Well the new Exmoor Trim Land Rover 110 3/4 tilt has been fitted to Annie for a month and since fitting it has rained virtually every day so we’ve had a good test of both its waterproofing and it shrinkage!
As expected and as Exmoor Trim advise, the tilt did shrink a little but not by much. As can be seen in this picture of where the tilt sits in the rain gutters behind the truck cab it has shrunk enough that the tilt has almost pulled itself up out of the gutter. When fitted it was flat against the bottom of the gutter. This should pull back in once I tighten it again.
My wife and I have already re-tensioned it twice since fitting as recommended by Exmoor Trim.
The tilt has pulled quite taut over the whole stick frame and all the creases that existed when first fitted have all gone as can be seen in these two comparison pictures.
Waterproofing / rain resistance
We had horrendous torrential rain the first few days after fitting and as advised by Exmoor Trim the tilt did leak quite a bit in those first few days however after a week of getting soaked then drying out it then become fully waterproof. My wife and I have both since driven in torrential rain and the tilt remains largely waterproof. The only water that has entered is via the gaps that exist between the rain channels and the tub which is a design fault of Land Rover not an issue with the tilt and from gaps at the rear where my wife and I had not properly closed the flaps so again no fault of the tilt. The main thing is that the load area and its contents now remain pretty much dry even in very heavy rain so the tilt has done its job well. I would however recommend in the first week after fitting a new tilt that you don’t leave electronics exposed inside, especially with a full tilt.
Usable load bed
The main reason for fitting the tilt was so that we could make more use of Annies large load bed in all weathers for carrying items that would otherwise be ruined by rain such as our family shopping. It was also to provide a small bit of security so that items in the load bed were not quite so easy to lift out. It has obviously worked great at keeping the shopping dry and while a canvas cover will never be that secure it does provide a little bit better deterant than no cover at all.
With the tilt fitted the load bay becomes a vast van and as can be seen from this picture, a 109″ load area is cavernous inside that tilt. This picture shows a complete second hand Series gearbox (destined for rebuild this winter) laying on the bed floor and it gives you some idea of how large that space is!
Issues we hadn’t thought about
There are two issues with the tilt, neither of which is any fault of Exmoor Trim!
The first is that Annies underside is now quite oily after a succession of leaks from both gearbox and crank. While I try to keep on top of that and clean the underside regularly it still has some oil splashed everywhere. While driving in very heavy rain on very wet roads the underside gets jet washed by the spray and the oil/water mix that is then thrown out from under the rear of the truck gets sucked up and splatters the back of the tilt so the lovely clean sand colour canvas is already covered in small spots of oil. Not much we can do about this at the moment and my wife just shrugged her shoulders and suggested that it was just normal for a ‘Land Rover’ anyway. (Maybe black would have been a better colour choice for such a leaky vehicle )
The second issue is with the rear flap. The idea is that you can undo the flap and roll it up to allow easier access into the load bed or for allowing timber to stick out etc. The flap has two straps on it that attach to buckles which sit on the edge of the canvas over the rearmost hood stick. On most Land Rovers this would be quite easy to reach, however these buckles are now nearly SEVEN feet in the air on Annie as she has extra heavy duty parabolic springs and 33″ tyres and her rear end sits far, far higher than a stock 109″. The result is that both my wife and I struggle to see let alone reach the buckles to strap the rolled up flap into place!! We are both 6′ 2″ tall so not exactly short either.
The one big concern we both had prior to fitting the 3/4 tilt was how much reduced the vision would be when reversing in tight spots, in the dark and or in the wet. Thankfully those big windows as fitted to the 110 version of the tilt which we bought (rather than the smaller 109″ versions) are superb. Neither my wife or I have experienced any real difficulty with visibility since fitting the tilt. The amount of window panels is quite significant and even when slightly misted up in wet weather you can still see quite well out of them. They also clear quite quickly once you are moving along. Vision out of the rear window is also excellent. There are some minor blind spots created when the tilt is in place but in reality the combination of big Defender door mirrors and big windows (and two of them per side too) means we are both quite delighted with the levels of visibility.
It is a bit too early to tell if the tilt is affecting fuel economy. True, we have noticed a 10%+ drop in mpg since fitting the tilt BUT almost from the day we fitted it the weather turned and we’ve had rain, ice and gale force winds which means most of the driving since fitting has been done with lights, heaters and wipers on which we know reduces mpg. Also Annie has been having to idle on the drive to demist before setting off and as most of her mileage is made up of very short trips that idling will have a more significant knock on effect on her mpg. The other thing of course is that since fitting the tilt Annie has been used alot more for load carrying and as shown above has even been running around with a heavy gearbox in her pickup bed for a week. I’ll know more by next summer when we compare like for like driving conditions but I suspect the tilt has at most caused a drop in mpg of less than 5%.
So as I said when I originally fitted it, I would highly recommed fitting the 110 3/4 tilt to a 109″. They look fantastic and have a more modern look than the 109″ style tilts with the narrow slit windows and have far superior visibility. Quality still seems fine and we’ve experienced no issues with it at all. The pickup bed is now fully usable in all weathers and indeed has been used many times since the tilt was fitted whereas the bed was hardly used previously. We are both delighted with it.
All we need now is a set of step ladders to reach those buckles….