GLOBAL ROAMER CORPORATION (formerly ROVERDRIVE GEAR CORPORATION) is a Vancouver based company that specializes in the manufacture of overdrives for Land Rover vehicles. We are the only supplier of overdrives for both Series and Defender Land Rovers.
All research and development of our products is done on our own premises where we have a well-equipped machine shop and assembly area. We are located next to one of the finest wilderness test areas, British Columbia's Coast Mountains.
In addition to the manufacture of ROAMERDRIVE overdrives for Land Rovers, we are involved in the design and manufacture of products for off-road vehicles, yachts and small commercial ships. Our founder, R.A. Ray Wood, has numerous international mechanical patents in these fields.
Over the past ten years, our expedition team has covered over 50,000 miles in Africa, Australia, Europe, and North America, using our overdrive in the most severe conditions.
HISTORY - DEVELOPMENT OF THE GLOBAL ROAMER OVERDRIVE
For many years we owned a spare parts supply company in Canada and were distributors of both the English ‘Fairey’ and Spanish ‘Santana’ overdrives throughout North America.
When manufacture of these overdrives was discontinued in Europe, we decided to build our own brand of overdrive. Our experience with the obsolete units gave us strong opinions on how a Land Rover overdrive should be designed. We had the engineering expertise and an innovative design team.
We started with the premise that an overdrive should be quiet running. This meant discarding the crude ‘back gear’ designs used in the past. With memories of a quiet running Laycock overdrive in a long dismantled Sunbeam Rapier, we opted for an epicyclical gear train.
We then researched North American made automatic transmissions and found that the epicyclical components of the General Motors Turbo 400 transmission could be modified to fit inside the bolt circle used to mount a Land Rover overdrive. The Turbo 400 is generally accepted to be one of the strongest automatic transmissions ever made. We wanted our overdrive strong. We wanted it capable of handling the torque of any Land Rover engine used in any gear in high or low range. With components from the Turbo 400 we succeeded.
As 110 Defenders were uncommon in America, the early prototypes of the Defender ROAMERDRIVE were tested in a Discovery, seen here in Australia's Gibson Dessert, 600 miles west of Alice Springs.
The obsolete overdrives suffered from lubrication problems so we determined that the best way to lubricate our new overdrive was by circulating oil from the adjoining transfer case. This concept worked brilliantly in our first prototype. No longer would overdrive owners constantly have to worry about oil levels and put up with oil leaking from breathers. The shape of the new overdrive could be slimmed down to a simple compact cone that did not interfere with exhaust pipes and other equipment on the Land Rover.
We looked at other weaknesses of the older designs as well. The input couplings were prone to wear out and leave one stranded so we made our design much stronger and better lubricated. The needle roller thrust bearings could break and destroy the aluminum housings so we opted for rugged simple deep groove ball bearings – virtually indestructible and cheap to replace. Instead of exotic syncromesh clutches we raided the Land Rover parts bin and used standard Land Rover syncromesh units that are obtainable everywhere.
We rejected the idea of using an electro/hydraulic shifter on our new design. We intended our overdrive to be capable of going anywhere with the utmost reliability.
The result of our work is the Global Roamer overdrive for Land Rovers. Strong, quiet, compact and requiring virtually no maintenance. Over 2,000 of these units are now in service in more than thirty countries.