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.