Cummins Powered Defender 110

Read our concise review of the Cummins Powered Defender 110...

Cummins Powered Defender 110

by Calum Brown |

What’s the story?

A butch-looking vehicle doesn’t always translate into superb competence. Go to any off-road centre on a Sunday and you’ll see lots of kitted-out Land Rovers that can’t seem to get anywhere without roaring and slithering.

Once upon a time, Ashley’s 110 was the same – but it’s a much-changed beast since then. ‘I’ve had the 110 for about five years, but for the past 18 months I’ve been doing this rebuild. Now I’ve just started to have fun with it again, but I don’t do anything silly – I want to drive home again.’

The Cummins 6BT engine squeezed into this 110 came out of a DAF parcel delivery van in a scrapyard, though they’re widely used in buses, commercial vehicles and construction. You can pick up a good one from about £600.

Our favourite bit?

‘The tape measure suggests it won’t work, but then I heard of Nick Steggle and Tom Davis – two people over here who’ve done it. I went over to Nick’s and had a nose around his conversion, then came up with my own recipe.

‘These Cummins 6BT engines are in 18-ton DAF 55 lorries, and there are lots of them in scrapyards. I’ve fitted a Dana Spicer T5X gearbox from a Leyland Road-runner – that’s a strong five-speed box, with similar ratios to a Land Rover’s R380 gearbox.

‘There’s also a 14in air-assist clutch. I’ve made my own adaptor plate to fit a LT230 transfer box.

And the verdict from LRO’s peter Galilee:

What we have here is the best part of a challenge truck’s capability in a standard-body package, with endless power – wonderful. It’s an incredible build. Forget tiny standard engines – a Cummins 6BT should be on every Land Rover owner’s wishlist.

Tech spec:

• Base vehicle: 1998 Defender 110 (originally station wagon)

• Engine: 5.9-litre Cummins 6BT, 210hp (standard); Holset HX40W turbocharger; Dynamite diesel injectors; Banks twin-ram intake manifold; heavy-duty valve springs and pushrods; full-width intercooler; 4-inch intake and 4-inch side-exit exhaust; engine-driven compressor to provide on-board air systems

• Transmission: Dana Spicer T5X 5-speed gearbox; 14-inch air-assist heavy-duty clutch; home-made adaptor plates and shaft; 1.1003-ratio LT230 transfer box;

X Eng disc handbrake; 3.54:1-ratio Salisbury axles, larger brakes; Detroit locking diff at rear

• Electrics: 2x Optima Red Top batteries to crank the Cummins; vehicle electrics isolator and winch isolator; Anderson plug connector for heavy-duty jump leads

• Wheels/tyres: 37x12.50 Maxxis Trepadors on steel modular wheels

• Dashboard/instrumentation: TDCi dashboard, Td5 gauges installed into TDCi instrument surround

• Suspension: 4-inch lift; 5-inch ProComp pin-to-pin rear damper conversion; tubular damper turrets; QT 6-inch castor radius arms;

• Conversion parts/mods: Ford Transit alternator with vacuum pump fitted with 8-rib pulley to provide vacuum for the brake servo

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