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H2Micr0's Defender 6x6 Crew Cab

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  • H2Micr0's Defender 6x6 Crew Cab

    Well, I am at it once again.

    I recently was able to put together an great deal with a mate who had lost interest in a partly finished Defender D110 build.

    Here in Australia, there are five known Defender D110 Wagon builds, so they are not exactly easy to find.

    My mate bought a Gelande II RTR D110 Truck Kit (Limited Edition) from a store reselling RC4WD kits.

    For those of you that don't know this kit comes with nearly every add on you could think of.

    When he first got it he ran it a couple of times in stock form.

    This was early this year, and we got a pic with the 2 D110s together.

    Later during the year, my mate cut it down into a Crew Cab and repainted it. Then it sat on his shelf since then while he went out 1:1 wheeling in his new Jeep.

    This is what it looked like when I picked it up a couple of weeks ago.

    It came with a few other bits and pieces too.

    I believe the driver was added by the store that he bought it from.

    Here are pics of the stock RTR LE D110 Chassis with the additional parts.

    The front bar, winch, and sliders will stay with this build. The ARB Diff covers and rear swing away tyre carrier have already found a new home on my D110.

    I built my D110 prior to RC4WD releasing the D110 kit and Chassis. One of the things I am not a fan of in the D90/D110 Gelande II Chassis is how far down the Transfer case hangs, and on the D110, the REALLY long lower links.

    I am not sure yet if I will do something about the Transfer case, but the rear link setup is highly likely to be modified.

    Here is a pic of the two D110s together. I am looking forward to making some great videos of them out on the trail.

    I hope you all enjoy following the progress of this build.

    Last edited by H2Micr0; 11-23-2017, 06:11 PM.

    Come and check out 'Trailworx Garage' on Facebook and Youtube

  • #2
    My inspiration for this build is from these pics.

    There are quite a few D110's converted to 6x6 in a variety of varying combinations.

    I want to incorporate a few of these ideas, and be able to swap out the rear bed/tray if desired, and retain the possibility of reverting back to 4x4 in a D130 configuration at a later time.

    The dual axle style side bed will be one of the first things I attempt.

    I found this D130 build in a Youtube video, and really like the custom tube rear tray. I will build one along the same lines but with the twin rear axles in mind.

    While I will retain the supplied bull bar, I would like to customise it to appear more like this, and provide a better approach angle in front of the wheels.

    This should be a fun adventure.

    Next up is working out the 6x6 drivetrain and suspension.

    Last edited by H2Micr0; 11-23-2017, 06:12 PM.

    Come and check out 'Trailworx Garage' on Facebook and Youtube


    • #3
      YotaII owners should all be well aware of the how awesome these diffs are, but also of their failings.

      The stock axles cups are prone to breakage, and the king pin screw holes in the axle that hold the knuckles on will strip if you look at them sideways.

      Due to other breakages, and replacement parts being purchased, and only needing a YotaI diff under the front of my FJ Troopy, I had a spare YotaII diff with XVDs and helicoil repaired housing sitting around.

      I swapped out the stock YotaII diff in the Crew Cab for this. I also had a spare 3rd member housing and gearset.

      Now I needed a third axle for the 6x6. This would typically comprise of 1 front steering diff and two fixed rear diffs. But I only had a spare front diff.

      I can work with that.

      I installed the output in the front diff.

      Then quickly put together some lock outs to hold the wheels in the straight ahead position.

      A quick mock up to see how this was going to look was in order.

      Yes, I am liking this.

      I then swapped out the stock rear diff for the modded center front diff.

      The stock wheel and tyre combo just wasn't working for me. I had however 6 wheels and tyres set aside for this project. Here is four of them on the chassis and body.

      Going for a tougher trail ready feel on this Defender.

      I had a very short drive shaft already that was just right for this.

      Of course I had to disassemble the rear axle and swap the crown wheel over as the rotation of the out put is now opposite.

      Next up was to build a chassis extension. I did not want to cut the original chassis. I don't mind drilling extra holes however, but will make use of existing bolts where possible.

      I used some angle alloy to make up this extension and cross bar. The cross bar is bolted into the stock bumper mounts.

      I had to borrow the 4 link truss from the D110 for the mock up and used a set of links designed to fit a D90 body to an SCX10 chassis for the 4 link mock up.

      The front lower links I mounted to the GelandeI shock towers bolted on upside down.

      I am feeling pretty good about how this is coming together.

      Next up the rear suspension.

      Last edited by H2Micr0; 11-23-2017, 06:13 PM.

      Come and check out 'Trailworx Garage' on Facebook and Youtube


      • #4
        Rear suspension.

        In the pre build phase I spent some time watching video of 6x6 RC trucks.

        It always bugged me that the rear axles just didn't behave right in the majority of builds using linked rears.

        The axles would articulate ok, left to right, one wheel at a time. However when one of the axles took all of the weight of the rear, they wouldn't compress appropriately, and the other axle would be lifted off the ground.

        Looking closer I realised that most builds just left the stock shocks in place and then added another pair of stock shocks to the third axle. By doing this the builder has doubled the spring rate in the rear of rig. This meant that any part compression of an axle was mostly eliminated and any droop was gone.

        My solution was to order in the Soft and Super Soft Axial spring options.

        I then installed just the long spring on the SCX10 shocks in a half droop configuration. This should allow the springs to compress easily and still droop as the other axle takes up the load.

        I quickly fabricated a second set of shock mounts and installed the springs.

        Initial testing just driving the chassis around is very promising. Obviously, there needs to be some more weight over the rear but I will figure all that out once the body ect is mounted.

        I will be installing the Batteries in the rear too, so that will help.

        Next, the body has an appointment with my dremel.

        Last edited by H2Micr0; 11-23-2017, 06:14 PM.

        Come and check out 'Trailworx Garage' on Facebook and Youtube


        • #5
          What? Did I leave you all hanging with the threat of cutting up a D110 body with my dremel????

          Here is what you were waiting for.

          Please turn your head away if you don't like seeing body parts being removed.

          Well that was a bit anticlimactic.

          I hope this is better.

          Very satisfying I have to say.

          Now I just happened to have some left over D90 bits from my D129 build.

          Yes, I do think this will work.


          There rear wheels are too far apart.

          So I made up some new links that are 8mm shorter using m4 Allthread.

          MUCH better.

          Now where did I put my dremel.

          Using this as inspiration I proceeded to cut up the rear into more pieces, and commenced reassembling the plastic jigsaw.

          Yes, those two pieces go together like so . . .

          Apply some MEK and they are now one.

          Interesting to note is that the D110 body is thicker and has a different internal profile to the D90 body I have.

          Worked out how to attach the rear part of the puzzle.

          Edges of the puzzle completed!!!!

          IT FITS!!!!!

          And with a Defender rear bar.

          To strengthen the joins, I used 2mm styrene strips and bonded them to the inside of the parts using silicon. Due to the uneven heights I couldn't use MEK as that required contact of the surfaces.

          As I add in the drop bed etc, it will gain additional strength to the rear bed. It is good enough to drive around the yard though, and really does look better this way.

          Last edited by H2Micr0; 11-23-2017, 06:20 PM.

          Come and check out 'Trailworx Garage' on Facebook and Youtube


          • #6
            While looking over the rig when I first got it I noticed something that I found a little bit odd.

            I managed to find a shot of it and pulled this out of a larger image.

            At first glance it all seems to be fine, and I am sure most of you are going, "Uhhhhhh nothing odd there, just a winch on a bull bar".

            However, on closer inspection I found that the roller fairlead is still bolted to the front of the winch. The winch plate is bolted on in reverse, and the winch sits so far back they had to put in 5mm spacers between the bar and the chassis so the body and grill would still fit.

            Odd, well at least I think so.

            So I took it all apart.

            I removed the roller fairlead, then unbolted the mounting plate and turned it around the way it should be.

            When I tried to put the screws back through the holes in the base of the bar into the plate, they wouldn't fit. Had be a bit confused at first, but I soon sorted out why.

            This bar and this winch were NEVER designed to work together EVER.

            As you can see the end of the winch motor casing fouls against the main upright. No wonder they set it back and had to space it out.

            Sooo, not being one to accept the easy way out, I made it fit.

            Much better.

            I was able to remove the spacers and bolt it straight up to the chassis. This also has the beneficial effect of reducing the front approach angle slightly, and allows room for an aftermarket grill if I wanted to go that way.

            I still have quite a bit of modification to do to the bar, but I will get to that in due time.

            Last edited by H2Micr0; 11-23-2017, 06:23 PM.

            Come and check out 'Trailworx Garage' on Facebook and Youtube


            • #7
              With the back end cut off, I needed to build a rear bulkhead to enclose the rear and provide some support for the cab back piece.

              I started by scraping away the paint to ensure a good bond between the styrene pieces.

              I noticed the rear front shock hoops were going to interfere.

              I used a sheet of 2mm styrene as the bulkhead material.

              I cut some slots in the bottom to provide clearance for the shock hoops. Then carefully marked out and slowly cut, trimmed and filed each end of the bulkhead to shape to match the inner profile of the side of the body.

              Then I glued the bulkhead into place.

              While the bond between the two parts is quite robust.

              I decided to add some structural support to the join. This more than doubles the surface area of the bond.

              The cab back is just sitting in place.

              I cut a section out to allow for the tyre articulation and will build a wheel well to finish it off.

              Thought I should throw in the interior to see if it all fits ok first.

              Looks ok so far.

              But all is not as it seems. The rear seat is in the way.

              That is ok actually. There were a bit low, and so now I have an excuse to cut them off and start again, this time with 3 across. I will use the same configuration using the D90 rear seats, as this build is more utilitarian so suits it quite well.

              While all that was going on, I started work smoothing out the 3D printed cab back. Filing wasn't working as well as I thought it might, but then I found this in my supplies.

              Spray Putty!!!!! YES!!!!!

              I sprayed 3 coats and let it set.

              As it dries it levels out filling up the valleys.

              I am yet to sand it and apply additional coats.

              That brings you all up to date.

              Last edited by H2Micr0; 11-23-2017, 06:29 PM.

              Come and check out 'Trailworx Garage' on Facebook and Youtube


              • #8
                Time to improve the electronics on this.

                The RTR Limited Edition D110 kit came with electronics.

                But that doesn't mean the supplied gear was actually any good.

                Yes, it turned on, and I could drive it.


                The supplied ESC is a piece of crap!!! Sure, it is waterpoof, but it needs to be as it doesn't have a drag brake so it will just roll on down the bank into the water on its own.

                You have to place the trigger in neutral before you can change from forward to reverse, and back again.

                It will only run on 2s batteries, and I would NEVER actually go out and buy it.

                So not only does this ESC perform badly for a go slow rig, whoever assembled this before it was shipped placed the ESC in a really unusual spot. The interior would not sit down properly as the firewall/floor hit the ESC.

                The rest of the wiring is actually laid out rather nicely, but it all needed to change for my needs anyway.

                Now I didn't have much in the way of ready to hand ESC choices. Well, I only had one LOL.

                I received this as part of my prize pack when I won the CANZ Australian 2015 National Class 1 Championships but always had better choices so it wasn't used.

                It is also an RD4WD/Novak item but is at least 3s capable, and has a drag brake, non adjustable but better than nothing. It did have a connected BEC that died within 5 mins of connecting the battery, so am doing without for the moment. The only real concern is there is no Lipo cut off, so a low voltage alarm is on it's way.

                After some careful consideration I decided to place the electronics on the battery tray. I also installed a Flysky compatible receiver and placed the winch controller in between.

                I ran the wiring keeping neat and tidy. The ESC is positioned just in the right spot so it sits under the passenger seat.

                I soldered up a Parallel Battery plug.

                Using a spare piece of 2mm Styrene I pop riveted in a battery tray.

                Just like my D110 I will run two 1500mah 3s batteries in parallel. This allows for a nice way to package the batteries and gives a reasonable run time of a 2 - 3hours. In addition I don't need to remove the body to change the batteries.

                Some quick work with the dremel and the stock receiver box becomes a fuel tank/battery bash plate.

                While this is still a pretty basic ESC, and has some annoying issues, like not being able to go slow enough, having a drag brake is a HUGE improvement over what it replaced. I will upgrade it at some point in the future.

                Last edited by H2Micr0; 11-23-2017, 06:30 PM.

                Come and check out 'Trailworx Garage' on Facebook and Youtube


                • #9
                  On to the drop bed in the tray.

                  The first thing was to build the front wall of the bed. I spent some time slowly working away with some needle files to get the shape right and keeping the width to match the body lines.

                  Pretty happy with the result.

                  For the floor I started with a card template to get the basic dimensions sorted out.

                  This was transferred to 2mm styrene sheet and refined along the way.

                  To mount the tray to the chassis I elected to use M3 Nutserts. These are riveted into the chassis and allow for the bolts to screw directly into them doing away with the need for nuts.

                  This set the height of the floor in relation to the bed and I was able to glue it into place.

                  Next was the wheel wells. Luckily the defenders use a long straight box so this was relatively easy put together.

                  I had to make some room for the shocks.

                  With the main structure in place it took a bit of thinking to work out how to address this.

                  The different profiles from the donor pieces created a very untidy finish.

                  I remembered I had a packet of styrene right angle lengths and used a couple to make a topper for the sides.

                  This still left a rather untidy gap which I filled with some .75mm Styrene filler strips.

                  The end result is far better than I had dared hope for.

                  Very happy.

                  Last edited by H2Micr0; 11-23-2017, 06:31 PM.

                  Come and check out 'Trailworx Garage' on Facebook and Youtube


                  • #10
                    I started to look more closely at the fitment of the 3D printed cab back.

                    The Cab Back is designed for a D110/D130 fitment, but is intended for you to cut off the back of the wagon, fill in the roof windows and fit the cab back in position.

                    Due to the method used by my friend it just wasn't fitting as it should. He had cut a larger section of the roof from the wagon, removed the roof area including the windows and slid the flat back and roof into place. This was actually not a bad solution if you intended to keep the flat back of the wagon, and I of course had to change things.

                    Unfortunately, the very back of the D110 is just a tad wider than the middle, so things are not aligned as well as one would like.

                    But, we work with what we have.

                    As you can see, there are some pretty decent discrepancies between the surfaces.

                    The first step was to align the roof join. I discovered I needed to insert 1mm between the rear body bulkhead and the cab back section.

                    Here is the test piece.

                    I don't have a pic, but I have now glued a small strip across the top of the bulkhead.

                    I then did what any sane man would do with his expensive hard body, and attacked with a file.

                    I think this will end up ok on the roof corners and top after some filler etc.

                    On the sides however there will always be a visible step. On the inside where you should be gluing it there is also a gap between the body and the joining tang on the cab back. I will need to fill this with some styrene filler when the time comes.

                    I had a social run coming up the next weekend and wanted to take the Crew Cab out, along with a couple of other rigs, and found the drive shaft between the rear diffs was just a tad long and was binding under certain situations.

                    Some work with the angle grinder and some files rectified the problem.

                    The other job I did was to trim all the fenders slightly to clear the Growlers. I had blacked out the fenders on the new parts in the bed to help it look a little more together.

                    I have a pic of it marked up, but none of the finished work from that day LOL.

                    A pic of the social trail day at Maroubra.

                    Last edited by H2Micr0; 11-23-2017, 06:32 PM.

                    Come and check out 'Trailworx Garage' on Facebook and Youtube


                    • #11
                      I of course used the social run as a bit of a test session and a few things became obvious.

                      I had set the rear shock height too low. The axle was bottoming out too soon.

                      This wasn't too hard to fix on the the middle axle as I could just use the upper shock mount holes, but I had to make new rear shock towers.

                      Much nicer!!!

                      Ooooo Sexy Flexy!!!!

                      And I finally did something about those crazy super long lower links.

                      MUCH better.

                      These changes of course required some extensive testing, so I headed out for a couple of hours.

                      And it performed great overall.

                      I am finding the less crappy ESC doesn't like real slow at all, so want to put in a smaller pinion to gear it down a bit.

                      This is proving to be a very capable scale truck and having wheeled it a couple of times with the Style Side bed on it have decided to keep it there for a while.

                      Time to add some metal work.

                      Last edited by H2Micr0; 11-23-2017, 06:33 PM.

                      Come and check out 'Trailworx Garage' on Facebook and Youtube


                      • #12
                        With the basic layout and form in place it was time to start adding some dressing and flavour.

                        I had removed the old resin spare wheel carrier off the D110 Brigadier in favour of the swing away rear bar and found it just happened to fit nicely on the back. Only have a stock wheel for a spare for now, but I think it will look the part.

                        Being home on Holidays, meant opportunities to get out on the trail more often, and you don't say no if you can go.

                        After that I knew it was time to start on some metal fab.

                        Using 10mmOD tube pieces I was able to piece together this mock up. That's why it looks a tad wonky LOL.

                        I broke out the brazing gear and soon had it all as one piece. Each join is sleeved inside with some 8mmOD tube for strength.

                        Of course the main rollbar needs some structural support, and it would be nice if that actually looked good too, so a few mockups were tried.

                        Not being overly happy with those options I took a break.

                        More soon.

                        Last edited by H2Micr0; 11-23-2017, 06:34 PM.

                        Come and check out 'Trailworx Garage' on Facebook and Youtube


                        • #13
                          Of course taking a break meant going wheeling again, this time with my good buddy Steve.

                          We did a trailer run at Kurnell here on the coast of Sydney. I lent Steve my Camper Trailer to pull behind is D90 and I took the Tandem out again.

                          Had a great day out and am really loving the way this thing drives.

                          Hmmm, I think some inner fenders should be high on my list of things to do LOL.

                          More testing of bar work layouts.

                          Hmmm, what the hell is this stuff for?????

                          Finally a winner for the bar work.

                          More brazing work for me.

                          Yep that will do the job.

                          Quick poser shot with the D110.

                          Now I have a rollbar and supports, I still need to ensure the window area of the cab is protected.

                          That should keep everything safe.

                          Added some 'feet' and bolted it down in the bed.

                          Now the whole think can be removed as a complete unit.

                          Fancy squares on a square.

                          Any guesses as to what is happening here???


                          Hmmmm, more obscurity.

                          And now a few things should start to make some more sense.

                          This is now starting to head in the direction I envisaged.

                          Still plenty more to do, but I am delighted with how this has turned out.

                          You can start to see the ultimate safari-adventure-escape-overland vehicle take shape.

                          Last edited by H2Micr0; 11-23-2017, 06:35 PM.

                          Come and check out 'Trailworx Garage' on Facebook and Youtube


                          • #14
                            While the build progress has slowed as I focus on other rigs for a bit, I have been out wheeling this beast.

                            I chose to use the Crew Cab as my scouting vehicle for the first WESROC ST4 Challenge at Lake Parramatta here in Sydney. I had installed a 9t pinion and this was a good first test. With the basic ESC I have, the small pinion gave me the low speed resolution that is needed to maneuver such a large rig slowly up and down obstacles.

                            Then more recently my mate Andrew and I went on a 7 hour trail run on a quite challenging trail with mud, water, sand and rock. We had a blast.

                            And last week I used the Crew Cab to take the FJ Ute in to the Man Cave for a rebirth ready for the Australian CANZ National Class 1 Titles later this month.

                            Last edited by H2Micr0; 11-23-2017, 06:36 PM.

                            Come and check out 'Trailworx Garage' on Facebook and Youtube


                            • #15
                              I did pull this down off the shelf a little while ago and got some back seats installed.

                              And a new driver for this rig too.

                              Then last weekend I entered this in the C1 CANZ Comp for a bit of a laugh.

                              Here are some photos from the day.

                              Such a long rig is not ideally suited to a 10 gate type comp, but I had a lot of fun.

                              Trailworx Garage
                              Last edited by H2Micr0; 11-23-2017, 06:37 PM.

                              Come and check out 'Trailworx Garage' on Facebook and Youtube