Photo goes here
Update 09/06/99 - Portland, Oregon

Team Lab Rover vehicle B2B-33 surprised the B2B crowd by coming away from the All British Field Meet Auto Show with a "People's Choice" First Place Award for the Land Rover Defender Class Category. Owners of over 600 British made vehicles gathered at the Portland International Speedway for this exciting two-day event. Jaguar, MG, Land Rover, Austin Healy, Morris Minor, and Triumph were some of the British cars on display.

On Saturday, Michael Slade's Team Lab Rover vehicle B2B-47 underwent
major repairs and front axle housing replacement (see photos posted) to prepare for our challenging trek to the Arctic.

Team Labrover Technician, Nicholas Wilmerding, was in the thick of the repairs as he assisted Michael and two other club members with his welding and power generating equipment. By the end of the day, B2B-47 was re-assembled and ready for the road.

B2B-33 will be heading for the Land Rover dealership on Tuesday morning to repair a small bothersome oil leak and installation of a heavy-duty alternator to provide the electrical needs for Jim's extensive communications equipment.

On Sunday, Jim got his first taste of off-road driving by taking a drive over the dirt Motor Cross motorcycle course at the raceway. As the vehicle traversed the hill sideways at a tilt of 45 DEGREES!!, his white-knuckle grip cut off all blood flow to his hands!!

Only a few minor modifications remain to be made on B2B-33 as the
departure date on Thursday morning fast approaches. We will be heading for
the Washington State/Canadian border to meet up with the B2B Stage I vehicles en-route from Mexico.

The large high frequency antenna is going to be remounted on the spare
tire on the rear door. A number of experienced drivers who have made this
trek before explained that much of the travel will be on very rough
unimproved gravel roads especially as we travel north to Inuvik. Their
concern was that the constant heavy vibration and flying gravel could
quickly damage (or totally destroy) the antenna as it is mounted in its
present location on the right rear quarter panel. The remaining 3 antennas
will be mounted high on the roof rack. (see the gear site on
for vehicle photos)

Our next update will be posted on Wednesday 09/08 prior to our
departure from Lab Rover Central on our way to the border crossing.

Cheers from Andrew, Jim & Arden (B2B-13) see photo.


Jim and Andrew got to the field meet early Saturday morning and set up the tent, table, literature and many of the tools that the team would use during the trek. Special Events Station K2A began broadcasting and Jim was describing the event to people from around the world. Many people stopped by the display to look at the equipment, the vehicle, and of course Cleo and Rufus. Andrew's D-90 took first place in the vehicle judging for the Defender category. We had voluntarily withdrawn from the judging thinking that the myriad of equipment we had would sway those voting, but apparently the people tabulating ballots hadn't heard we shouldn't win.

Last week I had taken the Millenium Falcon to the Portland Land Rover Centre to have the ABS light looked at. It had been on for nearly a year, and it didn't really bother me that much. I thought a trip to the arctic might provoke something bad happening, so I had them diagnose my vehicle. As you can see this is not going to be your typical repair. More pictures follow below.

The front axle was diagnosed as having bad swivel pins, bad hub bearings, worn ring and pinion gears, and perhaps even a bent axle housing. All of these in combination had been causing the ABS sensors to read improperly. Rather than spend nearly 1800 dollars to have the axle repaired, a spare was located from a '95 Discovery that had 25 thousand miles on it. It was purchased and prepped for installation at the field meet. The Falcon was loaded onto a trailer to serve as the work platform during the repair. The original axle was removed, including radius arms and the front half of the drive shaft attatched to the housing. The shocks remained attatched to the vehicle and the springs fell out as the axle housing was removed. Brake calipers from the Falcon were to be used on the Disco axle, so they were left connected and zip-tied out of the way until ready for reattachment.

The radus-arm to body bushings were replaced with OME bushings, and the factory bushings were left in place at the front. Warn BlackDiamond XT shocks were still good, so they were left also. The front housing was muscled into place onto the trailer, then lifted into place by the floor jack and two additional bottle jacks. Bushings were fitted, washers and nuts tightened, and the reattachment of the brakes ensued.

Everything was going according to plan when the first hurdle appeared. The Range Rover calipers take a narrower bolt than the Discovery calipers which the housing was already drilled and tapped for. In order to use the Range Rover calipers on the Disco axle, the calipers needed to be drilled to accept the larger bolts. Nicholas Wilmerding came to the rescue by having his generator in the back of his (cough cough) GMC truck. With the generator running, we could use a big enough drill with the proper bit to drill out the calipers. New bearings were lubed with synthetic grease and installed. New nuts and bolts were fitted to the driveshaft, and the ABS sensors were placed into position. The Disco diff was drained and topped up as well as the swivel balls. I'll drain and re-fill them once again on Wednesday night. You probably don't want to read about that though, it's pretty straightforward.

The work was started at 9am Saturday morning. Due to a couple of trips to the hardware store and a quick run to Quattro Sports for some tools we didn't think we needed, a relaxing 4 hour break was taken. During that time we dined on Grilled Salmon, bangers, potato salad and root beer on tap. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday. The truck was driven off of the trailer at around 6pm and has been driven hard on Sunday. All front end slop from the old axle has been eliminated, the truck tracks like it was new, and 80% of the driveline 'clunk' has gone.

The original axle had 183,XXX miles on it, many of those extremely hard off-roading. The high road-milage, bigger tires and off-road miles combined to basically make this axle ready for a rebuild. Not having time to do it properly, the rebuild will wait until the axle is ready for it's second life as part of my son's project truck, The Serious One.

After months of planning via telephone and e-mail, Team Lab-Rover members Andrew, cleo and Jim finally meet Arden Leung and B2B-13, his LWB Range Rover.

Talk about a poser! Andrew shows off his first prize trophy, a clock (maybe that's a subtle hint eh?).

Team Lab-Rover has a television appearance scheduled for Tuesday morning on a local morning program. Both vehicles, Jim, Andrew, Cleo, Rufus and Michael will be going. Photographs will be taken and a short update posted.