Saturday, 28 February 2009

An exahusting day

Yes, today was the day when Bitsa finally got an exahust system. A totally standard early 2.25d 109 system apart from the front pipe. That had to be cut, and have one bend removed, and be replaced with a bend cut from a late SIII front pipe. Hardly difficult if you are handy with a MIG set.

While playing about I stuck two bolts on the bulkhead for the fuel filter, bolted it on, and then I sorted some decent plumbing. The disco filter having gone missing long ago, a 2.25 one has been fitted instead.

Other news today includes that I've made a throttle pushrod from bits of the old system, and test fitted the front panel and radiator. I got halfway through setting up the clutch, and someone declared dinner time. The only annoying thing is that I've not fitted the brake pipe set yet - the drill had vanished, and so I couldn't fit the mounting clips.

Friday, 27 February 2009

A belting time of it...

Yep, I've finally done that cambelt.

And yes it was a pain in the neck to do. Why Landrover ever abandoned the simple and effective chain timing on the 2.25 engine's is totally beyond me. The belts are just so vunerable by comparison and boy, are they are fun to fit...

It seems that not all belts are equal, and I ended up having to tweak the injector pump timing... eventually I got it running right.

After a sesion with the grinder that would have left HSE reps speachless, I eventually removed the fan, and cut the water pump nose pulley down to the point where hopefully it will clear the radiator... (say's he with boundless optimism).

I've yet to dig the front panel out from the pile of bits, so I'll find out shortly.

Plans for the weekend include sorting out some sort of exahust, bumper, and the brakes...

Tuesday, 24 February 2009


My Automec brake pipes kit arrived today, so it looks like I know what I'm doing tonight. I've always made my own pipes in the past, but given that this is rather a speedy rebuild, and also given that I've become more cautious as I've got older, I thought I would try a kit this time.

It all looks very nice and shiney in its box, next question will be does it fit?

I've got an insurance quote of £400 now - under half of the quote that Footman James were talking about. Looks like motor trader policy's aren't much good till I'm 23, I could get one, but it would cost rather more than the earth... apparently, its different once you are 23.

I'm also feeling rather skint (well, I've just thrown half a months wages at Bitsa in around 2 weeks), which means there may be a sale of valuable assets (Junk). Anyone want a Reliant Rialto, 1981, T&T till May, or a rather rotten SIII with cammo paint for restoration, just let me know.

Taking shape

The bulkhead went on tonight. Its really not going to be long and I can actually drive her round the yard for the first time.

What is rather concerning is that I can't find the dash panel anywhere. I can't remember with 100% certainty, but I thought that I had left it sat in the bulkhead - if I did, then someone has "borrowed" it without asking first.
Hopefully it will come to light somewhare with all the various other junk, but I have a nasty feeling about it.

I also started a search for insurance - Footman James are out, they want £1000... because its a LWB. It seems that I could insure a 200di SWB for peanuts, but a LWB - that is beyond the pale. Maybe I should tell them it is a 88", with a modified wheelbase.

I'm looking at motor trade type "drive any vehicle" policys at the moment - given I now have three different policys, it may work out cheeper, as well as allowing me to chop and change vehicles without it costing me money.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Its all plain sailing from here

Right, this post is from the phone as the boat's cabin batteries are too dead to support the PC anymore...
There always seems to be a certain point in a project when it attains 'critical mass' and suddenly success is in sight. It's been different with different projects - with NOG that point came really late, when I already had done everything apart from the details. With this rebuild, it happened today.
The sight and sound of my 200di actually sat in the chassis and running was simply wonderful. Even before then, everything has gone really well during this rebuild. The axles springs and chassis all lined up and fitted perfectly, first time. The 'new' box went onto the engine second try, with a minimum of struggling. The engine and box sat near enough level on my first guess at slinging them with the puller block. All the engine mounts lined up in turn as I lowered the engine in. I even found the perfect hetro use for a abandoned boingy spring - it held the fuel tank up to the mounts while I stuck the fixing bolts in place.
I have to admit, the question interests me - is this run of success due to luck, or is it just the fact that I've done almost every job on a Landrover so many times that I now know by default the easiest way to in about it.

One thing that I can't put down to experience did impress me today - the 200di starting up for the first time in some years. It was sold to me as a good engine, but had been in storage as a spare for a long time. I was worried that lots of things might have gone wrong, particularly the fuel system, while it was laid up. However I rigged up a fuel system (of sorts), bled it through, connected a battery, cranked over for all of 5 seconds, and she was up and running. Talk about engines that start easily. The 2.25d in my current SIII takes more cranking than that from warm, never mind from cold.

And she runs...

A rather brief post this, as the boat's inverter low warning buzzer is telling me its time to turn the computer off before the cabin batteries actually give out.

Anyway, I now have a running 200di, sat in the rolling chassis, mated to a decent gearbox. I've only test run her for a few seconds, as there is not cooling system as yet, and I've still got to do that jolly cambelt,. but so far so good.

Literally everything has gone fine today - apart from a sticking non-return valve on the fuel system. The fun that caused... I spent nearly an hour trying to work out why it wasn't filling the fuel filter when I worked the lift pump... and all it took for a cure was to manually stick my finger over the end of the pipe when the pump was on its return stroke for a few pumps, and problem solved. You live and learn...

Saturday, 21 February 2009

She's got wheels

Yep, I had a fun time of it last night, sticking the axles onto the chassis.

For the benifit of those who haven't done the job before, its worth mentioning the easiest order of events. The proccedings are more or less the same for the front and back axle.

1) Fit the spring shackle plate to the chassis (I did this when the chassis was still on its back after all the welding). Do not tighten fully.
2) Roll the axle under the chassis.
3) Drop the chassis until the main rails are resting on the axle.
4) Fit the rear eye of the springs into the shackle plates.
5) Fit the front eye of the springs into the chassis mounting
6) Jack or crane the chassis up until the axle is just off the floor, and sat on the springs.
7) Manhandle the axle until it is sat on the mounting pegs. If it doesn't want to drop down, use a ratchet strap to pull the springs together, or a hi-lift jack to push them apart. If its really close, just sit the axle on-top, and smack the spring with a lump hammer in the right direction, and everything will probably drop into place. (It did for me last night). If you get a really stubbon one that won't fit, check that the peg on the spring isn't too big for the hole in the axle - this is a known fault with some pattern springs.
8) Fit the U bolts and bottom plate, and tighten fully. (Incidentally, it is bad practice to re-use old U bolts, as they are meant to stretch slightly as you tighten them - not that we haven't all done it mind you).
9) Lower the chassis until its sat on its wheels, then fully tighten all the springs shackle bolts.

Job done.

I did the rear axle in about an hour, and the front in about an hour and a half, all working solo... how's that for a speed rebuild.

Todays big project is to try and get the engine and box in. I'm off shortly into Stockport, for a set of engine mounts, a clutch pressure plate, and a few other little bits and peices. I've got to sort out which gearbox I'm useing first however, which may be a fun game in its own right - wish me luck...

Friday, 20 February 2009

Parts are here... and an ode to Ratchet Straps

Paddocks have finally sent me a box with lots of loverly new bits in, U bolts, springs shackle bolts, shocker bushes, split pins and the like.
Tonight therefore, Bitsa should be going back on her wheels again.

Its an interesting sport, getting a bare chassis rolling. I've done a few now, and at least two on my own. This time I have a tactical advantage over the last effort - I'm in a shed with roof beams that can be used for slinging. Its amazing what a bloke and two ratchet straps can manage, when push comes to shove. It would probably also be amazing what any H&S man would say while watching the proceedings, but the beauty of working on farm is that H&S men are few and far between. I've only been clobbered by a falling chassis once in the previous 48 hours, and that has only left me with a bad scrape to my right shin.

Ratchet straps are just great. I've owned two mediums sized ones for ages, and the list of achivements just goes on and on. I've
1)Dragged a Relaint Robin onto a trailer after the rear diff grounded out, and it refused to drive any further.
2)Lifted out a 2.25D engine, with the aid of a barn roof.
3)Recovered a cross axled vehicle, via a handy tree
4)Towed dead landrovers

To say nothing of pulling all sorts of things together so that things fit for long enough to get bolts in the holes, and there actual intended use - strapping loads down with. For the £14 they cost, they have to be one of the best value tools ever.

I fear tomorrow morning, I may be forced to spend more money - the clutch I've put on the 200di is for a SIII box, and the current plan now involves using a IIA box and so I need a new cover plate. So much for a rebuild on the cheep. During this rebuild I've so far spent over 4 times the £100 I actually paid for Bitsa when I bought her (admittedly, about 7 years ago now), and she doesn't even run yet...

Thursday, 19 February 2009

I'm still waiting...

... For my parcel of goodies to arrive from Paddock's. I got as far as I could with the springs last night, but eventually had to give up as I had run out of shackle bolts. My old friend Mr A Grinder had been out and about when I stripped her down, and couldn't get some of the spring bolts to release, hence the shortage.

Talking of Mr A Grinder, I splashed out on a new one last week. The old £10 machine that had survived the original rebuild, then NOG's rebuild, as well as lots of odd jobs for other people, to say nothing of re-silling the farm Rangie, has finally been condemed. Ironicaly it still runs fine, but the spindle lock broke, and without it, changing disks is a near impossibity. The new toy is Wickes top brand - five year warrenty, adjusting quick release guard, and will take a 5" disk. From the shape, I think it is a badged Matika, at a rather lower price. Time will tell how it lasts.

As for Bitsa hopefully my box of stuff will come tomorrow, as I can then get her rolling. If not, plan B involves finally doing that cambelt followed by making a gearbox out of three broken ones, and mateing it up to the engine. I hate gearboxes. I hate broken ones even more. I hate working on broken gearboxes at 2am lots and lots, and guess what I see coming. I do however have a Bob Dylan CD all ready and waiting. (For those who don't know, here is the orignal blog post.)

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

I have springs.

A lighting trip into Stockport last night, and I now have a very shiny looking new set of springs in the back of the 88". 109" Petrol fronts, and SW rears - the theory being to give as soft and supple ride as possible.

It's amazing how many people fit heavy duty ones, because they like the sound of them... unless you actually stick a ton of bricks in the back, the results of fitting these is usually a hard jaring ride where you can feel every bump.

The logic with the petrol front springs is that they are softer than the diesel ones, because diesel owners were assumed to use their vehicles harder. As I travel unladen most of the time, its probably best fitting the petrol springs...

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Spring is comming

... or at least so we are told. Its cold out on the canals, with ice everyware, but on Saturday I spent a day making things rather warm.

I transformed some rather rusty metal into Bitsa's new chassis back half.  Having finally got a reliable supply of affordable MIG gas (that was one of the factors in my not having done anything for months), I'm now back on full welding form.

Last night, and two coats of paint later, and the chassis looks better than it has ever done, replendant in a quick coat of black. Black paint does hide a multitude of sins, dodgy welds and probably all sorts of other things. Mind you the MOT man can get his little hammer out all he wants next test - there is no rust from one end to the other, and no fiberglass either.

Tonight, its a very quick run into Stockport after work, because Landranger are staying open specially for me to collect my new set of springs. If my parcel of spring fitting stuff from Paddock arrives tomorrow, I might have a rolling chassis by Thursday morning...