I finally encountered a job I had to hire out. The top link rear A-frame ball joint failed. This job requires a lift and some serious manhandling to get the ball joint back in after it is replaced. Not something you can do while lying on your back under your Classic.
All of this came about after I recently went to a history event in Sands Springs, Oklahoma. I was asked to portray a Creek Scout from the party of men who toured the prairies along with Washington Irving in 1832.
You know Washington Irving from his more famous books. In his The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. you can find “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow“. Lesser known, but immensely popular in it’s time, A Tour on the Prairies (Google Books) recounts his adventure trans versing the Cross Timbers. The link leads you to the Google Books free version of the book. It is the story of Irving’s tour through what is today Oklahoma back in 1832.
Washington Irving and his party traveled south of what is today Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Keystone Ancient Forest Park is located in Sand Springs, Oklahoma. This park is an example of the Cross Timbers ecosystem (Wikipedia). We were putting on a fundraiser for the Keystone Ancient Forest (Sand Springs, Oklahoma) which is a preserved portion of what we affectionately call the Cross Timbers.
Well that was a lot of explanation, to tell you, kind and patient reader, that I drove off-road recently. The organizers of the event allowed us to drive up their trails to drop our gear off at the camp site. The trail was cut for a side-by-side ATV, in other words, narrow. Think pinstripes on your paint from the brush. I only kissed one tree with the brush guard while trying to avoid a stump cut off at the ground resembling a punji stick tiger trap. Post oaks are tougher than they look and I didn’t want to take any chances popping a tire. We had some nice loose ground hill climbing and some axle articulation. Nothing to write home about, but more than the Classic sees on the paved paths of Norman.
I had been trying to find a knocking sound that occurred when I had suspension flex or starting and stopping. I was also pretty sure that the universal joints on the drive shaft need to be sorted before something terrible happened (OkieRover Blog). But I sort of knew that something else wasn’t right under there.
You’ve read that I’ve been swapping bushings (OkieRover blog). I have a post in the can I haven’t sent up yet too…oops. I had priced the A-frame ball joint but was not ready to pull the trigger on that job.
So after returning from the Keystone Ancient Forest. I knew something was wrong under there. I don’t have access to a lift and I needed someone else familiar with Range Rovers or generally Land Rover suspensions to look at it. I first thought I’d go to 4-Wheel Parts. But after reading some online reviews and realizing they are just a bolt on shoppe I decided to go another route.
Mickey Weatherly owns and operates Mickey’s Garage in Norman, Oklahoma. Mickey formerly worked for Sports and Classics. He’s been around and knows Land Rovers. I’d only recently heard he was out on his own (actually six years) so I decided to give him a call and have him sort out my issues.
He found what I have already reported to you, some bad universal joints and a bad A-frame ball joint. Considering the parts are cheap but the time to repair them is just not in my schedule I had him do the work. He also tried to sort out why my ABS lights are on. As you other Classic owners know the sensors are a bit pricey at 140$(US) a piece. And I haven’t had the money to sort that out. The lights are still on, as I have a sensor out of range for sure. He did share with me that the ABS sensor is used on the Discovery I as well. So if you are in a breakers yard and see a Disco 1 you can pull the ABS sensors for spares in your Classic.
The drive home was lovely and free of clonking. Well done Mickey’s!
On an additional note: The ugly specter of springs and shocks has reared it’s ugly head again. Whenever my Range Rover is on a lift the springs shift oh so slightly and give and odd ride. Sometimes the front end or back end are higher than normal and sometimes it is like I’ve lowered it. I know it is the geometry of the springs and the way they are mounted. I don’t have a proper spring conversion kit fitted.
I’m guessing I will be sorting that out next. The question now is Terrafirma, Old Man Emu, BritPart, or some other manufacturer for my springs. I plan to do the shocks as well so it will be a total swap. I’ll get a little lift out of the swap and the Range Rover will be one step closer to my next big adventure, circumnavigating the Great State of Oklahoma! I’m still working on the logistics and route but I’ll have more when I get closer.
Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.