Life at the end of the road

May 24, 2011

More of the same :-(

Filed under: daily doings, Land Rover, weather — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:13 pm

More of the same just about sums up today’s weather though the wind was considerably less ferocious, hovering around a steady force five or six for most of the day. The showers were, if anything worse but lasted only minutes and were quite well spaced alternating between rain, sun and hail, though if you were unfortunate enough to get caught in one you were soaked in seconds and very cold 🙂

I arose with an enthusiasm that can only be attributed to the fact that I’d a short working day ahead of me and I’d done all I set out to do on the work front. Normally I’m rushing around like a maniac on the last day finishing stuff off to hand over to my ‘back to back’ but yesterdays two missed sailings had enabled me to get ahead of myself.

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A rainbow at Tarbert just a few hundred yards from home served to cheer me up just before it’s attendant shower dumped its load through my open window and drenched both me and my camera 🙂

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Nine miles further down the road I was brought to a halt by some fallen branches from last nights gale but they were soon moved and I got to work early. Which was just as well because we had to wash a whole load of volcanic dust off the seats on the ferry !!!

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Unusually for the 7:55 we had an 18m commercial which had just delivered the bulk of a new house that Lachie Gillies is building on ‘The Avenue’. It caught a few commuters by surprise and we had to leave three cars behind 😦

To give you an idea of how bizarre the weather was,

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here’s Raasay at 12:00 pelted by hail

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and Sconser 45 minutes later bathed in sunshine !!!

Whilst I was busy ‘hard at it’ 🙂 wifey went to Kyle to pick up Thelma and Louise from George at . Due to a misunderstanding Munro’s had delivered them there instead of Sconser, well actually George does Munro’s deliveries on Skye but he does that on Thursday, something that Munro’s had neglected to mention. Anyway no harm done, well apart from someone not getting away from Raasay yesterday in anticipation of receiving a fully butchered Louise 😦

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Still eight days after leaving Raasay in a trailer the two girls returned in the boot of wifey’s car, Louise weighing in at 56.2kg and Thelma at 50.3kg. The identical pair were fairly evenly matched until Thelma got struck by a car and went off her food for a while due to shock and some broken ribs.


The killing, butchery, sausage making and delivery works out at about £80 each, which may seem like allot but Louise produced 365 sausages and an awful lot of meat 🙂

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Overhauling a Land Rover ‘drop arm’

By 15:00 the welcome sign of my ‘back to back’s’ campervan on the ferry meant that my working week was finished and after delivering and dividing up Louise I headed home to get stuck into the ‘Old Girl’. The MOT is up in June and I wanted to get her ‘shipshape’ before hitching up the old and heading off to in just over two weeks time. Whilst the Land Rover was unlikely to actually fail on the slight leak of power steering fluid from the steering box an over zealous tester may have pulled me up on play in the drop arm ball joint so I decided to do both. The ball joint can actually be overhauled without removing it from the box but the lower seals can’t so I opted do it on the bench.

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The drop arm is notoriously tight to remove on a Land Rover and many people resort to cutting them off and replacing the whole arm rather than just the joint. However I’d fitted this a couple of years ago and had lubricated the shaft before rebuilding it so it came off quite easily with a hydraulic puller I’d borrowed from my good mate in the campervan 🙂

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The ball joint is just held in with a circlip and easily removed , the hardest task being to drift out the top cup that remains in the arm.

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Once the new cup is pressed in using a vice the rest of the joint is assembled and I find the easiest way to compress the spring and fit the circlip is to to it in a pillar drill .

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Here’s the joint assembled ready to fit with a grease nipple that I fitted in the end plug.

Land Rover steering box lower seal replacement

All Land Rovers leak oil and the chances are that this repair to the lower steering box seal will only stop the leak for a short while. If you want something reliable that does not oil your drive way then buy a Toyota, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Daihatsu  or Suzuki 🙂 However if you want something that you can still get cheap parts for (and boy you will need them) in twenty years time and don’t mind crawling underneath it every week and are good at welding then a Land Rover is what you need 🙂

If you are unfortunate enough to own one of these vehicles and want to know how to cure that annoying pink drip (albeit temporarily) without removing the steering box then read on. Assuming that you’ve got the drop arm off then prize off the dust seal and remove the circlip.

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Then get your cordless drill with a 3mm drill bit in it, and this is VERY important or you’ll damage the shaft, slide a piece of pipe or something over the bit so just a couple of millimetres of the bit is exposed. If you just use the bare bit it will damage the shaft ( I speak from experience 😦 ) Once you’ve drilled the hole screw in a self tapper and pull out the outer seal with some pliers, repeating the operation on the inner seal.

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The first (blue) seal can be a little tricky to replace but can be coaxed in initially with a small blunt screwdriver before being tapped home with a length of plastic waste pipe and hammer, next it’s the top left outer seal, circlip and finally dust seal before replacing the drop arm.

Then it’s just a matter of tightening everything up and topping up the reservoir with ATF, and now I’m off to bed 🙂



  1. Hi Paul.You do realise you will invalidate your anti corrosion policy by repairing that leak.This quote originates from a certain make of motorcycle but reads when amended “Landrovers don’t leak they just mark their territory”.Hope you don’t get volcanic ash in your moving parts 🙂 Cheers

    Comment by Andy — May 24, 2011 @ 10:32 pm

    • Morning Andy,

      my anti corrosion policy is still valid from when I piped a major oil leak from the rear main oil seal into my chassis 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 25, 2011 @ 6:44 am

  2. Our last three pigs cost £233.12 for slaughter and butchery: £77.71 each. Plus £30 in diesel for the return trip to the abattoir.

    However, we don’t get sausages as they’d cost extra so you’re doing a bit better than us.

    As for Land Rovers, I decided to splash out with the credit card and buy a set of Exmoor seats for the second row in ours. I don’t like the boys sitting on seats without headrests. As we have the split bench, I’ll have to take out all the frames and replace them, too, but it’s a straightforward job. (Famous last words!)

    Comment by Stonehead — May 25, 2011 @ 7:28 am

    • Aye Stoney, famous last words indeed 🙂 wish I had a pound for every simple job I’ve done that turned into an epic 😦 Those Munro sausages are really good by the way and even if you do them yourself their skins are the best I’ve come across.

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 25, 2011 @ 10:15 pm

      • They were indeed famous last words. Exmoor’s seats aren’t half bad—I’ve had them before—but their instructions are a pile of shite.

        I read everything through, laid out all the parts, checked I had everything, and then removed the old seats. Simples. I started fitting up the new seats, trying to follow the shite instructions. They give no measurements on where to locate the new frame mountings, instead they say the locate the nearside frame first using the existing LR seat mounting.

        Fair enough, I thought. But as I went through and located all the frame and their mountings, I realised they were all off centre with the nearside frame too close to the door, the centre frame off-centre and the offside too far from the door.


        I went back through everything and discovered the problem. Exmoor’s own double seat mounting is considerably narrower than the LR one. So if you use the LR one as the baseline, as the instructions say, then all the seats are out of whack.

        Of course, it started to belt down rain at that point and as the Defender won’t fit in the garage, both the interior and I got a good soaking.

        Pish, pish, and double pish.

        So, I’ve chucked everything in the Defender, locked the doors and stomped inside to steam dry before making supper.

        Tomorrow, I’ll do it my way—measuring the frames up, calculating their spacing, working out the necessary mounting spacing, and then marking it all up on the seat box.

        There endeth the rant. 😀

        Comment by Stonehead — June 7, 2011 @ 6:02 pm

  3. I pop in regular just keep my eye on you 🙂 and the kids like to see pictures of the wee piggies and caitlyn still talks about the time she got splattered with muck when one of the big ones decided to give its self a shake, happy days 🙂

    Comment by jimmy mcmilan — May 25, 2011 @ 9:59 am

  4. hey, what a brilliant excuse … sorry I’m late for work boss, but there was a lorry ahead of me on the ferry and I had to wait for the next one

    Comment by carina — May 25, 2011 @ 5:35 pm

  5. Hi Paul
    Thanks for the very helpful weather pictures. Coming up for a week on Skye on Saturday and now know to pack as usual for all eventualities. Even though I visit Skye at least once a year I have never ventured over to Raasay, but will probably make the trip next week – so look out for two women(my sister and I) with our two 8 year old girls driving up the road in a hire car!
    I read your blog everyday now so probably count as a stalker! So beware!

    Comment by Jo Cohen — May 25, 2011 @ 6:19 pm

    • Good morning Jo,

      I’ll keep an eye out for two women and two eight year old’s in waterproofs 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 28, 2011 @ 5:13 am

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