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The oldest Land-Rover Series 3 around?


mat_the_cat
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I've been doing a few bits and pieces on this over the last weeks, so will update the thread and maybe one of the mods can move it into the main section?

You can maybe make out in this photo a map light (not functional) on the underside of the dash, and a universal choke cable. The light is stopping the steering column cowl from seating correctly, and also stops me from fitting a choke cable in the usual place. 

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I've since fitted a Metro/Rover 100 cable, since it has an integral switch - and I had one spare!

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This illuminates the original 'cold start' lamp, albeit in a different way than designed. Note I've added a couple of discreet USB sockets to fill the hole left by the old choke cable. An interior light was high on the list, which is now fitted and triggered both by the usual dash switch, and also decadently with a door switch.

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I bought an updated 4 row radiator from the single place I could find selling one, and fitted that this week.

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It's so easy to work on! Apart from the bastard bonnet catch, which I keep banging my head on. It must be a LR thing, as the Discovery one is just as bad! I replaced this dodgy looking hose too, while the system was drained.

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With that done, I flushed the system and filled with coolant.

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A test drive up some long hills, and I couldn't get the needle to budge from the N of normal, so I'll take that as a success!

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Today I've given it a full oil change - both axles, transfer box, gearbox and engine. Filter was a bit of a blast from the past, in this housing!

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Last job was to install a second-hand voltmeter in the hole already cut in the dash - the first photo shows a non-functioning hazard switch hanging out of it.

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Unfortunately I've swapped one useless item for another, as this doesn't work either! Oh well, it fills the hole and does at least light up :-)

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  • mat_the_cat changed the title to The oldest Land-Rover Series 3 around?

You’d have been better fitting a cushion there for when you miss reverse and end up twatting your hand on the dash haha. I remember in the ambulance that if you went for 1st too quickly the gearstick would pop out of the top of the selector in the box, select reverse and put your hand through the dash. Very hurty. And very annoying sat in a junction stripping the gear selector cover off lol. All fun and games.

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On 10/14/2020 at 11:32 AM, Talbot said:

I suspect more that the vehicles you've had up to this point are low risk.  Having a Series LR in a rural location might be higher risk than you thought.  Blocking it in with another vehicle is a good plan.  I'd also consider some other mechanical means of preventing theft.  Clutch/brake clamps are good, as are things like custom kill switches.  I'd also make sure it's hidden from casual view when parked up.

On my Landcruiser they lifted it. The kill switches and brake stuff are good - but I'd go for a range of physical measures. Blocking in is a grand idea...consider a chain through the chassis too. 

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Just caught up with this thread.  It looks to be in very tidy condition.

Many moons ago I used to borrow the works long wheelbase Land Rover to get around at work - which was an old RAF airfield.  Whilst taking a short cut across the grass as an excuse to play with the famous 4 wheel drive, I became stuck. No-one told me that the free wheel hubs had to be wound in manually outside.  I was not impressed and my posh shoes got plastered in mud.  On another occasion in the same 'drover but this time as a passenger in the back - driver plus 4 bods - we were taking some test equipment to Porton Down from Westcott, we were extremely glad to get there.  Land Rover suspension (leaf sprung type) clearly had nothing to do with comfort and was purely a means of letting the axles waggle around on rough stuff. For subsequent trips we insisted on the luxury* of a Commer Spacevan. Although it was no faster or quieter than the Landy it had a hint of suspension comfort.

Well bought.  Chain it up, as many have suggested.

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On 10/8/2020 at 8:31 AM, sutty2006 said:

Yeah they’re pretty damn horrible to drive on a regular basis. I used to own an S3 ambulance and it was fun but hard work. Constantly correcting the steering, under powered 2 1/4 engine, brakes that took some getting right.... The only good thing was the heaters got toasty warm inside the cab. 

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off grid camper 

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5 hours ago, dollywobbler said:

Time for another V8 conversion. ;-)

I like it. Apart from the fact that the rear lamps are upside down. Should be amber on top.

That was something I wondered about - kept meaning to do a Google image search as I wasn't sure it looked right! I need to delve into the wiring anyway to fit a trailer socket, so will sort out then.

It's a real pain manoeuvring at night without a reversing light, so I'm considering what to fit. I think a set of front sidelights with brighter bulbs would look better than aftermarket fittings - any other ideas? 

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A V8 conversion has been suggested, but I quite like the original engine - it suits the vehicle I think.

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Someone on my (very suburban) street bought a brand new Defender 110 station wagon 10 years ago and kept it until maybe a year or two ago. No idea why - never had a spot of mud on it, or even a towbar. The rear crossmember did go rusty in the traditional Land Rover fashion though ;-)

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44 minutes ago, mat_the_cat said:

That was something I wondered about - kept meaning to do a Google image search as I wasn't sure it looked right! I need to delve into the wiring anyway to fit a trailer socket, so will sort out then.

It's a real pain manoeuvring at night without a reversing light, so I'm considering what to fit. I think a set of front sidelights with brighter bulbs would look better than aftermarket fittings - any other ideas? 

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A V8 conversion has been suggested, but I quite like the original engine - it suits the vehicle I think.

A couple of massive front cibies, attached to the roof facing backwards. 

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Such beautiful vehicles, more like a tractor or an agricultural implement than a car mind.

At one point the father had simultaneously a diesel 2a and a BMC FG diesel with the ‘taxi’ 2.2 diesel. Although itself not the most refined of machines the FG was far more comfortable, easier to drive and faster. It was however smokier and even louder!

 I’m still jealous mind.

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If I was going down that route, I could just swap them with the log collector Discovery, which would give epic amounts of wheel torque. But not high up on the priority list really. Wouldn't mind a Series 2A wire grille (have you seen the price they fetch?!), but can't think of any Disco parts I'm after thanks!

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13 hours ago, jonathan_dyane said:

Such beautiful vehicles, more like a tractor or an agricultural implement than a car mind.

Precisely what I was going to say.

 

Back in 2005 when I got my licence, I spent that summer driving around in my dad's SIII. It was a farm workhorse, 88 with a safari rear door. It was that classic blue/grey colour with cream roof and wheels.

It didn't have a straight panel on it, and the steering was vague at best. I remember putting my whole body weight on the brake pedal and actually lifting myself off the seat in order to pull up from anything faster than about 30mph. The top half of the doors would rattle around so much you could see glimpses of daylight between the windscreen frame and the door. If it rained, your knee just got wet. So short geared that I never used the (non-synchro) first and just pulled away in 2nd. I could keep it in 4th all the way down to about 20mph and still pull away again cleanly. I also remember the gearbox almost drowned out the engine in that one. It had a good reversing light, though; a massive tractor-spec work lamp mounted in the top left corner!

I'm looking forward to getting that SI finished at some point. Probably another year or so away yet. The Series Land Rover experience is great fun, but I think the longest journey I ever did in that SIII was about 20 miles each way.

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If you can, and I appreciate they are not cheap, but an overdrive does make cruising just that little bit less stressful. Overdrives aren't cheap - £600-ish seems to be the going rate for a  Fairey - but given the prices of Land Rovers now, relatively it is not so bad. I do find it a little disappointing that Land Rovers have become so expensive. I suppose the flip side more are saved and people look after them just that bit better. Mine S3 109, with 70K on the clock and, having lived a relatively sheltered life, was £1500 in 2007 and I bought a Fairey for £300 soon after purchase. It's a bit of a pain to drive, but proves extremely useful now and again and I have never thought about selling. The kids love it - they sit in the front. The wife hates it - she sits on side bench seat in the back. 

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7 hours ago, Supernaut said:

It didn't have a straight panel on it, and the steering was vague at best. I remember putting my whole body weight on the brake pedal and actually lifting myself off the seat in order to pull up from anything faster than about 30mph. The top half of the doors would rattle around so much you could see glimpses of daylight between the windscreen frame and the door. If it rained, your knee just got wet. So short geared that I never used the (non-synchro) first and just pulled away in 2nd. I could keep it in 4th all the way down to about 20mph and still pull away again cleanly. I also remember the gearbox almost drowned out the engine in that one. It had a good reversing light, though; a massive tractor-spec work lamp mounted in the top left corner!

I'm looking forward to getting that SI finished at some point. Probably another year or so away yet. The Series Land Rover experience is great fun, but I think the longest journey I ever did in that SIII was about 20 miles each way.

I probably don't have a typical Series experience with this one - new shoes/wheel cylinders/master cylinder/hoses/brake lines/servo means it's likely reasonably close to as good as it gets! Certainly it's not a patch on a modern vehicle, but the brakes haven't worried me travelling at comfortable speeds.

It is uncomfortably noisy at speed, so I'll probably wear ear protection on longer trips - I know from motorcycling that you feel a lot more refreshed afterwards if you wear ear plugs. But no significant water leaks - certainly not enough to get me wet although there's the odd drip visible on the floor from somewhere. The passenger side demists quicker than the driver's side, so there sems to be some inequality in airflow. Minor niggles!

Longest journey so far was from collection, around 40-50 miles. It hasn't put me off a road trip though, maybe down to the Field of Dreams at some point?

6 hours ago, The_Equalizer said:

The wife hates it - she sits on side bench seat in the back. 

Interestingly, I thought mine would be much the same, and I got her to lend me the money on the basis that any profit made after indulging my dream we would split evenly.  But after the first drive in it she said it was such a cool car, so I started to wonder if we could hang onto it for a while. Then the night after I bought it we met up with some friends, who expressed a strong interest in buying it. "Looks like we've already got a customer" I remarked, but to my surprise she said "I reckon we should keep it". Result!!! :-) Although that now means I need to pay her back...

 

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21 minutes ago, mat_the_cat said:

I probably don't have a typical Series experience with this one - new shoes/wheel cylinders/master cylinder/hoses/brake lines/servo means it's likely reasonably close to as good as it gets! Certainly it's not a patch on a modern vehicle, but the brakes haven't worried me travelling at comfortable speeds.

It is uncomfortably noisy at speed, so I'll probably wear ear protection on longer trips - I know from motorcycling that you feel a lot more refreshed afterwards if you wear ear plugs. But no significant water leaks - certainly not enough to get me wet although there's the odd drip visible on the floor from somewhere. The passenger side demists quicker than the driver's side, so there sems to be some inequality in airflow. Minor niggles!

Longest journey so far was from collection, around 40-50 miles. It hasn't put me off a road trip though, maybe down to the Field of Dreams at some point?

Interestingly, I thought mine would be much the same, and I got her to lend me the money on the basis that any profit made after indulging my dream we would split evenly.  But after the first drive in it she said it was such a cool car, so I started to wonder if we could hang onto it for a while. Then the night after I bought it we met up with some friends, who expressed a strong interest in buying it. "Looks like we've already got a customer" I remarked, but to my surprise she said "I reckon we should keep it". Result!!! :-) Although that now means I need to pay her back...

 

I suppose I should say to be balanced the wife doesn't hate the Land Rover, just the crappy bench seat in the back.

I did pick her up in it on our first date back as a sort of acid test. I discovered later that she used to go to school on a tractor so the Land Rover wasn't a biggie.

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Ah those were the days! 
I used to go everywhere in my S3 swb - regular trips between Bristol and Glasgow  doing 50mph up the motorway and a gallon of oil every 600 miles seamed quite normal at the time!

I did make the brakes better forward by using lwb 11 inch twin leading shoe brakes on the front, but kept the original master cylinder the same, useless backwards though!

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Minor, enjoyable tinkering to be done. I've found a working voltmeter, so installed that.

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Replaced the battery clamps, which were a little too small.

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And made a start on tidying up a tow hitch. I've dipped it to remove and corrosion.

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So the next job is to zinc plate it. My last attempt gave rather a dull finish, which is likely down to the current setting being too high. This being a bigger surface area should be hopefully less sensitive and fingers crossed will look better.

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On 11/7/2020 at 4:26 PM, dollywobbler said:

I like it. Apart from the fact that the rear lamps are upside down. Should be amber on top.

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Does that meet with your approval now? ;-)

Another little job was replacing the fuel hose, as although it looked recent there is a lot of dodgy stuff out there which has a short lifespan, especially with ethanol in fuel now. Plus I'd bought a few metres of Gates Barricade hose to do the same job on the Stellar.

Then onto the less important stuff!

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The heater controls after 40 years of use were a little worn, and difficult to make out. Not a problem really, as I'm not sure I'm confident enough to take my eyes off the road and actually look at the sliders! But it's the first thing I see when getting in, so a couple of minutes with a paint pen was well worth it.

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What a lovely old Landie. Sold my last one in 2016 and regretted straight away. It was a 1968 Series 2a diesel with Range Rover diffs. It would do over 50mph but my ears wouldn't allow it. Kept on concrete slabs behind an old caravan in the far corner of my mates paddock. I started my MoT business in 2014 and just didn't have time to use or tinker with it. Think I did 100 miles in two years. Leaving any car in a field isn't good but when a gang of Wasps taken up residence in your heater ducts it especially isn't good. The noise and vibrations woke the little buggers up , luckily it was a van body so when they crawled out of the vents they had room to fly. The drive home was interesting. Had to stop five or six times on a 3 mile journey to let them out. 

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