The Beginning

Living with a habit.

OK, well where to start? Firstly I suppose should come some form of disclaimer… I knew and still know practically nothing about Land Rovers, or indeed anything mechanical in nature. In fact it would be somewhat accurate to say at I previously viewed everything as a “hardware” problem and left things at that. However most of that changed when a little over two years ago I purchased “PetroVich” who, for those who do not know is a Series2a built somewhere around 1968 and burns petrol at an incredible rate of knots.

PetroVich had a dubious military background and, prior to me purchasing it was owned by several people, out of the later two one is at least vaguely known as a “friend” or at least someone I have met the person prior to him is a “friend” of his, so I guess I am/was a friend, or at least have potentially met the previous two owners. At least I know who to blame.

Since this is a history of the vehicle I suppose we should start at the beginning… The day I bought it…

Year Zero
From a humble beginning I purchased him just after Christmas in what could only be described as a rather uneventful manner (if you discount meeting Sarah Lancashire?) and Frank and Daddy got him home for me one weekend whilst I was working (I had to pay for him somehow) anyway, a few weeks passed (I was never very quick when it came to these sorts of things) and eventually we drew up a list of things that were “wrong” . Had I known quite how extensive this list was, perhaps I wouldn’t have bothered, but still we live and learn. The list is quoted in a somewhat abridged fashion below…

  • Engine Doesn’t Work (apparently)
  • Clutch is seized
  • Springs need “looking” at
  • Brake Lights don’t work.
  • Foot wells both sides are rotten
  • Wing mirrors need fastening to the wing, or something.

Well, I might as well start at the top and work my way down… The first thing we were aware of was that the engine didn’t run. We were aware of this when we bought him, and indeed acquired a Daihatsu F50 with a 2.5 Diesel into the bargain, with the intention of replacing the one engine (petrol) with the other… We were told that the original engine was seized as a result of it not having had any oil in it for donkey’s years. However upon playing (like one does) we were pleasantly surprised to find that seized or not the engine would actually start, and with the addition of oil didn’t sound too bad. The omnipotent Bill Jones was then called into play, which stated that he believed that there was potentially nothing wrong with it that a new set of shells wouldn’t cure…

“Hmmm” thinks I. Whilst a 2.5 Diesel has some advantages over the 2.25 Petrol, the £300 price tag on the conversion kit and the hassle of moving engine mounts etc were putting a dampener on my enthusiasm for the conversion. Several other arguments were also at the forefront of my mind… Most notably was the fact that, being mechanically inept I was undoubtedly going to end up asking for a “doudley stick for a Land Rover Series Two” at some point, and not knowing whether said doudley stick originally belonged to it, or the Daihatsu could lead to some confusion (not to mention referring to it as a doudley stick, however you know what these mechanics are like they use stupid words like “flange” and how the hell am I supposed to know what the smeg it is I want?)

Another Argument is a simple one, Time. I was soon moving down to Essex for a few months working, then back to Manchester and the degree, so I wouldn’t have time to do “that” much to it. So it was decided that we would (I say we… Credit where credit is due… this means Frank, Dad and Bill) would rip the engine out, replace the shells and clutch plate for good measure (whilst I would prat around at work)

A little while later and everything was done (ish) The engine was fixed, but was also dangling from an engine hoist some 3 feet above where I would have liked to have kept it. Time was moving on, and it wasn’t running yet… we hadn’t looked at the rest of the jobs :( Anyway, suffice is to say that I had, by this time worked myself into a state, and decided in the ever so over dramatic way that I usually do, that “it’ll never run again”…

Enter Colin. Colin is my brother, and whilst many people say many things about him, his heart is in the right place and when push comes to shove he always does the right thing. Anyhow, whether it was due to my moaning, or some strange form of affection that older brothers show to their younger siblings he declared one Saturday morning “OK, lets get it fixed”… “mumble mumble” says I, and several other things along the line of “why bother, it’s never going to work”… Colin (who deserves several medals for putting up with me in this mood) manages to persuade me that, we’ll have it done in no time, and more impressively manages to engage my enthusiasm.

OK, so lets take a step back and take a look at the scenario. The engine has been removed and new shells / clutch fitted… This has taken three weeks. It’s ten o’clock Saturday morning and I’m not entirely convinced that putting it back in isn’t going to take at least another three weeks.

By Twelve O’clock, the engine is in, connected all back up and running… By five past we realise that the clutch still doesn’t work… So we remove the engine again.

By One O’clock Dad returns from wherever he was and sees us prating about with the engine… “You’ve done well,” he says as he sees the engine hanging within a foot of where it is supposed to be… “It’s on its way back out” says we, the clutch won’t engage”, “?!?!?!” says father, somewhat bemused at the fact that since he left at 9.30 we’d put it in and worked out it was broken…

Well, up comes the engine and we work out what the problem is… the idea behind adjusting the clutch is so that when depressed the clutch is disengaged. The idea behind mine, would seem to be that the purpose of the clutch when engaged was to turn menacingly 1/2 an inch away from the drive plate… “Ahh well” says we… adjusts it properly and replaces engine.

It’s now Four O’clock and the engine is back in purring as well as a 2.25 petrol ever does. Colin decides he’s done his part and goes to meet his girlfriend (who was expecting him at lunch ;)

The next job on our list is to replace the Foot-wells… This takes me a weekend, and is pretty much what you’d expect. Several hours of fun with the angle grinder and medium sized tappy stick (hammer) to make the nice new replacements fit into the holes that the old ones were supposedly filling. Father is being helpful and making sure that the new clutch master / slave cylinders are behaving themselves as well as “looking” at the springs.

Next Job was therefore doing something more impressive with the springs than looking at them. Colin was working somewhere “dawn sarf” and for a reason I cannot remember I had gone with him. Since we are passing Birmingham on the way back, Colin decides to call in at Craddocks and pick up a set of springs, which he lets me (as their owner) carry to the car ;) These are to be fitted that weekend…

Fitting the springs was entertaining, if only because it requires taking the old ones off. Now as mentioned before, we are aware of there being at least two previous owners other than the army. One of which believes that everything should be attached by Alan-key bolts, the other welds. Whilst this may seem superfluous at this point it will explain a LOT later on.

Removing the springs is apparently an easy job. Detach the U bolts (so called as they are u-shaped, although since they go the other way up they actually resemble an “oversized lower case n” however I suspect this would look silly in a manual so it makes sense to get people to stand upside down and call them U bolts) and then detach one end of the spring… Allow the blooming heavy thing to go “clang” on the floor, and then take the other end out.

Thirty minutes later, I’m still on the first nut of the first U-bolt. It would have been easier if what I was trying to unbolt weren’t a lump of rust perhaps, but I was getting nowhere…. “Let me have a go,” says Colin… ten minutes later “let Neil have a go” says Colin… Neil is not the most light handed one of our friends, being used to shearing wheel nuts off trucks, so when he says “that’s on tight” we suspect there may be a different problem.

Now I’m sure anyone reading this (who has gotten this far) will be aware that U-Bolts are not something you want to fall off. The previous owner seemed to agree with this and had used a locking washer to make sure this didn’t happen. Then he’d used a Nylock just to make doubly sure. Then he’d used another two of them just in case. And, as a final measure, just to make absolutely sure, he’d welded all three nuts together, as well as to the bolt, the backing plate and the spring. Those U-Bolts weren’t going ANYWHERE!

So… Two hours with a hacksaw and an angle grinder later our progress is this… We have three springs swapped, Craddocks have accidentally given us the wrong fourth spring, and we’ve invented five new swear words as well as crossed a certain welder owning previous owner off our collective Christmas card lists…

Craddocks send a fellow in a big van up to swap the spring for the right one and are genuinely apologetic, so we think “fair enough” and put them back on our Christmas card list, whilst putting another line through “Mr Weldy” just to make sure….

Now come the re-wiring… As it happens the motor used to be a dynamo fitted positive earth beastie and being an electronics engineer by trade I wasn’t too keen. It had been converted to an alternator, however all the wiring was pants, and we decided to scrap the lot and replace it for something nice and shiny. We then decided to put it on the back of the trailer and give it to a garage in Bacup to do some of it. Whilst there are no particular worries in such a job, neither me nor Colin were wanting to tackle the “heavy” stuff, so we gave it to someone who had done it before and then fixed all the other junk. Like lights and so on….

TADA! It passed its MOT

Jobs done to date.

  • New Shells
  • New Clutch plate
  • New Clutch Slave and Master Cylinders
  • New Foot-wells (both sides)
  • New Springs and Shocks (all round)
  • Complete Rewiring.
  • A set of 110 Hinges and mirrors