Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Tyred out by Decision making yet ?

My new friends on the Land Rover Forums are helping me decipher what I have so I cam make the correct decisions in terms of what refurbishments to make

I was toying with the concept of an overdrive, but I've been recommended to look at simpler options 1st which included the possibility of a new intercooler and some bigger tyres

I posted some thinking on the various Land Rover Forums I have joined and they have asked for some information so here it is for us all to share

A useful resource is http://www.ashcroft-transmissions.co.uk/index.php?act=viewProd&productId=45

Transfer Box - my reading is 20D  = 1.667

Now there is also some debate on the gear box

I forgot to get the serial number of that whilst I was underneath, but here is a picture of the sticks which I am told is not the original position

And the layout of the shifter is that of an R380 5 Speed box, which replaced the LT77 fitted from approx 1994 to 2006

Oh and another clue is the wooden panel under the floor - doesn't look original to me and would have been OK for a trip to Africa, but I'm not sure about Wales's damp climate

I wonder what new ideas all of this new information will bring 

Friday, 25 March 2011

A Tale of Two Steves and Two Geologists

Today was a make or break day in many ways for our relationship with Katy

We had her being looked at by Steve "Wolfie" who is a 1st class mechanic and who allows my father-in-law to rebuild his vintage tractors and old cars at his farm

He's going to service Katy and it was important that he had an early look to say what he thought of her and the results were actually pretty positive

He find a few points that need urgent attention (the wheels and exhaust) and was generally pretty positive about much of the rest which was a really great increase in our peace of mind.

In a good look underneath no horrible holes or weak spots were spotted, but the rear section of the exhaust was confirmed to be at the end of it's useful life so we're going to have to find the right parts for the replacement as it's not something that appears in all the standard catalogues

He did comment on the tyres which was to become something of a theme today

Steve spotted a loose water hose and I spotted the loose fuel pipe that was hampering performance

Next spot was a trip to Rhian's work to show off Katy to her work team who hadn't seen her yet.

As it was a gloriously sunny day we stopped in the car park and called Adrian out to see her. He's a Land Rover Owner himself and regularly has to perform some form of maintenance either in the engine or bodywork. The grin on his face as he approached told us everything we wanted to know about his first impressions and he continued to be complimentary when he got to look at things more closely. He did note that the tyres were looking a bit worse for wear!

Soon Elaine arrived back from her lunchtime trip and we had a real fun 10 minutes showing off Katy to her as well. She so enjoyed looking around she started saying she wanted to get a new "old" car of her own

So off to Foundry 4x4 Limited in Tredegar as we'd found some new seats that we were fancying, but we were not keen on the colour showing on the Internet and decided that we wanted to see what they had for ourselves

After a brief chat in the office we were really luck to meet the owner Steve Edwards himself. Steve is clearly a real Land Rover fan and the 130 double axle cherry picker on the parking area was the visible evidence of the project he was planning. That project was a camper conversion that he planned to spend a lot of money on, more than our budget would allow

Steve's project vehicle - too much work for us

Steve asked if he could have a good look at our Katy and we were happy to show her off

We then spent a wonderful hour with Steve pointing out all the things he would improve and offering us a lot of excellent advice on some options we had been considering. Key amongst his advice was "change those tyres as soon as possible" OK that was the third time this was said today and as he said it about 15 times we've decided we really need to take this advice

We had a wonderful discussion about options for improving cruising speed and performance without sacrificing fuel efficiency and the idea of larger tyres and a better intercooler seem to be fairly straightforward and relatively cheap 1st options we are really considering

Steve has offered to send us a complete parts list for the work he suggests and given what we had in free advice we're very happy to be planning to do business with him in the future, however with so much rattling around in our minds we decided to hold fire on the seats and so we headed home

He was in the main very complimentary about Katy as a project and it was interesting to hear that he's seen her in the internet and had noted the statement that had said that the pictures were old ones and had wondered what the real state of her was. He's given us an approximate price for the work we are considering and it's not too far from our initial estimate. How much we decide to do now and how much will be spread across a year or two remains to be seen, but we'll plan to work through the urgent stuff and then on to the rest as we can and want to

So back home safely tonight, but no new seats yet, and loads to think about.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Out for an Adventure

It's been said to me that there are not enough pictures of a whole Land Rover on this blog, especially now she's fairly clean

So today as it was wonderfully sunny and I had some spare time we took a run out in the local lanes to find a suitably rural locality for some pictures. I did also have the excuse that I'd just filled the water tank up fort the 1st time and the best way to give it a good clean was to drive down some country lanes and shake everything up

So here is Katy on one of our local lanes where I often stop to take pictures of a local tree showing her passenger side off in the sunshine

A little later on we stopped in the wetlands to take a look at the drivers side

And finally we have a shot of Katy cowering in fear at a breakers yard.

She need not have worried though because I was trying to buy not sell. There was nothing to be had there though, but I did get a good tip on another local scrapyard that may well be a good source of Land Rover items

In my Element

I can tell that the Lights on Katy leave a little to be desired. I thought I had fixed one indicator bad connection, but it's back. So today I decided to take them apart and do the job properly

I think you can see some of the problem when you see the state of the bulbs and light covers

How any photons made their way past all of that is frankly quite a mystery, and when I say that the contacts for the bulbs were in a similar state you can get the picture

So today I got out a couple of bowls of hot soapy water, a sponge and some wire wool and have cleaned up all of the contacts on the indicators and sidelights front and back and hey presto the lights all work

A couple of the covers are cracked and water's going to get back in again unless I do better so let's hope it stays that way for a while and I get chance to hit an auto jumble or breakers yard for the bits.

Finding out some History

We always new that Katy  had been on her travels from the description and picture that there was on eBay

If you look in the front window there is some more evidence

This is the sticker. From what I can decipher (not reading Arabic) Harasta is the name of a region of Damascus about 6km north of the  City centre and there is a Bus station, and more interestingly a Military Hospital

This does make me wonder about her previous life a little more

From another scrap of paper in the back we ascertained a name and address from someone who had owned Katy and we were able to use the Internet to find Toby who bought he from the family of the lady who had taken her to Africa and had unfortunately passed away since

Toby told us that there was a folder full of paper work relating to the trip so I made contact back with the person I bought her from and Toby sold her to and he's agreed to look for it and send it on

Toby also told us that he's had the alarm and stereo fitted which explains why there is a state of the art stereo in a 1988 land Rover

If anyone reading this understands Arabic and can decipher the text on the sticker I would greatly appreciate if you can add a comment to this blog to tell me what it means

I've got a translation now see the comments below - thanks to those who replied


Sunday, 13 March 2011

More Preperation Jobs and Discoveries

We're definitely getting close to being ready for adventures

One thing that was said very early on when we got Katy was the bunk beds needed to be converted into a double so the good lady would be able to give me a dig in the ribs when I snore

Luckily with the removal of a single bolt and the addition of 2 brackets this was able to be achieved using the bed that was already fitted. The left over wood from last weekend has been turned into a nice new table which needs varnishing.

Wa also managed to get the electric hookup working this weeked with the purchase of a 13amp to commando adaptor from the local DIY shed

We got the gas bottle properly fitted back  in and connected, found the internal gas taps and tested the cooker which works just fine. We also got the electric hoolup working and tested the waterpump and taps so we can move on to the water tank which needs a good clean before we're happy to even wash in the water)

And lastly as part of another good session of cleaning we found yet another cubbyhole (there are so many in a Landrover!) which had the wheelbrace I thought I may have to buy and a heavy duty bottlejack and a few more spares

It's still scary owning a Landrover when we've never had one before but it's getting less scary every time we acheive something

Monday, 7 March 2011

A Bit of Nifty Woodwork

The old rotten boards holding the gas bottles in place are now replaced with shiny new 18mm Waterproof ply which I will paint for added protection as soon as I get a moment.

A nifty side benefit is that the left over piece exactly fits the broken table which saved me another job

Now all I need to do is polish and varnish the table piece and get the gas bottle in place and we'll be ready for dinner

Repair or Replace?

Now I can see some of the problems that were hidden under the slime

The 1st one is an easy decision I'm going to need to replace the plywood at the bottom of the Gas bottle store on the back as it's rotten. This should be a straightforward job of cutting a new piece of ply and fitting it. I will "upgrade" from the current piece by actually painting it so it doesn't get wet and rot away again

The second is a little harder to decide. The door pillars on the front are obviously rusted as you can see in the picture below

I need to decide whether to patch with filler, get panel welded in or have a section cut-out and replaced. It's not straightforward in my mind as I have no welder so I would need to pay for someone to do the job.

I will find out whether this is structural and whether a replacement section is easy to fit so I will ask around before making a final decision

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Cleaning up & Learning about Katy

We're starting to clean up our new camper van and finding out some information about her

On the passenger side body you can see this plate which has unfortunately been defaced ( probably deliberately) and is covered in green slime around the edges

I posted a question about this on the Land Rover Addict forum and the response was absolutely superb and now I know that Katy is a 1987 Marshalls (MCE) bodied ambulance.

Manfr.        M.C.E. is  Marshall of Cambridge Engineering
Serial No.  The actual production number of the vehicles bodywork [non land rover]
REG No.   The parent vehicle military registration number
                   M.O.D use a completely separate reg system from DVLA.
Con No.     The contract the vehicle/body was built for.

It's taken about 3 hours with a pressure washer to clean her up and strip all of that awful farmyard algae off the bodywork and accessories. It was quite fun up on the roof standing there looking over the hedge at the passers by wondering what I was doing

So now the drive is a right mess and the land rover is clean. That doesn't sound right, but is a good step forwards as it was actually unpleasant to do jobs on Katy with all the slime.

Other good news is that some of the camper electrics are working as I've managed to turn a few things on

I need to get the interior sorted ASAP so we can go play together

Friday, 4 March 2011

First job and ... I Need Bigger Spanners

When I said I was getting a Land Rover to Malcolm Stewart, editor of Walking Wales Magazine and an old caving friend his first words after listening to the description were the 300 TDi engine is the best that Land Rover ever made, his second were "You'll need bigger spanners" if you're planning to work on it yourself

Now this already proved to be somewhat true when I got a new battery fitted at Halfords ( you can read about that and the reason I didn't do it myself here ), but I thought that was just because they only seemed to have a toolkit of 2 spanners

So now I get to doing a couple of jobs myself, and guess what I Need Bigger Spanners well not actually yet, but I can see the problem.

I have to store the spare wheels on the roof and the bolt downs were totally rusted and I needed my largest but one spanner and a lot of WD40 in order to remove them and I can see that most of the other bolts on the car are bigger than these

First new spend and an unexpected treasure

Having had a cuppa when er arrived at home we decided that with a probably poor battery we were going to have trouble getting Katy moving again and calling out the breakdown twice on the same fault would be silly

So we headed off to Halfords for a quick battery check and possible replacement

We DID have fun ..

At 1st request - he bashes the registration into a computer to determine what the right part is.. "Computer says NO" so they will need to actually look at her

1st young lad set to check the battery arrived before I did and confidently opened the bonnet. The look on his face was priceless. No sign of a battery. So not many Land Rover Owners in Halfords then

I open the door and lift the passenger seat watching his mouth open as he sees not one, but 2 batteries. At this point I climb into the drivers seat as the rain comes on hard...

He makes a quick check and we're at less than 50% capacity after about 5 hours of driving so decide it's better to replace it

"Do you want us to do the job". I take one look at the rain and gladly take them up on the offer, but he's going off-shift so calls on another colleague who finds a battery the same size and comes out to fit it.. Ah - he needs a bigger spanner

By the time he's completed it he did look QUITE grumpy

Whilst all of this is going on Rhian is looking in all the cupboards and suddenly discovers a real treasure trove as one of the lockers is full of spares

A headlight, 2 full bulb packs, 2 pairs of brake pads, Battery terminals, electrical connections, timing belt, fan belt, 2 oil filters, 2 fuel filters, 2 air filters and much more

We have our whole first service for free !

So battery finally in place and we're ready for off again with a renewed optimism

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Oh What a Day

From Preston, onto the M6 and South we headed, nothing to write home about in the first section of the run other than I had the heater working this time and it was wonderful to have some warmth instead of my teeth chattering it was the fuel pump and injectors.

The fan works well and after about 15 miles I had to start divesting the layers of warm clothes I had put on to start the day.

Knutsford soon came into view and off I pulled with a little anticipation of whether Katy was going to start again or whether GEM and I were going to become close friends today.

Soon we had £100 of diesel on-board and were ready to go. One turn of the key and SHE STARTED!

Rhian was just leaving ahead of me as we'd agreed there was no need to run in convoy any longer as things seemed to be going well and I my confidence was increasing. We agreed to meet at Stafford for lunch as we''d not got off as fast as we'd hoped this morning (see http://landroverkaty.blogspot.com/2011/02/oh-what-morning.html if you want the full story)

60-65 seems the optimum cruising speed so Rhian spend off to our next stop. Arriving there I parked up in the caravan and camper section and could see Rhian reading her Kindle in our Suzuki in the car section and wandered over... Knock Knock. "Oh You're here already. I wasn't expecting you so soon"

Lunch was soon consumed and we headed off again. This time agreeing to meet back at home in Cardiff

So we set-off again and I made my way back out in to the traffic.

It should be noted that I was not the slowest thing on the road as had been my worry. I had in fact been overtaking quite a few trucks and even quite a few cars, and I now know how truck drivers feel when someone slows them down as Katy doesn't have the acceleration of the Grand Vitara I'm used to driving

As I came into Wales there is a steep hill down into Monmouth and with a bit of lining up and preparation we reached a massive 70 MPH ! The sound from the engine and the wobble in thesteering was a bit too worrying so settling down to reasonable we headed home for a well deserved cuppa and a 1st attempt at reversing a large Land rover onto the Drive.

Oh What a Day indeed, but it wasn't over yet !
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