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The oldest Land-Rover Series 3 around - cutting holes in the roof!


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This has been running nicely, although the new rear crossmember is showing how thin the paint was on it. Rust showing through already on the sharp edges where the paint is thinnest. No big deal to wire brush and repaint, but I keep eyeing up a galvanised chassis... Surely it would be easiest to swap one while all the fasteners are new and easy to loosen!

We went to the pub in it tonight to meet up with friends, and I persuaded mrs_the_cat to drive us back. All went pretty smoothly, although I think she may have frightened the car behind selecting reverse instead of first while pulling away :lol:

Summary: "I can't see the appeal!"


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  • 4 weeks later...

Tempting, but given that I quit my job on Friday, I think I'd better save my cash for now!

So any form of making money is of interest right now... This will be earning its keep next Saturday as a wedding car with a difference. As well as transport to the venue, I'll be taking the couple to a remote mountain spot for photos.

Thought I'd better tidy up the rear seats in preparation, so did a quick cover job with some left over material from the Airstream. I also laid some carpet down in the bottom of the tub.


I'm no upholsterer, so don't look too closely, but this is only a temporary job anyway. Long term the plan is to ditch the tailgate and fit a rear door for ease of access - just waiting for one in the right colour ideally!

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  • 1 month later...

I've been horrendously busy, so not updated this with a wedding photo! Here's one when we drove up for the 'photo shoot'.


It seemed to go down well, and certainly attracted no end of waves and hoots as I drove along all prettified! 

Then today it was back to being useful again, collecting wood (I know I need a bigger trailer!)


I do still have the Disco for firewood duties, just that this location is around 20 miles away by road. Hence it's easier to just use a trailer with this.

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  • 1 month later...

As mentioned elsewhere, I took this down to the FoD last weekend (360 mile round trip), on which it performed surprisingly well. It's probably my least suited vehicle for such a journey, so I can't explain why I was looking forwards to it so much! The only part where I truly questioned my sanity was during a torrential downpour on the M6, sat between trucks - not really wanting to be in the deluge of spray, but equally not wanting to pull into the middle lane!

Not sure on fuel consumption, but a comfortable cruising speed seemed to be a sat nav indicated 57-58 mph (45mph on the speedo 😂) without too much distress to my ears.

I'd managed to find what seemed to be a half-decent rear door for it too, for £50 including such decadence as a wiper and HRW. After taking the knot wheel to a few bubbles it wasn't quite as good as I hoped though...



Obviously I need to repair/replace the bottom rail, but thought it best to hang it first and get everything well aligned before risking scratching a painted door.

I ordered up hinges, striker plate etc. plus a few more goodies like these: 


So today I set about drilling the body and hanging the door. Before:


And after:


I'm actually pretty pleased with the panel gaps TBH, I was expecting worse! The door didn't come with a lock, so I've fitted a new one, and changed the front two lock barrels to suit (mis-matched locks really bug me).

You can buy repair sections of door rail, which is a fairly simple U section pressing, spot-welded onto a closing strip. To try and slow down any rust forming in the seam, I flooded with zinc weld-through primer until it had seeped through.



I'm not in a huge rush to do that job, as I'm weighing up whether to replace the skin as well. There's a few drilled holes from its previous life on a Defender, and a couple of pinholes from corrosion. Removing it completely would allow me to do a better job on the frame too.

One more minor job was to correct the switch legend on the instrument light switch.


As standard, there was no interior light fitted, but I've added one, switched by both the top left switch (as per the Station Wagon variants) but also from a door switch.

I managed to find a NOS switch plate with the correct symbol on it - much better!



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  • 2 weeks later...

I've bitten the bullet and decided to replace the rear door skin. It was only around £30, and means I can be more brutal with the old skin without worrying about refitting it. So here is the door frame in all its glory: 


Slightly worse than expected, although it was so easy to remove the skin I was half tempted just replace it without any frame repairs, and only repair that when it falls apart. I won't though!

The observant will spot a couple of other changes too - firstly I've painted the LR logo on the mudflaps, as the old original flaps would have. My method is rather cheaper than buying a NOS pair...


The other change you might see is the rear seats, as we've had them re-covered. We had plenty of material left over from the Airstream, but I think the colours suit the Landy well enough.


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I didn't take any work in progress photos, but the first stage of the door repairs was to replace the bottom rail. 


There was a section below the lock which was also rust weakened, so that was cut out and replaced too.


Followed by the closing sections of the upright, and cross piece.


All ground back in readiness for paint...


And coated with Zinga.


Sealant was then applied to the surfaces contacting the door skin, and it was offered up before hammering round the flange to secure.


That took a lot less time to write than to do! Probably about two days solid work in total to get to this stage.


The skin was quite tricky to get the edges tucked under the two uprights either side of the window, at the same time as getting the lip over the window bottom rail. Still, it's done now and just hope it fits!

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I know the feeling well! Fortunately things are a bit better now time-wise, and I'm using the justification that I can sell the tailgate for more than the safari door cost. Hence I'm actually earning money!

Not much time on it for a week or so, but I managed to hang it temporarily (again!) to check alignment.


Great success! 

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I had a bit more time today than I thought, and the weather was perfect for spraying - still, sunny, yet cool enough for there to be no insects around. So I etch primed it and gave three coats of Bronze Green from a rattle can (3 in total). I knew it was Bronze Green as there was a left over tin from the respray with that written on the side.

Paint went on reasonably OK, although a couple of areas need flatting back. But the biggest problem is that it's the wrong sodding colour! 



The code on the tin is G6465, which I've now discovered bears no relation to either green. I'm thinking that (if it's actually a LR colour) it's more like Coniston Green than Bronze. I certainly prefer the body shade to the new green at least!

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  • 2 weeks later...

No joy from the previous owner, but I've found somewhere around 50 miles away who will be able to either make up a custom aerosol from a scan of the correct shade, or even better, fill a can with what's been left over! I reckon there must be maybe 300ml, which once thinned down may be enough for a couple of coats. Only £6 per aerosol so definitely worth a try.

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It's a Land Rover, nobody expects the paint to match, including the factory. I found the cat flap tailgate was always easier than a door for grabbing the dogs before they escaped. Although most of mine have been canvas topped, my one Springer used to poke her head out at the back as we went along.

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On Friday I went over to get the paint put into an aerosol, and it turned out there was enough for two cans, plus still a bit left over for touch-ups! Paint went on nicely, and by yesterday was hard enough to attempt fitting.


Then onto the fun job of refitting everything. The window is sealed with a butyl strip, which remains flexible yet relatively easy to remove if the window needs replacing.


The window is clamped up against this from the inside, which squeezes out the excess.


I didn't want to trim it with a knife, for fear of damaging the paintwork, so I sharpened a plastic knife and used this to cut away the excess. 



I replaced the wiper spindle grommets - splashing out on genuine LR parts, as my experiences with cheap rubber haven't generally been a success (does that sound dodgy? :oops:)


Finishing touch was the grommet around the lock surround, which often doesn't get replaced after paintwork (and indeed was missing from the front door locks too).

Done, from the outside at least!


Still need to wire up the wiper and HRW, plus fit some trim on the inside.

Then onto the next improvement...


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  • 2 weeks later...

Seeing as I need to run new wiring to the rear end to power my new luxuries of wiper and heated rear window, I thought it'd be good to tidy up the rear fog light installation. This was done in a hurry after a scary drive along a rainy dual carriageway, with lots of standing water and spray!


I made up a switch panel from a piece of sheet steel, folded over in the vice. Looks a bit better, but still original-ish looking.


I'll relocate the fog warning light where the trailer flasher is currently, as that can be swapped with an audible warning. Don't want to drill a new hole on the front of the dash!

The fog light itself was just one I had spare, and looked too modern IMO, as do most of the universal ones around. In the end I settled for a pattern Wipac copy, which actually seems quite well made in stainless steel.


Still with temporary wiring, but at least it works!


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Well spotted, I had indeed painted the rear LR badge since the previous photo. It appeared to have been stripped back to bare aluminium at some point (unless someone now tells me that certain years are supposed to be unpainted!)

Yes, they are GB Springs parabolics, but painted black rather than the usual blue. They seem to have a good reputation,  but didn't want them to stand out a mile!

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Only just noticed that they swapped the number plate/badge position on Series 3s, on earlier vehicles they are on the opposite sides of the back body.

Why tho? They didn’t have fog or reversing lights until well  into the 70s so there wasn’t a need for them to be in a particular position. 

I suspect forrin legislation had something to do with it (same reason the front lights moved out onto the wings).


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It seems to be rationalisation with LHD countries where the number plate had to be on the left hand side - the UK allows either. 1978 from what I can tell, before the rear fog light became compulsory in 1980.

Anyway. I make a start on wiring everything up. Because I'm sad, I wanted to use matching colours with the factory loom, and for those circuits which were never originally fitted, I will follow the Defender colours. Unfortunately I don't haven't enough of the right colours to do the front to rear section, so have had to order some more in.

The switches I've now mounted below the dash.


There is a logic to the arrangement; the rear wiper is directly below the front, the HRW is below the blower switch (demisting), and the fog light switch is below what will be the warning light.

Because the wiper switch is just a standard single pole momentary on switch, I need to do something clever with a changeover relay to replicate the action of the self parking circuit - otherwise the wiper motor would only run while I'm holding the toggle down! Adding a relay though, has the bonus of needing one less wire to be run to the rear of the vehicle.

I know there is often a debate on the merits of crimp versus solder connections, and I am sure that a well made crimp will made a good connection without risking the stress riser that a soldered joint can create. But my preferred method for a non-insulated crimp is to solder before crimping the strain relief, like so:


Then, even if solder does creep down the wires, any flexing will be beyond this point so no increased risk of fatigue. In the real world, probably unnecessary, but now I can sleep easy at night :-)

I've mounted the relay by to the rear door, next to where I've drilled for the flexible conduit to the door.


The mounting bolt provides a handy earthing point for the rear door too. I'd just finished that when the post arrived with all the rest of the wires so hopefully I can finish that soon!


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4 hours ago, Blake's Den said:

Following with great interest as I have recently joined the Land Rover way of life 🙂

Don't take any notice of me, I'm just making it up as I go along!

4 hours ago, Sunny Jim said:

Great stuff @mat_the_cat - you're getting so much done on all your projects now you don't have to go to work!

I don't know how I ever found the time for a normal job! I'm trying to be disciplined and keep the car stuff to evenings and weekends - Airstream is classed as 'work' so that's a weekday activity, but it's nice to have free time for non-essential tinkering.

No Landy wiring updates, but I used it when marshalling a fell race yesterday. Drove up a very rough track, and parked next to the Mountain Rescue team's Defender :-) They were quite surprised I'd made it up the difficult route - there is a another track which is better surfaced but about 3 times the distance.


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I got side tracked by the BX, but I've been chipping away at the wiring. First thing to to was thread the 5 new wires down some PVC sleeving for protection. This, to coin a phrase I heard, was akin to poking soggy spaghetti up a dog's arse. The wires were not rigid enough, and when I used a draw rod, the sleeving kept ruckling up when I pushed on it whilst drawing the wires through.

Eventually I got them in, and it was then relatively easy to thread them through the chassis. 


At the rear I followed the routing for the lights wiring, and took a sleeved set of cables out to feed the HRW and wiper relay.


Under the bonnet I mounted a new fused relay for the HRW. As it looks a bit modern I tucked it away as much as possible on the bulkhead.


I've still to connect in the permanent wiring for the reversing lights (green/brown), and the blue and yellow wires are previous owner additions to replace a damaged wire in the loom. I'll need to replace these with the correct colours at some point. I've tried to keep my wiring as need as possible, so it looks 'factory'. 



Seems like I should just throw it all together, with a few knots for luck!

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  • mat_the_cat changed the title to The oldest Land-Rover Series 3 around - cutting holes in the roof!

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