Saturday, 8 December 2012

Boing (Part 4)

The final frontier ... not space, but the Front Anti Roll Bar

Katy didn't have a Front bar so a whole fixing kit was needed

The first part was fairly easy - undo the Drop link and bolt on the bracket. only one problem the bolt at the front would have had the nut just half on so we decided that a new shiny longer one would be better.

Then as we would be needing the spacing to decide where to fix things the next job was to assemble the bar and fittings loosely. This is the new 25mm bar in all it's glory, and the last time it will be clean

The bar was held in place with the front drop links and a bottle jack as you can see. The kit came with rivet nuts (more about that later which needed holes so we set off and drilled them

Unfortunately we discovered that the rivet nuts were just not going to work on Katy's Chassis.

The chassis has been plated with extra re-enforcing along it's full length as part of the strengthening to create a 127 chassis. It made the section too thick, and probably meant we could have actually tapped it and screwed straight into it, but we'd already drilled larger holes than would have been wanted for that so

After consideration of whether to go and try and find some even larger rivet nuts and tools (and the cost and delay) it was decided that the best option was to weld these brackets in place as they were never going to be moved anyway

Luckily Steve is a wizard with a welder so all I had to do was sit back and take pictures of the nice pretty sparks whilst waiting with a water spray just in case (Katy leaks oil and we were not going to be able to clean it all up)

So here it is in place, just a job of going over all the nuts and bolts and tightening them all up

So hopefully that's the end of the suspension upgrades. The improvement has been significant already and I feel that it's been really worthwhile.

The cost of the whole exercise has been about £1200 as. I've gone for high end components that should really stand the test of time. I've learned a lot I'm a lot more confident in being able to work on the suspension should we have any trouble again and most importantly the driving experience is already significantly improved so I can enjoy the view out of the window rather than worrying about every bump in the road

Saturday, 24 November 2012


It was a 5:45 am start and Katy wasn't invited I'm afraid because we were going to be travelling at high speed and I needed to seat 4 people

The destination Lode Lane, home of Land Rover and the manufacturing site of the still iconic Defender. A grey morning, bur we were soon feeling welcome as they had put up a sign to say so.

Our guides for the day were Graham and Sam. He'#s got about 46 year in with Land Rover, She's not 46 yet, but both were superb hosts and we had a lot of fun with them and we all thanked them both for the time they spent making sure we had a fantastic time

The spanners and hammers putting the Defenders together were a wonderful counterpoint to the new multimillion pound presses that create a whole half of a Range Rover in about 45 seconds.

Unfortunately they don't allow photography inside the plant, but I would love to do so if I could ever get the chance because the sparks coming off the new robots were wonderful

back in the shop we had another treat. Roger Crathorn Author of 'Born in Lode Lane' was passing through the shop and he was happy to sign a few books for the team

 And pose for a picture with the team...

Back outside we shared some sunshine before heading off to a local hostelry for lunch

 There we met up with some of the guys from the Defender line, shift supervisors and managers who were as passionate about the car we we all are. It was fantastic to chat with them and exchange information and opinions on how great the car is. They were a great advert for the marque (as was the whole day) and we had a wonderful day out 

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Boing (Part 3)

In prior posts I wrote about my attempts to stop the Body Roll when cornering and driving on uneven roads
I changed the rear springs and shocks, and I changed the front ones too, and I replaced the Anti Roll bar linkages with new stiffer ones and polybushes

Everything made a little difference, bu nothing made enough of a difference so I have continued with the improvements so today I fitted a new28mm thick Anti Roll Bar with Polybushes from Extreme 4x4 to the back of Katy

Here is how it looked when I stated (there is a very similar shot of after the upgrade later on in the post)

The 1st job as usual was to get the old one off which was fairly straightforward as I'd been oiling all the nuts and bolts in preparation for this job and everything came off easily

As you can see

Next there was some adjustment as the new bars are narrower across than the old ones so the linkages needed turning around to fit.  As I had fitted new ones recently with new polybushes these were not being replaced. it was a simple case of knocking them out...

And turning them around ...

Soon the new bars were in place. If you compare this to the one at the top you can see it;s much thicker  as it has a larger hole in the bushes) as well as the different bar profile

And everything looked good for a test drive

Which went very well and I really do think these have made a lot of difference (maybe I should have stated here, but I'm happy with all the upgrades)

I have a new bar for the front which has not had one before. Whilst the difference has been significant I will still fit the front bar because I am told that it improves steering responsiveness and I still think everything that can help should be done

Frankly I'm surprised that Land Rover ever let these go out with just the standard Anti Roll Bar given the size and weight

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Mud Flaps

You would think my 100th post on this blog would be something profound.... it's not going to be

Nothing exciting you may think, but quite an excercise in itself, and another job completed so a bit more self satisfaction

As I commented in the post Nothing-is-simple the new rear flaps I had bought were not going to fit. After doing some checking the easiest thing was to buy some new front ones and cut them to shape.

However also in the last post you can see the state of the fasteners that held the old ones onto the brackets. These were not going to come off without serious effort and I ended up brealing them off with a long spanner cutting them off with a cutting disc on a battery operated Dremmel hand tool

To complete this work 22 nuts & bolts or rivets had to be addressed. 20 of them ended up being cut off.

I now have 22 nice new copper greased and undersealed ones holding the new flaps in place, so in 25 years tie shen this set wear out it should be easier for someone to replace them. maybe that someone will be me. As that point Katy will be my current age (50) and I'll be wat the 2 of us add up to now (75) so I'll need the jobs to be easier

At least there is less mud hitting the underside all the time now

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Katy's History again

I've recently had some information regarding Katy's history that I would love to look into further and try and get to the bottom of

As is stated on the About Katy page there is a question regarding whether she served in the former Yugoslavia. This has been commented upon by Clive who left a useful comment on the Anti Roll Bar Linkages page which put that possibility at even more question as he did not remember 127 ambulnaces when he seved

Purely by chance this weekend I was reading a book called Land Rover 90, 110 & Defender 83-94 Gold Portfolio by R M Clarke from Brooklands publishers which included a picture of a 127 in full UN paint stating it was taken in Bosnia by Carl Schulze who I find mentioned on the Internet as a photojournalist  .

 The print is not sharp, but I think the registration is 63-KG-63 whereas Katy is 63-KG-65, but it looks like  real confirmation that 127 ambulances were out there, and if one was... maybe another was

I've sent the publisher an email but if you know any contact details for the Author or for Carl himself I would be really pleased if you could pass on this post in the hope he may get in contact with me

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Boing (Part 2)

Back in July I spent a day fitting new rear suspension  to Katy. Now was the opportunity for finishing of the job

I had done quite a bit of preparation for this one by loosening off all the nuts and bolts and identifying the things you needed to move in order to get at other things

Steve's workshop was full of a series 2 chassis that he's rebuilding for a client so I had planned to work outside. It was a cold day so Steve suggested I work in front of the hay barn which was out of the prevailing wind and sheltered if it came on to rain. It felt right... a natural home for a Land Rover

First the wheels came off for access and Katy was resting on the new axle stands I bought recently. This allowed the wheels to drop and take the compression out of the springs, but you need to be careful not to allow them to drop too far or the brake lines will be damaged, so I kept Steve's trolley jack under the axle for control and adjustment.

It was then then a relatively simple job of unscrewing the bottom of the shock absorber (damper) which needs the shock to be held in place or it just turns. A flexible strap is a great tool for this and the job was quickly done.

Then the suspension turret nuts came off using ratchet spanners and a socket as shown below

Removing the access panels in the engine bay to get at the top of the shock absorbers. In Katy  this meant moving the coolant expansion tank first so I could get at one of them. The Drivers side came off easily, but the passenger side was well rusted on and it needed 2 of us (me holding on the flexible strap and Phil pulling on a long socket bar for leverage, but within a few minutes the old shocks and springs could be lifted out

Before rebuild began I took the opportunity to clean a few things up and put some liquid grease on the brake pipes and into the corners behind the springs that had not been east to get to when I was doing the waxolyling

The new springs and shocks simply slotted into place and I had a spot of help from Dan who dropped by and showed me something I hadn't spotted (that the shock have a pair of flat sides at the top of the screw thread which you can put a set of mole grips or in this case a 9 mm spanner on. If you look back to the top of this post you can see them clearly, and realise what a dope I felt

Compressing the springs by lifting the axle up on the trolley jack allowed the bottom bush and nut to be put on and the job was done..

Wheels back on and time for a test drive ...

Wednesday, 24 October 2012


Not Katy before you worry... 

Unfortunately right outside our house tonight we had a bump (a lady passed out at the wheel (medical not alcohol  and hit someone hear on. Luckily she had slowed to about 20 MPH when it happened and the other car was slowing hard as well so no-one badly hurt and once the paramedics had done their job every walked away.

The paramedic who turned up did so very quickly in a very fast looking Landy ...

With a lot of expensive kit in the back

 Tidy snorkel

And lights everywhere

This was a very well equipped vehicle and shows the preparedness of the services who use them.

It is good to see a Landy doing a good job and I have to say that I saw excellent work by the paramedics who kindly said I could take pictures of their car

Mind you I had and won a good argument with the PC who took exception to that - it's a pity that more police do not know the actual law

All ended well which is even nicer - apparently it was a medical reason that caused the young lady to lose consciousness at the wheel, not alcohol. She'll be prevented from driving until she's got medication sorted out, but it could have been a lot worse

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Nothing is simple

It's been quiet on the Katy Front for a while as work has got in the way again

I finally found some time to start again. I was going to replace the front springs and shocks, but in the end I thought I'd take on a few small jobs as I only had a small amount of time

The 1st job was to look into a rattle on the front - it tuned out to be the front brake disc mud shield where s small bracket had broken off. These are expensive for a small bit of metal so I'll see how I can repair it and give pictures then

Whilst the wheels were off I noted a patch of rust that needed dealing with on the bulkhead. It started small so I started with the rust killer 

But as I worked on it I kept finding more ... 

In the end there was about 6 inches that had to be rust killed and then for now it's been It isn't structural at that point

Next was to fit the nice new mudflaps which once I got the old ones off turned out not to be the right shape as you can see 

Also, the old ones look riveted to the frame which is a pain

Even if I cut them they are not going to fit .. 

So I'm posting here so I can link to these pictures and ask for help on the forums before buying more

Not a successful session

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Tredegar Show 2012

Last year at the Tredegar Vintage Car show I met a bunch of nutters really nice people called the South Wales Land Rover Club

I joined them and have stated having adventures with them

I went on Saturday night to set-up the stand with some of the guys and when they all went home, Katy and I stayed on our own on the field. I mean when The wife is away and you have a campervan, some bottles of beer and a sleeping bag what's the point in going home

So this morming we awoke to a dewy and empty field

It wasn't too long before the gan arrived and in very short order we had the stand looking very professional. Katy seems to have taken a liking to holding up flagpoles as you can see from this picture

One of the Highlights of this years show was definitely the Toy Landrover that Dave has made. It's not complete, but is already in a driveable state as you can see from the gang having a ride on it below

We also had our tame mechanic working on the broken Landy which was the centrepiece of the stand. His workrate isn't that good as he was under there all day and didn't manage to fix it. He's quite a quiet chap though and not demanding of cups of tea like most mechanics I've met

All in all the weather was OK and we had a great time, and from the number of people who stoped to ask questions I think Katy is becoming a firm favourite at these shows.

She's still the only Marshalls Ambulnace I've seen at any of them so quite a rare sight. I'm trying to find how many were made and if I do find it out I'll add it to the story

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Speech House 2012

Having put the new wheels on it was time for a test drive, and what better to do than got to a classic car show

I had found that there was a show at Speech House in the Forest of Dean today so headed up there this morning for a look around

As usual at these things there was a good show of Land Rovers, mostly belonging to the Forest of Dean Land Rover Group including this tidy piece of Limestone

However probably the star of the whole show was this superbly restored Series 1 which has been done out as an RAC van. Speaking to the owner he'd seen a few AA Vans, but never an RAC one so he decided to do it in that style. 

It was very busy in the car park but I couldn't resist getting a picture of Katy with her new wheels on in a Lay-by in the Forest. She was driving well - every little improvement seems to be helping. I'm not sure about the black wheels they may yet get painted cream like the rest of her

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