A Lazy Sunday (Post #258) 5/23/2011

Ah…a lazy Sunday in Oklahoma. Spring is upon us and each day we wonder if we will get some our famous southern plains weather. Saturday night Mrs. OkieRover and I enjoyed a steak, asparagus, and an adult beverage for me and watched as the thunderheads anvil out as they trekked across the state. I tried to capture a panoramic picture of the storm. Eh…I’m obviously not a photographer.

Panoramic due east to SSE

Sunset reflecting on the clouds

Fortunately for us they stayed to the south and east of us. We had 5 inches of rain this week, more on that later. We got more on Sunday tonight but again they are east and south of us.

Sunday morning I played hookie from church and wanted to work on my Range Rover. I went out to the garage with a cup of tea in my Rover’s North Coveted Mug, 1 each, and The Cars Greatest Hits.

First, the garage is a WRECK. Several factors have contributed to this fact. We bought a new couch and loveseat and that meant that the old couch went to the garage.

Also the city of Norman gave away rain barrels to the first 90 people to show up at Forest Lumber. Forest Lumber is my new hardware store. I won’t need to go all the way to Lowe’s now. That place was awesome. My pal Larry and I took the Range Rover down there and hauled the barrels back. When we were looking around Forest Lumber we were discussing America’s First Sergeant’s Zombie Apocalypse Preparation Post. We found a wrecking bar that would make a great zombie deterrent weapon. You can see how impressive it is. It has an awesome name too, the FuBar III. FUBAR is a familiar acronym to all Marines. After a few applications of this tool most things it touches will be FUBAR.

Also currently located in the garage is a TV, a dead TV. It previously graced the entertainment center until it unceremoniously fell due to the affects of gravity on a shelf. I’m not happy. The budget took a big hit this week. The rest is the normal condition of the garage…cluttered.

Sunday’s Range Rover project was the sun roof. As you may have read, it was working when I went to Fort Washita. When I came home from Fort Washita, it wasn’t. So I started by taking the headliner out. I’ve taken the headliner out so many times it takes only a few minutes using a powered drill with Phillip’s bit.

Once out I started by unbolting the sunroof. The sunroof system is kinda heavy so if you can get help you should. Again I’ve done this a few times so it’s no biggy. You can use the head rests as supports and leave the front bolts that hold the motor connected to the roof structure as one point and the head rests as the other.

Once I got it lowered I started trying to figure out what was causing the problem. I futzed with it for at least an hour. Once I got it working I bolted it back up only to find it was not working again. When you pressed the button to retract it would stop as if something was blocking it.

I could not figure it out. Finally I decided I should lube up the tracks. They looked pretty dry. So off to the chemical shelf and out with the silicone spray lube. I hosed it down and the window moved better but not great.

You can see in the above photo the red spray hose, it is important to control the spray as not to hose the interior with silicone lube. After a couple of trial refits and more and more silicone spray the sunroof works. It still has a little catch but it slides back and forth on its own. In the process I ran the battery down and had to jump the Range Rover with the Honda Civic. It was shameful but necessary.

Now, back to the rain. We had five inches of rain over night on Thursday and Friday this week. That is enough rain to tell me if there is a water problem with the windshield. There is. The pads were wet…as usual. I pulled them out to dry. I will probably throw them out. The windshield is obviously the problem. I’m not sure if it is the seal or rust.

I’m going to start with the windshield seal. The good folks at Binswanger Glass told me I should test it with a garden hose. It wasn’t necessary as I didn’t drive the Range Rover in the rain so it had to be from the seal. With the pads up, the rust is back on the floor pans.

Its probably surface rust or staining from the bottom of the pads. Either way it is annoying. Considering the trouble I went through to remove the rust and cover the panels with layers and layers of paint. I’m now thinking bedlining spray and more sound deadening material like I originally planned.

I buttoned up the Range Rover and went on to the other duties requiring my attention. With that much rain the grass went nuts. With the drought we’ve had this year, I’ve only had the mower out twice. I think we are still behind overall for the year on rainfall, but the grass hasn’t noticed.

I tried to organize the hardware and parts shelves but I ran out of steam. I need a budget infusion to do anything else on the Range Rover this year. The first money I’m going to use will be to sort out the windshield seal issue. I can’t move forward on the interior until that is all sorted out.

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.

Tina, tools and tailgating (Post #252) 3/18/2011

If you are anything like me and my Twitter buddy Tina ( @tinastullracing ) you know how important your tools are to your success as a Land Rover shade tree mechanic. I would echo exactly everything she says about having the right tool and you don’t “know it” until you “do it”. I’ve used Craftsman tools and know that the warranty is pretty unbeatable.

Everyone has their own opinion about tools and quality. I have a pretty good collection of crappy hand me downs and stuff I inherited from my dad. I’ve taken 45 year old Craftsman sockets down to Sears have them replaced. I’ve used screwdrivers as levers and chisels and when they fail I take them back and get another one. That’s pretty unbeatable. Get good stuff and you won’t be disappointed later.

Check out Tina’s video below.

Hopefully we won’t need any tools this weekend as I take the Range Rover down to Frisco, Texas to watch the mighty Chicago Fire beat FC Dallas in an MLS matchup on Saturday at Pizza Hut Park. I’ll be packing the tailgate gear down for a tailgate pre-match party. So if you are inclined come by and look for us in the parking lot around 2:00pm we’ll be having a good time. Stop by for a beer.

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.

Transaxle Fluid Fill (Post #210) 10/13/2010

As you read yesterday, or are about to go back and read from yesterday, or about to click on the next link in your list, I had a sick feeling in my stomach from finding very little fluid in my transfer case. The fluid that was there was in terrible shape.

I had a gallon of Dex-Merc which is a Dextron III compatible fluid. Matter of fact, Dextron is a General Motors owned name. It denotes a standard of fluid. As the fluid was improved with each new formula they added a number to denote which formula was in the container. Dextron, was replaced with Dextron II, IIa and eventually Dextron III. In 2006 all the licenses to produce this fluid expired.

The licenses were for companies wishing to produce a Dextron III fluid and market it. If the company’s product met GM’s standard they received a license to use the name. That is why you see companies that don’t use the name produce documentation that compares their “BRAND NAME X” product to Dextron III with out using the Dextron III name.

With all the licenses expired it is more important now to know the numbers for the fluid to compare it to another company. Claiming or using the Dextron III name does mean anything any more. GM no longer controls the quality or standard and thus companies can say their product is Dextron III even though you don’t know what it really is.

Now this is not to say that these companies are skimping on quality. Any company in their right mind that wants repeat business will continue to produce fluids of the quality they are able.

Today Dextron VI is the standard and is specially formulated for “today’s” automotive transmissions. Meaning, Dextron III will not work in your wife’s Chevy Aveo. And Dextron VI is not formulated for your 1978 Chevy Suburban.

With that out of the way. I had some Coastal Dextron III. Its just some generic transmission fluid my buddy gave me when he decided he would not be fixing his step-son’s 1991 Range Rover with the busted transmission case. I will run this fluid for a few months and then drain it. That is, if the transfer case is not crapped out. If it is good to go, I’ll refill it with Castrol Dex Merc.

I located the fill plug.

I broke it free using a 1/2 inch break over bar. It required at least that much leverage it was well placed.

I then broke the drain plug lose.

You can see my painting handy work there behind the transfer case. This plug took the 1/2 inch break over bar and the cheater pipe for me to break it lose. It was in very tight.

The fluid that drained out was black like the fluid that came out of the viscous coupling. I would say there was not near enough fluid in the transfer case. After it drained out, I prepared the plugs with with gray gasket sealer and put the drain plug back in.

I then located my fluid pump.

If you don’t own this tool, go tomorrow and buy one, hell, buy two. They are great for filling differentials, transfer cases, anywhere you need to move fluid from a bottle into a place where you can’t tip a bottle up.

I proceeded to fill the transfer case.

You can see my black nitrile glove covered hand on the pump. I pumped a full half gallon into the transfer case.

I can’t wait to drive the Range Rover to test my work. I will probably empty the transmission and refill it with transmission fluid. This is only a test as I’m pretty sure that 4th gear is toast. I’m hoping that it is not and that the troubles I had are related to the transfer case and the VC.

With that said and a prayer on my lips, I need to see if the new used viscous coupling works.
I need to see if the brakes work.
I need to feel the transmission shift into and out of fourth gear.
I need to know that all this work has made a difference.
I need my Range Rover Morale lifted.

Thanks for all the great posts from the guys over on RangeRovers.net.

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering….hopefully! {fingers crossed}

Busted Tools (Post #207) 10/11/2010

I have already blogged about tools that are being sacrificed for this project. The viscous coupling has claimed three more. All were extensions for my 3/8th inch socket set.

Each was used as designed for the most part. I used long extension as a lever several times during this project. I had no idea it was made of such soft material. These were supposed to be for an impact wrench. I would have believed this made them “stronger” than a regular extension.

In any event it died. I may keep it around as beefy piece of metal in which I can used to pry or bang on. All three of the extensions I bought are now dead. The others demonstrated a softness that I did not expect. The shortest extension had the same fate as the middle extension. The ends twisted off.

To finish the project I borrowed an extension from my biker neighbor Kramer. It worked superbly. So now I am on the hunt for a new set of extensions.

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.

Post Allergy Repairs (Post #206) 10/3/2010

The last of summer has finally left the building. Here in Oklahoma that means the temperatures drop, from 100s to 80s and it means allergies. Pollen this time of year consists of the big three: grass, ragweed, chenopods. It is hard on all those affected. The pollen count numbers we saw were ridiculous. On a twelve point scale, we had weeks where the number stayed in the eleven range. At one point, we had three 11.8 days in a row. I spend that weekend, inside as much as I could. As you can imagine this year was very hard on me. I did avoid getting pneumonia this year from the pending lung infections, so I had that going for me.

One of my dogs, Sophia, is allergic to grass. This time of year, she is a scratching insane ball of irritated canine. She is grumpy and needy of our attentions at the same time. She has finally turned the corner and will soon be scratching less. I too have turned the corner and was able to return to the garage to continue the death march of restoration.

I call it a death march because it seems like it will never end. You can imagine trudging on and on, day after day, with no end in sight. This Range Rover is trying my patience for sure. As I mentioned in other posts, every thing I touch produces two new projects. With that type of progress you can almost see yourself walking backward toward your goal.

I have finally finished the installation of the brake rotors. I have repacked the bearings all the way around which is on a tick chart somewhere of maintenance NO ONE likes to do. When I fill the brake system with fresh fluid it will also allow us to check off another item on a “Not fun” tick chart somewhere.

I took the failed Craftsman tools back to my local Sears store for replacement. I had damaged or broken a screw driver, a punch, and a 1/2 inch 14mm twelve point socket. The socket as you may remember had traveled half way around the world with us to Guam and back. After the clerk had handed me the tools, I mentioned that fact to her. I told her the socket was at least 40 years old and had been half way around the world, twice. I also told her that as far as antique tools goes this one qualified and there was someone out there that collected them. As I left the store she was eyeing the socket with a little more interest.

Over the years I have noticed the brake reservoir has some minor cracking on it. It resembles how a porcelain plate cracks. I knew there would be a day in the future when that broke and left me in a lurch. I bought a replacement reservoir and endeavored to replace it.

You can see the cracking in this picture. What I learned from this exercise is the reservoir is a lot sturdier than I believed it to be. The old reservoir would probably have lasted the life of the Range Rover. Instead I have a spare on the shelf now in the form of my old tank.

The removal is pretty easy. There is a single bolt holding the tank in place. The hardest part was getting the correct tools to remove the bolt. The head is a hex size 5. I put an extension on the end of a 1/4 inch socket and the hex head bit size 5 on the end of that. You have to remove a low pressure hose from the bottom held in place by a hose clamp. Most hose clamps in America have a 1/4 inch socket head on the drive nut. I have run into clamps with larger heads. Diet Mountain Drew’s friend SeaDawg’s BMW 325is has a hose clamp that was larger, but this one was a 1/4 incher.

I managed to get it under there and on the bolt. It came out with not too much effort.

I had not at this point learned that my new tank came with a replacement so I put the rusted screw on the wire wheel to clean the rust off. I installed the new reservoir and went to put the old reservoir in the box and up on the shelf when I learned there was a new screw and a new set of rubber seals for the new tank to rest in. So I got to install the tank twice.

The install is pretty easy. Remove the old tank. I used a large screwdriver as a lever to lift the tank as I pulled up. I popped out the old rubber seats and replaced them with the new ones. Now, having done this twice I can tell you the secret to an easier time getting the bolt back in. The part I bought had a metal bracket held in place by a channel molded into the bottom of the tank. The metal bracket moves freely. Slide it out a bit and check the alignment BEFORE you push the new tank into the seals.

Before you put the tank back in place connect the low pressure brake fluid hose. You can see it much better in your hand than buried behind all the hoses and wires. Line the tank up and gently press the tank into the new seals. Reconnected the low pressure brake fluid hose and screw it all down with the new bolt.

This is a really crappy picture of the old rusted hose clamp. It was so badly rusted the drive nut was basically welded in place. I replaced it with a new clamp.

It is easier to replace all this if you remove the ABS pump and the vacuum accumulator and the coil. This fender is full of stuff. And from looking at this picture of swiss cheese the top of the fender, things have been moved around a bit. And those relocations required new holes be drilled.

I’m the kinda guy who uses the existing holes when ever possible. I know I drilled a few of these holes. But no where near all of them. And as you may guess…that’s right it was badly rusted. Big surprise, NOT!

The more I encounter the rust on this Rover the more I’m guessing its days are numbered. If I had the money, a donor Rover and the time, a frame off restoration would be required. I have just resolved I will just protect the metal I can and see what happens in the future. I got the angle grinder out and knocked off all the rust I could and covered it with acid etching primer and Rust-oleum automotive primer. I covered the top and the bottom of the fender with several coats of paint.

In the process of removing all the parts from the fender I found the broken rubber mounts for the ABS pump. The good news was I only needed to cut two of the four off because they were so badly rusted wrenching them off was impossible. It seemed like every bolt and nut on this fender was badly rusted. Several of them broke instead of coming apart traditionally.

I will have to get an assortment of stainless steel bolts and nuts to put everything back together. I’m debating on designing my own ABS pump mounts. I think I could do something with a set of rubber stoppers cut down and drilled with some stainless bolts. I’m pretty sure it will work as well as the factory designed ones.

These mounts are available from several suppliers. Atlantic British has them listed at 7.95$(US) each. The stoppers, stainless bolts, washers, and nuts will probably be about the same cost, WITH NO RUST. I’ll post up my results when I decide.

I also don’t like the GIANT gap in the fender near the shock tower. I’m going to be looking into some rubber sheets to cover these spaces. This is the awkward segue to discuss the mud flaps.

To be have mud flaps, or not to be to have mud flaps: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune have ground clearance, or to take arms against a sea of troubles not have as much ground clearance, blah, blah, etc…
William Shakespeare – Hamlet

Few people know that Bill was a huge fan of “green laning” and wrote those prophetic words while sitting in a carriage that was hung up on its mud flaps in a field near Guildford. He changed the words slightly to highlight Hamlet’s dilemma over life and its many torments.

I have long ago lost the mud flaps. The brackets for the flaps are attached in the front to the wheel well and provide three more holes for water to get under the carpet. Great idea guys, have another Guinness or twelve on me. I can only guess these holes did not contribute to the water in the floors but it’s anyone’s guess.

I have painted the brackets and cut off the rivets that held the old flaps. I have stainless steel hardware ready to attach new mud flaps. The question now is…do I want mud flaps?

I read a debate about this on a forum many years ago. I have removed my running boards and the mud flaps failed and fell off or were ripped off long ago. The debate was basically that of “ground clearance”. I’m not a fan of mudding. I know there will be places I go that will be muddy. But I can tell you I’m pretty sure I will NOT be driving the Range Rover into mud pits, AKA mud bogging.

The question of cost is also hanging over us. A mud flap costs about 10$(US) for my Range Rover at Atlantic British. All of the suppliers are about the same on the cost. At that cost there isn’t much point in finding a source for a sheet of rubber that might reduce the cost. So for around 40$(US) plus shipping I can put mud flaps back on my Range Rover.

Finally, well for this post anyway, I sprayed some of the rubberized coating material. I sprayed the floor on the driver’s side where the holes for the mud flaps are located. I sprayed the bottom of the footwell too. I got the angle grinder under there and cleaned the holes of any rust.

I will install the stainless steel hardware and then spray the spots again for good measure. I think any holes I can get too will get a stainless steel bolt and nut with washers to close the hole. I can then spray those with the rubberized spray inside and outside.

I was warned about using this product. Mainly if you cover up rust with it, the rust will eat the metal under the coating and you will never know it. I have used it only where I think there is no longer any rust.

I also coated the rain gutter at the tailgate end of the back. As you recall this is where I found the first rust on this restoration project. I have at least three coats of paint on the metal here. I figured any water I can encourage to go out of the Rover on a nice rubberized gutter the better. As a disclaimer I will state at this time, “I have no fantasy what-so-ever that this product will help me with the rust problems on this Range Rover.”

I mostly disavow any hopes here because from what I’ve seen this Land Rover’s days are numbered. How many you might ask? I have no idea. Hopefully it’s a decade or more.

So it’s off to the hardware store Lowe’s to buy stainless steel hardware. And once everything is bolted back down, bleed the brake system. And then the project I’ve dreaded most, the viscous coupling, will begin.

Wish me luck…as I post this the allergies are acting up and I’m packing a snot rag every where I go.
Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.

Differential Back In (Post #198) 8/31/2010

The Sunday after we drove to Clayton to meet up with Shaun and Deb to sell them my Discovery II rims, I decided, “This day would not go to waste.” While Mrs. OkieRover slept off the road trip I put my mind to getting the differential back in the Range Rover.

I went to Lowe’s to see if they had the Grade 8 nyloc nuts I needed to reassemble the differential and drive shaft ends. My local Ace Hardware where I always went to get such bits went under. This is an American term meaning out of business, defunct, belly up, etc… I guess they could no longer compete with the big box stores.

My first experience getting my automotive supplies with Lowe’s didn’t impress me. They had only a hand full of nuts in the size I needed. The drawer was left in a terrible state from previous shoppers. When I asked the gal if there were anymore in the back, she wandered off to check the computer and came back with an unceremonious no. On hand stock only for such a common item? Seriously? Good grief. After her acknowledgement, she then proceeded to look through the bins for more nuts the size I needed. This wasn’t my first rodeo, I had already done that. In any event she was unlikely to find six (6) more packages. I stood there for a couple of minutes and when I realized she was just organizing the tray and no longer helping me I walked off.

So I bought all they had (four packages of two). I also picked up a Porter Cable 6 inch bench grinder for a little over 44$(US). I wanted to buy one made in America, so I skipped going to Harbor Freight. What I learned was Porter Cable bench grinders are also made in China. I also wanted to get a bigger one, but it seemed impractical. I bought a course wire wheel to knock rust off stuff. Thinking I was ready to leave I headed for the register. I learned later after I got home that sadly the wire wheel did not fill the entire shaft.

So with all this in hand, I headed to the Lowe’s in nearby Moore, Oklahoma. I bought all the nuts they had in that size as well. A sidenote: on Monday I returned to the Lowe’s in Moore and bought 2 fine wire wheels with the plan to put them side to side and a few collars and washers to fill the shaft as necessary. For future reference, I am going to find another store to get these types of nuts and bolts.

So I got back to the garage in time to task the boys out on the yard mowing and to task me out getting the differential back. As you know or perhaps have read, differentials are heavy. At least as far as I’m concerned they are heavy. I wrangled the diff under the Rover and got it up on the floor jack.

I originally planned to have some help for this project. But I had such a hectic schedule I didn’t call the Titanium Hitch over to help. He said he’d be able to assist if I would call him. Instead I did the job alone and harassed him via text message on Monday for not being there to help me. I’m evil that way.

Now for the embarrassing part, I got the differential up on the jack, got it lined up and pressed in. I started one of the nuts and then realized…oh crap, I don’t have any gasket material on there. I called JagGuy to confirm the need for gasket material. I told him I didn’t remember any being on there when I disassembled. He told me of the amazing ability of the factory to put just the exact amount on the seal and it was so minute that you probably didn’t see it unless you were looking for it.

I thanked him for making my Sunday and hung up. I then proceeded to cuss and piss and moan. Back under I went and pulled the differential out AGAIN. As it rested once again on the jack I applied gray Permatex. The factory used black. I had gray and blue. I went with the bottle on the top of the basket.

I got what I thought was a proper amount of gasket goo on and then proceeded to put the differential back in. My muscles were starting to fatigue at this point and the task was very difficult. I got her lined up and started the nuts.

If you read the last installment you know I was rounding off the nuts that were on the drive shaft when trying to get them off. I needed to replace all of them. For future reference they use the same size as on the differential. So you need a spare to make it back to the trail head, perhaps you can us one of the upper nuts on the differential to get you home.

I got both ends of the drive shaft tightened up. Every time I use wrenches and sockets it reminds me of the size variances between tools. In my experience you can have two 14mm wrenches of different manufacturers and one may be tight on the nut the other slightly off. So I’ve learned to have more than one “flavor” of wrench when working on a project.

I didn’t take pictures but I also pulled the splash guards from the rear axle. They were dirty and had rust forming. I used the angle grinder and wire wheeled the rust and bad paint off. I gave them a nice coat of, you guessed it, Rustoleum primer gray. I’ll snap a pic when I’m putting them back on.

I tried to grease the drive shaft and put some Hypoy C into the differential. It is 85w140 oil and has worked well for me up to now and was what I had on hand. I put in 1.5 quarts and will need to get some more to top her off. I only had marginal success with grease gun. I’ll try again when I can move the truck for better access to the zerks.

I’m ready now to put the axle half shafts back in and get the rear axle to a state I can call finished. I’m really wishing I’d put an oil pit in the floor just for these jobs. It could double as a storm shelter. Maybe some day I will.

I think I will at this point replace the aging break parts. I have a new reservoir to put in. The old one is old and cracking badly. Its only a matter of time it cracks and needs to be replaced. I’ll pack the spare bearings in my vacuum sealer as it was suggested on one of the boards. You can pack the grease in to the unit with just the suction of the sealer. So I’m going to try it.

Well that’s all for now. I’ve got another post going but I don’t have the details yet so it will come later in the week. Tonight is Longfellow Lion football. My nephew is playing his first organized sports this year. Wish him luck, he’s gonna need it.

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.