When Mark Davies and his wife decided to get away from it all, they visited Cape Le Grand near Esperance in Western Australia. To say they did it style is an understatement.
Sporting a brand new Bruder EXP-6 Expedition Trailer at the rear, it was time to get the Davies’ Land Rover Discovery 5 off the suburban streets and downright dirty.
In true AutoElecOz style, we added a few finishing touches to help the Davies make light work of the remote soft beach sands and rugged rocky outcrops of the WA coastline.
These days, luxury 4WDs like the Discovery 5 are often confined to the inner city suburbs. It’s a shame, because despite the luxurious touches, these are seriously capable off-road vehicles.
At AutoElecOz it is our mission to fit these domesticated beasts with the equipment they need so that they can be released back into their natural, untamed habitats.
Enter big brands like STEDI, REDARC, GME, Hummingbird and CommandGO. As authorised stockists and fitters of all of these, AutoElecoz has your remote 4WD lighting, battery management, radio and electrical equipment needs covered.
The best bit? They don’t have to be loud and obnoxious like traditional 4×4. This quality kit can be installed discretely, matching your car’s OEM feel. It means your luxury 4WD can fit in both on and off the road perfectly.
Plus, most of the equipment we installed comes with a 5 year warranty, so they are built to last.
- STEDI ST3303 21.5″ Light Bar
- GME XRS370C Connect UHF Radio
- GME AE4704B UHF Radome Antenna
- CommandGO Throttle Controller
- REDARC BCDC1225D 25A DC Battery Charger
- REDARC Tow Pro Elite V3
- Trojan Trillium Lithium-Ion Battery
- AutoElecoz’ Own Land Rover Discovery 5 Dual Battery Tray
- Hummingbird RF Battery Monitor
- Land Rover Discovery Dual Battery LHR 1/4 Panel Trim
- Discovery 5 Anderson Bracket
Radio & Communications
In the Davies’ fit-out we installed the shorter whip of the GME AE4704B heavy duty radome fibreglass antenna.
The beauty of the AE4704B is that it allows interchangeability of the whips depending on the conditions. Shorter lengths and lower gain for rocky, hilly terrain and longer lengths for traveling on open roads with flat terrain.
This model also allows you to easily remove the whip and store it in the cover provided when back in the city and not in use.
We combined the antenna with the new GME XRS370C Connect compact UHF radio. This radio is equipped with Bluetooth and the software can be managed via the app on your smartphone.
Use the app to create and share personalised scan lists of up to 400 frequencies with other travelers. The app also provides instant access to the entire Australian and New Zealand registered analogue frequency database.
As this vehicle is primarily used in the city, we attached the headset’s magnetic bollard discreetly to the left of the center console, out of view.
With the communications gear sorted, we turned to the lighting. Here we called in the reinforcements, with the STEDI ST3303 light bar. We chose the 21.5″ model to fit discreetly within the center nudge bar. However don’t let its compact size deceive you. There is a reason the ST3303 is nicknamed “The Savage”. There is no other light bar on the market that harnesses the power of 32 x 10W CREE XM-L2 LEDs inside such a small housing unit.
When STEDI designed the ST3303 their mission was to focus on the key concepts of “overkill”, “savage”, “brutal” and “excessive”. With 16.4A of drive current pulsing into the emitters, this unit produces a truly astonishing amount of light volume. Light for as far as the eye can see.
Such performance in such a small package made it the perfect piece of kit for the Davies set up.
Next we turned to the Rover’s surplus battery and electrical needs. As the base we fitted a Trojan Trillium deep-cycle lithium-ion battery. This battery has extraordinary battery life, greater than 5000 cycles, with a footprint that is 20 percent smaller than many other competitors. This makes it great for concealing in tight places, like behind the rear quarter panel of this Discovery.
We mounted the battery on our own custom AutoElecOz Discovery 5 Dual Battery Tray (coming to our online store soon!).
To manage the charging of the battery, on the side of the tray we installed the REDARC BCDC1225D, which is a 12V 25A in-vehicle DC to DC battery charger. This facilitates charging from both solar and DC inputs simultaneously, giving priority to the “greener” solar.
If you require a battery with higher capacity for your needs, you may need to upgrade to a 40A REDARC BCDC1240D instead.
To monitor the state of the battery we used the Hummingbird RF Battery Monitor Kit. The ultra-low power voltage transmitters are able to be left permanently connected to the batteries and do not need to be switched off when not in use.
The wireless monitor can be mounted anywhere within the vehicle and can be used to monitor up to four 12 or 24V batteries at a time, each with their own assigned name on the monitor. Set alarms for when the voltage reaches set minimum or maximum levels.
We covered the dual battery setup with an original Land Rover Discovery dual battery LHR 1/4 panel trim for this fit out. We now have an AutoElecOz’ own version available which is far more affordable (less than half the price), and has an attractive leather overlay.
You may think a throttle controller is for vehicle-only performance. However the reduction in throttle lag and increase in vehicle responsiveness also makes the CommandGo Throttle Controller exceptional when towing.
The eight different power modes can help you control the degree of vehicle acceleration. This can be useful when you need to overtake in short spaces. The one touch M button will cause the vehicle to jump directly into ELITE mode to facilitate easy overtaking. Conversely, set it to ECO mode for slower acceleration during a leisurely drive for better fuel economy.
When not accelerating, sometimes we also need to stop! Whilst towing a heavy trailer or caravan, an electric brake controller that meets ADR standards is crucial.
For this setup we installed the latest 3rd generation of the award winning REDARC Tow-Pro Elite electric brake controller. This model allows the driver to switch between the inertia sensing Proportional mode for highway driving and the User-controlled mode for off-road driving.
The Tow-Pro can help with the safe braking not only of camper trailers, but boat trailers as well. It works with electric and electric/hydraulic trailer brakes, supporting both 12 and 24 volt systems.
The Bruder EXP-6 Expedition Trailer.
Firstly, can we just say, how good does the colour scheme between this Disco 5 and the Bruder match? That is one sleek looking combined unit.
If you haven’t seen the Bruder before, take a second to watch this:
The Bruder is a beast all on it’s own. Its a modern, bespoke off-road expedition trailer that makes accessing secluded, off-road destinations easier and more luxurious than ever before.
And with only a 1.9m width, it fitted well within the width of the Davies’ Land Rover.
One of the stand out features of the Bruder EXP-6 is it’s 12 inches of adjustable wheel travel and patented suspension that allows it to traverse deep ruts and gullies with ease.
Mark found that because it can keep all four wheels on the ground, no matter the terrain, it greatly reduced the feedback and weight fluctuations to the Disco 5 towing vehicle.
The unique suspension also proved useful on tight tracks, to counteract steep side slopes while keeping the trailer almost perfectly level. This also comes in handy when parked to level out uneven camping spots.
Better yet, the suspension height and all other aspects of the EXP-6 can be controlled via the digital internal touch screen or remotely from the outside via the smartphone app.
Bruder highlights the ability to raise a front or rear wheel separately in an emergency. This means there is no need for a jack in the event of a flat tyre.
All of this is achieved by incorporating 8 remote canister monotube shock absorbers, with 450 grade high tensile circular hollow section.
The Bruder is built tough. The chassis is engineered to handle forces up to 11 tonne and is completely sealed off so that water and debri can’t be caught within it.
The body of the EXP-6 is unlike any other as well. It’s made entirely out of 30mm thick closed cell epoxy bonded composite. It means it doesn’t have to rely on the interior fitout or the chassis to maintain it’s strength. This design also means the cabin is very well insulated, with an insulation R-value over 5.1.
Bruder has utilised this insulation benefit by cleverly enclosing the drinking water supply within the body, rather than underneath. This means your water is kept out of the extremes of heat or cold.
On the outside, the body is aerodynamically shaped with tapered angles on every corner. As Mark discovered, this meant towing the Bruder was far more fuel efficient when compared with towing traditional caravans.
It is also fitted with a pressurising system with 2 stages of filtration. This can be switched on in dusty conditions which helps to maintain positive air pressure inside the cabin.
Of the two EXP-6 model variants available, the Davies opted for the model with the lower roof-line. This model comes with a patented electronic roof lift that is engineered to withstand heavy snow loads like no other pop top camper.
The roof itself is fitted with 600 watts of solar power, plus two electric awnings that provide huge sheltered areas on both sides of the trailer. That is in additional to the quick pop up awning at the rear.
And inside there is no shortage of luxury either. The trailer features a slide out composite outdoor kitchen area, two fridges, induction cooktop and space for a larger gas bbq. The kitchen area can be accessed from both inside and outside the trailer.
All of the Bruder’s electronics and monitoring can be controlled by smartphone app or via the built-in touch pad.
Temperature is kept steady regardless of the outdoor environment with climate control, interior fans and heaters throughout.
The Bruder EXP-6 features an abundance of natural light with windows all around, including a skylight over the main bed for star gazing at night.
It contains an interior bathroom with toilet, shower and basin. There is also an external shower for a quick rinse off after a day at the beach.
Laundry is taken care of with the added convenience of a built in clothes washer.
You’d be surprised to know that the EXP-6 can sleep a family of 6 people comfortably.
Mark found storage space to be abundant as well. The front nose cone provides huge storage space for bulky items. On the side of the trailer is where the heating system and backup generator are stored.
If you push the limits off-road and end up getting stuck, the Bruder also comes with a concealed winch and two recovery points at the rear.
We’re pleased to report the Davies’ outdoor adventure was a success. The new Bruder EXP-6 trailer meant that they could access remote areas previously unreachable with a traditional caravan. With all of the modifications to the Land Rover that the AutoElecOz team made, they could see where they were going, make it there safely, stay powered up and make contact with people if need be. So crucial when you’re out there by yourselves!
Always plan ahead and do your homework when heading off into remote areas. Contact us if you need us to equip your vehicle, so that you too can be ready to handle what the outdoor throws at you. Alternatively, if you’re more the DIY type, you’ll find all of the gear listed above for purchase in our online store.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and have a great adventure!