Rover life.


The 1995 Range Rover Classic was not only the last of the line, but also the best.  This truck is being given a "functional restoration" and will soon be on the road piloted by it's proud new owner.  Stay tuned for future installments of this project.  Currently the 4.2 L V-8 is recieving most of the attention.  While out of the vehicle, it will undergo a complete freshening up which will include a new D&D camshaft among numerous other new parts and upgrades.  If you are interested in other current and future Trailhead 4x4 project trucks, call us up and let us know what you are looking for! 


This is the culmination of months of planning, and weeks of work.  A no holds barred buildup designed to be capable, comfortable, and reliable.  The idea was not to add on so much stuff that it resembles the Apollo spacecraft inside, or a JC Whitney catalog from the outside.  Every detail of every modification was scrutinized by Mark himself, and also by Trailhead 4x4 to ensure it's functionality, and also transparency of installation. So lets get started with the tour, get a pen and paper because you're probably going to want to take notes for your own rig!

The first step in the build was to install new ARB differential assemblies from Great Basin Rovers.  Both units were built with 3.90 gears, ARB Air Locker differentials, and the rear was converted to a flange style input flange, eliminating the rotoflex coupling.  We will also be using GBR front and rear drive shafts.

Keeping in mind the extra power demands of the ARB air compressor, and all of the new exterior auxiliary lighting, an Odyssey PC2150 battery was dropped in.  The space which once housed the now useless factory bottle jack was re-zoned industrial, and in went the ARB air compressor.   

ARB heavy duty air lines were used on both differentials for this project.  These lines offer more durability than the standard blue plastic air line in areas where the line cannot be protected.  The vestigial height sensor bracket makes a perfect mount for the transition from plastic to HD air lines.

At the same time the differentials were being installed, we installed new lift springs from RoverTym Engineering.  This will give the truck about 3 inches of lift, better load carrying / towing ability and with the front Old Man Emu and rear Bilstien 7100 shocks, a better overall ride on and off pavement.  The new RTE spring is pictured here to the right of the original factory spring.  This setup allows so much more suspension travel that extended brake hydraulic and ABS signal lines had to be installed.  This suspension setup not only makes room for the new 265/75/18 BFG AT KO tires, but will assist in supporting the extra weight of the front and rear RTE bumpers, and rocker guards.  Read on, that's next............

Next up are the RTE Rock Sliders.  Any Land Rover owner that has gotten knee deep in rocks knows that the plastic door sills do absolutely NOTHING to protect the lower edges of the doors, the rock always wins.  Not anymore!  RTE rock sliders are the toughest available anywhere, period, and offer more protection that any other slider available for Land Rover.  Each slider is a 2 piece deal with the outer guard and nerf assembly, and the underbelly guard.  Installation requires that 10 riv-nuts be installed in each sill, and then 6 more 1/2" bolts are installed completely through the rocker panel box section to tie the whole slider assembly together.  Not only do these protect the doors, but they can also be used as jack points for your Hi Lift jack, or for your buddies to stand on when they want to ride Camel Trophy style!  (off road only, you'll get arrested for that on the street)

Here we have the front RTE winch bumper with Warn 9.5XP winch spooled up with O.K. Off Road's O.D. green synthetic winch cable and aluminum hawse fairlead.  The factory bumper mounted fog lamps were obviously replaced with Hella 4000 fogs.  Both lighting systems use a 55W bulb, so the factor wiring can be re-used.  The original Hella 500 overhead lamps were replaced with Hella 4000 pencil beams in the center, and Hella 4000 cornering beams on each side.   Also installed are RTE heavy duty tie rod and drag link, and not shown is the RTE steering guard skid plate.

The rear of the truck is rounded out with a simple but functional RTE bumper which incorporates rear quarter panel protection.  Some of you may already know that installation of this bumper requires the rear quarter panels to be trimmed and notched.  Not a big deal really, but this might be one part of the build you don't want to watch if you're squeamish! Once it is all done, this setup allows for a better departure angle, and also incorporates side nerfs to match the rock sliders, and keep that tree from getting too friendly with the side of your truck.  The rear fog guard and reverse lamps are also retained and protected.  Here you can also see the addition of the Hella dual beam rear work lamp, roof rack flooring, and rear access ladder. 

Now it's time to make all those lights work!  Earlier in this section we mentioned that one of the qualities of this project would be "transparency of installation".  You might be wondering "what the heck does that mean?"  It means everything extra that has been installed on the vehicle should look like it belongs there.  All of the wiring for the overhead and rear work lighting is hidden behind the passenger side A-pillar trim, and run through the drip rail to the roof rack.  The entire harness is connected with a GM style weather pack connector to a separate harness on the roof rack.  This aids removal and installation of the rack should anyone need to do so in the future. 

Holy fustercluck Batman!  I thought we were putting together not ripping apart!  We are, but just like U.S. Marines, you must first tear down, then build better!  All of the extra lighting that has been added which includes the overheads, the rear work lamp, and rock lights under the driver and passenger doors will be controlled with factory style switches mounted in the dash.  We will also be finding a home for the ARB Air Locker controls and wiring. 

All of the new wiring has been tested, and is secure and ready for service.  It may look like spaghetti, but everything is documented in it's own separate wiring diagram, and easily serviceable should the need arise. 

AHHH!!!  The finished product!  Almost.  The switch controls from left to right are:  Outer roof lights, inner roof lights, rock lights.  In the center are the Air Locker switches under the climate control head.  Their location is not only convenient for use, but out of the way so as not to be inadvertently activated.  The space on the right of the console will house another switch pod and 2 more switches for the dual bulb rear work lamp.

Everything underhood has a home, and looks like it belongs.  A neat install like this not only looks good, but ensures long term durability, and ease of service later on.  Thanks for sticking with us to the end of the tour, if you are interested in any of the products and services used on this vehicle, don't hesitate to contact us and get your project going too! 


The 2004 Discovery is widely regarded as the cream of the crop and that is mainly because of the re-introduction of the selectable center differential.  This feature was available on early Discovery Series II, but a bit "hidden".  The CDL did exist, but to engage it required crawling under the truck, and turing the selector shaft with a wrench.  there are varoius kits available to bring this feature into the cabin and make it more convenient to engage the center diff, but on the 2002 and 2003 Discovery, the center differential lock feature was removed entirely from the transfer case.  This particular writeup describes using an LT230 transfer case from a Discovery series 1.  Here in this picture we have the T-case in place, and the console plate has been modified to fit the new T-case shifter.

Fron down below, things look just like they were put there from the factory.  This Discovery 1 CDL setup uses solid linkage rods, whereas the '04 DII CDL setup uses a cable to actuate the center diff lock.  Both setups work equally well.  The DII front output flange needs to be swapped onto the D1 T-case in order to retain the double cardan style front driveshaft.  This is a great time to have that front shaft rebuilt if it has never been serviced before.  They are notorious for breaking U-joints and can cause major damage to driveline and other components when this happens.

Another view of the D1 CDL linkage from below.  Everything is in place and working, and this truck is now ready to to take on some more seroius terrain without straining the traction control so much.


More photos coming soon, plesae bear with us.  This new product is a replacement Y pipe assembly for Defender 90 / 110 , Discovery Series 1, Range Rover Classic SWB / LWB.  Pictured here is the RRC LWB pipe system.  This system consists of 5 separate pipes, 2 catalytic converters, clamps, hardware, new gaskets, and lock nuts.  Pipes for both lifted and stock height vehicles are now available.  This system affords more front driveshaft clearance than any other aftermarket Y Pipe available.



Defender owners recognize this?  Ever wonder if it's really telling you what you need to know?  It's not.  This is especially true for 110 owners.  Read on to find out why.

This device, called a signal conditioner, part # AMR2401 is responsible for the misleading information.  With this installed, your gauge will not read much above 1/3 and will NEVER show a true overheat!  Not a good thing if you truly are overheating!  Now, some Defender "experts" will tell you to remove the signal conditioner, and hook up your gauge directly, and you will get true reading from it.  NOT TRUE!  When you do this, your gauge will read full hot within a minute or two, you panic, and call them back and they tell you that you need a full cooling system overhaul!  Mucho bucks out of your pocket!  What you really need to do is call Trailhead 4x4 & Off road so we can upgrade your dash system for much less money.

Here is the signal conditioner with the tape removed.  It is just stuffed in behind the instrument cluster, easy to take out.

Before any work is done, you have to know the actual engine temperature.  We use a type T thermocouple probe to monitor coolant temperature just downstream of the thermostat.  The display is now reading 187 degrees F, which is perfect, if even slightly cool.  Other Defender "experts" will tell you that the normal range of 185-205 degrees is way too hot, but we disagree.  The factory thermostat is set to open at 88 degrees C, which is 190.4 degrees F.  This means that your engine temp CANNOT drop below about 185 F under normal driving, and will rise to about 205 or 210 under load.  Do not be misled, this is NORMAL!  Now that we have determined that this engine is cooling fine (original gauge reading without the signal conditioner was full overheat!) we have to swap in a new gauge that will read out some usefull information.

We have decided to use this VDO water temp gauge.  It is electrically operated, and fits neatly in the original dash opening.  It also has a degree scale, thus providing more usefull information than the original unit with no scale at all.  We also install a new sender unit matched to the gauge, so you are ensured accurate readings.  Not only does this new gauge actually work, but it looks at home in the Defender instrument cluster as well!


There are many reasons for hard starting.  Below is a brief description of the most common reasons.  If you are having difficulties with your Rover that cannot be addressed by these quick tips, feel free to call us anytime.  Trailhead 4x4 can now diagnose your Rover with a brand new Omitec T-4 diagnostic system.  Check it out in more detail over in the "SHOP / SERVICES" section.

This could be one reason why.  See the crud on the positive terminal of this battery?  That stuff is called MUNG!  Who the heck wants that on their car?  It is caused by the electrolyte leaking out of the battery, and is corroding the terminals.  The acid will eventually make its way down the outside of your battery case and rust out your battery tray.  When this happens, your battery will fall through and hit the front wheel.  Then you have a whole bunch of expensive things to fix, and no rover for a while.  Not cool.  Read on to find out what to do about it.

You may be wondering where the picture of the new battery is?  Sadly, Trailhead 4x4 can no longer endorse Optima brand Batteries.  We have had far too many failures lately of Optima batteries to confidently install them in customer vehicles.  We're not sure what has changed in the past year or so, but one thing is for sure, the quality has diminished significantly.  All of our shop trucks and expedition prep vehicles now incorporate Odessey AGM batteries.  They are far superior to Optima and reinstill the confidence that has been lost on Optima. 


Installing an Odessey AGM battery is one of the first things that should be done when you get a new rover, or start thinking about ways of preserving your existing one.  They do not leak acid, and are much more robust and up to the challenge of supplying the electrical demands of your Land Rover.  Try one before you find yourself stranded in sub-zero weather.  Remember that those fantastic heated seats are electrical and need power!


This 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser is ready for a suspension upgrade from Old Man Emu.  We will be using OME heavy rear springs to deal with the constant extra weight of scuba tanks in the cargo area, and OME medium duty fronts to support the front ARB bumper, and maintain ride quality.

The look of the FJ is much improved with the addition of the ARB front bumper and fog lamp kit. The new BFG Mud Terrain KM tires and Alcoa wheels give the truck a more aggressive stance too.  Ride quality with the OME suspension is firm, but not harsh, and the increased load carrying ability means no more saggy rear end! 

One Item that needed to be addressed with the Volvo C303 were the steering gaiters on the front axle.  These seals keep the oil inside the geared hub, and when they tear, it makes a huge mess as well as compromise the lubrication of the hub.

So Ross here is getting his hands dirty and breaking down the drivers side steering knuckle for the gaiter replacement.

Here is the hub on the bench.  It has been separated from the steering knuckle already, and the new gaiter is in place.  Installing the assembly is definitely a 2 person job since as it weighs about 100 lbs! 


This 1980 Toyota Hilux pickup is in for what we like to call a "Functional Restoration".  We are currently in the process of rebuilding the front and rear axles and suspension, with most every part we take off getting powdercoated before re-assembly.We will also be replacing the entire brake system with updated components.  Paint and bodywork will be sent to Breckenridge Restoration in Tallmadge Ohio. 

It's been a while since there has been any update on this project, but there has been progress made.  All of the suspension, steering and axle components have been rebuilt and re-assembled.  Now it's on the the body work.  The bed has been removed and the cab will soon be stripped of all trim, glass, and lighting.

A carb rebuild and ignition tune up really helped things out with this little truck.  After that, it ran like a top!  This will help us out in transporting it around during the painting.  Later in life this truck will return to us to get the cylinder head rebuilt, timing chain replaced, transmission rebuilt, and clutch replaced.  Any other engine work needed will be done at that time. 

Yuck!  This type of work is not usually done in house, but since the paintshop has been over flowing with work, we decided this might help speed the process up a bit.  This bed is in terrible shape, but not bad enough to justify a complete replacement.  Not that we hadn't thought of it more than a few times, all it takes is one phone call.........

Back from Breckenridge restoration, and ready to put together!  FINALLY!!!!  The bed is still in the paint shop, there was only one bay available and since the cab and bed are getting sprayed separately, we had to wait till one was done and swap spots.  The color we picked out is now called "Toyota Heritage Orange"   It was only available on 1979 4x4 pickup trucks as far as we know, although don't be surprised if it makes a comeback on one of the new FJ Cruisers soon.

The bed and tailgate are both home again, and looking good.  Now to locate some new windshield moulding, and Toyota 4x4 fender emblems.

The finished product now basking in the sun!  After much searching, and thanks to the tireless work from the guys in the parts dept. at Metro Toyota, we have all the necessary bits to make it whole again.  We are still missing the fender emblems though.  They seem to have gone out of production long ago, and no amount of searching can bring up any NIB old stock.  We'll get them, they're out there somewhere.  The bed was the most questionable part of the whole project, but it came together nicely, and the new Line-X bedliner looks fantastic! 

This tattered looking D90 was brought into our shop this summer looking for help.  Being a daily driver in Cleveland Ohio is tough on everything, and this 1997 D90 is showing it's age.

Along with extensive corrosion damage, and daily life dents and dings, there was a bit of collision damage as well. 

The biggest problem facing this owner, and the one that finally kicked off the start of this mild restoration was that fact that the rear cargo door had rusted out so badly, it was literally falling off of its hinges!  

This photo shows more of the damage to the rear cargo door, and also to the lower edge of the rear body tub, and rear frame cross member. 


Something all D90's that are driven in wet climates will need at one point or another is replacement of the rear crossmember.   This one is showing the terribler effects of winter road salt.  Every surface is paper thin after the rust scale has been knocked off, and has no structural integrity left at all.  This is not the case for the rest of the frame, in fact from this point forward, there is hardly even much surface rust thanks to the factory original undercoating which for some reason didn't seem to do the job back here.

So off it comes!  This photo shows where the rear cross member was cut off along with part of the existing frame rails.  This was to ensure that all of the corroded area was removed and also because of modifications that need to be done to the new replacement crossmember.

This is the new assembly that will be installed.  It requires some modification to work for NAS vehicles, but it should do nicely.

These brackets had to be cut from the old cross member, and will need to be refit and welded to the new cross member..  You can see in this picture that there is still frame rail attached to them which has to be removed.  We were very cautious with the torch the first time around so as not to cut into any of the bracket material that needs to go back on the truck.  As an old wisened mentor once told me "it is better to spare the torch and do grinder time than to burn it all up and be screwed"  Good advice. 

Here they are after being cleaned up of old frame rail and internal webbing.  Everything has been sandblasted and ready to fit back onto the truck. 

.........and finally welded into place after much fitting and refitting and remedial grinding.  The entire fuel tank assembly as well as the skid plate was used to mock up the correct orientation of these brackets.  This step would turn out to be one of the more time consuming parts of this stage of the project.  All bare metal has been treated with an etching primer to provide a durable and stable outer layer.Then everything was  top coated with an epoxy based chassis spray.  Once everything has cured, it was all covered with an undercoating.  All this to combat winter road salt.

Once the brackets are in place and the protective finish has had time to cure, everything else can be reinstalled with stainless hardware, and it's ready to go!  The original skid plate / tank cradle was of course badly corroded, and replaced with a galvanized Southdown skid plate.  The Fuel pump and lines were also replaced due to corrosion, as was the fuel vapor separator, and all rubber fuel hoses and vent lines. 

After spending about a month at the paint shop having all manner of grinding, welding, dent un-pounding, and paint spraying of Land Rover Arles Blue performed, we finally received it back and are ready to start the re-assembly process.  All 3 doors are new shells, there was too much corrosion damage to save the originals. 

Here is the almost finished product!  The front end collision damage (caused by Northeast Ohio's most famous white-tailed road hazard) has been  fixed up with a brand new fender and all new trim, and is now properly protected with an ARB bull bar.  Every piece of exterior hardware is now stainless steel, and the rust prone exterior door hinges are now anodized aluminum with stainless steel hinge pins.

Ahhhhhhh............this looks much better!  The corrosion has been repaired, the door shell is brand new as well as new hinges hung by stainless steel bolts.  A new lock set was also installed at this time so the vehicle can once again be secured while unattended.  New weather stripping seals around the doors also keeps the Cleveland winters where they should be, outside.

Every exterior lamp and marker is new.  Only one tail lamp, and one turn signal actually worked when the truck was left with us, and along with body corrosion, there was extensive electrical harness corrosion to repair. 

There you have it!  Some shiny new paint, many new parts, and another life to live!  If you have a Defender in need of similar attention, give us a call!

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