With winter firmly set in here in New Zealand I have been putting a lot of nights and weekends work into the Land Rover. Normally things would slow down about now but through a promotion at work we will be moving to Australia sometime in September so the project has had to be hurried on and focused much more than the previous months. All my effort has shifted from a restoration towards simply getting to be road-worthy and on the road. While in OZ I will be putting the Landy in dry storage for a few years to continue on when I get back but I would like to enjoy some of the last few years work before skipping the country.
To that end the last few weeks have been all those small finishing touches that seem to take forever and that you forgot you would need to do. The last shipment of parts turned up from Paddocks so a nice new radiator has been installed with a new electric fan. I made a simple thermostat system to turn the fan on only once the engine is up to temperature. This works surprisingly well and only cost me $8 compared to the $89 they wanted for an off the shelf system when they sold me the fan. Later on my plan is to out in an override system so the fan can be an auto, forced off for water crossings and forced on for when I will be doing heavy hill climbs and beach work.
The new indicator and horn switches were a little more tricky as the steering wheel did not want to come off at first. I ended up having to strap on a borrowed hub puller and give it a hell of a yank to eventually get it off. The new switches do work nicely though and don’t try to turn around with the wheel when I go around corners. More tricky was getting all the wring back inside the cowlings and choke cable in place. I thought Japanese cars had some tricky bits but this was just as difficult as some Toyota dash wiring I have battled with in the past.
Also on the to-do list was some new mudguards for the back and the engine sump guard. I also had some alloy bent up to patch the holes behind the seats where the LPG tanks used to go. This kept me busy for a few nights filing, cutting and riveting but in the end I think it was quite a neat job and in keeping with the Land Rover alloy and rivet style of assembly. I have erred on the side of modern assembly though by using a proper automotive urethane to seal all the panels together to stop any new leaks appearing because of my patch panels.
I booked in for a Saturday morning certification check so I didn’t have to battle morning traffic as the workshop was about 30km from my house. I also arranged a friend to follow in his new 4×4 as a backup in case of any issues. As it turned out I did make it under my own steam but at a rather gentle 80km/hr on the motorway as anything over 1/3 throttle the engine would start spluttering and cut out on me. Idling and low speed was fined though so for certification purposes it was acceptable. I spent an nervous hours waiting and chatting to the Mechanics who turned out to be classic car fans before being told it had passed with flying colours and after paying the (rather large!) bill I was issued with new plates and a new WOF. For the first time in over 6 years the Landy is road legal again!
Because of the strange registration system over here I have standard plates on it for now but in a few days time the personalised plates my partner got me for Christmas should be turning up to be put on. I have never been a big fan of personalised plates but RVR110 seems a good one that not many people would even pick as being personalised in NZ as a standard plate is 3 letters then 3 numbers anyway.
The drive home was slow again but uneventful as I still had issues with anything more than 1.3 throttle limiting me to around 80 at best. Once I got home I had a poke around and decided it was something to do with fuel starvation so I pulled out the carb pistons and gave the needles and bores a good clean and renewed the dashpot oil. I also found a hose linking the carbs that did not look correct so I removed that and away she went, full throttle and a lovely V8 noise to wake up the neighbours!
The next day we decided to go to the Sunday markets to celebrate and made the 30km journey with no issues and even got the heater working as only a Landy can do. Unfortunately on the way home the fuel starvation issue reappeared so we had to limp home with the occasional backfire. I am not sure what is causing the problems but after blowing through the lines to and from the fuel pump I think the carbs have some sediment in the bowls that keeps blocking them up once you go for a decent drive
So although we are legally back on the road, the vehicle is straight back off the road until we get it running properly. We are now a true Land Rover family with a 110 in the garage and a little Japanese runabout to get to work in, Happy days!