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The oldest Land-Rover Series 3 around - rear axle work


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I took this on the 80 mile round trip to work on Friday, and it performed surprisingly well! It got a fair bit of attention in the car park too. One minor problem I was reminded about, given all the grime on the roads currently, is the lack of a working washer pump.


It appears to have seized up, and a new replacement is so cheap, not even worth the bother of investigating. The pump and washer bottle are held on with M6 screws and nuts inside the wheel arch - in my case very easy to undo!


To make it easier in the future, I fitted rivnuts in the holes after enlarging slightly. Means I only need the one tool, and keeps my hands cleaner.


New pump was then fitted (the correct way up!) and connected up.


The blue feed wire is non-original, and I can only think the old wire had become damaged somewhere in the loom and this was the replacement. It bugs me, partly because the colour isn't correct, but they haven't even followed the path of the loom! I will have to rectify at some point...

Anyway, the job in hand is now complete!


Driving along the dual carriageway in heavy rain and spray made me feel rather nervous about traffic approaching quickly from behind, so I really want to wire up the rear fog light before I do that again if this weather continues!

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I can't remember if I mentioned, but the speedo was not working when I bought this. The cable was obviously damaged, so I bought a cheap Britpart item to replace it a few weeks ago. I did wonder about splashing out on genuine, but figured that surely a speedo cable can't be that difficult to manufacture correctly.

I was wrong. The speedo head has a groove in it, where a plastic tab on the cable end engages to lock it in position, but the pattern cable was just a plain steel ferrule, with nothing to hold it in place!


Anyway, it worked for a while but soon shifted and lost engagement. It functioned for long enough to realise that I had the wrong speedo for the tyre size however, so there was no rush in replacing the cable until I'd sorted that out!

Fast forwards to now, and I got a new speedo in my stocking yesterday :-)


So it was time to replace the cable and hopefully get it all working correctly.


You can see the clear difference between the cable ends here:


At this point I'd like to claim that it was all plain sailing, but I'd be lying! Unfortunately I have no photos from the next bit, as my mood was fairly dark. 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!


You may also notice from the last photo I've added a rear fog switch and warning lamp. I wanted to ensure it was still in keeping with the rest of the dash, and didn't want to drill the panel for an irreversible mod.

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Excellent!  These things are very difficult to get looking tidy inside, yours looks great!

I've been there with the speedo cable 😒 We had a 2A that needed a new one and the blue box suppliers just couldn't provide anything that would come close to working for more than a mile or so...

We're lucky to get hold of parts for 50yo cars so easily, but it's not much use when they're so unfit for purpose!

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I think I had similar arsery with my S3 speedo cable. The ratios seem to be fake news anyway - I'm running a standard SWB speedo with 750's and the speedo should be way out, but it's actually spot on!

I'd like to award another 'Certificate of Excellence' to Land Rover for making the S3 dash so easy* to work on and beautifully* constructed. Thanks lads.

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9 hours ago, Rusty_Rocket said:

Excellent!  These things are very difficult to get looking tidy inside, yours looks great!

We're lucky to get hold of parts for 50yo cars so easily, but it's not much use when they're so unfit for purpose!

It's not too bad, but there are a few cracks and extra holes around. I do prefer it to the earlier ones TBH, unusually. 

Tell me about it! The previous owner had replaced the mirrors, and they were totally useless. Not only was I unable to tighten them up enough to stop wobble without the stud spinning in the plastic moulding, the glass was flat so all I could see was a close up of the door hinge. I've now replaced with some better quality ones (hardly expensive either) which have the proper curvature for a decent field of view.

7 hours ago, N Dentressangle said:

I'd like to award another 'Certificate of Excellence' to Land Rover for making the S3 dash so easy* to work on and beautifully* constructed. Thanks lads.

I got my priorities right, and the first job I did when I took the dash off was to put little caps over all the self-tappers!


Then I took a file to the rough pressed edges I could find, makes it slightly less painful to stick my hand in!

6 hours ago, I_am_Diesel said:

Just found this thread and I love a Land Rover me. Judging by the colour of the engine, it’s an ex-military reconditioned job. They still come back painted that colour after reconditioning to this day but obviously they’re 300 tdi flavour.

That, or they got a tin of the same colour paint... Seems a pretty quiet engine anyway, although puffs a bit of oily smoke when pulling away after idling for a while.

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Great fettling! Love reading about these sorts of sensible improvements. 

The registration situation is interesting. Does the V5C state that the mark is non transferable? If not, I wonder what would happen if you reassigned it to another vehicle. 

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23 minutes ago, mk2_craig said:

The registration situation is interesting. Does the V5C state that the mark is non transferable? If not, I wonder what would happen if you reassigned it to another vehicle. 

thats one thing iv been curious about as well for my DVLA research :) 

as the vehicle had a previous (original not age related) registration number that it was robbed of back in the day and given the current age related mark it currently wears


and so im curious as well if the V5c makes any mention of it being non transferable, if by 1993 they where marking age related replacement plates as non transferable or not

see at the start, non suffix age related marks where transferable, but people where abusing it, constantly transferring registration after registration, so they made age related no suffix replacement marks non transferable, but I dont know when exactly, thats what im trying to hopefully figure out here :) 

(but no suffix age related plates for for new vehicle registrations remained transferable for a while longer but they where made non transferable in the end as well, but this happened later, also still trying to figure out when exactly)

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42 minutes ago, mat_the_cat said:

Yes, the V5 does state non-transferable. Interesting stuff you've found - is there any more not shown? Wish I knew the full story of its origin!

interesting good to know :)

yeah I have wondered about this one since it showed up

I can say that OBJ506 was most likely the original registration mark of a Landy S1 as OBJxxx was a East Suffolk registration issued in period starting April1953 so that lines up with its Date of manufacturer (and its VIN number on the DVLA record looks like a Landy S1 one as well, I think, but im not an expert in Landies!)

my best guess is someone unearthed a Landy Series 1 got it registered in 1980, then at some point for some reason, its ID was stuck on your Landy Serise 3 (and then Robbed of its plate? although I have no way of knowing if the plate robbery took place before or after its ID was stuck on your machine sadly)

I do wonder why, and I wonder what happened to the S1 your ID came from

as this is not simply a case of someone with a Landy Series 3 that they somehow got declared manufactured 1953, this was a real Landy Series 1 who's ID has now made it onto your Landy S3


if you find an actual chassis number stamped on its chassis or (VIN plate if it has one!)  id happy to run it for you and see what it turns up if anything! :) 

(if it has a VIN plate im curious if it is the S1's VIN plate or the S3's plate?)

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I did a V888 request on my IIA, which turned up lots of info going back to about 1976:


I got back a massive sheaf of photocopied old information, with letters, notes and details of all former keepers. This was about 4 years ago, so I'm not sure if they're as free and easy about giving such info out these days.

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10 hours ago, mk2_craig said:

Would the engine number give any clues, if its perhaps the Series 3's original?

That's a good shout, that and I would like to see if there is any VIN stamped into the chassis. Nothing visible in the usual place (thanks Dez), at least not without removing paint.

Moving onto the next improvement, given the weather around here it's unsurprisingly to do with the wipers. At present they are either off or on with the twist of a rotary knob, with a push to operate the washer pump.


I want to fit a variable intermittent wipe to cope with the Welsh rain, but without any additional switches or controls. Found plenty of people who've done similar with an extra switch, but that'd be too easy...

There's a bit of snow around at the moment, but sadly not enough for a play. I took it out anyway though, and gave it a good wash afterwards to remove any salt.


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A lot of older Yanks have a setup whereby when you switch the wipers on they come on intermittent with a long delay, then as you turn the switch further the delay decreases and then eventually you get to constant wipe and then, with another click, to high speed.  Unfortunately they tend to be on a stalk rather than a knob but you might be able to use the guts out of one of those.

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It seems to lend itself to a rotary knob, so worth investigating. TBH I'm not that bothered about two speeds - I wouldn't want to go any slower than the ON position in continuous rain anyway. It's just that so much of the year is taken up by annoying drizzle where an intermittent setting would be invaluable!

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How about this; you can get pull switches with multiple positions, 2 would be enough (off, 1, 2) which also twist on a resistor. Pull out and twist for variable intermittent, and pull again for on.

Reminds me of my headlight switch, which does dash dimmer on the twist and side/head lights on the pull.

Intermittent wiper relay boards are available cheap. Depends how handy you are with a soldering iron, I guess.



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9 hours ago, mat_the_cat said:

It seems to lend itself to a rotary knob, so worth investigating. TBH I'm not that bothered about two speeds - I wouldn't want to go any slower than the ON position in continuous rain anyway. It's just that so much of the year is taken up by annoying drizzle where an intermittent setting would be invaluable!

You might be able to adapt this:


They seem to sell all sorts of useful bits n bobs!

But actually this is exactly what you're after:


Must be a version available in the UK

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16 hours ago, PhilA said:

How about this; you can get pull switches with multiple positions, 2 would be enough (off, 1, 2)

That's actually what I'm leaning towards now, as I found out that late Series 3s had a two speed motor, with a switch visually identical to mine. I like the functionality of the VW 99 relay (basically you set the interval by the delay between flicking it on initially, and turning it on a second time - effectively what you'd be doing anyway). So I should be able to use the first position as variable intermittent, and the second as the fully on position as they are now 😎

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9 minutes ago, mat_the_cat said:

That's actually what I'm leaning towards now, as I found out that late Series 3s had a two speed motor, with a switch visually identical to mine. I like the functionality of the VW 99 relay (basically you set the interval by the delay between flicking it on initially, and turning it on a second time - effectively what you'd be doing anyway). So I should be able to use the first position as variable intermittent, and the second as the fully on position as they are now 😎

Yep, my late 3 has a two speed motor, so could be rigged to work exactly as that VW switch doodah does.

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This is a lovely old thing, but I do think you should stop picking at the i.d. and history scab, it can only end in tears. Take it from someone who knows how lax local dvla offices were when it came to checking cars for registration transfers and other possible skulduggery , back in the 90’s.

Just enjoy it for what it is.

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22 minutes ago, NorfolkNWeigh said:

This is a lovely old thing, but I do think you should stop picking at the i.d. and history scab, it can only end in tears.

Just enjoy it for what it is.

Oh, don't worry - I am doing so! It'd be interesting to know more, but that's all. Certainly not thinking of making any official enquiries! 

9 minutes ago, PhilA said:

Was going to suggest the VW relay but the only ones I could find were $45+ which seemed a little salty.


Ouch. I've bought them at no more than a tenner, so makes a change to have car parts cheaper this side of the pond.

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  • mat_the_cat changed the title to The oldest Land-Rover Series 3 around - rear axle work

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