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RB44 on the road at last! But I need some more advice please...


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Hello Everyone,


Some of you may recall my naïve postings several months back about getting an ex-Withams RB44 on the UK roads.


Well, a steep learning curve and countless correspondences with DVLA, VOSA (and anyone else who would listen) later, I HAVE DONE IT! The RB is on the road - registered, plated, taxed and insured! And she's LOVELY :):)


And if I'd known what I know now, it would have been easy... But that's the nature of learning, eh??!!


The process didn't go as I really wanted it to, for example despite presenting very clear and properly documented evidence to DVLA, I could not get exemption from VOSA testing. I intend to pursue this further. The good news is that the RB sailed through the test needing only a bulb. But, let's be honest, it's got <5000 miles on it since new, so there shouldn't have been too much wrong.


Now for my question (I just hope it doesn't end up as being so clearly naïve as some of the ones that I was asking 5 months ago!!). The RB is obviously a truck, it's got a 4.0l Perkins 110MT Phaser in it. And I've driven a lot of 5-7 tonne trucks over the years. But this drives like nothing I've ever driven before!! It's sooooo FLAT.


It's got so much grunt from tick-over, but there's just no boost available after changing up a gear. Every hill in Lancashire becomes a challenge, and if you're unlucky enough to have to start at the bottom in third, then you're stuck in third all of the way up.


I've looked at the torque and power curves for the 110MT and they look more like they're designed for a boat engine than a truck. Apologies if I'm being rude to Perkins addicts! But the curves are as flat as flat things (to quote Black Adder). And this means that the RB is somewhat less than an inspiring drive! In fact it's like driving a canal barge - on the road..., except more noisy.


So my question is simple: please does anyone know of a safe and straight forward way of persuading my beauty to be a little more spritely? With everything being mechanical, I'm assuming that concepts like remapping the injection are completely alien. I'm sure that there will be a fuel regulation screw on the pump, but I don't really want to start this game (unless it really is the right thing to do). I'd just like a nice, safe, sensible solution, which does not involve a new engine, or a bigger turbo etc., and which allows me to remove my sailor's hat when driving...


I've got a feeling that I'm asking another naïve question...!!!


Thanks in advance,



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Knowing what I know about the random decelleration feature (on other vehicles this is known as the braking system) I advise caution regarding attempts to increase velocity.


As for flatness you should have tried the pre-production models with an ancient TH350 auto sludge pump gearbox. Ohhh lordy.


Not a helpful post I admit, but seriously, with those brakes I would err on the side of caution.

Edited by paulbrook
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They're not the quickest but not that bad either, I used mine on 250mile commutes and kept up with all the commercial vehicles on the road, maybe check your filters, air and fuel. They can be tweaked there is a 135hp version but it has a different turbo and an intercooler.

Problem is the rest of it might not like the "extra power".

As to the usual comments on the brakes :rolleyes: , change the fluid and clean the dust out regularly and they'll be fine, a minor problem with mine were the handbrake quadrants in the rear backplates, the pins siezed, so you might want to put some lubricant on them before they stick.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ive had mine on the road for about three months now. Its not really a bad drive at all, though the gearshift sure does not like to be shoved but likes to find its own place before changing. The performance has been reasonable and has no difficulty cruising at 60mph. But it does lack oomph! when you step on it. I think an intercooler would be a nice touch and Im going to see whats viable for it at the Perkins dealer. Ill be taking it through the Rocky Mountains into British Columbia this spring and that will be the test for highway hills. After that it will be off road excursions and MV shows.:-\

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They were designed for towing the 105mm guns and were the choice of the bean counters and not the end user squaddies on trials. They were not popular in service and death traps under towing conditions with those brakes. The reason so many are low milage are due to no one liked to drive them too much as they were far from the vehicle of choice the pinzgaur


One review says

RB44 - Replacement vehicle for the much-loved 1 tonne Landrover, but unlike the 1 tonne, it's neither fast nor loved.Virtually the whole fleet was VOR for about a year due to a brake problem, the servos are no longer available either new or recon so the fleet is being cannibalised bit by bit, it's too big to go under a Chinook. Of course, it's not entirely the contractors fault - from the MoD:"The Department told us that it had been too deeply involved in setting the specification so that the truck's ultimate performance was not entirely the responsibility of the contractor and the Department ended up paying for the additional costs. Recognising these shortcomings, the Department explained that it was trying to move away from specifying detailed solutions and towards specifying only the equipment performance which it would hold the contractor responsible for meeting.

On the RB44 programme the Department specified very closely how the truck should be made rather than the performance it should achieve. As a result the truck's failure to work properly was not primarily the responsibility of the contractor and the Department ended up paying £3.2 million to rectify the situation."

We would have been better scrapping the lot and having Pinzgauers instead.

The CP variant at least has a potential future use as a Kebab Van. lol


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