Sodbury? Sod all more like…

It’s Sodbury day again!  Dr Johnson and I headed down there in The Duke as usual.  Though this year is the first in which both The Duke and Plum are on the road we couldn’t afford the fuel costs of a convoy!

Plum and The Duke doing some posing 

The sortout this year was probably the worst one yet.  We had our first hint that it might not be up to much when we counted only two series ‘drovers in the car park.  When we got to the field itself, we found it full of overpriced Disco-Bling and equally expensive, non-Land Rover-specific, surplus tat.

Dr J attempts to boost his mood with a cola shot

It’s probably a good thing that this year we didn’t have much of a shopping list.  Dr J was after some tyres, which proved fruitless.  Last year just about every stall had one or two stacks of rubber doughnuts going for bargain prices; this year you’d be disappointed unless you were after mega-aggressive mud-pluggers for £200 a pop. Lots of the other stalls were selling tools, equipment, surplus bits and bobs.  I almost dropped a reasonable sum on a beefy air compressor, but bottled it in the end.

Bit and Bob vendors

Sodbury is just a small part of the auto-jumble though, so there’s plenty more to look at.  I was quite overwhelmed by a stall selling just about every type of aluminium bar stock available.  Their prices seemed pretty good so I picked up a few chunks for about £30.

I need a haircut.

I also got a chunk of exhaust pipe to chop up for the 200 TDi project and a 2 ton chain hoist (for a very reasonable £25).  Dr J picked up a bag of ratchet straps and a money box.

Quick tour of the museum

So, that’s Sodbury done for another year.  Was a good day out, but hardly an amazing treasure trove these days!

MOT done, brakes done in!

On the way back from the passed MOT this evening I pressed down on the brake in a traffic jam and there was a cracking/popping sound from the rear offside area and the pedal went a bit spongy.  I guess the pipe must have been a bit stressed by all the work going on on the wheel hub over the weekend…

Speaking of the wheel hub, before the brakes broke, the garage rang me up at work to tell me the wheel was still wobbly.  Seems I hadn’t tightened the big nuts up against the wheel bearings hard enough so the drive out to the garage had loosened them.  He tightened them up again for me for the princely sum of £15, bringing the total MOT cost up to almost a ton this year.  Worse than that was the blow to my ego.  How can I show my face in public again?

So I have an MOT, my pride is slightly dented and I need to make a new brake pipe and bleed the sodding things again!

Fun in the Workshop

The Duke’s been running pretty well recently, so there’s not much to report on the blog.  I’ve been spending my time in the workshop instead, making bits and bobs on the lathe and mill.

Last night, Dr J came round to make a dog to connect his capstan winch to his engine.  They cost about £50 each on eBay – even for a copy – so we made one out of a chunk of 45mm bar scrounged from the offcuts bin at a local engineering firm.

First job was to drill an 18mm hole all the way through.  Slightly smaller than the 3/4″ bolt that will hold it to the front of the crankshaft.  We then bored the hole out to exactly the right diameter.

Boring out the “dog end”.  This didn’t leave a massive thickness of metal round the edges (~4mm) so I’d recommend getting 50mm diameter bar if available.

Milling out the slots was very boring but went without a hitch.

Perfect fit!

I’ve also been working on The Duke’s NATO hitch recently, so here’s a couple of pictures of that.  The packing plates are all home made (only two shown) and the swivel pin was made on the lathe out of silver steel.  Not exactly the cheapest option, but it does mean it should be rust free for some time.

The hitch itself

The DIY swivel pin.  I spent some time polishing it!  I couldn’t find the split pin for the end for a reasonable price, so I’ve threaded the hole to take a 3mm screw as an interim measure!

So it cost very little to make the dog (wear and tear on the tools being the biggest cost) but it did take the two of us six hours, so I can see why these things cost as much as they do!  I think it’s safe to say though, Dr J and I would much rather spend six hours using a lathe and drinking beer than paying somebody else £50 to do the same!

Back once again… with a gearbox

Well, I haven’t posted for quite a while, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been busy. Since my last post quite a bit has changed. Not least among the changes being the fact that I am now a married man. Also, in a week’s time we’re moving to a new house.

The Duke has been less busy than me. Sadly he didn’t make it to the wedding, simply because there was nobody to drive him back home as we headed straight off on honeymoon. He did make it to Sodbury though. It was nice to be there in a Land Rover again. Myself and Dr Johnson headed all the way down to Beaulieu for the day and lugged back a pair of axles for him and a gearbox for myself.

As a result, three things have changed on the blog: 1) soon I’ll have a garage with workbench, lights, power and shelving for my ever growing spares collection 2) I’m working on the spare gearbox more than The Duke himself and 3) there’s a mucky wedding ring in some of the pictures.

Here’s my Advanced Servicing Bench Outdoors, or “ASBO“. An appropriate name for something which makes the drive look like a load of pikeys have moved in!

The transfer case – all cleaned up and emptied out

I started reconditioning the gearbox some time ago but the camera and laptop conspired to loose all of the pictures from two days of transfer case disassembly. Other than some mud falling into the bearings everything in the transfer case was very tidy – there really didn’t seem much point taking it to bits! Still, you don’t know ’til you’ve looked.

Some tidy looking teeth on the main transfer gear

Everything looks good as new really.

Some transfer case bits packed away. Sadly, the detailed pictures showing how it all goes back together are lost forever.

Inside the case itself everything looks good. No chipped teeth and hardly any signs of wear.

Cog porn


The only real shocker was this. An eight inch cold chisel which I found in the transfer box oil sump! Somebody obviously dropped it in there when removing or fitting an overdrive (no OD fitted when I got the gearbox, but I did only pay £30 for it). Not sure it could ever have done any real harm – but it was a brave or foolish man who drove away after dropping this into the gearbox of his Land Rover!

The Kindness of Strangers

The Duke and I had a little mishap on the way home today. Turns out I’d missed off the insulating washer when attaching the starter motor, so unknown to me, there was a nasty short on the starter contacts.

Got it started in the car park at work but worried there was something slightly wrong. Decided to get home and worry about it later. My plan failed when, at the traffic lights on the main road just round the corner from my house I put the choke in too early and The Duke stalled. Turned the key and absolutely nothing happened. Damn.

Hazards on, first at the lights, stationary. Very embarrassing. Managed to wave a couple of blokes over and got them to push me round the corner. Can’t have been an easy job, ‘cos they did a runner as soon as I was off the main drag. Only about three hundred yards from the drive, but there was no way I was going to get The Duke up the hill.

At that point, friendly stranger number three pulled up in his little Astra (I think) and offered me a tow! Only took 5 minutes to get home from there and after half an hour of battery charging and a few minutes with a spanner on the contacts The Duke fired up and reversed into the drive of his own accord. Phew!

Land Rovers really do bring out the best in people!