Clutch: Done!

Two more days of work on this and the new clutch is finally in! Fitting the gearbox is not really a one man job. By the end of yesterday, with the light fading, I still had a list of jobs as long as my arm to complete. Coupled with a nasty cold, this left me rather despondent. Today was a new day though and with the sun beaming down from on high, the Gods of the Land Rover smiled upon the project and everything was done within three hours.

Just been out for a test drive round a muddy byway just South of the M4. Works well in two and four wheel drive and it felt great to be out and about on such a beautiful day.

Speedo is still knackered and there hasn’t been much of a change in top speed. Still, mustn’t grumble…

Here’s the new oil seal in place. Very scary job fitting the flywheel housing. The key thing is to keep the forming tool pressed as hard as possible against the crankshaft end while pressing the housing on as slowly and uniformly as possible.

Flywheel housing in place. It’s been sat in the back of The Duke for a couple of weeks. The rust that’s formed is purely from moisture in the air!

Handy hint: The old steering rod is just the right diameter to make a clutch alignment tool. All that’s needed is a hacksaw!

Here’s the pressure plate fitted.

This crappy little winch cost £8 including delivery off eBay. Might not look much but it lifted the gearbox without any problems.

Aligning the box was hard work. Jack at the back and winch at the front got it roughly in place. In the end I pulled them together with some vice grips and a couple of welding clamps.

Gearbox back in place. Woo!

Britpart Oil Seal Fail

More work on fixing the clutch today, but it all came to nothing. It was a learning experience and a useful test fitting of the flywheel housing, but otherwise a hugely frustrating day!

Here’s the flywheel housing as it came off.

All cleaned up with about a pint of “Gunk”. Looks much smarter and a much better environment for a clutch to live.

Punched the old oil seal out and cleaned up the hole.

The old seal looks totally different to (and much better than) the replacement!

The replacement seal drifted in with a lump of wood. Went in very easily actually.

By this point everything was going well, so I bunged a load of liquid gasket on the block and pressed on fitting the flywheel housing.

Here it all is bolted together. What the pictures don’t show is that the plastic fitting “tool” for the seal didn’t allow it to properly slip over the crank. It ended up creased and needed easing with a screwdriver. Bad news indeed!

While slapping gunk all over the place I also cleaned out the bell housing. Looks very swish now!

Put the flywheel on and ran the engine for a while, only to find oil flying out all over the shop.

Obviously the problem was with the low quality of the rubber in the seal, which seemed very stiff compared to the original. The stiffness of the rubber and poor quality of the press-out plastic shaper which allows it to slide over the crank (or not!) is hopefully what sets the cheap Britpart replacement apart from the original part.

I’m going to have to order a new original replacement now – for £30 – and wait for it to arrive. Since I’m away on a cake delivery mission next weekend The Duke is going to be off the road for at least another three weeks. Very depressing!

Fun with the Clutch: Chapter One

It was raining a little today, so I slobbed on the sofa for a couple of hours before I decided I really should still attempt to get The Duke’s clutch fixed. It’s better to regret something you have done, after all.

So, this post is a guide to how I dropped the gearbox, clutch, flywheel and flywheel housing off, ready to to fix the clutch and a suspect crankshaft oil seal. Note that because The Duke is a newer model he has a removable gearbox crossmember, so I didn’t need to take the seat box off.

First job: Get the floor up. Transmission tunnel, gear knobs, floors, and seat bottoms (didn’t want to get them mucky) all got stripped out.

Here’s the gear selector at the bottom of the gear stick. I’m sure there’s supposed to be a little ball on the bottom to stop it flapping around. Other than that, eveything looks fine.

Removing the nuts which hold the bell housing onto the flywheel housing. There are quite a few of them, but they all came off nicely in the end.

Before the gearbox can be removed you also need to disconnect the clutch slave cylinder, the handbrake linkage, the front and rear driveshafts and the speedo cable. None of these is easy to remove! I found that the only way to get the rear propshaft off was to unbolt the back first so I could change the angle and get access to the nuts at the gearbox end. The handbrake linkage is made of pure evil.

Since I don’t have an angine hoist I slung a rope or two under the gearbox, then used a mixture of jacking, hammering, pulling on ropes, levering and swearing to drop the gearbox and crossmember down in one go. I would not recommend that anyone try it this way. There’s no chance I’m getting it back on without a hoist of some kind!

Clutch pressure plate. Lots of dust in there and a nasty oily clag at the bottom which shows that the chaps on the forums were right – the crankshaft oil seal is leaking.

Old and new clutches. The pressure plate side of the clutch is almost totally bald – probably explains my shocking MPG figures! New part is “AP Driveline” who are apparently very good.

The last little bit of friction material clings to the old clutch plate.

Next I had to get the flywheel off. The Haynes manual says “undo the bolts and pull off the flywheel”. IIt doesn’t mention that the bolts are tightened hard into something that freely rotates, or that the friction fitting of the flywheel is very hard to overcome! Note the spanner in the picture, which I used to stop the engine turning over while I unscrewed the bolts. I then put the old pressure plate back on and used it to help lever off the flywheel.

Flywheel off. Next thing to come off was the flywheel housing. Very simple really: six bolts inside the housing and two above. You also need to disconnect the starter motor before the plate will come away.

Flywheel housing detached. Full of a nasty sludge of clutch dust and leaked engine oil.

Just getting all that to bits took five hours of constant work. I have cut my hands to ribbons, got rust and oil in my eyes and not a single new part has been attached yet! Watch this space for chapter two…


Fitting and bleeding the clutch couldn’t have been easier! Just hope it doesn’t leak and make me look stupid! Lorna gave a hand (or a foot) with the bleeding process. Luckily, her dad has press ganged her into helping to bleed his brakes for the last 20-odd years, so she’s a seasoned professional!

Ran a good quantity of fluid through the pipes to flush the system and then bled it properly. Started the engine and got into gear no problem, so getting off the ramps was much easier than getting on!

The pedal box and bulkhead were pretty nasty. Cleaned them both and gave them a coat of Hammerite to give a bit of protection.

The slave cylinder mounting was as clean as a whistle though!

Slave fitted. Not too hard a job, once everything was lined up and I’d found space for my head under the chassis!

The painted pedal box with new master cylinder.


Here’s some pictures from the last couple of evenings, over which I’ve stripped off the clutch master and slave cylinders for replacement. They both came off really easily, especially the slave which benefited from being in the under-engine oil bath present on most Land Rovers!

The back of the master cylinder – no clue what the bracket is for!

The bits for the inspection hatch on the top of the pedal assembly.

Undoing the nut and bolt which hold the slave cylinder to the pedal assembly. There’s another underneath though, so the pedal had to come off.

Undoing the pedal is actually very simple. The bolts go through the bulkhead into captive nuts, which makes removing them very simple.

Once the pedal is out, it’s quite simple to get things undone. The nuts on the shaft, where it attaches to the pedal, are slightly hard to undo. In the end I grabbed the shaft with mole grips to stop it spinning.

I expected the slave cylinder to be a pain to get off, but it turned out to be dead easy. First job was to undo the bleed nipple.

Tied the pipe out of the way to keep it a bit safer.

Half inch socket on an extender made it easy to undo the two bolts. The inside of the slave looks a bit on the grotty side, but I have to say there were no signs of any leaks.

Next job is to order some replacements and get them fitted and working.

Dry Clutch

Investigated the spongy clutch this evening. Hopefully the problem is this ill-fitting lid, or perhaps the fluid has just run out over seven or eight years of standing still. Of course, there’s also the possibility that it’s leaking like a Reading Festival urinal.

Once I removed the lid – with mole grips – I found enough crystals to keep the Aztec Zone in business for several seasons but very little clutch fluid. This explains a lot!

So hopefully, a quick beeding will sort it out. Might also need a new master cylinder, if I can’t find a new lid.

A Quick Update

After four weeks off, I’m back and have started working on The Duke again. Some good news and some bad news from the four or five hours of work I managed to fit in on Sunday.

The fuel tanks are bolted on and I bought 25l of finest unleaded as a light snack for my big green friend. Split over two tanks he’s far from full – but it proves that the tanks are sound and the pickups and gauges work on both of them. I think the tanks are going to happily take 40-50l each, which gives me good range – even at the expected 12MPG – but will cost a bloody fortune to fill up!

Getting the fuel tanks on is a bit of a milestone in the project, as it means that The Duke is pretty much mobile and more or less car shaped! Still loads to do before he’s legal to drive though.

The other jobs I finished yesterday sound pretty boring but involved quite a bit of faffing about and are just as important to the project as some of the big stuff. Got the windscreen washers working – they are bloody powerful and need aiming carefully! Also bolted on the door check rod bracket and fitted the new seats that Debbie and Jason got me for Christmas last year!

Fitted a replacement brake light switch only to find that it was faulty, so that’s getting posted back today (and replaced with a better quality version).

Seems that however well the project is going, the day always ends with some bad news. This time it was the clutch, which at best needs bleeding and at worse needs some new bits. The exhaust pipe seems to have come away from the manifold again too, so there’s a bit of blowing going on; though that shouldn’t be too hard to fix.

Hopefully more updates soon!