The Story of My Landrover

In 1998 my two young daughters and I were keen snow skiers but were finding it increasingly inconvenient to change in and out of bulky ski clothing in a Toyota Tray utility. My thoughts were that a station wagon type vehicle with internal access to the rear may be more suitable for our purposes.

I did not want a Œstandard¹ type replacement vehicle but something with a bit of character. My original target was the Toyota FJ Series 1970-1980 vintage, SWB but every vehicle I looked at had serious rust problems. In a newspaper one day I saw a Landrover advertised. It was within my budget (limited) so I thought, oh well, it will not hurt to have a look. When I saw the vehicle I immediately decided that I wanted it. I think, looking back, that it was both the neat and classic appearance and the red and yellow knobs inside, that reminded me of my uncle¹s Series 2 that I rode in occasionally many years ago. If it had been LWB it may not have made the same impression on me but being diesel at that time was neither here not there. ­ I did not know enough about this class of vehicle then but I continually think now that I was very fortunate to end up with a SWB and diesel.

After obtaining ownership I drove the vehicle to work and immediately struck my first problem ­ how do I turn the engine off? I had to stall it so I could go inside and phone the previous owner. He explained that I needed to pull out the fuel cut off knob!

The next day my reluctant decision to put up with re-treaded tyres was reversed when I had a puncture. I purchased five new tyres (All Terrain) and these are still on the vehicle and in good condition. (I do have a set of mud tyres which I use for about a third of the year so that may partly explain the long life of the AT tyres).

My next decision was that since I had a 4WD I should set it up so that it could travel in remote areas. I spent quite a bit of money having radios fitted and a carrier made up so that the spare could be carried outside the vehicle, next to the rear doors. These were the fold down and fold up variety so design of the carrier took some ingenuity. I also fitted a second fuel tank and driving and fog lights I decided that I should also do a 4WD course and this was duly completed.

During the course it was noticed that my land rover would not stay in first gear when descending a steep hill. This was quite a serious problem. I arranged to have the gearbox repaired and despite this, gearbox problems continued for some years after. The gearbox was probably removed, repaired and replaced about six times.

I still have the Owner Handbook that came with the vehicle, when it was purchased, and in it the first owners had noted that the vehicle tends to come out of first gear! They mentioned a few other problems that the vehicle had when brand new and some of these problems still exist or have only been fixed since I have owned the vehicle.

Anyway at about this time, as part of my preparation for the Œbig trip¹ and for other reasons I applied to join the Land Rover Owner¹s Club of Victoria.

After a year or two and after joining an occasional club trip I decided to run my own, one-day, weekday trips. I often have a day free during the week because of my shift-work. As preparation I commenced checking out tracks in the Gembrook and then the Toolangi areas. During this time I continued to have gearbox problems ­ jumping out of gear and also jamming and difficulty changing gears. Various mechanical work was performed, often there was a different cause in each case, sometimes due to damage received during trips .The whole gearbox was rebuilt at least twice. During this time the Fairey Overdrive was exchanged for a high- speed transfer case which worked well but resulted in a big step up to first gear and of course the vehicle continued to jump out of first gear. This problem meant that when going down steep hills I (or sometimes my passenger) could be seen holding the gear stick firmly with one hand and the steering wheel with the other, with great difficulty at times. By this time I had just about accepted that there was no cure and continued to run trips and ŒimproveŒ my land rover. I complete a one week trip somewhere in the outback about once a year and one year also attempted a Simpson Desert trip (with a few problems).
I had a replacement engine (identical to the previous engine) put in a couple of years ago when I could not find a replacement for a cracked head.

About a year ago the gear- box failed absolutely after I had stopped to post a letter and the vehicle became immobile (at the end of my street, as fate would have it). The advice from my mechanic was that there was no point repairing the gearbox (total rebuild needed) because it would just fail again after a year or so (or less). Decision time! I tried to sell my vehicle (with the promise of a newly reconditioned / rebuilt 2A gear-box) and at the same time I tried to find a replacement vehicle. No success with either. My mechanic suggested putting a non- Rover gearbox in the vehicle. I agreed and the vehicle now has a virtually indestructible Warner T 98 Ford / International gearbox. It was possible to retain the high speed transfer case and the gear-box has performed excellently.
For the past year or so the vehicle has also been plagued by over heating problems and fitting an electric water pump and electric fan have not helped much. The engine is, at the time of writing, being removed, and it is hoped that the cause will be discovered. As well the rear main oil seal and rings are being replaced and the mechanical water pump and fan are being returned as a standby, in case of failure of their electric equivalents.

During a visit to my mechanic to check on the vehicle progress he reported (as he had predicted) that the head, water passages were significantly clogged with foreign material. The block, water passages were blocked as well but not as severe as the head. Also the pistons and rings were in Œas new¹ condition but the cylinder bores were glazed and needed honing. Everything else about the engine was in good condition and other modifications ,including a changeover rear differential were progressing well.

I am planning to complete a Victorian / South Australian Border track trip in mid June so I am keeping my fingers crossed that the vehicle will be ready in time, as promised.

A complete list of vehicle specifications and modifications follows:

SERIES 3 Short Wheel Base Diesel Land Rover

Date of Manufacture:1976

First Registered:30/6/78

Original Engine Serial Number:90647237C

Present Engine Serial Number:90637798C

Chassis Number: 90812801A

Owner : Richard Tye

Purchased 2/7/98

DESCRIPTION

Engine – Rover 2.25 litre 4 cylinder diesel.

Gearbox – Warner T98 Ford/International 4 speed manual.

Transfer Case – Land Rover modified High Speed

Brakes – 10 inch drums, LWB

Suspension – LWB Leaf Springs with polyurethane bushes and OME Shock Absorbers

Cooling System – Standard radiator with Craig Davies Electric Fan and Water Pump with electronic controls.

Tandem Master Brake cylinder

Vacuum assisted brakes

Alternator 90 amp hour Mitsubishi with vacuum pump

OTHER MODIFICATIONS AND IMPROVEMENTS

Front Steering Damper

Free Wheeling front Hubs

Alarm and Engine Immobiliser

Reversing Light – manual operation

ARB Front Differential Lock

McNamara Rear Differential Lock

Dual Battery system

Dual Fuel Tanks with electric fuel transfer pump

Continuous Air engine driven Air Compressor with reservoir tank.

Vacuum reservoir tank

ARB back up compressor in air line circuit

‘Big Red’ portable compressor

Twin CIBIE Driving Lights

Twin Hella Fog Lights

Bamford PTO Winch 6000 lb. 10mm steel cable

Extended breathers for front and rear axles, gear box and transfer case.

Six mud tyres and six All –Terrain tyres,all with off-set rims.

BODY MODIFICATIONS

Bull Bar with storage tube for spare antenna items

Aluminium checker plate to all lower body sections

Steel box tube sill rails

Steel tube and plate rear wheel arch supports

Steel rear Barn door strengthened to carry spare wheel

Strengthened and braced upper door halves

Storage lockers at front (2) and rear (2) of vehicle

Rear quarter section / profile reduced to strengthen and to reduce accidental damage risk

Non fade lenses for indicator, stop and tail lights

Tinted windows

Carpeted throughout

Internal roll bar

Full external Roll Cage linked to Bull Bar and internal Roll bar

‘Walk through’ interior

Roof Rack with provision for shovel and Hi Lift jack storage

Driver and Passenger seats fitted with ‘Cobra’ seat slides and mounted on steel ‘checker’ plate.

Driver and Passenger seats are High back ‘modern’ style with sheepskin seat covers.

Side Seats with sheepskin seat covers, storage areas beneath each seat.

Centre Seat (not fitted at present)

Front Bumper Bar overlaid with steel plate

RADIOS / COMMUNICATION

Pioneer 4 Channel Stereo and CD player

Barrett 550L HF Radio with electronic tuning antenna – GPS interface and Radtel (radiotelephone), RFDS and AN4WD Radio Network Channels. 500 Channels

Philips FM 900 VHF LROCV Radio

GME UHF Radio TX 400

2 X ICOM 25 watt UHF Portable Radios

Pearce Simpson CB 27 mHz

Epirb 121.5 mHz,243 mHz

INSTRUMENTS

Dual fuel gauges

Dual Voltage gauges

Dual Temperature Gauges

Optional push button start

Push Button to bring second battery ‘on line’

Electric Fan ‘off’ switch

Electric fan activity light

Electric Water Pump activity light

Fuel transfer indicator light

Tachometer

Air Pressure Gauge

Low vacuum warning light

Vacuum gauge

Driving and Fog lights ‘on indicator’ lights

Refrigerator ‘on’ light

12v outlets – two in front and two in rear – switched

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