The Great Project

- Week ??? -


Week ???: Things have moved on....

It's been a long time since the last web site update, so as you'll see, things are looking a bit different!

Firstly, the chassis has been stripped back to bare metal, then painted with Galvafroid zinc rich paint. This will get a couple of coats of Smoothrite on top of it, then maybe underseal - I've yet to decide. The rear cross-member has been replaced, a new passenger side bulkhead outrigger welded on and the gearbox cross member and engine cross-member have been modified to clear bits of engine and gearbox.

I've replaced the road springs with Rocky Mountain parabolics, which seem to be quite nice and springy - it's hard to tell without driving the thing! Fitting was easy enough, although the old spring bolts had to be hack-sawed out which was quite an effort. The rear springs went on very easily, the front ones were a bit of a fight, although I think this may have something to do with the front axle being from a Stage 1 Land Rover.

The Stage 1 front axle and a pair of 3.54:1 Range Rover diffs. were picked up for 100 pounds at Old Sodbury last year. They all needed a strip down and rebuild, but were generally quite unworn. The Stage 1 axle has Constant Velocity (CV) joints instead of the more normal Universal Joints found on leaf sprung Land Rovers. The CV joints are (depending on who you ask) pretty necessary with the permanent 4WD from the old Range Rover gearbox. I had the option of getting the rear Salisbury axle from the same Stage 1 which would have been nice, but I doubt our poor car could have taken the weight of both axles - not light at all!!!

The engine and gearbox have both been fully rebuilt now. Everything is pretty much standard except for the almost obligatory K&N air filters and a metal timing chain wheel set. All the bearing shells and bolts have been replaced, along with new valves, pushrods, rockers, rocker arms, some tappets and gaskets. Most of these bits came from RPi Engineering near Norwich - Rover V8 heaven & a good website!

Real Steel (01895 440505) supplied a remote oil filter kit and a Mocal oil pump cover plate. The normal filter would be in danger from the front axle, so it needed to be moved to the passenger side chassis rail. The oil pump gears looked to be pretty unworn, so I didn't change them - now I'm wondering if I should have, as oil flow to the pushrods (through the rockers) doesn't seem to be that great...

I replaced all the seals on the gearbox and transfer box - this wasn't something I'd panned on doing, as gearbox internals scare me. However, I got hold of a short bell housing and input shaft from a 101FC, in an attempt to help the clearances of fitting the V8 and LT95 to a short wheelbase chassis. Fitting the input shaft meant taking the front cover off the gearbox, then I found the gearbox oil pump needed new gears (supplied by Llama 4x4) as they had worn badly, so I just sort of got carried away and stripped and rebuilt the whole box - it seems to work, although again, it'll be a matter of driving the thing before I really find out....

At the moment the engine is being cooled by the original Series 3 radiator and an electric fan from a Rover 827i. The fan is thermostatically switched using a relay and temperature controller from RS - total cost around 28. The last couple of weekends have been quite warm, and stationary running of the engine has shown that the fan/radiator might not be up to the job. One big problem, which I missed, is that the fan is about 2" in front of the radiator, with the result that a lot of the air it is shifting is just bouncing of the radiator and coming back out the front. I'm going to try to make a cowling to direct the air and see if that helps. The fan is also being run backwards, as it's designed to suck air through the radiator on the 827, which won't be helping it's efficiency. Something to keep an eye on.

The exhaust system is a temporary bodge to get the engine running. I'll probably keep the manifolds and the rear section and move the middle section up, out of the way of the ground and into the gap between the passenger side chassis rail and the transmission. The back box is from a Tdi Land Rover (don't know if it's Defender or Disco - 5 at Old Sodbury) - it seems to do a reasonable job of silencing the engine without loosing the V8 burble :-)

I've got rid of the original military twin under-seat fuel tanks - I always found it a little disconcerting sitting on 22 gallons of 4 star! Thanks to Bob Bernard and his 1969 88" "Sherman", I'm fitting a Jeep(!!) CJ-7 fuel tank to the rear of the chassis, just in front of the rear cross-member. For further info, check out the details at TerriAnne Wakemans LR site. The tank fits very well, but there's one important point to note: Bob recommends using a later CJ-7 tank with the 1" bore unleaded fuel filler, so that you can snake the filler hose between the chassis rail and the body tub. I was unable to get a later model tank, so I got an early one with the 2" filler - bad move! I've ended up having to chop the old filler out, make a recessed section of 2" tube into the filler hole and braze a right-angled 1" pipe onto this - hard to explain, once it's done I'll post photo's - it's still a job in hand. If you want to get a Jeep fuel tank in the UK (where they aren't exactly common), you could try Lighthouse Jeep (01953 681237) near Thetford, Norfolk.

The fuel is pumped from the tank via a Facet electric fuel pump (8 - Old Sodbury) down the copper pipe on the passenger side chassis rail to the engine. The V8 fuel system has a return line - the second copper pipe, and the SU carburettors have a float-bowl overflow, which is the third copper pipe.

That's most of what I can think of for the moment. I'll probably re-write this page sometime when I'm not so busy. So here are the photo's.....

BTW - the black hardboard panel is a temporary control panel for running the engine - master power switch, starter button, charge and oil pressure lights, ballast resistors and water temperature gauge.

Click on the thumbnails for the full-size images (all 640*480).