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


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I've done my good deed for the day!


A friend of my came over this morning, and I said he could charge up his electric van at our place. Except he forgot his 3 pin plug lead, so only had 20% charge to get to the nearest charging point. Unfortunately he ran out of juice 2km short!

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On 1/30/2022 at 7:24 PM, mat_the_cat said:

Yes, he just put it into neutral. Not sure whether it'd be possible to charge regeneratively, but we'd only got to get to the charge point so all was OK.

In theory, yes, you could tow the vehicle with it in regen mode and it'd charge.

But it would be like towing a car with someone braking the whole way...

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/7/2021 at 9:46 PM, Minimad5 said:

Feel free to laugh, buy I really love the Mountain rescue Defender, just looks so right 


On 11/7/2021 at 10:03 PM, Blake's Den said:

As much as I like the new defender, it just doesn't look right

As an update to this, I've joined the mountain rescue team after getting chatting to them in November. The Defender they have is 20 years old now, and an impressive bit of kit, mostly preferred over the Hilux they've bought recently (unless long journeys are involved!) I'm still a trainee at the moment so it'll be a while before I can drive it, and even longer before getting blue light training. I might approach one of the Landy mags to see whether they'd be interested in a feature, as it's quite old for a working vehicle. Handy to raise the profile for the charity too.


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I've got great respect for anyone who volunteers for mountain rescue. I've never needed them myself but I've seen them heading up hills in terrible weather when I've been coming down. 

Cheshire Police have an R reg 110 300 TDI used by the rural crime team. It is currently getting a new chassis but it's the oldest vehicle on the fleet by a massive margin.

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5 hours ago, Blake's Den said:

I've never needed them myself but I've seen them heading up hills in terrible weather when I've been coming down. 

Yes, rescues aren't needed quite so often on a sunny afternoon!

13 minutes ago, 3VOM said:

Which rescue team and area are you?

South Snowdonia, https://www.sssart.org.uk/
Quieter than the other areas of Snowdonia in terms of call-outs, both because of fewer people, and the fact that it tends to attract the more experienced walkers i.e. less numpties! But it does mean that if there is trouble, it's quite often serious.

Assuming I get through the 3 month probationary period, there's another year of training before I can call myself a full member, so still early days. There's stuff going on in life at the moment so to be hopefully able to 'give something back' gives a bit more purpose to things.

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On 1/15/2022 at 10:06 AM, mat_the_cat said:

My first enquiry from the wedding page, and I've had to turn it down! It was a bit of an unusual one, as it wasn't for a wedding at all, but for a team of archaeologists! They are trying to hire a 4x4 for two weeks to access a remote dig, but everywhere they've tried needs at least 30 days notice.

I'd like to have done it but can't spare the time, and a bit dubious about it getting trashed if I just hired it out. Shame, as it'd have been nice to give it some proper work.

This wasn't my mob doing a job in mid Wales was it? We were after a 4x4 for a windfarm excavation. I would have brought mine but I was out in Abergele.

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5 minutes ago, mat_the_cat said:

Ha! What a small world! I know Richard through the running club, and he'd seen that I'd started the wedding hire business so asked if they could use it.

I first worked with Rich in 2001 and we've worked at the same place for the last 7 years. He's properly autoshite, although he has slimmed down the fleet a bit in recent years.  

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  • 5 months later...

This has been trundling around just fine for a while, as well as ferrying around part of the mountain rescue team on occasions. Although we have two official vehicles, that's not enough for the whole team so it's useful to avoid a long walk if it's possible to drive!

Earlier this week it's been put into use as a tow vehicle, as I need to put up a few gate posts at the holiday let. So I've cut a few from reclaimed telegraph poles, but are too heavy to lift, and too long for the van so I've had to hire a trailer.


The only way I could load them was by rolling them up the ramps, and swivelling them around. Complete overkill for what I need them for, but free is free!

Then it seemed inefficient to return with an empty trailer, so I loaded up with some firewood which was felled early this year. Ash dieback is a real shame, but the only positive thing is it makes ideal firewood.



It towed surprisingly well, although probably only 1500kg all in at a guess. I even managed to overtake a dawdling tourist, which seemed to surprise them!

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  • 5 weeks later...
On 12/26/2020 at 10:03 PM, mat_the_cat said:


First problem was sliding the new cable onto the speedo - it just would not go. Measurement revealed that the cable end had a 16.2mm ID, but the speedo had a 16.4mm OD. For what should be a genuine Smiths part this is a bit disappointing, and it looks as though the mould tool has worn over the years to result in an oversized part (the finish has all the hallmarks of a tired mould). Note that with the Britpart cable, this would probably have worked in its favour, and actually held it on more securely. Why I never thought of this at the time is a mystery!

What I decided to do is file down the speedo to suit. Once tidied up with some emery cloth I pushed the speedo cable on to test the fit. It was still tight but filing was so slow I reckoned I could get away with it. I pushed, and twisted until eventually it seated, and the tab snapped into the groove. At this point the 1990 plastic of the clip had enough, and shattered into 3 pieces :-( Fuck!

 Superglue, and a fuel pipe clip saved the day, and finally the cable was in place! Then I looked at the dial, and saw that the needle was now pointing just above 90mph! I figured that my twisting had actually rotated the male part of the speedo that the cable slides over, altering the rest position. There was no way I wanted to risk pulling the cable off again, so what I did was remove the bezel and glass, and pull off the needle. Resetting this at 0mph seems to have done the trick, and I've even seen the heady heights of 50mph on the test drive!

The quote is from when I replaced the speedo, so that it would read correctly with the LWB wheels and tyres. However, my trials and tribulations with the speedo meant that it still didn't read accurately above 30mph. It would under read quite significantly at the top end - a happy indicated 45mph was in fact 58mph on the sat nav!

So I decided to open up the speedo to have a look at what was wrong. (Actually, the job I started doing was simply reconnecting the demister vent hose behind the instruments, and while I was there I thought I'd take a quick look.....)

The casting inside the speedo head had completely shattered 😲 


I thought it was beyond repair (and perhaps it still is) but have given it a shot. With careful application of adhesive I was able to manipulate it back together.


With more spread over the joins it feels strong enough to withstand handling, so I was able to file the cable stub down further.


Back partly together now, and I'm waiting for a new cable to arrive, as the old one was damaged on removal.



I've left the needle off for now in case I have to play around with its position for accuracy.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm really getting sick of parts which are not fit for purpose! When I bought this, the existing speedo cable had failed so I bought a 'not the cheapest' pattern part. This fitted, but only worked intermittently, as it seemed the inner cable could slide in and out relative to the outer, and hence disengage from the speedo head where it should be driving it. So I spent 4 times as much on a genuine LR part. Totally different fitting...


...and unfortunately fairly brittle, as it cracked when pushing it over the stub on the back to the new (supposedly OEM) speedo. The stub was 1mm bigger than the original speedo, and that, coupled with 32 year old plastic, proved too much, although I was able to repair and use for almost 2 years.

So last week I bought another genuine cable, only to find it arriving with no packaging, and suspiciously identical to the pattern part I'd previously bought. Sure enough, intermittent drive. If I remove the gearbox end, push the inner so the other end is fully engaged in the hole in the speedo head, it'll work for 10-15 miles, before drifting out again. To make matters worse, the gearbox end retaining plate has a slightly larger PCD than the tapped holes on the gearbox, as all 3 screws are binding on the edges of their holes when tightening.


I've complained to the (well-known) supplier, so will see what their response is... I suspect I'll end up getting someone like Richfield Speedograph to copy the cable, or maybe just crimp another end fitting onto the cable.

In the meantime though, nothing to lose by attempting a better repair. I'd previously used superglue, which held but was not up to disassembly. Time for some reinforcement:


First it was superglued back together, then a short length of copper pipe slit, and slid over the join between crimp and fitting. The gap was then filled with epoxy adhesive, and the hose clip tightened.


Will this work? Place your bets now!

The good news is that I've got the speedo fairly accurate - 3mph high at an indicated 30mph, spot on at 40, 3mph low at 50mph, and an indicated 60mph is a true 65. Any further speeds are irrelevant! Unfortunately to do this, the needle sits above 0 when stationary, but better than before (when it works!)

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I've now swapped back to the old repaired cable, which survived being handles enough to clip it onto the speedo. And it's worked for at least as long as the new cable did, so looking promising. The gearbox end holes lined up too :-)

The supplier has come back to me stating that the previous genuine cable was NOS, whereas all current cables look the same, and different to the originals. I said I'd be prepared to tolerate this, if it actually worked! But I'm not paying well over the odds for something equally useless as the pattern part. Waiting for their response now...

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  • mat_the_cat changed the title to The oldest Land-Rover Series 3 around - first mechanical failure :-(

I ended up getting a refund from the supplier, so that's one bit of good news.

Unfortunately, that's overshadowed by what happened this afternoon. Driving along in 4th, slow down for a junction and I can't get 3rd. Drop it into 2nd, turn into the junction and go for 3rd again. Bugger. No chance. Oh well, I'll go straight for 4th. Nope! Still the same when stationary, engine on or off.

Now, I know the gearbox is a bit whiney, and after sampling @Crackers's 'box, I realised that it could be a lot slicker to shift. But it looks like a gearbox rebuild is on the cards sooner than I anticipated! It's looking like around a grand for a reconditioned gearbox, versus £200 for parts only to do both gearbox and transfer box. So I guess that's the road I'll be going down.

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23 hours ago, mat_the_cat said:

Unfortunately, that's overshadowed by what happened this afternoon. Driving along in 4th, slow down for a junction and I can't get 3rd. Drop it into 2nd, turn into the junction and go for 3rd again. Bugger. No chance. Oh well, I'll go straight for 4th. Nope! Still the same when stationary, engine on or off.



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This may well be just a selector problem, but for reliability/peace of mind etc I've decided to rebuild the gearbox. It's not something I've done before, but is apparently a good 'box to learn on, and hopefully should be a good deal quieter afterwards. This should be everything which I need:


A little bit of man maths came into play, and I figured that if I'm taking the whole transmission out, I may as well do the transfer box at the same time, and it worked out slightly cheaper to get the kit for that at the same time...


I've made a start on the removal this evening, and taken the floor up. The seat box is ready to remove, but I need an assistant for that so will have to wait until tomorrow. I'm pleased that all fixings came undone very easily, which is a most uncharacteristic Land Rover experience! 


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You will need the special tool to remove and tighten the nuts on the first motion shaft and layshaft. These are the only special tools needed as far as I remember. It's been many years since I played with series Landies. I've had 110 V8 csw for the last 23yrs. 

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16 hours ago, DeanH said:

@mat_the_cat can I ask where you're based? I fancy a series 3 but I'm aware I'm looking at them with rose tinted glasses.

North Wales. My (and other's) thoughts are earlier on in the thread, if that helps you one way or another. But happy to give you a ride if our paths cross.

13 hours ago, 2flags said:

You will need the special tool to remove and tighten the nuts on the first motion shaft and layshaft.

That's on the way - I've read that you can make do with a chisel, but should imagine that makes it rather difficult to torque up correctly! 

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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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