I drove the Range Rover!! (Post #216) 11/8/2010

Saturday was a great day. Well on the Range Rover front anyway, on the football front it sucked. Saturday I decided that I would drive the Range Rover and test out all the stuff I have repaired and been working on for so long.

First things first, I needed to bleed the brakes. I had bled the brakes before when my neighbor Mr. Fisher came over and helped me. But for some reason I did not do the high side on the front calipers. And the air moved around as it is want to do and we had no brakes.

I was in a spot, as all my children were gone and Mr. Fisher was on his way to Stillwater to see the Pokes play football. So the only person left was Mrs. OkieRover. Mrs. OkieRover is a wonderful woman. She is awesome at being a mom. She is probably the best nurse in the Norman Regional Hospital system. She is really, really patient and puts up with nearly all of my crap. But one thing she is not, is mechanical.

Cars are still magical metal boxes that take you from one place to another place. Getting her to help me was asking for me to have patience with her. That is not really a card OkieRover has in his deck.

So with challenges facing both of us, I asked her to help and she agreed. We started off rocky with her not coming out to the garage in a timely manner. Then I was reading the instructions for the umpteenth time when she popped off from the driver’s seat, “I thought you were ready to go?”

I handed her the instructions and asked her read them and tell me what we were doing first.
She read them and said, “I have no idea.”
So I gently said, “How about you let me make sure I do this right.”

My first instruction, “I’m going to tell you to turn on the ignition and then press the brake.”
“Okay, ” she said.
“Okay, turn on the ignition.” I said.
She turned on the ignition and then went to cranking the the engine for start-up.
“NO!” I shouted.
“You said turn on the ignition.”
“Yes, yes I did. I said turn on the ignition. I didn’t say anything about starting the car.”

So that’s how it went. I was more careful about my instructions and we worked through each procedure and finally I found the massive air pocket in the upper circuit of the front calipers. A few more turns of the bleeder valves and we were done. I told her thank you and told her I was taking the Rangie on a drive.

So I removed all the interior parts I had stacked all over and confirmed all the connections on the electrics and did my “pre-flight checks”.
I tweeted my intentions and asked for luck. I fired her up, backed her out, and began with a test of the viscous coupling. I turned her hard into a left hand turn and circled the cul-de-sac. No chirping. VC seemed to be working.

I then started off down the street. I was very happy. Sadly I had NO ONE TO SHARE IT WITH! My neighbors were all gone. No one but me and my wife knew I was driving.

I drove a few blocks and then stopped. I put the transfer case in to low and moved through 3 of the 4 forward gears. I stopped and slid her back into high and headed for the 7-Eleven. Brakes worked, transfer case worked, so far so good.

I turned on to Porter and hit her hard to get her moving. I let off the accelerator and didn’t dive to the right, she stayed true. I punched the accelerator and she didn’t pull to the left. I tried it several more times. And oh man how great that was. The bushings worked and corrected the very exciting wandering all over the road the Range Rover had recently been known for.

I pulled up to the 7-Eleven and decided I would put some fresh petrol in her. I filled her up, jumped in and fired her up and drove her home. I listened to every little sound as she rolled down the road.

I have decided that the exhaust will need to be changed. I don’t know where the sounds are coming from but the exhaust sounds like crap. I need to get a better solution for that. After riding around at lunch in a colleague’s Dodge Magnum, I’m getting to like the tuned exhaust sound. I’ll be looking into that as I get closer to having the money to do it.

With the passenger side floor cut and absolutely no floor insulation there are a lot of sounds you normally don’t hear. The ticking of the exhaust, the bald tires rolling on the pavement, and lots of others. The most annoying was the warning tone from the transaxle.

As you know I “fixed” the solenoid so it no longer hampered me from shifting into low range. But in doing so I’m guessing there is something causing the warning tone to tell me I was not in neutral. Everything is connected. So I’m not sure what causes the warning tone to sound. I fiddled with the connections and the electrics there in the transaxle and transmission shifter. I guess I’ll be hitting up the message boards tomorrow for some technical assistance.

I got her home and sorted out the garage and rearranged some things in anticipation of the next project. Whatever that will be. I was not ready to start the warning tone solution, but I fiddled with it again to no avail.

I decided that I would put the carpet and sound deadening pads back in the rear of the Rover. I sorted all those parts and cleaned them with the shop vacuum and cleaner where necessary. To keep the spongy pad from holding water next to the metal panels in the wettest areas I cut the pad away. This resulted in 3 inches being cut off the rear most of the pad. This will leave the water trench, that rusted so badly, without any spongy pad to sit there with water in it.

I put the carpet back in and buttoned it all down. I cleaned the rear seat with leather cleaner and then gave the seat a good soaking with conditioner. The leather is quite dry in several places and with out a LOT of attention it will be gone soon.

You can see in this picture that I have the passenger seat unbolted, that is to have it out of the way for the floor board welding. I am not sure what the white area is on the middle of the rear seat. This picture was taken before I cleaned everything and conditioned it.

I have the center console out due to the sorting of the shifter electrics and the pending floor pan welding project. It was broken in the same places as before. The breaks are in the joints between the back area and the front are that covers the shifting mechanisms. I got the Dremel out and cut a channel for a 16 penny nail. The joint has no support and I figured if I used something to link the two sides and to strengthen the joint it might last a little longer. At one time I kicked around making a new console out of fiberglass. But that is a really, really ambitious project.

With some Gorilla Glue I proceeded to cover the seam and the nail. You can see that here and the carpet back in the rear.

Here is a close up picture…

Gorilla glue has an expansive property to it. It foams up like that so you have to be careful how you use it. I have used it and it expanded out and all over the counter, the floor, pretty much lots of places you wouldn’t want yellow glue. So if you use it be careful.

Everything is getting a fresh going over with a rag and cleaner as I reinstall it. My daughter RovErica spilled a lot of drinks in her before I took the Range Rover off line and grounded her. Grounded the Rover not RovErica that is.

So the next item for attention is the shifter electrics and then on to welding the floor pan. I will then get some Dynamat or a similar product and get the front wheel wells finished and the carpets back in her. After that I will have to get the money together to have the windshield pulled and the seam and replaced and sealed to prevent the water from getting inside and starting the rust all over again.

We ended the night Saturday at the Marine Corps Ball for Fox Battery 2nd Battalion 14th Marines and over all had a great weekend.

I have another 4 day weekend coming up with Veteran’s Day and with another Marine Corps Luncheon on Friday. I plan on getting some more done on the Range Rover and if I sort the shifter electrics I’ll hopefully be welding on Saturday. Otherwise I’ll be getting the power steering hoses off and to the shop for a custom replacement.

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.

Differential Out (Post #196) 8/24/2010

Holy crap! Sunday was not all that much fun. I had a few hours to devote to Range Rover Classic Restoration Part Duex. I started with sanding the tailgate. I’m not sure if you have ever done any paint work or if you have watched any of the dozens of car shows on television. But when you see them sanding, and sanding, and sanding, there is a very good reason for that.

When you take paint off a panel you often have to remove the paint and primer down to the metal. Once you do, you can see how thick the paint is on the metal. I noticed this on the tailgate and remembered watching Edd China on Wheeler Dealers BBC America, sand the panel before he painted it. The basic idea here is to reduce the lip of the paint. Sanding it down makes the edge disappear. Well very nearly disappear anyway.

This is not a show car and I am not a paint and body guy. So I sanded the edge down on all the bits where it showed. I think I did a pretty good job but I know I could do better but I thought the time was better spent somewhere else. So I finished sanding, checked the edge and touched it up again. Then I wiped it all down with paint thinner to remove the dust and I covered it with more acid etching primer. The next step on this is to buy the paint to cover the tailgate and rear panels.

I then set out to get the differential out of the axle. To do this you need to remove the drive shaft. As I tried to do this it seemed like every one of those nyloc nuts would round off. Frustrated I finally decided the drive shaft would come off at the differential. I latched the vise-grips to each nut and went to wrenching or socketing whatever.
With the drive shaft out of the way, I started on the nyloc nuts on the differential. Luckily they did not round off. I positioned the hydraulic jack under the differential and had my trusty helper RovErica lower the jack. That didn’t work out like I thought it should. I just had her let it go and I manually wrangled it to the garage floor.

Let me tell you it doesn’t take many of these projects for you to appreciate the weight of some of the parts of the Range Rover. The differential is a very dense and heavy bit of the Range Rover. I totally underestimated my upper arm strength and its weight. The good news after it was out, I only had one busted up finger so I feel fortunate. Although sore, that finger was still functioning, so bonus.

I was pretty spent when it was all said and done as evidenced by this picture of me.

I looked at the differential and there locked deep inside was the end of my axle shaft. I piddled around trying to get it out but nothing worked. It took me modifying an old screwdriver into a punch of sorts. I placed it on the broken shaft and started banging away gently persuading it out with a one pound hammer.

You can well imagine with the heat generated when a shaft spins in two, that it would be stuck. Think heat expansion properties and bendy metal. And stuck it was. Finally after quite a few whacks the tip came out.

You can see in the picture that there was some serious stress involved in breaking that shaft. I talked to RovErica again to see if she remembered what might have occurred during her driving that might have caused it to break. I took her back to when she remembered the front wheels starting to chirp. The chirping tires were the result of the viscous coupling failing post drive shaft failure.

She recalled two episodes where she drove off the road why coming home from a friend’s home in East Norman. She said one of those resulted in the Range Rover leaving the road and her coming to a halt sideways. Or that’s how she told it. Either way this could have been the event. My friend who served in the Oklahoma Highway Patrol told me the spin out maneuver they employ to stop cars often breaks the drive shaft or at the least the drive train. Good work RovErica.

I called my pal JagGuy and asked him if there was anything I needed to do to the differential before I reinstalled it. He started talking about limited slip differentials and the fact that if it was limited slip the clutches would be totally hosed. I mentioned I could not see anything like that but he was insistent.

I also looked at Atlantic British and Rovers North for parts lists for the differential. Neither of them listed any part for the differential that could be for a limited slip.

I got on the RangRovers.net message board and asked if anyone knew one way or the other.

Danny from West Wycombe, England and James from Wisconsin offered some wisdom on the differential. Danny lives in what looks like from Google Maps an ideal place to own a Land Rover. I’d love to know if he lives in this estate. Hell Fire Caves looks like a lot of fun. I pretty sure they have a little bit of money. That looks like an incredible place to live. CHECK OUT THAT CARRIAGE HOUSE!

There are even ponies on the polo ground!

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I can just imagine greenlaning around that great property in my Land Rover.

Equal billing for James leaves me with this remembrance. The last time I was in Wisconsin, I was driving around in an M54A2 6×6.

I’ve never been to Spain, Emu Plains, NSW, Australia  but I been to Oklahoma. Ron Beckett (P38ARover) also commented on the board, “Your car would have a standard open diff. LR never offered an LSD.”

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I don’t see myself putting that back in until then and that gives me plenty of time to confirm everything. I do not want to take it out again. While it’s out I think I put my angle grinder to work and give it a lovely coat of primer gray.

I will also investigate some synthetic lubricant for the refit. I cleaned out some nasty stuff from the “pumpkin”. As you can imagine the last bits of the axle and all the fine bits that were ground off wound up in the bottom of the reservoir. The axle lube was a lovely silvery color. This is what initially tipped JagGuy off that a clutch was eaten. We shall see.

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.

Trailer Goodness! (Post #180) 6/2/2010

I have an appointment scheduled to pick up my new trailer for Monday. My directions are a bit dodgy as the gal I talked to with govliquidation.com at Ft. Sill was pretty vague about street names and didn’t have an address or building number for the location of my trailer. Thankfully they have a map on their site. Unfortunately it doesn’t follow any of the directions she gave me. The brave soldiers guarding the gate will certainly know where I need to go. (fingers crossed)

I still have to put together my pintle hitch. I also have to hope that my old springs will be good enough and not sag too much when I hook up the trailer. Lots of pictures will be coming soon. Hopefully they won’t be sad pictures, but happy, good looking pictures of the Range Rover with a trailer attached.

Other good news this week…the doctor cleared me to do just about anything I want to considering my neck. Well okay, he said no football and that I should “use caution”. So I guess I’ll mark off,

  • Playing Wide Receiver for the Chiefs
  • Training to be a cage fighter
  • and Reenlisting in the Marine Corps

from my effin’ bucket list. Damn it I would have looked great in Desert MARPATtm too. It’s been six months since my surgery and I can now take Ibuprofen based drugs again for my aches and pains. My wife, the nurse, said, “you’ve been mostly non-compliant so far so it doesn’t surprise me that your graft hasn’t fuzed.” Can you feel the empathy for my condition? Deep, deep down I know she loves me. Turns out 10% of them never do and as long as I’m not in pain, ROCK ON!

Well wish me luck, thanks again for reading and Happy Rovering.