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...