Tuesday, 3 November 2009

On Tow... latest project

I spent a few moments on Saturday sorting out my tow hitch and trailer electrics, which I've been meaning to do for ages.

This is because I had a special missions on tonight, a transpenine bit of LR chassis haulage...

A SWB Bitsa is in the works, although I'm not intending on keeping it longterm... more a project to make a quid or two from my assembled collection of spare bits.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Smokey Joe...

Maybe cold waste oil isn't such a good idea... its fine once she's warmed up.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Fanbelt joys

The fanbelt went today... I think it had been slipping a little for a while, as I've seen occasional flickers from the warning lights for a couple of weeks...

After a certain amount of head scratching, I piggybacked a pile of cable ties, to keep the water pump in motion... which worked better than I expected.

I'd no idea where the belt I had came from, but it seems that a normal 2.5N/a belt fits fine, indeed if anything it is a better fit than the previous one... the alternator is no-longer bang next to the chassis rail.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

A parcel has arrived...

And in it is a shiney new facet pump and a door top...

I can see the glazing of said doortop proving fun, but I'm quite looking forward to not getting a wet right arm when its raining.

I'll have to bob round the supplies of such things tomorrow to buy some thread adaptors to get the pump to take 1/4bsp unions, and then I'll be able to give the waste oil a decent go...

Monday, 26 October 2009

The fuel lift pump packed it in on Saturday. It thoughtfully did so about 1/2 a mile from the farm, and I managed to get her to crawl home in short burst of tickover in 1st gear. (it seems that a Tdi injector pump sucks fuel from the tank fast enought for this result...).

I nicked NOG's facet electric fuel pump as a short term fix, good job I keep a selection of 1/4 BSP hose tail fittings in stock. I'm rather a fan of electrical lift pumps, so rather than replace the Tdi pump, I've ordered NOG a new Facet - £35 from Paddocks.

Bleeding the system is now really simple - open fuel bleed screws, turn the ignition on, wait for fuel to emerge, turn key off, close bleed screw. Talk about civilised.

I've also fitted a second fuel filter assembly, with a coolant driven heat exchanger attached - the idea is for this is to be part of the waste oil system. When I've got two Facet pumps, before I fit NOG's new one, I may trial running the waste oil system with its own pump - in the long term, that is probably the best way forward, as it should remove all the problems I've been having with fuel starvation and air leaks from suction pipes. If that works, I can always buy NOG another pump...

I'm supposed to be collecting a major part of a new project a week today - a "new" chassis for the cammo contraption. The plan is for this to get a speed rebuild, pass an MOT, and then be flogged ASAP, in order to relive my bank account. At the current standing, it owes me about £500, so if I keep spending under control, I might actually make a profit. As a bonus, I might actually be able to get my workshop back - NOG is currently camped out inside, and the Cammo thing is in the only available place outside...

Monday, 19 October 2009

On Tour

The "Bodgit and scarper" roadshow is coming to your town soon... well maybe.

Saturday I was performing in Penistone cinema, welding a rather rusty 88" for an MOT.(The cinema has been closed for years, and is currently a huge workshop... weird place part of it like a 28dl explore). Another performance is scheduled for tomorrow night, this being in Shaw, on the subject of pumbing up SWB brakes, then I've got to head to east Derbyshire at some point to fault find a 109" which has apparently lost all brakes without warning...

All this means I have done nothing to Bitsa for the past week, apart from drive her. I do need to get some antifreze in, as I'm not sure how much is in, and the nights are starting to get colder.

Sunday, 11 October 2009


Its been a couple of busy weeks recently, so here is a brief update on the current state of the ratty old truck...

Roof is on for the winter. I've finally bolted it down "propperly" rather than with a token couple of bolts. Did you know that spring shackle bolts are ideal for going through the hood sticks bolt holes? Just need spreader plates back on the bottom.

In a (probably) vain effort to do somthing about the amount of oil scattered over the engine bay, I've finally fitted the later 2.25D inlet manifold I got in August. This takes the oil fumes from the oil breather, and hopfully lets it burn them, rather than throwing them all over the engine bay. While changing the inlet manifold, I found that the intake pipe had been chaffing one of the injector pipes, and had made a fair sized dent in it. ( I couldn't belive it - I really have seen it all now). I've put some rubber hose over the pipe in question, to try and protect it.

I'm still playing with waste oil, but its not proving entirely plain sailing. During a trip to Wales last weekend I was running with both tank fuel cock's open. The following morning I started her up, and she died after about 1/4 of a mile, refusing to do anything other than idle. On removal the fuel filer had rather a lot of congealed gunk in it. I'm comming to the conclusion that the stuff needs filtering before use - apparently sticking it through an old pair of jeans is the way to go, or so say the vegi fuel forums. I'm still working on an improved set-up - currently I'm trying to work out where to mount the second fuel filter, and to sort out the related plumbing... A electrical Facet pump is going to be fitted for the waste side - I'm not really keen on the arangement where I'm sucking both tanks with the same lift pump - it's asking for air problems.

The "original" drivers door that I found kicking about in 2006 when putting her together has finally been condemed. The final straw was when the bottom section of the frame fell off, leaving the door as a floating bit of doorskin and nothing else.
I've fitted a replacement door, in a tasteful shade of bright red. I've also fitted a new barrel to the lock of this new door... meaning I can actually lock it. Not that there is much point to locking it, until I've got round to buying a new door top.

The bad news is that, having finally got the transfer box sorted, I seem to have some main box issues instead. There is a rather nasty knocking sporadically evident in most gears, and very noticable in 4th over about 60mph. She is also throwing herself out of 4th rather erratically at motorway speeds - I'm not quite sure yet of the why's and wherefore's - its happened on over-run, while thrashing up the climb at the end of the eastbound M67, and while rolling along on part throttle at about 65mph. Answers on a postcard.
I've aquired a decent gearbox as an insurance policy, although rather less convinently its from a Series 3... I real prefer crash boxes. However beggar's can't be chosers, and it was free. If nothing else, it can be fitted while I rebuild one of my shot IIA boxes (I've a bit of a collection of them now).

Saturday, 26 September 2009

I think my gearbox is cursed

I set off this morning trying to do a simple job. Merely remove a dammaged speedometer drive cog, and replace with one from a spare gearbox.

By the time I'd finished, there was a trail of distruction round the workshop, it was dark outside, and Bitsa was on her 3rd transfer box in as many weeks.

Nothing would remove the old cog - it seemed glued to the shaft.
I hit it from various angles, attacked it with a selection of improvised pullers, and tried various other dodges before finally wielding the gas axe over it.

That got it off, but a slight slip of the wrist saw me nick the rear bearing on the back of the transfer box with the gas... so I needed to change the bearing.

A lot of huffing, puffing and further burning of pretty much everything including my fingers, saw the defenct bearing removed. So I just needed another bearing, and with the truck imobilised, I had to conjure one up on the spot. Simple I thought - I've the transfer box I took off a couple of weeks ago - the front bearing had failed, but the rear bearing was fine. So I got the old transfer box out of the scrap pile.

The bearing shifted about 1/2" down the shaft and stuck.
The shaft was floating round in the box, and it was almost impossible to get it held to hit the shaft back throught the bearing. In desperation, I cut the shaft in half inside the box with the gas, which left me the bearing on a bit of shaft I could get in the vice. With the bearing sat in the vice, I hit the shaft out of it. And with my final blow, managed to hit the bearing case rather than the shaft... destroying the roller cage.

Oh dear.

I still had one option left - there was an old gearbox from NOG kicking about. The main box was shot, but the transfer box was fine. I thought about extracting the bearing from it, and gave the matter a brief attempt. It didn't seem keen to shift, and given this was my last chance, I didn't feel inclinded to get too carried away, or get the gas out again.

So, I fitted NOG's old transfer box to Bitsa. Ironically, NOG is now running Bitsa's old gearbox and transfer case, which was all sat spare and in good order when her box packed up in March.

Still, I have got a working speedometer now. And it reads much higher than before - the old speedo drive must have been slipping before fusing with the output shaft on its demise...

In other news, I've still no roof on, topless week 3 comming up. Who say's we don't have summer in England. We just have it at a time most people would expect Autum.
HMRC have also finally cashed my cheque and sent me a receipt for the first batch of waste oil. I'm clearly unusual - the receipt in question has the reference no - WASTE002/09, which means I presume means that I'm one of two people currently burning waste oil as a motor fuel legally. (I now know of four or five people doing it undeclared, which is rather a different question... it seems old Pugeots run quite well on it cut 50/50 with diesel).

Friday, 18 September 2009

Oh, joy...I'm Ill and the gearbox is playing up again.

Bitsa has been clocking up the miles this week - I've been helping cart bales for some friends near Ashborne, and so she has been flogged over the hills at great speed there and back after work a couple of nights after work this week.

I'm now officially ill and in bed with a nasty cold - I'm hoping it will have shifted tomorrow, but I'm not exactly feeling sure about that. If it does shift, I've yet another transfer box problem to fix tomorrow - the handbrake drum and output flange have somehow un-done themself and are making a bid for freedom.

I'm also feeling inclined to fit my second fuel filter for the waste oil, and along with it a second fuel pump. I'm still having problems with air being drawn in from whichever line is closed off, and I suspect a system with two fuel pumps may be the answer. Watch this space.

The roof is still off, as the weather is staying fair - I don't know how long its going to last, but so far I'm not complaining... its over a week since it first came off now.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Waste oil is go...

I've actually got a system for running waste oil in Bitsa that finally works.
Its not finished yet, but I've driven from Glossop to Macclesfield almost entirely on the waste oil.

The system currently comprises a temporary fuel tank for the waste oil, two shut off valves (one for diesel, one for veg), and a 't' connector between the pipes prior to the lift pump.

The main snag now seems to be the filter - dispite the fuel being heated a bit (the incomming line is wrapped several times around a Series 3 heater matrix, as a temporary appology for a heat exchanger), I'm having trouble with the engine starving under high power demand. It runs like normal, and then suddenly dies, probably due to a lack of fuel. I knew that the capacity of the filter was on its limits with diesel (its got a 2.25D filter, rather than a 200tdi one), and when it needs changing, performance drops somewhat.

In an effort to remedy this, I went to the scrappies on Saturday, and aquired a similar CAV filer. The main difference is that on the bottom it has a substantial coolant driven heat exchanger. Apparently they were standard fit to a few pegueot diesel's at one time (they later switched to electrically heated filters, which I am avoiding, given I've only a standard 16acr alternator). I've also been to Partco, and found that there is a larger "long" version of the normal 2.25D filter, that should improve flow rates a bit. I'll report back once this has been fitted...

In other news, I've done a deal on a rear tub as the current one is "life expired". Expect to see a rather tidyer Bitsa on the roads shortly. She will also have twin tanks as the new tub is rear fill (this means I can ditch the tempoary fuel tank in the back, and do all the waste oil plumbing propperly). I suppose this also means I get to fabricate a new exahust, as the current system has the silencer where the rear tank would live. Current thinking is to either alter things to the Series 3 109" setup, with the exahust exiting under the rear passenger corner of the tub, or possibly a much shorter system, with the silencer mounted under the passenger floor, and the tailpipe emerging forward of the rear axle. While talking about "deals" I've agreed a swap of my decent spare truckcab back for another one (somthing to do with belt mounts a mate needs), and then I can finally replace the one that is falling to bits on the back of the current cab(not before time either - the glass now falls out if I hit a big bump). Mind you, I've been hetroving in style this weekend, as the summer has finally arrived, (nearly in time for Autum), and the sun is shining. There was still a howling gale blowing across the Cat and Fiddle summit when I came back from Buxton on Sunday night mind you... the nights are drawing in a bit too.

Mechanically, the oil leaks seem to be increasing, and I think I'm going to have another attempt on the oil filter/block gasket - this seems to be the source of at least some of the leaks. A lot of the rest is an open breather, which I intend on plumbing into the inlet manifold - however I'm mildly concerned at the rate it is breathing - I think some sort of restrictor may be needed to stop it emptying the sump into the inlet. I supose this reflect the general state of the engine, but then it has been quite a long way, and it still goes, so I don't really care. I will do once it doesn't start mind you.

I'm eyeing up a dead 300tdi disco a mate has bought... if it gets broken, the engine is mine, and that means the turbo may just find its way onto Bitsa. The 300 manifold is almost certainly the best option for a 200tdi in a 109", and I can do a 300di conversion on somthing else(or just ebay the engine) and get my money back...

Thursday, 3 September 2009

The weekend - 2

I spent a good deal of Monday playing with waste engine oil.

Bitsa now has a tempory fuel tank for waste oil, which is fed via a shut off cock to the lift pump. The main pipe from the diesel tank has also gained a shutoff cock.

With the engine warm, it idles sweetly on waste oil, but it seems to suffer from starvation if you try and drive it - I got about 500 yards before the engine started dieing, but after a bit of cranking it would restart and idle again. The next stage in the experiment is to try warming the oil, so it passes through the filter much faster - I did build a rather bodgy heat exchanger, but I've yet to plumb the coolant side in. If that doesn't help matters, I think I'll need seperate fuel pumps and a larger filter (the standard one is on the small size for a 200 anyway).

It does however run fine once warm with both fuel cocks open - the level in the waste tank has dropped a bit - I think its running about 10% waste to 90% diesel given the amount of waste used... not a massive saving, but still worth having. I took her halfway round west yorkshire like this, with no problems, although she was a little slower to fire up than usual after being stood for a couple of hours... if I'd knocked the waste tap off a couple of miles before parking up, I expect she would have been fine.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Last weekend - 1

I had somewhat of a Landrover weekend over the bankholiday.

Some of the stuff I did falls into different areas, so I'll put up some seperate posts, as and when I can be bothered.

First job on Saturday was to get the brakes sorted, as they were a little past their best. New shoes all round, new seals in the front cylinders, and a bit of work on the adjusters: - result, lovely pedal.

I then spent a happy hour repairing a bottom spring mounting plate for DaveH - it had been bent (how on earth do you do that), and had a massive crack hidden in line with the bend - on warming it up to straighten it out, the crack became rather more than visible.
I got it rather warm with the gas, beat it flat with the big hammer, ground the crack out, welded it up with a few decent runs with the stick welder, and then ground it back down smooth... turned over, and did the same the other side. Shouldn't be possible to tell its been repaired now.

Then I went to Holmfirth to meet Dave and return said spring plate. I there go introduced to a right sheddy 88" with an MOT, and a lot of hole in the chassis... more on this in a subsiquent post...

Friday, 28 August 2009

Some fittings

The pile of bits for the waste oil conversion is growing...

This little lot, plus a large quantity of fuel grade rubber pipe should form the basis of the changover and purge systems. In an ideal world, I would have had two way valves, but two single valves seems cheeper... Turning them all off would probably be a pretty good anti theft device.

The current intention is to have a electric fuel pump for the waste oil tank, feeding a heat exchanger connected to the coolant, probably mounted on the passenger footwell. This will then feed into the main filter.
Startup will be on normal diesel, switch to waste fuel once the engine has warmed up a little. Shortly before shutdown, the return from the injector pump will be switched to return to the waste oil tank, rather than the filter, and after a few minutes, the filter should only contain diesel again.

I'm not quite sure yet how I'm going to make the heat exchanger - I've decided a way of making pretty much everything else. In the short term, I may leave it out, and see how things go - I suspect it will run fine in summer, but I will need it as the winter draws in.
A possible plan for the heat exchanger is a Series 3 heater matrix, sealed in a box full of oil, with an entry port at one end, and an exit port at the other... heat exchanger are avalable commercially for people running veg oil, but that would mean spending money. Its cost me over £50 for various fittings so far, so I don't want to spend a lot more until I know it all works fine.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Waste oil - nearly there.

I've finally actually got as far as makeing payment for a batch oil oil to HMRC... the cheque went in the post tonight for an inital 100L (£54.19 worth) of oil. That would cost me about £105 at the pumps right now, so a pretty decent saving.

If I get the brakes sorted on Saturday, I'll possibly spend bank holiday monday setting up a basic system for running on the stuff.
I'm currently thinking I won't fit propper twin tanks for the moment - Instead I'm contemplating modifying a jerry can or similar.

The only bit of the system I'm not yet sure about is the changeover valves - I may be seen looking at plumbing bits in wickes later this evening.

Reports of a Landrover clouded in blue smoke may be forthcomming shortly... but at that price who cares.

If everything works out OK, once things have "stablised" I'll post up a propper "how to..." sort of post.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

This weekend

I'm planning a focus on brakes.

Bitsa's brakes are starting to feel rather worn out.

I had a rear drum off the other day, and there were pretty small amounts of meat left on the shoes, while the fronts have weeping wheel cylinders which have wrecked the shoes.

The front cylinder behing genuine lucas/cav, and not very old, I'll try seal kits, and if that doesn't work, I'll replace with Lookheed/Delphi - they are the probably the best avalable at the moment, if not the cheepest.

Hopefully then, the rears won't lock first, which has made wet junctions interesting of late.

Monday, 24 August 2009


One transfer box.

I spent most of saturday changing the transfer box for one that wasn't quite so knackered.

From the 1/4" of swarf like silt that was on the bottom of the cover plate, I'd say it wasn't before time either. The wear on the intermeadiate shaft teeth was pretty impressive, as was the amount of free play in the output shaft bearings.

It was really a fairly painless job - I didn't even need to pull the seatbox, as I split the box in situ, and then droped the transfer box/front output shafts out underneath. (Disclaimer if anyone else trys this - I don't know if there is enough room or not on an 88")

Its quite nice being able to hear the engine again for a change.

I've collected an overdrive that looks to have nothing much wrong with it apart from missing some selector pads, but it didn't have an imput clutch assembly(the bit that is bolted to the mainshaft). Murphy's Law states that this means the bearing on my old imput clutch had gone, so I'll have to get a new one from Craddocks. The good news is that they are avalable, for a mere £23 + vat + post...

Still, I miss having the overdrive - when I went to collect the spare one yesterday, I found I kept looking for the overdrive lever to change up, particularly on the motorway. Having to keep down to about 65mph is painful once you know what motorways are like with an overdrive and a 200...

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Overdrive woes...

I think I know why I was having drive issues.

I'm not quite sure yet exactly why its mangled itself like this, but to say I'm rather annoyed is an understatement. Craddocks have the bits, but want over £200, so I'm trying several lines of enquirey to try and find another broken one to do a "mix and match" fix...

In other overdrive news, I seem to have done a deal on one for NOG, which should make her a lot more usable next time I have her on the road. (MOT is out now, so I'm not expecting to have her back running till Easter next year now)

Wednesday, 19 August 2009


Bitsa doesn't like going on holiday to Aberystwyth. This is a fact.

Two years ago, the injector pump on her old 2.25D totaled itself and the camshaft, a couple of miles out of town, in protest at being run on 100% veg oil for weeks. That resulted in her being parked up off the road awaiting rebuild, as the MOT was almost out, and I couldn't be bothered to keep messing with the engine.

This time, nothing so dramatic happened. However, the clutch is now dragging badly, the bearings in the transfer box have gone, and the overdrive selector seems to be giveing me only the options of "out" and neutral... The exahust also snapped off, and had to be repaired ASAP as it was almost undrivably noisy without...

The trip down was fun, fast lane of the M56 with the screen folded down on the bonnet... just a little blowy.

I also did a spot of laning - the video is here (I would try and embed it, but to say Blogger is hard to make work is an understatement)

This weekends mission looks like it will be swaping the transfer box for one from a different gearbox, as the bearings have gone to the point that I'm supprised it still moves about under its own power...

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud...

I spent a good deal of yesterday ragging Bitsa round a sea of mud.

That is all I could discribe the EOD offroad course as by the time I started attempting it. As seems to be typical, it has been raining lots recently (nothing like the UK's summertime), and the result was a challenging morras of greasy mud.

Given I was on rather road basied tyres, I was nothing if not amazed by how far she got. She is now plastered in mud all over, even the dash is covered in it. It must be said, the 200di seems very at home offroad, even under water... I've yet to see any photos of me driving repeatedly through the large late of wheel height+ water, but every time I expected her to cut out, and each time she just plodded through and out the other side. Even when I attempted a climb out of it, failed, and ended up sat stationary in there trying to get reverse...

EOD in general was pretty great - I went laning with Mark.Yellow.Series3 in his (nato green) 109" as I couldn't really afford the fuel to take Bitsa laning (I used a good £10 worth on the offroad course as it was). We did some very nice lanes in the dales, before heading back to the camp site.

Rather to my supprise, I don't seem to have broken anything significant on Bitsa, so the jobs list is more or less the same as before I went - the only thing that needs redoing is the swivel preloads, as after the saga of the non-broken front axle (I ripped the front axle to bits thinking I'd done a halfshaft, only to find that it was a problem FWB coupled with someone not watching when I was turning stuff to find out why I didn't have 4wd...). It is drivable at the moment, but seems to have nasty steering shimmy at if you hit a bump at low speeds.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

HMRC - Result... its legal after all...

I've just had a reply from HMRC, following my latest email. They have finally stopped beating about the bush, and given me the answer to the question, instead of lots of bizare reasons why I can't or shouldn't run the Landrover on waste engine oil. I'm so pleased, I'm thinking of putting a framed copy up on the wall.

Dear Mr Eastwood

Thank you for your emailed enquiry dated 24th July 2009 requesting further information on the HMRC requirements when processing waste oil with a view to using it as road fuel.

In the light of the information provided in your email you will be regarded by HMRC as a recoverer of waste oil and you will be required to ‘make entry’ of your premises by formally notifying us on Form EX103 (or EX103A if you are an incorporated company) which is available on our website. The completed form should be submitted to the Mineral Oils Relief Centre, HMRC, Building 4, BP4002, Benton Park View, Longbenton, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE98 1ZZ, and marked for the attention of Barry Nicholls.

Having entered your premises you will be required to pay excise duty on the recovered oil at the full diesel rate which is currently £0.5419 per litre. Form W50 will need to be submitted, with immediate payment, to the National Warrant Processing Unit before any oil is used for road fuel. Unfortunately that Unit is currently located in temporary accommodation so you will be advised of the correct address and payment procedure on completion of the EX103 submission.

The only HMRC publication that covers the scenario you propose is Revenue & Customs Brief 45/08. Certain elements of that document have been overtaken by subsequent changes – very noticeably the addresses of the sections involved - but most of the general principles outlined in the Brief still apply.

I hope this is of assistance.

I must emphasise that the advice given is based on the information you supplied. It only relates to HMRC procedures and pays no regard to any requirements imposed by other organisations. Moreover if the nature of the transaction changes in technical detail, or the relevant details provided were incomplete or incorrect, we will not be bound by this advice.

Yours sincerely,

Steve Preston

Looks like the waste oil powered 200 will be up and running shortly... the mpg of a diesel, at fuel the price of lpg... result.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Tonight I have mostly been

...reading up greek legends. No, that doesn't sound pausable somehow.

Ok then, I spent the evening drinking coco and watching Corrie on the box. No, don't belive me...

Right, I may have to own up then. Tonight I spent lying on my back underneath Bitsa, doing a simple job. Changing one engine mount.

If I was in the workshop I'd have just parked under the block and tackle, wipped the nose of the engine up, swapped the mounts and stuck a new one in. However tonight I changed one in the boatyard carpark with a 15mm spanner and a crowbar. Basically, the sport consisted of levering the engine about with the crowbar while reaching into the vicinity of the mount and trying to do the chinese puzzle which is tickling the engine mounts into place. This is not a sport for the sqeamish, but hopefully the fingers I trapped will have recovered sufficently by sunday for my to still manage to play the organ at Church. (Yes, I am an occasional church organist, even if that sounds less pausable than the claim that I watch Corrie(I don't))
Now, I thought with diesel engine mounts, here was somthing that even Britpart couldn't mess up. How wrong I was. Just guess what eats Britpart diesel engine mount rubbers, and turns them into a sticky jelly. Not washing up liquid. Not nitric acid, or at least, it may do, but I've not tried. Not rain, even acid rain. No, somthing more common on a diesel engine than any of the above... yep, you've guessed it - diesel. You would think it would be possible to make a rubber compound that can withstand diesel... fuel filters seem to have some sort of rubber seals that don't fail.

Talking of fuel filters, and leaked diesel, I think I've finally sorted the largest single cause of Bitsa's leaks - the fuel filter housing. Having traced the path of some of the significant quanties of oil that were running down the engine and onto the floor, it appeared that there was a small, but stead drip comming from the tank bleed back union on the filter. This had had the thread partially striped and that was probably the start of most of my problems. Anyway, I've now fitted a new fuel filter housing, that I found hiding in the back of the workshop the otherday, and she only seems to have the usual oil leaks now.

I also have a top tip for those changing fuel filters, particularly if they have iffy fuel lift pumps. Get a decent sized syringe, and you can fill the new filter in a few moments, with no mess. Incidentally, a syringe is a very handy addition to any toolkit for lots of jobs like this - apparently they are very good for filling steering relays(there is a saga here, involving a knackered relay that doesn't wish to depart Bitsa's front crossmember, but don't even ask just at the moment, I'll publish the full story as and when I've managed to get it out), and also for testing dizzy vac advances.

While I was fooling underneath the old shed, I figured it was about time I did somthing about the fact that one of the major mounting points for the exahust was the top of the rear axle. Those with memories of the 07 Series 2 Club Northern Gathering may recall that my truck caught fire about 4 times in the course of that weekend. The root cause was a faulty wiper switch which was occasionally earthing its live feed throught to the dash pannel face. The resuling current and consiquent heat burnt the insulation off the main pannel feed, which I wrapped in insulation tape as a "get me home, and the be ignored for the next year or so" sort of bodge. Anyway, in the recent rebuild, this delightful bodge was finally replaced, and the big bit of burnt looking heavy duty wire ended up with 1001 other bits of junk floating about in the toolbox. Not being a man to waste anything, this has now been recycled into a handy exahust mount, that holds the rear pipe a good 3" clear of the back axle. At some point I will replace this bodge with a propper rubber mount, but probably only in about 2020, or when the big of burnt looking wire breaks, whichever happens first.

I'm now nearly ready for EOD, which is a good job, as its only four days away now. The engine mount change I had deemed essential before I taking her laning/ragging her round Hartington quarry(one of the rubbers had been in the habbit of jumping out if I was just a tad agressive over speedbumps, never mind went laning), and I was getting sick of the fuel bill the leaking filter was responsable for. The main jobs I need to do now are put the transmition tunnel back in(not quite simple, as I need to scrounge a hole saw to make it fit over the overdrive lever), fit the truckcab propperly, adjust the handbrake so its not right on the limit of travel, and clear at least some of the junk out of the back...

Friday, 24 July 2009

HMRC must love me...

Having finally found the time to go looking for some legislation, I've written HMRC another email asking how to pay duty on waste lub oil used as fuel. Hopefully this time they will come back with a price, rather than some bogus info to put me off.

Dear Mr Preston,

Thank you for your email dated 9th June 2009. I have done some further
research regarding the use of waste lubricant oil in a diesel engined
road vehicle, and I would value some further advice.

>Any oil used as motor fuel must, under EU and UK law, bear excise duty and the
>specific duty rate charged would depend on the exact type of fuel (and the type of
>motor it is intended for) These factors would also determine the type of HMRC >approval/registration required by you.

>However you do need to be aware that you might be in breach of environmental
>legislation if you collected and transported quantities of such waste oil from
>various sources, and also if you then applied any type of process to this waste oil.
Thank you for your advice on this point. Most of the issues regarding
this are resolved by the fact that I intend on using oil that I
personally remove from engines, processed on the same site, and
immediately transferred to the fuel tank of the road vehicle. I
understand that there are licensing requirements imposed by
legislation, but I will be in correspondence with the relevant
authorities with regard to this.

>The finished product then used in a motor vehicle would possibly fail to meet EU
>and UK specifications on the exact content of sulphur and toxic heavy metals or
>other substances in it. I would strongly advise you to research and deal with these
>issues first before embarking on this project. I say this because such waste oil is
>normally considered only fit for burning as furnace fuel due to the heavy metal
>contamination and it is normally not cost-effective to reprocess it into motor fuel of
>an acceptable standard, even with the sophisticated methods available in oil
> refineries and the consequent economies of high volume.
Having reviewed all the legislation I can find on this point, it is
irrelevant, as I am neither buying waste oil to use as a motor fuel,
nor selling any oil as a motor fuel. None of the legislation I have
found prohibits actual use, only the buying and selling of
"unsuitable" oils with intent to use as motor fuel. You may also be
interested to know that in the UK a high percentage of most cheep
lubricant oil is recycled used oil which has had the impurities
removed and then been re-blended. In the USA, where due to the absence
of fuel duty, rules are more straightforward, at least one firm
markets equipment aimed at vehicle workshops, which is intended to
filter and process waste oil into a road fuel for diesel lorries.

>Additionally, from an HMRC perspective the Hydrocarbon Oil (Marking) Regulations
>2002 prohibit the sale of ‘dark oil’ as fuel for a heavy oil vehicle and lubricating oil
>might well fall within the dark oil specification (at Section 2(1) of the Regulations)
Again, this point isn't relevant provided no financial transaction
takes place to obtain the oil. If the oil in question is drained from
machinery I own then by subsequent use of the oil afterwards as motor
fuel isn't an issue provided it is confined to my personal use in my
own vehicles.

>Therefore before I advise as to the appropriate mechanism for paying any duty due
>I believe that the above questions need to be resolved.
Having confirmed the answers to the above questions, I would now be
interested in knowing the appropriate rate of duty, and mechanism for
Yours sincerely
John Eastwood.

On 6/1/09, John Eastwood wrote:
> Dear Sir,
> I was asked to email you after phoning HMRC's advice line, as they
> were unable to answer my query.
> I am looking to run a road vehicle on processed waste lubricant oil.
> The oil will be processed mainly by various forms of filtration, and
> blended with normal "pump" diesel before being used in the vehicle.
> The vehicle's engine and fuel system would be suitably adapted for
> burning the blended fuel, chiefly by increased filtration, and the
> addition of a heat exchanger to warm the oil to decrease its viscosity
> prior to its supply to the engine. The vehicle would have twin fuel
> tanks, with a changeover system, as the engine would still need to be
> started on normal diesel.
> The fuel used does not meet HMRC's normal heavy oil specifications -
> if used in an un-adapted vehicle, it would lead to poor performance,
> and probable engine failure.
> The fuel does not meet HMRC's definition of an alternative fuel
> either, as the oil waste used is predominantly hydrocarbon.
> I anticipate the production and use of the oil to be on a fairly small
> scale - probably no more than HMRC's limit for unregistered vegetable
> oil processors of 2500L a year.
> I realise I am probably required to pay the duty on the waste oil
> which is used. What I have been unable to find, despite searching your
> website, is what I am required to do to register, in order to pay the
> duty. I would be grateful if you could let me know:
> 1) If I need to pay duty, and at what rate
> 2) How to register, and what records and information I need to keep
> I am aware that there may be other requirements imposed by
> environmental legislation, and that I will need to make various
> applications for the handling of waste materials, but those
> requirements I will be querying with the relevant other government
> bodies.
> Yours sincerely
> John Eastwood

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

I've done so many jobs

...in the last week or so, I'm losing count.

I have:

Changed a set of rear springs, and reconditioned the set I fitted.
Painted the bonnet to match the rest of the truck. (Its way too shiney, but time will change that)
Unloaded the pile of junk that was in the back
Fixed the 4wd selection in the gearbox so it now isn't stuck in 4x4.
Fitted a servo brake MC
Adjusted all the brakes
Made the brake lights work again.
Fit a new cluch slave cylinder

I'm sure there are other things I've done, and the "todo" list is still miles long and growing.

Currently it includes:
Get a refund for the dud springs
Replace the Birtpart switch for the wipers that lasted all of a week
Change the steering relay
Drill a transmiton tunnel for my overdrive, and fit, and bolt the floor in propperly.
Paint the inside of the cab, and doors
Change the drivers doortop, as its shot.
Bolt the truckcab down propperly so it doesn't let in quite so much liquid sunshine.
Change the bottom bushes on the rear shocks. (I've a nasty feeling this will become fit new rear shocks, the've not been undone in a while, and its very hard to get them undone)
Fit a new flasher unit for the indicators
Fit a new fuel filter housing that doesn't have a diesel weep
Repair the bottom of the front panel.
Modify the clutch release so that its not right on the limit of the adjustment, and hence leaking clutch fluid. (Cable conversion? I'm sick of LR clutch hydralics, they always go wrong)
Replace the passenger side engine mount, and do them all up propperly.

Once I've done that little lot, I may actually be able to make a start on the work to get NOG re-tested.

Saturday, 18 July 2009


Just a quick update, cos I've not posted in ages...

I've rebuilt a set of std rear springs and fitted them, and she now ride about 5" higher at the back.

Next major mission is to change the steering relay, I'm not looking forward to that much.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

I've been doing lots of stuff...

...but not much blogging. So here be a quick update.

Bitsa and I attended Leafers at t'pit show last weekend. The weather was good, the BBQ better, and I seemed to come back with both more junk than I took, and more cash as well (That last makes a change). I also got a free nail, which is currently causing one of the rear tyres to decend every couple of days. I'm tossing up if it has enough tread to be worth paying someone to put a new tube in it.

I've also bought a new front prop - I had started changing the UJ's in the old one, but it was rather mangled, as someone had previously changed the UJ's with a very big hammer, and deformed one of the yokes quite badly. I had given up, until I could think of a solution, but I found one in the autojumble for all of £5, which suited me nicely.

I didn't take any piccys at leafers, but there are loads on OLLR, if anyone is interested.

In other news, the spare wheel now lives on the bonnet, this is to do with taking the junk home after leafers, and so to stop the screen blowing up when running roofless, a tactical cable tie is proving handy. I really need a bungy strap, that lives inside the spare wheel, but I've not found one by the roadside for a few weeks, and I'm reluctant to actually pay for one. Also in other news, the bright red drivers door top is clearly about to meet its maker, and sways merrily in every passing breeze. I suppose this means I'm due for a trip into Landranger for a new one. While I'm there, I'll have to ask how they are doing with refunding the dud rear springs - which are now bending backwards... all has gone quiet on that front of late, and I could do with a decent set really. I've been given a worn out set which would do for the short term, but I still need some decent ones for the longer term...

Sunday, 28 June 2009

MPG calculator is back

I've put the MPG calculator data in for the last week or so.

Its not quite as accurate as it was, as the speedo cable broke with an unknown amount of fuel in the tank, and I can't remember how much was in when I fitted a new cable either.

I'm not sure my speedo isn't under-reading quite a bit - I find an indicated 70 makes me one of the faster vehicles on the motorway, and if I do 50 in a 50mph zone I find I rapidly catch up people apparently doing 40mph.

I suppose I should find someone with GPS, and borrow it for a few minutes, for the definative answer... if the same error is present in the oddometer, that would massively improve my MPG as well, probably putting it nearer the 30mpg or so I would expect from a 200.

By the way - a new part not to buy from Britpart - Speedo cables. The one that "broke" hadn't actually broken. The end was so badly crimped together where it took the drive from the gearbox, it was just not going round. Replacement is Bearmach - it looks much better quality, the driven end was even a proper bit of metal bar, rather than badly crimped cable. It might just last a few miles longer than the previous couple of Britpart cables then.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

I now have...

...a working fuel gauge. All the bits have been fitted for a while, but I've finally got round to fiddling with the sender in order to make the reading meaningfull (it had been reading past full until the tank was nearly empty).

I'm off to buy the bits for a temperature sender adaptor this morning, and then I can see how hot the engine isn't running. (I suspect the thermostat only opens on long steep hills and hard motorway runs, but this may prove the point).
Its nice having an engine where temp isn't an issue, but seeing as I've a gauge, its worth wiring up for peice of mind. I just hope its better than NOG's gauge, which usually reads in the red for some werd electrical reason. I don't worry too much about that anymore, as one day I pulled over to investigate, and found I could leave my hand on the rad without paint, dispite the gauge nearly being on the stop. I think the root problem is a Britpart(suprise, suprise) voltage regulator, but I'm not totally sure.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Pattern parts...

The "new" rear springs on Bitsa are now offically useless - I called in at Landranger today, and explained this, and they are trying to get hold of Britpart to see what Britpart can do about it. Given they were bending the wrong with with just a couple of 2.25P's sat in the back, I don't feel I'm being unreasonable complaining.
I phoned Guy Sammon for a price on genuine new ones, and they gave me the glad news that they are about £90 a throw each, and they can't get them anyway. They could get me 1 ton springs, for a mere £120 a side, if that would do... (which it won't, as I don't want to feel every bump).

I'm not sure what the options are apart from Britpart - the guy at Landranger seemed to think Bearmach may do them.

Bearmach aren't in my good books either just now - this is what happened to the set of front brake shoes they supplied which went in the passenger side of Bitsa... plenty of meat left, but they friction surface has broken up badly.

She now stops in a straight line, with a new (Britpart) set fitted, but I don't give it long before something nasty happens to them as well... sometimes, you just can't win.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Did I mention tyres?

I've spend more or less all day moving the farm's collection of tyres.
These are some of the dead ones. I've had to drag most of them up 20yds of 1 in 10 to get the here too. If anyone wants dead LR tyres, or rims, just shout...

I've also found enough legal tryes for a full set of XYL's (they are going on Bitsa), and original Avon Rangers (for NOG). I've also lots of odd tyres, the better ones of which I'll try and flog at leafers...

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Step by step - how to fix a grill panel

Take one grill panel. It doesn't look too bad really, does it. Until you spot that someone has welded a bit of bar over the rotten mess at the bottom.

Remove said bit of bar, and it seems that there isn't much to the bottom of the grill.

There is even less left mind you, once I've attacked it with an angle grinder.

Now, cut and bend the repair section you got folded up earlier, until the top edge matches the bottom of the grill. This bit gets time consuming.... eventually, it should fit. Thin cut "plasma" grinder disks come in handy here.

Then its just a case of lots of welding and grinding flat. Lots. That and sorting out the little backets the gril hangs on at the bottom, which I haven't yet. I should get it finished off tomorrow, if I muster the enthusisasm.

I should have been cleaning up the yard

But it was raining like mad, so I went down to the local metal fabricators, who folded me some strips for repairing the bottom of front grill panels. Getting to know a decent fabricating workshop can be handy - these chaps will cut or fold me almost anything on the spot, and are pretty reasonable about price.

I then spent most of this morning cutting away at my "spare" front grill panel, and my new repair section. Its now sitting half welded, cos I was wet, tired and bored. I'll finish it off later, and stick some photos up - I've got piccys of stage by stage.

Once its done, I need to do the one on Bitsa worse than bad, and possibly the one on NOG - depends how bad that one is when I take the re-enforcing strip off. I may also be able to do them for other people if they ask nicely - probably cost about £30 for a panel that is like new at the bottom, and with a repair that is invisible from the front. It does depend how far they have gone - my repair sections allow my to replace up to the bottom of the internal cutouts, including the folded edges for the cutouts, but working on a panel that has rusted further up could be interesting (and time consuming).

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

And yet another job

My mate at the farm tells me that the council have been moaning at him about the state of the place... so it looks like all the little jobs on Bitsa are on hold, until that is done. I reckon there is a full days work waiting for me.

It also means I'll need to sort out the 100 or so LR wheels/tyres that are kicking about.

I'll try and sort out the good sets, the duds, and the odd ones, with intent to take some of the odd ones up to Leafers, to exchange for ready cash. (Well, I might as well try and cover my fuel money)

If anyone wants dead landrover engines and boxes, this is also the time to shout - I've several of them - 1x 2.25D(dead), 1x 2.25P (short engine, unknown, probably OK) 2x SIIA gearboxes, both broken. I've also a BMC 2.2 in bits, avalable for its scrap value, if anyone is in search of a boat anchour.

Once all that is done, I can go back to fixing my collection of knackered Landrovers.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

I'm back from North Wales...

...having left a rather nice SII with a new(er) engine in the bay.
I must confess, that for all that it runs on the devils fluid, the 2.25P is a sweet little lump when it is set up right.

Yours truely in his normal pose.

Time for a trip to the chip shop.

On balance Bitsa did quite well. Over around 400 miles, she averaged close to 30mpg. If that doesn't sound that good, a fair percentage of those miles (50% ish) were spent upon the motorway at speeds that put me firmly into the fast lane, while it is also fair to say that lugging 2 engines, a very heavy engine crane a pile of tools, and any other junk that I thought might come in useful over some of the steepest roads in Wales (I did a rough count up of the payload, and came to a figure of around 800kg) tends to pull the figures down a bit as well.
There were a couple of small snags - I lost clutch function while headed down the A5 on the way down, which was followed by my jamming the clutch in the dis-engauged position. A bit of TLC later, and I was back up and running. It seems that there is a shim to be found on some SIIA clutch slaves... mismatch this to the bellhousing, and as the clutch wears down, it becomes possible for the piston to drop out of the bottom of the slave and jam. I've now got a new slave sat in the dash tray, ready for refitting.

It also seems the bottom of the front panel is rapidly getting ready to meet its maker. I suppose that means I need to fire the welder up, I've a pile of front panels in need of TLC, so it makes sense to do a batch together.

I'm off work most of this week, with intent on some Landrovering, so watch out for updates on what I've broken next (the bank?).

(Images in this post have been stolen from mistericeman on OLLR, as I couldn't be bothered working out what I'd done with the camera)

Thursday, 11 June 2009

HMRC are one annoying bunch

Finally, after two phone calls, and three emails, I've had a reply from HMRC about running on waste oil. To say they are not keen an understatement.

My original query ran:

Dear Sir,

I was asked to email you after phoning HMRC's advice line, as they
were unable to answer my query.

I am looking to run a road vehicle on processed waste lubricant oil.

The oil will be processed mainly by various forms of filtration, and
blended with normal "pump" diesel before being used in the vehicle.

The vehicle's engine and fuel system would be suitably adapted for
burning the blended fuel, chiefly by increased filtration, and the
addition of a heat exchanger to warm the oil to decrease its viscosity
prior to its supply to the engine. The vehicle would have twin fuel
tanks, with a changeover system, as the engine would still need to be
started on normal diesel.

The fuel used does not meet HMRC's normal heavy oil specifications -
if used in an un-adapted vehicle, it would lead to poor performance,
and probable engine failure.
The fuel does not meet HMRC's definition of an alternative fuel
either, as the oil waste used is predominantly hydrocarbon.

I anticipate the production and use of the oil to be on a fairly small
scale - probably no more than HMRC's limit for unregistered vegetable
oil processors of 2500L a year.

I realise I am probably required to pay the duty on the waste oil
which is used. What I have been unable to find, despite searching your
website, is what I am required to do to register, in order to pay the
duty. I would be grateful if you could let me know:

1) If I need to pay duty, and at what rate
2) How to register, and what records and information I need to keep

I am aware that there may be other requirements imposed by
environmental legislation, and that I will need to make various
applications for the handling of waste materials, but those
requirements I will be querying with the relevant other government

Yours sincerely
John Eastwood

To which they have finally replyed with:

Dear Mr Eastwood

Thank you for your email enquiry dated 1st June 2009 relating to the proposed use of processed waste lubricating oil as fuel for a road vehicle.

Any oil used as motor fuel must, under EU and UK law, bear excise duty and the specific duty rate charged would depend on the exact type of fuel (and the type of motor it is intended for) These factors would also determine the type of HMRC approval/registration required by you.

However you do need to be aware that you might be in breach of environmental legislation if you collected and transported quantities of such waste oil from various sources, and also if you then applied any type of process to this waste oil. The finished product then used in a motor vehicle would possibly fail to meet EU and UK specifications on the exact content of sulphur and toxic heavy metals or other substances in it. I would strongly advise you to research and deal with these issues first before embarking on this project. I say this because such waste oil is normally considered only fit for burning as furnace fuel due to the heavy metal contamination and it is normally not cost-effective to reprocess it into motor fuel of an acceptable standard, even with the sophisticated methods available in oil refineries and the consequent economies of high volume.

Additionally, from an HMRC perspective the Hydrocarbon Oil (Marking) Regulations 2002 prohibit the sale of ‘dark oil’ as fuel for a heavy oil vehicle and lubricating oil might well fall within the dark oil specification (at Section 2(1) of the Regulations)

Therefore before I advise as to the appropriate mechanism for paying any duty due I believe that the above questions need to be resolved.

I apologise for the somewhat vague nature of this reply but hope this is of some assistance.

I must emphasise that the advice given is based on the information you supplied. If the nature of the transaction changes in technical detail, or the relevant details provided were incomplete or incorrect, we will not be bound by this advice.

Yours sincerely

Steve Preston

Although it his reply makes things sound bad, I think its still likely I can end up running on the stuff. The Dark Oil bit is a red herring, as that only applies to the sale of oil - for the purposes of this excerse, I am neither buying or selling any oil, merely using my own waste oil in my own vehicle, but it is only the sale of such oil which is prohibited. This also probably lets me off a lot of the enviromental regs as well. I'm still trying to find out where the rules are for the quality of motor fuel - I wouldn't be supprised to find that the legislation there only talks about oil being sold.

I'll post an update if I get anywhere.

In other news, the trip to darkest Wales is very much on, I'm hitting the road straight after work to collect the engine that is being fitted as part of an OLLR hit squad action in Betws-y-coed on Saturday.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Looks like a good run this weekend.

Plans are a foot for Bitsa to get some serious milage this weekend.
I've got to take an engine to darkest Wales, there to fit it into a rather tidy SII, prefereable without wrecking the paint.

Bitsa has responded to the news with her usual flair... the fuel filter seemed to be clogging tonight, I barely made it accross the Cat and Fiddle to Buxton tonight.

Mission for tomorrow involves buying two new filters, and fitting at least one. If that doesn't work, the bad news is the lift pump has had it... anyone know if a 200 has the same lift pump as a 2.25P? as I can soon get a pump from one of them.

I've also got the option of a Facet electrical pump as a last resort, but I'd rather say mechanical if possible.

In other news, HMRC still haven't got back to me, which is very annoying. I've resent my email, maybe this time I'll get a response. If not I'll ring them up again, and if they can't help, I'll try the "can I speak to your supervisor" line, until I find someone who can. I've now got gallons of engine oil ready to burn, just can't because of poxy HRMC, and the million to one chance that some copper will dip my tank... I'd pay them the duty, if they could but tell me how.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Driving home from the farm last night.

I found that the overdrive really is OK. I whines a bit at very high speeds, but the whine is much less than the row the engine makes if you let it out.

I don't know how fast I was going, as I've not yet sorted the speedo cable, but its strangely surreal - life seems to be moving fairly slowly, and then you let it out to overtake somthing, and you realise that the engine is nearly on the rpm stop in normal 4th...

Talking about overtaking, I wittnessed the nearest I've ever seen to a head on at speed last night. A driver who I can only conclude was drunk overtook round the wrong side of a bollard in the middle of the road, with another car comming the other way.
Everyone braked very hard, and he rocketed off into the distance. I nearly took out the same guy seconds earlier - I was pulling out round someone to overtake, with my indicator on, when he appeared on the wrong side of the road behind me at great speed. I fortunaly was making a final mirror check, when already halfway into the other lane, and saw his lights heading very rapidly for my rear crossmember, and swerved out of the way.
If I had realised at the time he was drunk, I'd have not moved back clear - I imagine he would have been spending the night in the local nick, once they had dug him out of the wreckage, and his insurers could have bought me a new chassis. As things are, if he carries on driving like he was last night, I'd only give it a week or two before he kills some unfortunate person who isn't in a Landrover when he rams them.

Drunk drivers should be done for attempted murder IMHO, even if they haven't hit anything.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Now with overdrive.

I've fitted the overdrive that came with the scrap SIII today. Only been out once so far with it on a test run, but it seems to be a good'um.

Overdrive 4th is very nice and quiet, with the engine runing much slower, but I had to drop out of overdrive for anything more than slight up hill.

Moron of the day award - guess who should have bought a new speedo cable and fitted it first...? Looks like I've just created one of the nastier little LR jobs for myself...

Friday, 5 June 2009

Fuel news

Well, for the first time in nearly a year, SVO is cheaper than diesel.
98p/l from Tesco Maccesfield last night, with pump fuel running at 105.9p/l at the same place. I can get diesel in SPOT in Buxton at 101.9 at the moment, although apparently they are rebranding to Esso, which may mean their competitive edge goes.

I stuck 12L of SVO in Bitsa last night, so she now smells like a chippy on wheels.
Still, it runs.

The long-term plan on fuel for Bitsa involves free fuel, but not vegetable oil.
I'm investigating running her on dead engine oil collected from garages.
Its cheep or free, doesn't stink like WVO, and only needs suitable filtering, rather than chemical processing. It also should be "di" safe, with no risk of doing the engine oil in, unlike WVO. I've a rather clever plan to find an old washing machine, and adapt the spin cycle to act as a massive centrifugal filter, prior to sticking the stuff in the tank.

That the 200 will run on engine oil is proven fact. I ran out of diesel last week, and stuck a gallon of cheep 20w50 in the tank, as it was all I had. She ran on it like it was quality diesel, no loss of power, no smell, clouds of smoke or the like.
She didn't want to start much with a quantity of it in the injector pump the following morning, but did go after a bit of cranking over, instead of the usual instant start-up, but I can live with that.

The main hold ups at the moment are legal, as HMRC won't tell me what rate of duty applies to the stuff, or how to pay. I bet they would respond rather quicker if I was writing in to shop someone else doing it undeclared.

I've also got to figure out what I've got to do to collect the stuff - I think I may need a waste handlers licence... £144, for a bit of paper. Talk about robbing so and so's.

In other news, the speedo cable snapped on Sunday, so no milage/MPG updates till I fit a new one.

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Overdrive is on its way

I went to a farm auction near Leek yesterday.
This was probably a bad idea, I normally come back from these things with all sorts of tat I never wanted or needed, but which was cheep at the time.

This time, I only raised my hand three times, and the net result was that I ended up with a complete SWB SIII with more rust than I've seen in some time. It does have the straightest set of panels I've ever seen, but the really redeeming feature was an overdrive.

I think not many bidders had spotted the overdrive, I must confess when looking over the vehicle proir to sale, I tactically placed the road map that was in the cab over the lever to make it less obvious (can you tell I've played this game before).
Competition wasn't exactly intense, and I fought off the scrap man and other interested parties, and found myself the proud owner of "KTU 780N".

Its not really a viable project, given the lack of chassis and bulkhead, so its going for parts, if anyone wants any...

The bonnet is now on Bitsa, it is a razor edge, which while not correct on a 109" does look nice, and the overdrive will be headed on there, as soon as I manage to get the floor panels out...

Saturday, 30 May 2009

A few pictures...

Both were taken on the Cat and Fiddle pass this evening.

Another week of fault free running, apart from a dodgy bonnet catch.
On the way back down, at a speed that was rather naughty, said catch released, and the bonnet flew up. It now has a very large fold in it, that matchest the line of the windscreen frame top.

I think a "new" bonnet may be in order.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Bank Holiday Monday

...was mostly spent with a pick and shovel, digging out the floor of the workshop where I rebuilt Bitsa. Rummor has it that I may actually get to concrete the floor, and then it may be a little less unpleasant to work in... you never know.

I did do two rather important jobs to Bitsa.

1) Change a leaking brake pipe on the front axle. One of the pipes that runs across the swivel housings between the flexi hoses, and the wheel cylinders had taken to weeping at one of the unions shortly after the MOT, and so it got replaced.

2)I've finally fitted a drivers door top. While clearing out the workshop prior to digging the floor out, my eye lighted on a halfway decent looking door and top that was sat in the back of the shed. The top was even glazed, and the runners had sufficently little moss not to be rusted solid. I undid the nuts holding the top onto the door, hit it a couple of times with a big hammer, and almost to me disbelief, the top came off without leaving the fixing bolts in the door tubes.
The only snag is that is it a violent shade of red. Blends into the rest of the vehicle like a polar bear in the Sahara. I suppose I could find the blue paint, or it could just wait until I get round to repainting the rest of the truck.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

I have working battery charging

At long last, alternator no4 has actually lasted as long as the drive home from the yard. Shocking, isn't it...

I spent half of today making a bracket for it, that actually lines it up with the engine.

These days its rare to see me and any other pose, except when asleep.

The finished bracket, with a standard one to compare. The alternator has to be brought forward about 1" from its normal position - the final location was the result of trial and error. I got it right second go, after tacking it far too far forward of the first attempt.

The original bracket was cut in half with the angle grinder. A total absence of cutting disks in the workshop ment I did the deed with a grinding disk, if people are wondering why the gash is so huge.

Setting up to weld the extension bit of flat bar onto the bracket. I used a large stick welder - the average hobby mig set isn't up to this sort of work.

Halfway through the welding. The oil of ages was splattered all over the alternator mounting bracket, and burnt merrily.

In other news the front prop has two knackered UJ's, and I couldn't find any spares, so it has been removed for the short term. I'll have to buy a pair of new UJ's at some point, so the've gone on the "Landranger List".

Handling seems improved with the Rangemasters on the front, and I think that the white rims suit her. I need to get some air in the others, so they can go on the back.

I've still a fair few jobs to do, but things are definately comming together now - its starting to look like a repaint will be the next major job to do...

Thursday, 21 May 2009

If I catch the little so and so's

... that stole my 3' breaker bar tonight, I'll shove it so far up their backsides it comes out of their mouths.

I decided tonight to swap the front wheels from some dodgy crossply's for the Avon Rangemaster's I've bought. Halfway through the procedure I walked the 30yds to the boat for the camera. By the time I'd got back to the truck, less than a minuite later, the bar had gone. Theveing little thugs. Its not like I was parked on a public road, I was in the boatyard carpark, where only a few people have any excuse to be.

I had to do the last wheel back up with a 6" adjustable, as that was all I had - I'll have to drive to the farm checking repeatedly for the nuts comming undone tomorrow night, in order to get the drivers side nuts done up propperly.

I also tried to make the fuel gauge work tonight, by stealing the relaints voltage regulator. Exactly the same problem - the gauge comes up when I turn the key, then drops back down again almost straight away. Talk about annoying.

All in all not a very good evening, the only good news is that she looks very nice on limestone rims all round. I just need to get the punchured Avon repaired, and I can even run matching tyres all round for the first time in ages...

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Fix one thing...

... and somthing else breaks.

I spent saturday doing a pile of essential underbonnet stuff. Bitsa now has an air cleaner, and leaks a little bit less engine oil (I've still got several lots of oil leaks to trace and fix - I think the worst one is from the oil filter/block mounting gasket).

She is now rather quieter, thanks to the air intake system being existant. The 2.25D intake I'd fitted was like one giant organ pipe at speed, drowning out the actual conbustion sounds totally. The exahust is blowing a little at the front joint - I think an extra hanger to stop it flexing and then some exahust paste my be in order.

I have a fuel gauge that almost works. It shows a level, before dropping back down 20 secs or so after turning the igntion on. Probably because the voltage regulator has had its day. New one will be purchased at the next bank acount emptying visit to Landranger.

After finding my spare anti-luce pin for the tailgate it was duly found to be for the wrong side for the missing on on my rear tub. I ground it off its capping, and welded it in the hole where the old one had gone AWOL from the tub. I now have a back tailgate, and it even really shuts. Just need to sort some chains for it - it has some, but they seem far too short. I *think* there is a spare set up the yard somewhere.

Having done all these jobs, and some more really little ones (e.g. put a working bulb in the oil pressure light, attach the top end of the dip stick to the inlet manifold), the alternator decided to go bang on the way home on Saturday night.

Battery is now being charged every other day, and the spare battery is sat in the back. I had to bump start it in Leak, after stalling it in the worst possible place beliveable. Looks like I need to nick an alternator from somthing else - I'm running out of spares - all my spare ones seem to have issues. If the next one either doesn't work, or goes bang shortly after fitting, I'm going to recheck the wireing, but being honest, I can't see what could be wrong with it. I also really need to get hold of a spare 2.25 alternator block mount to modify, as the current setup is straining the belt a little much. If anyone who reads this has one spare, please let me know (leave a comment, or PM me if you link to this blog from a forum).

In case this wasn't enough, as I was driving to church this moring, I saw through the hole where the red lever goes the front prop moving in a most delightfull excentric motion. It seems that the UJ at the back has lost its needles from the rollers. I've a spare new UJ up the yard *if* I can find it. Don't hold your breath. I did the rear prop not long before she came of the road, but didn't do the front at the same time. Looks like my laziness has come back to bite.

The wiper/washer switch has also packed it in today. I'm using a pattern Britpart (probbably) headlight switch for this. The washers now don't work atall, but thankfully I can still get the wipers on and off, although from the feel of the switch, and the fact that they tend to go off if you hit a pothole, I think I really need to get it swapped soon. Problem is that all these switches I've bought have been the same - I.E. they die after about 5 mins of use. They may only be £2 each, but I'd rather pay £5, and actually have one that works for 40 years, like the originals.

The MPG count at the side of the page is getting more plausable - last time I looked, it was showing 28mpg. That is what Bitsa did with a normal Landrover 2.25D, tweaked to go like stink, and driven like it was stolen.
In defence of the 200di, I'm also driving it like I nicked it, and that figure includes a few miles of greenlanes, which are obviously not doing the figures any good - it is probably at its best at about 40mph in 4th gear. If anyone fancys donating an overdrive to the cause of upping the MPG, just let me know.

Friday, 15 May 2009

The sharp eyed may notice

That there is a new toy on this page - an MPG calculator.

Don't take lot of notice of it yet - it will be showing too a low a figure at the moment, as it isn't taking into account the amount of fuel left in Bitsa's tank at the moment. Over time it should become accurate, as the amount in the tank becomes a tiny proportion of the fuel I've used - provided I remember to keep logging in the quantities of fuel bought.

That and providing I don't have to change the filters too often - I must have dumped at least 50p worth of fuel tonight while cleaning up the mess that was the filter housing...

Thursday, 14 May 2009

I stink of diesel

This is because I changed the fuel filter on Bitsa earlier this evening.

I had been going to do it on Saturday anyway, but I had serious problems with it running out of power and revs, and it was suggested as a probable candidate. It worked too - a quick run halfway up to the Cat and Fiddle and back proved that normality was restored.

I still need to do a oil change on Saturday, as well as fit alternator no3. Are they cursed? I've also got a fuel tank sender, which means that I'm in with a chance of actually knowing how much fuel is in the tank. This might reduce the stress related to the current guesswork.

I picked up 5 tyres tonight. A set of Avon Rangemaster radials, for £50. They are fairly well worn, but probbably still have 6,000 miles or so left - about 5mm left on each of them. Not really offroad tyres, so they may end up on NOG, but they are going on Bitsa for the minute. The front tyres I've got at the moment are really lethal, they lock up at the slightest attempt at brakeing in the wet, and they aren't special offroad either...

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

A dash round the lanes

I've been having a great time since the last update on Saturday.

Bitsa has now clocked up a fair few miles, with few intial problems. The worst issue I've found is that the alternator untensions its belt over time, which means I really need to replace the Heath Robinson tensioning rod with a bespoke one. Not exactly a massive problem. That and some oil leaks.

I took her out laning last night, before dropping off a wiper blake to a mate in Dove Holes... the video is here.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

A day on the road.

Right, I'm home, and Bitsa is cooling down in the car park, and so I can finally put together a report on todays events...

7Am this morning, and Bitsa is sat outside the yard, ready to go for the MOT.
I spent most of friday night in a mad panic, putting the final details together, trying to work out why dip beam had vanished on one headlight, swapping the wheels round for a legal set. The moment I jacked her up in the middle of the yard and removed one of the rear wheels the heavens opened, and I was soaked pretty comprehensively before she was back rolling again.

I was up at 6.30AM this morning, and had a worrying moment when I found that one of the tyres was flat... a rapid sesion with the high lift and the really long breaker bar saw the wheel swapped, and I was on my way...

Pulled into the MOT station at about 7.30AM, they were open, but the tester wasn't there yet... waited until about quater past eight, when the tester arrived, told me to back her onto the ramps, and logged her on. A long and anxious dose of prodding and pokeing followed, and it was found that there was a bit of play in the steering relay and one wheelbearing, but not enough to merit a fail.
There was a comic classic moment, when the tester having pluged the driver seatbelt togther, it totally refused to be coaxed apart, needing almost my entire strength before finally undoing. The brake test was a near run thing - the all the brakes were powerfull enough, but the fronts were almost outside the permitted imbalance...

Finally the tester (a really nice friendly young bloke) decided that there was nothing major wrong, and went into the office, from which he emerged shortly afterwards bearing a nice green pass ticket.

I thanked him, and shot into town to get a tax disk and some diesel, then headed back up the farm, in order to change the alternator for one that worked. That didn't take too long, although the "new" alternator isn't quite right - currently its working is rather erratic - occasionally it fails to kick in, no matter how fast I rev the engine.

I then decided to try and put some oil in the gearbox, as on the way back from the test station the box had gone stiff to change in a way that suggested it was a little short on oil. I crawlled underneath to remove the filler plug, and found to my great joy that it had been brutally attacked by a previous owner, and was more or less rounded off. How you round off a square filler plug is more or less beyond me, but they had managed it somehow. I tried various spanners hit onto it, with no success at-all - clearly it was very tight as well as dammaged. eventually I got bored, and got the gas out.

I was thinking of running a poll on here, to see how long readers thought before I had some part of her on fire - from what I recall, I used to have an electrial fire a month with the original version, thanks mostly to having done the first wiring loom with house mains wire. However, it seems that I've beaten my own efforts, but ending up with the oil round the gearbox burning merrily before I had even had time to put a poll up. However, as well as setting the gearbox on fire, the heat losened the plug, and I finally got it out. Having filled the box with EP90, I raided my scrap gearbox collection, and found another filler plug as a replacement.

This afternoon was mostly spend trying to fit a tow hitch to a mates Gay Landcruser, and then it was time to give Bitsa her first decent run since the old engine died in Aug 2007. It seems that for all that it doesn't have a turbo, the 200 does like stink anyway. Coming up the hill out of Whaley Bridge towards Maccesfield (for those who know it), saw her accerating in top from about 25mph on a hill that used to keep the old 2.25D screaming in third. She even almost made it up the really long steep climb from Kettleshume to the summit on the same road - I only changed down into 3rd about 30 yards from the top.

She does need an overdrive - she sounds more than a little busy at 55mph, never mind the 70mph which she touched at one point on the way home. Possibly she may be a candidate for a 3.5 Salisbury as well as NOG - anyone got another spare 110 back axle?


It passed, so guess who has one massive grin... Just getting her taxed as I write.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Wish me luck.

In 24 hours time I will be on my way to the MOT test in Bitsa. She is booked in at Glossop motors at 8:00AM.
I'm really hopeing for a first time pass, but being honest, every test I've ever taken a car too they have found somthing they didn't like first time, and I've had to take a retest. That's why I use Glossop motors - they do free retests, regardless of what needs doing, or if I fix it myself - how good is that.

So watch out of a smokey blue Landrover comming to the roads of Derbyshre some time around 9:00Am saturday all being well...

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Done - well almost.

Bitsa is now ready for her MOT, with the exception of two jobs. I still need to swap round the wheels for a legal set, and I need to change a front side lamp for a working one - both are jobs for Saturday morning, prior to the test. The wireing is all done, and even seems to work - I've got lights all round, and even a set of washers and wipers. As I write this I realise I've forgotten the horn switch - I've fitted a horn, and its wired to the dash, but I've not actually connected the switch - that makes it three saturday morning jobs then. Oh well, such is life. I just hope it passes...

Monday, 4 May 2009

Any colour wire you want - so long as its red...

I spent most of this morning looking for the drill. It has vanished without trace, to the black hole which is currently also holding all the half inch drive extension bars, all the decent small flat edge screwdrivers, a pair of XZY tyres, and my soldering iron. Like all of the above, doubtless it will pop up once its not wanted. Anyway, once I had given up on it, I went and did a pile more of the wireing. I've now got head, tail, brake and side lights, and the indicators functioning. I still need a numberplate light, but fitting that means finding the drill. I've also now got a proper dash feed that isn't a bit of wire twisted round the battery terminals. Still to go is the front number plate, and some wires for the screen washers and wipers...

Saturday, 2 May 2009

So nearly done now...

I've almost finished Bitsa, although it will be next Saturday now before I get it in for an MOT.
The brakes were transformed by an extra 1/4" on the pushrod - all of a sudden the pedal is anything but on the floor. I've been doing electrics most of the day, and most of it works.
Heath Robinson would be proud of the washer bottle (milk bottle with a pump cable tied to it), and I've fitted a pair of new wiper blades...

The floor is in, as is a seatbelt. I've found a mirror.

I've made a fuel return line from the filter up, that doesn't leak.
The headlight dip switch had broken, and I've not time to get a replacement, so for the minute I've got an On-On changeover toggle switch on the dash.

Still lots of detail things to do, and if I run out of jobs on Monday, I can start rubbing down for a repaint...

Friday, 1 May 2009

All this paper for 7 letters on a plastic plate

Amongst the jobs I need to do tomorrow is buy a front numberplate. My local motor factor sells them. But, before he will sell me (a regular customer, who has a loyalty card with this shop, and who is in around once a week) a numberplate he wants:

My driving licence.
The car's V5.

This is apparently because if he doesn't see this, I might be a master of crime, intent on cloneing a 1972 landrover. Unless I tell him the plate is for display purposes only, in which case clearly I'm not. (All I want to do is display the wretched thing anyway, for at least long enough for the MOT man to see it).

Then once I've get to the MOT, my V5 will probably come in handy, cos they never manage to fill in the online test system without it, if only because the vin number isn't actually on the truck(there is no legal requirement, for anything pre 1908s).
Then I've got to tax the thing. This requires my insurance documents, V5 and MOT certificate, dispite the fact that all the information on all of them will be avalable online to them.
Such is 21th century Britain.

The good news is that once I've done that, the next time I should need to touch any of those bits of paper will be mid April next year, when the insurance renewal is due...

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Nearly there.

Well, Saturday went pretty well really.
NOG breaking ANOTHER halfshaft, wasn't in the plan for the weekend, but by Lunchtime I was finally ready to tackle Bitsa.

I did a pile of jobs small and big, with result that I now have no wheel wobble on one swivel, I have a key start, and most of the front end wired, and I've got both front wings on.
I've also now got a M/C pushrod that is the right lenght - I just need to get it fitted. (I've a very clever plan to get this done without having to bleed the brakes, but don't hold your breath)

Still to do, a pile more electrics(rear this time), and behind the dash.
The floor.
Front number plate.
Screen washer/wipers
Seatbelt, for the driver.
Some sort of fuel return to the tank that doesn't leak.

If my MOT place is open on B/H monday(they are open 7 days a week normally, so may be), it may get a test then, if not I'm aiming for the following Saturday.
I can't wait, not least cos NOG is basically very tired, and every time I take her somewhere I feel I'm pushing my luck.

She will be getting some TLC in a bit, see her blog for progress when it all kicks off...

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Today, but rather later

I'm planning on starting the final assult on Bitsa.
Unfortunately, its going to involve electrics. I hate electrics.
Not least because they seem to hate me, and normally catch fire behind the dash and lose the indicators while I'm trying change lane on some nasty motorway junction.

That said, I wired NOG with some trailer cable and crimped fittings, and its lasted really well. No major faults as yet, and the poor thing has suffered some serious abuse. This means, that the cunning plan, edition 1.0 is to do the same thing to Bitsa. If I can find the crimping pliers anyware that is. I've already run the main cables, so its just a case of connections at each end.

I've also got to fix one of my pet hates - wobbly swivels. Bitsa has a nasty tendency to eat top swivel pins - last rebuild I'm sure I changed at least one. As and when I finally get to Landranger I need to buy a new one for the drivers side.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

The jobs remaining

This should be a running list of what's left before Bitsa is finished (apart from painting, and that may have to wait)

Wire electrical system
Connect handbrake (done?)
Change swivel top pin RH
Fit floor/transmittion tunnel
Fit seatbelts
Remove play from steering units, and check centreing.
Put window in drivers door
Make air cleaner bracket/fit air cleaner
Fit drivers wing
Change bottom rad hose
Change brake M/C pushrod, and adjust brakes
Adjust headlights
Change engine oil
Sort some mirrors

Doesn't look too bad a list IMHO - next job is to work out a shopping list, to fly round to Landranger with...

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Its insurered at last.

Everything has gone a bit quiet this months. There are various reason - I spent getting on for two weeks boating, (its just great being able to fire up the engine of one's home, and be under way in minuites...), and the fact that NOG ate a rear halfshaft with a big bang the other night (result - misery, and and evening of trying to get the broken bit out of the diff).

The main reason however has been "Insurance, the white man's burden" (as the Goon show dubed it). Basically, Bitsa is now pretty much finished. She still needs a few jobs doing, mostly electrics, but she is pretty much a complete drivable entity, that I can imagine taking to the MOT without being laughed out of the place.

However, I was skint, and it seemed that Insurance is expensive, especially with a 200 under the bonnet. Best quote I got was about £450 from Lancaster(everyone else wanted £1000+). A months worth of living on beans on toast, and putting rusty pennies in the jam jar, and I've finally found some cash... so I phoned up today, and was told that they now only wanted £350... result. Obviously, an extra month of living has made me so much safer a driver, I'm now only 4/5ths of the risk I was last month.

Anyway, looks like this weekends mission is to throw the rest of the truck back together, and get it ready for a vist to the MOT man...

Monday, 30 March 2009

Nearly finished

Sorry for the rather blurry photo folks, but its the best I could manage... camera phones and all that.

However, as can be seen, Bitsa is nearly complete now - the most major job remaining is the electrics....

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Despsite a bad start

Today didn't start well - NOG had her back diff go bang while I was heading up to the farm. All was eventually sorted (sèe nog699f.blogspot.com for the full story) and I ended up at the farm around lunchtime.

A quick dose of lunch and then I set out to tackle the dreaded brakes. A new wheel cylinder was found and fitted, and then I bled the back end of the brakes. I got some pedal but I'm not really satisfied yet - I think some more bleeding and a round of adjustment is in order...
Still, I ran her up and the yard a few times, and and she does stop, and in a straight line too - how's that for a novel concept.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Tomorow's mission

...is fully working brakes. Before Monday's disaster I was close to success, with a firm pedal first push of the brakes... Then I will have to run her round the yard, and see if they pull to one side. Once that is done, the main remaining jobs are the rest of the front bodywork, and some electrics... then I will need to find some pennies, and a friendly MOT man. Popular rumor has it that the place I've used in the past has a new super-vigorous tester - if that is the case then I'm debating trying elsewhere.

That said, I've not yet had a signifiant fail with any of the various sheds I own dispite their usual well worn appearances. And this place does free re-tests, so I've not a lot to lose I'm theory...

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Just when everything was going to plan...

I thought that things were going well tonight. I guessed (correctly) which wheel had the leaking brake cylinder, yanked the drum off, pulled the seals out, stuck new ones in, bled it some, and got reasonable pedal.

Then disaster struck. I decided to bleed the rear wheels to see if that got a better pedal. The bleed screw on the wheel I tried was stiff, but eventually undid. I pumped some fluid through, wedged the pedal down, and did the screw up, or rather tried to. The thread in the wheel cylinder stripped with almost no force on it. On taking the screw out I found the reason - the screw had rusted in the cylinder, and when it was undone, it had removed most of the thread from the cylinder. The little that remained had failed when I tried to tighten it all back up.

The scary thing about this is that had I been a fraction more gentle, the little bit of thread remaining might have held... until such time as I hit the brakes really hard - when it might have blown out, which would cause total brake failure. I would now advise anyone who finds they have a stiff bleed screw to remove and check it properly - just in case it too is partially stripped.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Aternative uses for a landrover door - 1

Had you been up the yard on saturday night, you would have seem a strange sight.
Two men, both holding landrover doors, advancing on an angry pig.

We had had an "escapee" from the pigs version of Coldiz and in order to stop it rampaging round the site, we grabbed the nearest stuff to hand and started stalking the pig. Some planks, a sheet of crinkley tin and some hurdles later, we had a pathway for our pig to follow, so then we pursued it waving some Landrover doors...

Oh the fun of working on ones motor in the middle of a functioning farm.

NOG is still going strong... and I did manage to do some stuff on Bitsa. She has a seatbox and the battery just fits into the tray under the passenger seat. (type 017) if anyone is interested. I spent a small fortune on a new battery cable, which has meant that I no longer have to hold a load of wires together to get her started.

Tonight I'm planning of stipping the front brakes, in an effort to find which cylinder is leaking - wish me luck...