The saga continues…

October 14th, 2016 by john No comments »

I have not written a blog post for quite a while. The website tells me it was more than two years ago. Oops. The last sentence said “Next time I will hopefully have a lot more progress to show off.” I don’t really have much progress to show on the car, but I did get round to building a workshop to use. I assumed it would take very little time to refurbish two small rooms. I was expecting a couple of months from start to finish. It took closer to 18months, even now, they are not completely finished. Here are some highlights:SAM_3123

Some back ground first. The room is part of a stonewalled outbuilding, which has been many things since it was built. A vicarage, a dairy, a workshop and, as the above picture shows, a kitchen. Behind a wobbly wall hid a bread oven (on the left of the fire place) and a water heating copper (on the right). When I dug the floor out (quarry tiles on sand) I found a drain/toilet running right through the centre of the room. Apparently, people used to throw fire ash into them to stop the nasty toilet smells. I also found this.


Hidden under the floor, was a cellar. Full of contaminated water. The brown thing in the bottom left of the photo is a rusted through barrel of turpentine. There was about 7 cubic metres of water in the cellar. 10 weeks and a lot of money later, it was filled with 10cubic metres of concrete.


The above photo shows a stone wall rendered in lime. That took me 10 hours straight to do that, and 800kg of lime render. Not too bad for a first attempt.


I decided to be a bit whimsical with putting a sink in. I cast a concrete sideboard. Hat tip to Sam for the idea.


I also made some new doors. In hindsight, pine doors are not ideal for external doors, but hey-ho.


This is the end result. It is a dry area large enough to do things in, with power, light, heat and water. That’ll do. The majority of the reason this took so long is I had to teach myself how to do everything. Mistakes were made. Then rectified. Setbacks occurred, but were dealt with. I’ve learned a lot, and have some confidence I could build a house from scratch.

Anyway, car progress:


I dragged the engine/gearbox out from where it had been stored. With the aid of a Heath-Robinson ramp, and various family members, dragged it into the work shop. Where I set about stripping all the wiring off it, labelling everything as I went.


The above shows coolant temperature sensors and injector number 1.


Some earth cables and an oxygen sensor.


Injector 2,4,6,8. Some plugs were impossible to remove with taking the fuel rail and ram pipes off.


So I did. This photo looks down on the top of the engine. You can see all 8 petrol injectors, and all 8 LPG injectors. All disconnected from the wiring loom. You can also see the engine is extremely dirty. I mean filthy. Many gaskets need replacing. So the next job was to get it on the sand so I could wash it. See below.


I have a lot of cleaning/ degreasing to do. Some astute people might have worked out that my use of present tense means I haven’t done that yet…    and those people would be correct. I haven’t started cleaning it yet, but I did instead separate the LPG ECU from the main engine harness and cut it out. As it turned out, it was really very easy to do. There were only 6 wiring connections to sort out.


The wires that had been taped had just been spliced into, the heat-shrinked wires were cut and diverted through the LPG loom to the ECU and controller etc. It was simply a case of cut the wires and re-join the correct colour wires together.


I did have to extend the wires, as the wires were too short to connect them without straining them. So I cut some wire from the LPG loom and used it to bridge the gap. Put heat shrink over all connections and taped the lot up.


LPG loom is separate. The car now only uses petrol again. No problems. Next job was to connect the engine harness up to the rest of the wiring loom, which I had already started attaching to piece of plywood.



Wiring loom is all connected. Next step is to check that the whole thing still works. The simplest way to do so is to connect a car battery up to the loom and start pressing all the buttons. If things don’t work, it is simply because no current is flowing. Either it is missing power or earth, or a fuse/bulb has blown such that no circuit can be completed. So, trouble shooting the loom is just a case of determining which is missing. Multi-meters at the ready. Time to see if I was careful about cutting the loom to pieces or not.



The wiring loom does indeed work, all functions still work, windscreen washers/wipers, wing mirrors, headlight adjustors, even remote central locking. The lot. The only issues with the loom were two broken bulbs and knackered horn, I am quite happy with that. I did have an issue with the key fob. The car wouldn’t remove the immobiliser, I thought I was going to have issues. But I opened the key fob, and it had no battery in it. Replaced the battery, still the same issue. But looking at the key situation, I have four keys. Two that unlocked the door (when it had them), and two that operate the ignition barrel. I also have two key fobs. I used the second fob, it locked and unlocked the car, and also disabled the immobiliser. I get power to the injectors, happy days. The wiring loom is ready to be test fitted to the car. I can then start moving things to where I want them to be, extend or shorten the loom, put on a single plug for the engine harness, so I only have to undo one plug to separate the engine and gearbox from the main loom.

One final bit of progress for this time, I split the engine and gearbox and put the engine on the stand.


I didn’t feel happy about just using the engine block to hang the engine, since it is still wet i.e. it is still full of oil. So, I made some alterations to the engine stand. Much happier about that. It is how it is hung in the car. I am happy to leave that where it is for what in all possibility could be another two years…. I hope not. Anyway, I need a trip to Rimmer brothers to get a load of gaskets to seal the engine back up. I will be checking the health as I go. I have a feeling I may replace the timing chain as a matter of course. Apparently they stretch a bit. I’ll check the camshaft, lifters, rockers etc. The engine has 100,000 miles on it. Apparently, it is not uncommon to need replacement camshafts at this age. If doing the camshaft, it is best practice to do the lot. If that is the case, I’ll try and find some 4litre  TVR heads, I think people still make them. And if that is the case, I may try to find some forged pistons. As somewhere down the road, it may end up turbocharged. OR if that feels like too much hard work, I may go and find a Chevrolet engine, as it would probably be cheaper.

Anyway, I’ve written plenty.

Still here!

April 23rd, 2014 by john No comments »

So, again, it has been longer than I anticipated, and wanted, between writing a post. Partly due to the fact that I have been out most weeks testing a new driver with Richardson Racing, which means I have had less time than I would like to prepare parts and run them down to the powder coaters. The other reason is I haven’t had the cash to buy everything I need to re-build the axles, basically, I needed roughly £500-600. A quick run down of the things I need; 2x swivel bearing housings; 8x wheel bearings; 4x brake discs; 4x swivel bearings; MANYx paper gaskets; 2x swivel oil seals; 4x axle oil seals; and 4x hub oil seals, I have probably forgotten some things, but you get the idea. Happily, within the next few weeks I will have got all the bits and bobs I need to make some big progress. All I will need to do in the mean time is get the casings blasted and painted. As an aside, I have decided not to powder coat the casings as there is a chance they may distort whilst curing in the oven. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Anyway, as you might imagine, there hasn’t been much progress in the past few weeks. So, in the latter half of the post I have included photos of the Formula Ford after a little off-track excursion.

Right, let’s get on with it.


The above is a picture of one of the radius arms, which connects the front axle to the chassis, it also travels right under the engine. It has an accumulated a nice layer of engine and road grime, as you can see in the picture below.


I spent about 10 minutes an arm with a wire wheel, the gunk went all over the place. But, the radius arms cleaned up quite well.


Not a lot of rust on them at all. Maybe the best way to prevent a component rusting is to leave it under a Rover engine…. Maybe not.


The above shows the radius arms after they had been powder coated, again in satin black (RAL 9005 if you are interested). Below is a close up, I think they look pretty nice. They look all shiny and new.


Below is a photo showing the general colour scheme, the calipers are fairly vivid. At the moment, I am not 100% sure how I will colour each part, but the general colour scheme is nice.


I have also got round to rebuilding my calipers, brand new pistons and seals all round. Below is a picture of a rear caliper, looking like new.


Anyway, unfortunately, that is all the progress I have to report on the Tomcat. It is still progress nonetheless.

So on to the Formula Ford.

The pictures below show the damage.


A very bent lower front wishbone, a slightly bent upper wishbone, a bowed pushrod, and a bent steering adjustment rod.


A snapped front upper wishbone bracket.


A bent front upper wishbone mounting rose joint.


A bent rear upper upper wishbone.


Along with two cracked alloys and a delaminated front wing.


The damage to the front wing only became apparent when it was bent. There was absolutely no structural rigidity to the wing, it was very flexible, which is not right. The photo above shows the rear of the front wing. When bent downward, a gap opened up in the carbon fibre along the point of the trailing edge, presumably where the upper and lower halves of the wing profile are (or were) bonded together. There was also a fine crack on the underside of the wing.

Later I found more damage, which included a split CV boot, a snapped CV tripod bearing retaining ring and a gouged drive flange. Effectively, an entire CV joint that was also damaged beyond repair in the accident. Just for those who are interested, the single most expensive piece was the front wing.

“How did it happen?” I hear you ask. Well, whilst at Snetterton testing, we had told the driver that we would do a race simulation. This means we wanted him to chase a lap time and stick to it for as long as possible. Just when he was getting confident he spun at the final corner and ended up on the grass. In the process of driving back onto the circuit he drove through the grass, so we called him into the pits to check the side pods for grass clippings (of which there were none), as if you don’t remove the grass the engine will overheat (due to blocked radiators), resulting in warped cylinder heads, engine seizure or other catastrophic engine failure mechanisms. We then sent him immediately back out to continue with the simulation. He completed an out-lap, another lap and on his 3rd lap after the first spin, the red flags came out.

The onboard footage revealed that as he went into the first corner, the car twitched a bit, which he caught. In doing so, he ran wide and put two wheels onto the grass, at which point he lifted off and jerked the steering towards the track in an effort to get back on to the track. Unfortunately, the back torque from the engine (engine braking) and the weight transfer forward due to lifting off the throttle, coupled with the lower coefficient of friction on one side and the steering input caused the car to do a complete 360 degree spin, across the track and into the wall. Fortunately, the driver was fine, as was the car… in the grand scheme of things. All the parts of the car that are designed to crumple, crumpled, leaving all the expensive bits (chassis, gearbox casing, driver etc) untouched.

Here are a couple of photos after a couple of hours work:


A new front corner.


A partially new rear corner.

Wishbone crumple zones

The above picture shows the various ways these wishbones have been designed with the safety of the driver in mind.

Some of the points above are obvious, like routing the brake pipe inside the wishbone. This protects the pipe, which prevents the pipe rupturing and loss of braking as a result. Additionally, there are dual brake circuits (two master cylinders), one for the front and one for the rear.

The check strap is a kevlar re-inforced rope, its purpose is to prevent the wheel and hub assembly bouncing down the road should they get knocked off in a crash, preventing accidents such as the one that killed Henry Surtees. The length of the rope is such that the is very little to no slack along the length of it, i.e.: there is just enough rope to reach and secure the hub, and no more. This means there is a clearly defined spherical voulme within which the wheel will be able to move, obviously this should be nowhere near the driver (or any other driver/marshall/spectator for that matter). Again, it becomes obvious to see that the eyelets are there to prevent the rope getting damaged (by holding it still).

The side intrusion bars are obvious as well. If the wheels/suspension assembly is hit in such a way that both inboard mounting points snap so that the wishbones move inward towards the chassis, the movement through the chassis is stopped by the intrusion rails banging into one of the chassis’ main bulk head hoops. This significantly lessesn the chance of impaling the driver.

The mounting brackets that hold the wishbones to the chassis/gearbox are all made of Aluminium. The wishbones are steel, and the chassis is steel (the gearbox casing is cast Aluminium). Aluminium is a weaker, less tough material than steel for the same physical dimensions. So, we can logically assume that the brackets have been designed to break upon a large enough impact. This is for two reasons: 1) to isolate the driver from the impact, by removing load pathways into the chassis. 2) to protect the expensive parts of the car from damage. The expensive parts being the chassis and gearbox casing. With that being said, in the case of a perfect side impact (one were the car is stationary and something runs into the wheel), chances are the brackets wouldn’t snap, as they are butted up to the chassis and have more material on the chassis side. Not to mention the wishbones only have a few mm of travel before they hit solid metal. They are designed to break away in the most likely case, which will be wheel to wheel contact in a braking zone.

At the inboard mounting points of the wishbones, there are some necked regions. They are necked in the xy and xz planes.

Wishbone ends.jpg

If you assume the face we are looking at is the XZ plane, then the XY plane would go into the screen. The smallest cross-section of the wishbone is shown by the blue line, the necked region is shown by the two red dotted lines. The wishbone has a bend into the screen as denoted by the cracked paint (the surface we are looking at has been subjected to the highest tensile stress of the bend, which has stretched the paint and cracked it off). The bend has occured at the point of minimum cross-section. So, again, you can logically assume the neck is there as a bend initiation point. The only reasons I can think of are either: to absorb crash energy, reducing the loading travelling into the mounting bracket (and hence chassis); or to bend the rose joint so as to lessen the chances of it reaching the driver (in the case of cockpit penetration); there is also the possibility that you could cut the end off the wishbone and weld on a new rose joint (obviously after some fairly thorough NDT).

The final point is that the wishbone bent as opposed to snapped. From this we can deduce that the material used is very ductile, whilst still being very strong. Obviously this is a massive plus as it means that no sharp edges are created in the crash.

Stress-strain graph

The graph above shows the tensile stress/strain graph for a typical ductile material. A few things should be noted from this graph line OA is the elastic region of a material, whereby the material acts like a spring and obeys a Hooke’s law (F=kx) type relationship. Applying the equation of a straight line to the linear portion, y=mx+c, setting y=stress, x=strain, m=Young’s modulus of elasticity (E) and c=0. We get stress “equals” Young’s modulus of elasticity “multiplied by” strain. It can then be seen that the Young’s modulus of elasticity is the stiffness of the material and is analagous to the spring stiffness. This means any force applied to the material (as long as it is within the linear range) will cause the material to stretch. When the force is removed, the material will shrink back to it’s original length.

Point A is defined as the yield strength, i.e.: if you apply additional force, the material will stretch, but it will not return to it’s original length. The material is said to be plastically deformed, thus the yield stress can be described as the stress above which plastic deformation will occur instantaneously. Generally speaking, in engineering terms, if the yield stress is exceeded, the part is thought to have failed. Therefore, components are designed such that the design stress is below the yield stress (usually, but not always).

Right, with that said, we know that the wishbones are extremely ductile, since they didn’t snap during an impact with the barriers (they will permanently bend). During the impact, work is done on the material, i.e.: a force is applied, and the material moves a certain distance. Remembering that “work” is a mechanism of exhanging energy, therefore, energy is transferred to and stored by the wishbone as potential energy. If this happpens in the elastic region, the energy is stored for as long as the force is applied (as above). If this happens in the plastic region, the material is permanently deformed, and the potential energy is converted to heat (by the work done against the internal friction of the wishbone) and noise.

Relating this back to the graph, the area under the graph for force vs extension gives the amount of energy absorbed by the wishbone for the given elongation. The area under a stress vs strain graph gives the amount of energy absorbed per unit volume for the given strain. It would be prudent at this stage to introduce the concept of toughness, which is defined as the amount of energy a material can absorb before fracture. Since the material stores and returns the energy in the elastic region, the energy is not absorbed. Thus the toughness of a material can be defined as the area ABCDE on the graph above, as the energy that is used to permanently deform a material cannot be retreived.

So using all the information above, we can guess that to achieve the results we want (wishbones that bend and don’t snap), we must use a material that is very tough. And for a material to qualify as tough it has to have a high yield stress (i.e.: be very strong), while being able to withstand large amounts of permanent deformation before it fractures (i.e.: be very ductile).

Relating all this back to the car, the necking on the wishbones, the break away mounting brackets and the material of the wishbone, all serve to minimise the effect of a crash by absorbing as much of the energy involved as possible. They do this by bending permanently. It is logical to assume that the suspension arms themselves are designed as crumple zones. They are not crumple zones in the truest form of the word, as crumple zones seek to minimise the acceleration (or deceleration) of a crash by deforming at a desired/optimum rate. I doubt the suspension would do that, as there are too many failure modes that a suspension system poentially has to deal with, but they would certainly absorb some of the energy in a crash. Although having said that, the suspension does have the same down side as a crumple zone, being that a lot of damage is caused for a relatively minor bump.

I find it amazing that so much thought and work goes into something that is as simple as a wishbone. I mean, the above discussion only deals with the safety aspect. There are many other aspects to it, including how to manufacture the things, the performance (weight, shape, size, geometry, resultant suspension geometry etc), the cost etc etc.

Anyway, enough wittering on about wishbones. Next time I will hopefully have a lot more progress to show off. Until then….

Odd jobs and Cleaning: Part 2

February 20th, 2014 by john No comments »

It has been too long since my last post. I do have an excuse, I have been very busy or at least it has felt like I have been busy. My time has been split between this:


My Tomcat, some other bits and pieces and worrying about the weather. But mostly I have been worrying about the weather, and in particular the wind. To be 100% precise I have been worrying about how gale force wind affects a 7.3m X 3.7m X 2.5m tent (kite). Whilst the South-West has been getting drowned, we have been getting blown away. Here are a few of the measures I took to keep the tent where it should be.


First off I drilled eyelets into the concrete and tied them to the frame. Stupidly, I left a small amount of slack in the rope. The whole tent moved and lifted off the ground.


Next step. I tied 35kg breeze blocks to each side of the seven portals in the tent. No change, the whole thing was still moving around.


Next step. I laid a piece of wood across the legs of the end portals, then loaded that up with paving slabs. It stopped the tent lifting at the ends.


The last thing I did to ensure that the tent stayed in my postcode was to tie a rope around the peak of the frame and run the rope outside to some very deep ground anchors. The middle of the tent stopped lifting. If the tent blew away after that so be it.

Basically I took the photos to cover my behind to prove, that if it did blow away and do damage to someone’s house, that I did take every reasonable step to prevent it happening. I am pretty sure my brain exhausted it’s whole supply of worry/stress chemicals, as at the end of the first day I did not give a stuff whether the tent stayed or not. Anyway, the tent survived, surprisingly it isn’t too badly bent either. It is still standing, when the next bout of high winds comes, I don’t know… we’ll see, I may have to make some more thorough fortifications.

Anyway, moving on.

In between the last post and this one, the Tomcat has taken a large leap forward. Namely, I got my frame!


Here is the (un-painted) finished article. I got the go ahead from Paul at about 1pm to go and paint it. I thought it would be a fairly quick job to do, a couple of hours at the most. In the end, it took me nearly 5 hours to paint it, I ended up painting it in the dark. Mind you, I hand painted it, if I had used some aerosols, I’m sure it would’ve been quicker. So just a word to the wise. If you intend to paint it before you travel with it, get there in plenty of time. Also, I used roughly 3 litres of paint.

The paint I used was just a primer (to rust proof it until I complete it, at which point I will have it powder coated), but it was nasty stuff. All the warning signs on the side were basically telling me I would die if I used it. It was really horrible. I got a small drop on my face whilst painting the underside, it started to burn. But then the paint contained things like Zinc Phosphate so why am I surprised. Anyway, I chose this particular paint for it’s high Zinc content, in the hope that the paint will provide a bit of cathodic protection. I.e.: the paint will become the anode and corrode preferentially over the steel of the skeleton (due to the differences in electrode potential between Iron and Zinc) a la a battery. However, I pity whoever has to sand blast this back to bare metal when I get it powder coated, as I don’t think the paint will come of easily.

Unfortunately, due to the failing light, I didn’t manage to get a photo of sufficient quality to show you the painted frame. So I had to wait until a week later when Dad was free to go and pick it up (I really must get round to taking the trailer test).


So here is the obvious photo of me sat in it, putting on a brave face, after Paul kindly put it on the trailer for me. As you can see the car is rust brown at the moment. It isn’t very becoming, but it’ll do as a sacrificial coat to keep the metal covered. After the short drive home, again unfortunately due to failing light I had to get it off the trailer quickly. I’d like to thank Fred, from the Chamberlin Bros farm, for coming over and moving the frame to where it now sits, so Thanks Fred!

So now, I think it’s time for a shim update. You may recall I put some shims in vinegar to see if it would remove the rust that was on them. Well now they have been in vinegar for a month.


I took them out and dried them off. There has been some improvement. I must say I won’t be using vinegar to de-rust anything else. It does work, just not in a timescale that is of any use.


Some of the shims are looking a bit dog-eared, I’ll throw those away. The rest are fine with little to no rust left, all in all the shims are ready for (re)use. I am getting close to re-building the axles, I just need to sit down and order the necessary parts from Brit-part. Speaking of which, I finally got round to cleaning the swivel bearing housings.


This is the passenger side swivel bearing housing. This one was leaking. Presumably, a combination of rust in the seal seat and some grit caught between the swivel and oil seal have caused the swivel to start leaking. I cannot therefore re-use this, so bin.


The above picture is the driver’s side swivel bearing housing. It is a lot worse than the passenger side. This one had leaked, as in there wasn’t much grease left in it. So much for Teflon being a much better coating than the chrome. This swivel bearing housing is showing nigh-on identical damage to the chrome ones from the spare axle. I was undecided about buying new swivel bearing housings, but seeing them made the decision for me. Both of them are unusable. (Apologies for the poor quality photos, I had to turn the flash off otherwise the photos were just blurry light.)

Anyway, they are just another thing to add to my list for the axles.

So, moving on. In the previous part, I gave the swivel pin housings a clean up and was at the stage of deciding what to do with them. Here is a reminder of the condition they were in:


Well, they were cleaner than that when I finished them, I just don’t have photos to prove it. Whilst deciding what to do with them, a powder coaters opened up down the road from me. I took the swivel pin housings and various other parts to see what he thought. Long story short, he gave me a good deal as I was his first customer. Here are what my swivel pin housings look like now (well the drivers side one anyway):


The colour is satin black. I have decided on a colour scheme of matt black, gloss black with green highlights.



The mating faces still need a bit of work to clean them right up, but overall, really chuffed. I have dropped off my brake calipers to be blasted and coated in a green colour. I’m looking forward to seeing what they turn out like. The rest of the axles and suspension are going to be satin black, except the Panhard rod, which will be green like the calipers. I have the radius arms, rear trailing arms, A-frame, steering arm and spring platforms to go.

With that in mind, I ordered a bush pulling kit to get on with preparing the above for powder coating.


The kit starts at 44mm, and goes up in 2mm increments to 100mm. Not much use for the bushes on the rear trailing arms which are 24mm, but there you go. I tried it out on the radius arms, I wouldn’t call it easy (it is, however, easier than pressing the bushes out with your thumbs would be), but it does the job.


Here are the bushes in question, a pair of 51 or 52mm sleeved rubber bushes. They are pretty much your standard issue bush.


Here is the puller set up. It is really easy to do. Just make sure that on the side the bush moves to the cup is large enough to engulf the bush.  I also used the thickest threaded rod I could fit through the bush without forcing it. Easy as that.


This is the set-up I used, as I don’t have a bench, or a vice. I used the breaker bar as a lock against the floor and wound the nut with a ring spanner. As you can see the bush is half out.


Here are both bushes out. They probably haven’t been changed in a while, and the one on the right looks slightly oval. Although, I think that is just an optical illusion (it is, I just went and measured them, they all hover around 50.50mm to 50.60mm in every direction I measured). The radius arm just needs a degrease and clean up, and it’s off to the powder coaters.

Anyway, that about wraps up my progress over the last month. Not as much as I’d like, but hey there’s always next month.

Odd jobs and Cleaning: Part 1

January 26th, 2014 by john No comments »

Happy New Year everybody, I hope you all had as enjoyable and non-productive a time as I did over the Christmas period.

It has been a while since the last post. I have been doing plenty of smaller jobs, which were repetitive and involved lots of cleaning. So I have only really just got enough content together to fill a blog post without it being ridiculously boring, so here is just a moderately boring post.

Thus far I have cleaned: axle casings (3x); final drive housings (2x); stub axles (4x, more to go); spring platforms (4x, more to go). None of those involved anything more interesting than painting on some de-greaser and blitzing off the thick gunk with a wire wheel, it was pretty messy so I don’t have any pictures either. Moving on.

Here we have a hub assembly, contents are a very pitted brake disc, 2x wheel bearings, a hub, an oil seal and some 14mm double-hex bolts.


Here is the rear of the hub, it’s a very simple thing. You can see the rear of the brake disc is more pitted than the front, if possible. The Land Rover service manual states that 13mm is the minimum thickness the disc can be. I suspect that if I machined the pits from the disc it would be less than that, not to mention I would have to either find or build a lathe to do it. Doing so would cost more than the £35 to replace the disc, so frankly there is no point, so it’s going in the bin.


I couldn’t pull the oil seal out as the seal and the hub had corroded together, so I just moved on to knocking the wheel bearings out. If you haven’t got a bearing puller (which I haven’t) a hammer and chisel will suffice. Place the chisel squarely on the outer race and hit it with a hammer. Because the bearing is interference fit the tolerances between the bearing outer race and the hub are very tight, in fact there is almost no tolerance for distortion in either the race or the hub. The hub has a shallow taper to allow self-centring of the bearing as it is driven in (it also reduces the effort required to drive it in), damage to this could cause the bearing race to be seated incorrectly when re-fitting. This would inevitably lead to premature failure of the bearings. To minimise the risk of damage to hub, I knocked the bearing out using the uniform pattern of North, South, East, West.


I then flipped the hub over and did the same for the other bearing race.


Voila, as you can see the oil seal (on the left) also came out.


I don’t think I would like to remove the bearings after having removed the brake disc. The brake disc just gave the hub a nice wide base so no accidents occurred. So when it comes to putting the hubs back together, I will put a disc on first then…. Having just written that, in hindsight, it would have been better to just leave the old discs on until I had put new bearings in. Oh well.

Anyway, to take the disc off it was just a simple case of removing the 14mm double-hex bolts.


This is the method I used:


A wrecking bar through the wheel studs, I put my foot on the wrecking bar whilst using the breaker bar to undo the bolts.

Finally, it’s just a case of knocking the disc from the hub (hit the disc only). Again, the disc is on a taper, so hit the disc where the smallest gap between the two is.


Done, one disc and one hub.


Repeat 7 more times!!

After having blunted my chisel by removing 16 wheel bearings, I cleaned one up to to have a look at the state of play.

As you can see from the picture below, clearly the metal in the outer race is very hard as there are no indentations on the surface from where I put the chisel.


There are many types of bearing, the Discovery wheel bearings as well as most other wheel bearings are examples of tapered roller bearings. Where cylindrical roller bearings can only take radial loads or thrust bearings can only take axial loads, a tapered roller bearing can accept both. The angle of the taper gives a rough indication of the relative magnitudes of the radial and axial loads. For instance a tapered bearing that more closely resembles a cylindrical roller bearing (such as this bearing), means radial loads are larger than the axial loads. The radial loads in the case of wheel bearings are the weight of the car, road surface inputs, acceleration/deceleration, weight transfer when cornering or a combination of the above. The axial loads arise from centripetal acceleration the car experiences when cornering, which in turn is proportional to the square of the tangential velocity.

We can corroborate the above by looking at the Discovery and it’s bearing arrangement. The Discovery has two bearings per wheel**, which is an indicator that the weight of the car is high, or the bearing loads are high due to a large wheel off-set.  Anyway, the Discovery is a heavy car (c. 2.2 tonnes) and isn’t sporty, so can’t go round corners particularly fast. Radial loads can therefore be expected to be quite high, while axial loads will be low, relatively speaking. Putting some rough numbers to these, the car experiences 1g vertically whilst sat still, and would probably struggle to achieve more than 0.5-0.6g laterally whilst going round a corner. However, whilst going round the corner weight is transferred to the outside wheels increasing vertical loads on those wheels and bearings. Also, since the bearings are inboard of where the wheel mounts on the hub, a moment will be generated about the outer bearing effectively loading up the inner bearing more. So it may be fair to estimate that the radial load rating on these bearings is roughly twice the axial load rating.

**Bearings are not necessarily always of bespoke design, most of the time it is cheaper to look up bearings in a catalogue to find the appropriately sized bearing for the application (after having completed the requisite calculations). It would be possible to find a single bearing that is capable of withstanding the design loads, but it would probably be quite large in size. Which means large hubs, large brake discs, increased un-sprung mass, increased moment of inertia of rotational parts, which then requires the engine to produce more torque to accelerate the car at the desired rate etc etc.


The picture below shows the mounting face of the inner race. There is scoring on the face, which indicates that it has been spinning on the stub axle (the correct term for this is smearing I believe). This is not ideal, and is probably caused by the interference fit between the stub axle and the bearing being a bit loose. This in turn possibly implicates the stub axle as potentially being faulty, so I’ll need to measure the stub axle to make sure it is within tolerance.


The picture below shows the outer race, there is definite banding on the race. In the centre of the bearing track, there is a very polished strip, which is flanked on either side by brownish bands. There are also some faint markings created by the rollers.


You can sort of see everything in the above picture, I took another photo and played with the brightness and contrast. It shows up some of the defects more clearly.

Bearing wear 3

The shiny band in the centre is caused by metal on metal contact, which is caused by lack of lubrication. The brownish hue has probably been caused by the heat of friction caused by metal on metal contact, again due to lack of lubrication. The small marks on the left are pits due to dirt that has come between the rollers and the race. As the roller has run over the dirt, it has largely increased the contact stress on the race (due to the small contact area of the piece of dirt) causing an indent. The faint lines highlighted on the right have been caused by the rollers themselves. It is an example of Brinelling (the process of indenting a hardened surface). The indents are possibly a result of impact damage to the bearing, or as a result of the car not moving for a while. Either way, the bearing is starting to show signs of impending failure. I haven’t checked the other 15, but I may do now after having looked at this one. I may find something even more interesting. Just as a final point, I took this bearing from one of the spare axles I had, so it has been sat un-used for a few years.

I think that’ll do for bearings for now.

Another job I have done is to strip down the swivel pin housings and give them a bit of a clean up. The picture below shows the passenger side swivel pin housing and stub axle.


As you can see it is quite grimy. There is also a fair bit of rust on it.


There is some congealed grease inside it, but most of the grease has ended up on the outside.

Leaking swivel

I haven’t yet checked the swivel bearing housing thoroughly yet to know if that caused the seal to perish. So for now, I am going to blame it on rust in the seal seat.

Anyway, to disassemble the pin housing, start by taking the bearing off the top pin. Then remove the top pin and shims. Keep the shims, as it is useful to have a good selection for when you re-build the swivels.


Then remove the backing plate by undoing the 19mm nut which is on the lock stop bolt and the 8mm bolt at the base of the housing.

Lock stop

I am undecided whether or not I will put the backing plate back on. In all honesty, I probably won’t bother.

The next job is to remove the bottom pin, which is held in by two T40 Torx head bolts (don’t forget the various filler/drain plugs of which there maybe 3 or 1 depending on the age of your axles). Here is everything laid out.


After a fairly thorough degrease, we can get an idea of the level of rust on the housing. As you can see, there is a fair amount, although it looks worse than it is. The picture below shows the area around the filler plug.


This photo shows the area around the bottom pin. The best tools for the job (or the tools that I used for getting the worst off) were a drill with a wire wheel attachment and a hammer/chisel. The hammer is good for fracturing the rust away, whilst the wire wheel is good for buffing off after using the hammer.


Here is a picture after about 10 minutes work. Again the first is around the filler plug.


The second is around the bottom pin hole. Not too bad.


It isn’t finished yet, but when I am happy that I have got all the flaky stuff off, I will soak it in a rust remover for a while to remove the rest. Then it will be ready for painting. I will go for something chip resistant for definite, although I am not sure on the colour yet. I will also probably wait to paint it until I have got my tent up, so I can set up a drying area inside it.

I also conducted a little experiment with some vinegar to see how well it removed rust. I dropped the shims into some vinegar and left them to stand. The picture below is after 24hours… The vinegar did not really do a whole lot in that time frame.


Below is a picture after 36 hours and some sand papering. The vinegar clearly loosened the rust as it took no effort to remove most of it.


Finally, I took a trip to Tomcat to see some progress. Here are a few of the photos I took. The skeleton is partially welded on.


It is still awaiting it’s rear cross-member, but it is looking likely that it will be coming home very soon.


Anyway, I think I should wrap up now. Next time will be a continuation of cleaning things up and preparing for the re-build. I might even have got my frame by then as well. It is getting exciting!

Rear Axle

December 17th, 2013 by john No comments »

Moving on from the previous post about the front axle, we arrive here, at the rear axle as promised.

Again, as with the front axle, I had to remove all the braking and suspension components. This obviously includes the spring platforms, dampers, brake calipers and the A-frame. All the bolts were rusty as with the front axle. However, this time I was prepared. I used a combination of 1600 Celsius blow torch, and –40 Celsius freezer spray. It really made (almost) everything easy to undo, I did have to use a few other techniques to remove some things. But for the most part the fire/ freeze method worked.


So onto the axle.


You can see clearly how the rear brakes are connected, a simple T piece. This means that the Disco’ doesn’t brake opposite corners as with most other cars. It has individual circuits for the front wheels and a single circuit for the rears. This means should the worst come to the worst and the rear line breaks somewhere ahead of the T piece, you lose all rear braking. However the handbrake could be used instead. Although, saying that, there is only one master cylinder. That means all fluid has one original pressure source, which means the car only really has a single circuit.

Below are a couple of pictures after I removed the dampers, spring platforms and brake calipers. I removed the dampers using a nut splitter, as you can see one of them is a bit bent.


The only thing left to remove was the A-frame, which is obscured by the axle as it was upside down when the picture was taken.



The A-frame is connected to the axle by a ball joint, which is secured by a 30mm king nut and split pin, oh joy! All the fun of a rusted split pin in a very confined space, super! I took the easy route and just cut it off and used a nail punch to remove the legs. Now for the nut, because it was in such a confined space, the only thing I could fit on it was a 30mm spanner. This meant I couldn’t get enough torque on the nut to undo it.


So, I drilled the edge of the nut and used a chisel to split the nut, after which it came out by hand.


As an aside here is the seized bush, it is ruined. The inner metal ring of the bush had rusted to the bolt rendering the bolt immobile. This meant I would not have been able to remove the A-frame from the chassis without cutting the bolt. I won’t be able to remove the bush without a hydraulic press, unless I drill a large hole through the bolt.


Below is a picture of the axle after I removed all the external parts.



So now is the part of the walkthrough that is  important.

Pre-preparation: Drain the axle of its oil. As before note the colour of the oil. There is a chance that if you do any off-roading, in deep water particularly, the oil will be water contaminated. It will be white and a bit frothy, or if the oil has been contaminated for a long time will be mixed with rust, and be rust coloured and frothy. This is the reason you should check the colour of your diff oil after every deep water session. As it happens, the colour of my oil was a deep black, indicating it was time for a change anyway. There were no silver particles either so, I’m fairly happy.

Step 1: undo the 17mm axle bolts (5x).


Step 2: pull the axle shaft out from the axle.



Step 3: bend the locking tab away from the 52mm locking nut and remove both.


Step 3: remove the 52mm hub adjusting nut and spacer.


This reveals one of the two wheel bearings behind the hub. As you can see the grease has seen a lot of mileage, it is contaminated and there also isn’t much left in there either. At the very least it requires a re-grease.


Step 4: pull the hub from the stub axle. In the picture below you can see where the bearing sat on the stub axle.


Step 5: put an oil receptacle under the stub axle. Undo the 17mm stub axle bolts (6x).


Step 6: remove the stub axle.



Repeat for the other side.

Step 7: undo the 15mm final drive housing nuts (10x), and remove the final drive unit in the same way as the front axle.

Finally, wrap up the open ends of the axle and put it away ready for sand blasting. This rear axle is in a worse state than the front axle, mostly because the front axle is sat under the engine, and this being a rover engine has a few leaky bits. But in all honesty, it isn’t really that bad.


Not like the spare axle casing which is toast. There are more than a few holes in it.



At this point, I thought it would be interesting to show you my brake calipers. On the front, they are 4 piston calipers, and on the rear they are 2 piston calipers. They are surprisingly high spec for your average road car, which tend to have sliding calipers. You would tend to find similar calipers on fairly sporty cars, such as a Porsche Boxster. They were manufactured by AP Lockheed a.k.a. AP Racing. They have 4 quite large pistons, which means a large, fairly uniform contact area on the pads. Which in turn means the pad is pressed more evenly onto the disc (than a single piston caliper, which will tend to bend the pad slightly), which mean a greater area of the pad is used against the disc and results in a larger stopping force for the same pedal input (with everything else being assumed to be equal). Having multiple opposed piston calipers allows for larger brake pads as well, which means heat is dissipated more quickly (as a larger surface area can absorb/ dissipate more heat than a smaller one). This results in a braking system that is more resistant to brake fade over a series of heavy braking situations than a sliding caliper (in general). Which is a plus on the Disco’, as the discs are not ventilated.

These brakes are good, but not the best. They are bolted together rather than being mono-block. So when I brake (simplifying the problem down by ignoring all material deformation, mechanical or thermodynamic, heat transfer and friction, and assuming a completely incompressible hydraulic fluid), the pistons press the pads onto the disc, which exerts an equal and opposite force on the pistons. This equal and opposite force will try and force the caliper apart, which is prevented from happening by the caliper bolts. Caliper bolts will not be as good as taking the load as a much larger cross-section of uniform material, as in a mono-block caliper. In the real world, the bolts are a source of loss of efficiency of the calipers.



However good/ not good calipers are theoretically, it doesn’t change the fact that my calipers don’t actually work. At least not as they should, some of the pistons are seized. They could do with a rebuild, which is what I am going to do. Probably new pistons (dependent on condition), new seals and new bolts (maybe), as well as a de-rust and fresh coat of heat resistant paint. Ideally, I would like them as new, we’ll see how long my patience holds up whilst doing this, I have 8 to do. As long as I end up with a working set I won’t be too unhappy.

Anyway, that is it for another edition. I have lots to be getting on with, like removing thousands of bushes, sand-blasting lots of things and rebuilding these calipers (and eventually axles). Cheerio.

Front Axle

December 16th, 2013 by john No comments »

So, it has been a while since my last update, it is practically Christmas. I have been busy stripping and cataloguing all four of my axles. I have decided to make this a little bit of a walkthrough, that way it is very obvious, when I get back round to rebuilding them, where everything goes. As a result, I will write about the front and rear axles separately as there are a lot of pictures. I apologise if it’s a bit tedious, but stick with me.


The first port of call is to strip the axle of its suspension and braking components. It basically took me a whole day to get everything off. For a start, the last person to put the wheels on had done up the wheel nuts so tight, I couldn’t remove them with an impact gun. I only just managed to remove them with a 60cm breaker bar whilst jumping on it. Now I weigh about 100kg, so that puts the tightening torque at roughly 590Nm or in other words more torque than a 2005 BMW M6 produces (520Nm). That sort of set the tone for the rest of the day really. Frustrating didn’t really cover it. The damper nuts were badly corroded, and I broke my 8mm spanner trying to stop them spinning. In the end I used an old fabric oil filter remover and a 1600degree flame (not ideal on something that can burst/ explode if too much pressure builds up) to remove the securing nuts (I couldn’t get a nut splitter onto them). The steering damper was much the same. The track rod ends were corroded, and getting corroded split pins out from between the crenellations is no fun, so I just cut them off, then used a long breaker bar to twist the nuts off. When it came to brake calipers, clearly the same person who tightened the wheel nuts tightened the calipers up. It took two people to undo the calipers, one to hold the axle still with a wrecking bar, whilst the other jumped up and down on a breaker bar.

Anyway, that’s the whining over and done with. I did eventually get everything off and put into the barn, where I will rebuild/repaint/throw away (delete as appropriate). So here we go with the main point of the post.

Pre-preparation, drain the axle of its oil. Whilst it is draining take note of the colour of the oil, mine was thick blue/black and had some lumps in it. Importantly there were no silver shavings/particles coming out. Indicating before I have even dismantled anything that the internal oil seals are dead and the diff oil has mixed with the swivel grease, but the gears should be in good nick. The actual colour is somewhere between golden syrup and black treacle.

Step 1: remove the rubber dust cap on the end of the axle shaft.


This reveals a cir-clip and several shims (VERY important not to lose those) which control/ set the end float on the axle shaft.


Step 2: remove the cir-clip using either: cir-clip pliers (easy) or needle nose pliers (hard) and some sort of lever. Remove the shims (3x)


Step 3: undo the 17mm drive flange bolts (5x).


As you can see, the drive flange is splined to the axle shaft, and is bolted to the hub. This obviously is then connects to the wheel. I.e.: axle turns drive flange, drive flange turns hub, hub turns wheel, wheel moves car.


Step 4: bend the locking tab away from the locking nut. Undo the 52mm locking nut and remove.


Step 5: undo the hub adjusting nut. This nut adjust the pre-load on the wheel bearings. Too tight the wheel bearings heat up, lose lubrication, wear quickly and fail. Too loose the hub can move around (Goldilocks springs to mind) the wheel bearings will take non-uniform loads, and may fail.


Step 6: remove the hub and brake disc assembly from the stub axle.


Step 7: place an oil receptacle under the swivel housing. Undo the the 17mm stub axle bolts (6x).


This reveals the axle shaft.

Step 8: straighten the swivel housing. Remove the shaft. Also remove the paper gasket from the mating face.



Lather, rinse, repeat for the other side.

Step 9: undo and remove the 15mm final drive housing nuts (10x).


Step 10: using a hammer and a block of wood, hit the housing in various directions to split the casings.


Step 11: use a soft, flat bladed tool to work the housing down the studs. Remove housing using care, it is the heaviest part of the axle weighing in at somewhere between 30 and 40kg (estimated).


This reveals the differential, crown wheel it’s driving pinion. I have to admit, it is quite a beautiful piece of work.

Step 12: turn the swivel pin housing onto the lock stop, undo the 8mm bolts holding the oil seal retaining plate and washer.


Step 13: remove the oil seal.


Step 14: on top of the swivel pin housing, remove the top swivel pin by removing the 17mm securing bolts (2x). Take care not to lose any shims (3x).


Step 15: remove the swivel housing. Lift the swivel housing up and then rotate the top of the housing towards the ground.


Again lather, rinse repeat for the other side.

At this point, we can check the state of our swivels thoroughly. As you can see from the below picture mine are toast. The picture immediately below is the drivers side bearing housing. Stones have chipped away the chrome finish, this has allowed rust to form on the un-protected steel underneath, which then undercuts the chrome coating which then cracks off. Vicious circle.


The passenger side is worse (below). This has a knock on effect of shredding the edges of the oil seal.


The results of which can be seen below. This is the passenger side swivel pin housing. You can see the colour, immediately indicative of rust mixed with what little grease there was left in the housing. The top bearing (left in the picture) has either corroded and destroyed itself, or seized and been destroyed when I started moving it.


Here is what I scavenged from the swivel pin housing. A bearing cage, but not a complete complement of rollers. We are about four short, goodness only knows where they have gone.


In any case, it doesn’t matter, I cannot re-use that and nor would I want to.

Returning to the problem at hand, I had to remove the swivel bearing housing. The problem with these is that they are a double hex 14mm bolt, or at least were, mine were corroded and some were rounded (they were around 13.5mm there isn’t even an imperial size that fits). Additionally, there isn’t enough room to use a socket and ratchet. So, I used my most favourite of implements, an angle grinder. You can see the results below.


I trimmed the heads off, and then set about regrinding the studs to roughly hexagonal. My plan was to use a rounded nut removal socket. But I got over zealous with the angle grinder and started to gouge the mating faces.


Not great work. I may be able to save the axle casing if I shave a millimetre or two from the case and then make a shim using a paper gasket between each mating face. Other wise this will probably be a permanently leaking axle. Basically I am saying don’t do this if you can avoid it.

It is at this point I should also say that this is my spare axle. This axle came from the frame I took to Tomcat Motorsport, a 1993 300TDI. It has had an extra 5 years (or so) of grief compared to my V8 Disco’, so everything was that much more corroded and more difficult to remove.

So I guess I have been caught out. The above walkthrough is from my spare axle (barring the first picture and paragraph). I guess I should add some small print that says enhanced in post production or something of that ilk. The dis-assembly of my V8 Disco’ axles went off without a hitch (well apart from the first paragraph). I removed the swivel bearing housing using a 14mm spanner and a 5lb lump hammer. Both swivel bearing housings are Teflon coated, so no rust on them. However the passenger side swivel was leaking quite badly. It also looks as though someone tightened up the hub nuts too much and the wheel bearings over heated, the grease was like earwax. This was  perhaps to hide the fact that they wheel bearings were knackered, either way it it was the cause or effect of knackered wheel bearings. Anyway, the axle casing is now waiting for sand blasting and re-painting. I am going to be putting fresh bearings and seals throughout so I effectively have a brand new axle.

The next update will contain a walkthrough of the rear axle. This will be very much shorter, as there is a lot less to it. Until next time.

Dis-assembly: Complete(ish)

November 26th, 2013 by john No comments »

In the time between writing the last blog entry and actually removing the engine I spent the time worrying about where I would put the engine, and a method of getting it there. The Barn was full of car interior and other gubbins, there’s no way I would leave it outside, so I needed a plan that allowed me to get the engine indoors somewhere. I had originally booked Rob to come round with the JCB on the Friday, for a half-day or so, to remove the engine and put the body on the trailer. I agreed with him to instead bring the JCB after hours to stick the body on the trailer. That way I could then fill the body with the interior and take it to the dump. So late on Friday night, Rob and I loaded the body onto the trailer.

IMAG0205 (clean)

This shot (for some reason) reminds me of the opening scene in Jurassic Park where a crate, containing a Velociraptor, is being loaded into a cage.



The preceding images are on the morning after. To strap the car down, I cut holes in the wheel wells and through the front bulkhead, then fed ratchet straps through the doors and back out of the wheel wells. If the body wasn’t scrap before it certainly was after that, as it started to bend any which way the wind was blowing.

Getting the car body to the dump was a bit of a logistical challenge. The scrap dealer was only open until 12 on Saturday. Mum also wanted the Range Rover to take the horses out for a ride at half 9. I got in the car with Mum and  went to the  riding stables, where I un-hitched the car and drove it back home. It was now 10:20. It was a race against time to get hitched up to the car trailer, drive to the scrap dealer, get weighed, unloaded and re-weighed, then sign some paperwork, drive home, park and un-hitch the trailer and finally drive the Range Rover back to the riding stables before 12. Needless to say, I didn’t manage to get back on time (sorry Mum). I was only about 20 minutes late, but there we go.

The take home message of that little story is: The body is scrapped, there’s now space for the engine.

Notice how space in-efficient the interior is when you just chuck it in the car. There really isn’t much space to sit.


When we arrived at the scrapyard, the guy driving the forklift simply smashed in the windows and hoisted the body away.

So on to engine removal. It took longer than anticipated to remove the engine. I had removed all the bolts I highlighted in the last post, except the four holding the engine and gearbox(s) to the chassis. Partly because I didn’t want the engine to fall out, but mostly because I didn’t have any 18mm spanners (of which you require two, as a ratchet won’t fit around the engine mounts) and couldn’t have removed them even if I wanted to. Also, a rubber fuel pipe had welded itself to the fuel rail, I didn’t really want to damage it so tried many things to remove it. All were a waste of time, due to failing light and having exhausted all other avenues (and my patience) I cut it off.  After that, it all went rather swimmingly. The engine had a lifting eye on it, so Rob and I put a chain through it, then wrapped a lifting strap round the gearbox.


The engine just lifted away.



IMAG0234 (clean)

Rob masterfully lifted the engine over the fence and slid the boom through the gate.


Where I was waiting with my home-made pallet, to which I ratchet strapped it. Rob, my Dad and I then pushed the engine into the barn. Lovely job.

In the week following the engine removal, I disconnected the rear dampers and removed: the front suspension turrets (and disconnected the front dampers), the steering box, steering linkage, the Panhard rod, the exhaust downpipe (with cats) and the front anti-roll bar. After removing all of those parts, the chassis looked like this.

Axle bolts

Quite bare. The last bits on the chassis are: the axles and suspension, the centre and rear silencer, the rear bumper and tow bar and the negative battery terminal. The red dots in the above photo denote the remaining bolts that hold the front axle to the chassis (around 26mm). The blue dots are the A-frame bolts (29mm). The green dots are the rear trailing arm bolts (around 26mm) or you can remove the rear trailing arm by unscrewing the three bolts (around 17mm) that hold the bush and hence the arm to the chassis.


I started by removing the A-frame bolts, the left-hand bolt came out without any trouble. The right-hand bolt on the other hand was bothersome. The bush had rusted to the bolt, which in turn made it practically impossible to unscrew the bolt. I used my breaker bar to delaminate the bush (I almost broke my breaker bar in the process). It at least made it possible to wind off the nut and open out the mounting bracket. I cut the bracket to allow access to the bolt and then with a combination of angle grinder and hack-saw cut the bolt. The A-frame then dropped free.



With the A-frame undone I jacked up the chassis, by jacking under the diff, and let it rest on some blocks.


I then un-screwed the bolts on the rear trailing arm and bush and lowered the axle back down.


The axle when lowered on to its wheels simply rotated round and rested on its trailing arms. I suspect that both bushes connecting the trailing arm to the axle will need some rough treatment to remove as both feel as though they have rusted to the bolts. Anyway, I then played a game of musical blocks to remove the axles from under the chassis. I first lifted and held the chassis whilst Mum rolled the rear axle forwards past the rear out-riggers. This was a pig, the chassis was quite heavy to hold at chest height, and from what I can gather from the blue air around Mum, rolling the axle was not a piece of cake either.

The nature of an differential is for the wheels to turn opposite directions when a single wheel is driven externally, i.e. the axle just wanted to spin in its own length on the spot. Anyway, long story short, we succeeded in moving the axle to the centre of the chassis.

I then jacked up the front of the chassis, same as before, un-screwed the radius arm bolts. The front bushes are of a different design, they are split in the centre (longitudinally), the half that holds the nut must be removed before the radius arm can be removed. I then compressed the dampers, lowered the axle back to the floor and wheeled out the front axle from under the chassis. By this time, my younger brother had arrived home from college, so I roped him in as well. I lifted the front of the chassis and Will and my Mum parked the rear axle under the front out-riggers. We then quickly shuffled the blocks that were holding the front of the chassis up out of the way. I picked up the chassis again, they wheeled the axle as far forward as possible, and made a fresh pile of blocks under the chassis, I then lowered the chassis on to the blocks. Between us we the wheeled the rear axle out from under the front of the chassis.

I then picked up the chassis for the last time whilst they shuffled a fresh, lower pile of blocks under the front and then the rear of the chassis. Job done, here’s a pair of photos:



Since this was taken, I have removed the rear bumper and tow-bar, and the negative battery terminal (I cannot remove the fuel filter, the connections are too badly corroded). The chassis is now ready for scrapping and with it goes the V5 for the Disco’, which implies that: a) the Disco’ and its registration number are scrap, and b) The dis-assembly is complete. Yay! No more un-doing of corroded bolts!

Except, I still need to strip the axles, sand blast them, paint them rebuild them, re-bush them and put them back on the new frame. I still have a bit of work to do, but the best bit is about to begin.

Thus far total build (destruction) time is: approx. 78 hours. In real time, I started on 15/10/2013 and basically finished on 26/11/2013. 6 weeks!? I have only managed 78 hours worth of work in 6 weeks!? I really need to pull my finger out!

Total build cost so far is roughly £3700. £2900 of which was spent on the frame, donor car and parts for the donor car. The rest has been spent on tools and a temporary garage. In the next few weeks, I am expecting to pay another £3000 or so when I pick up the frame, some new bushes and more tools!

I would again like to say thank you to Chamberlin Bros, and Rob for doing some sterling work with the JCB. That’s two I owe you.

I would also like to say thank you to my family, in particular, Mum, Dad and Will for the various ways in which you have helped. So, Thank you.

Anyway, that’s it for now, until next time.

Bottle neck

November 14th, 2013 by john No comments »

This is a bit of a mish-mash of an update as I have been doing a bunch of smaller jobs, partly due to the weather and partly due to having reached a bottle neck in the dis-assembly. Basically, I need to take the engine out so that I can remove everything from the chassis. I really have spent most of my time preparing the body for scrapping.

Essentially I have stripped the last of the useful things from the body. For instance, the smaller top hole had the wiper motor/ mechanism mounted in it, the larger bottom hole is where the servo unit, brake and clutch master cylinders used to be (along with the pedal box).


Since I had the pedal box off, I thought it a good idea to take a trip to Tomcat to drop off the pedal box, which they do on an exchange basis i.e. they are putting a pedal box on the frame. Whilst there I picked up my spare axles. Killed two birds with one stone with that trip. Anyway, it took a fork lift and three people to lift the axles into the car. I left wondering how I would get them out and put them away when I got home. We settled on Dad supporting them (this was the least compromising/ injury promoting position) as I crawled through the car walking them out. We put them down as soon as they were off the tail gate. Next job, put them away.

The rear axle was quite easy to move, it was the axle that most resembled a weight lifting bar.

WP_20131106_001 (clean)


The front axle was not easy to move, it had no hand holds, and a funky weight distribution that meant which ever way I picked it up it rolled out of my hands. So discretion the better part of valour (not to mention it started raining as well), I put it on a trolley and wheeled it in.



I also got round to removing the LPG tanks. I spent a bit of time experimenting with how to get them out. They were held on by straps, which were then bolted through the body. I couldn’t remove them whilst the body was on the chassis as there was nowhere to put my potato diggers (read hands). I also couldn’t remove them kindly whilst the body was sat on blocks as the sills of the car were less than 6 inches from the floor. So an unkind method of removing them it was. I was unsure whether the straps had captive nuts on them so I initially tried using an impact gun to remove the bolts. It did nothing other than machine my socket down, so I needed an even more cruel method of removal. I settled on the angle grinder, I first tried cutting the floor out around the mounting brackets. It was laborious, very loud and my baby angle grinder started to overheat doing it. The steel in the base of a disco is surprisingly thick, it was one of the motivators for choosing to cut it that way, I was curious as to how thick the body shell was (about 4 or 5mm in places).

Anyway. I then ground the heads off the bolts. It took me the same time to cut the patch out of the body as it did to lop off all 12 bolt heads. After taking the heads off, a swift whack with a hammer on the stubs and the LPG tanks fell free.


Passenger side.


Driver’s side (photos courtesy of the engine bay).


After a bit of snipping and twiddling I was able to slide the tanks out from under the body.


(Ignore the hacksaw in the above photo, it probably wasn’t the best tool for removing LPG/ other fuel systems or brake systems from cars.)


Other things of note that I have removed are the fuel tank, from which I liberated 16 litres of petrol. Maybe 3-4 miles worth of fuel for the Disco’.


The rear anti-roll bar. Every bolt I touched sheared, which was annoying. I needed to vent some pent up stress, so I cut the roll bar with an angle grinder (it did nothing to help me get it out, but made me feel better). As you may have guessed this roll bar is now scrap. The Tomcat will not have anti-roll bars anyway.


The front and rear prop. shafts. (Shown is the space where the rear shaft used to be. It connects the hand brake drum on the transfer box, which is under the plastic bag, and the rear diff.)


So that is the end of the small jobs I have been doing, here is a picture of what I am keeping so far:

Parts bin

In the photo we have:

1) Brake master cylinder and servo unit.

2) Brake distribution block.

3) Clutch master cylinder.

4) Power steering reservoir.

5) Steering column and mounting frame.

6) Coolant reservoir.

7) Wiper mechanism and wipers.

8) Airbox.

I have added some more to this since taking the photo, things like lights, wing mirrors, horn etc. The lights won’t fit on the new body work when I eventually get it, I have mainly saved them to see how the individual lights are wired in.

And here is what I am throwing away:


Pretty much all of it with the exception of the drive-shafts on top of the fuel tank, the alloy wheel and of course what is on the shelves.


So on to removing the engine. To prepare it for removal, there are a number of things to remove, starting with the exhaust(s).

The exhaust pipe must be separated where the exhaust manifold terminates (down between the engine block and chassis leg). Roughly in the centre of the following pictures.



The lambda sensors must be unclipped from the engine, one for each side (the yellow plugs to the left and right of the following picture).


Then the four mounting bolts must be removed: two from under the engine…



Two from under/ around the transfer box.



Then the earth strap which connects the engine and chassis must be removed.


Lastly, (which I have only just remembered whilst writing this) the poor bent gearbox cooling pipes. Oops again, I hope I don’t forget those at the weekend. After disconnecting them from the chassis, the engine should just lift out, where it will be placed on a pallet and moved indoors hopefully. The plan is to remove the engine/gearbox assembly as one piece, it is not light (c. 300kg), which rules out the possibility of moving it by hand.

Edit: Don’t forget the fuel pipes , which are clipped to the chassis, and connect to the fuel rails on top of the engine. Simply disconnect them from the fuel rails, and move them aside.

Here are a final few shots of the body before I load the interior back into it, put it onto a trailer and take it to the dump.



So that’s where we stand until the after the weekend when it will be all change again (weather permitting).

Body Off!

November 5th, 2013 by john No comments »

A milestone today! The body came off. But first a bit of pre-amble before we get to the pictures you want to see.

I spent a while looking through my Land Rover service manual trying to find out how to take the body from my discovery. As it turns out, this is not a service type fix, so didn’t appear in the book at all (nor does it in the Haynes manual). So I went to the next best thing, the internet. I visited any and every Land Rover forum looking for a rough guide. I learned absolutely nothing by doing this, it seems as though this is not well covered or I happened to find every thread that had someone asking how to do it, and others providing no answers. I decided to do what I should have done in the first place. Just go and look at the car, and build up a list of things travelling from the chassis to the body.

Here is my list of things to remove.


The handbrake: Un-clip the cable from the lever, then un-bolt the lever from the chassis. Then un-screw the adjustor from the base of the lever. Finally tape all the required parts to the cable or lever and push the cable through the transmission tunnel.


The gear lever gaiter: If you wanted to keep it, you would drill out the rivets. I cut through it with a knife, and taped over the large holes to prevent large scale dirt or water ingress.


The throttle cable: Un-clip the cable from the pedal, and drag it through into the engine bay. I taped the pin and clip onto the cable.



The radiator: Simply drain the radiator, remove the rubber hoses, remove and bung the engine oil hoses (I wadded up a ball of PTFE tape larger than the bore of the pipe, covered that with a rubber glove then duct taped everything), unbolt the two mounting brackets (the one on the right hand side (as you look at the front of the car) also holds the power steering reservoir, I chose to drain and remove it at the same time). The radiator should just lift out.


The transmission cooler: This one is a case of do as I say, not as I do (see further down). Remove the plastic grille from the front of the car, then remove the cooler from its mounts and tape to the chassis, or drain the transmission and remove the cooler from the car.

The ignition coil: At the same time as removing the power-steering reservoir (and radiator), unscrew the mounting bracket for the ignition coil. Either remove the coil, or tape it out of the way.

The earth strap: Just underneath the ignition coil is a braided metal cable connecting the body to the chassis, making both the earths in the electrical circuitry. Remove the nut holding the strap in place and tape out of the way.

The air filter: Unclip the air filter box. Remove from the car, then tape over the end of the pipe (on the engine obviously).

The clutch line: Follow the clutch line from the master cylinder, it will lead down to the bottom of the bulk head on the right hand side (as you look at the car). Separate the line and remove it from the body. Alternatively, you could remove the slave cylinder, which is right at the other end of the line, but I chose not to as it was extra faff.

The steering column: Remove the bolt from the universal joint closest to the steering box. Either slide the splined section apart now, or leave it to its devices when lifting the body off (expect a clang or a snagging point in my case).


The fuel tank filler/breather/over-flow: Loosen the the jubilee clip from the pipe(s) that travel between the filler and the tank. Pull the pipe off, then tape over the end to prevent dirt ingress into the tank.

The brake lines: Whilst under the car, disconnect the brake lines at the flexible pipes. At the front there is one for each side (right next to the springs), at the back there is only a single flexible pipe (above the rear axle). Again if they’re in good condition and you’d like to keep them unscrew them at the joints. I used a hacksaw blade to cut through them (I plan to get braided flexible joints).

The chassis bolts: One thing I did read on the internet was that people had a lot of trouble with these as they can be very rusty (and mine were no exception). To remove mine I sprayed them with 3 in 1 lubricant spray (WD40 knock-off) and left them over night. They came out quite easily, the hardest part was finding a way to get a spanner on top of the bolts. For this reason, I recommend asking a friend to help and using a 1/2 inch (or larger) drive ratchet with deep sockets. Most of them are 15mm nuts on 15mm bolts, but four are captive bolts with 18mm nuts (maybe 17 or 19mm I forget).

Anyway, here is an artists impression of the chassis and the mounting locations (remember this is rough):

Discovery mounting bolt locations


The LPG system: There was a T-connection on the left hand inner wing, two ends led to the tanks, and the other end went to an evaporator by the looks of it (it had coolant pipes leading into it). I removed that from its mounting bracket, then disconnected each tank and removed the T-piece from the body.


With all that seen to it was just the simple matter of deciding the best method of removing the body.  I chose the straps through the doors method. The ones in the photos are used for lifting cows. Cows weigh more than the body of the Disco’, more than up to the task, so the only thing left to do was to stop wasting time and get on with it.

So drum roll please, here is the photo sequence:



We couldn’t figure out why the body wasn’t coming off. We checked over the car, last thing we came to at the front were the straining pipes of the transmission cooler (oops) and the steering column wouldn’t release. A quick bit of grinding and…


a bit more loosening (bolt removal)…


The body popped free!





And there it sits on blocks, how “trailer-park trash” of me. Job well done.

I would like to take the opportunity to say a massive Thank You to the Chamberlin Bros Farm for the loan of their JCB and son/nephew, Rob, to lift the body off. Thanks guys, I definitely could not have done this without your help. Also a special thanks to Rob for actually doing the lifting. Thanks Rob, I owe you one.

I should say that I am more than 50% of the way through this disassembly, just the; engine, gearbox, suspension and axles to go. Then it’s just recondition what I will re-use and finally start building.


November 2nd, 2013 by john No comments »

Whilst removing the various bits of interior, vast reams of wiring become visible. It would be nearly impossible to decipher what the wiring is for if I just disconnected the cables whilst removing the whole interior and then the wiring. You would have the devils own job of sorting out the resultant giant mess of spaghetti. The only sensible thing to do is label it as you remove the electrical gubbins. I settled on the tried and tested method of writing on masking tape. I also wrapped coloured insulation tape around the wires so I know which wires I want to keep and which to cut out. Red means cut out.


White means keep.


At least I will know which wires to remove, or more accurately which wires I will not need should the labels get ripped off during removal. However, It is nice to know what you are cutting out, so I will try my hardest to not rip any masking tape tags off.

So, a quick reminder of what the interior looks like:


As you can see, plenty of wires everywhere. All labelled and ready to be removed (hopefully). The first port of call is, if you haven’t done so already (which you should’ve done) is to remove the battery. Then cut every tie-wrap and every pop-in connector that you can find holding wires to the car. Then methodically work the wires from the extremities of the car into the centre of the car.

I started at the rear of the car. I unplugged the rear indicators and fog lights from under the rear bumper, and pushed the plugs through the boot floor into the cabin. Whilst underneath the bumper I also disconnected the trailer electrics and the fuel filler earth and pushed them through into the car. I then moved into the car, where I disconnected the rear light clusters, the rear door, the radio antenna, speakers and all the earth cables that were bolted to the body. With all the cables free I bundled them into the centre of the car:


From under the bonnet: fuel pump emergency cut off, headlights, side lights, indicators, side repeaters, cruise control vacuum pump (if fitted), gearbox connector, fuse box, battery cables, window washers, crash sensors (if fitted), I’m sure I have forgotten a few things. Anyway, just feed them back through into the car and the engine bay starts to look tidy.


Left hand side of the engine bay.


Right hand side of the engine bay.


Or not! Hidden underneath the washer bottle there was quite a large hole through to the wheel well. The more I go over this car, the more it seems like the chap selling it did a good cleaning job on it (I don’t really have enough experience with Land Rovers to know whether the odd hole here is normal, I mean I know they get rusty, but are bodywork holes common?).

With everything from the outside fed through into the car, all that is left to do is disconnect the plugs and injector ECU inside the car and feed the plugs through the firewall into the engine bay. I bagged up the plugs in an attempt to water proof them. I don’t really want to remove the engine harness yet as I can’t get full access to it until the body is off the car.


The last section of the loom to come out is from around the steering column and pedals. To remove this you need to remove the ignition barrel, but unfortunately the ignition barrel is screwed onto the steering column with bolts that snap off once screwed in (to stop someone stealing the car easily). So to remove them, I used a hacksaw blade to score a groove into the top of the bolts and used a large flat blade screw driver to screw them out.


With that done, and after some pulling (and a small amount of swearing) I managed to wrestle the loom out from around the steering  column and mounting cage. With that the whole loom was ready to be removed from the car:


Whilst in the process of moving the loom from the car, I weighed it. The weight of the loom minus the LPG ECUs, door wiring and the engine harness was 16.3Kg. Hopefully after cutting out the chaff it will weigh half as much, and have no wasted wire. Here is a photo of the loom laid out on the floor ready for chopping up.


Luckily (or unluckily), my car doesn’t have air-con or airbags. So I don’t have the associated sensors, but the wires are still put in the car. The reason being is it’s cheaper for Land Rover to design and fit a common loom to every car regardless of optional extras, since there are so many man hours required to produce a single loom, it is not financially viable to make individual looms and keep the car affordable. Therefore there are a lot of extra bits and pieces on the loom that are either not connected, or just stop suddenly in plugs, so these will all be removed.

However, there are exceptions to this. In particular the air conditioning loop, which starts at the ignition switch and travels to a 60amp fuse in the fuse box under the bonnet. It then travels off to some empty relay sockets. I plan to keep the ignition switch and fuse connections, I will be able to use these to wire in an air compressor to run the compressed air diff locks that I will eventually be installing. I shall cut useless sections of the circuit out.

I am going to chop up the loom at my leisure now that it is inside. So I will have to keep you updated as I progress with it.

Anyway, that’s it for this time. Next Job, remove the body from the Chassis