MOT Party, Track Rod Troubles and a Maddening Manifold

Lots to report today – some good, some bad as usual! Not posted much on the blog for a while as I’ve been doing jobs that are too boring to bother talking about. Fixing the driver’s door, spending £23 on new headlight adjuster screws, fixing the brake light switch and cleaning out the interior are not particularly exciting, so I did them without taking any photos.

The excitement returned last night when Jason and Dr Johnson came round to perform an unofficial MOT test for me. Since they were the pair who helped me drag The Duke’s rusting hulk down to Reading, it seemed only right that they be the ones to give him his first seal of approval… or not, as it turned out. Lorna prepared a reward for them in the form of The World’s Greatest Shepherd’s Pie.

Jason did the paperwork while Dr J ran round like a maniac, poking, prodding and probing round every nook and cranny he could find. We jacked up all four wheels and ran the engine in gear to free-up the brakes, poked around the chassis with screwdrivers, examined the body for sharp edges and wobbly bits and ran the usual lighting checks. All this was based on the official MOT procedure which I printed out from this website.

In the end they failed me. Here’s a list of the problems they found…

  • Headlight wiring (I knew about that one, just haven’t had a chance to fix it yet)
  • Indicator telltale (Maybe not a problem, but they both flash regardless of direction)
  • Track rod end rubber cover/boot (split)
  • Track rod bent
  • Brake/clutch pedal rubber pads missing (Another one we’re not 100% on, but may be a problem)
  • Flexi brake hoses (x3) look very old! (Advisory only)
  • Trim under passenger door (Not bolted in place)
  • Body tab/outrigger (Not yet fitted – waiting for some bolts from eBay)
  • Valance – both sides (Not secured)
  • Exhaust blowing at manifold

So today I had lots to look at. None of it massively serious, just loads more work to do. First off was a trip to Halfords to get some exhaust sealing putty for the manifold-to-down-pipe join. I also picked up some red oxide primer and two five litre bottles of engine oil.

First job was to squish some putty into the crack between manifold and down pipe. Dead easy to do, though it makes your hands smell nasty. Left it for an hour or so to cure. While I waited I slapped a bit of red oxide primer on the new door channel bits I welded on a couple of months ago. They were already going rusty and Johnson gave me an ear bashing yesterday!

Once that was done it was time to start the engine and see whether the putty had done the trick. It had. A great job and well worth the £5… except… there was still a blowing sound round the manifold… time to start worrying…

Then I found this whopping great crack in the manifold itself. No chance I’ll get away with smearing that with putty for the MOT, so it looks like I’m going to need a whole new exhaust manifold, down pipe and all the fittings that go with it. Major pain in the backside, but nothing I could do today except perhaps spending the evening pricing up the parts.

So, I carried on with the jobs in hand. Next was to do an oil change. Dead easy, all the bits were as good as new, since they live in a bath of oil. The sump plug came out with only the subtlest of hammer-tickles and the filter came off all too easily – dropping in the oil bucket and splashing me and the drive with a couple of cups full of ancient engine oil! It took about eight litres of new oil to fill the engine back up and I bunged in a new filter too. The oil light came on for about five seconds after I started him, then went off as expected, so I assume the oil is flowing round the engine as it should.

Final job today was to get the track rod off. Research on the internet this morning confirmed that it is indeed bent and will need replacing. Luckily, replacements aren’t too expensive and I think I can get the whole job done (including new ball joints and boots) for under £50.

Should have read the manual to get instructions on how to remove the track rod – turns out you twist it off the two bolts at each end (which have opposite threads to allow this). I spent far too long bashing with the hammer before I realised how it works.

So, as I said earlier, some good news and far too much bad news. A good few days of hard work needed to get the exhaust manifold replaced and a few more odd jobs to do round the body before The Duke and me head to the MOT centre!

Odd Jobs

Did a load of odd jobs today and fancied posting some pictures of my handiwork! The Duke is starting to look much smarter now, with refitted dash, new seats and a fancy spare wheel strap.

Very smart!

Pretty secure (though still got the wrong size tyre on!)

The interior is getting there – and Lorna’s offered to help me get it sparkling clean tomorrow!

The new fuse box with light supply in orange (from starter solenoid) and wires back to lights in blue/red and blue/yellow. Used 7.5A fuses, which gives 180W max for the lights.

Busy busy busy

After a weekend of “Duking”, I can honestly say that I prefer the big scary tasks to the pesky odd jobs. I also hate doing anything with bodywork and am getting pretty fed up of the electrics too!

The Duke without a tarp for the first time in ages!

Anyway, this weekend I have…

  • Bolted the roof on
  • Fitted reflectors
  • Bolted the bulkhead to the outrigger
  • Welded the door bottoms
  • Attached the seat belts
  • Fitted a new ignition lock and a new lock in the rear door (so there’s one key for doors and one for the ignition)
  • Put the doors back on
  • Fitted the door tops and the crappy Britpart window latches
  • Wired up the tail lights
  • Wired up the number plate lamp (so I now have a full set of rear lights!)
  • Fixed the speedo connector (which was snapped)
  • Mounted the fog warning bulb next to the fog light switch
Tail lights, number plate lamp, oh, and a door too!

But, in true Land Rover style, I found a load of other tasks which need to be done before the MOT…

  • I’ve wired up the headlights wrongly – so I need new plugs for the bulbs.
  • I’ve lost the fuel tank bolts and rubber spacers
  • The tiny screws which attach the fuel pickup to one of the tanks are bent and need replacing
  • The brake light switch is broken. It works sometimes, but I’d prefer it to work all the time!
  • The driver’s door is badly bent and is really hard to shut. Needs new fixings and maybe even a new door bottom :o(
  • The passenger door check bracket snapped!
  • The fog light only comes on when using dipped headlights – goes off with beam!

Bit of a cleanup required in here!


These Britpart window latches are terrible, but they’ll do for now!

So, lots more to add to the To Do list, but lots crossed off too!

Tub Thumping

Ron popped round this evening and helped lift the tub on. I have a Land Rover shaped Land Rover again! Woo!

Much bashing, hammering and smacking was required, but we got there in the end. Pints have been credited to Ron’s account.

In the end I worked til 9:30 and didn’t even have anything to eat until 10:30! To be honest, after a full weekend and two nights of full-on Duking, I’m ready for a night off.

It’s all been worth it though – a few bolts left to do up and I can bung the roof on! The roof! Holy smoke! Expect more information this weekend.


Had a sneaky couple of hours tonight to do a few odd jobs round The Duke. The good news is that I think I’m ready to put the tub back on! Woo!

Not all good news though. I’ve found some more welding to do and some more money to spend – fixing the rusty doors.


First job was to squirt some Waxoyl into the chassis. What a mucky job that turned out to be! Put the tin in a bucket with two kettles full of hot water, pumped the handle and poked my probe into every hole I could find. It’s very drippy and sprays everywhere including clothes, hair and face. Finished off covered in a fine layer of soft waxy gunk, but at least I can hope that the inside of the chassis is now similarly coated!

Gunk all over the shop!

Next plan was to put the driver’s door back on – having removed it to do the welding this weekend. Since the mirrors bolt on behind the hinges now seemed like the perfect time to fit them. A little miffed that they’re quite small and I have to say that they’re pretty poor quality, but they’ll do! Also bunged on the windscreen wipers, which took 30 seconds.

Mirror mirror on The Duke

Didn’t put the door back in the end because I noticed that it needs some major TLC. The bottom channel on the door frame has completely rusted away, so I need to replace it.

Cheesy door

Luckily, or perhaps because I knew at least one door was knackered, I bought a strip of door repair section from LRSeries a few weeks ago. 20 minutes with a hack saw and I had it cut to size and on the door. Some minor welding and it should be nicely fitted and looking much smarter.

Think I’m going to do the passenger and rear doors too, just to be on the safe side. Don’t think door rust is popular with MOT men.

None cheesy door

So, a little progress today, but a few more jobs discovered too. The chassis is more or less done and dusted, which is great. Next job is to concentrate on the body. Might see if Ron’s feeling strong enough to do some tub lifting tomorrow night…

Good Progress!

I got up early today – on a Saturday – to get a full day working on The Duke. I’ve finished now, with seven hours of hard work done, a slight sunburn and a big smile on my face! After a long soak in the bath I’m going to hit the beers and celebrate.

“Celebrate what?” I hear you cry. Well, today I ticked off a fair few things from last week’s To-Do list and I drove The Duke backwards and forwards a bit, which always makes me happy!

First off, I got the pressure washer out – kindly lent to us by Lorna’s boss – and cleaned off the drive, the chassis and the underside of the tub. With a nice clean surface to paint (decided to leave any old covering which withstood the Karcher) I could whack a thick coat of underseal on and get it looking smart. Well, smart for the underside of a twenty year old car anyway!

Undersealing the tub.

I also got another coat on the rear of the chassis, which is now quite thickly smeared up with the stuff. Special thanks go to the seagull which did a poo on the chassis just after I’d applied the final brushload!

Next on the list was the throttle linkage – huge thanks to Satancom from the Land Rover Forums for sending me his old linkage. I couldn’t find the part number anywhere and was starting to worry, so his help was invaluable. Even more kudos to him for asking only for a £5 donation to the forum – something I was happy to do.

The carb-throttle linkage finally in place!

Task number three was done while the paint dried – making up the rear wiring loom. I used a couple of screws in the fence to fix the cables, in a poor attempt to copy the pin boards they use in cable factories (my week’s work experience at 16 wasn’t wasted after all!) then taped them all together with a whole roll of rubber binding tape.

Making the wiring loom.

Fixed it to the chassis with cable ties, adding a couple of clips of my own but mainly using holes already there. I tried to follow the path that the brake pipes take, as I assume somebody at Land Rover thought they’d be in a safe place!

The new wiring runs along the inside of the chassis.

And finally, the biggest worry left on the project is now a thing of the past! I got The Duke to charge his own batteries! Decided that before I faffed about testing all the cables and components in the rather complicated charging circuitry, I’d try out the spare generator I got at Sodbury earlier in the year. Guess what… it worked! I now get a constant 27.8v across the battery terminals when the engine is running.

Two generators. The new one was from a lightweight, so the mounting needed swapping to the other side.

This is a massive relief, as the unknown scares me a bit. OK, I have half a degree in electronics, but I was far from happy with having to test the generator circuits out myself! Having such a quick fix work first time is something to really be happy about!

Just to prove I have a charge

All this good news obviously needs to be tempered with a bit of bad – and there was some bad news today. Annoyingly, I found another outrigger that is totally and utterly knackered. That makes two which need replacing and I only have spare parts for one. Also, this one is under the cab, so will be a right pain to get to.

You may ask how I failed to notice such a thing and the fact is that I didn’t. It was actually the first bit of rust I noticed when we picked The Duke up from Witham, but time had erased my memory of this tragic moment and I’d totally forgotten about it.

So, tomorrow will be a day of grinding and welding. Joy!