Video Blog: Panhard Rod Bushings (Post #573) 6/24/2017

Professional driver, do not try this at home.

I discuss panhard rod bushing failure and deathwobble.

I demonstrate how knackered my panhard rod bushings were.

Removing the failed bushing requires you to use a “punch”, I used a socket which is slightly small in diameter than the bushing, to press the failed bushing out. It is similar to the process of pressing them in except when you press in new ones you used a socket that is larger in diameter than the bushing.

I demonstrate how to press in new bushings. Find the beveled side of the panhard rod and the bushings will go in easier than the side that is not beveled. I used a vise to get the bushing started. This helps with getting the bushing “square” in the hole before you apply the press to the bushing.

Getting the tool lined up correctly is 90% of the battle.

Victory is mine. The bushing is pressed in. You do this for both sides.

I had trouble with the width of the bushing sleeve and it require a bit of grinding to get it mounted. I used a bench mounted grinder. Just take off a little of the material and try to fit. If you need more, grind off a little more then refit. I went to the bench grinder four times to get both sides right before mounting with the bolts.

Thanks for watching and Happy Rovering.

Oil Sump Gasket Replaced (Post #552) 1/10/2016


If you follow me on the Okierover Facebook Page you read that I needed to replace my oil sump gasket. And as I predicted the weather did NOT cooperate. It stopped snowing at 1030 that morning but the wind was blowing 20-30 mph all day. It was very chilly in the garage.

If you are from Oklahoma or drive a domestic automobile (Chevy, Ford, Dodge, just kidding no one drives a Dodge) you can translate oil sump to oil pan.
I had trouble with the term too. Try Googling “oil pan gasket” when your British motor car has all their parts listed as “oil sump”. The same thing happens when you are searching the RAVE manual looking for an oil pan. Thankfully when I ordered the part from Rovah Farm it was easy to find.

Back to the leak, the Big White Bus has recently been leaving a nice puddle of oil when she comes to a stop. I know all the jokes about British cars and leaks. If you don’t see a leak, it’s probably dry. Well, I don’t care for leaks. I do my best to find the leaks and eliminate them. Like the steering box, it leaks like a sieve. I should have a rebuilt unit next week. And I will have it installed by the end of that Saturday. That will be the last of the petroleum based fluid leaks. It only took me 3 (three) years!

The sump dropped away from the block. Labeled for your reference.

The source of the leak? the oil sump gasket or to be more specific, the LACK of a gasket. I am the second owner of this motor. As you can see below, someone used Permatex Ultra Gray for a gasket. First, Ultra Black should be used, not Gray, and there should be a cork gasket completing the seal. If you have done this I’m not criticizing, I’m just pointing out now you probably know why it’s leaking.

That is a bit too porous to hold oil back.

My oil pan sump had to be removed and serviced. There was rust and chipped paint and what was left of the “gasket” had to be removed prior to putting a new one in. I was surprised that something that has had so much leaked oil on it could rust, but it did.

The oil sump with a bit of the rust removed (on the right).

I got the trusty angle grinder out and hooked up a wire wheel and scraped off the rust and the factory paint (black). The challenge was getting the oil and grime off. I used brake cleaner, a lot of rags, and in the final stage before painting I used some pre-paint grease remover.

Ready for paint.

While I had it off I cleaned some of the grime and muck out of the sump. I used a flat razor scraper. I was careful to make sure I left no “chunks” in there. Short of a sand blaster there was no way to get all the baked on muck out of there. My sand blaster cabinet is not big enough.

The sump was ready to be painted. I got the Mar-Hyde Self Etching Primer from inside the house where it was being stored at a temperature that allowed it to be used. I painted the pan with the first coat and then brought the pan into the house and into my office to dry. I gave it an hour to dray and when back out to clean up the underside of the motor. I also swapped out the last poly bushings on the radius arms.

I don’t know why WordPress won’t let me rotate this picture. Fresh paint looks good.

I put the second coat of paint on and after some waiting I started to put it all back together. The first thing that is required is getting the Permatex Ultra Black gasket maker on and letting it set up. I did this in my office. I wasn’t even sure if it would setup in my garage at 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Once it set up I put the cork gasket on and lined it up. The Permatex acts like an adhesive at least enough to secure the gasket from moving during install.

The next challenge is to get the sump back in place and bolted up to the block. Take your time and don’t rush. The cork gasket can slip and if you break it, you are done. After it is in place you bring the bolts up to snug. The manual calls for you to tighten it to specific torque settings. The idea here is that you don’t crush the gasket.


From the manual you can see that is not a lot of torque needed. I don’t have a torque wrench that I could get my 13mm sockets on. You have to use narrow walled sockets, etc… in short my tool chest is inadequate for this. So I was careful when I was tightening them. A note here, the rear bolts are not labeled but I assumed it was the ones on the row nearest the transmission tunnel.

I finished up the oil change and and then the moment of truth came. I got the oil up to temperature and watched for leaks. None were found. I drove the Big White Bus to church the next day and still no leaks. I’m going to mark that down as a success. I will of course be watching it for the next week.

On the Okierover Difficulty Scale this job is a 2 (two). You will have the oil sump off, you will get oily and dirty (and not the good kind). You also have to remove the sway bar to get the sump out. If you aren’t going to clean it up you can skip the removal and just clean it up while under the engine.

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.

PS the Oklahoma Land Rover Group is still on track to #Hibernot and take on a section of the Oklahoma Adventure Trail. If you are interested check out the details on the Oklahoma Land Rover Group on Facebook.

Had To Hire It Out (Post #302) 10/23/2012

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.

Transmission time (Post #266) 9/19/2011

It’s time to investigate getting the transmission overhauled. I’ve only had work done on the transmission once. That was a bad torque converter. I don’t believe it will be that “easy” this time. This time I believe its time for a told overhaul. The transmission has 190,000+ miles on it. I know I am experiencing slipping in fourth under load. I know the gas mileage has dropped off a lot too. I’m not sure how much the MPG is transmission and how much is perhaps another issue.

I intend to have the ye old transmission shoppe replace the “U” joints as well. They have to take them all down anyway so why not do that now and avoid this problem. I was thinking I could have some stronger “U” joints put in but I’m probably going to stick with OEM. I’d have to first trust that the transmission shoppe knows what upgraded “U” joints are best and/or they would have to trust me with buying the part and they installing it. Most shoppes don’t want any part of the “I’ll provide the parts.” mostly due to warranty issues. I don’t blame them.

I would like to have my work checked in regards to last year’s suspension changes. My poly bushing project may have not been properly done. I have some clunks and such from underneath that I do not think should be there. There is a sort of “off-road shoppe” on Porter Avenue that I have seen some 4×4 rigs loitering around. I am thinking about checking them out for this review.

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The building has an awesome art deco facade (façade). I hope the guys inside are just as awesome. Nothing disappoints me more than when I chose a shop to work on my Range Rover and people inside are pillocks. You’ve heard me rail on and on about how customer service is dead. I’ve been in too many shops that are now out of business where the guys inside complete douche bags. Is it any wonder they’ve had to fold up the tent? I’ll let you know if these guys pass my customer service muster.

And last, but definitely not least, I need a new exhaust. The last one did not survive the winter storms and Snowpocalypse of 2010. I’ve been driving around with the rattling noise of a bad muffler ever since. There might be some gas mileage issues in this as well. The last time I drove the old girl, I had an check engine light. Code 17. I don’t know why yet. THe good people over at Robison Service have that as…

Code 17 – Throttle potentiometer Usually indicates a bad throttle position sensor. Refer to test 17, continuity test procedure.

I have not confirmed this yet. And it didn’t pop up until after I ordered parts the last time. I ordered some of those plastic studs to put my door panels back on. This was in anticipation of fixing the door locks.

I also ordered a upper radiator hose to replace the one that sprung a leak. I also need to look into replacing the upper fill tubes plastic filler cap. Whoever thought that was a good idea needs to have their head examined. I think Expedition Exchange has a brass one to replace it. I’ll be looking in to that today as well.

Well this was a long and rambling post and for that I apologize. It’s more or less the next to-do list for me after we get done with the garage sale. Mrs. OkieRover is in the process of selling a lot of the stuff we got from my mother after her death. We also have a bunch of stuff from years and years of hoarding improper emotional attachment not properly getting rid of STUFF accumulating in the garage over the years.

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.

Bushings More Important Than You Know (Post #214) 10/27/2010

Driving my Range Rover Classic LWB is an adventure. 
And I don’t mean an off-road adventure. Driving her on pavement is exciting, and that is perhaps an understatement. Exciting like you really don’t know where she will go at any given bump in the road.

This all began shortly after I got her. My carpool buddy had a funny quip after watching me navigate an on-ramp near the capitol one day. As I accelerated and decelerated, the Classic was bobbing and weaving in the lane. He said, “I wish you’d decide which curb you are going to hit.”

As you have probably surmised, the bushings were very worn. When I would accelerate, the Rover would pull to the left, as you let up on the accelerator, it would dive to the right. When I was in the habit of driving her every day, you learned how to handle that. Combine that with bald tires, worn shocks, old springs, its easy to see that the last few drives to JagGuy’s shop on Saturdays was beginning to be pretty exciting.

I changed the front radius arm bushings first, actually several months ago. This week I finished the rest of the standard bushing kit.

I purchased the poly bush kit over a year ago, thinking I would have time to do the entire job in one day. That was really unrealistic. Even with JagGuy’s great shop and tools I could only get the front radius arms done in one 6 hour session.

So with the Classic sitting in my garage I endeavored to change the rest out. The bushing kit replacement has only a few simple concepts.

  • Difficult to remove bolts and nuts.
  • Finding replacement hardened nyloc nuts.
  • Difficult to remove bad bushings.
  • Patience.

The good news is the instructions that come with the kit were pretty good. The only problem with them is the fact I was working on a Range Rover and the instructions were for a Defender. Almost the same. Almost.

First I started on the rear radius arms. And the first side demonstrated the corrosive nature of the parts that live underneath your Rover. To remove the first nut I had to use penetrating fluid, which was funny because it is a nyloc nut. Basically I don’t think any fluid got to the corroded bits.

At one point I had both feet braced and a twelve inch wrench with a rag to lessen the pain of metal on my hand. With all that I couldn’t get it to budge. I soaked it again and went to the other side and did it while I hoped the penetrating fluid did its magic. I also lined up my hoss of a neighbor, Kramer. He’s a big weightlifting tattooed biker guy. I asked if I was unable to get it broke loose if he could lend a hand. He agreed.

I returned and thought, “Ungh, fire. Fire good!” Why didn’t I think of that sooner? Hell I’m a closet pyromaniac. Fire should have been one of my first thoughts! So I got out the torch and heated the nut…a lot. The penetrating fluid boiled off, the nylon locking part boiled out as I continued to apply the heat.

I gave her a few minutes more of heat and then I went back to the wrench. I pulled hard and finally with a satisfying moan the nut turned. I reset the wrench and pulled again and another nice groan of metal on metal. A few more turns and it was off.

You can see the rust. This was bad. But what I found after that was worse. The end of the shaft had been machined wrong. There was a missing thread and the threading that was there was just slightly off. As if they didn’t place the unit in the machining lathe correctly. You can see that in this picture. The clean and shiny one on the left is from the passenger side. The rusted one is the driver’s side and the poorly machined one.

You can see how the threading just unceremoniously ends. Poorly done. This is a good example of the rust that had to be removed as well. it was bad.

You then remove the rest of the bolts to get the radius arm off the Rover.

After you have the front bolts off, you can start on the back. A few turns of the wrench and off comes the radius arm.

I then went to the front end of the Rover and removed the panhard rod. This was a bit more trouble as this is where the instructions failed to mention the driver’s side bolt will not come out with out removing the bracket.

Blocked bolt.

You can see the abuse the front radius arms have had in just a few months. I have the wrench on the backside nut in this picture.

I now had all the parts off. The task of cleaning off the rust. I gave the bench grinder a good work out.

The old bushings need to be removed. You can use an industrial press with the right size of jigs and press the bushings out. I didn’t have the right size of jigs. You can also burn out the rubber bits. And considering I am a Marine and an amateur pyromaniac I chose the fire method. It is not glamorous and its pretty messy but it works in a pinch.

After you get the middle rubber part out you need to get the metal ring out. This is better removed if you have the jig and the press. Without the jig you are relegated to using a chisel or two to bend and cut the bushing wall out. I’ve done this two ways. I have used a big vise to hold the part while I banged on the old bushing with a hammer and chisel. I have also placed the arm on an old brake disc on the driveway floor and banged away with a hammer and chisel.

Using sandpaper and my Dremel with a grinding stone I cleaned out the rust and cleaned up the burrs from the chisel whacks. Poly bushes do not do well when they get cut and nicked and the instructions made it clear this step was very important.

 I then painted everything with it’s first coat of primer. I was determined that I would limit as much as I could, the inevitable rust.

With a second coat of primer and Rust-oleum I put the new poly bushings in and reinstalled. To correct for the bad shaft on the driver’s side I added an additional washer. This was to back the nut up the shaft so all the threads were on good threads. Probably not necessary but I wanted to make sure.

It is important to know that replacement nyloc hardened metric nuts did not come with my kit. So I should mention how hard nyloc hardened metric nuts are to find. Lowe’s didn’t have them. Ace Hardware didn’t have them. So with a phone call to my buddy JagGuy I was turned on to the location for the Mecca of fasteners. The things he remembers is truly amazing. Everyone should have a JagGuy to call. He said J&E Fasteners on SE 59th in OKC was the bomb dot com. And as always HE WAS RIGHT.

I showed up with my bolts and one of the rear radius arms and Dana matched them up with Grade 10.9 nyloc hardened metric nuts. I bought a few extras for my trail kit. I highly recommend J&E Fasteners.
One of the fellows behind the counter said, “the website was a work in progress”.
I replied, “Aren’t they all?”
You can order from there and they will ship. If you visit their OKC location don’t mind the strip clubs across the street. This is Valley Brook and their only claim to fame are the strip clubs and their jack-booted police department. I’ve never experienced a run-in with their police department, that is just their reputation. Two miles an hour over the speed limit…yeah, you’re getting a ticket.

With the bushings installed and the items painted, all that was left was to reinstalled the bits. I had to use the floor jack to position the rear radius arms and to get them pressed into place. I recommend taking a rubber mallet with you when you go under your Rover to gently align the bolt holes.

The panhard rod was not difficult to install. The instructions recommend a lever to help align the holes. I used my large standard screw driver.

Do the left side of the panhard rod first. Slip the bolt through the bracket and then place the bracket into the holes and wrench it all down.

The Wrap-up
This job on the whole is pretty easy. I would however give it a solid 3 on the OkieRover Difficulty Scale. Having a lift would make this job easier. Having a press with the proper jigs would make this job easier.

After doing this job I now know why people just buy kits and upgrade these parts. The fiddling and cleaning and prep is very time consuming for parts that are known to fail in extreme off-road conditions.

This picture of the nut from the left side rear radius arm should tell you everything you need to know about the corrosion you will encounter on this job.

You can see two clean threads inside the nut. The rest of the threads are rusted and nasty. This makes me wish I had a nice impact wrench, and a bigger air compressor, and a vehicle lift, and a nice set of 1/2 inch sockets in twelve point and six point, and a gallon of penetrating fluid, and a portable sand blasting kit, and a case of acid etching primer, and…

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.

Snow…one more time (Post #172) 3/23/2010

This weekend I let my daughter drive the Range Rover. We had a final (fingers crossed) snow storm this past weekend. I don’t have to tell you it was weird to have 5 snow storms this year. In any event, RovErica claimed she had not been taught how to drive in the slick-ish conditions in her Ford Taurus. She wanted to take the Range Rover due mostly to the ride position.

I was apprehensive to say the least. RovErica has had a poor track record of wrecking the Rovers when she “borrows” them. But I let her drive it anyway. I did caution her to drive carefully and to take it easy on the old broad.

She was good to her. She took care of my weekly driving task. And by running her she took care of the battery maintenance that I have failed to do for a couple of weeks. What makes this whole episode worthy of comment is the fact that she gave her new boyfriend a ride in the Rangie. He seemed tense. RovErica asked him why he was nervous, “Is it my driving?”. His response was not what she expected.

“This thing road walks.”
RovErica was quick to dismiss the issue, it’s always done that. Apparently it was enough to make the new boyfriend pretty nervous. To describe him would be difficult as we have not known him long, but to put it in a word, we could use “country”.

He is country. By that I mean he dresses the part, he’s in the oil business, more specifically he is a rig mechanic, he hunts, he guides hunts, and if we are getting the story accurately he had a scholarship offer to shoot at Texas Tech. That last part needs some confirmation but for now we’ll leave it there. He should be used to vehicles with eccentricities. Hell his pickup truck doesn’t even have a muffler that is up to code, nor does it have heat, RovErica mentioned a few other things too, which was precisely the reason they wanted to take the Range Rover.

Spring is now upon us and it is time to start working on the Range Rover in earnest. I want to the family camping this Spring and I need to get some things fixed first. The list seems to grow every month, but right now its the viscous coupling on the transaxle that demands immediate attention. With RovErica’s new beau’s concern for safety, maybe I should finish the bushing project I started last fall as well.

I have to get the garage cleared first. There is just entirely too much stuff in there to work on the Range Rover. I think I could do the bushing job laying underneath the Rover if the garage was cleared of storage stuff. It would be better to do it on the lift at JagGuy’s shop but I may need to make this a multiple weekend project. Which I really can’t do at the shop.

So I have the wife convinced we need a storage shed. She has said we needed one since we moved into this house. I had been holding off because I thought I wanted a shop instead of a storage shed. But all I really need is storage. I can still use the garage as the “shop” if I had a place to put all the crap.

And by crap I mean, a box spring, the mower, Diet Mountain Drew’s weight lifting bench that he never uses, half a desk, my table saw, the big ladder, the camping gear we never use, my lathe, and probably half a dozen computer parts. There is a bunch of crap in there.

So after I spend a weekend building the storage shed, a weekend of repairing the viscous coupling, a weekend for the bushing project, a weekend camping, a weekend of Chicago Fire soccer, a weekend at Maribone Springs playing cowboy, a weekend at Fort Washita reenacting the Fur Trade period in Oklahoma, and probably a weekend shooting a docu-drama on the Seminole removal, and several weekends at mom’s house getting it ready to sell, it’s football season again.

Will the madness ever stop? Probably not.

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.