Saturday, 30 April 2011

Will the woodwork ever finish

The amount of room overhead in the cab is immense

The amount of bedding that wife like to take with us is similar - feather duvet, 3 feather pillows and she may be happy

So I've built what amounts to a right across bedding rack out of 18mm plywood strips

Happy Wife = Happy me

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Serial Killer

I've been in discussion with the various helpful people on Land Rover Owner and Land Rover Addict and the question keeps coming up as to what gearbox I have

So I decided to get the camera out and record it properly - it's not that clear, but there is definitely a J at the end

Looking at various websites I am told that a J suffix is a Series 1 Discovery R380 Gearbox. This fits with the Discovery type gearsticks and the description of having a discovery engine so I think we've tracked it down for sure.

Also playing with Ashcrofts' transmission ratio calculator with this information and the transfer box information I posted earlier I am now even more convinced that a move to a 1:1.4 defender transfer box is sensible and it could even be worth trying a Discovery Transfer box with a 1:1.2 ratio, but that may be too much as Katy (like me) is no lightweight

Friday, 22 April 2011

Scrubbing up Nicely

I brought Katy back from Steve's today

It's just 2 miles between his workshops and our drive and downhill almost all the way so I felt it was worth the risk especially as Phil (my father in law) was available with his tractor at the ready if needed

Back on the drive I can at least work on the cosmetic side of the Katy improvement project so this afternoon I got back into cleaning mode and have literally scrubbed the nooks and crannies with a toothbrush... Yes I am cleaning a Land Rover with a Toothbrush !

I also took on the filthy paintwork with scouring pads and kitchen worktop cream. Now I don't recommend this on anyone's nice shiny new paintwork, but on a flat matt and frankly flaky surface  it's not as bad as it sounds.

It's amazing what getting rid of the last vestiges of the grime is doing to the way she looks

More to do as I only managed about half the work today

Thursday, 21 April 2011

I May Need to Have More Money Than Sense

It looks like I may have a rather significant transmission problem

I've had trouble getting 1st and especially second and it seems to lock and go whilst reversing, all this on top of a rather nasty metallic scraping noise on our last trip which resulted in the breaksown recovery I wrote about.

Steve, my father in laws mate and mechanic supreme, thinks it’s a gearbox issue and I don’t know enough to disagree so I’m considering getting a complete unit including new transfer box etc.

This is part because Katy still has has the 1:1.6 transfer box that she woul dhave been fitted with as a military vehicle and I feel over geared and running out of revs very soon when driving.  So I was thinking of a 1:1.4 unit in the longer term anyway (I’d rather have a little more quiet and fuel efficiency even if a little less acceleration)

I had worries about the transmission, but had hoped to have fun this year before spending out on something in the winter when I could take it off the road and do some work myself, but if I have to do it now I will want a guaranteed unit as I want to keep her for a while


I have concluded therefore that Katy needs an owner with more money than sense and that seems to be me.

This should not be interpreted as me being especially rich, but lacking in the common sense that had her last 2 owners decide that there was a bit too much money needing being spent on her and therefore moving her on through that virtual graveyard for old cars that is eBay

Sigh !

I want to have fun... I was intending to have it over the last week and the next 2 bank holidays camping somewhere in the greenery that is our beautiful spring sunshine, but it looks like it's more woodwork whilst I learn enough to decide what to purchase and from where, and I will probably have this sorted just about the time spring turns into summer and the monsoon season arrives

The good thing is Land Rover suppliers seem very clued up in asking you the right questions and providing a lot of information on serial numbers etc so you can get it right

Friday, 15 April 2011

A Mystery of Miles

We got back from our trip today and there was a nice present on the doorstep

Toby one of the prior owners had commented that there was a folder of information that went with Katy (was that Florence as another name in the paperwork?)

John the guy we bought from said when I contacted him that he thought he still had it, but it would take some finding, but we got an email in the week and now here is all that wonderful history THANKS John!

There is lots to read and think about, but the 1st item is the mileage

A number of people have said she looks good underneath for her miles and we now have some facts to look at.

According the the MOT certificates in 2008 she had done 90k and in 2009 she had done 142k that's 52k in one year a figure I almost consider impossible other than for a commercial travelling vehicle which Katy is clearly not

I may never get to the bottom of this mystery

Another key document in the pack is the disposal (Cast) form from the military, it's interesting on this that she's listed as a non runner, but complete. I had presumed that the move to a TDi engine was for running cost, but it may have been for more practical reasons that the V8 was not working

Disaster Strikes

This was meant to be the first post in a series regarding the adventures of Katy on her holidays to Yorkshire to meet the family (mine not hers).

Sunday afternoon. the weather was glorious, and the run from Cardiff was going well and we had both commented on how well she seemed to be running after Steve Walford's magic hands had given her a full and proper service. We seemed to be retaining speed a little better probably helped with a clean arifilter last changed over 55,000 miles ago according to the note on it, and making clean overtaking maneuvers as we passed a number of lorries on the motorway.

Stability seemed good and the road noise seemed a little less with the new tyres with a slightly more road friendly pattern

However as we pulled of into Hopwood Park services on the M42 and came down from 5th to second gear there was a very loud squealing noise from beneath. A quick drive down into the lorry park as that was the 1st available parking and we seemed to be able to select gears and drive OK, but whenever we pulled off there was this massive squeal.

Engine is running fine and brakes work so a bit more back and fore in the gears we can go in any direction, but still the massive noise. Seems to be transmission then?

I'm still too new to Land Rovers to be sure so it's a phone call to GEM who duly dispatch an engineer to take a look.

He listens to the engine run and agrees it's sounding OK, then we move and he hears the racket and decides he needs to take a look at the differentials and make sure they have oil. I told him that they were serviced the Friday before so it was no surprise to me that he got an oily finger full of nice clean stuff when he dipped his finger in to check. Up off the deck came the wheels and they were freewheeled easily with no noise front or back so it's between the engine and the diffs then.

"Sorry mate ... we don't do transmission at the roadside so where do you want taking?"

With great regret we decided that the only sensible way to go was back home as they would not recover us again if we were not able to get it fixed up north. A truck was requested "No a bigger one!" was his comment to the dispatcher and a colleague of his duly turned up in about another hour

Up onto the back of the truck by means of a winch (how undignified!) and we were off. Limited to 56  miles an hour it was a long way home !

All my plans for nice evenings sitting in campsites cleaning bits I missed with the jet wash undone and more importantly, we're booked in at the Pencoed Classic Car Show on the 6th of May ... can we get her fixed in time ?

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Some Proper Care and attention

Today Katy went off to have her first service since we've had her

Steve Walford friend of the family and Agricultural engineer tends to work on things even bigger than Katy, but is fully familiar with Land Rovers and a really nice guy as well

So she now has loads of fresh oil and grease, new air, fuel and oil filter New timing belt and a really good all over check. Steve decided the fan belt still looks OK so he left that one for the next service

Steve has found a few more issues that need some more attention so we plan to be back again across the summer for a good steam clean underneath and to change out some of the rubber bushes and gaiters that are showing some initial signs of wear.

Some more history starts to unfold. People have commented that she has a high mileage for an ex military vehicle and is very clean underneath for her age. Now it's starting to be cleat that she's done much of her travelling in the last few years, and probably much of that in dryer climates.

From the information on the old filter and the figure we have now of 143000 miles it looks like 58,000 miles in 7 years, and we know that there were no miles added in the last year. The timing belt had the same date on it so it was very due for a change

So now we know that the engine is breathing properly and is properly lubricated it's time for a few adventures...

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Damascus Steel

In a prior post about the history of Katy I put on-line a picture of a sticker that is in the windscreen with Arabic writing on it, and mused about what it meant

Now, thanks to 2 colleagues ( Thanks John and Nafez ) I know what it means. So here it is: -

Services Center

Land Rover & Range Rover Defender Discovery 4 X 4 – 90 – 110

Zohair Kordi

Damascus- Harasta -High way Halab Next to Police Traffic station
Tel: 5310313 ' Tel/ Fax: 5317235.

So now I know that, I wonder what maintenance was done or whether it was just a social visit and I also wonder whether we will pass back through that area again. I would like to think that would be possible one day

For those that don't know about it Damascus Steel is one of the most sought after old steel forms. It was reputed to be almost magical in it's sharpness and flexibility, somethign that medoern researchers have questioned, bit it still looks superb even in the modern forms that just mimic it

Saturday, 2 April 2011

New Boots and Panties

Not that Katy wears panties, but with the droplets of oil on the drive I'm beginning to think that continence pants may be needed soon.

The good news on that aspect that is having had a few looks underneath I really do think that is just coming out of an odd bolt on the sump and my mechanic friend recons he can sort that really easily when he services her, hopefully next week

The new boots are a set of General Grabber AT's 235 / 85 / R16 size. These are a fraction wider in the diameter of the wheel than the ones taken off, but then those were worn so I think they will end up about the same. The bigger difference is in the tyre width across the tread. It's a bit over an inch wider to we now have quite a bit more rubber on the road which will definitely increase my confidence in the wet, and they look an awful lot better.
I had these fitted at a local tyre place and forgot to take my camera hence the low quality picture below taken on my phone. I'm sure I will find many an opportunity to take her picture showing off the shiny new white lettered tyres

According to the guys at the tyre place the old ones had a date code indicating they were from 2002 which is well past the recommended use date for tyres.

I've also managed to get the bolts on the wheel brackets on the roof properly freed up so the spare is nice and bolted on

For those of a young (or very old) disposition, the title of this blog post is from the Ian Dury album of the same name. He had a penchant for purchasing good second hand clothes, but always insisted that 2 items had to be brand new...
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