This is one of those "how hard could it be" situations that some of us fall into, which begins with acquiring a vehicle months before RRG with the plan to drive it there. This time it's an old ex-MOD Land Rover 109 that my brother bought about 5 years ago after it had been sat languishing outside in a field with no roof on, and previously to that was briefly on the road way back in 2001! He'd done a little bit of work on the wiring and got the engine running, and that was about it.
I gave him a wad of cash back in May and set to work with a plan to weld up the chassis, drop in my Mercedes OM606 diesel, fit power steering, convert it to a pick-up and get it driving in the 3 remaining months left to RRG.
So the strip down and thorough investigation began.....
I cut a load of repair plates out of a sheet of steel for the bulkhead outriggers and front crossmember and made a pair of outriggers with a stainless steel sleeve for the long body bolt and welded it on
The spring hangar was carefully stripped back of rotten chassis rail then dunked in a rust remover solution and left for a few days, then thrown through the blast cabinet, painted and welded on
The plan was to fit power steering right from the start as with the amount of cars now in the driveway it can be difficult to get them out some days, shunting back and forth lock to lock. A chance find on the interwebz was the fitting of the P38 Range Rover steering box and Defender steering column with a few simple brackets welded on. First mock-up was very promising!
With the beginning of June the passenger side was attacked with the angle grinder repeating what I'd done on the drivers side
The other spring hangar was welded on and the front springs after stripping and de-rusting were re-assembled with plenty of grease and the front axle re-assembled on the chassis
And with a set of wheels it was rolling again around mid June
I have a 1985 ex-MOD 110 Tithonus which came out of service 3 years ago. Only a year between them!
Will definitely be following this
They clearly kept your 110 far longer than my series 3!
Thanks , the chassis work was decided to be from the start as good as I can get it, everything else can be taken off and done at a later date so the rest isn't as pretty especially with the target date of RRG looming
Next job was the engine, so a big move-around happened to get the 109 on a clear part of the hardstanding and the little 2.25 was whipped out
After a couple of trial fits with the Mercedes OM606 the bulkhead was modified to give enough clearance in the centre and the passenger footwell so it sat behind the front crossmember with enough room spare to fit the radiator, electric fan and intercooler
A simple exhaust downpipe was made and hung under the chassis and propshafts were sourced, one brand new custom made prop for the front to reach the much further back transmission and a Range Rover classic rear prop was found to be almost the perfect length for the back axle!
It was now early July and I was having a lot of trouble jiggling the engine and transmission about modifying the mounts trying to find the sweet spot where everything lined up just right.....
So with less than three weeks to the Gathering I had no lights, no battery, no windscreen wipers, no washer bottle, really nothing electrical for that matter, no brakes, no fuel tank, no clutch, no running proven engine, half the cab floor panels missing, no heater, no throttle, no oil cooler, no radiator fan, no intake hoses, still no V5 and definitely no MOT!
How hard could it be?
Headlights were scavenged from the scrap pile and rear brakes re-assembled
A spare rotten fuel tank had the top cut out and made into a battery box, and one of the better leaking fuel tanks was welded up and fitted. With the battery balanced in place the lights slowly began to work after chasing many many corroded connectors and poor earths. Lots of time was wasted on the hazards, until a quick flick through the mot manual showed they're not required before '86, snip.....
Headlights were re-wired with relays since I really don't trust the aged wiring and standard 4 fuses to handle their original capacity
After another week most of the engine was plumbed in and almost ready to run, wires and cables dragged all over and attacked with countless ty-wraps, a complete mess but functional!
Bleeding the brakes and clutch proved far harder than anticipated. I just couldn't get all the air out of the clutch so the pedal was spongy almost to the floor, and the brake pedal continued to hit the floor before anything happened.
Make or break time, with absolutely nothing ready on the Friday the week before the Gathering I booked the mot for Monday 14th, nothing like a target to work towards
By Sunday the engine was all plumbed in and ready to be run up to temp for the first time
Monday morning was spent tearing the dashboard apart to replace the wiper motor, grease the wheelboxes, fit new washer jets and get them working (easiest way was to screw the washer bottle inside the cab below the dash!), make a battery box clamp, secure all the battery cables, tidy the interior, check all the bolts underneath in the chassis and suspension were tight, re-bleed the brakes and clutch,
Monday afternoon came and I was still spannering away minutes before my booked slot, still not had a chance to run it up and down the driveway to check the brakes were working yet, or even got fuel!
Once tanked up I threw some ropes in the back, pulled out into the road and Dad followed in his car to the mot station.....
Brakes were laughable, steering mega light and oh so wandery, but hell was it quick for all of half a second before something went with an almighty boom! The mot testers face when he saw it was priceless
By the end it was gathering a crowd of mechanics all having a look at the Merc lump shoehorned in the front!
Best bit of all apart from actually making it to the mot station without the need of a towrope was the pass certificate with no advisories
When I got back home I re-bled the front brakes getting a little more air out of one wheel cylinder each side and found I'd re-assembled the rear brake shoes the wrong way round, two leading shoes one side and two trailing shoes the other! With those done the brakes were actually quite sharp on the pedal with no pulling to either side, result
A few more wiring bodges got the engine starting and stopping as it should, and a little tweak to the steering box adjuster cured most of the wandering.
There was one last job to do before the Gathering weekend, which was to convert the back of the Landy into a camper. I made a false floor out of plywood, lined it in carpet, and the new 3/4 tilt turned up with days to spare
I also found the source of the boom on the drive to the mot station, one of the intake hoses had burst off! With that in mind the drive to Shelsley was done very gently keeping the engine below 5psi, which was easily done as I joined the convoy from the A46 Warwick junction and drove the remaining 45 miles without any problems
No more pics were taken at the Gathering which become a exhaustion, cider and Redbull infused blur of awesome vibes, good friends and cool cars, !!!WIN!!!
On the way back from Shelsley close to home I pushed the engine a little harder as it was within easy limping/towing distance, and with the revs climbing the boost gauge was shooting up to 15psi with barely any throttle! Doing the rough sums of how much fuel I put in, the miles I drove to the mot and to Shelsley and back I calculated it at 29mpg!
So on returning from the Gathering I'd put about 140 miles on the Landy, and it had run mostly without fault. So the next step was to put it immediately into use commuting to work down the motorway, trial by fire!
For those who weren't at the Gathering or missed it there, here's some close ups of the glorious paint finish!
Now I'm upto about 400 miles in a little over a week! The only major problem which needed fixing during the week were the rotten door tops peeling out at around 65-70mph, and the glass popping out from the long since decayed runners! A rummage in the spare pile sorted me a pair of early 110 one piece doors which were swapped over last night, windy windows, luxury!!!
So there it is, the ratty OM606 Landy!
Plans are to sort out a few oil leaks, continue de-rusting the chassis, tidy up the footwells, insulate the cab, full re-wire, long range fuel tank, rollbar in the back, grease up the rear springs, lower the front a little more and countless other little jobs to make it a really nice reliable daily driver