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The only place for a coil spring is up Zebedee's
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Joined: Jan 03 2020
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Hey hey! A couple of pretty good days and I'm nearly there! There will be some 'daft laddie' questions at the end of this, so please be nice!

I've just been slowly building up the hubs, but for some 'light' relief.... a couple of folk have commented on the amount of rust around this car. I'd got to that stage in the job where Cpt James T Kirk might have said (had he ever refurbished a P38) - "Set ratchets to tighten...!" So I decided to do a little clean up and clear away the evidence of the 'strip down' phase. This is the amount of rust that came of the driver's side of the axle. I reckon there was about 1 - 1.5kg of rust in that pan. The same on the passenger's side.

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I posted another thread about the EAS reservoir. It looked like this:

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And now looks like this:

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This is after 1 coat of rust converter, 2 coats of 'shiny', and a last coat of a brushable underseal which I've pretty good results with elsewhere. I invested a Princely £5.00 in a few packets of O rings to be able to reseal the fixings at either end. This will go back under the car tomorrow using stainless fixings and anti-gall paste.

New propshaft fitted.... Whose idea was it to put the gearbox crossmember under the gearbox end of the front propshaft? This is actually a job I hate. The 'special tool' to access these nuts/bolts isn't really so wonderful, and I'm pretty sure the new nuts and bolts we get are made of cheese. Ho Hum. It's on, and I can refurb the original with new UJs at my leisure.

EAS sensors back on, with new heat shields and Clive's nice stainless fixings where they tie to the radius arm.

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As I mentioned in an earlier post, I managed to destroy the steering stop bolts by having my windy gun set to tighten by mistake - so here's my workaround. Overkill on the securing nuts no doubt, but I remember my first ever MOT in the early 90's and the tester complaining I hadn't used a locking nut on something, so.......

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As above I had bought new CV boots - but there was just no way I was going to get them fitted. So here's my "hanging half-shaft" technique....

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This way, gravity was working in my favour so I could pull the boot down and rummage about to get as much as possible of the old grease out before putting new stuff back in. The boots themselves were actually in strong condition, so I'm quite happy to resuse them. Better sealed this time. The britpart boot clamps I got with the grease sachets were also made of chinesium, so I had to go into town for a pack of good ones and the old boots are now properly secure.

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Anyway, you guys have all seen this stuff before, and more often than I have, so here we are - one, more or less complete axle end. The other one is at exactly the same stage. It's nice to be putting new bolts into place.

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Not particularly obvious in the pics are: new draglink and trackrod; new panhard rod dampers; new steering damper; new brake flexis.

After all that, about 5.30pm today, I wasn't ready to venture into fresh territory and tackle the brake bleeding, so I treated myself to playing with some more new stuff. I got the roof rail 'sliders' moving and offered up one of the rails/bars I got off ebay. Looking good!

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So that's where we are. Now the 'daft laddie' questions :-)

I now have a car with two new front air springs; and two new front calipers. It seems to me that a lot's going to happen when I reconnect the battery and turn on the ignition - and I'm a little scared that my brain might melt, far less the car's ECU.

1) Can I stagger the work by pulling fuses/relays? Or is this just not necessary?

2) I've checked the manual for the brake bleeding procedure. It talks of depressurising the system by repeated pedal pressing. I just can't remember if I did that at the outset. Is this critical, and will it stop me going any further? Can I just do it now, even with the battery out and the front caliper circuits empty?

3) the workshop manual bleeding process seems very complicated (remember, I'm an old Defender owner!) and doesn't mention use of any pressure bleeding kit. I have a good one of them. Can I use it, and does it simplify things?? I have tried searching. Is there an idiot's guide?

4) Do I need to do anything regards the EAS system? Will that just kick in, repressurise and fill the new springs without my doing anything?

Genuinely appreciate any help I can get here.

This could either be a 30 min, quick completion, allowing me to drive the car tomorrow; or a protracted PITA..... !

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Joined: Jun 17 2018
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Start her up and leave the door or tailgate open to allow the compressor to pressurise the tank..

After 10mins slam the door and it should rise from it's arse..

Good work BTW.

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Joined: Dec 30 2015
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  1. Not necessary as long as you have a decent battery.
  2. Yes, you depressurise it with the ignition off anyway, although it might be a good idea if you disconnect the ABS pump before doing 1 above or you'll have to depressurise it again.
  3. It's a fully powered braking system with a hydrostatic back up. Pressure bleeding kit won't help, you MUST follow the process to the letter.
  4. Unless it has gone into hard fault for any reason, which it won't have done if it was working before you took it to bits, it will run the compressor, fill the reservoir and rise up from the bumpstops.
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I'm not even going to comment on how shiny everything looks. The only bits that look anything like that on mine are bits I've just replaced, and they don't stay that way for long as I keep driving around in it (hit 408k today so that's 8k miles in 6 weeks.....).

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8k in 6 weeks.

I haven't done 5k yet in 8 months!

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Joined: Jan 03 2020
Posts: 118

Thanks guys,

It's only shiny for the same reason as yours! New bits that won't stay shiny for long once the salt hits the roads. One of the last jobs on the list will be to spray dinitrol onto lots of the fixings, just in case I do ever need to take anything apart again.

EAS seems fairly simple then.... fingers crossed for no leaks.

Just back on the bleeding question, and to turn Clive's current question on its head, given that I haven't touched the back at all (yet) do I need to do anything there, or just the fronts? When I removed the calipers, I just let the old flexi hoses drain out.... I've no idea if that makes any difference, but it seems to me that the rear circuit could be unaffected.

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Joined: Sep 14 2016
Posts: 520

Having got myself back up to speed on the braking system I'd say you pretty much have to do the whole thing.

If only hydrostatic bleeding is needed the rears could be considered isolated and done on their own. Needs fluid flowing freely though so its going to be messy and you have to be pretty quick. StrageRover managed it but I reckon he was somewhat lucky.

The procedure looks a lot worse than it is. Basically painting by numbers and ticking boxes off the check list as you go. Best thing is that it works "Just like That".

Hardest part is getting at the front and rear, especially the rear, booster bleed nipples. Nice thick bit of sound deadening lying all over the top on my car. I lie on top of the engine and try to convince myself I'm left handed!

The two things I always forget is to arrange a decently bottom heavy container to take the bled fluid so it doesn't fall over and decently long length of nice soft tube to to go from nipple to jar. You will use at least a litre of fluid!

I have a slightly improved version of the factory write up on the computer somewhere and pdf of my checklist. I'll shoot them up when I've finished this pontificate.

Clive

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Joined: Jun 17 2018
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I Did all the brake lines on mine and don't recall it being all that difficult to bleed..

The rear caliper bleeding procedure I did has worked on a few P38's not just mine lol

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Joined: Jan 03 2020
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Well.... ups and downs again today. No triumphal pics... as it was too dark, and by that stage I wasn't really in the mood.

Long story short, I got the car back onto all four wheels and out of the garage - even if only very briefly!

First hassle was getting the EAS tank back in. That fixing at the top/rear is a PITA. There was a sense of humour failure right there, and lots of verbal encouragement..

Then.... the joys of brake bleeding. As my wife has just said: "why was that so f***ing complicated?" Not only is it a complicated procedure, but access to those front and rear booster screws, up against the bulkhead is awful. I don't have tiny hands, but they're not massive either. Even then, getting in there with room and angle to swing a spanner is difficult.

Rear calipers were pretty crusty. In fact most of the stuff at the back looks pretty grim, but at least the bleed nipples opened and closed.

So, wheels back on, still on axle stands, start the engine. It started straight away so I was happy with that. Took a bit longer than I thought for the air springs to fill, but eventually it lifted enough so that I could get all the stands out from under the chassis and drive it out of the garage!

As it sat there running and warming up, I was sweeping up the garage floor when "PSHHHHHT" big air leak noise. The pipe has blown out of the EAS reservoir connector.... drove it back into the garage, switched off, and down it went :-(

Is there anything I can do to make that a better join? It was holding air OK before I took the tank out. Do I just put a tiny bit of lube on and reconnect? Ideally I'd get a new connector, but STC3809 seems out of stock everywhere.

Overall though, still making progress. It would have been nice to have managed a successful test drive, but on the other hand it's better to have that connector go on my own driveway that on a dark B or even C road somewhere.

What's the collective thought on the tank connector?

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Joined: Sep 14 2016
Posts: 520

I swear they bolted the air tank to that top rear mount first then built the chassis around it!

If the pipe blew out of the tank either the connector is damaged, most likely O rings inside, or the pipe is. Decent breeds of push in connectors are rated for 14 or 20 bar and won't blow out.

The cheap crappy ones, usually black body with baby blue release collars, are only rated for 150 psi. (On a clear sunny day designed for deckchair and beer.) They will blow. Heck I've had them pop on the floating air legs of an optical table at, probably 30 psi max. (£20,000 + worth of table and legs at 1996 prices and they cheap out on the connectors.) Confusingly Festo do decent 14 bar black plastic connectors with turquoise blue collars. Guess thats what the cheapies are copying. Never get caught out if you know but Joe Ordinary won't.

Wouldn't call the P38 brake bleeding procedure complicated. Follow the checklist for about an hour, job done, and remember to be gentle the first time you test the brakes. Jump on them at a sedate for first test speed and its "Ooof, clonk. Hello steering wheel, hello windscreen!". It settles a bit after the first few times, but not much. P38 brakes do sag off over the years and its easy to forget just how formidably powerful they actually are.

Thing with the P38 is that you have about 6 systems to clear. Hybrid pure hydraulic / power boosted front, power boost only rear and independent ABS on all the wheels. The ABS pump also does double duty to pressurise the power boost system. So its never going to be super simple. But it is straightforward and always works.

Clive

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Joined: Jan 03 2020
Posts: 118

Thanks Clive. I had that exact same thought about the EAS tank fixing. That it probably went on before the body was lowered onto the chassis.

The EAS thing - there isn't actually an additional coupler in there, so I'm not sure what you mean? I can picture the sort of connector I think you're referring to, but perhaps it's something to do with the model year?

On mine, the pipe just plugs straight into the connector/collet which itself is integral to the bolt which screws into the tank. I was assuming (dangerous!) that there were no serviceable parts in there? As I say I've been told STC3809 is unavailable. On second thoughts, has someone before me cut a corner somewhere? Is the pipe supposed to go into an inline connector, and then another length of pipe goes into the reservoir fitting?

Re bleeding the brakes - it's certainly complicated in comparison with anything else I've done. On the Defender, I plug in my pressure bleeder, run round all four corners and let fluid out, job's done. Having said that, we followed the checklist and it seems to have worked OK. The pedal didn't seem wonderful on the driveway, but then it is all new stuff at the front so I'd expect it to need some time to bed in.

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There's the collett and two O rings inside, just the same as in the valve block or one of the air springs. You can pull the collett out and hook the O rings out with the LR approved crotchet hook (always amuses me that LR assume you'll have a crotchet hook and a pencil sharpener in your toolbox when working on the EAS). If it blew out, I suspect it wasn't pushed fully home.

Brake pedal on a P38 will feel different to a conventional braking system as you are opening a valve rather than pushing a piston.

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Joined: Jan 03 2020
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Excellent, thanks. Given that there's no pressure in the tank anymore.. I'll undo the nut and take it apart on the bench.

I just hadn't got to the stage in my P38 journey where I knew the collets would come out.

I thought I'd pushed the pipe in OK, but clearly not. I'll also check the end of the pipe for damage, but I wouldn't expect that.

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Whenever you take any of the pipes out, RAVE says to trim 1mm off the end of the pipe and chamfer it with a pencil sharpener. That way the groove that has been put in the end of the pipe by the O rings will be in a different place. Be careful when pulling the collett out, they are fairly fragile and need to be pulled out perpendicular.

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Joined: Feb 25 2020
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Yes, and also make sure it stays in place ... when they are not under pressure, sometimes get "loose" and it is easy to "lose" them somewhere ... try to find a replacement is not easy except in that specific car/area ... (don't) ask me how I know ...

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Joined: Sep 14 2016
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Worth remembering that, even if the pipe is carefully cut and chamfered, those push in connectors are only rated for a limited number of connection-disconnection cycles if full pressure rating is to be maintained. The O rings do get old and loose flexibility over the years too. Fine until you disturb them but old O rings may simply not manage to seal if you are unlucky.

Personally I'd not mess around with the innards of the connector. Too easy to damage the collet if you are having a a bad day. The slightest sniff of trouble on my air tank one and it gets drilled out, tapped BSP and a brand new high end connector goes on. At around a £5 for an 80 MPa rated all metal one its not worth futzing.

But I'm set up to do this. Given the plug unit seems to be no longer available mayhap I should do a couple or three for service exchange stock.

Apologies for any confusion over the types and rating of the ordinary connectors. I was thinking in terms of folk needing to do a repair somewhere on the air harness and spluttering over the £15 odd cost of the official connector, STC8580, when E-Bay offers look-a-likes for a quid or so.

Those China cheapies are rated at 0.8 MegaPascals (0.8 MPa) sounds like a lot but thats only 115 psi in real money. Too many suppliers round that up to 150 psi which they may or may not hold. For a while. Good breeds are usually 8 or 14 MP, call it 1000 or 2000 psi, which is a bit more like it. You also see them rated at 80 bar which is 1000 psi too.

Clive

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I always use these to join any pipes https://uk.rs-online.com/web/p/pneumatic-straight-tube-to-tube-adaptors/0812106/, rated at 20 bar and never had one leak yet. Cheaper and not as bulky as the genuine LR ones either.

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Joined: Jan 03 2020
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Thanks again guys,
I got the collet and O rings out of the plug - managed not to lose them!

I think there's life left in the O rings and the collet, so I'll have a go at putting that back in meantime. On a point of detail - to save me watching dozens of videos - on reassembly is it simply two O rings inserted, and then the collet; or are one or other of the O rings supposed to go around the outside of the collet? I hope that makes sense, if not I can try and get a picture later. It seems to me as if o ring + o ring + collet is right, as I can't imagine how I would manage to get an O ring around the collet taper once in the plug, and they certainly won't go into the plug if joined together. Edit: I think I've got this now. A bit of googling suggests that I am right - two o rings, then the collet. O rings seal around the pipe; collet holds it in place.

Clive - if you are willing to machine a replacement plug in your exceptional toy box, then I'd happily source a plug to send down?

Thanks again. Fingers crossed I'll get the car mobile again tonight and out for a test drive. I kind of have to as the MOT expires tomorrow!

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Yes, just the same as the valve block and air springs, O ring + O ring + collett.

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Joined: Jan 03 2020
Posts: 118

Thanks GD,

Definitely a wee success tonight! Got the collet and O rings cleaned, lubed and into the plug; plug into tank; pipe trimmed chamfered and pressed firmly into the plug - and away we went!

I eased it out of the garage so as not to poison myself, and then let it run. I was getting a little anxious when rear then front climbed up.

As I still have an MOT I took it for a test run. Learnt that you can't drive a P38 in rigger boots.... it's hard to show off its acceleration when your foot is pressing accelerator and brake at the same time. Had to stick it on cruise control and yank one boot off!

Nice to get it going again! Nice also to have no fresh warning lights - unfortunately the friendly old 'SRS / airbag' couple are still hanging around. I was told by the seller this was something to do with the passenger seat. We'll see.

I do have a nanocom evo but have never used it, so I'll need to register that and see if it can clear those codes.

Then... a new MOT hopefully before I tackle the rear axle, though that could end up being the other way around..