EP03 | What is the best approach to building an overland vehicle?

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Episode Description

Join Clay, Rachelle, and Jimmy as they explore best practices for building an overlanding vehicle in the third episode of our series focused on getting started in overlanding. Different approaches to building overlanding vehicles, common pitfalls to avoid, costs of building an overlanding vehicle, whether to use pro shops or to DIY build your overlanding vehicle are all topics we get into in this episode of the X Overland podcast!

Episode Summary

Part 1 Thinking Through the Process

The need to think through the process first and develop a plan for your build. Where to begin your build? Building your vehicle to have the experiences that you want. Mechanical and livability aspects of the vehicle explained.

Part 2 D.I.Y. vs. Working with a Pro-Shop to Build Your Overlanding Vehicle

Problem-solving and avoiding pitfalls. Do your research! You need to be able to communicate your needs and wants to shop professionals. Be patient with the process, and do your due diligence.

Part 3 Progressive-Build vs. Dedicated Build

Clay explains the process behind a “progressive build” including the multiple stages and phases of the progressive build process. Common issues are examined and discussed.

Part 4 Getting Past the “Stock Vehicle” mindset and Benefits of a Build

Benefits of an upgraded, built suspension system and the benefits this provides to the performance and protection of your vehicle. The rewards of spending the time, effort, and money to get beyond a stock vehicle and into well-modified vehicle.

Part 5 Building the Design Plan for Your Overlanding Build

Benefits of the design plan in understanding the costs of the build and figuring out a savings plan. Being real about the costs of professional labor through shops.

Part 6 When to Use a Shop and When to D.I.Y.?

Thinking through the opportunity-cost of your time vs. shop costs. Being realistic about your own mechanical capabilities. What to enlist a shop for. Where/how to find a trustworthy pro-shop to work with. M.U.L.E. Outfitters; OK 4WD; Dark Horse Customs

Part 7

O.E.M.s working toward building overlanding-ready stock vehicles: Toyota Tundra TRD Pro; Sequoia; Land Rover Defender, et. al. Benefits of a stock vehicle and using stock performance as a baseline for driveability and reliability. Clay explains the approach to the modification that works toward ensuring stock performance in these areas.

Part 8 The Need for Improved Braking Capabilities

As you add weight, you need to upgrade your vehicle’s braking system. The need to safely test your vehicle to realize its capabilities and lack thereof. Braking, corning, and balance are all discussed. We highly recommend PowerBrakes to optimize your braking capabilities.

Part 9 Bumpers, Skidplates, and other Hardware Modifications

Aluminum vs. Steel, sliders, re-gearing, and extended range fuel tanks discussed. The benefits of OEM metallurgy vs. aftermarket companies. Gearing explained (numbers/ratios and how they work) and how to access your needs in this area. Our go-to company for bumpers and skidplates is C.B.I. Fabrication

Part 10 Tires, Ground Clearance, and Lifting Your Overlanding Vehicle

How do you gain ground clearance and the role tires plan in this. Some issues with lifting a vehicle. Increasing tire size increasing ground clearance, but creates other potential problems. In this vid, Clay illustrates how to equip a Toyota Tacoma with 35” tires.

Part 11 Adding Livability and Camping Items

Thinking about weight and balances and best practices for loading your vehicle to optimize handling and performance. Honoring the engineering of the OEM. Overlanding vehicle and camp lighting. Recovery equipment. Figuring out how to organize and secure your gear and equipment, lashing and tie-downs. The benefits of a solid system.

Part 12 Refinement of Your Build

“Your vehicle is finished when the last piece of gear is taken off of it that you don’t need.” Scott Brady Overland Journal With the use of your vehicle, figuring out what you aren’t using and what you don’t need and getting that off of your vehicle. Your vehicle evolving as you do as an overlander. Vehicle Lighting discussed.

Part 13/Conclusion Perfecting the Refinement Process and Maintaining Your Build Vehicle

Taking the time to go through this process before you launch on a major trip. The joy of completing this process and having the vehicle you want. Maintenance tips for your overland vehicle. The benefits of Snorkels explained. Excellent information is out there. Find it. Educate yourself, and start building your overland vehicle.

Additional Helpful Resources and Links

Video: How to Choose an Overlanding Vehicle
Video: Snorkels 101

Overland Journal – The publication for environmentally responsible, worldwide vehicle-supported expedition and adventure travel.

Expedition Portal – The global resource for overland and adventure travel.

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