THE CHEAPEST REPLACEMENT PART for a Land Rover EVER (Post #226) 12/11/2010

I started this Saturday out with a cup of hot cocoa in my Fox Battery 2nd Battalion 14th Marines mug and a hope of getting a lot done. The weather report had today getting worse as the day progressed. By the time I knocked off for the day to watch the Army / Navy (Go Navy) football game, the wind was gusting over 30 mph from the north. With an air temperature around 48(F) that makes for an unpleasant work environment in my north facing garage. At a minimum, I wanted to finish what I had started last weekend.

Last weekend I was supposed to be scraping deer hides with my friends. Those plans changed and I was instead home for the weekend. Mrs. OkieRover and I went to a friends house to watch the last Big XII championship football game between our beloved University of Oklahoma Sooners and their long time rival the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The company of my friends is always welcome and it was good to sit and all six of us fuss about the play calling in a tight game. The Sooners triumphed over the bug eaters from the North.

My friend had prepared quite a spread for us. We had chili, lots of finger foods, sushi, and lots of sweets. We enjoyed a bottle of wine and had a great night. Well I can say it started great and ended the next morning with me in the toilet with either a food allergy or food poisoning. I ate the sushi as I always do, but something served did not agree with me. I say food allergy because at one point my hands and feet and ears itched. In any event it ended my weekend early.

The day before all the parts I ordered arrived. I went through the parts and sorted them.

Before the evening activities I was able to go to O’Reilly’s and get some power steering fluid and spare hose clamps. I also asked about replacing the power steering hose that runs from the pump to the reservoir. It is just a length of hose, no pressure fittings. O’Reilly’s did not carry any hoses that would hold up to oils and together we came up with P & K Equipment. They are a John Deere (TM) dealer and do a steady trade in equipment and parts.

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As I arrived I learned from the sign posted there at the counter that they make hoses. So that was good news for me as I knew they would have the type of hose I needed. I handed him the length of hose I wanted to replace and off he went. He was back in a few minutes with a cut length and asked if there was anything else. I described the flange types Land Rover uses for the power steering hoses and expected him to either stare blankly back at me or shrug me off. Instead, he said, “yeah that’s an inverted flange, we can make those.” No shit? No shit. I told him I’d bring the next hose that leaked down to him to see if he could make a replacement.

I was ready to go and he rung me up. I retrieved my debit card to pay for the hose and the young man said, “that’ll be a dollar fifty five.”
I said, “1.55?”
He said, “yep”.
I said, “hang on” as I had that in change in the car and went out to fetch it. With this purchase, I think I have set the record now for THE CHEAPEST REPLACEMENT PART for a Land Rover. Atlantic British lists this hose for 47.95$(US). For you math nerds out there that is a 96.77% savings. YES!

I’m very interested in seeing if they can indeed make the high pressure hoses and how much they might cost. I love finding savings like this.

I reattached all the hoses and today I filled it with power steering fluid. I chose power steering fluid instead of my normal routine of using automatic transmission fluid (ATF). I am looking for leaks and this area is already the location of the transmission cooling lines. We know those have the crimson ATF fluid running through them. So to differentiate I put power steering fluid in the power steering fluid system. The power steering fluid I bought is clear, that way if either are still leaking I’ll know which system has the leak by the color of the fluid leaking out.

In addition to all this steering work, I put the lamps in their sockets where the bulbs needed to be replaced. I then decided to take the Rover to the car wash to put some hot soapy water on the hoses. I need to find the leak and with clean dry hoses if there is a leak it should show up quickly. I should see weeping on the hoses or even a drip on the butcher paper I put down to watch for new leaks.

On the way to the car wash I was able to get the Range Rover through all the gears. As you remember I think I may have burned the 4th gear in my transmission. I put in fresh fluid and the shift points couldn’t have been better. I know this is no measurement of the condition of my transmission, but I was happy to see it shifting well.

Here is the list of projects as of today. I’ve struck the projects I’ve completed.

  • Brake discs
  • Brake reservoir
  • Bushings
  • Viscous Coupling
  • Rust in the bed
  • Rust on the lower tailgate
  • Rust in the front footwells
  • Broken axle
  • Transaxle shifter solenoid
  • Complete fluid service partially done
  • Power steering hoses
  • Head liner
  • Sun roof
  • Rusted floor pans
  • Windshield Seal
  • Tires
  • Sound system
  • Door locks
  • Transmission problems

Not vital but needed eventually.

  • Springs and shocks
  • Air conditioning

That is all for now. Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.

Its all about the little things (Post #222) 11/25/2010

When you are restoring any older automobile the issue of replacing the “trim” parts comes up. When I watch the show Wheeler Dealers it is simple for them to just stop by a “breakers yard” for a few parts. But, when you live, 4,566 miles or 7348 kilometers from Solihull, United Kingdom getting those little things to make your Land Rover complete is at a minimum difficult.

You can sometimes find prime trim parts on eBay. You maybe even lucky enough to find a Range Rover in your local Pull-A-Part yard. I usually find them right about the time my bank account is empty. For now, Range Rover Classic trim parts for the most part are still available.

Which brings me to a recent trip to Rover Cannibal. I stopped in for a license plate lamp lens. It is a simple piece but totally irreplaceable without a breakers yard. I say that, and yet you can make your own. I watched a guy on one of the classic car shows mold his own 1936 Packard tail light lens. But I don’t have the patience or materials to do that. So it was off to my local breakers yard.

I walked in to Rover Cannibal and saw Ryan, I made the customary greetings and he asked if I was still blogging? How was the Rover? All the catch up stuff. His comment, “I don’t do enough social networking.” made me think, “dear Lord, I do too much social networking.”

I told him I was in to see if he had a few parts, knowing he had them. Rover Cannibal is a huge warehouse. The first floor is vehicles in various states of disassemble. The upstairs is racks and racks of parts. Knowing the Range Rovers are getting fewer and fewer it is good to see so many spares. He even had a 1994 white LWB being disassembled. Oh how I wish I had a shop to store a parts car.

I told him I could use the lens and a left front door seal. I told him I was sure I needed more but didn’t have my list with me. He told me to, “run up and get them”. Ryan and I have that kind of relationship. Nothing feels better than to be accepted and trusted like that.

When I didn’t find what I needed upstairs he told me to see Billy because, “he knows where everything is”. Billy is a Navy man and you can see that the sea salt is still caked on in places. So naturally we hit it off great. He showed me the 94 white LWB and I immediately found only a dozen things I needed. I didn’t have the money right in my budget this close to Christmas to take them off his hands.

As a matter of fact I had already attempted to glue and refurbish several of the pieces I found laying right there in that breakers yard LWB. This is where the rubber really meets the road. Right there in the bits I found what might be considered the holy grail of trim pieces. A fully intact fuse cover! Yes, I know, you can call me a lucky bastard all you like, I’ll take that for sure.

This is one of those parts you just can’t find. This is the story with any older car and restoration project, every car has its Holy Grail. My friend Mr. Fisher told me about a friend of his, Brian deFonteny, that has a 1966 Chevy El Camino. It is a total restoration and in mint condition. This fellow is going through the painstaking process of getting EVERY AVAILABLE FACTORY OPTION for this 1966 car. He finds the OEM parts still in the box in remote warehouses all over the United States. He mentions on the site that he recently replaced the manual windows with the factory electric ones. He has about $25,000 in parts on his car…not including labor.

Some of you younger readers might not know what this really means. Back in the golden days of automotive dealerships the 1950s and 60s you went to the dealership to see the latest models. There were not parking lots full of cars for you to drive home. You went to the dealership to test drive the models. Unless you wanted a USED car, you had to order your car from the factory. Seriously. An order would go to the factory and they would build your car and it would be delivered to the dealer.

So you would get the list of options and pick what you wanted your car to have. Paint color, radio, air conditioning, engine, think of something and you probably had the option of ordering it. It was an amazing time in the auto industry.

This gets me back to the trim options and Mr. deFonteny’s 1966 El Camino. Like I said, his quest is to have every available factory option for his car. He even has an ORIGINAL tissue holder. This part is apparently exceedingly rare. A true Holy Grail.

This is picture of a reproduction available for 90$(US). An original, once he was able to find it, cost him 1000$(US). Yes, one thousand dollars. He also has the headrests for the bench seats. These were only delivered on 689 of the half a million El Camino’s that were built in 1966.

But if you are going to play with the big boys you’ve got to be able to talk the talk and walk the walk. That is where I get off. I don’t think it is possible to build a Range Rover and have all the trim pieces be that nice. I am not building a show car. Hell, if necessary I’d drive my Range Rover through a barbed wire fence, I’m not afraid.

I’d just like to have all the visible bits be in functioning order. And having the fuses covered up on the dash is a good thing. Mrs. OkieRover is not a flight engineer. In fact, when we were on a date in my 1973 Dodge Ram pickup truck I had the headlights go out. I said, “well crap” and slid over to the middle of the bench seat and opened the glove box all this while I was still DRIVING. I dug out the appropriate fuse from the spares and popped it in restoring the lights. All the time she was mostly freaking out.

So I don’t need to have an exposed fuse box on the dash. And since my trusty wife will not be swapping fuses for me it needs to be covered. If not for the practical, it must be covered for the cosmetic factor. Mrs. OkieRover does not do “wires and stuff”. Mind you she is not without skills. Mrs. OkieRover can start an IV on a vampire with Raynaud’s Disease in the dark while she recites the famous Womack brownie recipe, but when it comes to cars or anything mechanical, forget about it.

So I’m pretty stoked that I have a nearly new fuse cover, my broken license plate lens replaced and a new driver’s side door trim with rubber seal intact. I pulled the headliner out and the dome light lens are nearly gone. In fact one sacrificed itself for this picture.

The good news here is this part is still available new from Atlantic British. I also need a tailgate trim piece that covers the carpet edge around the tailgate release. This piece is also available new. I only have 4 of the catches left and only one of eight contact pins left on the trim piece.

Plastic? Go figure. A nice aluminum piece secured by screws would have totally worked back there. Of course if they had done that, the screws would have rusted through the tailgate by now and I’d be writing about how I manufactured a new piece out of 16 gauge steel.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving and as always thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.