PortalCat, Tomcat with Portal-Tek axles.


The Build Thread

I decided to build a new car back in 2007. The truck will be used for recovering anything from inaccessible areas where a tractor or standard recovery truck could not reach.

I have been used to portal axles having fitted them to my Land Rover Defender 90, this was the axle type I wanted. Portal-Tek do an axle similar to the Volvo C303 axle but much stronger. I decide on a Tomcat frame and chassis at 100″ with Tomcat panels. The engine was to be a 2.8 TGV with an auto gearbox. I started to buy the bits and slowly accumulated them over two years. Assembly was started in 2008 and this is the build thread. I have taken the info from the original build thread on LR4X4. I stopped using that forum as I wanted more control over the content and to have a personal record of the build for SVA purposes.

The order in which I have entered the information is the same as the original thread. Several changes were made to the spec of the build as time passed. I let things evolve during the build and this will emerge as the thread goes on. (For instance, the engine was originally a 2.8 TGV but was later changed to a LS2 6.0 litre v8 petrol).

July 2008

I have been collecting this stuff for a while now and thought I should do something with it. I started collecting bits in February 2007. When a company took me for a considerable amount of money a while ago, the start of the build was put on hold. The time has come to start the new build..

Some pictures’ cos I know you like them, these are linked to Photobucket so click for larger image..

Spec is Tomcat 100″ frame extended to 105″ (or maybe slightly less), 2.8 TGV, Ashcroft HP24 auto box with a big torque converter, transfer box with tall gears for high box, Portal-Tek Gen III axles with Ford 9″ high pinion diffs, Fox 2″ diameter x 14″ shocks with remote reservoir, Tomcat body work, (for a while at least), tray back, hydraulic winches front and rear, warn top (or center) winch, full hydro steer, (I am trying to source a steering box that will still operate with a mechanical link so it will be 100% road legal). I am awaiting info on wheels from Portal-Tek but I have gone for a 17″ alloy with 5×5.5″ studs ‘cos there is a much greater choice of wheels for that stud pattern. Tyres will be 37″ Boggers for UK stuff, 35″ BFG Crawlers for fast stuff in the desert.

The engine is a new 2.8 TGV bought through Allisport.
2Blog1112Blog1122Blog1132Blog1142Blog1152Blog1162Blog117 When I finally installed this engine it needed a lot of extra’s which were bought from Motor and Diesel Engineering. With hindsight, I would have bought the whole bundle from M & D, they are the guys in the know for this engine and are incredibly helpful.

For ease of handling, I made a trolley to sit the chassis on at the correct height.
3Blog183Blog213Blog203Blog19As I don’t have a lot of space in my workshop, the trolley allows me to move the frame around and store it easily when not being worked on.
This truck will be 11″ lower that my existing truck to make it much more stable on side slopes and at speed.


First things first, get rid off all the excess bracketery on the chassis. The radius arm mounts etc; are to be custom made so the Land Rover stuff has to go.


I decided to run with Land Rover Discovery 2 front radius arms. Ideally, I would have liked to fit a four link on the front but the TGV engine has a very low slung sump which would interfere with the centre links. Disco 2 arms are longer than say a D90 arm and are much stronger. Decision made, brackets were needed to attach the radius arms to the chassis.


Once I had the radius arms mounted and the front axle in position, it became obvious there was little room for suspension travel and articulation. This needed some thinking about. Saley came up at 7:30 this morning, we spent 4 hours discussing this and that and the car is now 5″ higher than it was, it is still 8″ lower than my other though. Lots of room now for suspension travel etc.

A few pics to show why that decision had to be made.
With the chassis at my chosen height, everything would clash, not sure what the technical terms are but basically, I would have no room for suspension travel or articulation. The only solution was to raise the chassis 125mm.

After lifting up and with a bit of trial and error it now looks like this.

August 2008

Next is to modify the rear cross member, move it and convert it into an air receiver. The cross member will take 2 of the the rear 4 axle mounts so has to be strong. I cut off the existing cross member with the intention of replacing it with a new stronger one. However, it was in good condition and made from “proper” steam pipe so I welded 6mm plates over the ends to ensure it would seal and to add some strength to the chassis mounting position. After fitting some BSP sockets, the new air receiver was pressure tested. I welded it with MIG originally, a couple of pin holes were found to be leaking so I ground off the weld and re-welded using TIG. Second test held pressure overnight. I made sure all swarf etc was removed from inside the air receiver after drilling and welding.



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