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The only place for a coil spring is up Zebedee's arse
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Well, I thought I might as well put my updates here as anywhere else.

After long enough I got the windscreen replaced and sealed, so today, I fitted all of the windscreen scuttle panels, wiper mechanism, wipers and the top and bottom windscreen finishers. This reminded my why I have a passionate dislike of “little bits of plastic”. One of the things I like about my Defender is that most things screw or bolt into place, but that’s bye the bye.

The bottom one went on Ok, once I’d marked up the windscreen with masking tape to make sure it was all centred.

Top one. It was a bag of new clips, black plastic, in a wee bag from Pilkingtons. I could just tell they were going to be carp, and they were. Ended up digging out the best of the old ones. 20 years old, and still better than the 3d printed new stuff….but boy, do I hate little bits of plastic.

I did get to enjoy the V8 growl when I took it out of the garage to turn it around. It’s encouraging, when it’s spending so much time in the garage to know it still moves!

Next things next, getting the sunroof to work. Nope. The adjustment instructions in the WSM are a little vague, and I suspect that the mechanism is out of synch side to side, so I’ll need to put that job to one side for later.

Aaaaand finally, on to the rear suspension. I had hoped to calibrate the EAS today, but that’s a way off yet. The sensors are fubar’d and there’s not much point in putting ‘new’ ones on when I need to take off the trailing arms and fit new bushes. The existing/original ones have holes in the rubber around the outer circumference of the bushes.

So I left things today having investigated the bolts attaching the rear trailing arms. The large one to the chassis turns ok, but there’s no way the nut is going to come off. Tricky place to use a grinder, right next to the fuel tank! I reckon I’ll grind the head off the bolts on the outside of the chassis; knock the remainder through, leaving only the width of bolt itself to be cut next to the tank - unless anyone else has been here before and has another cunning suggestion. Maybe a hacksaw, or a little tickle with the slitting disc.

I also tried to deflate the rear springs using the nano computer, but they’re not properly empty. I’m reluctant to disconnect the trailing arm under an inflated spring, so I’ll need to pull off one of the hoses at the valve block, or EAS tank. What’s the best way to manually empty the system?

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Pull the pipes out of the valve block, that'll let pressure of the rear springs, pulling the pipe off the tank won't do it as the valves in the block will still be stopping the air from coming out.

I've got about 7 brand new, genuine, white clips for the top screen finisher if you want them. They came in packs of 5 and I was convinced it needed 11 so ordered 3 packs only to find that it only needs 7 or 8. I found the easiest way to fit them wasn't to fit them to the finisher strip and try to slide them into place as RAVE says but to fit them to the pins then slot the finisher downwards onto them. If the finisher isn't held against the screen the wind whistle is really annoying. Drop me a PM with your address and I'll bung them in the post.

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Thanks Gd - that’s very generous of you. In fact, truth be told, I was in that position already. I had two or three packets of new clips but b*ggered if I could find them and I decided not to waste my day going through all the boxes. Typically, I found them about an hour after I’d finished the job!

Today though….. it even flitted through my mind that if I had a car trailer I might have considered taking it away…

The back end wallows about uncomfortably. Makes the handling unpredictable even. So I have a replacement pair of trailing arms, and new bushes. I’d got the rear springs emptied, so time to remove the arms.

Well, no. Front bolt - the big long one - got that out OK though I did need to use a grinder on the outside, and a hacksaw on the inside because of my irrational fear of flammable liquids in a big plastic tank. Rear bolt came out ok. But the middle one…. No way, no how. I have thumped and levered and soaked in plusgas. The outer nut is off, but even with the impact gun properly onto the head of the bolt it’s not turning.

I reckon that’s a classic LR steel and aluminium situation - steel bolt through an aluminium block - and a fair length of contact too.

Tomorrow I’ll try heat, but I can’t believe I’m seriously even thinking of pulling the axle out…. That will be a game changer in terms of SORN etc. Not really feeling a lot of P38 love tonight.

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Food interrupted my wee rant there…

My thinking goes:
At this stage, to remove the axle from the car all I need to do is 1) undo the back of the prop shaft; 2) undo the big bolt holding the N/S trailing arm to the chassis; 3) unbolt the callipers from the carriers; 4) unplug the ABS sensors and 5) pull the (new) pins out of the (new) airbag to axle mounts. I say “all” but none of this really seems too difficult.

The alternative, I think, unless anyone has any brilliant ideas for breaking the steel/alu bond in that middle nut, is to get the brake disc and shield off to allow me to get in there with a drill to go down the bolt length.

Taking the axle off would allow me to strip it and get it shotblasted/painted. There’s a guy locally who’s experience is from offshore oil rigs so if a paint survives out there it should be OK under a P38.

I just didn’t want to go here at the moment. The fun:hassle ratio is much too far towards hassle right now.

A little add on. The trail8ng arm could be considered scrap if needed. I have replacements, and the little rubber ‘saddle’ mount for the EAS sensor is split nearly through. But that does seem a bit brutal to be honest.

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The most important bit, and often overlooked, on the back end, is the Panhard Rod bushes. If there is slop in them they allow the axle to move from side to side resulting in some very odd handling characteristics. I've never taken rear trailing arms off but have swapped a rear axle. The two bolts holding the axle to the trailing arm were a little on the tight side but a socket with my 5 foot bar on the end (an old front track rod bar) and putting my feeble 10 stone weight on it shifted them. If I remember right, the rearmost bolt was a bit tight to get a socket on due to other stuff (calliper carrier mounting?). This was an axle with a noisy diff, leaks from both oil seals and an oil leak from the weld on the diff housing so swapping the whole lot from a breaker was the cheapest and quickest solution. Especially when the rear discs were in a far better state than the ones on the original axle. However, having seen the pictures of the amount of rust you have on the underside of your car, I appreciate you might have more of a problem......

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Hmm, just realised. 10 stone plus a 5 foot bar equals 700 ft/lb, no wonder there's been nothing I haven't been able to get undone. Bouncing up and down on the bar means I've probably been able to achieve 1000 ft/lbs!

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Yeah, that rust… that’s one of the side considerations to taking the axle off, being able to ‘do it properly’. It’s just like the front, but worse, there’s a layer of flaked rust across the whole thing. I need to get a few pics taken and posted for entertainment value.

Like I said, the rearward bolt came out easy; as did the forward one. Though the bolt heads and nuts were really rusty, the bolts themselves were in very good condition. Assuming the middle one should be the same, the only difference is that it’s directly through a big alu. block. Even with the nut off, my big Milwaukee gun was making no difference, So l reckon it’s well and truly bonded in place. Even if you were here bouncing on the end of the breaker bar, I don’t think it will be going anywhere!

Taking the axle out means a bit of garage reorganisation. I’d want to relocate a couple of shelf units that are currently sitting in front of the car; refit the wheels temporarily and move it forward. Then with the rear axle dropped out I’d have room to work on it at the back of the car. Not straightforward. So the decision is really ‘minimum effort to get it back on the road’ vs bite the bullet, SORN it for a couple of months, and ‘do it once, do it properly’.

I’ve got a new set of panhard bushes, so that’s on the agenda anyway, whichever option I go for.

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Well, on the basis that there is something to report, and that pictures always lift a thread, here we go!

I decided I was just going to get the axle out (whether I'll get it in again... well, that will doubtless allow for some more posts, pics, questions.... and swearing..!).

Decision taken I just needed to go from this:
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to this.
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Truth be told there was another motive here, and that was to investigate this back wall of the garage for 'mouse ingress points'... They have been in before and caused a bit of damage nibbling away at stuff. I used to get about 4 or 5 a year in traps, and I also have poisoned bait laid out. Interestingly it gets eaten, but I've yet to find mummified mice... There's the other half of the garage to do next weekend.

Anyway it allowed me to get the car further forward, and clear a space at the back. This is the battlefield, surveyed in the early afternoon before hostilities commenced:
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And after the combatants left the field at nightfall:
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The 'enemy' seems to be somewhat rusty....
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The photos really don't do it justice. Each surface has a 'blown' covering of rust - all the metal faces, and even the nuts and bolt heads. They all need a few taps with a hammer and small chisel to get the rust off and access the fixing below. What looks like a 15mm turns out to be a 13mm once all the rust is tapped off.

I did get the O/S caliper, carrier and disc off after I'd taken these pics. I am NOT looking forward to the bolts which hold the hub onto the axle, or even the nuts holding the diff into place.

Next steps are simply to get this stripped down, whenever time allows, and to get the casing off to get blasted and painted. I've been working on my parts list, but I had most of them already as I'd always planned to replace discs, calipers, pads, bushes etc.

Talking of parts... what a price for a rear propshaft! I've stripped the UJs out of old shafts before, basically to see how they work, but I've never actually put a new one in. This could be the time I learn this.

Anyway, I don't know if this classes as 'progress'... but fingers crossed they'll still be selling petrol by the time I get it back together again!

Truth be told it wasn't such a bad thing to do, but I know that Mr Angry, the grinder is rubbing his hands in anticipation of being used more than once or twice to despatch un-cooperative bolts.

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Certainly looks a bit on the crusty side but at least it isn't leaking oil so is only on the surface. Of course now you've caused yourself more problems when it comes to separating the axle from the trailing arm as it is no longer secure so you could end up chasing it around the garage. Hub bolts usually come out easily enough as long as you can get a good grip on them with a socket. I've got a set of these https://www.machinemart.co.uk/p/5-piece-bolt-grip-set-expansion-set/ and the 13mm one is almost worn out now. The more grunt you put on them, the tighter they bite.

Tell you what though, your disc protector backplates are better than mine. One of mine has come free from one fixing and is flapping about so clanks every time I go over a bump. I'll need to change the rear pads in the not too distant so I'll deal with that then.

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I'll not be chasing this anywhere! Seriously, I know exactly what you mean, and it did occur to me too that having it 'loose' means that applying any torque could be a problem, but to be honest, I'm just not going to muck about with this. Anything that decides to put up a fight is going to get ground off if possible, maybe drilled as well! The modern vehicular equivalent of being hung, drawn, and quartered.

As I said, I have spare arms to build up. This means that I don't even need to get that middle bolt out of the arm right now - I just need to get the arm off the axle so that I can put the replacement in. I reckon that once I get the brake shield off on that side, I'll have straight access to the end of the bolt, and will be able to slice the end off and then drill in for the 2 or 3mm I'll need to get the arm off. I might even, if I'm lucky, and turn the axle upside down, be able to get a thin slitting disc in between the axle bracket and the arm on both ends.

I have exactly the same set of those bolt/nut removers (after breaking one of the ones in a cheapy set) and actually used it last night to get the RH caliper carrier off. I think it will be seeing some action again.

I was pricing up those brake disc protectors... spendy! I've decided that mine are in fact perfectly fine, and will just get a bit of tlc.

First of the questions. 'new lr cat' doesn't show any gaskets between the axle and the hub - but it's the kind of place I'd expect to see one. I can use RTV, but just wondering if there should be something?

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No, there's no gasket between axle and hub, they just go together dry. Never known them to leak from there either so obviously don't need one. Thinking about it, there's the oil seal in the axle and the wheel bearings are sealed so there shouldn't be anything in there to leak out in the first place.

I've considered taking a mould off a backplate and making some up in fibreglass, problem is finding a backplate good enough to take a mould from (and no, I'm not spending in excess of 100 notes for one to use).

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^ thanks for the gasket reply. As you said... no gasket found. I suppose I just didn't know exactly where the propshaft seal was within the assembly. I'm now much the wiser.

So... progress, progress!

Some things did put up a fight as I continued my strip down - the little bar that holds the disc shield in place. Those bolts are so small that corrosion means there was nothing left = grinder. The caliper carrier bolts on the N/S = grinder. But I also had issues with the axle/hub bolts. Once I'd tapped the corrosion off, what were probably fitted as13mm heads were 12mm or thereabouts. No standard tool was going to work.

When I discovered the bolts were too knackered for regular sockets I dug out the Irwin remover, not really expecting any great shakes, but it was brilliant! I was truly delighted to get those bolts off without having to resort to the grinder 6 times!

There are some tools you buy, and think 'meh'. Maybe the first couple of times you use them they don't work too well. However, the Irwin bolt remover is my new best friend. It has paid for itself 10 times over, and earned itself a permanent place in my toolbox. I might even buy a second set for my 'mobile' tool box.

There's going to be a theme through this post - and indeed probably an emerging theme through the rest of this thread about this car - the bolt heads were just knackered, but once you got beyond that, the bolts themselves were virtually pristine.

enter image description here

Even the wee bracket that holds the ABS cable, and brake flexi has loads of strength left in it. Good job at £4 one side, and £45 the other!

After removing the bolts, the hub and stub axle came out really easily. I was expecting a bit of a fight (like removing the front hub from the steering knuckle) but nope. Indeed as I was removing the last bolt connecting the hub and axle, the hub started to separate. Result!

As you can see - virtually pristine inside. I had been reading up on new hubs, or bearing replacements, but I don't that's going to be needed.

enter image description here

Even the end of the half shaft - you can see evidence of use, but I'm not sure yet I'd call it 'wear'. I'll need to clean it out and get a magnifying glass onto it to see if that's the case, but I really doubt it now.

enter image description here

Even the oil seal at the end of the axle looks virtually split new:
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I will change these, for the sake of a £5 seal, with good Corteco replacements on the way, but I really don't think it's "necessary".

I also drained the oil. Now, judging by the state of the drain plug I wouldn't be surprised if this was the original oil. I'd hope not after 20 years, but then it's only done 76k miles, so..... I had to excavate rust from inside the plug to be able to get a 1/2 drive deep enough into it. Looking through the fill plug before I drained it, the level was good; watching the oil as it came out, there were bits where it actually looked a little clear, and golden. Not quite like new EP90, but a lot better than what comes out of my Defender axles after just a year...

So the theme... the rust on this car looks horrible. I do wonder if it was used by the first owner to launch/recover boats. It's like a really uniform layer of rust over the axles and hubs. But it's really deceptive. I look at that, and my experience says: "ooh, that's nasty. Need to do some work there"... but then on inspection, things seem very good. So thankfully the rust appears to be very much 'skin deep'.

Judging by the state of the diff nuts, the drive flange, and the diff cover and housing, I was starting to think I might need to give the diff. itself some tlc. Now, having seen the oil that came out, and the condition of the half shaft flanges and oil seals, I'm thinking not. It will come out, so that I can get the axle to the shot-blaster. (At the current rate of progress, a lot sooner than I might have hoped.) So I will treat and paint the diff cover, but unless anything horrible and obvious shows up, the diff will just be going straight back in.

So from now on, I think I'll need to be a little more judicious before condemning something on the basis of its external appearance. It might look carp, but actually be very sound below.

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I don`t know the prices and Your approach, but wouldn´t be a used axle casing from a breaker not cheaper, faster and more convenient?
Just a guess ... anyway, great work!

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Hey, that did cross my mind briefly. Definitely a valid thought. I'm not against using breaker parts - I mean I'm using radius arms from a breaker - I tend to look at it on the basis of the condition of the original part, and its size and weight because there isn't a breaker within at least 120 miles, and the guys who specialise in breaking P38s for ebay are 500-550 miles away. Carriage of something that big and heavy would be a real expense to where I am. In the UK, the couriers all hate the Highlands of Scotland! - or maybe they love us as they can stick on huge surcharges!

There's also the thing that I just hate 'waste' as a general principle. I'm sure that what I have is structurally strong enough it just needs a bit of a clean. If it will cost me ca £150 to get my existing axle blasted and painted, or £200/250 to get a breaker on bought and shipped, I'd rather give my money to a local business. It's just me! Lastly, it's not really taken me that long to get to this point where I have the bare axle casing ready to be taken to the blaster. I got there last night.......

Even off the car, the Right hand radius arm was a PITA. I had to saw through the bolt ..... on both sides. There just wasn't the play between the arm and axle bracket to let it come out otherwise.
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This is well stuck in there. Not sure if I'll bother drilling it out, but I know the ones I put back into the new arms will have plenty of anti-seize on them.
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Really oddly - but very happily! - the Left one was a lot easier. I still had to saw through the bolt once, but it was otherwise free and just tapped through.

Next... on to the diff itself. All of the nuts were covered in the rust layer - really crumbly. I was happy that about 6 of them came out using the impact gun; the others needed the Irwin nut remover - once again earning its keep.
enter image description here

Bare axle, more or less ready to be blasted. You can see the aftermath of the battle lying all around! Considering it only came out from under the car three days ago, I'm pretty happy with that. I'll take advice from the blaster about what I need to do to protect threads and mating faces.
enter image description here

I was a little disappointed to see a two pin diff in there. I'd thought all the P38s rears were four pin... but I can't say I've noticed any sign of wear at all. Is there any view on the suitability of 2 pin vs 4 pin in these cars? I doubt it will ever do any serious off-roading.
enter image description here

This is what I mean about the rust 'layer' - not a great picture, but everything (apart from underneath the air spring seat)- has this 'blown' layer of rust, about 1.5mm thick, more in other places. In fact the difference with the spring seat does highlight the issue.
enter image description here

Anyway, onwards and upwards. I have an axle casing for the front of the Defender away getting a re-inforced diff pan welded on. I'll need to chase that guy, and then get both to the shot blaster.

I can now turn to cleaning, rust treating and painting all the little stuff like brackets, and disc shields, as well as the outside of the hub and diff cover.

Probably be a wee pause in the updates now until I have something more to report - or another daft question to ask!

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I think the 4.0 litre and diesel had a 2 pin diff while the later 4.6 got the 4 pin.

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Thanks Gd. Any thoughts on the pros and cons of either? On my 110 I have upgraded to an Ashcroft ATB rear diff, but then I have done some off-road stuff with that, and plan to do more. With the RR I wouldn't expect to do much more beyond a couple of fields, or a track to a beach. I'm kind of assuming the 2 pin will be OK. I know they fail in Defenders, but that's maybe more likely to be due the circumstances/type of use.

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2 pin are cheaper if you need to replace them...... Mine has the 2 pin in it and has towed very heavy trailers up and down the side of a mountain a number of times and never given any trouble. The original whined like a London bus after around 250k miles (and gave a very healthy clunk when going from Drive to Reverse) so I treated it to a refurb from Ashcrofts and have had no more problems. My front has recently started to whine slightly at neutral throttle (silent when under load in either direction) but i suspect I'm the only person that would notice it. The Ascot, my spare, being a 4.6, should have the 4 pin (although being a 96 may not) and that has a weird speed related drone all the time. No difference under or off load or when turning and loading one wheel bearing more than the other, so I need to investigate that but I don't think it is the diff.

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Your back axle looks somewhat similar to mine, albeit I have about half the rust. Boat launching sounds a likely reason. Rust so caused seems to blow up much thicker and more crumbly than the normal slow rust on inland vehicles.

Agree as to the near pristine condition of bolts when extracted, whatever the condition of the head. Surprised me when I first started spannering mine. Land Rover clearly got all the basics much righter than the are normally given credit for. Yes Mr BMW I'm looking at you, and some Japaneses. Bikes especially.

I do wonder just how well the P38 would have turned out if there had been a bit more money around to do the engineering details and production set up details a bit more properly.

What would have happened if Rover had had a strong, dynamic, board devoted to car production at BMH and BL merger time rather than the elderly and weak, mostly financially obsessed, one it actually had. There is no doubt that Rover, and to some extent Jaguar, were frequently used as a cash cow to support the rest of Leyland. Would the money have been sufficient to support the essential 2000 - 3500 replacement, up date the Range Rover on schedule and take the Land Rover itself updating a bit further although that was mostly funded via military contracts anyway so was mostly zero sum for Leyland. Possibly if Leyland / Triumph died early enough to open up the Triumph 2000 market to a proper Rover, not the seriously cost cut concept SD1, rather than split.

Clive