Monday, 28 April 2008

More parts for the pile...

A vist to a fellow club member on Saturday has yielded some more handy items. This time round, its chassis spares, removed from a scrap chassis. The crossmember is to replace a badly butchered one, the was caused by various things not fitting in its early days of my ownership, which I cured by simply cutting a lump out of the crossmember.

Also I aquired a set of engine mounts and battery tray. Replacing the engine mounts is a tradition that has so far been followed at every rebuild/overhaul of this vehicle, and I'm intending on actually getting them in the right place this time...

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

No, its not Bitsa...

But you would be hard pressed to tell. Random photo of a rather nice double cab with which Bitsa and I once shared a laning trip. Bitsa wasn't blue then, more multicoloured, or I could have tried for a double vision type photo...

Monday, 21 April 2008

As she lies there...

Its a bit worrying how fast vehicles looks abandoned... I mean, this one was in daily use until 9mths ago, and the tax still has four months left. But it doesn't stop it looking like it was dumped there years ago.

Still, I'm hoping to get a little more use out of that tax disk... it would be nice to have her back on the road before the end of this August...

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Happy (well maybe) Memories - 2

While looking round my computer I found this peice I wrote in July 07, when Bitsa had an impressive gearbox faliure. I'd written it to send into a Landy magazine, but its getting a bit dated now, so I suspect this will be as far as it ever gets...

I do have some pictures, but blogspot is being tempremental, so I'll add them later...


I spent a good part of last week listening to one Bod Dylan CD. Not particularly from choice, it was mostly the Landrovers fault. The gearbox on the Bitsa had finally gone bang, and that was seriously bad news - I was using her every day to commute to work and back. One Saturday afternoon, after a pleasant time at the annual local farm auction, (mostly spent towing lesser 4x4's back from the mud they had strayed onto), I jumped into her cab, fired up, shoved the gear-lever into reverse, lifted the clutch, and she moved back an inch and stalled. Assuming I'd just been indulging in some sloppy driving, I flicked the key, and tried again with a bit more throttle. Result – another stall.
This was getting less amusing. I tried to select a forward gear, guessing that the handbrake had jammed on. The lever refused to shift out of reverse. I selected neutral on the transfer box, and lifted the clutch. The engine stalled.

That was the last trip out for that gearbox. A friendly farmer towed me out to main road, I phoned the breakdown recovery and spent an uncomfortable couple of hours waiting for the lad with the truck to arrive. I wasn't altogether surprised the gearbox had died, just rather annoyed at the timing.
The box had been giving warning signs for most of the year, and at least 20,000 miles had passed since I had first associated the whine in 3rd gear with the layshaft bearing. Things had gradually progressed until I couldn't hear the engine over the scream from the bearing whenever I picked third. As my daily journey to work involves a climb of a good couple of miles with the engine and box screaming at 35mph in third I was acutely aware that a replacement was overdue. I secured a replacement gearbox on Freecycle, and had been planning to head up to Leeds to collect it on the following Tuesday evening. Somehow, I felt my plans were being just slightly re-arraigned.

The breakdown truck eventually hove in slight (as usual the claim “we will be with you within the hour” was about as reliable as the offending gearbox), The truck was winched on, strapped down, and I was gently relayed home. Its nearly a year since Bitsa's last ignominious return strapped to a lorry, which isn't bad for an old lady of 36, who is expected to drive nearly 30,000miles a year. Even so, I feel I am becoming too acquainted with the process of being recovered from some inconvenient location. It seens that it always involves a long delay and that I've always cleared the cab of all food, books, or anything else interesting, just before a breakdown occurs. My cynical side suggests that if I never tidied the cab, I would get 100% reliability.

Dropping Bitsa off into the local rugby clubs car park opposite the house, (my drive is too awkward to even consider), I walked home, starving hungry, tired, and frustrated. One good square meal, and an hour on the 'net and I was feeling rather happier. A helpful Series Two Club member had offered to deliver the gearbox from Leeds on Monday night, for his diesel money. Considering my only other option was pallet line at £70, I nearly bit his hand off. I arranged to borrow my mates 110 to get to work on Monday, and we towed Bitsa down to his house (it is usually fixed in his garage) and went to bed.

At half four on Monday morning my alarm clock went off. I staggered out of bed, jumped on the push bike, and shot down to the garrage. By five am, fuelled with some good hot toast, Sam and I were savagely attacking Bitsa. Cab off, screen down, seats cleared and removed, floor out, seat-box out... by five to seven, the last two stubborn seat-box bolts were out, and the gearbox was visible. A quick hand-washing, and we leapt into the 110, and headed off rather rapidly. I dropped Sam at the farm, and drove to work.

Around six pm I was back, and work restarted. I removed the prop-shafts, undid the handbrake linkage, removed the gearbox mounts, jacked up the back of the box, and got engine sat on a block of wood between the flywheel housing and the cross-member below. A short spell on my back saw the bell housing nuts off.

Wok was then interpreted by the welcome arrival of another 70's landrover, along with Dave, and the 'new' gearbox. A good chat, tea drink, and Dave headed back north, while work restarted.

I can't even begin to give a detailed account of what happened that evening, but suffice to say, it was at this point things started going down hill. The old gearbox was a SIII box, and the new one IIA, which has a totally different clutch release mechanism, for a different clutch. Simple then, to know what to do – fit the SIII bell housing to the IIA box, and I wouldn't have to muck about with the clutch plates, or find a release assembly for the IIA box. At this point, we put disk 2 of “Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits” into the CD player, and set it to repeat all. This was to prove a mistake.

We took the bell housing off the dead gearbox first. This was a piece of cake, apart from the fact that the bolts were so stiff I needed a scaffolding pole to crack them undone. Then I took the bell housing off the IIA box. First off, I had a massive battle with the split pin on the layshaft nut. Then, once that had finally admitted defeat, the bell housing came off, and we hit rock-bottom.
Not only did the bell housing come off, but out also came a large mass of gears, shafts and other important looking gubbins, and a tidal wave of old Ep90. Now, I have had most parts of my Landrover in pieces at various times. I've had my diesel engine strewn round the workshop in little bits on several occasions, I've put clutches in several other people's trucks, welded most parts that can rust away, but I'd never before found out what is inside a gearbox. Now I knew, I wasn't at all convinced that I was in any way a happier individual. It was half eleven, the truck was still broken, I'd been up rather more hours than I liked, and to crown it all, the garage floor was like a re-enactment of the Battle of the Somme, with various critical bits washing up and down it. My hands were far too filthy to touch the CD player, and as Dylan had now been round 4 times, I was starting to get tired of it. Sam and I just stood there, as if transfixed, by the sight of the mess we had created...

After a minute or so, the spell was broken. I picked up the pieces, and cleaned the worst of the garage floor off them, while Sam busied himself in putting dirty fingerprints over the valuable words of wisdom in the Haynes Manual, “Assembly is the reverse of removal”. After conferring briefly, we felt that shoving all the bits back in randomly, then bashing it with a sledge hammer, while a perfectly adequate approach to dismemberment, was unlikely to yield effective long term running.
A certain amount of head scratching later, I had deduced the order everything was supposed to go back in, and found that actually doing the deed was a little like doing a Chinese puzzle with an extra piece. Doubtless its simple in daylight, on a proper workbench, with everything clean, but at one in the morning, when feeling very sleep deprived, and enduring the seventh repetition of Bob Dylan's greatest hits (I normally do like the man), it really starts to get beyond a joke. Eventually, everything was induced to drop into line, the bell housing slid on, and I declared that enough was enough for the night, even if that meant borrowing the 110 again. Its better not to know how long it took in the shower to remove the worst of the Ep90 stains, suffice to say I had been up for over twenty two hours when I finally got into bed.

At work on Tuesday I arranged to have Wednesday off. I also felt like death warmed up. Tuesday evening also saw me fit the clutch release mechanism back into the bell housing, (its better not to ask what I had to do to the input shaft first, or my reputation as a total bodger will be made for life), and drop the box back onto the engine. After that, I was too knackered to contemplate further work that night, and went home to bed.

Wednesday morning saw everything bolted back down, and the gearbox filled with the cheepest thin oil I could find, to flush out any remnants of garage floor. The engine was started up, and I left it turning the gearbox in various gears for a few minutes. The oil was then drained, and the box re-filled with proper Ep90. After doing that, I threw the whole truck back together, and took it out for a test drive. Talk about luxury – I couldn't even hear the box any more, even hammering over Monks Road (about the steepest hill round here, ) in third, changing up and down the top two gears no-longer needed a double de-clutch, and all in all, things were pretty much perfect.

I got a fiver for the scrap man for the old box, after the obligatory pulling apart to find what had happened to it. I found a couple of teeth, and some random bits and pieces floating round in the oil. Judging by the evidence, one of these had worked its way into one of the main drive cogs, and locked it.

So, a little under 24 hours working time, and I had a living Landy again, total cost £30 including the gearbox oil change. Bitsa is still a right old shed, but it seems I love her anyway. Oh, and its strange to say, I've not been listening to much Bob Dylan lately.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Exhausting manifolds...

After a certain amount of fun, I've done drawings and got a (very reasonable) quote for getting a set of steel blanks cut to fabricate a non-turbo exahust manifold.
Now all I need to do it get the drawing checked (better now than after £40 worth of laser cutting) and pay the price tag. Oh, and fabricate the rest of the manifold from steel pipe. I anticipate a fun afternoon with a pipe bender, the angle grinder and the mig set.

Anticipated outcome: 2x good manifolds. At least 1x scrap manifold. At least one burnt finger, and at least five cutting discs dead...

Friday, 11 April 2008

Happy memories - 1

Back in the good old days, before everything blew up, and the MOT ran out, Bitsa is on the roam in Cumbria...

Disco parts...

As part of the 200's modifcations I've ended up with a pile of disco parts I don't want...

So if anyone wants a
- Clutch plate (nearly new by the look of it)
- Pressure plate
- Alternator
- Power steering pump
- Inlet manifold
- Turbo (belived to be good, 117K miles aprox)
- Fan (assuming I don't just end up taking the grinder to it)
- Alternator etc mounting bracket
- Disco engine mounts

just leave a comment...

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

The 200di itself

Well, these days I have a 200di sat in the shed, nearing vehicle-ready status.

The turbo has come off, not without a fight, (its better not to ask what the fate of the hard to remove stud was... :-*) and the oil cooler lines have been deal with (as in welded shut)

I've been weighing up the options for manifolds, and come to the following conclusions.
1) The 2.25D inlet is by far the best for the job. Ports seem perfectly in line, and it more or less bolts straight on. All that is needed to fit is to remove a very small slither from edges of the top securing lugs (see photos below).
2) The 200tdi exahust can be used alongside the 2.25D inlet as ^^^, without modification.

However, this still leaves for me the anoying problem of the 200tdi outlet for the exahust being not in an ideal place. I'm toying with the idea of fabricating a manifold, as while its probably more work than fabricating an exahust, it would be a much nicer result to be able to use a std 2.25D side exit exahust...

I've pulled all the power steering pump, alternator, and asociated bracketry off, and experimented with putting a 2.25D one in its place. On balance, I think I'll probably just fabricate a bracket, that way I can use a totally standard 16ACR, with a normal pulley etc.

One question, which still has been bugging me a little is how to take the viscous fan off the waterpump. I know that if all else fails I can brutally attack it with an angle grinder, but I'd rather do things more gently if I can.

Next eposode will probably be sorting the exahust manifold out, and swapping the oil filter, but that may not be for some time yet...

Monday, 7 April 2008

Winds of change...

Well, poor old Bitsa has been laid up since the end of August 2007 with a sad malardy that is best discribed as being generally knackerd. The engine is dead, the gearbox leaks, the chassis has holes in, the brakes don't hold pressure and the electrics (mostly) don't work.

If I'm honest, its partly my fault - the poor old thing got a hammering last year, being forced to do many thousands of miles, with maintance that just never quite caught up... its also partly that she was pressed into service with being finished propperly, and hence never was.

Now, a wind of change is blowing gently through the workshop (Not that is stops it smelling strongly of pig... isn't life on a pig farm great). Back in January I went out and spent a lot of money. Two and a half time what Bitsa had originally cost me in fact. But then, I did get a 200tdi engine in reasonable nick.

Its not a 200tdi now - the turbo has been removed. The Series Landrover world seems to have been devided by the merits of this. As far as I can tell, that divide basically sums up two different aproaches to running series Landys. One is to stay low key, low powered, do the minium moderniseing to get a bit more MPG etc. The other says that as IIa's are aren't the fastest thing on the planet, then they need a lots more bhp, so they can keep up with modern traffic.

Having found that a 2.25D with mild tweaking is more than enough for my daily commute, I'm working on the logic that a 200di should be perfect for me. Same sort of power and insurance group. Better MPG, and fully SVO compatable...

Watch here, as the plan is for a blow by blow rebuild account. Things are slow at the moment, I'm really just gathering parts. Come July/August, I expect the be making real progress with the rebuild...