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Land (Rover) Reclamation or (Land R)over the Hill!


warch

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My Land Rover is MoT exempt, so I am responsible for its roadworthiness. I was aware that the chassis was getting a bit crusty, but it seemed strong enough, it towed a two ton trailer earlier this year, retrieved a Hilux Crew Cab out of a ditch and towed my Dad's Land Rover to the menders (see Ask a Shiter). This last expedition, undertaken unwisely using a tow strop rather than the more mechanically sympathetic (and legal) towing bar spelt the final straw for the rear crossmember. See below, note the angle of the tow ball.

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The bottom of the crossmember and the last four or five inches of the main chassis on one side were also dubious. Luckily one of my bestest mates is an car bodywork repairman, with elite welding skillz so we decided to give the whole thing a closer examination, just to make sure a new chassis wasn't required.

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Things started sensibly with the removal of the roof, which thanks to laziness and previously snapped bolts was held on with only a handful of fasteners so took about ten minutes to remove. We then got a bit carried away.

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Surprisingly the chassis wasn't that bad. Bear in mind the last time the chassis had seen the light of day, the Beatles were busy breaking America and Cassius Clay hadn't changed his name yet. We did find some comedy welding though which I'll photograph for posterity.  

I've ordered the replacement chassis parts and a few odds and sods, but it should be a quick* and easy* repair job. I might tart it up a bit with some new parts too and respray it to annoy those annoying people who use the word patina a lot.

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I remember having a rear crossmember fitted to my 85 county about 12 years ago, you can get a new rear crossmember with a foot of chassis to sleeve over the original. Probably best to have the tub in place so it can be level and will fit properly once welded in place. 

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25 minutes ago, sutty2006 said:

I remember having a rear crossmember fitted to my 85 county about 12 years ago, you can get a new rear crossmember with a foot of chassis to sleeve over the original. Probably best to have the tub in place so it can be level and will fit properly once welded in place. 

Yes I've ordered a quarter chassis, which as you say has about 18 inches of chassis leg to play with. I will definitely use the rear tub as you suggested to line everything up.

10 minutes ago, mjrose78 said:

I wish mine was that tidy! Unfortunately major surgery is required and is in progress. b0a8cdb60e95f229176f7e2a60d6e96e.jpg

Sent from my VOG-L29 using Tapatalk
 

To be honest, I did toy with the idea of a new chassis and may well acquire a galvanised chassis and bulkhead for mine when I have room to store them, but I reckon I can squeak another 30 years out of my current arrangement, by which time I can probably have it modified so that it can fly like the cars in Back to the Future 2. 

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If I had a pound for every time I've taken the body tub off a Series land-rover to do chassis work like this...       I'd have most of a tenner.

Still, massively easier than welding up frilly car bodywork.  S2 Chassis are beautifully easy things to work on, even if you need to break out the grinder for every. single. fecking. bolt.

Be aware of cheapo chassis sections.  I've heard stories of them not fitting very well at all.  Most of the work I did was fabricating my own repair sections, so fit wasn't an issue.  The comment above about re-fitting the body tub to get the alignment of the tub correct is a very good one.  It does then mean taking the tub back off again to weld it properly, but that's relatively straightforward and worth it to do the job properly.

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Surprisingly tidy, that. I was driving around in a SIII in worse nick 15 years ago!

 

See the 'What I don't drive' link in my sig to see a Land Rover project that's been ongoing since 2013. I hope you manage to finish this quicker!

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To be honest, I did toy with the idea of a new chassis and may well acquire a galvanised chassis and bulkhead for mine when I have room to store them, but I reckon I can squeak another 30 years out of my current arrangement, by which time I can probably have it modified so that it can fly like the cars in Back to the Future 2. 
Very sensible. It's difficult not to get into a full bloody restoration when replacing the chassis. Attaching rusty, leaky, corroded, parts onto a new chassis is intolerable for me!

Sent from my VOG-L29 using Tapatalk

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The worst bit of the chassis was the rear crossmember. It looked shit as did the welding. It has to be said the welding showed no signs of having failed despite having been done back in the mid 80s. Anyway, having unbolted the rear springs and done some perfunctory measuring the grinder got broken out and the 35 year old crossmember got dispatched to the scrap heap. 
 

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The crossmember was replaced by a quarter chassis which also got rid of some dubious looking welded plates on the main chassis rails. As recommended the new part was tacked in place then the rear tub was refitted to see how it all went together. At this point my mate who was actually doing all the welding decided to fix sixty years of Landrover tradition and insisted on adjusting the doors so they closed like the doors on an Audi. 
 

My mate also moved the front tub mounts which someone in the long distance past had welded on the piss.

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This was the chassis at the close of play, although the underside hadn’t been welded yet. 

 

 

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32 minutes ago, Minimad5 said:

Crikey, your mate can weld.

We all need mates like this 😅

Great thread 

He’ll be most gratified to hear that. Such a super bloke, and a bit of a renaissance man, he designed my house extension too.

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Update. The welding on the rear of the chassis is complete now moved onto the passenger side bulkhead outrigger. In the meantime I got excited and started removing more bodywork, mainly to access the chassis but also to see how ropey the bulkhead was.

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There were some rotten holes in the bulkhead but they seemed very localised and the structural bits were sound so a bit of stitching and a replacement footwell should do it. 8EC5A259-7088-41CD-960F-BDB7F2666F97.thumb.jpeg.41ec84f5e196f9ca4fa9fb05b14bd411.jpeg

The metal of the main chassis had become locally weakened due to the state of the old outrigger so a new plate was butt welded into the underside of the rail. A big hole was cut in the chassis rail to accommodate the outrigger and the mounting plate which was then spot welded in and seam welded. 

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Looking good! Now for two localised areas of rust on the opposite rail and that’s the chassis all done. Easy when you know how. Luckily I know someone who knows how.

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I've always liked the look of 2As and to see one being properly brought back is intriguing viewing and reading. What a mate to have and thanks for sharing!

I walk past a mouldering late 60s lightweight when strolling our greyhound each day. It's been sat for the best part of four years since the owner died and a relative/friend (I assume) moved in and took over. I didn't used to like the hacked up look of them, but I do feel sorry for this particular old girl. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

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Not much actual throughput at the moment as we went away for b ank holiday. Did start cleaning the chassis and back axle, changed the ghastly semi liquid substance in the axle for gear oil and discovered a knackered hub oil seal that’d practically filled the offside drum, rendering the brake inoperative. I also got fed up of tripping over the tow hitch so I refitted that too and a shineh new plug mount.,
 

I cleaned all the manky surface rust off, using a flapper disc and coated everything in rust converter. This does leave quite a nice black finish like those vintage cars people coat in light oil but I overpainted this with black machine enamel, once I’d mended the leaky hose on the air compressor.

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  • 3 weeks later...

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Not done much lately due to family commitments, shit weather and my mate having bust a few ribs playing football. Stripped the rear tub supports , repaired one which had a hole in it and fitted new rubber mounts. Also repaired a few holes in the tub using aluminium plates pop riveted into place. Test fitted the body looks pretty good.
 

Decided to properly strip all the paint off for repainting using one of those nifty but very expensive stripping discs on the grinder.

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Had a lucky escape when the windscreen blew over, no cracked glass luckily as I don’t fancy trying to remove about 40 tiny self tappers to remove the glass.

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2 hours ago, warch said:

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Not done much lately due to family commitments, shit weather and my mate having bust a few ribs playing football. Stripped the rear tub supports , repaired one which had a hole in it and fitted new rubber mounts. Also repaired a few holes in the tub using aluminium plates pop riveted into place. Test fitted the body looks pretty good.
 

Decided to properly strip all the paint off for repainting using one of those nifty but very expensive stripping discs on the grinder.

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Had a lucky escape when the windscreen blew over, no cracked glass luckily as I don’t fancy trying to remove about 40 tiny self tappers to remove the glass.

The glass is probably toughened unless it's been changed to laminate, I have done a few old Land Rover screens in the past and agree the screw's are a pain, nice watching you bring this old Land Rover back to life

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I really need to get my series back on track.. all welding done, painting and putting it back together now. 
(yes I did replace that shite bulkhead) 

Well done on the work on yours. I’m exceedingly jealous. 
 

CFD 

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I sold my 1996 90 to a friend 6 years ago and it's barely moved in that time , because of that it's just sat wet so has rotted away , it needs a chassis & bulkhead now , he says he's going to do it on the drive as he's got no garage 

The upside is it's a 300tdi so with a new chassis it's likely to be worth the money especially as it's eligible for export to the US assuming having a new chassis it still qualifies 

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10 hours ago, Wack said:

I sold my 1996 90 to a friend 6 years ago and it's barely moved in that time , because of that it's just sat wet so has rotted away , it needs a chassis & bulkhead now , he says he's going to do it on the drive as he's got no garage 

The upside is it's a 300tdi so with a new chassis it's likely to be worth the money especially as it's eligible for export to the US assuming having a new chassis it still qualifies 

I can never work out why Defender era landrovers seem to deteriorate so quickly compared to the earlier models. Another of my mates has an early 00s TD5 110 and that is also getting a new chassis (and needs a new bulkhead too really). Landrovers are usually priced on condition though so the comparative hassle and expense of fitting galvanised chassis and bulkhead is usually reflected in the final value. If I was to buy a coil sprung Land Rover I'll probably spend less and buy a basket case which I could rebuild on a new chassis.

The big problem with Defenders is theft, especially of panels, which are worth shitloads and quite easy to sell on. I'd keep a close eye on them if I was you mate, so they don't go walkabout when he starts stripping it down. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

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My welding chum is still not fully fit so he decided to teach me how to weld. As you can see it’s not as easy as he makes it look. I did have fun though and learnt all the basics which is the main thing.

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Those welds look pretty decent. I think learning to weld is the best thing I've ever done. Still very much a novice, but I absolutely love it.

Any thoughts on how the correctly fitted doors will affect resale value? I'm not sure I'd trust a Land Rover that was built properly, next you'll be telling me my Defender shouldn't pour water directly into my shoe when I drive it in the wet!

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10 hours ago, Merryck said:

Those welds look pretty decent. I think learning to weld is the best thing I've ever done. Still very much a novice, but I absolutely love it.

Any thoughts on how the correctly fitted doors will affect resale value? I'm not sure I'd trust a Land Rover that was built properly, next you'll be telling me my Defender shouldn't pour water directly into my shoe when I drive it in the wet!

My mate is a bit of a perfectionist he started out in car bodywork where welding panel fit and bodywork have to be a1. So I was getting grief for untidy welding straight off the bat. 
 

I’m aiming for tidy and structurally sound, replacing any tired or unsafe looking parts as I go. It needn’t be mint, by any stretch. The passenger side door was never a great fit and occasionally used to spring open which was a bit of a safety issue, especially with two small children. I’m repairing a lot of stuff rather than replacing it too, once you start going full restoration then it starts getting expensive.

 

One problem I have of course is sentimental attachment this vehicle has been in my family years before I was born, it was my first car when I was 18 and I wanted to keep as much of the original fabric as I could. 

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On 5/20/2021 at 7:51 PM, warch said:

Had a lucky escape when the windscreen blew over, no cracked glass luckily as I don’t fancy trying to remove about 40 tiny self tappers to remove the glass.

Would have been a handy excuse to upgrade to a heated screen, which are surpisingly cheap.

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Sounds like a great project. I’d love to keep mine but it’s too impractical and I’d like to rebuild my first car, which was a Mini, so will need to free up some money for that!

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Acquired a few extra wheel rims off the bloke next door. They were a bit scabby but I don’t like to pass up Land Rover stuff, not many get scrapped now so spares are getting scarce. Anyway I decided to do a test piece to see how green wheels would look.

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Exhibit A nice and scabby. A bit of wire brushing and a primer coat and then some lovely bronze green.

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Pleased with my attempt, perhaps I can go full expedition spec with three spare wheels.

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  • 3 weeks later...

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Did some more painting so I can refit the back body. I used neat Tractol bronze green, which looks lovely and shiny, and a big improvement on the existing paint which had faded. Preparation was easy, I didn't worry about dent filling, just rubbed down the old paint, applied etch primer and fired up the compressor. 

You'll note the unwelcome presence of a second Land Rover lurking around in the background, this is my dad's recalcitrant Series III. It now starts rather well, but runs like shit, which is either another HGF or a cracked head or block. I'm going to have to pull it apart to investigate...

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  • 2 weeks later...

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Play resumed with the welding. The bottom of the offside chassis rail had a long fissure in it adjacent to the gearbox crossmember. Luckily there was good metal either side of it so it was reasonably straightforward to make and weld in a repair section. I could probably stand to grind the welds down a bit more but they are completely invisible under there, especially when the fuel tank is refitted.861BE2AA-F53C-4364-9965-4ED78B4F3B28.thumb.jpeg.e7a65bf6edb44872653319d3bac05273.jpeg

Also welded a short section of chassis rail adjacent to the steering relay. That’s the chassis all completed just* the bulkhead to do.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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Made a start on the bulkhead, which is basically sound and has plenty of good metal in it but which also has loads of little holes where the metal has gone weak. You can see a repair, mix of welded in plates and weld repairs next to the hinge and a bit that hasn’t been attempted yet.9CC7B6FD-49A9-4B47-AEA3-EED0F4355C96.thumb.jpeg.6a1eb5e70655285b057681e24f2f176d.jpeg

More on the opposite side next to the screen hinge.

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And the piece de resistance a new inner door pillar and footwell side piece.

 

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