The only place for a coil spring is up Zebedee's arse.
419 posts
Sep 14 2016
09 October 2018 - 15:15

Drag link ball joint taper is well and truly stuck in the steering drop link. Even a 12 ton ram operated separator won't budge it! Failed removal always abuses things in greater or lesser degree so, even though it was OK before its now got to be done. Whole link is well rusty and seal on wheel end joint is pretty manky too.

Looks like the only way its coming off will be to take the steering drop link off complete with drag link and get medieval with it in the work shop. If I show it the angle grinder and chop ball off the stem so as to have a straight push with the shop press it ought to go.

$64,000 question is how much of battle is it to get the steering drop link off and back on correctly. Do you need a special puller? Official Land Rover device is "impressive" in both price and appearance. Bearmach sell a fairly weedy looking alternative. I can make something to take a 12 ton ram that should be effective.


03 April 2018 - 10:31

Just rang Martrim to order a headliner kit and the guy I spoke to wasn't sure as what colour and type of headliner was needed as a direct replacement for standard.

If anyone can remember what you bought for Summer Camp I'd be grateful for details. Otherwise I'll have to send a sample.

Whist I'm getting stuff in are there any "known to break" trim fixings et al that should be bought. Or is it more sensible just to get a complete set?



10 May 2018 - 21:07

So my version of a force screw type front radius arm bush tool worked well enough getting the new bushes in although the standard M12, 1.75 mm pitch, screw in the import universal bush removal kit made rather hard work of the job. If it ever gets another run out it will get modified for a 12 mm fine or extra fine pitch screw. 1.25 mm or 1 mm pitch means more twirling but gets much more push per unit torque. Can do PDF drawings of the kit if anyone wants them. Maybe even make another if you ask real nice!

RAVE says you need to remove the road wheel and disconnect the track rod from the swivel hub before removing the radius arms. Looking under the car it appears that there may be room to ferret the radius arm out with wheel and track rod end still affixed. Is this so?

Whats the best way of going about this when working off axle stands? Unless they give up pretty easy I shall cut the bolts. Life is too short to mess about.


10 May 2018 - 21:25

Double post!

23 August 2018 - 21:37

Objectively I'm somewhat overdue for brake fluid replacement and bleeding. But I'm less than confident that the bleed nipples will shift. Realistically it makes sense to do the flex-pipes too whilst I'm in there. Had the rear axle pipe done when I got the car but thats all the serious brake work its seen in the last 4 or 5 years.

So do I get a set of decent looking used callipers and overhaul them with new pistons and TRW seal kit or just push the boat out with a set of decent brand calipers. Island list TRW calipers at £100 and £60 + VAT for front and rear respectively whilst a pair of seal kits and OEM standard pistons come out around £60 + VAT. A set of adequate condition calipers to rebuild can probably be found for around £100. In round numbers by the time I've finished the job probably £500 with new TRW calipers, against £300 or bit less with home rebuild. Me being me I'll probably replace the mud shields whilst they can still be got so there goes another £100. Probably still solid enough to blast and paint tho'. I can blast and paint the carriers but at £20 (ish) a pop new is it worth it. Bolts, pins and screws were all new when I did the brake disks and pads over the last couple of years so they should be fine. Anything else I've forgotten given its year 2000 and approaching 100,000 miles.

So which way to go. £700 ish new-new just bolt it all on, £300 ish maximum DIY or somewhere in between? Generally I'm reasonably careful with money but skimping brakes is verboten. Especially as Madame Leadfoot is visiting for November & December so we may be sharing driving, (no way am I slumming it behind the wheel of her L322).

Anything else I've forgotten that should sensibly be done whilst the system is drained down?


19 April 2019 - 20:41

Has anyone got any experience with the baby "jump start" battery boxes?

Right now specifically interested in using one as a 12V power source for the alarms and anti theft devices on Her Ladyships BMW K1200LT which flatten the bike battery in about 6 weeks - 2 months. Garage in separate block so no power. I figure that she can easily pull something that small and, basically, portable off every week and take it back to her flat to recharge overnight. Presumably when it goes back on again it will top up the main battery whilst looking after the alarms et al. If I find one that works for her I plan to get one to do same job on my P38, which usually needs a top up charge a couple or four times a year if I'm not out and about much.

Problem is deciding on what is a good brand, which capacity specification to believe and whether a separate 12 DC output alongside the jump start one is useful. far as I can see most of the usual suspects quote the capacity for the USB 3.2 / 5V output in milli amp hours to get nice big numbers. Real 12 volt capacity seems to be around 1/3 of those numbers. Say 1 1/2 to 3 amp hours for the under £100 market.


14 September 2018 - 13:34

Front left flexi let go this morning, fortunately only a mile out so made it home, so time to replace the lot as clearly all same age and none look that wonderful. No bulges tho'. Calipers and all as they are well corroded and chances of getting bleed nipples out are low.

Do the flexi pikes come complete with all sealing washers and banjo bolts? Only Britpart seem to be in stock at usual suppliers, are they OK or should I wait for a (hopefully) better brand name such as Allmakes, Bearmach or Nelson? Factory prices are just silly.

Are any of the lower priced calipers safe to get or should I follow first inclinations and buy OEM from TRW.

Do I change the accumulator on spec whilst I'm at it or leave for now as it still seems OK.


10 October 2018 - 20:00

Well the grand fix the brakes up properly in one hit project has well and truly hit the buffers. All the hexagons on the solid pipe connectors at the rear are severely rusted. Probably not gonna come undone, especially if the same gorilla who overtightened the front ones did the installation. Even if they do come off they certainly aren't going back.

For now flexi pipes and hard pipes are OK so I'll make do with just changing the callipers but something will need to be done in due course. (Which will be after I've got my lift installed for decent working room underneath in an indoor environment.) Looks like the long twin pipes from the booster for my year 2000 car can still be got OEM at about £230 (ouch) but supply of the short ones looks iffy.

Is there a reliable pattern supplier or is it a case of roll your own with Kunifer, flanging tool and a set of screwed unions? I have the tools and enough experience so no issue with DIY if need be. Ready made is easier tho'.

If DIY is the only way to go who does proper Kunifer at a decent price. Last lot I got from a factor was ordinary copper, and too thin at that. Remonstrating with the supplier basically got a shrug "All same stuff innit". Annoying but I didn't get it for brake lines anyway so no great issue. Obviously I want all the fittings in stock before I start so who is a good source for the male screw fittings and are they all same size and threads? Presumably stainless is the best material for the threaded couplings. The short pipes on mine were garage replaced shortly after I got it so only 4 years or so for the hexagons to corrode away. Not good.

About 20 years since I last did a hard pipe replacement DIY style so I'm way out of touch with the market.


13 October 2018 - 14:56

Ready for road test after all brake work and find the steering is very stiff when trying to turn right. Turning left is fine but going right wards feels like there is no power assistance. Is it simply air in the PAS system needing bleeding out or is it more serious.

Quickly lifted it on the jack and checked that everything turns fine both ways with the wheels off the ground. Sat front axle on stands and twirling back and forth with pump running in the hope of shifting any air. Feels slightly heavier going rightwards but hard to tell if thats meaningful. Opening bleed nipple on steering box gives an ooze of oil. Is this right or should it gush!

About the only cause I can think of its that I had the steering well to the right when removing the old drag link. Which was very stubborn and had to be hit to shift it. Not something I like doing but I wanted finish replacing all the steering swivels this year as everything was showing wear. Could be coincidence and steering about to go wrong I suppose.

Saturday shop by motorcycle now!


07 September 2019 - 19:40

Her ladyship has decided that a Mercedes E350 estate will be her next car and keeps bombarding me with look-at-this bargain on CarGurus E-mails.

As a sanity check I looked at P38 prices. Not many but two seriously optimistic standouts were:-

1998 4.6 Limited Edition (which?) with 54,000 miles on the clock for £12,000 and a fiver change

2002 4.6 Vogue with 24,500 miles on the clock for £20,000 and a fiver change.

!! ???

Makes the up to £10,000 ish Japanese imports seem almost sensible.


29 June 2019 - 10:11

So finally got round to fitting the factory hose from water pump to thermostat on Thursday. Significantly tighter on both thermostat and pump connection stubs than the one from the (allegedly) good quality, but not factory, set I fitted shortly after getting the car. The cable operated spring clip compressor thing worked fine when fitting the new pipe to the thermostat end but couldn't do the deed at the water pump when working from underneath. Probably be OK if working from the top. So the pump end got a Mikalor stainless steel band and bolt type clip. Needed a bit of careful alignment to keep the bolt head clear but went on well in the end and stayed in place whilst ratcheting up the bolt head. Jubilee worm drive types don't stay put and are the very devil to do from underneath!

Test run and top up, no leaks despite encountering the airlock issue for the first time ever. Sixth time unlucky I guess. Still dry all through standing round Friday. Last check at about 9 pm.

Yay! Fixed. I thought. Celebrated too soon.

Wandered out on the paper collection walk this morning and ... territorial marks under the car. Perhaps 1/4 or 1/2 a teaspoons worth. Quick look confirms the joint at the (new) thermostat is slightly wet.

So it seems that it does it overnight. Presumably due to temperature changes but how that would generate enough pressure to produce a leak is beyond me. In retrospect its always had odd days and periods without marking its territory overnight and, so far as I recall, its always been overnight. Never when parked up during the day.

Getting to the point where I'm about ready to abandon my stance against bodges and chuck a tin of sealer jollop in. But which one! I'm sure it had jollop in the cooling system when I bought it but I assumed that was to seal up the sadly bodged water pump gasket. Must have been good stuff as its the only time I've ever been able to see where it settled when sealing gasket. That one was so bad it probably leaked under simple pressure head when the coolant was poured in.


28 May 2019 - 14:57

Still chasing the occasional, and sometimes not so occasional, water leak where the hose from the water pump enters the thermostat housing. Only seems to happen during cool down after the car has been parked up for a while. So presumably a pressure build up on the engine side when the stat is closed.

So far its had new hoses, albeit a while back, changed clip from the spring thing to an up-market Mikalor stainless steel band and bolt affair and finally fitted a new OEM thermostat last week just in case it was a minor crack in the plastic housing.

Still drips a teeny bit.

When changing the thermostat housing I did think that the hose was little slacker on the stub than I'd ideally have liked but still within the range of what a clip ought to have tightened up. Seems to me that modern hoses are slacker on the stubs than what they used to be. The hoses I used came as a full set from a reputable supplier so should be OK. Don't recall blue bag packing but may well have been Britpart. I notice that the visible end of the top hose where it goes onto the radiator shows little coolant spots about where the reinforcing cords might be. Something I've not seen before.

Seriously thinking in terms of paying the Green Oval tax and getting a factory hose. At £35 a pop it ought to fit properly but thats a lot of money for a hose. Any suggestions for a cheaper fix. Leak sealer in the coolant or rtv round the stub would probably work but both are bodges.


22 August 2019 - 20:41

Nooging around t'Bay tonight (22/08/2019) I was surprised to find 4, yup Four, Holland and Holland versions up for sale. At prices ranging from OK I guess to pushing it.

Given that there are only 100 around in the UK that sounds a high proportion looking for new owners in a random week.


22 October 2016 - 21:37

The big red beast and I toddled off down to Hailsham, well nearly, Lower Dicker actually, for a look at that 2001 HSE with barely 35,000 on the clock. As expected it was smart, very smart confirming my opinion that dark green paintwork and lightstone interior is the best colour combination for a P38. It also reminded me that lightstone shows seat squab wear where you slide in and out very rapidly indeed. As might be expected from the miles this one had done a fair bit of short trip work which really showed up on the drivers seat. Pity. About the only interior deficiency. Started easily from cold running up smooth and sweet. A quick amble round the industrial estate showed it to be a bit tighter than mine but, given mine is due for a good go through, the differnce was smaller than expected. Suspension got a decent work out. Its approaching forty years since I was last down that way. Road surface was poor then and nowt seems to have been done since. The natives don't drive striaght down their own side of the road with ordianry cars!

Not as good as I'd hoped underneath. Better than mine yes but similar amount of the wire brush, rust-killer paint and Waxoyl, Dintrol or whatever needed. Just lots more aging paint and less rust. Like mine 3 years back. Still got factory exhaust. Why can't they make replacements as quiet. Air suspension did its stuff as it should and the owner said, without prompting, that coil spring conversion folk were nuts "It came from the factory riding on air so why change everything instead of looking after it properly". Yay. Our kind of guy. He'd been told it would soon need new airbus so there is a set to go with it. Didn't seem so to me but it has been looked after a combination of DIY and non-RR mechanics which on the face of it is odd given that there is a respected Indie in Hailsham. I knew the ABS & Traction control were showing faults so I took the Lynx to check codes. Lynx said 4125 left hand rear, short between sensors, hopefully just sensor replacement would fix it. 4066 left hand front showed up as historical. DIY fixed apparently.

Will I buy it? Thought probably would when I left but by now shading to probably not. A year and 50,000 miles younger is attractive but being retired guy where 5,000 miles is a high mileage year big red is unlikely to wear out. Would need to find and fit roof rails and reversing sensors. Underneath work will be similar and the solid rear brke pipe across the axle is on the advisories list from the last MoT. Not the sort of job I wanna buy. Big red has a droopy headlining and leaky aircon evaporator but I have the air-con bits and headlinings aren't silly expensive to do so he won't cost much more to get back into proper trim. Black upholstery may not be as smart as lightstone but its a lot more practical when you use a car as transit van substitute as I often do. Best guess is that I'll drop approaching £1,500 or so on the deal once I'd found a good home for big red so the nicer car probably isn't worth it. Really I'm not that sure how serious the guy is about selling anyway.

Am I talking myself out of a real deal?

Gilbert might be interested to know that the owner before this one used it for his business of hauling classic cars around. Mostly short trips by the look of it.


19 November 2016 - 23:09

My pal Mike has pretty much decided to get a P38 for second car / caravan tug duties. Estimates around 3,000 miles a year, keep at least 5 years. I've been roped in as the expert consultant to ensure he doesn't buy a money pit. Pretty much settled on a Thor V8. Even at V8 thirst he will save a bundle on payments towards the His part of His'n Hers cars. Given the fairly limited price range covering nice cars on wildly different mileages I'm wodering what the spending on parts over and above ordinary servicing is for various mileages.

I suggest he waits to find something in the 65,000 to 75,000 (ish) miles range which will cost a bit more but, judging by my car which I got at 77,000 miles with pretty much everything except one airbag original, around £2,000 should cover the expected replacements up to 100,000 mile range.

However he is also looking at cars in the 100,000 to 140,000 mile range which claim to have most of the first stage part replacements covered. But 100,000 to 140,000 mile cars seem to be £1,000 to £1,500 cheaper. I'm my view such cars are likely to be false economy but I don't have a handle on what extra replacements are likely to be needed and what the risk of serious engine work is.

Clearly anything beyond 150,000 will be just too leggy and has a good chance of needing engine work in his ownership. Which isn't going to be viable as Mike's looks at engine work like Marty does. Patch it up till the next pop isn't gonna happen.


09 November 2016 - 00:20

Um. Six in the case of the upper union on my old condenser unit. Own fault. After being delayed by a few problems getting into things I got bit rush headed hoping to get the job done whilst i still had assistance on site to re-fit the bumper. Lent a bit too much on the spanner and interpreted union nut going out of shape as things starting to move. Net result A/F dimensions each way were both different and tapered. It also rubbed on the pipe! Comments of the "Oh dearie, dearie me!" type. Heavily supercharged in full afterburner mode.

Fortunately warming things up with a propane torch loosened the union up enough to get things moving. One whitworth, one A/F, one normal length metric, one stubby metric (unearthed and unwrapped after 25 years in the white elephant drawer), my favourite small F type shifter and King Dicks version of the Americans favourite Crescent monkey wrench got it out a teeny bit of turn at a time. Maybe 30 very long minutes. Once off some scientific squeezing in the vice got it spinning free on the pipe again and the across flats dimensions within couple of thou'.

Having paid the brand name tax for a Hella OEM unit instead of "perm one from 5 lower cost" versions on E-Bay I expected the new condenser to drop straight in. Nope! Locating pin holes down the bottom were incorrectly positioned with respect to the bolt sleeves and each other. So in and out half a dozen times for file modifications before it all went in. Straight copy of the old one didn't work, that would have been too easy, and there is still a bit of residual stress where the bolts don't go into the brackets dead true but hopefully it will be fine. Hella managed to get the top fixings wrong too. Clip on thread carriers instead of the standard welded on nuts so the standard bolts are too short. Just to make a clean sweep the fan unit bolt holes didn't line up either so a bit of gentle levering was needed to get that on. At least it came with positive pressure inside and they did get the union threads right.

Full dark (and chilly) by the time I got the fans on but not fancying finishing off in the rain tomorrow I decided to have a go at putting the bumper on solo. Went straight on. Easy. Air deflector on the left went straight in and held OK with the remains of those stupid beak me to take me out push fixings. Grill went straight on too without dropping any screws. By that time I figured my resident workshop gremiln colony had bedded down in the warm for an early night.

Nope! The beast had taken up a distinct list to the drivers side during the days work. Which didn't really worry me as the air suspension has always been good as gold. Started him up to shift back to the proper parking spot, went right down to access height and stayed there. Light's flashing, compressor running but no lift. Gremlins clearly still wide awake and dancing merrily. Hopefully just an air bag displaced when I checked the front brakes on Monday, when its gets light again we'll see if the tank pumps up with the drivers door open. Horrible feeling that it may be time for a compressor and valve block overhaul. If it is who does a good kit these days?


16 March 2017 - 23:20

My EAS system has become somewhat ambivalent about turning the compressor off when everything is up to pressure. Takes a short 5 minutes to come up to pressure from all empty so at least I got the compressor rebuild right. Once its up to pressure you get the usual solenoid clicks, small puff from the exhaust, short pause then the compressor runs up again for, usually, a short minute before repeating the cycle. Pause after exhaust puff and compressor run time vary rather pause is always less than a minute, run time sometimes goes over a minute. Sometimes it decides to work normally after an indeterminate number of short run cycles, sometimes it carries on for the whole journey. Occasionally you get a very long discharge from the exhaust suggesting that sometimes it goes well over pressure. Fortunately I've not been out and about much over the winter so its not been a major worry but really need to get it sorted now the wether has turned. I have two valve blocks both of which exhibit the same behaviour. One from LandyAir and my old one which I rebuilt.

Had another go at it today and with the ex-LandyAir valve block it was short-cycling about 3 to 5 times after height adjustment before settling down. The Lynx diagnostics says pressure switch normal during pump up and short cycling and pressure switch low once the compressor is properly stopped. Which is right. The other valve block just keeps short cycling for as long as I was prepared to run things, 10 minutes or so.

Pressure switch is the obvious cause of the problem. But two bad ones seems a bit unlikely. Especially as my valve block worked fine before I fixed it!


15 May 2017 - 20:53

Been nooging around a minor cold engine coolant loss for the last 4 years or so. Takes around 20 to 30 or so starts to loose a pint. Pretty sure the beast came with sealer jollop in the system when I got it as the problem only got noticeable after I pulled things out to fix the front crankshaft oil seal. Obviously fitted new hoses whilst the system was empty. Loads of Hermatite on the water pump and front cover gaskets suggesting that Bodgitt & Bend Garages Inc had been inside and given up. Water pump looked to be a decent quality replacement not original. Periodically one of the usual under bonnet leak suspects gets enthusiastic enough to leave visible traces and gets fixed after which the loss drops off for a while. No evidence of heater matrix O ring leaks.

So do I go (nearly) nuclear by doing the heater O rings and fitting new radiator, thermostat and water pump or do I just throw in the bottle of K-Seal I got given by a mate with a guilty conscience over too many little freebie jobs. Main temptation is that the K-Seal is free and quick! Being honest its only the heater O ring hassle that is putting me off the nearly nuclear option.

Car is a model year 2000 4.0 HSE with 88,000 on the clock.


28 August 2017 - 14:41

The big red beast, a model year 2000 4.0 HSE, has gotten especially "lumpy" in roll over the past year or so. Particularly noticeable over nearside humps and hollows. Initial suspension movement seems a little too free then the dampers seem to catch up with a soft but sharp bump settling into a smooth but over damped feel. Currently just over 88,000 miles on the clock so I guess its suspension parts getting old. But which ones?

First noticed a couple of years back primarily appearing to be back end sway related. New OEM Panhard rod bushes in the Land Rover pack toned it down for a bit but obviously not a full cure. OEM Boge shockers went on this year as Mr MoT man was getting antsy. Seemed to do the trick and toned things down considerably but a couple of thousand miles down the line problem is back to seriously annoying again. Plan A for next step is to blitz all the other suspension bushes in one or two goes. Does this sound reasonable? Are there any unexpected issues with getting things out and undone. My usual practice is to replace all the bolts when doing this sort of job so if the quick, easy and effective way is "just destroy the nuts and hit it" thats fine by me. Recommendations for OEM quality bushes? I usually mail order from BritCar. No particular reason, just habit from when they were the only folk who had it all in stock for a job some time back.

I have the Laser Tools P38 specific bush fitting kit, a 12 ton press in the workshop and one of those Chinee universal bush removal kits so should be no tooling issues. Bought the Chinee kit primarily for the sleeves. Saves the mucking around looking for big sockets or making something up. Two decent lathes in the shop so making is no great problem but finding the material can be. Classic 10 minute job that takes an hour too.

I've contemplated getting a second set of suspension parts to re-bush and, where appropriate, re-paint at my leisure. Worth it or not? My MoT man is pretty good and only 50 yards round the corner so I can drop it off and walk home but has a thing about advisories. Especially paint and surface rust underneath so the occasional bit of re-decoration keeps him happy.

Anything else to be done whilst its all hanging loose. Recent airbags so no issues there. Maybe fit re-con prop shafts or at least change the UJ's given the miles. I figure that by 100,000 miles we will be in the zone where replacement should be expected so its not overly early.


04 October 2017 - 21:34

Brothers guide dog is retiring around the turn of the year so I get to inherit 56 lb (ish) of 11 year old Yellow Labrador / Golden Retriever cross dedicated to covering folk with yellow hair. Presumably 'cos blondes have more fun. Although healthily svelte she isn't genetically the most athletic of hounds and doesn't like being picked up so I'm figuring to get some sort of folding ramp or steps to help her into the car.

I don't approve of home alone for long periods and re-bonding will involve a good deal of riding around with me as well as regular walks over Ashdown Forest et al so whatever I get needs to be up to considerable use. Seems to be a wide range of sizes, styles and prices or ramp out there. Mostly mail order so see, let alone try, before you buy is hardly an option.

Does anyone have any experience with such ramps and how to tell the good from the bad?