Bedford MJ 4x4


Hi, I`ve just bought an ex army Bedford MJ with an office body fitted. I`m converting it in to a camper and intend taking it overland to Africa in a few years time. Just wondering if any one here can offer any advice on this truck, what spares to take, what tools etc. or any stories about these old trucks. Any advice welcome........
Interesting choice of camper van to say the least....

I'd start your journey now if I was you. It'll take you a few years to get to France, let alone Africa.

Good luck anyway.
Inner and outer front hub seals
Front swivel seals
Hub nut spanner,inner and outer
Grease gun
Fan belts
Mimic the VM Basic and Tiffys boxes, that should cover most things
Best advice, give it a good service and take it for a few runs around UK, see how it behaves,
The AESP`s for this are available, E-Bay, car boots etc , Get the repair instructions (501 or 502, not sure been a while since I used them) and the 601 user maintainence.
Lastly ,enjoy! And good luck to you, sounds like an amazing trip


I believe the AESP refs you need are:

2320-H-100-522, 2320-H-100-523 and 2320-H100-601
(can you tell I spent a while running a tech library?)

They may be available in PDF format from someone serving in the Forces, failing that a hard copy will probably be knocking around the places mentioned by Kurgen.


Thanks for the replies folks. water & fuel side i will take care of as there will be a large on board fresh water tank and extra fuel capacity to. The truck is a 1987 low milage example with just over 18000 on the clock and the general condition seems to bear this out. The engine is very smooth and prety quiet if a bit smokey, although that does settle down a bit after it`s been run for a while. I can`t see any obvious sings of abuse and there are no dents or crash damage. The seals on the front drive shafts appear to be ok but they do look a bit exposed. I take it that they are a weak point on this truck ! there are no oil leaks under the truck where it sits. lord flasheart i take your point, they are prety slow trucks and that will be a bit of a grind but i will not be driving on motorways at all and once off the beaten track as it were, it will be fast enough. we will be traveling for about six months so the trip is not about driving vast distances in one go. we hope to explore the desert pistes of the sahara and spend a fair be of time in the more remote areas, thats why we went for a truck instead for a 4x4 car, we can carry more water and food etc and stay out for longer between resupplying and do it in greater comfort as we will have a proper bed, toilet and cooking facilities etc. I`ve read that these trucks are pretty tough and reliable and fairly straight forward to that the case ?
Definately get spare tyres, definately get some form of metal recovery boards to go under the wheels... decent ones.. Bedfords on the old style tyres are pretty go anywhere beasts, but when they do stop, they like to dig in. (especially with a box body on the back) If it's on the new Michelin (DAF style) tyres, try and bin them, go for the old style tyres, a much better cross country tyre, noisier and give more vibration but suit the Bedford well for off roading.

All IMHO of course!
Don`t want to teach you to suck eggs,however, one word to bear in mind:
Anyone remember Saif Sarea?
There are books, guides etc to preping vehicles for arduous enviroments,and sand will destroy your vehicle faster than most things.
Research and preperation are the keys.
Again, best of luck


As mentioned before at least one clutch, inner hub seals ( don't beat yourself up trying to get outer ones, they haven't got one ). If you do need to replace the swivel seals then check the swivel bearings as this is normally the reason they leak. It's also quite common for the hub seals to leak a bit if the vehicle has sat around for a while, there's a deflector inside to stop the oil going onto the brake shoes, so as long as the leak isn't too bad and stops once the vehicle has been used a bit I wouldn't worry too much.
Other spares- set of transmission brake shoes, steering column coupling, filters, anything electrical you can lay your hands on and arms like Popeye..


I seem to remember that these trucks are fairly reliable and mechanically very basic, therefore I would suggest all you will need is 1x very long piece of rope. This is so you can buy, in the event of a breakdown, 2x camels, horses or cattle to pull the said vehicle. You can also use the rope to lift the gearbox up and out of the way whilst changing the clutch or help you to remove the cab to change the engine. This is an essential piece of kit and should be in addition to the other useful items suggested above.


All the basic equipment is covered such as spare wheels/tyres, rope, sand laders,spades and recovery equipment,spare fuses, alternator belts,bulbs,fuel and air filters,oil etc etc. I estimate that the truck will never be more than half of it`s weight carrying capacity when fully loaded ie 2 tonnes. The recomendation to carry an extra clutch plate seems to sugest another weak point ! though on such a low geared vehicle i am a bit surprised. So that would be a spare part that i would not normally take but will concider taking now along with the suggested seals etc. Thanks again for all the replies, this is really helping my research (preperation)............martyboy


definately a clutch but is very easily changed at the roadside with somebody stood on cab roof with length of rope lifting gearbox in to place.Two other thing a steering top bush the thing that you find 20 off inside the steering shroud cos nobody can be arrsed getting the old one out and a master cylinder about thirty quid off ebay if i remeber


sleeper said:
definately a clutch but is very easily changed at the roadside with somebody stood on cab roof with length of rope lifting gearbox in to place.

Must be a B-Mech - as an A-Mech I've changed them by myself, with no jacks or rope!

Dont forget the clutch mandrel (6" extension and black nasty).

Grrrr.......A-Mechs Rule!!!!!

Good luck with the trip.


yeah im an a mech just bad back stops play and youngsters aint got a clue


Thanks again lads, this site has confirmed my research that the truck is basically a pretty reliable machine, but has given me more specifics. I`ve been in touch with a few overlanders who have used this truck, one of them drove to india and back with no probs and another to Gambia and back, only problem was with the starter solenoid. So thanks again for your help.....marty.


good luck, you'll need it, but saying that the only vehicles at my place that are reliable are the MJ's, all the older boys allways go for them, but definetly get the old tyres, the new mj ones are cr*ap, but definetly a clutch, you can lift the gearbox out on your own, dont listen to A Mechs, they aint got a clue, just lump changers, wouldn't know the front from the back, their knuckles are still dragging on the ground
Some good locks on the side inspection flaps. You can start one of these things with a split pin from a tow hitch simply by reaching in one of the flaps & pulling the plug off the back of the ignition barrel . Then if you know what holes to put the pin in, it,ll start!!. Otherwise I commend your choice of wagon. It may not get you there quickly, but it WILL get you there eventually. Good luck having driven these things all overe the place, I don,t envy you !!!!! ( then again, I do just a little bit !! ) Have fun !!!!


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