Bouncing Back

The people who share my office were again confused as I opened a parcel as if it contained the Lost Treasure of Atlantis today, only to find me staring in awe at four 70mm M8 bolts with Allen heads. Bought from an eBay shop called “Bolt Me Up”, they were the vital missing component for the reattachment of the suspension.

Lorna was nice enough to cook dinner tonight, so I could spend the entire evening covered in grease and wielding a spanner and socket wrench. As a result of my hard graft The Duke is back on four wheels!

LR Series supplied all the other stuff, but managed to send me a centre dowel bolt for the rear springs which is too short. I tried to argue about it, but they wouldn’t have any of it. As a result, I took the advice of a bloke on the Land Rover forums and used a metric equivalent. Thus my deep deep joy at the arrival of my parcel.

Other forum members kindly helped out with the nut and bolt pictured above too. Military spring hangers have an extra central brace which I couldn’t find anywhere on the parts list. It turns out it’s a 4 1.2″ x 1/2″ bolt and matching nyloc nut. I’ve shown it here in case anyone needs this info in the future – not least me!

Here’s the rear left hand spring hanger all bolted up and working. Haven’t got a pic of the front of the spring, but I can say that fitting it was very hard work indeed. In the end, I settled on a simple but frustrating plan, which I repeated until I got the springs in place…

  1. Attach the back of the spring to the spring hangers to keep it from wobbling about.
  2. Present the front of the spring to the slot in which it sits, line up as best you can and get a bottle jack under it.
  3. Slowly and carefully jack up the spring. The whole back end may lift up, it’s a very tight fit!
  4. If you manage to get close to lining up the holes, grease up the bolt and smack it through with a lump hammer and go to step 6.
  5. Otherwise, if you fail to line up the holes and end up with the spring too far forward or back, don’t bother trying to move it, just remove the jack, unbolt the back of the spring, wiggle it free and go to step 1.
  6. Jump up and down in celebration and perhaps reward yourself with a beer.

The U bolts were relatively simple to get on – once the spring is attached at both ends. Some gentle taps with the Lump Hammer to get them over the axle, then just a case of bolting them up.

Here’s a shot showing the brake pipe guard. I need to get some P clips for this. I am very pleased I remembered to attach it as it’s sandwiched between the axle and the spring. If you were to forget, you’d need to undo the U bolts to fit it.

So, the back end is looking much smarter now. I got a coat of underseal on there the other day, which makes it look much nicer and hides the welded patchwork around the rear crossmember. A couple more coats are required before the tub can go back on.

I had a great time jumping up and down on there too – the greased springs really make a difference, even to a man jumping. I think they’ll make for a much smoother ride, but I’m not doing the front ones ’til I have an MOT!

So, the rear suspension is back on! Still a little welding to do on an outrigger and some missing bracing on the crossmember. Plus I need to tie down the brake pipes, finish undersealing the chassis, make a new rear wiring loom (with fuse box), drill drain holes and squirt some waxoyl inside the chassis, test the generator wiring harness and clean and treat the bottom of the tub. Then I can slap the tub back on! Woo!

Bush Removal

Worst Job Ever! Sanding the leaf springs was a doddle compared to this. Getting the first of the suspension bushes out took over three hours and almost broke the jack from the Mondeo – which might be strong enough to lift two tons of Ford, but can’t stand up to a measly bush from a Land Rover.

Each of the bushes is made of an inner and an outer steel tube with a rubber bit in the middle. This makes them almost impossible to get out. The rubber absorbs hammer blows and the steel stops the rubber stretching. The answer, it turns out, is fire!

Here’s a recipe…

Here’s what we’re starting with. Perished rubber and rust.

Burn burn burn! Once the inner tube heats up, the rubber melts and squidges out. The smoke is black and acrid. Don’t do this in the garage!

That looks nicely done. Smells great too.

The inner tube comes out with a satisfying slurping noise

Now saw through the outer tube. If you saw too much you’ll damage the mounting; if you don’t saw enough it’ll take a week to hammer it out. Once sawed through, smack a screwdriver between chassis and bush to deform the bush, then smack it out.

The whole process takes about half an hour per bush, but I’m sure you’ll agree that the results are worth the effort…

Slippery Springs

I haven’t finished yet, but this leaf spring refurbishment job is taking a very very long time. One spring is more or less done – pending a good coat of Hammerite. Split the other one apart tonight, though it will take at least another week to get it finished. Then there’s the front ones to worry about!

Here are some photos. Taken over a period of many days they document a long and drawn out labour of love!

The first spring, split apart. Every nut and bolt needed replacing and the surfaces were covered with surface rust. There are also patches of underseal on the outer edges, which ruin sandpaper, making it quite challenging to get them cleaned up.

The two spring hangers. One cleaned up, one not.

Sanded and painted the mounting plates. They look quite nice now they’re done. They took three coats of Hammerite each!

Bunging the first spring back together. Earlier tonight I greased the leaves with LithMoly grease (which chemically bonds to the metal, thus resisting displacement by water) and bolted it all back together. The centre bolt is temporary, pending the arrival of the real thing. I used 100mm M8 bolts for the bindings as they are much cheaper than the real deal.

Painting could be hard work! The spring before tightening.

Before and after. I’d be proud of my work, but now I have to do it all again!

Finally, just before dark, I bunged a light coat of paint on the outer surfaces. Not sure it’ll stick because everything’s covered in a thin layer grease, but I wiped it and gave it a try anyway!

Chop Chop

I only meant to spend an hour or so out on the drive today, but I ended up out there and working hard for about five hours. Finished off my wooden crossmember jig and put the rear chassis on axle stands to keep it still. In order to keep the chassis still I had to drop the rear leaf springs off, which was hard work. Finally, just before it got dark, I got the grinder out and chopped the rear crossmember off.

The jig is screwed to the ground and has two uprights which are adjusted to fit exactly under the old rear crossmember. I also took measurements of both sides of the chassis just to be safe.

The leaf springs weigh a metric ton and are covered in surface rust. Once I’ve found replacements for all the nuts and bolts that hold them together I’ll split them apart and oil them as I’ve previously mentioned. I’ll need new U bolts because I chopped them off with the grinder. New bushes, nuts and bolts will also be on the shopping list.

Chopped! Went through two hacksaw blades, three cutting disks and most of the skin on my fingers getting it off. I also burned my scalp with sparks from the grinder! The crossmember itself is made of 3mm steel and it very very tough. It’s made me reconsider my plan to get 3mm steel for the patching I need to do. It’s impossible to bend it without some heavy machinery – even the lump hammer makes a meal of it.

Two crossmembers. I think I’ll use the top one! Need to detach the steps, convoy light and trailer socket from the old one, then bung it in the bin. Two grinding wheels and a knackered hacksaw blade are included in the photo so set the tone.

The Duke’s looking quite sad at the moment. No roof, no tub, chopped up chassis – more bits missing than replaced. Hopefully this will be the lowest point of the project. From now on things should start getting refurbished, replaced and reinstalled.

Leaf Spring Refurbishment

The leaf springs on the back of The Duke are rusty as hell, but seem to be in good condition otherwise. They need some serious TLC.

Research on the Internet leads me to believe that the best course of action is to disassemble the spring, grind and polish the individual leaves, apply a thin coating of “moly grease” to the inner surfaces, reassemble and either bind up with “denso tape” or paint to protect from external rust. New U bolts, bushes, and fittings should then be used to put things back together again.

So, I’ll need some moly grease, new fixtures and fittings for the rear springs including bushes (apparently polyeurethane are best), a polishing wheel for the grinder and maybe some Denso tape too (apparently it’s also useful for protecting nuts from corrosion).

I also want to replace the shocks. It’s possible that they’re fine, but they are very rusty on the outside and don’t cost much to renew.

Stuff To Do

Here’s a list of things to do for Phase II…

Engine: It’s running, but it needs some extra bits and bobs.

  • Carb-elbow adapter hose – DONE
  • Air filter hose (can use part from 2.25l diesel engine) – DONE
  • Renew heater matrix pipework – DONE
  • Check heater matrix for leaks – DONE
  • Renumber distributor leads
  • Neaten up distributor cabling – DONE
  • Advance/retard suction hose – DONE
  • Rocker cover breather tubing
  • Oil breather tubing via emission control valve (missing) to side of carb adapter – DONE
  • Attach and adjust choke cable – DONE
  • New oil
  • New oil filter
  • Top up air filter
  • Carb throttle linkage (Haynes pp. 3.9)
  • Carb adapter fixing nut (3/8″) – DONE
  • Replace timing chain

Chassis and fixings: Starting with the rear portion of the chassis, so the tub can go back on ASAP. The front can be done at a later date. Whether the seat box and wings need to come off remains to be seen.

  • Renew fuel tank fixings
  • Renew spring hanger nuts, bolts and bushes
  • Renew checkstrap nuts, bolts and bushes
  • New shock absorbers
  • Replace rear crossmember and make good chassis
  • Replace outrigger(s)
  • Clean and treat springs
  • Clean and paint/under seal rear axle assy
  • Strip, underseal and waxoyl rear of chassis (do the front later!)
  • Strip out old rear wiring loom
  • Check rear diff oil levels

Electrics: Just a few more things to do on the electrics.

  • Fit screen washer
  • Resolder fan resistor – DONE
  • Generator field winding supply
  • Starter solenoid boots
  • Starter motor boots
  • New rear wiring loom including new fuses