Monday, 11 October 2010

On a go slow...

Looks like I've fuel issues. It takes time to realise, but she has definitely become more sluggish, and really down on top end power, particularly cold, and on veg oil. I switched the tank from near 100% SVO to about 70% DERV, and a lot of the go came back, which makes me feel fairly sure I know the culprit. A new fuel filter will be fitted shortly.

(This is one of the problems of switching to SVO after a prolonged time on DERV - SVO drag's all sorts of sedimented muck out of the tank and into the the filter. I went through two filters in the first 500 miles, now its probably getting on for time to change the filter again anyway, and the dirt has built up again. The problem gradually dies down provided there isn't a prolonged switch back to DERV, I'd expect a normal lifespan from the next filter.)

Thursday, 7 October 2010

The downside to playing in mud...

Was under the back end of Bitsa adjusting the brakes, when I noticed a distinct noise from a rear wheel bearing... rumble, rumble, rumble.

That makes two that have gone in as many weeks, on opposite sides. Both bearings being of different ages (I forgot which but I changed a hub and bearing for one off my spare axle last winter due to a lose stud), I'm inclined to suspect its not a co-incidence, but related to something - probably mud from Sibbertoft.

At least I caught this one, unlike the previous one which gave up at the start of a 400 mile round trip, and hence was pretty mashed by the time it got removed 200 miles later.

I've obtained another bearing, and got my box spanner back off loan, so changing it is a job for Friday.

In unrelated news, I've finally stuck some stickers on the speedometer glass to correct for the new rear diff. At some point, when I've got the dash apart I'll take the glass out and do a neat job inside, but this should do for the minute. If its of any interest, 4.7 diffs changed for 3.54:1 diffs means more or less each 0.75mph marked on the gauge is 1mph in real life.

Monday, 4 October 2010


...I've got round to fixing the "pet annoying little job"... the bad earth on one headlight.

Its so nice having full power from both headlights, I'm tempted to go and drive round in the dark to enjoy it.

Judging from the state of the headlamp plug (mildly melted) it seems the earth lead had partially fallen off, then got very hot and rusted. I've cleaned it all up, tightened the crimps and put it back. That of course took 30 seconds, dismembering the headlight bowl enough to get at the offending connector took about 15 minutes. Last time I did this, I just pushed the plug back on, and it went back to being dim about 10 minutes after I started driving... hopefully now I've tightened the connectors its problem solved for good.

I had a mild panic after doing the headlight; I checked the water level in the radiator, and found to my horror an oil emulsion on the bottom of the cap. Halfway through a prolonged effort to see if there were any bubbles in the water the penny dropped - guess who had used old 3L veg oil cans to transport the water last time he filled the radiator up, and not washed all the oil out first. Panic over (I think, I'll have to keep a bit of an eye on it to check just in-case there is another cause).

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Oil Change

Finally done an oil change. Gone from 10w40 semi synth to API spec 20w50 Mineral in an effort to solve the hot oil pressure issues - the light had been coming on at anything up to 1000rpm with the engine hot, which didn't bode well. The underlying issue is almost certainly that the crank is worn out (it had new shells 8K miles ago, but that didn't fix the problem), but the more miles I get out of it, the longer till I've got to pay for a new one...

The warning light is now out except at hot idle, and then it goes out if I nudge the throttle to add an extra 50rpm or so, which is much better - I'm tempted to knock the idle up to hold the light out all the time.

Incidentally, if anyone is interested I'm still running on SVO, and inadvertently on 100% this weekend... it goes fine at 90%, but at 100% its noticeably down on power... combined with 3.54 Diffs, the peak district, and having a dumper engine belonging to someone else in the back (don't ask), and hills have been "interesting". I've burnt enough SVO off to get £10 of diesel in the tank, which has improved matter dramatically.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Big Wheels keep on Turnin

Its been a hard couple of weeks for Bitsa... well over 1300 miles in just over two weeks.

This weekend, it was Carlisle, two weekends before it was Oxford.

I can't honestly say she's done well in the reliability stakes - I've had to replace:

Rear wheel bearing
Bottom cam sprocket and woodruff key
Crank pulley
8 fan belts (see also the crank pulley, the issue has now been resolved, at one point I realised I was spending more on fan belts than fuel a mile). Its also amazing how fan belt prices vary, from £2.15 to £6.46 for identical length belts, depending where you buy them.

For some reason, I've done a lot more motorway than normal this month, including travel on:


Which isn't bad going, as sometimes she goes for months without touching anything more than the local duel carriageway.

Along with the latest fan belt, I've bought a new oil filter, and an oil change is planned for the weekend, as its getting rather overdue. I'm going to move from 10w40 to 20w50, in an effort to reduce the problems with low oil pressure at idle (which problems are probably related to a worn crank, if I can find the cash once the S1 is running I'll be looking at rebuilding this engine again with a reground crank, as the rest of it is in good shape)

In other news, the 3.54:1 diff is now in, she is geared a fraction tall now, especially when laden, but it does make motorways nice and relaxed (until I get to long hills anyway).

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

The late Front Crank Pulley

It seems it has met the axle once too often for its own good.

As a bodge to end all bodges, I've welded the crack up to buy me another week or so while a replacement is sourced... (big thanks to FenTiger on this one).

Longer term plan is to make up a pulley with a smaller diameter, using a 2.25 waterpump pulley, as then it should be clear of the axle...

Saturday, 18 September 2010


I spent a good chunk of this afternoon dismembering a 110 back axle for the the differential.

It would have taken about 10 minutes, had the pinion nut not been so tight I failed to shift it with a decent 3/4" drive socket and bar. Eventually, I lost patience, and split the nut with a hammer and chisel (handy skill to develop, this is the second time in as many weeks I've managed to do this to seized nuts without wrecking the thread the nut is on). After that, I could take the main diff unit out, followed by the input shaft and pinion... not forgetting its crush spacer.

I tend dropped the prop from Bitsa, to find not only could I undo the nut, but it had come lose, and the diff input bearings had loads of play in them... as it was getting dark, I decided against fitting the new diff until tomorrow, and just tightened the nut back up. Driving home from the farm, the howl on over-run that I had assumed was a knackered prop has much diminished.

You are meant to go to lots of trouble setting the diff up in a "new" case, but having talked to others it seems that in practice it you swap all the bits as a set, it will be fine.

Hopefully she will be much nicer on the motorway on 3.54's, although I suspect the peaks will prove a bit painful until I sort out the turbocharger.

In other news, I now own loads of 9.00x16 bargips, (4 medium worn ones for sale cheap if anyone wants them, I've ended up with 9 in total), and am now sorting out getting hold of a set of rims to fit them to. The super tall Bitsa looms... no more getting stuck descending Chapelgate step.

Friday, 17 September 2010


All in all, a good time was had. I've a nasty feeling Bitsa may need a new alternator however...

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Compare and Contrast

I had been having problems with the timing drifting... and finally took the cover off the cambelt at Sibbertoft while at OLLR's "All leafer weekender" event, as she took to refusing to start, and there was no movement left on the pump atall... Big thanks to Pete(Nightmare) who ran me to a "local" parts place about 40 mins away for a new pulley and associated bits... and then helped me put it all back together.

Once it was running, I had a great time getting covered in mud - I'll post about that later.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Its only been four years, but it feels like a lifetime

Working things out, think it is 4 years this weekend since Bitsa hit the roads, having passed its first MOT in my ownership (I bascially built it from a pile of parts centred round an early SIII 109" SW).

To celibrate, here are 5 previously unpublished photos from the archives, of "early Bitsa".

1) Just before the MOT, August 06. I was trying to get the brakes set up as part as the final push to a test.
The clasic car thats just visible in the background is my old grey rover P4, ASJ 314.

2) This was January 07, and I was out laning, photo probably taken by Twm Ford, while I was trying to turn round on very rutted bit of lane.

3) March 07, out laning again, a few days before I moved to England from Wales. I had painted one with a tin of what claimed to be limestone, and decided I didn't like the way it looked before I got round to painting the other side. By this point the mileage was racking up very fast - note the amount of road dirt on the rear tub quarter panels. I still didn't own a tailgate, I think one was relayed to me that weekend.

4) August 07, and time is nearly up for the original incarnation. Now respendant in midnight blue, I was busy oiling the springs, hence the ramp under the front wheels. I was already running on veg oil, and commuting 40 miles a day, this lasted until I went on holiday, and the engine decided that cold starts on veg oil weren't on and died about 10 days before the MOT was up.

After that, it ended up parked up for over a year, before being stripped down and rebuilt again.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Wow... that makes a change.

I don't post often about "Project Rust", my Series 1, as its all supposed to be written up for LRM at some point.

However, today while fooling about in the workshop an event occurred so remarkable I think I've got to blog about it...

Yes, this is Project Rust's steering relay, and its out of the chassis. No heat, no jacks, no hammers... I merely unbolted it, stuck a screwdriver under one of the mounting flanges and yanked. How good is that? (this will probably be the first and last time in my life I ever manage this trick).

Maybe the whole thing is just feeling contrite for smacking me really hard in the chest with a sharp bit of chassis yesterday. It seems if you lift a chassis with an engine crane, and the only thing left holding the front axle on is a brake flexi pipe you forgot to cut, the chassis doesn't half take off at a rate of knots when the pipe finally breaks... just a pity I was stood in the way... it still hurts 24 hours later.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

A lot more go

Bitsa had been getting hard to start, the MPG's have been abysmal, and performance sluggish.

This sounded like poor timing, so I've advanced the injection timing quite a lot. The result is a lot better - it starts instantly, and goes like stink compared to before. Time will tell if the MPG improves, but I'd be amazed if it doesn't - on the way back from Aber last week at a steady 65mph on the motorway she was barely returning 20mpg.

I'm not sure how the timing had ended up out - it used to start OK, and there was no evidence of slippage with the pump timing bolts.

While I was doing these sort of things, I pulled off the front pulley which had developed the worrying ability to rotate about 30deg relative to the crank, and found to my relief the damage was severe wear to the keyway slot on the pulley, rather than a chunk missing from the crankshaft. It seems the Sherpa crank (my engine was rebuilt with one after the disaster with the original crank) has a fractionally shorter nose bolt than a tdi, and the Tdi bolt I'd fitted had bottomed out in the hole when tightened, rather than gripping the front pulley. I've fitted some extra washers to hold the bolt further out( dead grinder cutting disks proved ideal), which seems to have solved the problem.

I think the next party trick is going to have to be looking at replacing the front brake shoes again - the Mintex shoes that I fitted at easter seem to have glazed, and stopping is getting to be a fraction unsatisfactory. I begin to understand why people pay money for disk brake conversions... (I won't, I'm too tight). That and getting that wretched 3.54 diff stuck in the back, before the engine dies of a diet of motorway speeds and high mileages. (I was going to swap the offending diff in a few weeks ago, but as is often the way with life things didn't work out, and I ended up reinstalling windows for someone on their computer that afternoon instead).

Thursday, 5 August 2010

SVO - the downsides

Well, the great SVO experiment continues.

The engine runs quiet smoothly on SVO, but it is noticeably down on power when its cold. Once its warmed up, it seems Ok, if fractionally down on 'go'.

In the usual SVO way, its done the usual trick of clogging a filter with junk dredged from the tank - I drove to Buxton and back last night, and it was really struggling on the long climbs with fuel starvation.

I've fitted a new filter now, so hopefully the run down to Wales tonight should be fairly painless.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

So smooth...

I did one of those little niggling jobs this evening - putting a new exhaust downpipe/manifold gasket on. I'm a bit shocked by the effects - I've had 3 weeks of driving with quite a bad blow from the joint, and the sudden silence and smoothness feel's very Roll-Royce compared to the rather industrial tractor roar that had previously been there when booting the throttle.

The uses for ratchet straps are never-ending, this weeks trick is using them to hold the cab down while getting the bolts at the back in, after changing the wrecked back panel for one that actually has a full set of glass and isn't falling to bits. It also has a proper seal at the bottom, and the bolts(spring shackle bolts, with spreader plates, through the hoodstick holes) wouldn't quite thread together with the extra height the seal represented. Ratchet strapping the cab down was sufficient to get the bolts through and done up properly.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Off to Aberystwyth... what will break this time?

I'm off on my holidays on Thursday night... the usual week in Aberystwyth. I'm pondering what's going to break this time - 3 years ago it was the injector pump, last year the exhaust sheared off on the manifold... I don't think Bitsa likes Aberystwyth.

Before I go, I've still a few niggling jobs, to do - a new exhaust gasket to stop it blowing, changing the truck-cab back for one that has windows, and ideally running a new headlight earth in an effort to reinvigorate the current rather enfeebled glow-worms that are fitted.

I'm still having success with SVO, although cold starts at about 60% SVO are proving a little interesting. It takes a few seconds of foot to the floor after turning the key before it will rev, then it splutters badly as it revs up for 10 seconds, then its fine. During this operation, a cloud of dense blue grey smoke emerges, which hangs over the area for some time after Bitsa has left the scene. Power is noticeably down for the first mile or two, but once the engine is up to temperature its fine.

I've now got a leaking underseat fill fuel tank, thanks to DocMorris, so next mission it to graft the top of that onto a good normal tank. Hopefully Being able to see into the tank should make it rather easier to sort out what blend of fuel is in there...

Thursday, 29 July 2010

SVO stinks...

I'd forgotten just how strong that chip van smell is when running on veg oil... talk about pungent.

Still, cold starts at 2:1 diesel:SVO seen more than fine, so I'll try adding a little more, and see how it goes.

I've been thinking about ways of doing twin tanks, and I'm wondering about putting a military battery box in place of the middle seat... then I can take the battery out of the passenger seat toolbox, remove the toolbox, and fit another tank. When I eventually add a rear tank, that means a total fuel load of 36 gallons, or 900 miles... I can see fueling up becoming a monthly occurrence.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

SVO, again...

Last time I played with Straight Veg Oil the supermarket price rose to the point that it became un-economic. Coupled with my desire to run on oil that's really free, and not just cheap, I went for waste mineral oil instead.

Although I got the engine to run fairly well on old engine oil, the design needed further enhancements, mostly to the fuel pumping and heat exchanging stages. Unfortunately, these never got done as I've been very busy, and they haven't exactly been given top priority.

In the meantime, I notice that pump diesel has got dearer (nothing new there then), and supermarket veg oil has got cheaper, currently my local Tesco has oil at 83p/l. After inwardly debating the matter for a week or so, I've now taken the plunge, and Bitsa is back on DERV/SVO mix, currently about 2:1. If it does colds starts on that OK, I'll try increasing the mix a little, but I'm not planning on crossing the 50% mark for the minute - I need twin tanks to do that safely, as a bare minimum...

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Bolt on tat, and why its all pointless.

Bolt on tat is funny stuff.

Go to any major Landrover event, and the vast majority of stands will be pushing bits and pieces that can loosely be described as Bolt on Bling, in the name of offroad protection. Things like diff guards, trackrod guards, sump guards, rocksiders, fuel tank guards...

Now, I have never fitted any such Bling to Bitsa, partly because it looks gay, and mostly cos I'm really tight. But, prompted by a post over on the Series 2 Club forum, I fell to museing about what good all this gadgetry might have done me.

Those who know Bitsa well may be aware that she has a few dents (actually, make that a lot). I don't think there is a straight panel on there to be honest, and I can't say the fact bothers me much. Even worse is the state of the chassis - it has dents in the main rails, damage to gearbox cross-member, a simply huge dent in the bellhousing crossmember, another ding in the centre of the rear cross-member. The dents are not all new and novel, but are the product of a load of greenlaning, with the odd bit of use round farms and playdays thrown in. The funny thing is, that all this not withstanding, I've yet to damage a single thing there is a guard commercially available for.

If I've never bent a steering rod, never dented a diff, nor punched a hole in my sump, what exactly am I doing wrong? I'll go in for almost any loony driving, bar mud runs (only because I can't be bothered cleaning up afterwards, and because I don't like wet feet), but I still keep failing to break the "approved" of items to break. This prompts me to suspect that bolt on tat is, well just that - tat, and it is sold to enrich the seller, rather than for any practical purpose. Still doesn't stop people who only do road mileage buying this sort of tat, and bolting it to their motor's mind you.

Oh well I suppose, after all, news has come in that the Pope's apparently a Catholic.

P.s. new chassis next year, and with 2" lift, plus that lift from the 9.00's that come with it, and its going to take some serious rocks to knock holes in my new chassis...

Friday, 23 July 2010

Gear ratios

Yours truly has been doing some thinking about gear ratios for Bitsa in the longer term.

Currently, Bitsa has 4.7 diffs, no overdrive, a normal transfer-box, a series main gearbox, and a 200di engine which gives an estimated 85bhp. The gearing feels decidedly short, with 2nd being suitable for pulling away most of the time, but 70mph (fairly easily achievable) pushing the engine onto the red line for continuous running.

Thanks to a rather handy site at, I've runs a selection of gearing scenarios, to try and think about what will be a good idea in the longer term.

First off, here is a graph showing the ratios in the various gears as she is currently setup.

Now, the one thing which I'm determined to do which will affect the gearing is swapping to 9.00 tyres, when I rebuild onto a new chassis with extended spring outriggers. There are lots of reasons for this, and not just that 9.00's are cool - I want more ground clearance when out laning for instance.

This doesn't look loads better, but it does get 70mph the right side of the red line, at 3733Rpm rather than 4095Rpm. Granted that's not going to revolutionise anything, but its a step in the right direction.

Next question is - what about 3.5 diffs?

This is starting to get to the sort of territory that I'm after - with the turbocharger, there should be no problem pulling this sort of overall ratio, but it gets the engine down to 2780Rpm at 70mph. I had contemplated an overdrive as well, but I think this might be over-egging the pudding...

This puts a 70mph cruse as having the engine at just 2168Rpm. It might hack that, but I'm not sure if it will do the gearbox or overdrive any favours having to deal with an engine constantly developing near peak torque in order to maintain speed.

One of the interesting side effects of this lot is the apparently incredible speed range low box is developing - 3805Rpm in low ratio overdrive 4th is 60mph. Its worth bearing in mind that the current gearing has the engine running at 3510Rpm to achieve 60mph. This could be solved by fitting an Ashcroft hi-ratio transfer box, rather than 3.54 diffs, but then that means no overdrive (its not physically possible to fit one onto the Ashcroft box)...

With the engine at 2829Rpm at 70mph, this is lower geared than 3.54 diffs, but it does still have large gaps between the gears, which an overdrive would have helped with.

A final option I considered was an LT77 mated to a series transferbox. I'm not really very keen (after all, the Series gearbox is responsible for a good deal of the series driving experience, and its also a lot of work to fit an LT77).

Frankly, this isn't high enough geared, with 70mph in 5th at 3104Rpm, when it really needs to be below the 3000rpm mark. It is however really a bit too high to seriously consider in tandem with 3.54 diffs, and I don't think it is possible to include an overdrive in the package either.

So, where do I go from here? Short term, I've got a 3.54 rear diff to fit, as soon as I manage to get round to it. Then I can turbocharge, and see what happens (its going to have to be pretty grim with the 3.54 diff and no turbo). If that seems OK, particularly when loaded (I may fill it with a load of scrap and go for a blast up the M67 hill to make sure), then I'll swap in the front 3.54 diff. Then its a case of waiting for the rechassising session, and looking for a set of 9.00's that are feeling lonely, and seeing how she goes...

Another pile of fixing done.

I spent a few hours this afternoon sorting out the latest "new" exhaust for Bitsa, to replace the one I wrecked descending Chapelgate. This one uses large bore stainless pipe, and a flat silencer unit rather than a standard Landrover rear box. I don't know if it will do anything for performance in the short term, but longer term, the pipe is big enough bore to convert for use with the turbocharger.

I've also fitted a new dipstick from a 2.25D, rather than a 200tdi, which is handy, as the 200tdi dipstick was bent beyond use. Having done some calibrating, I've been able to check the engine oil level for the first time in ages... and concluded it is rather over-full. That probably accounts for the haze of blue smoke that she has recently developed at idle then.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

5000 miles

Just updated the MPG counter, and it seems I've now broken the 5000 mile mark with the rebuilt Tdi. A quick check of the figures suggests that represents driving 42 miles a day since it went back in, which equates to just over 15,000 miles a year.

Just an average car then...

Well, maybe not, I mean, you don't just drive off down Chapelgate one evening in an average car do you? (I only need to change one wrecked outrigger and make a new exhaust now).

I'm having a bit of a revamp of my web pages, this blog is hosted by blogger, but all the images, the mpg calculator and a few other bits of other stuff have been fliting between free webhosts for a while now. I've finally had enough of free webhosts (they all promise the moon, then either don't work, or work really well for a month, then announce they are canceling free packages), so I've actually bought some webspace that should work properly.

Seeing as that is that case, I'm hoping to put up some decent content on the main pages, to make it a bit of a FAQ guide for Landrover problems.

Amongst the things I'd like to cover are Landrovers and veg oil, 109" brakes, tdi conversions info, salisbury diff rebuild photos (when I eventually get it done).

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Off on a grand tour of West Yorkshire tomorrow

Just organising the last stages of a tour round most of west Yorkshire tomorrow.

Main mission is moving a 109" roof from Wakefield to Pontefact, but I seem to have ended up also shifting some 109" axles from Macclesfield to Doncaster, some inner tubes Doncaster to Holmfirth, and some wheels and tyres Maccelsfield to Holmfirth.

Still should be a good laugh, and as its all for other folks, I get the diesel bill paid.

In other news, apparently Britpart have finally refunded me for the dud springs I returned a year ago. Its a good job the replacements were free, its taken them long enough. I drove past their depot a few weeks ago, and had it being during the day I'd have been tempted to call in and see what they had to say for themselves, but at 9pm on a Sunday night, I didn't think any of them would be in.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Going Hi-Cap

Got offered a Hicap tub this for Bitsa a few weeks ago, and said no, too expensive. It didn't sell elsewhere, and so I was offered it for a better price this morning, and couldn't resist.

Bitsa's current rear tub is knackered, I've been meaning to replace it for ages, and I've always wanted a IIA hi-cap, so this is the perfect opportunity.

I'm collecting it from Lincolnshire, current plan is to drive Bitsa down with no tub, and fit it on the spot. I'll have to take a grinder to the current back tub to make it into a Hi-Cap front bulkhead, the main challenge at the moment seems to be sorting the top capping out so it looks right.

This is the donor vehicle, a shunted 200tdi 110...

Worst part of the job is I suppose I'll have to re-do the sign-writing on the new tailgate...

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Timing tweak - success...

Just worked out a spot MPG for the last tank of fuel, it came out at 29mpg for the last 137 miles, so it looks like advancing the timing a bit has had the desired effect.

On a different note, Bitsa let me down yesterday for the first time since the rebuilt "new" engine went in - the battery was flat as a pancake, and she refused to start. I suspect that the CB had been draining the battery, despite being switched off, as it had a permanent live feed. I've disconnected it for the short term, longer term plan is to sort it with a key switched live.

I hope its the CB, if not it means yet another dead 16ACR (I've lost count how many have gone bang now, but I know its depressing). If I have another one go, I'll try and replace it with a A127 off a disco tdi.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Timing Tweak

I've always been slightly concerned Bitsa's rebuilt 200 wasn't quite timed spot on, mostly because it always took a bit of cranking before she woke up at a cold start, and this was inevitably followed by some really rough running and white smoke till she was several hundred yards down the road.

I finally had enough this evening, and whipped the cover off the timing case, locked the pump off, slacked the adjuster bolts off, moved the crank backwards about 3deg, and re-tightened the adjuster. Startup is now within 2 turns or so from cold, rather than 10, with no smoke or rough running, and there seems to be fractionally more power on tap. I await the next lot of MPG figures with interest, as I suspect it may have improved matters. (Mind you, I keep tweaking things, and saying that, and so far the figures stay stubbornly at about 25mpg...).

Monday, 28 June 2010

500 miles away....

Bitsa racked up just over 500 miles this weekend, thanks to a quick jaunt round Wales.

Not a hitch, apart from some mild panic about fuel levels on the way back late at night. I really need to get the rear tank fitted, the range on the front tank is minimal.

Managed Swansea - Macclesfield in 3 hours, 30 min, which I reckon is pretty good going - google maps said 4 hours 33min for the (direct) route I used, or 3 hours 50min via the M4/M50/M5/M6, which would have added a lot more miles.

Blogging with remain very light, as I've a million things to do...

Friday, 4 June 2010

Conveyor belt is the future

Totally knackered now, after spending best part of 4 hours, and 3 stanley knife blades fighting with some thick conveyor belting, in a mission to reduce the row in the cab at speed. I had a good size lump of brand new belt thanks to a mate in the quarries, it seems A1 stuff, but was very hard work to cut, taking several passes, even with a brand new knife blade.

Its hard to be certain, but it seems to have made quite a bit of difference - the general row as the world goes past has diminished. Most of the improvement seems to be when idling (a lot less panel rattle), and when travelling at high speeds (>50mph), when the row from the gearbox seems much reduced.

Cab also looks tider inside, less bits of a different colour visible. I've also dusted over about half the seatbox with matt black spray paint, after I found a can with a little paint in the bottom left in one of the footwells. At some point during one repaint, I really should do the inside of the cab in blue, to match the rest of the truck.

Monday, 31 May 2010

More dismal fuel figures

Had another bad fuel leak develop on the engine - the vibrations seem to have work hardened then split one of the original nylon pipes.

I've now replaced it with decent fuel grade rubber flexi-hose, but not before losing quite a bit of diesel, hence the current overall MPG figure being pretty abysmal.

I *think* its not got any leaks now, so hopefully the next lot of figures should improve matters (yes, I know, eternal optimist n'that...)

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

One nation under CCTV?

So much for CCTV. Came back to Bitsa in Tesco's carpark the other day to find a massive dent in the 'new' passenger wing, clear evidence that some moron couldn't park, and had then legged it.
Went to see if they had CCTV footage... of course not. (I wouldn't care, were it not for the fact that 1) it was about the only decent panel on the truck and 2)the perpetrator did a runner. Had they had the decency to leave me a note, I've not have wanted to take it further).

I forget how many times I'm apparently watched by CCTV every day, but it seems that the two times I've wanted the footage (in both cases, incidents in areas where there are lots of cameras) it doesn't exist. Talk about heads you lose, tails you don't win...

(Image is of course Banksy... google if you don't know who he is)

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Not posted much...

... because, frankly, there has been little to report, other than lots more miles.

Only new development has been fitment of a CB (obtained for free) in an install that is as invisible as possible while still having a fighting chance of working.

I've also acquired a full SIII clutch system, to fit in place of the current arrangement (leaky master cylinder, length of brake pipe, flying joint to a flexi pipe, IIA slave cylinder on a SIII box). The idea is that then it won't leak its way through a tub of fluid a week, and as a bonus it will look a little tidier under the bonnet. Just got to find the time to fit it.

Most of the fun this week has been with my new Series 1, but as that's a project that's going in LRM, I'm not planning on bloging about it much. (Get down to WH Smiths, and read their copy, you tight beggars).

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Wales... land of greenlanes, and diesel spills.

Well, had a good time at the weekend, all being considered.

I did a fair bit of laning, not all as driver - quite a lot was as "ClimbingChris's" passenger.

Main disaster of the weekend was the fuel supply banjo union on the injector pump getting yanked undone on a bump, and by the time I found out 1/2 a tank of diesel had landed on the road, in about 20 miles. (expect the fuel figures to be abysmal next time I fill the tank)

I've also found one cause of the poor general MPG I was getting - a split fuel return line from the injector pump... lets see if it improves now.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Few jobs done, nearly ready for another run to Wales

Off on Thursday night to Wales with OLLR - camping trip to Shell Island.

This in mind, I've done a few little jobs today;

Changed the wheel studs on one rear hub, as the originals were worn, and I was having problems with some wheel-nuts self un-doing. Looks like I've a slight weep from the hub seal, I've left it alone for the minute, as I'd no spare hub seal, and that axle is coming off shortly for rebuilding with a 3.54 diff - its just waiting on me borrowing another 109" Salisbury to run as a slave axle in the short term - hopefully I'll pick that up in a week or two.

I've also replaced the "red" lever in the cab - it quite literally fell off last week, the bolt holding it to the gearbox having vanished. The new ones were a pig to get at to put in too - I could have really done with a ratchet spanner, but of course the 13mm ratchet spanner vanishes when its really needed.

The final, and most time consuming job was sorting out the contents of the rear tub. Yes, the broken glass/oil/mud sludge was scraped out, and sifted for valuables... I found various things I've been looking for for a little while, including my best 10mm impact socket (pretty essential for working on a tdi), and a beer bottle that must have been in there since EOD 09.

I've also swapped some wheels round again, she's now running on a Avon Ranger's or near copies all round, but I'm a bit concerned by the cracks in some of them - I think I may buy two of the Kingpin copies, put them on the front, and put the best two of the rest on the back.

Sunday, 2 May 2010


Just been and re-adjusted the brakes, stops even better now - pedal has risen a good bit too.

Still very impressed with the mintex shoes - it really does stop properly now.

In other news, I'm currently shopping for a S1 109" or 107" - if you know of one sat in a hedge rusting away, please let me know. Condition not too critical - I'm up for a lot of welding. Currently two on eBay - one has a new chassis, but is out of my price range, other is very rusty, but under serious consideration...

Thursday, 29 April 2010


Bit of a boring post really, but just to say the current free host I use for hosting the various wiggets like the MPG calculator has announced its closing, so I've had to get an account elsewhere, and move all the stuff across. The snag is that as I'd not registered a domain name to move with the stuff, there are bound to be links and images in older posts that I've broken... If one annoys you, let me know, and I'll fix it.

Monday, 26 April 2010

That shiney new feeling doesn't last long...

Under two weeks ago, I presented my MOT man with a Landrover that worked perfectly in almost every respect. The brakes worked, the clutch worked, the headlights worked etc...

Its amazing what can happen in two weeks. First off, the alternator has caused a disaster. Or rather its bracket did. Followers of this saga may recall that a few weeks ago, I came to grief on a mission of mercy when my home-made alternator bracket let go on the A500, and left me with no electrical system or fan belt. I welded the bracket back together, made a mental note to fix it properly, and that was that.

Of course, that wasn't that... not at all. The re-welded bracket wasn't quite square, and so it took to eating fan belts. Then, as I was heading home from church yesterday, I saw the dreaded dash light illuminate once more, and on popping the bonnet found that one of the bolts that held the bracket to the bock had sheared off, allowing the alternator a more than free range of movement.

Have seen on Luke's fantastic 80" Tdi conversion (if you haven't met this vehicle, keep your eye on LRM - I have reason to think it may feature in the next couple of months... and it was great fun getting to test drive it for review.), a much neater way of making up a bracket, the fitter at work and I spent a happy evening tonight sorting it out.

Apart from needing a longer fan belt (much to my frustration, I had to buy one from Halfrauds, as they are about the only people selling fan belts at 7.30pm), it was dead easy to make, and works a treat - I'll post some photos up once I've taken them... (typically, I didn't have a camera to hand when doing then job).

Of course, fixing one thing merely provokes another, and I now have issues with a leaking clutch hydraulics. Don't know what's leaking yet - will have to look tomorrow lunchtime.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Now with a nice new MOT

Took it in this morning, failed on a bad earth on a headlight (it was working fine when I checked it in the yard) a cut on one of the tyres and a leaking damper on one of the rear springs...

Wizz'd down to Landranger, and purchased another shocker, made a new headlamp earth, swapped some tyre round and returned it, now have a nice green bit of paper that doesn't expire till May 8th, 2011...

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Gremlin chasing.

Spent tonight trying to sort out some of the last few jobs before the MOT.

I've now a full set of working indicators, both headlights work on full beam, and I've a power feed to the horn when I press the switch(looks like the horn itself has died, I'll buy another one tomorrow), and the numberplate light works(It did till I tried to clean the lense tonight, when it promptly cut out - some cleaning of the connections)

I've also tweaked the handrbrake, as it was a tad short of reseve travel.

Still to do is:

-Change the bottom shock bushes all round (any idea why they have gone SO fast? I fitted new ones last year on the front, and there is nothing left of them).

-Fit and wire some screenwashers (already bought a pump, just need some pipe and a suitable small pop bottle as a res).

-Fit a passenger windscreen wiper (randomly fell of and vanished in high winds/pouring rain, while rattling out of buxton on night a couple of weeks ago)

-Check wheel bearings/brake adjustment

-Fit some more bolts in the front prop (not an MOT fail, but someone thats needed doing for a while)

-Remove the tow hitch, as its bent

-Fix the exhaust, cos its fallen off (again).

And then progress to an MOT testing station, to hear the worst. Getting quite excited about the thought of actually getting two MOT's in succession on a vehicle. A new MOT may quieten down the regualar catcalls from just about everyone about the fact it looks a shed for as much as a week as well...

Monday, 12 April 2010

Welsh lanes

A quick couple of photos from Saturday.

The bomb hole in the second photo seems to be a new arrival - there didn't used to be one there.

Its now been filled with a LOT of stone - time will till if this repair lasts...

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

BST declared.

Offically summer now - roof is off, for the first time this year. Just hope the weather lasts.

Off to Wales in about 3 mins.

Wales (again)

Bitsa an I will be headed down to Wales tonight, all being well.

Didn't take Bitsa to Llandovery in the end, traveled with 'Stig' in Dougal instead. Straight six Nissan diesel power is quite an experience, particularly when 'Stig' is out to prove that as well as being "gr8 for driftin", Dougal will actually go round bends better than BWM.

Once in Llandovery, it was a pretty quick job to get the cam belt on, and the 80" fixed. Hopfully the owner will be investing in an 'AA' card.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Epic fail

Got to Stoke on my way to Wales, only to have the alternator bracket snap in two, ditching the alternator, and a good bit of my electric system with it onto the floor.

While trying to find the breakdown recovery number, the Coppers rolled up to inform me I had 30 mins, and then they would be recovering me, at vast expense. Sorted out an wire from the battery to the engine run lead, then bumped her, and with said coppers following at close range got her off the A500 and onto a layby out of the way.

Got recovery to drop me off at the farm (midnight by the time that happened), then repaired the bracket, fitted another alternator, and bodged the electrics by the light of my phone (torch having vanished in the general medley).

Just got back at the boat for some kip, then will be on my way to Wales in the morning.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Llandovery Ahoy!

Your truly is on a mission of mercy tonight - 150 mile's down to Wales with a tdi cam belt and some push-rods, to rescue a 80" with a broken timing belt... just been stripping a sherpa 2.5na for some pushrods, will be on the road shortly after 7.30pm.

Updates, and possibly pictures to follow.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Brakes - 3

Well, new front cylinders and shoes are now on, and it seems to stop. Its not surprising that the back was out-braking the front before - one side was fluid contaminated, and the other side had a seized wheel cylinder. (I knew about the leak - that was why I was fixing stuff, the seized cylinder was news to me however).

A certain amount of fun was had getting the peddle off the floor, but eventually it was done, mostly by adjusting up the back.

A test run seems to suggest they are pretty much balanced, and the 60mph test saw a successful very rapid stop in a cloud of tyre smoke...

Mintex shoes are the future - stops better with them on 4 cyl brakes than it used to with the 6 cyl setup when that was spot on.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Brakes - 2

Brake stuff from Paddock's turned up this morning. Hopefully will get it fitted over Easter, as I've the long run to my parents and back at the end of next week... (also chasing a couple of potential stories for LRM).

In other news, the alternator has finally stopped glimering a little(had been for month, for no apparent reason), and now holds the charge light on all the time, so I've declared it knackered... I'm hoping a mate's grabbing me one off a breaker, as I'm a bit too skint to want to buy a new one.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

All for free

I got a 2" nail in one of the rear tyres tonight. Needless to say it was raining, and I was hacked off and miserable by the time the spare was on.

In other really great news, insurance renewal is due in about a month, so I started looking for quotes. Paid about £350 last year... this year, I can't find under £1k. Makes no sense, particularly as all that's changed over the year is I've got one years no claims bonus. Still, insurance is pretty much legalised extortion.

Sunday, 28 March 2010


Just ordered new front brake bits from Paddocks, as the wheel cylinder(s) seem to be leaking...
4x delphi cylinders, and a set of the mintex shoes - £63 all in.

[boundless optimism]Looking forward to owning a truck that actually stops in a straight line, for as much as a week after fitting them [/boundless optimism]

Not sure when they are going in mind - I've a load of university stuff to do over Easter, and I've still a zillon nasty little MOT jobs left...


...three years since it became apparent it was rather on its way out, I've finally replaced the steering relay. In the process, I've also replaced two ball joints, fitted a proper air cleaner tray rather than the bodged one, done some repairs to a couple of developing cracks in the passengers main chassis rail... Oh, and replaced the front crossmember...

Someone's stolen my crossmember... rough looking bloke with gas axe suspected.

Not sure there was meant to be a hole in the main rail behind it... that may be why I was having problems with the main rail cracking there...

So remove all the suspect metal, and start again...

Fitted, just needs welds finishing (was waiting for the welder to catch up with me when I took this - I'd tripped it out as over its duty cycle... not often I manage to do that on a job)

Twas dark by the time it was all back together...

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Out with the camera

Been out today grabbing some rather nice piccys for a LRM feature... they can stay under wraps for the minute, but here is a quickie mostly of Bitsa.

Mission for tomorrow is to sort out that wretched front Crossmember/steering relay...

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Someone needs to get their SPECS on [rant]

Yours truly drove to Buxton tonight, over the Cat and Fiddle, and found to his intense joy and delight that the morons have been at work, and it has sprouted a crop of SPECS average speed cameras.

Now, I'm actually generally in favour of average speed cameras - they are both fairer, and more effective than the usual Gatso's. But the current system seems to be badly thought out, badly installed, and on the wrong sort of road. Taking these points in reverse order...

Firstly, almost all the fatalities up there are bikers, certainly all the ones that this system is aimed at. I really don't understand why people care about biker fatalities - unlike stupid car drivers, bikers very rarely take any innocent victims with them when committing suicide. I have no issue with people taking risks that only affect themselves, so if you want to ride like a twit, then be my guest. Drive like one, and you may kill me, so I'm less keen on the idea. If people want to install SPECS on the A6 through central Stockport, go for it - its full of speeding morons in cars, not on bikes.

Secondly, the installs are more than a tad ugly - they seem to have decided its now a motorway, and hence installed motorway sized gantries. Guys - this was a beautiful part of the world once - adding a dozen steel masts with bright yellow camera's is hardly adding to the beauty of scenes...

Thirdly, the install seems to have been done by a half brained moron. There are three camera's in close succession on the long straight, which is the only bit a normal person would want to break the limit on, in order say to safely pass a lorry.
By comparison, the long twisty stretch where all the bikers commit suicide has no camera's at-all, apart from at each end. Given that there is a much shorter straighter parallel route for most of that with a 60mph limit, and no camera's to tell them which way you've been, its not like its going to be possible to prosecute anyone until they are averaging a lot more than 50mph on the twisty bit. Not that they won't try of course.

As a parting shot, I've done a quick Google, and found that apparently the whole thing has cost a tidy two million quid. The country is going bust, and they are spending £2,000,000 in order to save the lives of half a dozen suicidal bikes... its not like they will get that back in fines any time soon either - they need to bag nearly 35,000 people at £60 a pop just to get the face value back in fines... doubt 35,000 people a year drive it. Given that each fine probably costs £30 to administer, that's actually 70,000 people to bag. Frankly, we will have all evolved into aeroplanes some time before they manage to book 70,000 people...

From the achive...

..or rather facebook - this photo has come to light, thanks to Rudd of OLLR... EOD09, and me looking very studiously at some mud.

Sunday, 21 March 2010


Had a good time, but seem to have wrecked the tow hitch on the big step halfway down Roych... thats yet another MOT job then...

A pleasant evening

Met up with a couple of other series owners last night for a pint (of coke each, as we were all driving). Good to see that the youth of today all drive IIA's.

Friday, 19 March 2010

To win a crossmember...

First find a brew, and the donor motor.

Then remove the rad, rad panel, and oil cooler (if fitted). Note: oil is always present in side the cooler before removal, and is always present down your sleve afterwards.

Finally, remove crossmember with an angle grinder.

Put tools and donor vehicle away, and go back to worrying about getting the new crossmember fitted in the right place...