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Volvo C304/TGB 13 Expedition Camper

About the blog:

Follow the transformation of a Volvo TGB 13 from cold-war-vehicle to all-terrain expedition style camper. The blog will be updated with our travel experiences from around the globe.

We will be happy if you take a look at Raredog Design - it is our webshop where we design cool T-Shirts for gasonline-freaks, rockabillys and just plain people who likes cool t-shirts with cars, bikes & Rock N' Roll :-)

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Offroad equipment Posted on Fri, June 14, 2013 17:36:14


From the very beginning we wanted to mount a winch. Not that we hope to ever need it on a holiday, but just in case smiley
The Warn 8274 on the Suzuki has served us well, its fast and strong, but also pretty expensive…

The last year or so i have been surfing the internet to find a less expensive option, but i really don’t trust much of the stuff from China…
On the other hand even Warn is made there now…

Found this test:

Seems like a great test, and the suprisingly winner was the TDS, which is made by Champion (Warrior in the US) – called the England based company and they were very helpfull. Told about the car and why we needed a winch and the guy told me to buy the 13.000 lbs 24V “Apache” its pretty cheap and the only difference from the “Samurai” (or TDS) is the waterproofing. As it is mounted at 1 meter/3ft above the ground on the bumper at we really don’t intend to participate in hardcore offroading events in this car, it won’t see much water…

I don’t like how its mounted, protruding from the bumber, but there isn’t much of a choice on this car… It won’t help the angle of approach either – but if it saves us from digging in 4 hours then its fine πŸ™‚
I really like the finish, a matte, rough black coating. It seems well built, but only time will tell…


RATED LINE PULL: 13000lbs (5900kg)
MOTOR: 24v : 5.5hp / 3.9kw
GEARING: 245:1
BRAKING ACTION: Auto in the drum
DRUM SIZE Dia x L: 63 x 223mm
CABLE Dia x L: 10.2mm x 20m
MOUNTING PATTERN: 254 x 114.3mm
DIMENSIONS: 580 x 160 x 219mm

Layer of Line pull
wire rope lbs (kg)
1 13000 (5900)
2 9563 (4338)
3 7948 (3612)
4 6800 (3090)
Line pull Line speed Amp draw
lbs (kg) ft/min m/min 12v 24v
0 18.0 5.4 65 50
6000 (2722) 11.15 3.4 120 110
8000 (3636) 7.22 2.2 230 150
10000 (5900) 3.28 1.0 380 200

Its slow compared to the Warn 8274 and only 26 meters compared to the wooping 46 meters on the Suzuki, but thats okay, i like both the cabled remote and the wireless remote, but the wireless seems very cheap…

Onboard Air!

Offroad equipment Posted on Mon, May 20, 2013 21:15:11

Got a mail yesterday from a fellow TGB-owner (Brian) who is in the process of converting his to a Nissan Patrol Diesel.
He needed a bit of help with the wiring and had a brand new Viaair compressor, so we made a deal smiley

Until now its mounted under the passenger seat in the back.
The space there is no good anyways and there is just room for an automatic 8 meter hose reel toosmiley
8 meters is enough to reach all 7 tires without routing it through the car.

Here are the specs:

Permanent Magnetic Motor
Duty Cycle: 100% @ 100 PSI
Max. Working Pressure: 200 PSI
Max. Amp Draw: 18 Amps

Fill Rates:
2 gallon tank
0-200 PSI: 5 min 39 sec.
165-200 PSI: 1 min 29 sec.

New tires mounted!

Offroad equipment Posted on Sun, February 24, 2013 22:12:06


I do not like compromises, and i don’t believe in “All-Terrain” tires. Either you need a tire for pavement or for offroad.
So the All-Terrains has a been a thorn in the flesh, they don’t look right on a TGB either, as they are to small.

So today we got them mounted. It was hard work as they were to big to fit in the tire-machine, so we had to do it the old fashion way…
A wheel weighs in at 56 kg so its took a bit of determination to mount the spare tire all alone smiley Only down side is that the 7 of them ads 77 kg to the car…

They drive great! No more noise than the ATs on the road and a good grip off road (haven’t testet them in mud yet)

And they are about 2″ bigger so the Volvo runs noticiably fewer rpms now, which is a good thing as this ex-military baby was build with offroad in mind! smiley

New tires arrived!

Offroad equipment Posted on Fri, February 15, 2013 10:29:03

Just before christmas on a cold, rainy day, i went for a little trip in some mud. At a piont a came to a small, muddy ascent and the Volvo just spun all 6 tires without any forward movement(!) smileyTried the same in our nimble little Suzuki Samurai and it drove up in 2WD without lockers!!! The BFG AT tires on the TGB has worked fairly well in dry terrain, but in mud the gets cloaked up and in a matter of seconds its like driving on slicks…

Its not much fun driving around in a 6×6 with portals and lockers and the get stuck in 2″ deep mud… (okay i’m exaggerating a bit) So the hunt for some suitable MT tires begun. The BFG AT’s is 285/75-16 is 32,8″ high and thats a bit to small compared to the original tires from the Swedish Army. (Goodyear KrondΓ¦k 35″)

As the gearing on a TGB13 is rather low it would be nice with some 37″ but they are expensive and almost all of them are pretty hardcore and not very road-friendly…

After hours of web-searching i found the Hankook Dynapro RT03 MT – its one of the very few tires that almost everybody thinks is good! It also won forwheeler magazines Mud-Shootout test in 2011.

Its not the most sexy tire in the world, but it should be very good in mud and on the street smiley

Unfortunately we couldn’t find it for sale anywhere in the size 315/75-16 (35×12,5-16)smiley Have tried webshops in Denmark, Germany, England and Poland without any luck…

A couple of weeks ago i read on that a guy had ordered them in England. I immediately visited their homepage, just to find them sold out(!) Called the company and they told that there was an errror on the site, but he would make them available in a minute.

Yesterday they arrived smiley

But there was only 6, and we need a spare tire too… Sent an email and the last one arrived this morningsmiley


Offroad equipment Posted on Mon, November 12, 2012 09:26:44

Made some new mounts and moved the extra lights a bit back, they protruded a bit to much.
Connected them to a relay and one of the flip switches on the stereo-mount under the ceiling.

Tested it out yesterday and “wild-camped” the afternoon – until a angry farmer came along treathening with calling the Police! – for parking on a bit of grassfield… smiley
Should be used to such things after our camping trips, but it is usually in foreign countries, not 20 kms from our home smiley

But the lights worked fine, giving the high beam a big boost smiley
Now we just need to find some stoneguards for them.

Bullbar – again

Offroad equipment Posted on Tue, November 06, 2012 09:52:46

Finally i got the bullbar home again. Third time the blacksmith actually got i right. or sort of…

The angles are okay now, but its a little wider than ordered. I fitted a piece of tube in the middle, but the blacksmith cut it out and welded in another part as he thought it looked better when it was TIG-welded (instead of my MIG weld) He’s absolutely right, but now the width is off..
This is not a big problem though – first i was a bit concerned as the initial plan was to mount it with a flange and some 10mm bolts and there wasn’t room for the flange. Descided to weld it in place: Looks better, holds better and i won’t need to take it off anyways.

I was going to mount two vertical bars on either side of the grill, but as the grill and radiator is 80mm offset to the right(!) i thought it was looking wierd. I guess that in the Swedish army/Volvo its function over form! – It provides more room for the drivers feet when the radiator is offset.

The front of a TGB might not be the prettiest in automotive history, but i think the bullbar helps a bit – and it provides some safety for our feet if we hit a tree our something else two big to go underneath πŸ™‚
Zombies and passenger cars are no problem i guess, the bumper is 900mm off the ground πŸ™‚

The extralights are not yet connected, but looking forward to some more light, so that will be done in near future πŸ™‚


Offroad equipment Posted on Thu, August 16, 2012 15:56:00

Did not have the time to fit a bullbar before the maiden voyage, but as ones legs are sitting right behind the headlights we thought it would be nice to have.

It will protect us a bit in case of an accident (allthough the bumper sits in a hieght of 80cms!) and protect the headlights and the front of the car from hitting branches and stuff.

As i couldn’t bend the tubing myself (42mm) i asked a blacksmith to do it.

I picked it up a couple of days ago and began shortening the “legs”
When it was done i did a testmount, but it was to narrow… Checked my drawings and they were okay, but the upper part was 115mm to short…

Hmmm… didn’t really wanted to complain about it, so i cut it in the middle
I welded a piece of tube in and the width was spot onsmiley

Testmounted it again, but couldn’t get it right..? something was wrong? Meassured the tube but it was okay… Then i saw it! The grill was not in the middle of the car??!
Hadn’t noticed it before, but the radiator and grill is offset by 80mm to the right(!)
I guess that since this is an army vehicle its function over form and it might be so to get a little bit more space at the drivers feet…

Hmm… nothing to do about that… Descided to make the bullbar symetrical anyways, allthought it may look a bit strange i guess that it would be even worse if everything was offset…

But the i noticed that something was not right… The tube was not bend in equal angles at both sides:
So now its back at the blacksmith, hoping to get it back tomorrow…


Offroad equipment Posted on Wed, May 30, 2012 09:56:38

Finished the mounts for the bridging/sandladders, would be nice if the one on the right was hinged to form a table under the awning, but that has to wait…
Re-installed the Rhino roof rack and the awning.

The exterior is almost finished, still needs some modifications to the roof rack and a custom bullbar/exocage for the front, an antenna for the new radio and some “Zombie Reponse Unit” decals πŸ˜‰