Final modifications
Tire report, Toyo Open Country MT
The Snow's of November
Air Transportable?
New years day outing 2010
Land Rover Station Wagon Review. 1961 Sports Cars Illustrated
Off-Road Road Test. The 1974 Land Rover. from Off-Road magazine 1974
Racer Rover, Hover Rover,...Land Rover. from CAR & DRIVER May 1979
Road Test. Land Rover. January 1974
Mechanix Illustrated September 1959 Land Rover review
Your Own Backyard
A Good Snow Day
It's an IIA for Me!

Final modifications

In short, What to do when nothing else will work. I can't describe it. It is best to go to the Utube site and watch it for yourself.

Final Land Rover modifications.

Tire report, Toyo Open Country MT

Tires? Yes! I deliberated long and hard and even corresponded with BF Goodrich about their line-up and future of some of their lines; three times I've been about to buy BFG tires and three times they have been ending production on the style tire I've wanted. First the Trac-Edge then BFG MT's (the old style), and now the replacement for the Trac-Edge the Commercial Traction M&S. In the end, despite our club's strong and favourable affiliation with BFG, I bough Toyo Open Country Mud Terrain in 255-85x16.Tires 10 10  008" It was confusing after deciding which tire to buy because I have too many friends that have tire shops. Who do I buy from and who do I offend? In the end I got them from OK Tire, just down the road from us, as they have the only tire siping machine in the area and I definitely wanted them siped on installation. The tires are 33 inches in diameter, one inch bigger than the original fitment tire. The speedometer is almost right on and the power is only marginally less than the 32 inch tire. My last set of tires were quite a bit smaller than the original fitment and gave me a higher rpm at a given speed, thus giving me a bit more usable horse power at the higher speeds where the wind resistance matters. I can't drive as fast with the new tires due to the increased wind resistance combined with a lower rpm (and resulting lower hp). But I don't seem to mind as the ride is far superior to anything I've had on her in the past and road noise from the tires is essentially non-existent. Traction is superb under all conditions; rain, rock, stone, gravel, grass, wet, water, mud, ice, snow, more snow and ice. My first drive with them was to the 2010 Northwest Challenge. Click on the NW Challenge bar. I didn't place anywhere near the top of the standings, but the tires performed flawlessly.

Grip was excellent in all conditions, be it braking, acceleration or side-slope. Grip is great when cornering, even while accelerating. One time after parking in some logging debris, David called me to look at the side wall of one of the rear tires. He pointed and said "That's why you bought the Toyo tire. Any other tire would have the side wall torn out of it after parking on that branch." There was a three inch branch bulging well into the side wall. No damage, not even a mark! In use, the tire forms well without gross distortion when aired down and gets a longer foot print; the side lugs come into use when really aired down or in soft stuff; the rim protector does a good job of deflecting branches and rock from wedging into the bead.

All this performance, low noise and good handling come at a price, as much as a BFG KM2 MT. Toyo Open Country MT's and BFG KM2 MT's seem to be the highest cost tires for your rig and seem to be the only two made in 255-85x16. Several tire shops suggested I shy away from the 255 as they are uncommon and might be a problem if far from home and needing a replacement. There isn't much else out there the same diameter but I have a firm conviction that you get better performance from a tall skinny tire. The 255-85 is the tallest of the skinny tires with a tread width of only 8 1/2 inches; 33.5" diameter and 10.2" section width. Cost for five, $1800 mounted, balanced, new stems and siped, including taxes and other fees (deduct $15 and taxes per tire if you don't want them siped).

In short, I did some homework, forked out the money, and I'm happy.Tires 10 10  007

Greg Sutfin, 1970 Series IIA 109 SW. March 2011

The Snow's of November

This is our second weekend of snow. It started falling last Friday night and by morning we had a good 4 inches at home. When my wayward Land Rover coerced me into going for a drive up our local mountain, we found out there was about a 6 inch blanket of white over the whole mountain. Pretty much the same amount at the bottom as at the top. We (the Land Rover and I) were trail breaking for several miles and we both enjoyed the pristine wilderness with the snow laden evergreen branches bowing before us. It was noon on Saturday and it seemed we were the only ones out playing on the mountain. I can't figure that one out as just about every second vehicle around here is a four by four with many of them heavily tricked out in expensive off-road tires, skid plates, winches and recovery points. I thought for sure that we'd be running into a traffic jam on the side of the mountain. Not the case on that Saturday.

The week continued with freezing weather, down to minus twelve one night with a high of plus 6 in the daytime; a bit cooler than we see some winters but not unheard of, pretty rare for November though. During the week we got a bit more snow but not much, then, on Friday it started to rain. Night came and it froze with freezing rain instead of snow. The mountain still had about six inches of snow and any tracks were icy. Ruts were hard and tended to throw the Land Rover around. The Landy and I had Victor for company this time. I told my wife it was all Victor's fault for forcing us to go off-roading again; I don't think she bought it.

My new tires were essentially un-tested in winter conditions. Sure, they made out okay going to and from work every day in the snow, but so did the tires on every other car and truck on the road. Last Saturday in the fresh virgin snow they performed well, but so did my almost bald All Terrain tires of a few years ago in similar fresh snow conditions. I wanted a real test and the icy snow and ruts on the mountain might just be the right conditions for this test. In hind sight, conditions were ideal to prove if the tires worked well and they most certainly did.

Near the top of the mountain there is one particularly steep hill often used for tobogganing, and to see how capable your rig is in winter conditions. Several times over the years I've been the first to top this obstacle but normally after I've put on tire chains and after a couple of runs. To be truthful, I didn't summit this year, but I was also without chains. I made it very near the top, farther than any truck had made it in the last few days. There were Quad tracks to the top but not tracks from any normal width vehicle. I reversed to the bottom of the hill and was able to maintain steerage the whole way. Better than other years by far and good enough to prove the tires in unbroken snow.

We then drove the circle route around the shoulder of the mountain on the icy, rutted track. With an exception, even on the steepest of these roads we kept going without spinning. The tires held on far better than I ever would have expected. As we got farther around the mountain the tire tracks we were following were petering out. It was obvious that others before us had given up and turned around before completing the circuit. The tracks got to what looked like only a couple had gone before us. Once we arrived at Crossover Road, despite the steep incline of the access, we attempted this "shortcut". Past the access, which we made in one run but with some difficulty and spinning of tires, it again became obvious that only a few quads had been this way. Labouring up the hill, the quad tracks became fewer in number. What was going on? Were they turning around because they couldn't make it, or what? Regardless, we kept going, maintaining forward motion, lugging through in some places and revving the anaemic four banger and spinning tires in others. I didn't recall this road as being this steep, or as long, but we kept going, following the quad tracks till the road started back down hill again and we finally met up with tracks from other four by four's not far from the main intersection.

We'd been up the steepest hill almost to the top and circumnavigated the mountain in some very icy and difficult snow conditions; admittedly only 6 to 8 inches deep. It was a good day out with good views of the snow covered valley below us. The snowy mountain scenery deserves respect and awe. We were the first normal four by four on some of the roads and broke trail for others to follow. It was a good day!

These roads are on Mount Prevost, overlooking the City of Duncan and the Cowichan Valley on Southern Vancouver Island, Canada. The tires are Toyo Open Country MT's that I had siped when they were installed in September. They are 255/85R16 with a 33.5 inch diameter, 10.2 inch section and 8 inch tread width mounted on stock Land Rover 5.5 inch steel wheels. They are mounted on my essentially stock Land Rover 109 with standard 2.25 liter petrol engine turning a stock gearbox, transfer case and Rover open differential with a the standard 4.7 ratio.

Greg Sutfin, December 2010

Air Transportable?

Known as the "Light Weight" it was introduced in 1968 to fill a military need to fit a fully capable Land Rover two abreast into cargo aircraft. It had to be light enough, narrow enough and low enough to stack, stuff and transport. They were to be tossed out of airplanes, ferried by helicopter and driven hard by troops. Guess what? The standard Land Rover was already getting tossed out of aircraft without the special work-over by Solihull.

Land Rover Rally 08 Attendee 07

At a recent car faire a gentleman approached our group of Land Rovers and started telling us an interesting story about how he used to throw these things out of aircraft. Then he mentioned this was going on in the early 1960's. I commented that I thought the Air Transportable Land Rover hadn't been developed till much later than that, so did he have his dates wrong?

"Oh no!" says he. "I've got my dates right. We weren't using the Air Transportable; this was way before them. We were using the standard Land Rover just as they came." There was no roof, the windshield was folded down (or was it removed? He couldn't recall.), they were loaded on a big aluminum pallet, like a crate that had big doors underneath it. First a trailer filled with their ammo, fuel and other gear went on the pallet, then the Land Rover; tilted up in the back as it sat partly on top of the trailer to shorten it during transport and the drop.

When they were over the target a couple of these palletized Land Rovers were shoved out the back of the plane, after a set delay the big doors on the bottom would blast open, there were four big plastic "balloons" that inflated by the wind and three 60 foot parachutes would drift each Land Rover to the ground. The load was protected by the air filled bags and when it hit the ground each bag had a large sacrificial valve that would blow out and cushion the landing.

Anyway, the crew would shove these two Land Rovers out the door, then the plane would circle and the crew would jump out at the same spot. Just as their parachutes were opening, they would watch the Land Rovers land right below them.

On landing, the crew cut away the plastic bags and drove the Land Rover off the pallet, hooked up the trailer and drove away. Our narrator reassured us that landing in this manner was actually very gentle for the Land Rover, not at all like what they had to go through with the young soldiers driving them after they were on the ground. He bemoaned not having any photos from those drops and has looked on-line for photos of this but hasn't been able to find any. He now realizes he was taking part in a bit of history.

Greg Sutfin, April 2010

New years day outing 2010

My son announced today that instead of him and his friends going for a hike in the pounding down rain (cats and dogs today folks). They were going for an off-road drive. "Where to dad?"I invited myself along and was designated the leader. A bit of short notice, but a phone call to Victor with an offer to ride along was greeted with a yes, and a smile too I suspect.

It has been a few years since I was up Mount Sicker to the historic mine sites and some of the historic trails. The last time I was there it was in the process of being logged again and instead of following the established routes, they had to build new ones. The road beds on the new roads are nowhere near as good as the century old wagon roads. Most of the wagon route has now been obliterated. Pity, it was in better shape after a century of no maintenance that the new logging roads are after a mere 5 years. The old routes are cut off with the new roads zigzagging across them and piles of logging slash plugging them. That's the reason I haven't been back for a while. I told my kids to just wait; in a few years (like now) the roads will be opened up again. They are!

Mount Sicker trail 1

I have to learn the new routes; the old ones I had memorized pretty well. There is more challenge on some of the new paths and today there was almost a traffic jam. Besides us, there had to be at least 25 other four wheeling vehicles. Some of the play areas were a bit crowded for us and a bit muddy in this down pour. We had limited time, having not left the house before 2 PM and wanting to be back by dark (4:30).

One group of four wheelers had a big tarp strung up and a bonfire roaring to keep people warm and to dry out. Others were getting as wet and muddy as they could, I guess to return to the bonfire. We circled around getting the lay of the new routes, and then headed to another area of technical trails; one of them used to be called Hamburger Hill. A couple young guys drove up to us and asked if we could help get their buddy unstuck from a mud obstacle; they were just a hundred yards or so up the road with a group of five or six trucks. I had the only winch!

The stuck young fellow, with wide tires and lots of skinny pedal in his Toyota Tacoma saw fit to try a monster mud hole. (I've seen how deep it is.) He didn't realize he was nowhere near the deep part; just stuck in the shallows along the edge. They had been working for about an hour and a half to get him unstuck and had broken a big tug strap; reverted to a chain, cable, and jack in winch mode, when the pin on the jack (High-Lift, Jack-All, something like that), broke. I understand the pin is used like a shear-pin so the jack doesn't get overloaded.

I worked my Land Rover 109 around the by-pass road to get behind him, snugged the bumper against a tree, and ran the line to a redirection block then to his truck. I made the boys move the retrieval point from the trailer ball to a frame mounting point. Much wiser folks! After a few feet of winching I felt "Surely he can drive out now."Nope! Winched him almost all the way to the tree and well up onto hard dry land. Those big tires and lots of skinny pedal ensured he wasn't going anywhere on his own. I was told "Skinny pedal is your friend!"

More winching! Still not getting anywhere on his own. How did he get so far into the bush before we showed up? Once he was turned the right direction and pointing towards the dry trail, we left. Whatever happened to "As slow as possible, as fast as necessary."? We headed down the old wagon road to civilization and were home by 4:30; right on schedule.

It's been a great day. The roads in my favourite area are open again. I lumped over some trails I hadn't been on before and challenged my truck and driving skills. I got to use my winch; something I don't do every day and even got a little story out of it. Of course I didn't mention getting hung up on a stump and I was quiet about getting cross axled on the trail. I'm not sure where I bent the outrigger on my rear crossmember, or dented my fender, was all fun.

Greg Sutfin

Land Rover Station Wagon Review

An article from the March 1961 edition of Sports Cars Illustrated magazine, soon before it became known as Car and Driver magazine. Authored by Wayne Thoms, the article is saved in Bit Map form and includes a colour image of the magazine cover as well as the article's introduction photo. There are cost comparisons to other makes, vehicle specs and an acceleration graph. Click on the highlighted links below.

  • Magazine Cover Photo
  • Article Facing Photo
  • Page 1 of Article
  • Page 2 of Article

  • Off-Road Road Test. The 1974 Land Rover

    An article from a 1974 edition of Off-Road magazine co-authored by Paul Davies in England and Marshall Spiegel in New York. Reprinted by the now defunct Land Rover Owners Association of USA and saved online with permission by the RoverWeb. This is two reviews, one from the point of view of an Englishman and the other from an author in the "Colonies". The article starts on page 12 of the pdf file here.

    The RoverWeb has a lot more information that will take hours to sift through. Have a look at their site

    Racer Rover Hover Rover Shunter Rover Hunter Rover Land Rover

    An article from the May 1979 CAR & DRIVER magazine authored by LKJ Setright. Reprinted by the now defunct Land Rover Owners Association of USA and saved online with permission by the RoverWeb. This composition is about various special applications the Land Rover has been modified for. The article starts on page 7 of the pdf file here.

    The RoverWeb has a lot more information that will take hours to sift through. Have a look at their site

    Road Test. Land Rover

    An article from the January 1974 IMPORT CAR magazine authored by Barry Lopez. Reprinted by the now defunct Land Rover Owners Association of USA and saved online with permission by the RoverWeb. The review is of the Series 3 SWB Station Wagon just as their import to Canada and the US ceased. The article starts on page 7 of the pdf file here.

    The RoverWeb has a lot more information that will take hours to sift through. Have a look at their site

    Looking Back the British Land Rover

    An article by the famous Tom McCahill in the August 1959 edition of Mechanix Illustrated. Reprinted by the now defunct Land Rover Owners Association of USA and saved with permission by the RoverWeb. The article starts on page 7 of the pdf file here and in it, he compares it rather favourably to his own Jeep. He says it is better built, has more space and carrying capacity, it's a "class vehicle from one end to the other", "A rich mans Jeep.".

    The RoverWeb has a lot more information that will take hours to sift through. Have a look at their site

    Your Own Backyard

    Sometimes the "Best" is found right in your backyard. In the four-wheel-drive fraternity "Best" can be interpreted as "Most Challenging"

    I had to bring some heavy horse mats home and needed help. Our nephew, Arron, gave me a hand with his 3/4 ton Chev pickup and trailer. With the mats loaded we drove home and up the hill to the barn, where he had been with his truck only a week before. I got out at the top of the hill and walked down to the barn to check with Erica about where to unload the mats. Arron drove ahead a bit for a good angle to back the trailer to the front of the barn.

    I turned my head just in time to Arron and truck wildly sliding sideways and toward me. He couldn’t do a thing about it and was sliding toward a 3-foot drop. The trailer was happily following along; oblivious to the impending disaster, but not happy that it was being jack-knifed in the process. The hill flattens a little before the drop-off and the truck luckily stopped there. Could he have floored it and pulled the truck forward and out of danger? At the time he was too intent on applying the brake to try the throttle. Once the sideways slide stopped and we assessed the situation, he tried driving forward to get out of harms way. No luck! It went sideways, and no matter what the wheel speed, it didn’t go forward other than by the effect of a bit of gravity, but forward just enough to be past the drop-off. The impending disaster was averted but now we had to get back to the road.

    I returned to the house and got the Land Rover (1970 Long Wheelbase Station Wagon) with the intent of winching the Chev and trailer out of danger. I drove quite comfortably to a flat spot forward and to the left of Arron by about 60 feet, set the brake, blocked the wheels, ran out the winch and started pulling. The trouble was, I was being pulled to him. No problem! I’ll back up a bit more and make use of the ground shape to give me more anchoring and, because he is being pulled down slope and a bit to the side, well within the turn radius of his vehicle, I should have no problem. He’s on bare dirt that rain, the last few days, has turned to mud; I am on firm turf. The mud the Chev is sliding around in is about 3/8 of an inch deep with firm ground under that. It isn’t the type of mud that clings to your boots and leaves deep depressions with every step you take. Instead it’s the type of mud that you have to walk carefully in or your feet slip out from under you, much like walking on ice.

    A problem cropped up in the rescue attempt! I’m parked on grass with a firm footing but I can’t backup, not even a few inches. Even with the Mud Terrain tires I just mounted on the Land Rover, it wouldn’t budge. I’m confused! I’m parked on almost flat ground, just a slight side hill and no mud. I have firm grass underfoot and tires with an exceptional grip, yet all four wheels are spinning. By rocking ahead, it slides to the left toward the fence. Go too far ahead and I’ll be in the deep (3/8") mud with Arron. Just a few feet in front of the Chev the depth of the mud increases dramatically to almost a half an inch. Maybe as much as three quarters of an inch. That’s twice as deep as were he is now and he’s already really stuck! I don’t want to buy any of that trouble! There isn’t much left to do but put it in reverse and bury the "Welley" letting grass and mud fly. After a bit of slip sliding around, I am able to guide the Land Rover out of this tight situation and to the top of the hill. Here is a question for you! Why is it that on the "flat" I’m stuck, yet I can drive quite nicely up the steep incline to the top of the hill? Where I had been "stuck" there were tire tracks showing I had been there but no ruts or great clods of mud thrown around. The spinning tires that were supposed to let fly the grass and mud, instead, simply spun. No Problem! I got to the top of the hill and that’s what I wanted. Well, actually, I wanted to get Arron and the Chevy to the top of the hill but there is plenty of time for that.

    From the top of the hill I positioned the Land Rover directly between a large power pole and the front of the Chevy for a straight pull with the winch. My front wheels were on a flat spot that imagination might have told you was a bit of a dip. (Don’t believe your imagination.) The Land Rover was ready to pull. The Chevy was disconnected from the trailer as it would have to turn a bit more causing more of a "jack knife" and loosing the trailer would lighten the load. If I started sliding again I could back-tie to the base of the power pole. Wonders to behold! The Chevy was being pulled up the hill and the Land Rover was staying put. I guess the mere threat of being tied to the pole encouraged her Mud Terrain’s to dig in and hold. It was more distance to pull, close to the limit for the 135 feet of cable I had, but it was an easy pull up the hill with the Chevy’s tires able to grab once he was almost on the level.

    Now for the trailer! It is much lighter than a full sized Chev pickup truck so I was brave enough to get closer so I wouldn’t have to winch as far, and so the cable would steer the trailer without digging the tongue into the field. I picked a spot where there was a slight depression for my front tires to hide in, I didn’t want to be embarrassed by the Land Rover getting drawn down slope by a now empty trailer (somewhere during this escapade we had unloaded the mats). Not to worry folks! The Land Rover stood her ground and hauled that trailer up the hill with no problem at all. Arron stood on the back of the trailer and the winch pulled the tongue. His weight lifted the tongue a few feet in the air and the uneven ground of the hill made it bob and swing like a blindman tapping about with a cane. The only trouble with this trailer recovery was lack of planning. I had parked the Land Rover without allowing room in front for the trailer. Well, there was room all right but all down hill. I would have to backup instead of winching, and pull the trailer to the top of the hill.

    The tires were acting up again and just spinning. We lowered the reach of the trailer to the ground. Arron disengaged the clutch on the winch so the land Rover could back up without the drag of the trailer. I was just about to start reversing when the trailer decided its position was too precarious and it started slowly wandering back to the bottom of the hill. The "slowly" part only lasted long enough for it to get its breath. Then it really started going; right into the bush at the side of the barn. I’m glad it was less than 135 feet or I might have had some difficulty with the winch.

    Arron was at the front of the trailer when it started its wander to the bottom of the hill, and was going to try to grab the cable. "After all" he thoughht "it's only going slowly. Surely I can stop it by grabbing on." After a good bellow from me for him to get the h--- out of the way; his good sense kicked in, keeping his fingers and hands attached to his arms. No need to worry about the trailer, there wasn’t far to go before the bush, fence and manure pile would stop it. When the nerves settled, I repositioned the Land Rover and winched the trailer to a better location at the top of the hill. Much less exciting the second time up.

    Land Rover Rally, really is on a farm!View up the hill.

    I’ve been stuck in this same spot a couple times before. Once with my Suburban I had to winch all the way to the power pole before I could start to drive on my own again. It makes me wonder how people get along without a winch. I think the world of my PTO winch but, as discovered with the trailer, there is no effective brake if the clutch is disengaged. Arron already wished he had better tires, now he is adamant that he needs something with more grip than the All Terrain's. My wife is happy that she got her rubber mats, four of them now make a floor in her tackroom (better than the dirt floor we had before). Her friend is happy her husband isn’t a Land Rover owner and that they live on flat land. Arron’s wife is happy because she doesn’t know anything about today’s escapades. I’m happy nothing and no one got hurt, and I learned, yet again, to do better planning before a winch job. Where are you anchoring? Where are the vehicles going to be before, during and after winching? What wheel chocks are going to be needed? What is plan "B"? Plan "C"?

    Another day in the life of a Land Rover owner.

    Greg Sutfin

    A Good Snow Day

    by Greg Sutfin

    At least I think it was a good day! My 2 boys and I went for a little jaunt over a local mountain as we often do. The difference today of course was the snow. Only about 4-5" at the bottom of the mountain but about 18-20" at the top of the pass. Very shortly after starting on the lesser-traveled portion of the road, I had to put on my chains. This was rather embarrassing as I was parked in the middle of the road at the time and while doing so a few members of the local four-wheel drive club had to stop and wait while I finished. They had been up the mountain to play and not one of them had chains on. Of course none of them had worn out "All-Terrains" either. Super Swampers and "MT"s" were more the order of the day for them.

    We drove on up the mountain and at the plateau found a picturesque spot for a photo. Smooth unbroken snow on a flat pullout on the side of the road made a nice setting in about 8" of snow. So what, wonders I, is that load breaking sound as I slowly pull out to continue up the road?

    Not much farther we start the steep accent to the top of the "Pass". Only a few hundred feet into this untouched snow there is another bang and I get the feeling that the front wheels are trying to pull without the help of the rear. I guess we just broke an axle lads. So....? Do we winch the couple hundred yards up the steepest roughest part of this road and then just follow the beaten path back down the mountain? Or do we turn around now and go back the way we came, all downhill.

    Two healthy lads and myself, a good winch and lots of line, let's go to the top and then follow others' tire tracks back home! It had taken us just over an hour, including putting on two pair of chains, to get this far and it's only a couple hundred yards or so to the top. It would probably take us longer to turn around and go the long way back.

    Of course that couple hundred yards took over two hours of tough slogging (by the boys) and I didn't have a long enough whip to keep them at a dead run the whole time. They kept complaining about the depth of the snow; seems that in the open and the higher elevation it was about 20" deep on the flat, deeper in drifts and where the good winching stumps were buried and needing digging out. I maintained self-control and not once did I tell them it "builds character". Nor did I give them heck for choosing two stumps that managed to pop right out of the ground at the most inopportune of times.

    We finally topped out and got turned facing the road home to find that nobody had been up there today, or the day before. No tourist or sightseers had been here to make a path home for us, no tobogganers, no drinkers, partiers or car thieves/arsonists. It was then that I discovered, even for a Land Rover, 20" of wet virgin snow is too much for just front drive. Even without input from my winching crew I knew it would take too long to winch another couple of miles to where there would be a road with the snow packed enough to drive home. Of course I was sure the top of the pass would have had a well packed path too. We managed to turn around without the winch and head back down the pass and out the way we came. It took only about half an hour to get back to the pavement the way we had come. Tomorrow while I'm at work David will check to see which axle is broken. Probably the long one as I have a spare brand new short axle. The only other damage is a shredded inner fender from the tire chains at a creek crossing on the way down the mountain.

    Could somebody tell me again why we do this Land Rover off-roading thing?

    A supplement to the Snow Day for the benefit of those not familiar with the area:

    We were on Mount Sicker crossing to Mount Prevost on southeastern Vancouver Island, British Columbia. The rugged part of the route usually takes about 40-45 minutes when there is no snow and you are just trying to get from one side to the other, instead of taking the regular "beaten path" aka highway. It is one of my "short-cuts" between highway 1 and highway 18. To travel by the regular highway, including stoplight, it may take you 4 to 6 minutes. Total distance of the "short-cut" including "off-road" is about 21 km (13 miles), time about 60-75 minutes, maximum elevation is about 1700 feet, the start/finish elevations are about 300 feet at the end of pavement on the Mount Sicker end and 150 feet at the Mt. Prevost end. Elevation of Mount Prevost is about 2600 feet and Mount Sicker about 2200 feet. We take this short-cut every couple of weeks or so to get to or from an R/C (radio controlled) air-strip where my son flies a model plane. The south end of our short-cut is about 6 km (4 miles) from our house. See the October 2001 issue of "Petersen's 4-Wheel & Off-Road" magazine for information on some of the trails in this Mount Sicker area. They included the area as the last trail in their "Off-Road Adventure" in the early summer of 2001. Our vehicle is our family car, an unrestored 1970 109 station wagon. I have recently added "Rocky Mountain Parabolic Springs" on the rear. It has the stock Zenith carb and a Mobelec electronic ignition. There is a PTO driven Konig winch on it rated at 8000# and has 130 feet of cable suplemented by 300 feet of 9600# break strength low stretch nylon rope. Tires are Armstrong A/T's that are well past their prime but are supplemented by chains for all four wheels when needed.

    Greg Sutfin

    It's an IIA for Me!

    by Greg Sutfin

    IIA is the one for me! I "LIKE" having the challenge of a non-syncro 1st & 2nd gear. I slide it to and fro effortlessly and quietly, I might have 1 poor shift every couple of weeks and sometimes a poor shift every couple of minutes. The challenge is to get it right every time. I put on over 20,000 miles a year and have to tinker occasionally but other than a few broken half shafts, have not had any serious break downs that haven't been caused 100% by ME. Except the motor that blew up. It had about 250,000 miles on it the best I could figure and 500 miles into a 5000-mile trip something went wrong. We kept going for about another 4300 miles before it packed it in entirely. Seems I had a galling valve that caused all kinds of symptoms I couldn't relate to what it was. She is 30 years old and hasn't been restored, just maintained, and some of the previous maintenance had been poorly done.

    Gregs 109 lives again

    I "LIKE" the ride! She has new parabolic springs and new shocks (Rocky Mountain Parabolic Springs and ProComp shocks.) One comment about the ride, mine is a 109 SW this would have a bit better ride than an 88. She goes over the railroad tracks near us a lot smoother than my Chev Suburban 3/4 ton 4x4 did and rides nicer on a gravel road than our 2002 Dakota 4x4.

    I have replaced the original front seats with 2 out of a VW Jetta. This is an excellent modification but a bit of work. I would recommend the change to anyone.

    The IIA has an easy dash to remove and do wiring on and I "LIKE" the open, unpadded, steel, do-anything-to-or-with-it dash. I have never taken a padded dash apart so I don't know if it is difficult or not. With a IIA you could take the 6 screws off the dash panel with a dime if you wanted. Also after about 1967 the IIAs had the headlights on the fenders not recessed in the rad support.

    The big differences between IIA & 3 are syncro in 1st & 2nd and a padded dash with instruments in front of the steering wheel.

    Go for the one that is the right price and in good repair. With proper springs, shocks and seats, the ride is good. I trust this old dear completely, she is my only vehicle so has to get me to work and back everyday and into & out of the bush on whatever trek I go on. It doesn't matter if she gets brush scratches or the odd dent in her hide and she has rubber floor mats that sometimes get hosed out when dirty. Someday I'll replace the window tracks so it leaks a little less and with that I guess the moss around the windows will go but I can always install a flowerpot in the back.